Just one Busy Vegetarian Mom working on transitioning to a Vegetarian lifestyle for myself and my family. I am recording what I learn here along the way. You can also find me writing at Daily Dish Magazine and Inner Child Food.
This salad is inspired by one that my sister makes. Now that my spinach is growing like crazy, I need to find some new spinach recipes to use it all up without getting bored. I actually had thought of this recipe for a “berry salad” recipe challenge from a few days ago, but just didn’t get it make in time. I decided to still try it out and glad I did.
It’s so quick and easy to make. One its own or as a side, it’s fresh, fruity, hearty and hearth healthy!
I used frozen Raspberries in my recipe just because I had them and the fresh at the market were still quite spendy. You really could use either. You could also switch things up and use blueberries or blackberries, be creative!
The big debate on being vegan or vegetarian and how to get protein. It really only takes a little bit of research and not very much creativity and it’s easy to get your daily quota of protein. So what are vegan protein sources? There are actually many, but today I’m focusing on grains.
First, it’s helpful to know how much daily protein is recommended. All these fad diets tout high protein, low carb and you will lose weight. Will you? Maybe. But will it be good for you? No – not if your proteins are meat based of any sort. Animal products contain cholesterol and if you boost your intake, then you boost your cholesterol in turn. Not rocket science. It is also been proven that diets too high in protein can cause kidney damage, heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney stones, cancer and ketosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 10-35% of your daily calories from proteins. That is equivalent to roughly 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men daily. I have actually heard myself in the past that 30 grams daily is plenty for the average adult. The sources are recommended to come from non-meat sources or from very small portions of meat in moderation.
One great source of vegan proteins is grains. Wheat is always the grain being in the spotlight, but other grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, teff and wild rice have been found to contain higher levels of protein than wheat. That means even those with gluten intolerance can get their proteins too. Notably, Quinoa is a complete protein and is an excellent choice for all diets.
As you can see, a diet with a few servings of grain coupled with other vegan protein sources such as soy and soy products such as TVP or Tofu, nuts, fruits and veggies will quickly get you where you need to be in your daily protein intake. Not only are these grains great for no cholesterol protein, they are also a great source of fiber keeping you full longer and have low glycemic numbers so you don’t get a carb high and then fall. These are stable, steady burning fuel sources to keep you going in between meals.
Now go grab yourself a bowl of grains and get eating! I like to start my day with my overnight crock pot oatmeal made from oats, millet, red wheat berry and wheat germ! I top it with a bit of soy milk, fruit and nuts and I am well on my way to meeting my protein goals!
I have been MIA around here off and on the last six months and part of that is just being busy, but part of it is also struggling with this new lifestyle. This blog started as a journey of transitioning to a Vegetarian diet over a year ago for health. Since then, so much has changed in my life. I have started a new collaborative blog, Daily Dish Magazine and my own company, Social Girls Media too. Keeping my day job and keeping up with my family is keeping me very occupied. With that, finding time to eat right gets harder and harder.
From time to time, we all feel failure in our diets. I am no exception. It’s hard to eat right when you are running at 120%. I have failed more often than not in recent months and it’s time to revisit my original goals. We chose a Vegetarian diet for health reasons. Our success in health was demonstrated by lowering of cholesterol, blood sugar and weight loss. When you stray from the diet, you start to see the effects – most notably for me, weight goes right back on. This can be discouraging and frustrating and actually snowball into really bad habits quickly.
I had a conversation today that inspired me to get back to writing here. He reminded me that people relate to someone who is real. I can pretend to be the perfect, “busy vegetarian mom” or I can be real – a real life busy mom struggling to balance a healthy family and real life. To share my struggles and feelings just might help others see they are not alone.
I hope get back to posting regularly here not just about recipes, but about day to day living as a busy “trying to be vegetarian” mom.
C is for Carrots … or a really Cute puppy who loves them! Yes, this is Brittney and carrots are her favorite food. So much so that my daughter had to make her a stuffed one that she carries everywhere with her!
C is for Carrots
Carrots have to be one of natures perfect foods. They are so easy to grow and are so versatile in their use. They are perfect plucked right from the ground or roasted, used in soups and stews, juiced, mashed, and however else you can think to use them!
They will give you a nice punch of fiber and are high in thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate.
