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

VEGAN

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!

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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

Spicy, Cheesy, Black Bean + Sweet Potato Quesadillas

It’s funny- I  really don’t like foods that are too spicy.  Currently giving myself a lil pat on the back for successfully making a dish with some definite kick, that I can eat without, you know, crying. This is one you’ve got to share with friends. Have fun, sizzle sizzleee

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Makes about 4 quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 8 whole grain tortillas, 9 inch (I used these gluten free brown rice ones)
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, boiled and skin removed (save the skin to eat later)
  • 3/4 cup no-salt-added canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if using canned)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced tiny
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • oil for cooking (like unrefined coconut or olive oil)

Steps:

  1. Using a large frying pan, heat ~1 tsp. oil over medium and sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and red bell pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl when finished cooking
  2. In the meantime, using a large bowl, mash boiled skinless sweet potato with a fork with diced tomatos and add in nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder and mix well to combine. Stir in black beans, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  3. Using the same frying pan as before, heat and spread ~1 tsp of oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla flat on the frying pan and spread ~1/2 cup of sweet potato mixture evenly over the tortilla, then spread ~1/4-1/3 cup of sauteed onion vegetable mix on top of that so it looks kinda like this:20160124_123241
  4. Place another tortilla on top, flip after ~3 minutes of cooking (to flip I placed my plate on top of the second tortilla and flipped it into my plate and slid it from the plate back onto the frying pan)
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 4 sections.  Serve with salsa and guacamole.  I made avocado cream with 1 mashed avocado and the juice from 2 limes, mixed well.  So good! Go pats!

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Picky Eater Approved Macaroni and Peas: The Creamiest, Easiest, Healthiest Mac ‘n’ Cheese Recipe Out There

Mmmm macaroni and cheese.  …It always gave me a stomach ache. -_-  I remember as a kid (my mother and sister are cheese hounds!) my mom would make this incredible baked gourmet mac n cheese. The kind with like 7 kinds of expensive cheese in it and the perfectly herbed bread crumbs on top. Oh ya.. and I remember it used to give me such a bad stomach ache that I would actually only give myself a portion if it was on top of a pile of mixed greens, just too decedent for me I guess.  More power to you if you can stomach the stuff.  If you’re like me and would like to try a healthier alternative that the entire family will love, I am confident that this recipe will not disappoint!

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This was the most popular special ever at the organic vegan restaurant I work at in Boston, Organic Garden Cafe. I made it for a friend for their family Christmas party (huge family with lots of kiddos!). Toss your qualms of handing over two massive casserole dishes of cauliflower based  “mac ‘n’ peas” out the window! This stuff is GOOD! Clean plate club, UNITE! (Just wait until after they tell you they love it to say each serving has 2 1/2 servings of vegetables 😀 )

Serves about 6:

  • 1 cauliflower, rough 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 soft and translucent (about 15 minutes)
  2. Combine steamed vegetables with salt, pepper, olive oil, and nutritional yeast in a food processor S blade or high speed blender and blend until smooth
  3. Boil macaroni according to manufacture’s instructions and mix with peas. Pour sauce over macaroni and peas and mix well. Transfer to casserole dish for serving
  4. Top with rawmesan:
  • 2/3 cup cashew
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 very small garlic clove (or 2/3 of a medium one)
  • Paprika to garnish
  1. Grind in blender to parmesan consistency
  2. Sprinkle on top of macaroni n peas
  3. Garnish with paprika and extra love ❤
1 Serving Mac N Peas with Rawmesan (based on 6 servings)
Total Calories 487 calories
Protein 17 grams
Carbohydrate 76 grams (5 CHO exchanges)
Total Fat 13 grams:
Monounsaturated Fat 7 grams
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 grams
Linoleic Acid

Saturated fat

2 grams

2 grams

Fiber 7 grams
Cholesterol 0 mg

Nut, Ginger, and Chocolate Radiance Bars

Your search for a healthy crowd-pleasing holiday treat ends here. These are perfectly sweet and satisfying with a warming hint of ginger, and an irresistible combination of crunch and chocolatey creaminess.  Please watch the recipe video from http://www.greenkitchenstories.com for the original recipe.  It is my favorite recipe video of all time, beautiful videography ❤ and the recipe is truly delicious.

