Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New blog

I invite all my readers to head over to my new blog! http://thenutrionnatzi.blogspot.com/
Please check it out and follow on my journey through graduate school to become a clinical nutritionist and see what I am eating and doing for exercise along the way!
Thank you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Real Food Has Curves"


Because I am so passionate about nutrition I have been known to get fired up over certain topics. Well the other day I was looking at the ingredients on the half and half container that my dad uses each day to put in his coffee. Normally when I’m shopping I get him the organic variety but this time he picked a nonorganic brand. Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m 99.9% sure that half and half is just milk and cream mixed together. Well this particular brand of half and half had this ingredient list: 

INGREDIENTS: Milk, Cream, Contains Less than 1% of Each of the Following Sodium Citrate, and Disodium Phosphate.


I just couldn’t understand why it had to have sodium citrate and disodium phosphate. It really got me thinking about the subject of “real food.” I went to the library and took out a book called “Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat.” I haven’t finished the entire book so far but I am loving it and it has really made me think about the food I am eating. 



I am making a pledge to myself and invite my readers to do the same to really look at what we are eating and to focus on eating real food. Yes it is going to take more effort on your part but how can you really put a price on your health. Because what we put in our mouths has a direct relationship to our health. My challenge for you all is to make little changes. Read labels and only buy food with ingredients that you know, shop locally and in season at your local farmers markets, really think about what you are eating as you are doing it, and most importantly get in the kitchen. Next time instead of going to the store to buy an apple pie for dessert from the frozen food section make one from scratch at home. 
When I make the argument about real food I challenge people to think back to the time before convenience and diet foods. Before fat free and sugar free where even options. A time when people had gardens and got milk delivered to their doors. My question is was obesity ever and issue back in that time? What about heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure? Yes all of those things existed but in such little numbers that no one paid much attention to them. Thats because people ate real food. They sat down at the table for every meal and ate their meal as a family. 
The foods that individuals think of as problem foods today such as cream, butter, eggs are not the problems if you are eating local grass fed, organic varieties. The problems is the abundance of fake foods. Purple ketchup, macaroni and cheese in a box, TV dinners, soda, and fast food. All designed to sell and make a profit and not for nutrition. Although obesity is a norm these days people are more under nourished than ever. We live in a society of overfed under nourished people. Because although people are eating an alarming amount of calories they are lacking important nutrients essential to a healthy diet. So with that being said I challenge you to go to the library and check out a cookbook. Then head to your local farmers market and get in your kitchen and start cooking. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Local Food


      This is my favorite time of year because all the farmer’s markets start to open and our home garden has something to give us each day! One of my favorite Sunday traditions is to head to the Chester Farmers Market. I love the atmosphere of this farmer’s market and it is one of my favorites. I went around lunch time so I could eat lunch at the market. I had a locally made cheese danish and a smoothie that was made with all local ingredients. I love walking about and looking what everyone has. 


Farmer's Market Smoothie!!


Todays buys: kale, strawberries, raspberries, strawberry rhubarb jam, and yogurt!!!


      One of my summer/fall goals is to every week go to the farmer’s market and buy a new in season vegetable that I have never cooked with before and learn a recipe that incorporates this vegetable in it. I’m excited for this new challenge and to try some new vegetables and maybe even some fruits!! I think this week I am going to tackle beets!! If anyone has any recipes I should try with beets let me know. 


Carrots from our garden!!

Happy Fathers Day!!!




I have the most amazing Dad and Poppy ever and I wanted to wish them both the best Father's Day ever!! They are two of the most selfless, giving, amazing men I know and I would never be where I am today without there love and support. My dad has always gone above and beyond doing what a Dad does and I am forever grateful that I have him in my life. I wanted to post a recipe for a special breakfast that everyone can make for the special Dads in their lives. I hope everyone has a relaxing enjoyable Sunday full of fun and family and a little relaxation. I am off to the farmers market and then celebrating Father's Day with a cookout later on with my family =)!!!! 
Vegan Spelt Banana Pancakes 
I like experimenting with different flours when I'm baking and this was my first time using spelt flour. It is a great alternative as a whole grain and a way to mix it up. These pancakes turned out super good!! 

Ingredients (makes 9 pancakes): 
1 cup spelt flour 
a few dashes cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
1 ripe banana mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 tablespoons water
Directions:
1- Make the chia egg first by combining the chia seeds with the water and set aside for a few minutes
2- Heat skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray
3- Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls
4- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients slowly, add chia egg and mix batter throughly 
5- Pour batter on skillet and cook on one side until bubbles form then flip and cook on other side until golden brown



Enjoy with some coconut oil and warm maple syrup!!


