3 Fave Soup Recipes + WHY I’M OBSESSED WITH SOUP?! | Vegan Dietitian

Why am I obsessed with soup?

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  1. Moist Cooking Method

    Fact: The way we prepare our food changes its nutrient content.  So, if you’re going to cook your food, in a soup is the best way! Cooking in water means the food can’t go over 212*F.  This is a plus because the higher the heat, the more nutrients are denatured and destroyed and the more carcinogenic properties begin to form.  With moist heat, there is now browning or charring occurring.  Also, in a soup all of the nutrients are cooked into the broth instead of drained out.  So you’re eating all of those incredible vitamins and minerals instead of pouring them down the drain with the water.

  2. Medicinal Ingredients

    Is it possible to make a whole foods plant based soup that isn’t medicinal magic?  Flavor it up with ginger, garlic, and onion,  Throw in that turmeric and black pepper and make a curry. Use all those veggies you never heard of like romanesco, leek, and lion’s mane mushroom.  The ingredients in hearty wholesome soups and stews are powerful disease prevention and reversal medicine for a calm mind and a happy healthy and long beautiful life!

  3. Variety on Variety

    Vegetable soups, bean stews, creamy squash, chili, bisque, even chilled raw soups! The possibilities are endless.  Thickening up by blending with cashews, chopping some veggies chunky, blending others, using vegetable juices for a base, maybe even coconut milk, garnishing with pumpkin seeds, or even avocado.  There are so many kinds of soups. I eat them almost daily and don’t think I’ll ever get sick of them.

  4. Easy Peasy

    Feeling lazy? Me too.  I’m down to heat up some water and throw in all my favorite veggies and spices any day. ( me everyday ) Yay soup!

  5. Underrated AF

    Soup is a great option.  Sure, if you get it in a can it can have some extra sodium look for less than 300mg of sodium per serving or find “no salt added” or “low sodium” options and maybe if you get them at a restaurant they’ll have some oil, but overall, whole foods plant based soups and soups are an incredible option not to be overlooked.  Please try making at LEAST one of these recipes this winter!

THE RECIPES

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1. TOMATO BISQUE

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Serves: 4

adapted from http://www.DrFuhrman.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups carrot juice (3 pounds of carrots, juiced, or put 2-4 carrots chopped in a blender with enough water to reach 3 cups and blend until smooth) (they sell carrot juice at whole foods and trader joe’s)
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped or 1 (26 ounce) BPA-free carton chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, unsulfured dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt herb seasoning blend, adjusted to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 5 ounces spinach or baby kale

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, add all ingredients except the cashews, basil and spinach. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove 2 cups of the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Puree the remaining soup with the cashews in a food processor or high-powered blender until smooth.
  4. Return the pureed soup along with the reserved vegetables to the pot.
  5. Stir in the basil and spinach and heat until spinach is wilted

2. MAMA’S CHILI

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  • 2 Tbsp water for sautéing + some nearby
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (learn to chop an onion)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 2 cups corn kernels (we used frozen)
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean, and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes (Muir Glen Fire Roasted – No Salt Added)
  • 3 cups canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth/stock
  • diced avocado and chopped green onion, garnish
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste.

3. THE HERO POT

  • A large pot
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small chunk of ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground or fresh turmeric
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ~6 cups filtered water
  • ~1/2 cup broccoli
  • ~1/2 cup celery
  • ~1/2 cup mushrooms
  • ~1/2 cup peas
  • Lime and avocado to garnish
  1. Prep ingredients: chop vegetables, mince garlic + ginger
  2. Sautee onions and garlic in pot in 1/3 cup of water (keep a jug of water nearby to add as needed)
  3. Add turmeric, lentils, sweet potato, and 5 cups of water and bring to boil for about 10 minutes
  4. Turn down heat to simmer and add in rest of ingredients to simmer for about 15 minutes
  5. Take your superhero medicine 😛

enjoy ❤

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6 Ingredient Pancakes: Pumpkin. Chocolate Chip. Vegan. Amazing.