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Makes about 24 bars

  • 10 coconut date rolls
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup puffed millet
  • 1 handful walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3.5oz 60% dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Watch video
  2. Combine date rolls together by smushing them with a fork on a plate and add to a medium saucepan over low heat with coconut oil, almond butter, and grated ginger. Mix well to combine
  3. Add in millet, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and salt and mix well
  4. Line a 13” x 9” pan with parchment paper and press mixture evenly into pan
  5. Melt chocolate and spread over the top. Sprinkle with coconut flakes.
  6. Cover and freeze for about an hour. Cut into 24 bars. Store in the freezer or refrigerator.

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1 Bar (based on 24 bar yield):
Calories 140
Protein 3g
Carbohydrate 8g
Total Fat 12g
Fiber 2g
Cholesterol 0mg

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Why these bars make you radiant?

  • Sweetened with fruit with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants; preventing blood sugar spike and crash which ultimately prevents depression, fatigue, and cravings for more sugar
  • Coconut oil, although the gold standard saturated fat source, should be regarded like any other oil: a concentrated food that provides a lot of calories with limited nutrients. It’s okay to use some unrefined high-quality coconut oil when preparing special-occasion treats, but as with other oils, its use should be minimized. *read more about coconut + coconut oil in article below!
  • Almonds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cell membranes from damage; preventing disease, inflammation, muscle soreness, and keeping skin glowing preventing wrinkles
  • Ginger is well known for its powers of healing indigestion and migraine headaches. Ginger also has potent anti-inflammatory properties
  • Millet is a whole grain, a complex carbohydrate helping to maintain stable energy levels throughout the day. It also has protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Walnuts contain the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which convert to the most abundant fatty acid in our brains, DHA. Omega-3s in the diet improve focus and cognitive function, and they have also been shown to decrease inflammation leading to heart disease.
  • Raw pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of minerals like zinc, which is important for immune system function as well as formation of proteins and DNA. Pumpkin seeds also have vitamins like the antioxidant vitamin E mentioned previously.
  • Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are part of a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These flavonoids may decrease oxidation (damage) from LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Also, chocolate contains many minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium

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*Coconut Oil Info:

“Few foods have been at once as maligned and acclaimed as coconut oil. Because it’s the most concentrated source of saturated fat in the food supply—even higher than lard or butter—some view it as a notorious health villain. Not surprisingly, it rests atop the “avoid” column of mainstream healthy-heart-food lists.

Others view coconut oil as a fountain of youth and the greatest health discovery in decades. These advocates claim that coconut oil can provide therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes, digestive disturbances, heart disease, high blood pressure, HIV, kidney disease, osteoporosis, overweight, Parkinson’s disease, and many other serious conditions. So what’s the truth?

Based on the available science, coconut oil is neither a menace nor a miracle food. Coconut oil should be regarded like any other oil: a concentrated food that provides a lot of calories with limited nutrients. It’s okay to use some high-quality coconut oil when preparing special-occasion treats, but as with other oils, its use should be minimized. On the other hand, whole coconut should be treated in much the same way as other high-fat plant foods—enjoyed primarily as a whole food. As such, it’s loaded with fiber, vitamin E, and healthful phytochemicals, and has powerful antimicrobial properties.

The relative health effects of coconut oil consumption remain somewhat uncertain. Some people believe that eating coconut oil does no harm because it’s cholesterol-free; others claim it’s harmful because it lacks essential fatty acids. But we can’t ignore the fact that in many parts of the world where coconut and coconut oil are the principal sources of dietary fat, the rates of chronic disease, including CAD, are low. There is one major caveat: the benefits seem to apply only when coconut products are consumed as part of a diet rich in high-fiber plant foods and lacking processed foods.