YUM!!! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Single Serve Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

         The other night I came up with this recipe in desperation. We have rhubarb from our garden coming in everyday and I was dying for strawberry rhubarb crisp. I wanted to come up with a quick one serving recipe that would satisfy my craving. Both of these fruits are in season so it is the perfect time to make this dessert. This is my favorite time of the year right when local produce starts to arrive. We have already been able to enjoy spinach, rhubarb and chives out of our garden and its only the beginning.
         I of course added my healthy spin on the dessert so not only does it taste good its good for you. One cup of rhubarb has 10% of your daily needs of calcium. Rhubarb is also full of antioxident’s that promote good health and prevent disease. Its interesting that raw rhubarb supplies the body with no lycopene but by cooking the fruit you get a good does of lycopene. All the more reason to eat lots of it while it's in season!!
Ingredients:
5 Organic Strawberries (one of the dirty dozen fruits so its really important to choose organic)
1 stalk rhubarb
1/8 cup date sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Directions: 

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and stray a small glass baking dish
2- Cut up strawberries and rhubarb and pour into dish
3- Mix together in a bowl date sugar, rolled oats, and melted coconut oil
4- Spread the mixture over the fruit 






5- Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and crispy
6- ENJOY!!



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wheat Grass Smoothie

          What I have been trying to concentrate on regarding my diet is getting the most nutrition for everything that I eat. I am eating with a purpose in mind instead of just to relieve hunger. Before I choose everything I eat I  think about that choice and the nutrition that goes along with that food choice. I was doing some research during my cleanse and I came across wheatgrass. I have to do more research about growing it for myself so I decided instead to buy Amazing Grass Wheat Grass Powder. Its in a powder form and you can mix it with water or into your favorite smoothies like this one. I am not to the point yet where I can mix it with water so I am trying to incorporate it into smoothies where I can mask the flavor and still get all of the benefits out of it.

        Wheatgrass does amazing things for the body including providing you with increased and sustained energy naturally, it detoxifies and cleanses your body, it has a high alkalinity which helps you balance high acidic pH levels in the body which can promote disease, it strengthens the immune system, it is full of enzymes and contains all the essential amino acids,  and it is a natural source of antioxidants. A 1oz shot of wheatgrass juice is equivalent to eating 2 1/2 pounds of vegetables. The overall message is that individuals need to be more aware of the healing powers of food instead of just turning to medications.
     This smoothie recipe will give you all the benefits of the wheatgrass and it does a good job of masking the taste.

Recipe

Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
1 cup organic frozen cherries
1 scoop of Amazing Grass wheatgrass powder
1 cup almond milk

Directions:
Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy the benefits =) 


Monday, April 16, 2012

Protein Packed Overnight Oats

Chocolate Walnut Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are totally my new obsession. This is going to be perfect for the summer when you don’t want to eat hot oatmeal and you can still get all the nutrition. Also perfect this morning because in Connecticut its going to get to 80 today!! Oatmeal is such a blank canvas and you can add anything that you want to it. I love being able to have oatmeal in the morning for breakfast but I don’t always have the time to make it so this recipe is the perfect solution. It’s all ready for you in the morning. This recipe is super packed with protein and healthy fats to help you stay full all the way until lunch.


Ingredients:
1/2 cup organic rolled oats
1 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons vegan chocolate protein powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
2 tablespoons walnuts
banana
Directions:
1- Mix oats, almond milk, protein powder, chia seeds, and coconut all together in a bowl, cover and put in the fridge overnight.
2- In the morning add the walnuts and dice the banana and add to the oats.
3- If the oats are too thick add a few splashes of almond milk
4- Eat cold or heat through
What is everyones favorite thing to have for breakfast? Does anyone else love overnight oats as much as me? 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Protein Smoothie!


 

Sorry everyone that I have been MIA for so long so much has been going on in my life all great things =). Most of you know that I did the 21 Day wellness cleanse and after doing that my entire outlook on my diet has changed drastically. I thought I had a super healthy diet compared to most people and I did but there were a ton of things that I needed to improve upon. That is my new project I am working on. Becoming as healthy as I possibly can be. Especially now that I got officially accepted to graduate school to get my masters in nutrition and become a clinical nutritionist. It is extremely important to me to be an example to other people and show then what can happen if you have a healthy diet. I am now focusing on making my diet extremely clean and nutrient dense. I have eliminated added sugar and dairy from my diet. I am eating eggs and focusing on making sure I get a ton of vegetables, fruits, and plant based proteins. I have learned so much new information and want to share it with everyone. I have also started to work out a lot more. I have always exercised but I really want to get in super good shape and tone up a lot. This forced me to take a closer look at the amount of protein that I was eating and I was consuming no where near enough. I wanted to share a recipe for a super healthy protein smoothie that is full of nutrients.
Purple protein smoothie



Ingredients:
1.5 cups non diary milk (I used almond)
1 tablespoon chia seeds 
1 packet vega vanilla chia protein powder (my new obsession its amazingly good)
1 cup frozen cherries
1 frozen banana
2 handfuls of spinach

Directions:
Blend all your ingredients in a blender and enjoy either after a hard workout or for a meal. I had this today for lunch with cut of red peppers and hummus. 

