Tart Cherry and Avocado Smoothie Bowl

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🍒 TART CHERRY AND AVOCADO SMOOTHIE BOWL 🍒

Good morning, lovelies! This high-fat, moderate protein smoothie bowl will make your hormones sing and keep your blood sugar stable until your next meal. Nourishing, healthy, yet tasty food- that’s what I’m all about!

 RECIPE :

  •  1/2 cup organic tart cherry juice ( one of nature’s best anti- inflammatories)
  •  1/4 avocado
  •  1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  •  2 cups spinach (if it’s frozen you won’t even taste it!)
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut yogurt or full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  •  1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 scoop Bulletproof collagen vanilla or half scoop Vega Sport vanilla protein
  •  dash of cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt

Method:

Blend, enjoy and garnish with Lily’s chocolate chips! This should keep you satisfied for 3-5 hours! For real!

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Going Vegan

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Everyone seems to be going vegan these days after the release of the documentary “What the Health”. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this film, however, I think we can all agree that eating fewer animal products is never a bad idea.

If you have recently decided to adopt a vegan diet, make sure you don’t fall victim to these three mistakes.

1. Assume you’ll get enough protein without any effort.

It is possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet, and if anyone else tells you otherwise then they are misinformed. However, it doesn’t just happen automatically. There is no such thing as a vegan fairy godmother that sprinkles protein fairy dust on you every night. Getting enough protein on a vegan diet requires effort and planning, but it does get easier with time.

At first, you might have to keep a journal documenting all the protein you eat, but after being vegan for a season or two, you’ll be able to eye things and know what you need to eat and in what quantity for your protein needs.

So, how much protein do you need?

Well, it all boils down to the individual. How frequently do you work out? Are you male or female? How much do you weigh? Are you under stress or are you pregnant? These are some of the factors that contribute to determining how much protein you need. A simple 0.45 grams of protein per pound like the USDA recommends may not be enough.

According to women’s hormone expert, Dr. Sara Gottfried, you should eat an average of 0.75-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass(1). If you are an athlete, or under extreme stress, or lactating, or pregnant, you should eat on the higher end. If you lead a more sedentary life, or work out less than 3 times a week, aim for the lower end.

I agree with the amounts listed by Dr. Gottfried, but with one exception: if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, 0.4-0.5 grams per pound of lean body mass should be sufficient for your needs (per Dave Asprey)(2).

Another term which all aspiring vegans should become familiar with is complete protein.

complete protein refers to the building blocks of protein, called amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids that form a protein, and nine that the body can’t make on its own. These are known as essential amino acids. They are essential because we need to eat them, as our bodies are incapable of producing them. For a food to be deemed a complete protein, it must contain all the nine essential amino acids in close to equal amounts.

So while meat and eggs are indeed complete proteins, nuts and beans aren’t. But hold the phone! This doesn’t mean you can’t get all of your essential amino acids on a plant based diet! We don’t need every essential amino acid in every bite of food, we just need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day. Also, there are some plant based complete proteins – my favorites include buckwheat and quinoa.

So with a combination of different plant based foods each day, it’s relatively easy to get all of the essential amino acids your body needs. You just need to put in the time and effort.

2. Load up on sugar, because hey-it’s vegan, right?

Let’s get the facts straight. When you eat sugar (and this includes any food with a high glucose level like honey, agave nectar, bread, fruit, etc) your insulin levels will automatically spike. So if you are eating too much sugar, this will lead to higher blood glucose levels, which can eventually lead to diabetes.

I don’t care what you heard on “What the Health”. Chicken does not cause diabetes – carbohydrates and sugar does. This does not mean I’m saying go out and eat chicken. You can be an EcoVegan by abstaining from animal products and eating a low glycemic diet at the same time.

The closest truth to the claim that meat causes diabetes is that processed meats will throw off the omega 6 to omega 3 balance in your body, which can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and rheumatoid arthritis. (3)

But guess what?

