Fresh Gazpacho 💃🏼

I love gazpacho over the summer it so fresh l and hydrating and super easy to make. See recipe below:

Ingredients:

3 tomatoes

4 stalks of celery

5 slices of cucumber

1/2 red bell pepper

small slice of red onion (one of those things you want to add a little at a time and check for taste)

1 garlic clove

2 dates

juice of 1/2 lemon

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Add dill to taste.

Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour to let all of the flavors come together – so worth it but also so hard to wait! 😬💁‍♀️

4 Watchouts for Eating at Vegan Restaurants

I’m not a vegan, but I lean towards the plant-based side of the spectrum. My favorite type of quick food places are raw vegan/ juice bar type places. When I first started consulting, I was disappointed to largely give up cooking, but then got over this quickly when I started researching all of the raw vegan juice bar esq places in my first city of work travel. 

I got into the daily routine of eating “healthy” vegan food for every meal. At first it was great. I was trying all new kinds of vegan meals, getting great recipe ideas to cook at home, and eating delicious plant-based sweets that would require me so much more effort for me to make at home. I was ecstatic, until I started not to feel well anymore. I started gaining weight. I felt super full but was still hungry at the same time. I was lethargic. I was off. I wanted to get back to feeling good so I knew I had to make a change. But I wasn’t quite sure where I went wrong? I was eating at the most seemingly healthy types of restaurants I knew. Shouldn’t I be feeling great? I took a step back and made a few observations at what I was eating. These learnings have helped me flag certain items on the menu and have enabled me to order more wisely:

1. Skip dessert

 When I first started traveling, I was ecsatic by all of the delicious, plant-based dessert options. I am obsessed with my homemade vegan cheesecakes, but the option of having healthy plant-based desserts readily available and such a wide variety of options was incredible. I found myself tacking on a vegan brownie or carrot cake muffin to my orders. They were made out of raw nuts, oats, dates, etc. so I didn’t sweat wondering if they were healthy. However, while all of the ingredients may be healthy, the quantities present are much more than you would normally consume. I was eating waayyyy too much fat. Nuts are great for you, but in small quantities because they are super high in fat and calorically dense. Dates, although a fruit, and very heavy and high in calories, so you do need to watch the amount you are consuming. And lastly, the sugar. These seemingly healthy desserts are loaded with sugar- maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar, etc.- it doesn’t matter what type! Sugar is sugar. It all reacts the same in your body. If I was eating at home, I wouldn’t be eating vegan treats on a daily basis. These extra calories add up quickly, so it’s overall better to skip..

 2. Watch your grain consumption 

Grain bowls are a staple of several raw vegan places. I tend to skip the bread and overall avoid gluten, so quinoa bowls are a natural go-to for me. I know ketogenic diets are big right not, but I’m personally a fan of grains. However, not too much, a small portion of grains to add some filling to your salad is great, but the salad should be veggies by a large portion. I’ve noticed several vegan places really pile on the grains in their meals. Not only will this leave you feeling ill, but it also takes away the flavors of the produce in the salad! Grains are bland. I do not want my bowl to be primarily grains, I’d really prefer it to be primarily greens from both a health and taste perspective. In order to avoid a heavy dose of grains, I usually ask when I order for more greens than grains. If the portion is still off, I generally skip the grains if I order again. It is not worth feeling like crap afterwards.

 3. Watch your fat consumption

 As a stated above, vegan desserts are largely composed of nuts and thus, high in fat. Not only is this seen in desserts, but vegan entrees as well. Most meat and cheese substitutes are often nut-based. Depending on what you order, you could be eating really high amounts of fat. I love healthy fats- I mean avocados, come on. Healthy fats are a regular part of my diet. However, I’ve found that when I eat too much fat, I feel terrible. I feel super full and experience unwanted weight gain and the worst part is I’m gaining weight when I’m trying to be healthy! I’m sorry, but no. I will accept weight gain from a slice of pizza. I will accept weight gain from happy hour margaritas. I will not accept weight gain from a meat-less, cheese-less, salad bowl.