This was my first time trying the vega protein powder. The other day I was at Whole Foods and decided to get one packet of it to try it. The flavor of the protein powder made the whole smoothie taste amazing. You don't even taste the spinach but you still get to sneak in that extra nutrition. Hope everyone enjoys this and let me know if you try it and what you think! What is everyones favorite protein powder? More posts coming soon!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Red Lentil




I am always looking for a new vegetarian restaurant to try out. Recently I found a poster on a bulletin board at Southern advertising for a new vegetarian restaurant in New Haven called The Red Lentil. They recently opened in July of 2011. There is another Red Lentil restaurant in Watertown, Massachusetts. They are open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and for brunch on Sundays. The restaurant is located on Temple Street in downtown New Haven. It is a little hard to find parking but it was totally worth the trouble. We went at a perfect time because by the time we were leaving there was a line of people waiting to get a table. The restaurant has an open floor plan which can cause it to be a little loud. But other than that the restaurant was extremely cute with a green and red theme. The food was the more important part. I took my friend Ali along because she is always willing to try new vegan/vegetarian restaurants with me. We started off with the hummus platter as an appetizer. This came with pita slices and three different types of hummus. Each one was amazing and I couldn’t pick my favorite because they were all good in their own way. 



Hummus Platter
Pita slices topped with chipotle hummus and accompanied with baba ganoush (flame-broiled eggplant), red pepper dip, and olives.

For our entree’s we decided to choose two options and split them because we had so many that we wanted to try. After taking forever to decide we settled on the Shepherd’s Pie and the Moussaka pizza. My description would not even do them justice because they were that good. The shepherd’s pie was not your typical vegetarian shepherd’s pie but the flavor combinations worked so well together that it was so much better than the traditional. The best part was the savory flavors mixed with the sweet flavor of the sweet potato. 
Shepherd’s Pie
Layered mashed yukon gold potatoes and sweet potato, soy sausage, corn kernel, onion, seasonal vegetables, spinach, baked and served with vegan cashew gravy and maple balsamic. Drizzled with cilantro sunflower pesto.
$16.00
I can’t say enough about the Moussaka Pizza. The goat cheese was a perfect addition to this pizza. You could also make this gluten free and vegan if you wanted. 
Moussaka Pizza
Grilled eggplant, grilled onion, roasted red pepper, goat cheese and mozzarella cheese topped with fresh basil.
$12.50 (substitute gluten-free crust for $3.00. Substitute vegan cheese for $2.00)
Overall this was an amazing restaurant and I highly recommend checking it out if your are in the New Haven area. We were so full from all that we ate that we skipped dessert but they had many vegan options.  
Ali at our pretty table =)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Benefits of Raw Honey

Ever since I stopped drinking coffee I’ve been drinking a ton of tea. Normally I drink tea plain without anything in it but once a day I add raw honey. If I feel like I’m getting sick I will use more. Most people associate honey with that cute little bear shaped bottle that you get at the grocery store. That honey is not raw it is commercial which means that it has been pasteurized which means that it was heated at 70 degrees Celsius or more, and followed by rapid cooling. It is then filtered so it looks clear which makes it more appealing to the consumer. However this process destroys the yeast and enzymes in honey that are responsible for activating vitamins and minerals in the body. It is best to go with organic local raw honey whenever possible. Raw honey is an all natural cure to many problems. Raw honey can balance your blood sugar, harmonize the liver, neutralize toxins, relieve pain, clear out toxins, and calm nerves. There are huge benefits to consuming raw honey. It can be anti bacterial. Honey is recommended as a face mask for acne, or to use on cuts and burns for its anti bacterial properties. Honey is also anti allergenic and recommended for people suffering from allergies. Honey is also anti-inflammatory, anti-anemic and fever-reducing. I remember when I would complain of a sore throat my Nana would give me a spoon full of honey. Along with treating sore throats honey is also used to treat chronic bronchitis, diabetes, asthma, cholesterol, sinusitis, and nerve damage. So go buy some raw local organic honey and add to your yogurt, or your cup of tea in place of sugar and reap the benefits. 


Sunday, February 26, 2012

21 Day Cleanse Starting March 4th

I have always wanted to do a cleanse for the countless benefits that they offer but I have never found the right one. There are many different types of cleanses and detox programs that you can choose from but I have never found one that would fit my needs. I found this cleanse in Natural Health Magazine and it looks perfect. This cleanse removes dairy, meat, gluten, caffeine, alcohol and sugar from your diet. Removing these foods from your diet gives your digestive system a break. A cleanse is also a great way to remove the chemicals that are stored in your fatty tissues in the body that build up over time. While you are cutting out foods from your diet you also want to make sure you are adding in plenty of plain filtered water or herbal tea, try to aim for at least 64 oz per day. Your diet for these 21 days is going to be composed of whole gluten free grains, low sugar fruit and vegetables, and vegan protein. I am starting this cleanse on Monday March 4th because I wanted time to plan this out and find people to join!!


Facebook Page!- Follow me on Facebook and like my page and join me and others on our cleanse. I will be posting what I eat daily and I invite everyone else doing the cleanse to do the same. Greater success is shown on a cleanse when you are doing it with others. If you don't have a Facebook comment on this blog or email me to let me know you want to participate!