The people of the Marshall Islands provide a poignant example. The traditional Marshallese diet employed a wide variety of coconut products, which furnished an estimated 50 to 60 percent of total calories. Seventy years ago, when this diet was standard fare, diabetes was pretty much unheard of. When their indigenous diet gave way to a Western-style diet of processed foods and fatty animal products, diabetes rates escalated even though coconut products continued to be featured prominently in the diet.

Coconut oil is so often blacklisted by health-care providers mainly because approximately 87 percent of its fat is saturated. Many people imagine saturated fat as a single tyrant that clogs arteries, but different types of saturated fats exist. They contain fatty acid chains whose lengths contain from 4 to 30 carbon atoms. Depending on the length of the carbon chain, these fatty acids have very different effects on blood cholesterol levels and on health.

The most common saturated fatty acids are lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Their carbon-chain length and main food sources are:

  • lauric acid (12 carbon atoms): coconut, coconut oil, palm kernel oil
  • myristic acid (14 carbon atoms): dairy products, coconut, palm oil, palm kernel oil, nutmeg oil
  • palmitic acid (16 carbon atoms): palm oil, animal fats
  • stearic acid (18 carbon atoms): cocoa butter, mutton fat, beef fat, lard, butter

Saturated fatty acids with 12 to 16 carbon atoms increase LDL cholesterol levels, while 18-carbon stearic acid doesn’t. However, stearic acid isn’t completely off the hook; some evidence shows high intakes could adversely affect other CVD risk factors, such as lipoprotein(a) and certain clotting factors.

As it happens, approximately three-quarters of the fat in coconut oil comprises saturated fatty acids known to raise blood cholesterol levels: 15 percent is saturated fatty acids with small carbon chains (6 to 10 carbon atoms), 47 percent is lauric acid, 18 percent is myristic acid, 9 percent is palmitic acid, and 3 percent is stearic acid. Case closed?

Well, not exactly. The predominant fatty acid, lauric acid, does raise total cholesterol, but it appears to raise HDL cholesterol to an even greater extent than LDL cholesterol, favorably altering the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol. In addition, lauric acid is converted in the body into monolaurin, a powerful antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic compound—and coconut oil is among the richest food sources of lauric acid. There’s also evidence that coconut products have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. However, the compounds responsible (which include a variety of phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids) are largely eliminated when coconut oil is refined.”

– See more at: http://plantbaseddietitian.com/coconut-oil-menace-or-miracle/#sthash.ld9rrM3w.dpuf

6 Tips to Positive Self Talk

Look good, feel good. Honored to have an article published on my fashionable friend: Kelly Schneider’s blog diamondsfordimes where she shows how to make all the latest looks affordable. Check it out!  Thinking about my love for fashion, I am reminded of the dark side. The perfectionist part of me that always wished my waist was smaller and my boobs were bigger.. anyone out there relate? Let’s love ourselves in our own skin! Gawd Dangit!

6 Tips to Positive Self Talk:

fullydressed

Here are some tips to turn off those thoughts going off in our heads that are just, unnecessary. Since I began making these simple changes, I have been feeling more free and beautiful everyday. I hope that you feel the same.

  1. Notice Negativity: The first step to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is noticing the negative thoughts in the first place. Those thoughts we throw around casually, “This sucks”, “I’m so dumb.” We all do it. Once we notice it happening, we can harness it and change how we think, “I am growing and learning from my mistakes.”
  2. Get the Gratitude Attitude: Instead of thinking about what we don’t have, let’s focus on what we do Try thinking through things to be grateful for when the negative thoughts come.
  3. The Opinion That Matters: The approval from others may seem important, but actually the approval from that we give ourselves is what really matters. The opinions of others will always change, but our opinions of ourselves will last a lifetime.
  4. Embrace Uniqueness: Remember in middle school when all we wanted was to fit in? Well, in adulting, only the standouts are the successful ones. Embrace what makes you special and use it to your advantage. Only after doing this can we create the best version of ourselves.
  5. Practice Self Care: Eating healthily, keeping good hygiene habits, and doing physical activity that we enjoy regularly will effortlessly add up to a positive outlook on life.
  6. Are your peeps positive? Notice the influence of others; it is easy to chime in when people are complaining. Try to be that one voice that says, “hey, things really aren’t all that bad, I’m not going to let that ruin my day.”