Eating lots of crappy vegetable oil (which is vegan…) and processed fake meats does the same thing!

You can’t just say ALL of something is bad. It’s not that easy.

3. Judge Others

In “Grist for the Mill”, Ram Dass says that we are all on different levels and stages in this life. We can’t expect others to be at the same stage as we are. So if you are vegan (and this goes for the vegetarians out there, too) in this life, that’s awesome. Consider yourself one lucky human being to have found this path in this lifetime, and give yourself a pat on the back for being just a little bit more enlightened….

That is unless you start judging and preaching to everyone who eats meat or animal products.

You might not like their choice, and I get it, it can be super frustrating! But it’s none of your business.However, if someone asks you about why you’re vegan, then let it rain!! Get on your soapbox because it’s an excellent opportunity to share with others why you’ve chosen this path.

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Sources:

    • https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-protein-affects-your-hormones
  • https://blog.bulletproof.com/how-to-find-your-ideal-protein-intake/?

Peanut Butter Swirl Avocado Brownies

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Today I’ve asked food blogger, Chelsea Colbath, from Baked Greens to share one of her many delicious recipes with us. I’ve been following Chelsea for awhile on Instagram , and I often find myself drooling over her swoon worthy dessert recipes. She shares my affinity for peanut butter and chocolate, so we quickly became friends! Chelsea’s journey is very inspiring. She has lost 100 pounds by learning how to respect herself and the food she eats, and her mission is to inspire others to get into the kitchen and cook something healthy and delicious.

Today, Chelsea has created a gluten-free brownie recipe for us. I’ve personally tried them so I can attest to their deliciousness. I’m talking an 11 on a scale of 1-10 y’all.

 

Peanut Butter Swirl Avocado Brownies:

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RECIPE:
  • 2/3 cup mashed avocado (from 1 large, very ripe avocado)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup oat flour (certified gluten-free, if needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter + 1/2 Tablespoon maple syrup, for topping
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8-inch square or 7×11 inch pan with parchment; set aside.
2. Mash your avocado and measure out 2/3 cup. Whisk avocado with coconut oil, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until completely smooth. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine
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3. Pour batter into prepared pan, and  dollop with peanut butter mixture. Use a spoon to gently swirl it into the batter.
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4.Bake for 15-20 minutes. Brownies should still be slightly soft in the center when you take them out of the oven. Mine were perfect at 18 minutes.
5. Allow brownies to cool, then cut and eat. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerated for 5.
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Meet Chelsea:
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Hi everyone!  My name is Chelsea and I’m the blogger over at Baked Greens, where I share my passion for simple, nutritious food. I’m thrilled to be posting here today, since Jenna and I both share a love for nourishing our bodies- specifically with plenty of chocolate and peanut butter.

Jenna and I met by chance, as we all do. She found me on Instagram, and we instantly connected. I am in love with her gentle approach to nutrition, her commitment to loving her body, and all the gorgeous yoga pictures on her Insta account! We haven’t actually met in person, but I’ve already sent her a package of brownies all the way from Massachusetts, so I feel like we are already besties.

When Jenna asked me to post on her blog, I instantly knew the recipe had to involve chocolate and peanut butter. After all, it might be the cosmic force that brought us together in the first place. Peanut butter is powerful like that. My Fudgy Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies are a reader favorite over on Baked Greens, and I’ve been promising my readers a peanut butter version. Well, here you go, my lovelies. A dark, rich, maple-sweetened brownie that is incredibly fudgy from avocado, and has a thick peanut butter swirl on top.

Jenna requested whatever sweet treat I make be gluten-free and refined-sugar free, so I made these brownies entirely with oat flour. Did you know you can make your own by grinding oats in your blender or food processor? No need to go out and buy oat flour. I also relied on maple syrup, my favorite all-natural sweetener, for a subtle sweetness and extra stickiness. If you are a fudgy brownie lover, these are for you. These are great warm from the oven, but get even better after sitting at room temperature or in the fridge for a few days. Plus, you only need 1-bowl and 30 minutes to make these brownies!