21 Day Cleanse (Follow this link to a more in depth description of the 21 Day cleanse. Also in this link you can find a shopping list so you can make sure to have all the foods available on day one!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My First Massage Therapy Experience

         I’ve always heard about such great benefits that come from message therapy but have never gotten around to making an appointment. Over the past two months I’ve been experiencing everyday back pain. I don’t want to just take a pill and would much rather find ways to fix the problem. When I went to the doctor she suggested physical therapy. Also thru my own research I found that massage therapy is a great way to alleviate back pain. When I got an email about a living social deal for a $32 dollar 60 minute massage I though now is the perfect time to make an appointment. 
My massage was at Innovative Fitness and Wellness in Middletown Connecticut.  The atmosphere of the place was much more gym like than spa like. I think next time I want to try it out in a spa. My message therapist spent thirty minutes on the front of my body and thirty minutes on the back of my body. Let me start off by saying I didn’t even know it was possible to have knots in the places I had them. I had so many knots a ton in my back that the entire hour was spent getting my knots out. As painful as that was it was also really relaxing. My body felt the most relaxed it has in a long time. I left feeling like I had just gone on a week long vacation.I think that I’m going to have to make this a once a month thing. 
There are countless benefits to getting a massage. Some of the benefits include helping low-back pain and improving range of motion. If your pregnant massage can help assist with shorter, easier labor. Massage can ease medication dependence by providing natural pain relief, it enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow, it can help exercise and stretch weak and tight muscles, increase joint flexibility, lessen depression and anxiety, and promote tissue regeneration. Massage can help improve circulation, reduce post surgery swelling, reduce spasms and cramping, relax and soften injured, tired and overused muscles, release endorphins, and relieve migraine pain. 
Massage is a great form of stress relief which was the other main reason I had for wanting it try it out. It is estimated that 90% of disease is stress related and that nothing ages us faster than high stress. I believe that stress is a factor that has to be controlled in order to maintain wellness of the body and mind. I think controlling your stress is just as important as eating a good diet, and exercising. Massage can help you manage stress and can help decrease anxiety, enhance sleep quality, greater energy, improve concentration, increase circulation, and reduce fatigue. Not only does a massage feel good it also allows your mind to rest during that time. 
Some research has show that thru massage therapy arthritis suffers have fewer aches and less stiffness and pain, burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching and anxiety, high blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones, and preterm infants have improved weight gain. Many people in the medical field are beginning to recognize the benefits and many hospitals now have on site massage practitioners for patients. 
People in our society need to start taking care of themselves and instead of taking medications explore the other options available. Scheduling time in your life for a massage is an investment in your health just like paying more at the grocery store to buy healthy food. 

For anyone on Facebook check out Diary of a Vegetarian on Facebook and like the page for the inside scoop!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