These pancakes are out of this worrrlldd!! Inspired by Deliciously Ella:

Makes about 9 pancakes:

1 cup pumpkin
1 cup plant milk
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour (or ground oats / any GF flour)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)
Use non-stick pan preferably or use light coconut or avocado oil for greasing

  1. Mix together wet ingredients and cinnamon
  2. Gently stir flour until well combined
  3. Fold in chocolate chips
  4. On medium heat, place about 1/3 cup of batter for a pancake and spread into pancake shape with a spoon
  5. Flip after about 2 minutes
  6. Serve warm with berries and real maple syrup 🙂

Healthy Pasta TASTE TEST + 4 Reasons Why I STILL Avoid Gluten

 

Pasta. What a delectable vehicle for vegetables!  Add your favorite beans, steamed veggies, and tomato sauce and BOOM! An impressive gourmet dinner.  While intact grains are the gold standard (grains in their whole form), whole grains, yes including their bran, germ, and endosperm, are milled into a fine flour to make whole grain pastas, breakfast cereals, and other “whole grain” products.  A few examples of legit whole intact grains would be steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, and millet.

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How to tell if the product is WHOLE GRAIN?

  1. Whole grain stamp is on the package
  2. “100%” or “Whole” are used to describe it
  3. The first ingredient listed is a whole grain

refinedgrains

Refined grains are not only grains milled into a flour, but their grain was stripped of the nutrient and fiber containing bran and germ! Murder! Refined grains are white / light in color and examples include white bread, cookies, cakes, pretzels, white rice, regular pasta, and anything made with white flour. Darn!

Don’t fret too much! The recommendation is:

Make at least 1/2 of your grains whole grains.

Grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet for fiber, iron,powerplategraphichirez magnesium, selenium, b vitamins, and lasting energy! Be sure to include them on your plate.

The Taste Test

Well before #1, my personal favorite is ZUCCHINILINI OF COURSE! Which is simply zucchini or summer squash, spirilized to look and feel like spaghetti. I like to mix it with pasta dishes to add bulk, flavor, color, and more veg of course!

#1 Nature’s Promise Whole Wheat Spaghetti: #1 in taste, texture, and nutritional profile. Contains gluten.

#2. Bionaturae Gluten Free Corn and Soy Spaghetti: Fabulous texture and taste and with 5g protein and 6% iron, this product is ok. Low in fiber :-/

#3. Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti: Quite sticky texture, but great flavor and elasticity.  Would go great with a sauce. However, low in fiber although whole grain. Brown rice is naturally low in fiber.

 

#4. Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Corn and Quinoa Spaghetti: Texture dry and kinda crunchy, but a good source of fiber at 16% daily value and 10% iron!

#5. Andean Dream Quinoa Gluten Free Spaghetti: Texture was definitely a little sandy.  But I must say with 6% calcium, 12% iron, and just barely a good source of fiber at 10% daily value, not bad.

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The Consensus:

The quinoa based gluten free products have a better nutritional profile, but are not as delicious as the lower fiber rice based ones.

Why I personally still avoid Gluten?

Do I go out of my way to avoid gluten?

No.  I still enjoy it in moderation. My mom makes homemade bread and pizza with gluten which I eat occasionally.  My diet is whole foods based, so I rarely purchase packaged products that might contain gluten.

Do I eat gluten every day?

No.  Maybe I eat a gluten containing meal or snack 3-4 times a week.  I am generally healthy and do not currently feel any reason to put more effort into seriously avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and foods containing gluten 100% of the time.

Why I make this personal choice:

  1. My sister has ulcerative colitis, which is similar to celiacs in that they are both autoimmune inflammatory intestinal disorders. With a genetic risk factor in my family, I try to not over load the gluten as a personal preventative measure.
  2. Studies linking gluten and autism spectrum disorders autism-and-nutrition-1. The GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet has been shown to help people with ADHD and autism, what else could it be linked to? I am ever curious and after reading such articles have trouble stomaching gluten (and of course would never recommend drinking milk).
  3. Naturopaths recommend avoiding gluten initially when trying to avoid inflammation with an “elimination diet,” along with dairy and other common inflammatory trigger foods. With this in mind, many people have success reversing adverse symptoms like rashes, IBS, fatigue, etc (SO MANY), once they remove gluten from their diet.  I grew up with canker sores, weird rashes, and eczema so, avoiding inflammation (and gluten) is in my best interest.
  4. Close friends with celiac disease so it is easier for everybody to find a gluten free delicious option!