4. Focus on raw, plain, hydrating produce

Last, I’ve noticed that I often feel dehydrated after meals. When eating out, restaurants often incorporate far more salt into their meals than I would add on my own. Because of that, I try to focus on ordering dishes with raw, plain, and hydrating produce. Smoothies are a great option. Stick to smoothies made with fruits and veggies, often places have the option to build your own. Try to avoid the addition of fruit juices to smoothies- fruit juices strip the fruit of its natural fiber and just leaves behind sugar. Try instead subbing in cocounut water or an unsweetened nut milk. For bowls and salads, choose options that contain fresh produce. I tend to avoid sateed vegetables because it may contain excess sodium.

Reducing my Sweet Tooth

I have a HUGE sweet tooth, but recently I have been making a conscious effort to avoid added sugars to my foods. I haven’t gotten to 100% no added sugar to my diet, but I’m not quite sure that’s my goal. I try to avoid extremes because they mostly end up not being sustainable. My goal is to actively recognize an added sugar as an added sugar- whether it’s maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, etc. it doesn’t matter what type it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s organic sugar.

Sugar is sugar.

And in addition to recognizing an added sugar, also avoiding them when possible. Not completely. It would legit make me sad to have my oat flour pancakes without maple syrup. Or overnight oats without a dash of coconut nectar. I’m not trying to go on a deprivation diet (I try to avoid extremes), but avoid the unnecessary dumping of sweeteners into my regular foods. And I have noticed a difference.

I can feel my cravings shifting from sweet to savory. I’m back on the west coast this week for my project. When I went to order breakfast this morning, I didn’t want my “regular” probiotic yogurt with berry compote (fruit and sugar), banana, and granola. It just seemed too sweet. I wanted something more savory. I ordered this delicious plant-based frittata bowl and felt completely satisfied. No sugar cravings to follow or feelings of deprivation.

Sakara Life and Why I’m Obsessed

If you haven’t heard of Sakara Life, they are an organic, plant-based food delivery company. They market eating healthy as fun and sexy. And if you haven’t yet seen their Instagram, you will immediately fall in love once you do.

I was first introduced to Sakara Life about 2 years ago, when a friend of mine told me I had to try Sakara. She warned me that it was pricey. And because of that, she only ordered it one week per month, but swore that after her week of Sakara, she always felt AMAZING. 

Obviously, I was intrigued…

I was literally excited when my first Sakara order arrived. Presentation is definitely their thing. I love the recyclable black refrigerator bags the meals are delivered in, I love the pamphlet that comes with your first order, I love the food descriptions on the outside of ever meal box, I love everything.  

And then I tried the food. The meals are not only delicious, but incredibly hydrating and refreshing tasting. One key thing that sets Sakara apart from other meal companies is the uniqueness of its ingredients. They include really cool, unique ingredients into their meals and include descriptions of the ingredients used and how they compliment your health.

Not gonna lie, when I first tried Sakara, I was a little thrown off by the portion size of the meals. I like food. I like eating. Eating is fun. I think I eat a lot? I ate the meals and was still hungry. The Sakara website and Ultimate Guide to Living the Sakara Way gives you snack suggestions and also informs you to listen to your body and that it’s okay to initially feel hungry between meals. I can say that I have grown more used to the portion size. Sakara also promotes hydration so it makes me more consciously reach for water and drink their detox teas. But I still like to snack on apples or raw nuts between meals.

As a someone who constantly travels for work, Sakara can be a lifesaver. It literally takes the stress out of healthy eating. All of the Sakara meals are a perfect balance of veggies, grains, and healing ingredients to promote a healthy microbiome. There is also a wide variety in the types of meals so it never gets boring. When I eat Sakara, I never have a second thought on if I’m eating a healthy, balanced meal. They also deliver nation-wide and the meals come right to your door so it even saves time and takes the stress away from getting meals yourself. I like ordering Sakara on weeks that I know I’ll be busy  and it is a huge time saver because I don’t have to worry about going out and buying any meals. Unfortunately, Sakara is on the pricier side so I can’t afford to make this a habit.

But I guess it’s the price you pay (literally) to feel like a #goddess.

