11 Ways to Improve Endurance

 

So you wanna be a superhero? Me too. Let’s start with endurance.  I’ve got the research, now all you have to do is put in the effort. Here’s my 11 tips:

1. Train

Think you have to keel over to improve your endurance? Think again. According to the ACE Personal Trainer Manual 5th edition, studies have shown that endurance improvement favored those who had performed more zone 1 training.

80% of training should be done at intensities where speech is comfortable (zone 1) and only about 10% of training should be performed at intensities above VT2 (zone 3, where blood lactate increases significantly).

It would make sense that this 80% zone 1 training should, for the most part, be performed relatively high in zone 1.  So, if you are just getting into endurance activities like running, just getting started will improve your endurance.  However, to really get your speed up and improve, get a little uncomfortable with the “talk test.” Can you sing comfortably while you are running? If you can, then you can definitely try to go a little faster. Get on those hills, and laugh fearlessly at your struggles!

2. Hydrate

Did you know that muscles are 70-75% water? That’s right! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, muscle is only 15-20% protein, 5-7% fat, glycogen, and minerals.

Why is hydration important?

  • Temperature regulation
  • Blood volume + blood pressure
  • Keep organs, kidneys, cells, working optimally
  • Prevent dehydration

Things to consider:

  • Weather
  • Clothing
  • Your personal sweaty-ness

According to the American Counsel on Exercise (ACE):

  • ~4 hours before the event, drink 3-4 cups of water + weigh yourself
  • > during the event: definitely varies, but drink about ½ cup water every 20 minute
  • after event drink about 2 cups of water for every pound that you lost during the event

IMPORTANT: Prevent depletion in electrolytes like sodium and potassium as those are necessary for muscle contraction and blood pressure regulation which, if low can cause cramping, twitching and even heart issues. These electrolytes may be excreted with sweat

In general, water alone should be fine to rehydrate, but if it is extra humid or you lose 3% or more body weight during the event I recommend a natural electrolyte beverage like coconut water and / or datorade.

Dateorade:

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ lime or lemon, juiced
  • 2-3 dates
  • maybe a pinch of Himalayan salt or dulse flakes

Blend for about 1 minute. This provides natural sources of electrolytes, antioxidants and nutrients without the added colors, flavors, or refined sugars and is a great go-to beverage before, during, and after an event.

3. Carb Load Correctly

FACT: Activity that lasts longer than several hours depletes glycogen stores. Carbohydrates consumed during exercise helps endurance athletes maintain a fast pace; fat is used more efficiently for fuel as exercise continues. Protein is a very minor fuel source during endurance exercise.

PROTEIN: it is important for repairing tissues, making enzymes + hormones, transporting nutrients, making muscles contract, regulating water balance. However, if you don’t consume enough carbs for your high energy demands, the body will use protein for energy instead which is EXTREMELY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO YOUR PHYSICAL GOALS! Although protein may supply energy, extra amounts are not your best fuel. While carbs are stored in the muscle and liver as glycogen to be used for quick energy, excess protein is stored as fat, and not used for energy if you already consume enough calories. In general, protein should supply 10-35% of overall calorie intake which is met easily without powders or supplements in a balanced whole foods plant based diet. Since athletes usually eat more with a good appetite, they easily get the protein and nutrients they need. Protein requires more fluid in order to be metabolized because we need to excrete the toxic nitrogenous waste as urea so can lead to kidney issues, dehydration, cramping, and fatigue.

Energy need for endurance sports depends on body size, duration of activity, and overall effort. An elite athlete may need 4000-6000 calories daily, chosen from a high carbohydrate diet. Don’t worry about calculating your protein because if you are eating a balanced diet of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, and are eating enough calories, the protein in these foods will add up to be enough protein.

7 days before the event:

  • Days 1-3 Moderate-CHO diet of around 55% of calories, in general, recommendations are 45-65% of calories should come from carbohydrates
  • Days 4-6 Increase to high carbohydrate diet of about 80% of calories
  • Dinner before the event: >80% calories from carbohydrates

4. Four Hours Out:

Simple balanced meal should be fine. Try to keep it around 500 calories and under to prevent fatigue and slow gastric emptying. If you are nervous it is ok to eat less and eat more simple carbs like fruit or fruit juice 1-2 hours before the event

5. Pre Workout

While what you eat pre-workout is very important, it is essential that the previous workout was properly recovered from and that we eat a healthy balanced diet with adequate calories and nutrients on a daily basis.

Day of the event: If in the morning, I recommend staying light with datorade or fruit juice beverage. Within 1-2 hours of event, The food eaten should be around 200-300 calories, high in carbohydrate to maximize blood glucose availability, and low in fat and fiber to minimize GI distress and facilitate gastric emptying, it should be moderate to low in protein, and known to be well tolerated by you. A go to for before, during, and after workouts.