While as you could see from the video, a gluten free diet is not recommended for the general public because it tends to have less nutrients. Be a savvy shopper and let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy those intact whole grains and plant yums! xx

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Vegan Brunch: True Bistro with STEPH’S PLATE + Why Try A Vegan Restaurant?

First of all, I am so honored to have met Steph from Steph’s Plate! She is such a doll you must watch her videos and get inspired on IG.  Secondly, True Bistro is one of the most classy vegan restaurants I have ever been to.  It is definitely swanky enough for impressing a date, yet not intimidatingly so.  Their lunch menu offers brunch options of waffles, crepes, tofu scrambles, as well as classic sandwiches with burgers, salads, and they feature incredible sweets like local FoMu ice cream and fresh cinnamon buns.

 

Steph ordered the crepes with FoMu lavender ice cream and blueberry compote, I went for the more savory mushroom and red pepper tofu scramble with fresh home fries, salad, and a side of their smokey mac and cheese.  Steph’s crepes were incredible.  They didn’t, you know, “taste vegan” at all!  It was so good, like an incredible dessert to me!  My scramble had such a refined savory flavor profile, I was really impressed.  It didn’t taste like eggs necessarily but the combo of herbs and veggies were brilliant- so delicious.  The mac and cheese I actually got to take home for my sister (the cheese lover). It had a LOT of smokey flavor, almost sausage-y.  Anyone who enjoys those smokey tones would adore it.  Can’t wait to try the waffles and I must go for dinner!

 

4 Reasons: Try A Vegan Restaurant:

1. Plant Foods In Your Diet

A whole foods plant based diet has been shown to be the most effective at preventing and reversing disease. According to the USDA’s Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines:

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2. Environmental Impact

It is without a doubt that eating more plant based meals is more sustainable for the long term and environmentally friendly. As described in the USDA’s Scientific Report, and watch Dr. Michael Gregor’s Video:

3. Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer

Saturated fat and cholesterol are well known for their association with causing the leading causes of death: heart disease and cancer.  Fortunately, plant based diets high in whole foods with fiber containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

4. Get Inspired

Once you find out how delicious plant foods can really be, you are much more likely to want to get in the kitchen and start cooking!  Keep trying more restaurants and dishes, and before you know it, every meal will be whole foods, plant based, and simply divine.

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The Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life | Vegan, Cheap, Meat Eater Approved

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Last week I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington DC for a plant based dietitian job interview at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.  They had me stay at their guest house, The Baker House, with interns who are occupants there for the summer.  If you haven’t already heard of the PCRM, it is an organization whose mission is ultimately to provide evidence based expertise to save the world. You can imagine how nervous/excited this wanna-be superhero was for this interview!!!

Back to the ziti- The ladies residing at The Baker House, Sofie and Catherine, are two brilliant, friendly, open minded vegans that became my close friends insanely quickly.  Catherine has made this dish a bunch of times and raved how it is always a win. Girl- you got that right!  Pool money to make dinner and eat it together!? Of course!!! Which lead me to enjoy the dish that I am sure will get anyone to give more vegan meals a try. Thank you ladies!

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Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life

Adapted from One Green Planet’s Recipe

Ingredients (total cost at Whole Foods: $21)

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 24oz jar marinara sauce (we used an organic fat-free option plus some that was already open in the fridge)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella shreds (we used 1 bag of daiya shredded mozzarella)
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast or vegan grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (we used 1/2 of a container of tofutti)

Steps

  1. Boil water and cook ziti to manufacturer’s instructions and preheat oven to 425*F
  2. For ‘ricotta’: crumble tofu in a large bowl and add in nutritional yeast (or parmesan), salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and cream cheese. Mix fully with a fork or large spoon.
  3. Mix the cooked pasta, most of the marinara sauce, and ricotta in a large bowl
  4. In a large baking pan, add some marinara to line the bottom, transfer the mixture in, and spread it out evenly.
  5. Top with the rest of the marinara and finally the layer of mozzarella shreds
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake ~20 minutes, uncover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Eat with a side of greens and those people who actually get you and still like you! 😉 xo
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Catherine, Sofie, and I eating takeout from ‘Hip City Veg’ on the Smithsonian Steps