Clean Skin Products

We all know that eating well is important. But wellness expands beyond the kitchen. It is not only important to be concerned with what we put into our bodies, but also with what we put on our bodies. What we put on our skin gets aborbed into the body, sometimes occuring immediately. And several popular, everyday products contain various chemicals and even gluten.

Over the past few months, I have begun the transition from my everyday household products to non-toxic household products, starting with products that directly contact the skin. To be honest, this was a long, painful process and involved some trial and error. Hopefully my learnings will make this transition easier for someone else.

The Think Dirty app was a lifesaver during this journey and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t used it. This app designates a rating to each product, showing where it falls on the clean to dirty scale, with 0 being the cleanest and 10 being the worst. It simplifies the process of determining if a particular product is “clean.” I learned that the majority of the products I was using everyday were around 7-9 out of 10 on the “dirty” scale. Knowing that the skincare products I was using were harmful is one thing, but then what? The challenging part was determining which products are actually “clean” to use.

Finding the answer to this question was tricky. As a 20-something, I normally buy mainstream brands without a second thought or honestly the cheapest product in the grocery store aisle. Determining which products were non-toxic required a lot of time blankly staring at the home section at Whole Foods, typing every single brand into my Think Dirty app. There are so many products out there that claim to be “natural” or are seemingly clean, but actually are not. There are seemingly no regulations around stating a product is “natural” and it really requires research in order to determine what products are actually clean. Also, replacing all of your current products isn’t cheap. Instead of replacing everything at once, I opted to start by replacing the cheaper items first and then replacing the rest over time as I ran out of product.

Below are the brands that worked best for me. I was able to find them easily in stores and they didn’t break the bank. Each of these brands is also completely or mostly gluten- free.

Dr Bronners

Dr Bronners products tend to have very low “dirty” levels. I use their soap products. The Dr Bronners unscented bar soap was actually my first clean product purchase. It wasn’t too expensive and was an easy way to test out a new product. I had no regrets on this purchase. I also now use their hand pump soap and body wash products. Dr Bronners soaps are pretty easy to find- I have purchased them off of Amazon and from Whole Foods.

Tom’s of Maine

Now Tom’s isn’t the cleanest brand out there, but as far as ease to find in stores in combination with its significantly cleaner ingredients in comparision to other oral care products, I deemed it “good enough.” Dr Bronners also makes a safe toothpaste, but I am yet to find that anywhere. Toms products are available most places- Whole Foods, CVS, etc.

Acure

I have Acure face wash and have tried other facial products. This brand has generally clean products. Acure products can be found at Whole Foods and Target.

Chapstick

Fortunately, chapstick has a much smaller selection of products in stores so it was easier to determine which of the few brands were good options. I have purchased Badger from Whole Foods and it is relatively inexpensive.

Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats

Waking up this morning to some delicious chocolate chia overnight oats. So easy to make and I love that I can just rollout of bed Sunday morning and have breakfast already made 🙌🏻

Recipe includes:

1 cup rolled gluten-free oats (because cross contamination is a thing)

2 spoonfuls of chia seeds

Spoonful of cacao powder

Scoop of chocolate protein powder

Splash of cinnamon

Drop of maple syrup

Handful of blueberries

Add almond milk until it covers the oats

 

 

Hydrating Summer Salad Recipe 💦

Summer is here, which for most 20-Somethings means rooftop bars, rosé season, tanning in Central Park, and weekends in the Hamptons.  This also means dehydration, dehydration, and more dehydration. As part of summer wellness, it is so so important to stay hydrated. It is important to not only drink plenty of water, but also eat hydrating foods. With summer season here, in addition to my weekly travel schedule, hydration is key to how I feel. I made this simple and delicious 7- ingredient salad recipe that includes hydrating, fresh ingredients. This recipe also contains fermented red beet and cabbage, which are rich in probiotics to add the good bacteria to your gut and promote a healthy microbiome.

wildbrine

See recipe below:

Fresh spinach

2 Orange slices

2 Grapefruit slices

1/4 Avocado

2 spoonfuls of Wildbrine fermented Red Beet & Cabbage

Handful of pumpkin seeds

Primal Kitchen Lemon & Turmeric Salad Dressing

 

Delicious and incredibly easy to make!