Ahh hemp seeds! One of the most nutrient dense little foods out there. With anti-inflammatory omegas, packed with protein and iron. Look out world hemp milk is going to make a lean mean hulk outta you! 1 cup of this milk recipe has got about:
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.
How to tell if the product is WHOLE GRAIN?
Whole grain stamp is on the package
“100%” or “Whole” are used to describe it
The first ingredient listed is a whole grain
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, 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.
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#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
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#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.
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#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!
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#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 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:
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.
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).
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.
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
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:
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.
School, work, packing for kids, or just want easy healthy lunch ideas; I’ve got you covered! Three of my favorite and most simple lunch combos. Watch this video to get the tips, snacks, and full recipes.
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!
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:
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
Serves ~6 people. 2 ladles per serving.
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
Steps: this is how I made it, I am sure there are better ways…
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.
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.
Add in the celery, boiled potato, cauliflower, and black beans. Let simmer about 2-5 minutes.
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.
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!!
Meal prep is so much easier with whole plant foods. Boil some rice, some beans, steam some potatoes, chop some veggies, and BOOM. You’ve got a bowl of medicinal magic food.
Greens, 1-2 cups
Leafy green vegetables should be the base of the meal because they are so abundant in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, omega healthy fats, antioxidants.. the list goes on. Try massaging some kale or collards that are high in calcium, or go for softer lettuces like spinach, arugula or romaine.
Whole Grains and Beans, 1/2 cup
Whole grains and beans are basically seeds. They are incredible sources of minerals, protein and fiber. Whole grains and beans are both complex carbs, meaning they release their energy slowly to keep you feeling perfectly stable throughout the day, straying away from blood sugar spikes and crashes causing cravings or feeling like you need a nap. For whole grains, try quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, or millet, and for beans, I love black beans, lentils, pinto beans, and chickpeas.
Veggies, 1/2 cup
Eat the rainbow! Whatever veggies are on sale, grab em! I always have sweet potatoes on hand. They are cheap, and happen to be my FAVORITE sweet little things ever. I also adore purple cabbage, red bell pepper, zucchini, tomato, the list goes on!
Toppings, 1-2 Tbsp
Ok, lemon or lime juice = essential topping! Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in citrus is necessary for absorption of non-heme (plant based, ferric) iron! My favorite toppings also would be avocado, healthy fats are necessary for absorption of fat soluble vitamins D, A, E, and K. I also love chopped nuts like walnuts, ooo raisins, seeds, and of course chopped fresh herbs like dill, basil, mint, or parsley to add a pop of flavor. Also, if I have marinara or hummus in the fridge, that is also an easy go-to topping for me.
Healthy isn’t about all the supplements, spirulina, and pricy goji berries. Health incorporates the mind as well, including relationships, and mindset around food. Remove the guilt, allow yourself to fully enjoy! I hope this post helps you to make a meal you truly love that you can feel good about eating regularly for a well-balanced, plant based lifestyle. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. 🙂
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
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 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.)
Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (These also work well cooked on skillet or grill)
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.
To a high speed blender or food processor, add walnuts, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth, but not butter.
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
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.
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.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side for a total of 30-40 minutes cooking time.
Serve over a toasted bun with all the fixin’s like thin cucumber, avocado, tomato, and red onion 😛
2. Creamy Macaroni and Peas
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
Steam onion and cauliflower until super tender (about 30 minutes) and boil elbow macaroni to manufacturer’s instructions
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
Pour sauce over macaroni and peas and mix well. Transfer to casserole dish for serving.
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??
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
Preheat oven to 400*F and grease 2 mini muffin tins with coconut oil
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.
Pour in 8 inch pan and sprinkle a little sugar on top.
Bake for ~18-20 minutes. Mmm sweet cornbread perfection
4. Sweet Potato Fries
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
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. !
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers to life in good health! Enjoy!
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
4 small zucchini, spiralized
2-3 medium carrots, spiralized
1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 purple cabbage leaves, sliced thin
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
Combine noodles in a large bowl
Blend sauce ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth
Drizzle over noodles, mix and devour with some people you love!
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!
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!
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 I (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 itANDwant 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.