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.
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.
Mmmm ❤ Warming from the inside out. Home for Thanksgiving, and I am beyond grateful for the homemade vegan comfort food that my incredible mother makes. She likes to follow recipes 100% first, and then tweak them here and there.
Bob’s Red Mill Three Seed Bread for your bread machine is SO good! You know what Dr. Fuhrman says? The whiter the bread, the closer to dead. The recipe calls for more white flour than whole wheat, but my mom switched it. Here is the recipe she makes:
1 1/4 cups water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup Unbleached White Flour
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup flaxseeds
2 Tbsp sunflower kernels
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
2 Tsp active dry yeast
Add ingredients to bread machine in the order recommended by the bread machine manufacturer and select basic bread cycle. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.
Maple Balsamic Dressing
This is a Jack Tar steal ❤ If you’re ever around the Boston area, I highly recommend checking it out. Their black bean burger with no cheese and sweet potato fries is my favorite thing ever, and I literally always have that for dinner the first night back from school. They have amazing salads and vegan thai lettuce wraps too! Soo good.
Need a pick-me-up? These are the perfect little ball of energy. And, honestly, something about unsalted dry roasted peanuts and raisins makes my heart sing. If I had cocoa powder or maybe vegan chocolate chips, those would throw these balls out of this world! So, take what I made, and make it even better! xx
Makes 8 balls, about 90 calories each
1/2 cup dry rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
2 tablespoons ground flax
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Optional additions to try:
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted coconut
Blend ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor S blade until well combined
Using 1 Tablespoon to measure, roll into balls, and store in the fridge. Or, freeze for later!
Happy Sunday! This scramble is savory, satisfying, easy, and CHEAP! Use produce from your farmers market ❤ Inspired by Minimalist Baker’s tofu scramble… I invite you to take this as inspiration and run with it using whatever vegan goodies are in your kitchen to create something that makes you love yourself from the inside out feeling relaxed, cozy, and grateful :-*
1 cup chickpeas (cooked from dry, no salt or fat added)
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-small sized potato, cubed
1 leaf lacinato kale, rolled up and sliced thin
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill
1-2 tablespoons fresh green onion
Extra love ❤
Dry chick peas triple in size when you soak them so make sure they have plenty of water and plenty of room to grow when you saturate them and soak them for about 6 hours or over night. Drain chick peas, rinse, and boil them for about 30 minutes or until desired softness
Frying pan on medium to high heat, have water handy. Add a little water (enough so the potatoes don’t stick) and the cubed potatoes and mix to prevent sticking. Add water as needed
After the potatoes have gotten a little soft, add red bell peppers. Continue mixing and adding water if needed
Add kale, scallion, and dill and mix.
Measure 1 cup of chick peas and add those to the pan.
Serve with 2 cups mixed greens, 1/4 avocado and plenty of lemon or lime (the vitamin C in the citrus and the red bell pepper helps absorb all the non-heme iron!! 😀 )
Thank you Alena for this fabulous recipe. Can’t wait to try. Visit http://nutriciously.com for more info and recipes ❤
Drinking fresh, hydrating smoothies during spring or summer time is no big deal and very easy to sustain – but once the days get darker and colder, our bodies naturally crave foods which are dense and grounding. So what is a raw foodie to do once the seasons change?
The answer lies in shifting your diet away from water-rich fruits in exchange of dense foods and adding in a little more fat too. This will allow you to feel more grounded, satisfied, and full over a longer period of time, since these foods take longer to get absorbed and digested.
One of my favorite fruits that are in season during the last summer months and early fall, are figs. Though they can be bought dried and packaged all throughout the year, I love this little time gap when I can get them fresh and juicy. They look and taste very exotic – but even better are all their great benefits they add into my diet.
Figs tend to have a natural laxative effect, which helps with indigestion, constipation, and preventing colon cancer. They also support weight loss and lower cholesterol, due to their soluble fiber. Another area for which figs provide aid is the strengthening of bones, soothing sore throats, and even treat respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis or asthma. All of this is possible because they contain many beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin A and B, calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron.
The second special ingredient to make this smoothie extra creamy is cashews. Their copper is an essential component of many enzymes, whose job it is to eliminate free radicals, develop connective tissue and bones, as well as building the hair and skin pigment melanin. The heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids found in cashews have zero cholesterol and their huge amount of magnesium regulates nerve and muscle tone. But my favorite benefit is that they can actually lift up your mood and ward off anxiety as well as depression – this is a nice side effect of their tryptophan.
Are you ready for this wonderful smoothie? Let’s get started!
4 fresh figs
¼ cup cashews (soaked)
1 cup almond milk
Pinch of vanilla
Put the cashews into some filtered water a few hours before making the smoothie. Then peel the bananas, remove the date pits, take the cashews out of the water, rinse and put all the ingredients into your blender. Blend on high until smooth, pour into a glass and enjoy!
