Beans Not Bambi

Vegan mission: doing the least harm possible. For health, for the animals, for the planet

Airline Travel Tips

Traveling is so much fun but it brings some hefty challenges too.  As a frequent flyer I’ve compiled a short list of tips to help stay on track while away from home.  Some of these are lessons I live by.  Others I’ve learned the hard way and hope to spare you the same pit falls.  

  • Check the airport security rules in advance.  The U.S. has their TSA rules for liquids and gels and these apply to food as well.  This is easy to work around as you can freeze soups and such so it’s a solid when you go through the checkpoint!  If you’re flying internationally, you may have more restrictions against fruits and vegetables, and the rules may allow store-bought packaged items but not home-made items, for example. 
  • Get a good cooler bag that you can use as a carry-on.  This will help keep anything frozen or refrigerated while you’re traveling.  It should also work to pack your food for each day if you’re day-tripping on your trip.
  • Bring more than you think you’ll need.  There is nothing that will sabotage a good plan more reliably than feeling hungry and not having anything good to eat.  So don’t let yourself get in that situation.  That addictive brain will stray toward the food courts and fast food options the second you feel hungry and are out of good food!
  • Consider your food storage and food prep capabilities where you’re staying.  A relative’s home will provide very different resources than a hotel, so know if you’ll have a mini fridge and microwave, a full kitchen, or nothing at all.  
  • Think about what you’ll be able to get at your destination and what will be harder to find.  Fruit might be abundant on the tropical island, but beans and rice might be scarce, or vice versa.   
  • Make a general plan of your meals and write it down.  It’s ok if it changes, but it’s essential to have a starting point.  Look at the airport directory to see if you can find food at the airport.  Check out some local restaurants so you’re prepared to suggest one if everyone wants to eat out.  Call the restaurant in advance to explain your special requests and ask if they can accommodate you.  Most are happy for the challenge!
  • Bring some staple spices to help dress up restaurant options.  I always travel with my flavored balsamic vinegar because it can transform any boring house salad into a tasty delight.  One small bottle of vinegar could get you through at least a week’s worth of meals since you can access some kind of salad or steamed veggies almost anywhere you eat out.   Maybe you have a salt-free seasoning you feel just as attached to.  Pack it!
  • Just do your best.  This is not about perfection and there’s no prize for driving yourself batty trying to achieve it.  If you should happen to stray from your plan, just move forward with the next right bite.  Don’t cast off the whole day as a loss and dig yourself a bigger hole!

Most importantly, don’t use travel as an excuse to throw caution to the wind.  How many times have you put on weight on a one week vacation only to spend 2 months or more trying to get rid of it?!  I know I sure have.  It’s rarely worth it to ‘indulge’ because you end up regretting it afterward!

I’m going to try to view vacations as an opportunity to improve on my new lifestyle habits, not an excuse to abandon them.   Walking or running daily is a great way to explore new surroundings.   Group exercise classes and adventurous excursions are a fun way to get your heart pumping and mingle with locals.   And of course rest and relaxation are really what vacations are all about, so don’t forget to carve that into your days away from home.  Planning in advance will make your travel that much more stress-free. 

Bon Voyage!

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Healthy Eating On The Go

I have finally solved the great mystery of making healthful choices outside of the house.  As with many great mysteries, the solution was right in front of me the whole time.  It’s advice I’ve given to others over the years but never applied it to this degree before. 

Prepare your own food as much as humanly possible.   It’s that simple.  

We all know eating out can be fun and all but when you don’t know what’s going in your food, you give up all control over your health.  You pay a hefty premium to have someone else make your food taste good and look pretty and trust me, they do stuff to it you would never dream of doing in your own kitchen.  It makes that scene from American Pie downright PG.  

When you are making your own meals, you take ownership over it. You can customize it any way you want, and you can choose your portions.   Do it frequently enough and it becomes fun and satisfying and almost therapeutic.  

So when you do leave the house, take food with you.  I keep baby carrots and sugar snap peas in the car at all times.  I always have that sweet or salty crunch at my fingertips, which can be a lifesaver when I have a craving and find myself driving past all sorts of tempting options. 

For a long weekend road trip I brought pre-made oats with apples (recipe from the 21 day Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge), Eat Loaf with brown rice (from the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook), fresh spring rolls (also PRHD cookbook), carrot oat muffins, cole slaw with hummus dressing, cooked sweet potatoes, and baked potatoes.  I dumped several spices in a baggie, grabbed an onion and a bag of lentils to make one of my favorites, (Red Lentil Chili from The UWL recipe guide).  It will take 5 minutes to dump it in a crockpot, and it’ll be enough to serve our hosts too!