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Fashion is nothing without a healthy body to show it off. I hope this article helped you to take control of your health and well being to shine every day in your own beautiful way. ❤

From Life is Rawesome to Reines and SHINE – What’s Behind The Change?

Today is an exciting day! I am saying good bye to Life Is Rawesome and will embrace the new name of Reines and SHINE.  While life still is in fact RAWESOME and I think I will always promote a high raw, plant-based lifestyle, there has been confusion about 100% raw and I would prefer my site to be a little more personalized.

With this new brand, I am launching a health revolution — a challenge.  Reines and Shine embraces the idea that every day is a new opportunity to make a change for the better.  Whether it be to change negative thoughts to positive ones, or to reduce our soda consumption, every little change counts.

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The Reines and SHINE Mission:

We are grateful for the world and the opportunity to enjoy it. We must do what we can to not destroy it.  Our bodies are beautiful, strong, and courageous.  The self-healing power of food isn’t outrageous.  At 22 years young, learning to dance in the rain.  I am a dietetic intern, who feels frustration and pain. This world requires a health revolution.  It is up to you to contribute to the solution. Use what we have to make the most of our existence, every little change can make a really big difference. ❤

While this blog has been like a baby, I have seen it grow, and saying goodbye is making me kind of emotional right now, I don’t ever want to stop growing.  But at the end of the day, I know it isn’t about me.  It’s about saving the lives of the masses by inspiring to live a healthy lifestyle. Trying one recipe on my blog will improve personal and environmental health; for vibrancy, and sustainability. Any opportunity I have to inspire somebody to save his or her life is an opportunity I simply can’t miss.  This blog gave me that opportunity.  I could not be more grateful.

Thank you so much for following, I hope I have helped you somehow, and I invite you to continue following at http://www.reinesandshine.wordpress.com.  I am excited about lots of ideas.  While I am still in grad school, it may be a slow start, but hopefully in a couple of years I will really be able to dedicate time to pumping out beautiful informative content for all to enjoy ❤

May you find balance, love, success, health, and happiness for ever, ever, and EVER!

xo Katie Reines

Zucchini Linguini with Sweet Potato and Quinoa | Gluten Free, Vegan, Mostly Raw

Zucchini Linguini

Rawctober Pasta

Hello October!  While at home back in MA, the curvy streets covered with overhung trees are probably glowing red, yellow, and orange.  Here in South Texas, the palm trees are still green, blowing a warm breeze.  No matter where I am, October will always welcome the grounding, snuggly, sweater weather that requires something orange in every recipe.  This simple pasta dish provides a creamy sauce with earthy tones and a variety of textures that can be served hot or cold- perfect for Mama back home and my friends here in the heat 🙂 Balance our chemistry, hydrate these cells!  Enjoy ❤

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Serves 2, One portion: 350 calories, 15g protein, 51g carbohydrate, 12g healthy fat

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis, spiralized
  • 2 leaves of kale, chiffonaded
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 key limes or 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 sweet potato, boiled
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sprouted lentils

Steps:

  1. Chiffonade kale and spiralize zucchini. If you don’t have a spiralizer, a potato peeler works great for making nice long thick noodles
  2. Blend lime juice, tomato, and avocado, (and if you have any herbs like italian seasoning or fresh basil, thyme, or sage, throw some of that in! That’s be SO GOOD!) in blender or small food processor until creamy
  3. In a large bowl, combine kale, zucchini, and sauce and mix
  4. Dice the boiled sweet potato and add it to the bowl. Also add quinoa and sprouted lentils
  5. Serve with sunflower seeds, lime, and grilled okra (I baked mine on a lightly greased with coconut oil pan on 350F for about 15-20 minutes, just to get it tender, I love the stuff raw too!)

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