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. In fact, I already have an extra avocado sitting on my counter getting soft just so I can make another batch this week. If you want to find more of my simple, nutritious recipes, come visit me at bakedgreens.com or find me on Instagram or Facebook!

XO,
Chelsea

3 Steps to Conscious Eating

eatingConscious eating is a major and necessary feature of our plant-based philosophy, a philosophy that extends out of the kitchen, off of our plates and into the wider world, informing how we interact with others and how we treat our environment.

The opposite of conscious eating – unconscious eating, is practiced by most people in the world today. It is the default operating mode for almost everyone when it comes to choices made about food, overwhelmingly so in developed countries. It’s an easy and low cost way of eating supported by businesses and society alike. And the most insidious quality of unconscious eating is that most people know no other way, or even suspect that there is an alternative.

As more and more people awaken to the disastrous effects the animal agriculture industries are having on our planet and the effects their ‘food’ is having on our health, unconscious eating is giving way to conscious eating.

As Eldridge Cleaver said, “There is no more neutrality in the world. You are either part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”

3 Steps to Begin Your Journey Into conscious Eating:

1.  Expand your Knowledge

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” – Confucius

Before we begin to make profound changes in the way we eat, it helps to be exposed to the ideas that lead us there. A lifetime of healthy food choices can be built on the right foundation of knowledge.

There are numerous books, films and websites that expose us to the truth about the food we eat, and educate us about a healthier, more sustainable way of eating and living.

Make a point of studying and researching for yourself. Arm yourself with facts before opinions. The more you know about the subjects of animal agriculture and the negative health effects of animal products on our health the more you are naturally inclined towards eating consciously.

Resources to expand your awareness:

How Not To Die, by Gene Stone and Michael Greger.

A painstakingly thoroughly well-researched book about the benefits of plant-based diets and the insidious effects of animal products.

Earthlings

This film narrated by Joaquin Phoenix strikes at the emotional level, highlighting the reality behind factory farming and research labs among others.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

This film addresses the real cost of animal agriculture on the environment.

More resources can also be found at The Plant-based Plan Resources

2. Stop and Think

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 We are all creatures of habit. Our negative lifestyle decisions are usually made subconsciously. We all do it as we stroll through the aisles of the supermarket, mindlessly throwing packages into the trolley that are no good for us, or the environment.

Conscious eating is also a habit that needs to be established through practice.

So how do we practice?

When you find yourself in a situation where you need to make a choice about food, take a moment to stop and ask yourself this question:

Based on my current understanding, will purchasing or eating this food lead to better health, vitality and moral satisfaction for myself, or will it potentially damage my health, lead to suffering for the creatures we share our planet with or damage the environment?

In the beginning you may find yourself coming to the conclusion that the food is not healthy or environmentally friendly, but you just throw it in the trolley anyway. I’m that way with Häagen-Dazs ice cream, it just short-circuits my common sense.

But the important thing is to exercise your mind in this way continuously.

By doing so, you bring your negative lifestyle choices into awareness on a daily basis, rather than just ignoring them, and we can only take so much of our own irresponsible actions before we decide to make changes.

3. Simplify

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The world of food, whether it be the aisles in the supermarket, the gaudy primary colours of the fast food restaurant, or the dimly lit elegance of an upmarket bistro, has become an arena of entertainment, designed to appeal to the senses and draw you in with tastes and flavours.

This approach makes food one of the great pleasures in life, even though it may be killing us.

Millions of years of evolutionary biology have programmed us to relish the intense flavours of sugars, salt and fats. We are programmed to stock up on sweet and fatty foods when they are abundant because in the past we would inevitably have been faced with long periods without them.

But now we live in a world of permanent abundance. This state of affairs has only existed for around half a century, but how quickly we have seen the disastrous effects of ‘stocking up’ on a daily basis, in the skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Conscious eating therefore requires us to step back and make a sacrifice and a commitment.