Everything fit in a medium sized cooler.  It will be faster than stopping at a sit down restaurant on the road.  I’ll be guaranteed healthy options for myself and my family, and it’s all food I already know I love!  It took some time to plan and prepare it in advance but now I don’t have to cook for 4 days!

We’ll have a couple meals at restaurants with the family and I know I can just bring my little travel pack of flavored balsamic vinegar and turn any basic salad into a tasty treat.  I used to be self conscious about that part (bringing my own dressing or just eating a salad) but I got over that after a couple times.  Eating out is now all about the company and conversation, and not about what’s on my plate!  As it should be.  

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A Closer Look at Whole Foods

If you have been following this blog since its inception, you know I made my way toward a healthy whole foods plant based diet a few years ago.  So what’s so different now?  Well, one significant thing is that I seriously strayed from the whole foods part!  In following Chef AJ and Jean Pierre’s Ultimate Weight Loss Program, I have committed to eating only whole foods, still plant based of course.  My new focus is on avoiding all processed foods like the plague, particularly sugar, salt, and oil.

These three ingredients, aptly nicknamed SOS, are found in massive proportions in processed foods.  These are the ingredients carefully incorporated into food-like forms so that the company selling the food knows you’ll keep coming back for more.  The combination of flavors and textures is no accident.  Almost any commonly craved snack food, be it ice cream, potato chips, french fries, kettle corn, funnel cake, cheese cake, chocolate, cookies, or donuts is a variation on those three major tastes: sugar, oil, and salt.

All three are highly concentrated and therefore highly addictive.  Unless you’ve been living under rock candy, you’ve heard that sugar is bad.  I won’t waste your time explaining that one.  Oil is a little more challenging to accept as detrimental, until you think about what it is and where it comes from.  It’s 100% fat.  It’s highly processed which means it’s a far cry from its natural state and affects your body in ways your body was never meant to sustain.  Here’s a throwback in case you forget that oil is oil is oil.  Yes, even olive oil.

Flour is another ingredient that is a major no-no.  This one was (relatively) new to me.  While most flour keeps really bad company (right alongside SOS in cakes, cookies, muffins, pizzas, pastas, and donuts), even flour touted as healthy can be problematic as well.  The easy explanation here is that it is so highly processed from its whole natural form (the wheat berry, the corn kernel, etc), that your body digests it way too quickly.  As a whole grain, the neat little package containing the bran, endosperm, and germ get digested very slowly.  Your body breaks it all down and you get a little dose of glucose after some time.  When you eat flour, the surface area of the grain has been so drastically increased that you end up getting an almost instant shot of glucose to the bloodstream.  The result in the body is that eating flour is more similar to consuming sugar than a whole grain.

Alcohol is also highly processed, highly destructive, and I’m sure you’ve heard its fairly addictive too.  So, that’s out.

Truly, what I eat are real foods as found in their whole natural form, as much as possible.  In a nut shell, I’m eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.  Doesn’t sound like much?  Well there are about 75 non-starchy vegetables, at least a dozen starchy vegetables, around 25-30 legumes, and around 10 different whole grains.  It’s pretty easy to keep a variety of things on my plate without getting bored or feeling deprived.

Grocery shopping is not complicated.  In fact, I hardly ever read labels any more.  Most food doesn’t have a label.  You don’t need nutrition facts to tell you what’s in broccoli!  I walk through the grocery store, mainly in the produce section, and use a simple test.  If it looks pretty much the same as I would find it in my garden, I grab it.  If it looks like it might have come from a lab or factory or processing plant, I keep walking.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Ultimate Weight Loss Program by Chef AJ and John Pierre, there’s a new 21 Day UWL Challenge beginning April 13th.  The deadline to participate is 3/31/15.  That gives you enough time to receive your 4 CD/DVD’s in the mail.  You would watch or listen right away to start learning about the program details and get yourself prepped in advance of the actual challenge.  There will be a kick-off conference call and then 3 more weekly group coaching phone calls, specifically for people in the UWL program.  If you think it might be a good fit for you, check it out.  