6. During Event

During extended training sessions, lasting longer than 1 hour, and especially in extreme heat, cold or high altitude, exercisers should consume 30-60g CHO / hr of training to maintain blood glucose levels.

30-60 grams of carbs looks like:

  • 1 large ripe banana
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 5-6 dates.

7. Post Workout

Eat in abundance! It is counterproductive for endurance athletes to restrict. The best meals post workout include an abundance of carbohydrates accompanied by some protein. ACE recommends about 2.2 grams of carbs for each pound of body weight to be eaten within the first 30 minutes after exercise and then every 2 hours for 4-6 hours. A diet of whole plant foods consisting of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruit that is sufficient in calories should provide adequate post-workout carbohydrates and protein.

8. Prevent Pain

Prevent oxidative stress and reduce cell damage and muscle pain with: Antioxidants

  • Antioxidant power aka the power to protect our cells from damage was significantly increased with banana beverage versus plain carbohydrate beverage
  • Cherry juice was shown to decrease perceived pain significantly in runners versus placebo cherry flavored drink
  • There are lots of studies out there on various plant foods, when choosing fuel to prevent pain, recover quickly I recommend whole plant foods

9. Improve Oxygen Utilization

Yes, Nitrates are components in plant foods like beets, spinach, celery, and arugula that can cause athletes to perform intensely with less oxygen needed. Crazy!

In a study with cyclists, beet juice compared to current juice improved oxygen utilization by a whopping 20% which is quite significant. Drinking beet juice is so powerful that it can bring someones high blood pressure down within 3 hours. Also, pharmaceutical companies use this concept for patients with chest pain to help with blood flow. These drugs are called nitroglycerines. You know another nitrate drug? It’s called Viagra and it certainly improves blood flow but you might as well just eat your vegetables.

How do nitrates work? Bacteria in our saliva convert it to nitric oxide. HOWEVER be sure to not use antibacterial mouth wash because this has been shown to deplete healthy mouth bacteria and therefore inhibit the conversion of nitrate to nitric oxide to allow us to oxygenate our blood.

10. Build Blood

Think you don’t need to eat your greens? Ever been to a smoothie joint that sold wheatgrass shots? One thing that wheatgrass juice is dense in is that dark green pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has been shown to increase hemoglobin in anemic rabbits. Hemoglobin is the component of blood that carries oxygen and as you can see is very similar to chlorophyll in dark leafy green vegetables. I recommend eating about 5 cups of leafy greens daily.

11. Adequate REST

Symptoms can be both physiological and emotional and are highly individualized.

Signs/ symptoms of overtraining:

  • decline in performance with continued training
  • sleep disturbances
  • weight loss
  • multiple colds / frequent sickness
  • irritability, restlessness, anxiousness
  • loss of motivation / vigor
  • lack of mental concentration / focus
  • lack of appreciation for things that are normally enjoyable

Best way to prevent overtraining is with periodization: alternate easy, moderate, and hard periods of training. Generally, one or two days of intense training should be followed by an equal number of easy training days. A week or two of hard training should be followed by a week or two of easier effort.

Today you learned

about hydration, the talk test, carbohydrate loading, what to eat pre, during, and post workout, how to prevent muscle soreness, how to increase oxygen utilization and how to build blood and prevent overtraining. Get out there and awaken your inner athlete! Give this video a thumbs up, leave your comments below, and remember. Deep down, you truly are a morning person. Wake up and live, Reines and shine!

Dr. Michael Greger’s “Doping with Beet Juice” : http://nutritionfacts.org/video/doping-with-beet-juice/

Dr. Michael Greger’s “Enhanced Athletic Recovery Without Undermining Adaptation” : http://nutritionfacts.org/video/enhanced-athletic-recovery-without-undermining-adaptation/

Cherry Juice Study: G. Howatson, M. P. McHugh, J. A. Hill, J. Brouner, A. P. Jewell, K. A. van Someren, R. E. Shave, S. A. Howatson. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 20(6):843 – 852.

Beet Juice Study: Bailey SJ, Winyard P, Vanhatalo A, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology. August 6, 2009. 107: 1144-1155.

Antibacterial Mouthwash and Nitric Oxide: Goconi M, Janasson E, Weitzberg E, et al. The increase in plasma nitrite after a dietary nitrate load is markedly attenuated by an antibacterial mouthwash. Elsevier. 2008. 2: 171-177.