We sacrifice the artificial flavours of the packaged sauces for the simplicity of lemon juice and vinegar, for example.

We learn to enjoy beans and nuts and vegetables as they are, without complicated and unnecessary preparations.

We choose a food primarily for it’s health benefits, rather than it’s tastiness.

We make a commitment to sometimes stay at home and eat simply rather than disconnect ourselves from the process in a restaurant.

Simplifying our kitchens, our eating habits and our lives in general is a powerful way to benefit our health and contribute to the well-being of our planet and our fellow earthlings.

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About Donny McFarlane

Donny McFarlane is an English teacher, yoga teacher, freediver, generally enthusiastic mover and plant-based lifestyle advocate.

He has independently researched nutrition and the relationship between health and food for more than a decade. Switching to a 100% plant-based diet was the catalyst that reversed years of negative lifestyle choices and allowed him to excel athletically, personally and spiritually.

Visit The Plant Based Plan for meticulously designed and beautifully laid out 100% plant-based, vegan meal plans and recipes.

A Complete Protein Eating Guide for Vegans and Vegetarians

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One of the most popular misconceptions that people have about a plant based diet is that it is impossible to get enough protein without meat. Well guess what? I’m here to inform you that this is a myth!

It is entirely possible to get your daily requirement of protein without eating meat. In fact, the leanest, cleanest sources of protein are beans and other legumes, as less than five percent of their calories from fat. They are also free of cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics.

So what makes a complete protein?

A complete protein refers to the building blocks of protein, called amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids that form a protein, and nine that the body can’t make on it’s own. These nine amino acids are called essential amino acids. They are essential because we need to eat them, as our bodies can’t make them.

For a food to be deemed a complete protein, it must contain all the nine essential amino acids in close to equal amounts.

So while meat and eggs are indeed complete proteins, nuts and beans aren’t. But hold the phone! This doesn’t mean you can’t get all of your essential amino acids on a plant based diet! We don’t need every essential amino acid in every bite of food, we just need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day.

So with a combination of different plant based foods each day, it’s easy breezy to get all of the essential amino acids your body needs!

First, let’s go over the plant based foods that are complete proteins. And as we discussed earlier, a complete protein means that you get all of the nine essential amino acids by eating a portion of it on its own.

Vegan Complete Protein Sources:

  1. quinoaQuinoa- 8 grams of protein per one cooked cup
  2. Buckwheat- 6 grams of protein per one cooked cup
  3. Avocado- 3 grams of protein per one avocado
  4. Soy- 10grams of protein per ½ cup firm tofu, 15 grams of protein per ½ cup tempeh. (Please eat soy in moderation, make sure it is non-GMO, and remember to only eat soy in its fermented version- tempeh, tofu, miso)
  5. Quorn (Mycoprotein)- 13 grams per ½ cup serving.
  6. Protein powder- The content varies by brand, but most have around 22 grams per serving. Make sure when buying to choose one that is non-GMO, and that has a complete amino acid profile.
  7. Ezekiel Bread- Ezekiel bread is made from wheat (they also make a gluten free version), barley, millet, beans, lentils, and spelt, making it a complete protein. The bread is also made using sprouted grain, which increases the bread’s fiber and vitamin content. This also makes it easier to digest.

Honorary members:

You might have notice that hempseeds and chia seeds are missing from this list. Although they do contain all nine essential amino acids, they are both too low in lysine to be considered complete. But they are still excellent forms of protein! I love to add them to my smoothies and oatmeal. Hemp seeds are also great stir-fried with vegetables, and they make an excellent salad topping.

  1. Hempseeds- 10 grams per 2 tablespoon serving
  2. Chia Seeds- 4 grams per 2 tablespoon serving

Now, let’s talk about how to pair plant based foods to create a complete serving of protein.

The Amazing Duos: 

  1. Rice and beans-

Rice and beans complement each other perfectly as beans are low in methionine and high in lysine, and rice is low in lysine and high in methionine. Combine these two and you have a meal with heaps of complete protein.