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The Soup Everyone is Craving- Even in the Summer

Hope you had a lovely fourth!  Unfortunately, after the stress of the RD (registered dietitian) exam (yes! I passed! 😀), I have not given myself a break and managed to get a pretty nasty cold.  My 4th consisted of a couch, good books, and the most hydrating foods I could get my hands on.  I drank lots of boxed coconut water, ate an entire watermelon, and had a few oranges, cherries, and fresh picked raspberries here and there; that is all that sounded good to me.

This is what I made myself for breakfast today:

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Thai coconut curry veg amazingness.

Was going to make a green smoothie bowl of some sort, but was craving something hot and savory.  Holy **** it hit the spot. It would be a disservice not to blog about it.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

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Serves ~6 people. 2 ladles per serving.

Ingredients:

Keep in mind I did not measure anything. I am amazed at myself- this is truly a special moment. Perseverance and practice make progress. ! Feel it out, use what you’ve got in the fridge, and at first tread lightly with the spices and continue to add until you’ve got the mastermind punch of spice that you desire. 🙂 Throw some fun in too. Makes it taste better.

  • 2/3 box of low sodium vegetable broth
  • half of a 1lb bag of baby carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic (used the tiny holes on the cheese grater to finely mince)
  • 1 large marble sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled (used the tiny holes on the cheese grater to finely mince)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • ~1/2 tsp cayenne (you can always add more if needed)
  • ~2/3 tsp turmeric
  • ~2/3 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 boiled potato, peeled and cubed (I always have boiled potatoes in the fridge, yum!)
  • 1/4 head cauliflower, rough chop
  • 1/4 can of Eden’s black soy beans (mom meant to get black beans, w.e)
  • 4 handfuls of baby kale, roughly chopped (I am so lazy I just ripped it up with my hands)
  • fresh mint and lime to top / garnish
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The products I used

Steps: this is how I made it, I am sure there are better ways…

  1. Pour the veg broth in a med/large pot and bring to a boil with the carrots. (If you decide to substitute winter squash or sweet potato for carrot, I still recommend putting these in first to boil, as well as maybe your cubed potato if it is not pre-boiled already). This allows the carrots to cook and get soft and sweet, as well as add some flavor to the broth.
  2. While waiting for the boil, with the smallest setting on a cheese grater (or just mince), grate the garlic and ginger into the pot. Add in onions, coconut milk, and spices. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes, and turn down heat to simmer.
  3. Add in the celery, boiled potato, cauliflower, and black beans. Let simmer about 2-5 minutes.
  4. I actually put the chopped kale in my serving dish and ladled the soup on top of the kale. I don’t want my kale to lose its beautiful green color or nutrients. Definitely add that in last, after you turn off the heat.
  5. Enjoy with fresh mint and a generous squeeze of lime! Yum!

Make it your own!

I did not plan on making soup today, I simply used the random veggies I had in the fridge and things I happen to find in the cupboard.  Play with different vegetables that you might have like bell peppers, zucchini, basil, idk, mm brown rice? Go crazy with it! Nom nom! xoxo much love and good health to you and to me!!

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5 Vegan Barbecue Family Favorites | Burgers, Mac N’ Cheese, Cornbread, Fries, Grilled Veggies

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The thought of grilling gatherings used to give me the heebie jeebies! As a vegetarian / vegan / high raw / w.e., I try to stay away from the classic American foods.  These recipes are absolutely perfect for meat heads and vegan, gluten-free, even nut-free health nuts alike 😉 .  Last year I made my favorite Watermelon Mint Salad. Check out the recipe video honoring my Grampa here.