Disclaimer – I do not get paid to promote the Ultimate Weight Loss program and I don’t want my readers to feel that this is a sales pitch.  I am not affiliated with UWL except as a program participant.  I simply wish to share an amazing resource in case there are readers out there who have tried dieting, have tried moderation, and who might be able to relate to some of the things I have been through.  I can’t say enough about how beneficial this program has been and continues to be.

Chef AJ said to me once (when I asked if I REALLY had to give up xyz…) If your way was already working for you, you wouldn’t need me.  Even though I was once close to a whole foods plant based diet, I was still making my own rules and exceptions.  What’s different for me now is that I quit trying to eat as normal or mainstream as possible.  In a society where it’s becoming mainstream to drop dead of a heart attack, experience the pain and suffering of obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or all the many types of cancer, well I’m ok not being normal.  I quit trying to do things my way and decided to get with the program.

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The Taste of Freedom

As a vegan, there is a clearly defined list of foods I choose not to eat.  If it comes from an animal, I don’t eat it.  Period.  After learning how and why I had succumbed to cravings and temptations for unhealthy foods, there is a new list of foods I choose not to eat.  Let me first explain why.

If you’ve ever heard food “calling your name”, or felt such a strong pull to eat a rich dessert even when your belly is overstuffed with a big dinner, you might start to ask yourself why.  If you’ve ever decided to have just a few chips (or cookies or popcorn) and end up polishing off half the bag, or intended to have just a taste of a cake or pie or ice cream, only to end up finishing it, then you have walked in my shoes.  If you’ve ever had a craving for a specific food, even when you aren’t truly hungry, then it’s time to perk up your ears.

You see, what I’ve just described are just some of the criteria needed to qualify as an addict.  There are 11 criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used by mental health professionals.  The ones I easily relate to for myself are:

Unintended use – having more than you planned.

Unsuccessful effort to cut down – let’s say you’ve tried to cut back on sugar, or have less junk food but end up circling back to where you started.  Or, if you’ve ever been on a diet of any kind and put any of the weight back on.

Tolerance – you need more and more of a particular substance/food to feel satisfied.  Say you used to drink your coffee black with one sugar and now you tend to order the flavor of the month at Starbucks.

Withdrawl – eating for any reason other than true hunger.  Eating to quell an emotion.

Ready for the shocker?  You only need to check yes to three criteria in one year to qualify as an addict.  Three cravings or three circumstances of unintended use, or a couple of each.  You get the idea.  I laughed when I heard this because I could have checked off three criteria in any given day!

After learning about the Pleasure Trap, it was no wonder I had become addicted.  My primitive dopamine seeking brain was finding all sorts of satisfaction everywhere I looked.  There were drugs all around me, disguised as food.  I know it might be hard to stomach the concept of food being addictive.  If you can set your reservations aside for a moment and look at it strictly from the framework of brain chemistry, it will be a little easier to swallow.

If you didn’t watch the Pleasure Trap explanation yet, here’s a quick and brilliant 17 minute TED talk version that will help it all come together.  Go watch it and come back!  This will make a lot more sense…  As Doug Lisle explains about the research on the Grey Shrike, “By messing with the environment, we’ve misguided the instincts.  We’ve hijacked them so that this creature thinks it’s doing a good thing when in fact it’s doing a very destructive thing.”

It becomes very clear to see why our brains lead us toward processed foods.  The moment I started learning about the dietary pleasure trap and food addiction, I became empowered to do something about it.  To follow a system that would help me rewire my brain back toward its original state.  Like coming off of any drug, I knew I would need to be diligent.  And I knew that it would be the hardest in the beginning and it would get easier and easier, especially if I really stuck to the program.  So here I am, in recovery, for 40 days now, happy to share the results?  In order of importance, I’l list my top four:

1) My brain is free from cravings.  I haven’t eaten anything that I didn’t plan to eat.  And therefore I didn’t feel guilty afterward.

2) I have neuroadapted back to a state where fruit is all the sweetness I need.  My belly is full of whole natural plant food that tastes amazing.  I chuckle to myself when someone suggests I must be living in deprivation or in a state of starvation.  If only anyone watched how much actually goes in my mouth every day!

3) I have learned to listen to my body and to eat when I’m hungry, stop eating when I’m comfortably full, and I never have that bloated loosen-your-belt and lay-on-the-couch feeling.