  1. Peanut butter sandwich-

Combine peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)  with whole grain and you get a complete protein! Remember to choose organic peanut butter with no oil and sugar, as the oils tend to be full of hydrogenated fats and sugar is toxic. Make sure to use a whole grain bread, and even better, choose a gluten free bread!

  1. Hummus and pita-

Wheat is deficient in lysine, but guess what? Chickpeas are high in lysiene! Pair these two for a complete protein.

     4. Spirulina with grains

Spirulina is lacking in methionine and cysteine, but combine it with nuts, seeds, or oats and you have a complete protein. My favorite way to combine these is in a green smoothie.

  1. Oats with nuts or peanut butter-

Add some peanut butter or nuts to your oatmeal and you are in business.

Basically, combine any grain with a nut, seed, or legume, and you have yourself a complete protein. The possibilities are endless.

So what is the right amount of protein?  Click HERE to find out!

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Health Coach Jenna

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Are You Getting Enough Protein?

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Protein. It’s vital for our health. But did you know that too much protein can actually increase the rate of chronic disease and weight gain? The other day I was at a popular “healthy” chain where they offered a gluten-free, hemp-seed brownie, advertised to have tons of protein. First of all, not only was this thing laden with sugar, but after eating a balanced meal, more protein is redundant. It can actually be detrimental to your health, as studies have shown that eating more protein than your body needs causes weight gain, inflammation, dehydration, stress on your kidneys, and loss of important bone minerals.

How much protein do I need?

Well, it all boils down to the individual. How frequently do you work out? Are you male or female? How much do you weigh? Are you under stress or are you pregnant? These are some of the factors that contribute to determining how much protein you need. A simple 0.45 grams of protein per pound like the USDA recommends may not be enough.

According to women’s hormone expert, Dr. Sara Gottfried, you should eat an average of 0.75-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. If you are an athlete, or under extreme stress, or lactating, or pregnant, you should eat on the higher end. If you lead a more sedentary life, or work out less than 3 times a week, aim for the lower end.

I agree with the amounts listed by Dr. Gottfried, but with one exception: if you lead a more sedentary lifestyle, 0.4-0.5 grams per pound of lean body mass should be sufficient for your needs (per Dave Asprey).

Where should I get my protein from?

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Whether you choose to get your protein from animals or plants is completely up to you. Being vegetarian is a lifestyle choice that should come from a genuine desire to change your diet, not because someone told you to do so. Alternatively, if you are eating meat, it is important to get it from a healthy and sustainable source.

Is it possible to get enough protein without eating meat?!

One of the most popular misconceptions that people have about a plant based diet is that it is impossible to get enough protein without meat. Well guess what? I’m here to inform you that this is a myth!

It is entirely possible to get your daily requirement of protein without eating meat. In fact, the leanest, cleanest sources of protein are beans and other legumes. They are also free of cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics. A variety of plant-based protein powders can also be found on the market today. This is an excellent way for vegetarians and vegans to make sure they are covered. I put a heaping scoop everyday in my morning smoothie.

What about protein from meat?

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Meat consumption has dramatically increased in the US over the past century, and sadly, the quality of meat has declined. A large amount of the meat consumed is of poor quality, originating in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where animals are kept in unclean and inhumane conditions. These animals are fed a diet of mostly GMO grains instead of grass, resulting in meat that is full of Omega 6’s. Furthermore, these animals are injected with hormones and antibiotics that also end up on your plate.

Grass-fed and pastured meat (as well as dairy and eggs) is superior to that from animals raised in CAFOs in many ways:

  • Higher in total Omega 3’s
  • Higher in CLA, a potential cancer fighter
  • Higher in vitamin E
  • Higher in the B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
  • Higher in the minerals magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • Higher in beta-carotene

When you are next faced with the decision between factory farmed meat and organic, pastured meat, remember that a healthy animal means a healthy you.

Happy clean eating!

Health Coach Jenna

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