Anemic Rabbits Study: Hughes JH, Latner AL. Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin Regeneration after Hemorrhage. Journal of Physiology. 1936. 612 (119) :338-395

Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin: Hughes JH, Latner AL. Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin Regeneration after Hemorrhage. Journal of Physiology. 1936. 612 (119) :338-395

RL Duyff. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

American Council on Exercise: https://www.acefitness.org/

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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

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.

Spaghetti Squash Stir Fry with Creamy Peanut Sauce | Oil Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

I love not following recipes, don’t you? This is just a crazy good experiment of mine inspired by Healthy is a Verb and Ambitious Kitchen.  Came out pretty bomb.  I have no idea what the exact measurements are, I was just throwing stuff together.  Feel it out, and make it with whatever veggies you like. With V day coming up, this is the perfect one to share with your hubby.  Or, save the rest for later gator! Have fun!

squashstirfry

The Stir Fry

  • 1/3 cup water, (keep a glass of water close by, this is used to prevent sticking to pan without added oil)
  • 1/3 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated finely using cheese grater or minced
  • 1 small chunk of fresh ginger, also grated finely
  • 1/3 head of broccoli with stem, chopped
  • 2-3 red cabbage leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup of mushrooms, rough chop
  • 2 leaves bok choy, thinly sliced, stem and all!
  • 1/2 roasted spaghetti squash, scraped
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped (I totally forgot about these until after I took pic and ate some of it, makes a great crunch!)
  1. If you haven’t roasted your squash yet, prehead oven to 400*F. Cut it in half the long way and place it open side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for ~45 minutes or until soft
  2. In a large frying pan over medium to high heat, heat the water, onion, garlic, and ginger, about 3-5 minutes, mixing often
  3. Throw in the broccoli, cabbage, bell pepper, and mushrooms, let it get happy for another 2 minutes
  4. Next comes the bok choy and mix another minute, feel free to add water if needed
  5. Scrape out half of the spaghetti squash (keeping seeds- yum love squash seeds!) and mix that in
  6. Mix in ~1/2 cup of peanut pinto sauce and mix until well combined
  7. Peel orange and cut it into slices perpendicular to the way the sections go to make nice little orange pieces like in the picture. Makes for a delish orange, peanut, gingery kind of asian vibe
  8. Mix in orange chunks, and top with lime to squeeze and crushed / chopped nuts. YUM!

Peanut Pinto Sauce

  • ~1/2 cup dry pinto beans, soaked for 6 hours and boiled for ~30 minutes, [or feel free to use canned no salt added pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I like Eden’s brand the best, if using Eden’s, drain, but no need to rinse)] 
  • ~1/4 cup of peanut butter (the kind with one ingredient only: Peanuts. if there are “hydrogenated oils” on the ingredients label, toss it)
  • ~2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ~1 cup boiling water (from cooking beans)
  • juice of ~1/2 lime*

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.  Not sure about the measurements but I think it would be hard to make this combo taste bad. Hope you’re hungry!

*I put lime or lemon juice on everything, for flavor, for peak iron absorption, and it makes me feel amazing!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls | Vegan, Gluten Free, Uncooked, Naughty

Remember tollhouse chocolate chip cookies??? That feeling like dag, I just want to eat the raw douughh omgg.. Just wait till you try this cookie dough replica with peanut butter. Yup. It’s crack. You’ve been warned.  These babes. Peanut. Butter. Cookie. Dough. Musical eating is allowed (moaning). BEWARE: may trigger binge eating.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

Adapted from the incredible Ambitious Kitchen’s Chickpea Blondies

Makes ~24 balls

  • 1 1/2 cups boiled chickpeas (or canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter- the kind that only has 1 ingredient: peanuts
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (try using 1/3 cup of moist pitted dates instead!)
  • 1 1/4 tsp maca powder (or vanilla extract, I don’t have vanilla and maca is like vanilla cupcakes)
  • squeeze some juice from 1/4 of a lime
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (ground powder would probably work too)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or vegan dark chocolate chips)
  • Cacao powder for dusting
  1. Put all ingredients except chopped nuts(or chocolate chips) in a food processor (S blade) or in a high speed blender like a Vitamix. Blend until smooth like cookie dough.
  2. Fold in chopped nuts with a spoon
  3. Using a tablespoon, form 24 balls and roll with your hands, set aside.
  4. Put about 1/4 cup of cacao powder in a small bowl and roll ~3-4 balls at a time in the cacao powder
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and, normally I would say share with loved ones but this one you’re going to want to hide in the back and keep them all to yourself. *see no evil* Savor in good health!

20160131_095510

1 Cookie Dough Ball According to non-italics ingredients out of 24 has:
Calories 73
Carbohydrate 7 g
Protein 3 g
Total fat 4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Fiber 2 g
Cholesterol 0 g

http://www.supertracker.usda.gov

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

vegquesadillas

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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