I'm writing this post today because I always get so annoyed when individuals say how bad and damaging a vegetarian diet is for you when they have no idea what they are talking about. I have overheard this being said multiple times and it just makes me so mad at how ignorant people are. Not because they are not on a vegetarian diet but because they are saying bad stuff about someone else's diet without having any information to back up their claim. I always want to hand them a paper I wrote on the benefits of a vegetarian diet and let them read it. I wanted to share it with everyone today. 
                  An Omnivore is defined as one who eats all things, but is used to describe those people or communities whose diet is not restricted to either animal or vegetable sources (webster dictionary). This would describe the majority of the population, or those individuals who get their protein from animal flesh sources or animal by products. A vegetarian would be described as a herbivore which is someone who just eats plants. However not all vegetarians are herbivores because some still eat diary, eggs, and even fish. 
The typical American diet is referred to as the SAD diet or the Standard American Diet. The average American does not eat much actual food. They rely too much on processed food products that can’t really be categorized as food at all. This is showing in the current health status of our population. For the first time it is estimated that children will have a shorter life expectancy then there parents. Our country spends more money on health care than any other society in the world but two-thirds of Americans are overweight and more than 15 million Americans have diabetes (Campbell). Half of all Americans are taking prescription drugs for health problems and more than 100 million Americans have high cholesterol (Campbell). One-third of children are obese and adult onset diabetes can no longer be called that because children are developing it at a high rate (Campbell). 
The average American consumes double the amount of protein they need for a healthy diet much coming from red meat the most unhealthy form of protein you can consume. The average American eats over 200 pounds of meat a year ( Food Inc.) .Choosing protein from beans and grains is much healthier for you body (57 health benefits of going vegan). Cow’s milk  is another product that is not necessary to consume to have a healthy diet. The human body is not meant to digest cows milk it is meant to digest humans milk while you are a baby. However, milk is constantly being advertised as being healthy by the diary industry with their got milk campaigns. As many as 75% of people has some form of lactose intolerance which means your body has a hard time digesting milk and milk products (57 health benefits of going vegan). Try eliminating milk from your diet for two weeks and you will have dramatic results and then have a glass of milk and see what the reaction your body has is.  
Sugar is the other downfall of the American diet, high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, cane sugar its all sugar and its hard to avoid. Americans consume way to much sugar. Switching to sweeteners that are not processed or synthetic are the healthiest options. Some options are fruit juice, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, molasses, and 100% real maple syrup (57 health benefits of going vegan). 
There are a wide range of different classifications and levels of  vegetarianism. A vegan, “The strictest vegetarian. They eat only plant foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts. They shun all animal foods: red meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, cheese, and eggs” (Castleman 1996).  Vegans also abstain from eating honey. Vegans use nothing from animals, such as leather, wool, and silk. A ovo-lacto vegetarian eats eggs, milk and other dairy products along with all the foods found in a vegan diet.  A Lacto vegetarian will include dairy into their vegetarian diet. A pollo-vegetarian will eat poultry which includes chicken, turkey, and duck. A pescatarian is a vegetarian who eats fish and other seafood. Finally a flexitarian sometimes will eat meat and sometimes will not (Castlemen, 1996). 
In the past twenty years there has been a rise in the number of people who classify themselves has vegetarians. In the survey, 3 percent of U.S. adults indicated they never eat meat, poultry, and fish/seafood (2008 VRG Poll). 1% classify themselves as true vegans. There is a higher incidence of vegetarianism among females than males. Five percent of females 18-34 being vegetarian and 12 percent of females 18-34 not eating meat (2008 VRG Poll). When people were asked if they order a dish without meat, fish, or fowl while eating out, more than 50 percent said sometimes, often, or always (2008 VRG Poll). People choose to become vegetarians or vegans for a variety of different reasons including for health benefits, ethical reasons, the treatment of animals, to become more green, or to stop supporting factory farming. 
It is much easier to be a vegetarian now than it was 10 years ago. You can go into most regular supermarkets and find soy milk and tofu. You can even order a veggie burger at Burger King. Most restaurants you go into now have a vegetarian option. There are even vegetarian food festivals that you can go to. Any food that you can think of has a vegan substitute you can even find vegan chinese food. You can find vegan ice cream, yogurt, macaroni and cheese, cake, and any fake meat substitute you can imagine. There are a countless amount of resources available to individuals who want to explore the idea of being a vegetarian. The cookbook options are endless and almost any recipe can be veganized. 
There are many myths that surround a vegetarian diet. Most people think that when an individual makes the decision to become a vegan or vegetarian that they will develop severe deficiencies. However, this is not true. I know this from experience that the main question everyone asks you when they find out that your a vegetarian is how do you get enough protein? However, most Americans are getting too much protein and when that protein comes from meat it also comes along with unhealthy fat. Plant foods contain plenty of protein. Vegetarians can meet their protein requirements through soy products, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and beans. For example, a cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein and a cup of pasta has 7 grams of protein ( Castleman, 1996). Most of the protein sources that vegetarians can eat are incomplete of all the 9 essential amino acids. However, most are only missing one or two amino acids and can be combine with another protein source to create a complete protein. This can be done for example with wheat bread and peanut butter, or brown rice and beans. Some of the protein sources are complete including soy products and quinoa. 