1. BBQ Black Bean Burger

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This is my favorite black bean burger that I have made so far – adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers. My adapted version of the recipe is here.  I love it served with cucumber and avocado because the burger has so much flavor! The cooling veggies help to balance it out perfectly. These babies are:

  1. Easy
  2. Cheap
  3. Quick
  4. Healthy*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (I have learned in my nutrition classes that vitamins are lost when cooked in excess water or when water is drained off.  Thiamin, (aka vitamin B1) is lost as temperature or pH rises but it is more heat stable in acid, so it would be a good idea to cook rice with some lemon or lime juice, adding acidity to help retain nutrient content. Cook in amount of water that will be absorbed during cooking : 1 cup rice, use 2 cups of water.)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp each: chili powder, cumin, and paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, well rinsed, and drained
  • 1/3 cup ground rolled oats (throw some oatmeal in the blender)
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce*(Look for a BBQ sauce that is free of high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, >300mg sodium / serving. I used Annie’s Organic Original BBQ Sauce. I also really liked Sprout’s brand Pumpkin BBQ sauce that I got in the fall. Check out http://www.fooducate.com to compare BBQ sauce products to find a healthier option.)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (These also work well cooked on skillet or grill)
  2. Heat a skillet over medium with 1/2 Tbsp oil, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. To a high speed blender or food processor, add walnuts, chili powder,  cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth, but not butter.
  4. Either mash black beans with fork/mashed potato masher in a large mixing bowl or pulse them in blender or food processor.  It is nice to leave some whole beans for good texture
  5. Add cooked rice, spice-walnut mixture, sauteed onion mushroom garlic mix, maple syrup, ground oats, BBQ sauce, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until moldable dough forms.  If too dry, add a tad more BBQ sauce, if too moist, add more ground oats.  Taste and adjust seasoning as you’d like.
  6. For larger burgers, divide into 5 patties (~1/2 cup in size) or form 10 smaller burgers (~1/4 cup in size). To help form the patties, line your 1/2 or 1/4 measuing cup with plastic wrap and pack with burger mix. Press down to pack firmly, then lift out by the plastic wrap’s edge, and use hands to flatten slightly on the parchment paper, forming a 3/4 inch thick patty.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side for a total of 30-40 minutes cooking time.
  8. Serve over a toasted bun with all the fixin’s like thin cucumber, avocado, tomato, and red onion 😛

2. Creamy Macaroni and Peas

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This is adapted from the star item special at my home base Organic Garden Cafe ❤ It is unbelievable. My sister, (the cheese hound who without shame scrolls through #macncheese on IG on the reg), asked me to make this for her the very day I got back from my 10 day road trip from grad school in Texas.  Yup it’s that good. And it happens to be gluten free, nut free, low fat, high fiber, cheap, and effortless!

Serves about 6:

  • 1 cauliflower, roughly chop into large florets
  • 1 yellow onion, discard outer layer and chop into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 12 oz dry elbow macaroni pasta (I like using brown rice pasta!)
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  1. Steam onion and cauliflower until super tender (about 30 minutes) and boil elbow macaroni to manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Combine steamed vegetables with salt, pepper, olive oil, and nutritional yeast, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor S blade or high speed blender and blend until creamy creamy baby
  3. Pour sauce over macaroni and peas and mix well. Transfer to casserole dish for serving.
  4. Garnish with paprika, parsley, and serve to the cheese lovers in your life!

In the photo above, I used 12oz bag bionaturae brand elbows for the gluten free pasta, I thought it was pretty good! I always try new brands, what is your favorite??

3. Blueberry Corn Bread

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My mother adapted this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen’s Sunny Corn Muffins and she usually serves it with chili as in the recipe here. My mom puts in less sugar and apple sauce instead of yogurt.

Yield: 24 mini muffins

  • 1 C gluten free all purpose flour (I used a brown rice GF mix)
  • 1 C corn flour
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 3/4 C non-dairy milk
  • 2 Tbls apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C blueberries
  • fine grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F and grease 2 mini muffin tins with coconut oil
  2. Combine dry ingredients (except blueberries) and wet ingredients in separate bowls and whisk separately.  Fold into dry and halfway through mixing, add in blueberries and distribute well.
  3. Pour in 8 inch pan and sprinkle a little sugar on top.
  4. Bake for ~18-20 minutes. Mmm sweet cornbread perfection

4. Sweet Potato Fries

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The image above is one sweet potato and one purple potato.