4) Speaking of belts… I had to give all of mine away.  And my jeans and dresses too.  That’s right, they were all too big.  My old clothes were falling off me.  I dropped 3-4 sizes since I began this journey Jan 3, 2015.  I knew I had some “baby weight” to shed but in all honesty I joined this program not primarily to lose weight but to optimize my health and to balance my brain.  The weight loss was just a really nice side effect.

I’ve been keeping a food journal to not only document my meals but also my thoughts and my journey and my progress.  On Day 21, I made a notation that I keep hanging on my wall so that it runs through my head any time I face a temptation and might consider taking a bite of something I shouldn’t:

Nothing tastes as good as freedom from food addiction.

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The Big Breakthrough

All right, I’ll admit it took diligence and dedication to the program.  But I’m not afraid to work hard to get the results I’m looking for.  If this is all it takes to get permanent results, I’ll consider it easy.  Seriously easy.  The 21 Day Challenge, as I’ll refer to it, is the Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge designed by Chef AJ and John Pierre.  They are two of the most inspirational and supportive people I know and I am so happy I decided to participate.

The thing is, I thought I already knew what I needed to know.  Eat better, exercise more.  I have attended numerous lectures on nutrition.   I have watched YouTube lectures, watched all the documentaries on healing through food, and I’ve read loads of books.  I have learned from some of the best minds in the plant based world.   I had even read Chef AJ’s and John Pierre’s books.  I had taken bits and pieces from everyone and had some great success.  But I had a hard time following my own rules when I was faced with temptations.  A latte here led to a vegan cookie there, then popcorn at the theater.  When eating out it became annoying to ask for special meals, so I just went with whatever the best option seemed to be, even if it had a little oil.  Then even if it was fried.  And then even if they warned me there was a little cheese in the breading on the ‘eggplant parm without the parm sandwich’ (did you follow that?), I was ok with it.  “This little bit won’t hurt” rang through my brain and justified one poor decision after another.  Eventually I found myself munching Dorito’s at a tailgate and it didn’t even seem all that horrible.  Wait, what?!  I had to admit at that point, I was no longer a whole foods plant based eater.  I was a junk food vegan.  And shamefully, my drive toward unhealthy food had lead me so far astray I was even willing to eat non-vegan baked goods and junk food just because it was in front of me.

I was on a tiresome journey circling the airport of optimal health without the proper landing gear.  After a private phone consult with Chef AJ and a good read of The Pleasure Trap by Drs. Doug Lisle and Allen Goldhammer, I was convinced.  I wasn’t weak.  I wasn’t lacking in resolve.  I was being tricked.  I was relieved.  I became empowered.  I got right to work.

The food-like substances I was consuming even if only occasionally, were exerting some very simple yet very powerful effects on my brain.  Every time I ate a processed food, which is by definition a highly concentrated source of sugar, oil, flour, or salt, my brain was getting a little jolt of dopamine telling me one very clear message – ‘Thank you, Ma’am, may I have another?’.  This is a simple biological process that evolved in humans to tell us when we were doing something good, so we would continue moving in that direction.  In a natural environment, sugar is good.  It comes in a neat little package with fiber and water called fruit!  It’s how we learned to eat raspberries instead of poison ivy berries.  So how do we navigate a modern world filled with landmines of highly concentrated processed foods if we’re equipped with an ancient brain that gets hijacked so easily?

These two YouTube videos from Douglas Lisle, PhD and Alan Goldhammer, DO, the authors of The Pleasure Trap offer a great abbreviated version.  They’ll explain it way better than I can, and if you’re anything like me you’ll want to read the book for even more info too!  This is where I found my big breakthrough in understanding.  Stay tuned and I’ll explain how I put the knowledge to work.

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New Year, New and Improved Lifestyle

They say you should do the best that you can with what you know.  And when you know better, you do better.  That just about sums up my recent revelations about my own health and well-being.

If you’ve read my old posts, you’ll know that I broke some major barriers and made some amazing improvements to my health (lost 15 lbs, dropped cholesterol ___ points, lowered blood pressure ___ points), just from changing my diet.  Up until 2011 I ate what I thought was a ‘fairly healthy’ standard American diet.  Focused on lean protein (the more the better), veggies and salads with dressing on the side at restaurants, that kind of stuff.  It was sort of the ‘everything in moderation’ motto that a lot of people follow.  It’s really just a way of saying I’ll eat whatever I feel like, thank you very much.