The next argument is that vegetarians can’t get enough iron. Although meat is high in iron so are many plant based foods. “In the Child Health Project, Dr. Campbell discovered that even Chinese who consume little or no meat have healthy iron levels.” It is of course important to get your iron levels checked by your doctor. Most meat eaters have too much iron which is linked to an increased risk for heart attack. Its also been debated that vegetarians can’t get enough calcium. But vegetarians are better off because according to Dr. Neal Bernard, “Diets high in protein, especially animal protein, increase calcium excretion in the urine.” Plant foods can also be good sources of calcium, 1 cup of mustard greens has 104 mg , 1 cup of tofu has 517 mg, and 1 cup of kale has 170 mg (Castleman, 1996). 
One nutrient that vegetarians who don’t eat dairy and eggs need to supplement is vitamin B12 . This is because B12 is found primarily in meats and animal foods. Taking a multi vitamin will do the trick or sprinkling some nutritional yeast on your food (Castleman, 1996). A vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy at any life stage including pregnancy and breastfeeding as long as the individual eats a varied plant based diet. Even the food guidelines for Americans support a vegetarian diet. They have soy options as a choice for a substitute for milk products. They also say to include protein food with the options of beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds. Also, following a vegetarian diet will make it easier to follow the guideline of consuming less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids. 
There are many arguments that promote vegetarianism. Choosing vegetarianism comes with a countless number of benefits not only for you as a person but the plant also. One major one is the world hunger argument. For example, 100 million people could be adequately fed by the land freed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by just 10%. Over 80% of the corn grown in the U.S. is eaten by livestock and only 20% by people. The most profound is that it takes 16 pounds of grain and soybeans to produce only 1 pound of edible flesh from beef (Robbins, 2009). All that food going to feed the animals could be going to feed the hungry.
You can reduce your carbon footprint dramatically by choosing vegetarianism over meat consumption. Three times more fossil fuels are needed to produce a meat centered diet when compared to a vegetarian diet. Also over 260 million acres have been used to produce the feed for animals (Robbins, 2009). Livestock production used more than half of all the water used for all purposes in the United States. It only takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat compared to 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of California beef (Robbins, 2009).
Being a vegetarian also lowers your risk for getting cancer. Women who eat meat everyday have a 3.8 times higher risk of breast cancer than women who eat meat less than once per week. There is also an increase risk associated with prostate cancer for men who eat meat and dairy (Robbins, 2009). Every 45 seconds someone in the U.S. dies from a heart attack (Robbins, 2009). There is a 50% risk of death from a heart attack for men who eat meat. This is dramatically reduced to 15% in men who eat no meat and even lower to 4% in men who eat no meat, dairy, or eggs. By eliminating meat, dairy and eggs from you diet you can reduce your risk for heart attack by 90% (Robbins, 2009). This is because the saturated fats and cholesterol from meat and dairy are to blame for the increased risk when following the traditional American diet (Dworkin). Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that protect the heart and contain no saturated fat or cholesterol and vegetarians are more likely than meat and dairy eaters to consume a high number of fruits and vegetables (Dworkin). 
Vegetarians also live longer. On average vegetarians live about 7 years longer and vegans who do not include any animal products in their diet live about 15 years longer than meat eaters (Dworkin). Not only will you live longer by being on a vegetarian diet you will also save money on your grocery bill. When you replace meat, chicken and fish with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains you are estimated to cut your food bills by an average of $4,000 every year (Dworkin). To see this compare the price of a pound of beans to a pound of steak. You will also naturally detox your body when you give up meat. Meat is full of pesticides, environmental pollutants, preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics so when you stop eating meat those things leave your body. When in your system they can cause illness. When you first decide to make the transition to a vegetarian diet it is important to replace meat and dairy with fruit, vegetables, and juices because they contain phytochemical s that help to detox the body (Dworkin). 
Another benefit to being vegetarian and especially one who avoids dairy and eggs is that your body will naturally lose weight until it reaches the perfect weight. The average vegetarians are slimmer than meat eaters. When your replacing meat and dairy with low fat vegetable proteins, whole grains and fruits and vegetables the weight just falls off without putting much effort into it. You can eat much more food because whole grains, fruits and vegetables are low in calories so you can eat a lot and feel full without consuming a ton of calories (Dworkin). People who avoid meat have lower body mass index’s which is an indicator of healthy weight and a low body fat percentage ( 57 benefits of going vegan). Also when an individual follows a vegan diet generally a healthy weight loss will occur. When you follow a vegan diet you are typically eliminating most of the foods that cause weight gain issues (57 benefits of going vegan). 
An increase in energy can also results from this diet change. You will feel lighter and less heaviness because the meat that sits in your intestine will no longer be there. If you have a problem with acne going vegan may be the answer to the problem. A lot of people when switching to a vegan diet notice a large reduction in blemishes. Many notice that their skin starts to glow after a few weeks on a vegan diet. The nuts and vitamins A and E that are found in vegetables make your skin very healthy ( 57 benefits of going vegan). Going vegan can also mean healthier hair and nails. Your hair will become stronger, have more body, and look much healthier. Your nails will also be stronger and healthier which is a good indication of how your overall health is (57 benefits of going vegan). 
Some common ailments that many people experience frequently can also be reduced by following a vegan diet. PMS symptoms because less severe or can stop completely. Dairy is what has to be eliminated in the case of PMS. Individuals who follow a vegan diet also notice a decline in the number of migraines they experience. When you reduce your dairy, meat and egg intake you can also reduce your allergies. When you stop consuming dairy you will also notice a reduction in runny noses and congestion because dairy produces mucous (57 benefits of going vegan).  