About the Author:
Alena is a food lover and health enthusiast from Germany who spends most of her time studying, writing, playing and meditating. Having read every book imaginable on healthy living, she is excited about spreading this powerful message and reaching out. When she’s not in the kitchen creating awesome meals, she likes to travel, make music or enjoy the world outside. Together with her partner, she created Raw Food Mastery where she loves to help other people to thrive on a healthy plant-based, whole food diet full of raw foods and constantly puts out new content. You can check out their free course on transitioning to a raw food diet, grab a copy of their free recipe ebook and follow them on social media via Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
What’s the number one cause of death in America? According to the CDC, it’s heart disease. The preventable, unnecessary, easily avoidable, heart disease. Half of men >65 years old are prescribed expensive statin medications that cause obnoxious side effects like muscle pain. Here’s 5 tips to decrease cholesterol naturally.
1. Minimize Dietary Cholesterol and Saturated Fat
Cholesterol is only found in animal foods like meat, dairy, eggs, butter, and mayonnaise, and products containing animal foods like pastries, ice cream, cakes, and cookies. Our livers make cholesterol to help fat travel in the blood. Cholesterol is not a nutrient and it is not necessary to eat it.
Saturated fat is fat that is solid at room temperature. Most animal fats are saturated (fish being the exception). Be sure to avoid processed and red meats and high fat animal products like cheeses and creams.
2. Portion Control Healthy Fats
There are lots of benefits to a little bit of healthy fat but be sure to remember the two key words here, LITTLE BIT! Healthy fats would be the fats from plant sources or ones that are liquid at room temperature, like avocado, olives, almonds, sunflower seeds, and olive oil. The general rule is 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fat is enough per meal. Think of it as a garnish, not a main event. Try these 10 tips to help decrease fat intake:
Steam, boil, or bake food instead of frying it. Be sure to use parchment paper instead of spraying pans with oil. It is super quick clean up and very effective non-stick.
Sautee in water, it tastes the same!
Buy a nonstick pan, I have made perfect pancakes without any oil
Replace some of the oil in recipes with apple sauce
Instead of eggs try making a “flax/chia egg”: 1 to 3 ratio- 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia to 3 tablespoons of water, combine and let sit for about 10 minutes to let it form a gel. Or, a mashed banana also works as a great egg alternative.
Choose low fat plant based alternatives when it comes to meat, cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, milk
Incorporate more products that are already naturally fat free like salsa, fat free marinara, jelly and jam
Instead of snacking on fatty snack foods like chips, try pretzels, fat free organic popcorn, fat free granola, or rice cakes
Be sure to read ingredients labels and look out for any added fats and oils, especially “hydrogenated oils” because those are trans fats!
When you go out to eat, ask for dressing on the side so you can control how much fat you are eating and let them know you are sensitive to oil so they won’t sprinkle any extra on top of your food.
Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal has a great talk about recent research showing if we believe that the stress response is a good thing, the negative effects decrease. Definitely watch her talk and remember: our stress is good! It makes us perform better, and there is nothing that we can’t handle.
to working at the Organic Garden Cafe in Massachusetts:
to yoga on the edge of the North Shore:
To Paoli to Pcutie and Kyle gettin’ hitched!
to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky:
to Chi City climbin’ and eatin pizza and burgerz:
to lots of hope in Hope, Arkansas
Finally to my new home:
Doesn’t it look like paradise? Texas is another country! Palm trees and massive flat nothingness, random watermelon stands and banana trees.
Class began on Monday, July 6th. There was lots of review, but what I got out of it most was the negative vibe of what working in the hospital as a dietitian is like. The professor made it clear that a hospital is not where you can take the time to cure a person completely, it is where you get them well enough quick enough to leave as soon as possible. It was made clear that the hospital food is awful, and that no matter what condition a person has, whether cancer or colitis, they all have to get the same hospital food, just modified in different ways. He also made it clear that it is all corruption because the longer kidney patients need to go to a dialysis center like Devita, the more money Devita will make.
Bottom line: Hospitals are a business, and sick people make that business happen.
I could feel the frustration spewing from my grad professor with every detail he said about his experiences. You just don’t have enough time to talk to all of the patients. So sad.
I was personally most frustrated to hear that a lot of patients think the food sucks so they won’t eat. Not only do they think the food sucks, but the food isn’t being prepared by dietitians, it is being prepared by average Joe’s who don’t really know what the different patients need.
Maybe in the future, they will have Raw Vegan Chef, RD’s working in the hospital kitchens 🙂
For now, I am so excited to make a difference in the Kingsville/ Corpus Christi area, and it is fun making new friends and adventuring to new places.