After reading The China Study and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, I hopped on the plant based bandwagon, with amazing success.  I lost excess weight and maintained it easily for almost 2 years.  But by the end of my pregnancy and the beginning of life with a newborn, old habits started to creep back in.  I started relaxing my rules big time. I had been so ‘successful’ that it no longer seemed challenging.  And therefore I stopped thinking about it.  A little oil here, lots of bread there, vegan cookies at Christmas?  Definitely!  I began to justify one bad decision after another with some sorry excuses –

“I’m a new mom, I deserve a treat!”  “I haven’t slept, I need a latte” (albeit decaf).  “I don’t get to Whole Foods much any more, so I might as well grab one of my favorite vegan cookies!”  (And ate the whole jumbo cookie on the way home, even though I intended half of it for my hubby).  Baby’s sleeping in the back seat, I’m starving….  If I’m at the Starbucks drive-thru I might as well grab a scone!  When that started happening 2-3 times a week, I really had to stop myself.  What was I doing?  I’m not only eating something I know is unhealthy, I’m consuming something that’s not even vegan which goes against some of my core beliefs.  Yet I keep doing it!  I had intended to be back to pre-baby weight in a 4-5 months, and I was on track for that until I got completely derailed.

I attempted to reel back my behavior on my own but it wasn’t working.  In December 2014 I celebrated my daughter’s 1st birthday and I had to admit my goals and my habits were too far apart for me to close the gap on my own.  I reached out to Chef AJ, author of Unprocessed.  I had read her book.  I started filling my brain with more and more information.  I learned about her weekly teleclasses and decided to listen in on one during a walk with the babe in a stroller.  Chef AJ was interviewed by Wendy Solganik of Healthy Girl’s KitchenListen here if you’re curious too!  It was all about sugar addiction.  And it was all about me.  I was floored.

I started doing what she suggested.  In two weeks I arrived at my pre-baby weight.  I did so while eating loads and loads of food, never feeling hungry or deprived.  I decided that I should keep listening.  I officially joined her 21 day Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge Feb 17th 2015 along with a community of over 400 other people and am excited to share this next phase of my journey!


Unprocessed In Person! Chef AJ Comes to Pittsburgh

If you’re in Pittsburgh and are looking to get going on your Unprocessed journey, now is your opportunity!  This doesn’t happen often, so hop on it.

Chef AJ is coming to Pittsburgh next week to present “Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight”

Listen to Chef AJ in person, get energized by her magnetic personality, and let her wisdom and tips lead you on your road to good health.  She’ll share her personal challenges and obstacles, and she’ll show you how she smashed through them with sheer determination.  Watch her cook delicious meals with ease.  You’ll walk away wondering why you didn’t start sooner!

Monday June 30th 6-8 PM
Pittsburgh’s Southside
$10 in advance, $15 at the door

Click here to get tickets  

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Eating Healthy While Travelling

It’s tough.  Really tough.  I can admit that.  I just got back from an amazing 10 day vacation in Montana and I fell off the wagon.  Hard!

It’s not impossible, and I try not to make excuses, but eating well on the road can be hard.  Eating SOS-free when you’re eating out a ton is temptingly difficult.  Here are a few tips, some of which are things I did that worked.  Others are things I wish I did, and will try to do next time!

  • Scout out the Options.  If you’re going to be eating out a lot while you’re on the road, scout out healthy restaurants in advance.  Know which ones will cater to your needs, and which will have menu options that you can easily modify to suit your needs.  Ethnic restaurants are almost always veg friendly, so that’s a good place to start. is a great website that lists and ranks veg friendly restaurants nationally.  Many cities also have a vegan restaurant guide like  Check those out in advance, save some links and notes in your phone, and get excited about trying new places.
  • Plan Ahead.  If you’re eating in, plan your meals ahead so you can grab a few quick things at the grocery store or farmer’s market and whip up something tasty and healthy.  No one wants to spend all night cooking on vacation, so make it easy on yourself.
  • Bag It.  Brown bag it, that is.  Pack a lunch if you’re going to be somewhere you know will be tough to eat healthy.  Some places are still health-food-deserts and you’ll have no choice but to brown bag it or cheat.  Set yourself up for success with healthy snacks you’ll be anxious to eat, and less tempted to cheat.
  • Let it Go.  If and when you decide to cheat, let it go.  Move on.  Get over it.  And get back on track with the very next meal.  Nothing sabotages a healthy eating plan like guilt.  It’s way too easy to beat yourself up and feel like you’ve ruined every inch of progress you’ve made.  If you’re an emotional eater, it’ll be super tempting to give up and sabotage yourself the next several meals just because you cheated on one of them.  Don’t fall victim to that trap!  It’s the addiction trying to sweet talk you into going down a path you don’t want to go down!  Stay strong, move on, get back on track with the very next meal!
  • When you get back home, rededicate.  Go get groceries right away so you have fresh produce ready to prepare.  Get your meal plan ready for the next week, and get started!