Some of the most common and harmful food poisoning agents are most common in meat and eggs. When you avoid consuming these foods you lower your risk of developing a foodborn disease. E.coli for example is caused by consuming red meat and can cause bloody diarrhea. Young children and the elderly are at increased risk for dying from complications from E.coli (57 benefits of a vegan diet). E.coli didn’t not become such a problem until the development of factory farming and feeding cows with corn. “Cows are not designed by evolution to eat corn. They’re designed by evolution to eat grass. And the only reason we feed them corn is because corn is really cheap and corn makes them fat quickly ... The industrial food system is always looking for greater efficiency. But each new step in efficiency leads to problems. If you take feedlot cattle off their corn diet, give them grass for five days, they will shed eighty percent of the E. coli in their gut. (Food Inc.)” Salmonella is also common in chicken and eggs. Mad cow disease has gotten a lot of attention because of the severity of the human form Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is incurable. This can be avoided by not eating red meat (57 benefits of a vegan diet). 
By choosing a vegan diet you will also avoid all the hormones and antibiotics that are pumped into animals and found in both meat and dairy. Hormones are given to all non organic animals to speed up their growth. In 1935 it would take 17 weeks to raise a bird and it would take 5 pounds of food to produce one pound of meat. Then in 1960 it only took nine weeks to raise a bird and 2.5 pounds of food to produce one pound of meat (Class lecture 4/27/2011). This is because of the growth hormones they are being fed. The breasts on the chickens are so huge because of all the growth hormones that chickens are barley able to walk without falling over from the weight. These hormones then go into your body and disrupt the natural balance of hormones that are in your body some have even been shown to cause tumor growth in humans (57 benefits of a vegan diet). Antibiotics are fed daily to animals to prevent them from getting sick. However this leads to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics that go into the animals are the same ones that are used to treat human infections (57 benefits of a vegan diet). 
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, “ 70 percent of all Americans are dying from diseases that are directly tied to their eating habits. Stacks of studies confirm that a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and soy is your best bet for living a longer, healthier, and more enjoyable life” (Dworkin). Two Dr’s are widely known and admired in the Vegetarian world for showing the link between a vegan diet and health benefits and they are Dr. Esselstyns and Dr. Colin Campbell. Dr. Esselstyn is famous for showing that a vegetarian diet can help to prevent and reverse heart disease. His plant based diet has helped his patients avoid major heart surgery. There were 17 individuals who were in the research study that adhered and were compliant to the diet. After five years of being on a plant based diet the average total cholesterol level from Dr. Esselstyn’s diet dropped from 246 to 137. Before beginning a plant based diet the 17 patients combine had 49 cardiac events. Several had multiple bypass operations. No more cardiac events occurred after the plant based diet began for 12 years. “Angiograms taken of the participants in the study show a widening of the coronary arteries, and thus a reversal of the heart disease” (Esselstyn). It is possible to reverse heart disease on a plant based diet. 
The China study written by Dr. Colin Campbell takes a similar approach and looks at the relationship between eating animal products and different illnesses including cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disease, and osteoporosis (Campbell). The study takes place in China and took place over a twenty year period. This study looked at the relationship between mortality rates and dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors. In the end the study showed that individuals who eat a whole foods plant based diet can minimize or reverse chronic disease development (Campbell). The China study shows that a low protein diet can turn off cancer growth in rats. But this is only with the protein in milk known as casein and does not have to same results with soy protein or gluten which is wheat protein (Campbell). 
Most studies besides the China study cannot show the long term benefits of a vegetarian diet because it is hard to follow people over a long period of time and track their dietary patterns. However, there is one group of individuals known as Seventh-day Adventists who avoid eating meat for religious reasons. So there health outcomes are studied as a way to determine the true benefits of not eating meat. They have followed a vegetarian diet for more than 130 years because of their belief in the holistic nature of humankind. “They believe that whatever is done in eating or drinking should honor and glorify God and preserve the health of the body, mind and spirit”(Seventh-Day Adventist Dietetic Association). “The vegetarian diet recommended by Seventh-day Adventists includes the generous use of whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, a liberal use of fresh vegetables and fruits, a moderate use of legumes, nuts, seeds. It can also include low fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheeses and eggs.  It is best to avoid high saturated fat and cholesterol foods such as: beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and seafood. Coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages provide few nutrients and may interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients” (Seventh-Day Adventist Dietetic Association).
The results of following this diet show that Seventh-day Adventists in general, have 50% less risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, strokes, and diabetes. The data has also shown that vegetarian men under 40 can expect to live more than eight years longer and women more than seven years longer then the general population. Seventh-day Adventist vegetarian men live more than three years longer than Seventh-Day Adventist men who eat meat (Seventh-Day Adventist Dietetic Association).
With all the information about the benefits and amazing results of a plant based diet there is no denying that it is a healthier diet then the traditional American diet that many individuals are currently following that is centered around processed and fast food. Obesity is at epidemic proportions and our diets are to blame. There are is no physical need in your body to consume either meat or dairy products and there are healthier plant based options available for all the major nutrients your body needs. 