  • Cut into fries.
  • Thrown in a bowl
  • Tossed with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and a few dashes of cinnamon
  • Baked on parchment paper at 410* F for mm 30-40 mins?  Nope, didn’t even time it. Just make sure they’re soft to perfection.

It is that easy. I LOVE cinnamon on my sweet potatoes but you can certainly get creative and use paprika, or herbs.. spice it up to match your flavah. Ginger powder would have been bomb too.

5. Grilled Vegetables

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I have never and will never operate an actual giant grill. These were made in the panini press at 375*F. (Thank you college life #necessity=invention). Just greased the press lightly with coconut oil, and threw on some sliced mushroom, eggplant, and peeled asparagus, and BOOM!  Nope, didn’t  put any spices.  Feel free to show me up and let me know what you did!  If you are capable of operating an actual grill, my favorite veggies on a skewer are onions, red bell pepper, and zucchini. Yumm. !

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Well, there you have it! Let me know how your memorial day weekend festivities go. Feel free to comment below, follow me @reinesandshine on instagram / twitter, and contact me anytime at reinesandshine@gmail.com. Cheers to life in good health! Enjoy!

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Rainbow Ginger Citrus Zoodles | Raw, Vegan, Simple, Delicious.

The research I am doing for my graduate program is on plant foods and cancer- I am on cloud 8374378457 with all the EUREKA WHATT research that is out there!! Sulforaphane in broccoli, sweet potato protein, flavanols in cacao, cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, the plant kingdom cures cancer!! Amazing! The best is to get organic and picked ripe because plants produce natural components called salvestrols to protect themselves from harm similarly to how the plant foods protect us.  It. Is. Unbelievable. Potent cancer killers without harming the body, truly healing it. Mind, body, spirit, immunity, vitality, sustainability ❤ Eat the rainbow, reap the success, love, beauty, and happiness *starstruck*

Rainbow Citrus Zoodles

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The Noodles:

  • 4 small zucchini, spiralized
  • 2-3 medium carrots, spiralized
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 purple cabbage leaves, sliced thin

The Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh scallion
  • a quarter sized chunk of ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini
  1. Combine noodles in a large bowl
  2. Blend sauce ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth
  3. Drizzle over noodles, mix and devour with some people you love!

History in the Making: Dietitians of South Texas Tour Their New 100% Organic Grocery Store

In a city of McDonalds, Whataburger, Wal-Mart, obesity and diabetes, a world saving beacon of health and sustainability opens; fully equipped with the highest quality produce/products, demonstration kitchen, vitamins/herbs/supplements, beauty products, books, and, it’s love!

natural grocers
Natural Grocers 100% Organic Grocery Opens March 15, 2016

Today, I had the opportunity to get a tour of the store with the Corpus Christi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics group lead by the wonderful dietitian there, Kelsey. I was extremely impressed by this tour. A grocery store tour to dietitians? Please, as if they could learn anything more, but we all did! Like how Kelsey pointed out that the hemp seeds, walnuts, and other unstable fats are kept in the refrigerated section (polyunsaturated fats become rancid very easily, creating free radicals, so they must be kept cool). I have learned this previously but I have never seen a grocery store actually put their nuts and seeds in the refrigerator!

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The sign above us says, “100% organic produce,” yes, I am the obnoxious intern that made everybody get in front of the produce section and asked the cashier to take our picture 🙂

The Tour~

Kristen gave us all a LONG list of things that Natural Grocers will NOT carry.  Including ingredients that I am quite familiar with like GMOs (genetically modified organisms), hydrogenated oils (trans fats), bleached flours, parabens (mimic estrogen and cause reproductive disorders), dairy products from cows given rBGH (recombinant  Bovine Growth Hormone), artificial sweeteners (all of them), and artificial colors and flavors, as well as so many that I have seen before but even (a nutrition nerd grad student studying nutrition) have seen but no clue what they are!

Ingredients like DBP (dibutyl phthalate) which is a fragrance ingredient, plasticizer, and solvent that is a reproductive and developmental toxin, endocrine disruptor, and a known human respiratory toxin.  Also, BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are preservatives that have been shown to be carcinogenic and cause allergic reactions in humans.  I could go on..This place doesn’t even carry chemical based sunscreens or antibacterial soaps! Amen!