Happy Travels!

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My Unprocessed Menu Day 6

Breakfast: Easy Everyday Oats.  

Starting to see why I named them as I did?  I seriously start almost every day with these oats.  Oatmeal is an amazing food – full of fiber which has been credited with lowering cholesterol.  It’s also a perfect medium to mix in the seeds that are so crucial for a balanced nutrient profile.  Having oats every morning is as crucial to my daily routine as brushing my teeth!  Check out this short video which convinced me to stick to this routine.  You won’t believe the results!

Snack: Apple, Decaf Soy Latte

Lunch: Restaurant – Vegetarian burrito bowl from Chipotle
Brown rice, black beans, pinto beans, fajita veggies, pico de gallo, corn salsa, light guac, greens on top

Dinner: Leftover Peanut Ginger Veggie Stir Fry over brown rice
Time saving tips:

1) When planning ahead, try to pick a couple of recipes that can use the same veggies and make those in the same week.  It’ll streamline your grocery list which will streamline your shopping time.

2) Try to keep it simple.  Cooking unprocessed really isn’t that hard.  Don’t make it so!   Most Americans rotate through the same 5-7 recipes every week.  All you need are 4-5 go-to recipes that you really enjoy.  Add in a couple new ones from time to time and you’ll have a satisfying menu full of variety.  Don’t think you need to have 365 veggie recipes in your repertoire in order to eat healthy.  That’s just silly!

Looking for some inspiration?  Check out Chef AJ’s Unprocessed or her entertaining cooking videos on The Chef and the Dietitian

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My Unprocessed Menu Days 4 & 5

Time to play catch-up on the food diary!   It’s been a busy couple of days loaded with temptations.  I’ve been reminded about how important it is to plan ahead to have healthy meals available.  This is an important secret to success no matter what your personal dietary guidelines look like.

Day 4 Breakfast:  Everyday Easy Oats with berries.  Hot lemon and mint ‘tea’

Morning snack: Banana

Lunch: Leftover Indian take-out (another cheat meal, I’m afraid), Pita bread, hummus

Afternoon snack: Decaf soy latte – this was the worst thing I got at the Three Rivers Arts Festival where we were surrounded by funnel cakes, chocolate covered strawberries, falafel, and more.  Temptations were everywhere, but I carried my latte and enjoyed every sip of it instead!

Dinner: Miso soup with Five Bean Salad
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
Saute all veggies in a splash of veggie broth until onions are translucent
Add 4 cups low sodium veggie broth and simmer 4-5 minutes
Add 1-2 Tbsp miso paste and 1 Tbsp nut butter and simmer another 3-4 minutes
Garnish with scallions and serve

Day 5 Breakfast:  Everyday easy oats with berries.  Hot lemon tea

Morning Snack: Apple

Lunch: Miso soup

Dinner: Ginger Stir “Fry” over rice and quinoa

I made this like I make all stir fries lately.  Saute the veggies in a splash of water or veggie broth just until tender.  Add the sauce, mix and serve over a whole grain.  Switch up the veggies, switch up the sauce, or switch up the whole grain from time to time and you’ve got a fresh new meal every time with zero brain effort required!!

Here’s a starter recipe:
1 onion, chopped
2 heads broccoli, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3-4 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 limes, juiced
1 1/2 inches fresh ginger
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup raw unsalted peanuts
Saute all veggies in a splash of water or veggie broth for about 5-7 minutes.  In a blender, combine soy sauce, peanut butter, juice of 2 limes, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes to taste (1 tsp for starters).  Blend until smooth, and then add to veggies.  Toss in peanuts and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Serve over brown rice or quinoa or a mixture.

Late night snack:  Tropical fruit smoothie

1 mango
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 banana
generous handful of spinach
2 cups ice
1/2 – 3/4 cup plant milk
optional – hemp protein powder

Combine fruit and veggies in blender.  Add most of the ice and 1/2 cup milk.  Blend and then add more milk or ice to desired consistency.

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