Does anyone else have experiences similar to mine with ignorant people? Do you ignore it or do you say something?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Green Lotus Salon and Wellness

Good morning everyone and Happy Valentines Day!! I was in desperate need of a hair cut so this morning I had an appointment at Green Lotus Salon and Wellness. Over the past year I have been working hard to switch over to a mainly organic diet, to change all the products that I use on my body to organic more eco friendly versions, and I stopped taking all medications. So I figured that the next step I could take would be to change to more eco friendly green salons where I get my hair done, and occasionally nails done. So I searched google and I found this salon that wasn't too far from home. This salon offers hair cuts, color, highlights all done with organic dyes, message, and facials.




It was so relaxing the moment you walk into the salon. The first thing that I noticed when I walked in was that there is no over powering chemical smell that salon's have. The staff was extremely friendly and offered tea, or coffee. They use all environmentally friendly organic products. The best part is that they give you a 5 minute scalp message while they are washing your hair. So relaxing I almost fell a sleep. All the the styling products are organic and make from ingredients that I know. They use essential oils on your hair that smell amazing. One of the holding products they used had honey in it. My hair still smells super good. Overall it was such a great experience I love the way my hair looks and I look forward to going back for another trim in 8 weeks.

Hair Cut!!
Has anyone else tried a green hair or nail salon? My next goal is to find a green nail salon to go get a pedicure!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Looking Back on New Years Goals

I can't believe that its already Valentine's Day tomorrow. This year is already flying by. Today I wanted to blog about how I was doing on my new years goals. This year instead of just making one resolution that most people don't stick to for longer than two weeks I decided to write down a bunch of goals for myself for the new year. I always like to find ways that I can improve my health and I think even the most healthy people can improve their diet in some way. Some of my new years goals were:
Relax more
Do more yoga (check!)
Drink more water
Quit caffeine
Start a blog (check!)
make one new recipe from a cookbook each week (check!)
go outside more
buy less stuff ( Have not bought one new piece of clothing in the new year!!)




Those were just some of my new years goal that I made for myself this year. I think I am at least in the process of doing each of those. I'm almost completely off of caffeine right now. I gradually have been decreasing the amount of caffeinated coffee I drink and replacing it with decaf this way I avoid the major headache that comes from quitting caffeine. I should be completely off of it by this weekend. Caffeine always gets mixed reviews in the nutrition world. But my main reason for stopping is that I don't want any substance going into my body that is addicting like that. If I'm that tired without caffeine that means that I need to be getting more sleep and exercise and not just drinking another cup of coffee.

For some reason drinking the recommended 64 ounces of water has always been a problem for me. I think its because I never got in the habit of drinking plain water. Before I became a health nut I was addicted to diet soda. But I know how important drinking water is so thats why I made it one of my goals. While I'm in the process of trying to make it a habit I'm keeping track of how much water I drink and making sure to get the 64 ounces a day. Now right when I wake up I make sure to drink 1 or 2 cups. 
So overall I think I'm doing well on my New Year's goals! Did anyone else make any goals or resolutions? How are they going for you?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tofu Scramble

One of my favorite breakfast foods since going vegetarian is tofu scramble. This breakfast is full of protein and keeps you full until lunch. To be honest I'm not a fan of tofu at all. This is one of the only ways that I will eat it. Tofu is such a blank canvas and will pretty much take on whatever flavor that you add to it. There are many types of tofu. For this tofu scramble you are going to want to use firm or extra firm tofu. Also its so so important to buy organic tofu. Anytime you are buying a product with soy choose the organic varieties. Soy is one of the most common crops that is genetically engineered and buying organic ensures that its not genetically modified. Also if you live in Connecticut you can even find local tofu at whole food thats made right in Middletown Connecticut!! I always try to choose local when possible.
Ingredients:
1 lb firm tofu
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 cup fresh salsa
1 avocado
3 tablespoons prepared pesto ( I had some that was in the freezer that I made during the summer with the huge amount of basil we had) 


Directions: Serves 2
1- Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray and put on medium heat
2- Break up tofu and put in pan
3- Use a potato masher to mash the tofu until it looks like this. It looks a lot like scrambled eggs

4- Cook the tofu until it releases some of its water
5- Add all the remaining ingredients except the avocado
6- Cook until heated through
7- Serve and top each plate with 1/2 avocado chopped up
Final product!! Eat by itself or put into a wrap and enjoy as a breakfast burrito

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday Night Dinner

I had a stressful start to my week so tonight I had a little extra time so I decided to cook a nice dinner. Usually if I cook something the rest of my family will try it. I'm surprised by the amount of healthy vegan/vegetarian food that I get them to try and even more surprised by how much they love it. I'm still shocked that my sisters love kale chips!! Tonights meal was entirely vegan and so healthy!
For the main meal I made vegan stuffing, Happy Herbivore tempeh meatloaf, and my dad made his salad. And for dessert I made Happy Herbivore chocolate chip cookies!!

Vegan Stuffing
Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion
3 stalks of celery
2 cup vegetable stock
1 bag of vegan stuffing mix
Directions:
1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then start buy chopping up the garlic, onion, and celery. Put the olive oil in a pot and heat. Add the veggies and saute until they become translucent.
2- Add the vegetable stock
3- Bring the stock to a boil 
4- Turn off heat and add stuffing and mix until stuffing is moist
5- Put stuffing into a greased baking dish and cook until crispy
Veggies Cooking

Finished Stuffing

Happy Herbivore Tempeh Meatloaf
I though this recipe turned out really well and my dad and sister even liked it. The only problem that I had was that when I went to cut it it fell apart because since its vegan no eggs were used. But if you don't mind a crumbly meatloaf the flavor was really good.
This is the tempeh mixture before you mash it down into a bread pan

Finished Tempeh Meatloaf

This is my Dad's famous salad. Its the simplest thing but everyone loves it. Multiple family members have requested it at their weddings!! 
Cookie Dough

Dessert: Happy Herbivore Chocolate Chip cookies
These cookies were the most amazing cookie that I have ever had. They are super healthy whole wheat, no added fat vegan cookies made with applesauce but they taste like the real deal. If your thinking about buying the Happy Herbivore cookbook I would buy it even if its just for this one recipe. They are that good!!! I hope everyone has a great night!!!