Category Archives: Food

Mindful Monday | Eating Mindfully

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My relationship with food has changed quite a bit over the last year or two. Growing up, there were always healthy food options available (during the summer, many of our fresh fruits and vegetables actually came right from my grandfather’s garden), but I was not much of a healthy eater. My diet was quite high in fat, salt, and carbs. It was all about rice and meat. But now that I’m getting older, and well-beyond my adolescent years, I’ve started to notice how my diet affects not only my body, but my mind as well; I want to make more positive lifestyle changes. I don’t avoid fried chicken like the plague or anything, but I am just trying to become better about taking care of my body.

I’m not claiming to be a nutritionist, or dietary/culinary expert by any means, but I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I’m trying to be more of a “mindful eater.” I want to become more mindful of what I eat and how I eat it. I think that being more conscious of what we put in our bodies and how our bodies react to it is a very powerful tool for self-love and self-care. I’m not touting this as a quick-fix diet fad, but as a long-term healthy lifestyle change. The goal is not to “get skinny” or necessarily lose weight (because let’s face it, we need to stop equating “good health” with “thin-ness” — healthy people come in all shapes and sizes), but to feel better from the inside out.

These tips are what have helped me along the way:

mealtime_selfcareNo more standing up, ironing your shirt and talking on the phone while you scarf down a sandwich. Take the opportunity to really enjoy your meals. Notice flavors, aromas, textures. Take your time. Consider your meal time a time when you are doing something very good for your body; it’s a time of nourishment and healing.

fooddiaryI’m not talking about counting calories. For a few months, I kept a little food diary on my phone to note what foods I ate each day and how I felt after eating them. Did I feel sluggish? Bloated? Energetic? Jittery? Content? Relaxed? Depressed? Sleepy? Did I have stomach pains? Indigestion? Insomnia? Sudden bouts of acne? Notice what foods make you feel your best, and think about incorporating more of such foods into your meals regularly.

yourmealsPreparing and cooking your own food gives you the most control over what goes into your body. Try to do this as often as you can. You can learn to make healthier choices (and become a better cook while you’re at it!) Take this time to experiment with different ingredients, techniques and new flavors and spices.

dontdepriveOnce you are consistently eating healthier and healthier, it may seem like the right thing to do to eventually avoid all “bad” foods forever. But I don’t want that to ever be the case. For me, it is not just about eating healthier food, it’s also about having a healthier relationship with food too — being able to enjoy and appreciate healthier foods but still be able to enjoy not-so-healthy food without being overcome with guilt. I never want to consider junk food an “enemy” and I never want to consider healthy food a “restraint.” If I find myself craving a piece of cheesecake, some bacon strips, a beer, or french fries, I’m going to enjoy some!

What do you do to try to be more mindful of the foods you eat? What foods make you feel your best?

Super Green Smoothie

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Smoothies have been my go-to breakfast for a couple of years now and I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with different ingredients. I think smoothies are a good way to easily start incorporating more vitamins and minerals into your diet and transitioning into healthier eating habits. It’s great for digestion, heart health, muscle recovery, and as an added bonus: this is great for promoting healthy skin too. The recipe below is my most recent go-to:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Handful of kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 small apple (I like Granny Smiths and galas)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed meal
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina powder
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

Mix all ingredients in a high-speed blender and enjoy.

Other add-ons to try:

  • Add chia seeds or raw oats to make the smoothie even more filling
  • Substitute the banana for an avocado for a creamier smoothie
  • If you want more sweetness, add a teaspoon of raw honey or sprinkle on some cacao nibs
  • To up the nutrient intake even more, add a teaspoon of bee pollen granules (keep in mind that anyone with a sensitivity/allergy to pollen or bee stings should consult a doctor first before incorporating bee pollen into their diet).

What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes?

Healthy No-Bake Brownies

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I’ve been on the hunt for healthy dessert recipes and I came across this recipe by Binny Liu on MindBodyGreen a little while ago. I received a food processor as a gift recently, so I thought this would be a good way to break in my new appliance. Here is the original recipe from the MindBodyGreen website:

1 cup cashews (soaked for 6 hours)
1 cup macadamias (soaked for 6 hours)
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1/4 tsp. Celtic sea salt

Directions: Combine all ingredients together and blend until it becomes a paste. Form into squares and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

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Pre-blended goodness.

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Starting to look brownie-like!

The mixture may get stuck against the sides of the processor or blender a couple of times, so it helps to keep a spatula handy.

Once blended, I put the mixture on a cutting board and with plastic wrap under my hands for easy clean-up, pressed and shaped it into one large square. I cut them into smaller squares before chilling, but I think cutting it up after chilling may be easier.

Verdict: I’ve never tried raw/vegan desserts before, but these actually came out quite good! Super easy to make, and it satisfies my craving for a “fudgey” treat. They’re nice and moist, and not too sweet. I think they’d also be good topped with some shredded coconut flakes!

Have you ever tried any raw or vegan desserts? What are some of your favorites?