A few more reasons why I’m in love with this place:

  • No bags, you have to bring your own! (or they use a cardboard box)
  • GF (gluten free) items are all marked clearly next to price on shelf
  • Local is emphasized and marked clearly with a Texas flag on shelf
  • Lots of cheap “Health Hotline” sale items
  • Bulk specialty items from mulberries and goji berries to raw buckwheat groats
  • WIDE variety of vegan items
  • Reverse osmosis water filter, only $0.25 to refill a gallon
  • Nutrition experts- these people know their stuff!
  • To reduce waste and cut cost of items: no deli/freshly prepared items (ever wonder where all the fresh baked goods from Whole Foods goes at the end of the day? Yup, in the trash #wasteful. !
  • No self serve bulk bins but still has large packages of items in bulk – reduces contamination and food waste
  • Huge wall of shelves with high quality nutritional reference and cookbooks

They even have cool events like this Saturday they have a gluten free tasting expo and health fair! Aw chocolate avocado pie food demo, and “How to live an alkaline lifestyle” is on Monday April 11th. Check out their website for more info on events.

A little bit about my internship…

I can’t believe it, I completed my food service and community rotations last semester and am now half way through my clinical rotation! Eeek! As a snob from the Boston area who  works at a raw vegan cafe called “Organic Garden Cafe” back home, I was nervous that I wouldn’t get to learn new innovations of nutrition while working as an intern in a program that emphasizes the low income communities of South Texas.

I could not be more pleasantly surprised and excited about my feelings towards this internship right now.  It brings me such joy and power to have worked with the people of this community. Diabetics who do not know what a carbohydrate is, teen mom’s going out for a cigarette, and people who are truly afraid to lose weight because they have (and their family and friends) have always been big, so if they lost weight, what would they think!? Many of these people do not want to change, and even if they did, where to even start? As my sister, the writer, put it, “You need to learn the script before you can re-write a new one.

My clinical preceptor now, Shannon Aguilar, has helped me to not only be a much more confident clinical dietitian, but to take it a step further, too.  It is one thing to study nutrition, it is quite another to actually care enough to reflect on our own lives and practice what we preach.  My preceptor, Mrs. Aguilar, is more than a dietitian, she is also a health coach, and helped me to see how important it is to learn who our audience is before we try to help.

Seeing a grocery store like this open in Boston or Vermont would have been a, yawn. Another natural grocery? But, HERE! I get to see history in the making. These people having access to this kind of world saving expertise is dream come true for me.

There is something really cool about the idea of helping people who really need it AND want it. I could talk coconut oil and kale to the organic junkies back home all day every day, but that doesn’t reverse our obesity epidemic now does it? I may have thought that my second round match was a mistake, but actually, it was the best eye-opening and invigorating experience.  To be able to explain what a carbohydrate is to someone who has no clue? Check. Next: to reverse their disease through diet and lifestyle! No matter where I end up, I hope to make a positive impact and continue to be pleasantly surprised by all that I learn from the experience.

Spring Rolls + Peanut Sauce. Whole Food Ingredients Only.

This peanut sauce though. Yum. !

I made these the weekend my beautiful friend Ally came to visit. She LOVED them! These rolls are STUFFED with nothing but veggies and whole plant foods in all their glory. I love this peanut sauce recipe because it tastes BETTER than the processed ish without all the preservatives, colors, oils, salt, sugar, or anything that might make me, you know, depressed! Only happiness fuel for every cell here ladies and gentlemen!

spring rolls

Vietnamese Soft Rolls + Peanut Sauce

Adapted from the Organic Garden Cafe

Spring Rolls:

  • Rice wrappers stuffed with:
  • Purple cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Red bell pepper
  • Sweet potato
  • Kale
  • Scallion
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Brown rice

Peanut Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (1 ingredient only: PEANUTS)
  •  juice of 1.5-2 limes
  • large marble to golf ball chunk of fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 8 oz pitted moist dates
  • 2/3 cup simmering hot water
  • dash of chili flakes

Blend in high speed blender or food processor until smooth