Carrots do have a fair amount of natural sugars which is part of which makes them so useful and delicious. Use juiced carrots in smoothies or baking to sweeten naturally or even try mashed cooked carrots (or carrot baby food) in place of oil in baking.
Just a fun little fact for you…. for dogs… Carrots are useful again in baking. In fact, they need to be cooked in order for dogs to benefit from the nutrition. If you feed carrots to them raw, they don’t get the nutrients, but they do make great treats to aid in plaque removal!
B is for Breakfast. The very most important meal of they day they say.
Do you eat Breakfast? Why is it necessary?
I absolutely do and I agree, it is very essential to your day. When you awake in the morning, your body is dehydrated from often a 8 hour or longer fasting. The very first thing you should be doing is rehydrate. No, not with a hot cup of coffee, but a nice tall glass of water.
Next, don’t just grab a donut and go – that sugar will just temporarily get you to where you are going then… crash… blood sugar drops and back you are to hungry and tired.
Each day should be started with a healthy amount of fiber and protein to provide you with slow burning energy to get you through to lunch time when you can refuel.
Yes… You should think of it as fuel. So that means after fasting you should load yourself up. A peice of wheat toast is great – but not enough. Try a bowl of oatmeal with flax and fruit, a side of toast and maybe some yogurt.
How about a smoothie? Packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals right. Nope, not enough. There just isn’t enough fiber there to last you the whole morning. If you go with a smoothie, add a handful of almonds on the side to help tide you over.
Need some breakfast ideas? Try some of these recipes:
Avocado. What is all the hype about this small green bumpy raindrop? I keep hearing how good it is for you and your heart so I thought I would break it down for you. Is it really as good as all that chatter?
Is it a fruit, vegetable or nut? Where does it come from? What are the benefits of eating it and how do you eat it?
The Avocado is fruit. It grows on trees in tropical or subtropical climates. It qualifies as a fruit due to being produced on a tree only after it is pollinated and has a pit or seed at the center.
That is where I found out that Avocados really do live up to all the hype! They boast over 20 essential nutrients and help your body absorb other fat soluble nutrients. They are cholesterol free and provide heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats which can help to lower cholesterol when used in moderation to replace saturated fats. For a complete list of vitamins and minerals, visit the California Avocado Website.
How should you use it? Oh… let’s count the ways! You can simply just eat a few slices as is, or season it up however you like. When mashed up, you can flavor many ways and use as dips, spreads, replace oils in recipes and even as baby food!
When shopping for one, pick one that is fairly firm with just a slight bit of give if you are ready to eat it. If it will be a few days, I always choose a very firm one. If it is really soft, chances are when you open it up, you will have a lot of brown bruising. Now if you have never had one, beware of a rather large pit in the middle. I like to score mine lengthwise all the way around, twist and separate. You can then easily remove the pit and either just slice or spoon out the fruit, or you can buy a handy Avocado Cutter to make it easier. Here is an example from Amazon:
Do you love smoothies? I do, and I plan on trying more here really soon. I have a few favorite recipes but I’m looking for more to add some variety so I thought I’d share with you some of the things I found while searching. On my dream list is a Vitamix Blender… it has to be the ultimate smoothie maker! This thing can pulverize a whole pear core and all in just seconds!
One of the first things that had me saying “what is that?” is nutritional yeast. I had seen some recipes and heard it mentioned in a few circles. Yeast? Really? As it turns out, nutritional yeast seems to be a staple in a vegan diet as both a great source of vitamin B-12 and a flavoring for many foods.
Nährhefeflocken der Marke “Naturata” (Melasse Würz-Hefeflocken) / nutritional yeast. Siehe auch/see also: Image:Hefeflocken_Naturata_(Verpackung).jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to Wikipedia, “Nutritional yeast is produced by culturing the yeast with a mixture of sugarcane and beet molasses for a period of 7 days and then harvesting, washing, drying and packaging it.” It is a yellow/orange color and sold in either flakes of varying sizes or as a powder. I had no problem finding in my local health food store. (They sell it in bulk and a little less spendy that packaged brands.)
It has a nutty cheesy flavor that makes it a great addition to many recipes. Most commonly, it is used to replace Parmesan cheese. Popular uses are as a topping to popcorn, garlic bread, pasta or potatoes and veggies.
Next time you are browsing the health food section, if you see it, pick some up and give it a try. I really like it and have been using it in more and more meals.
I recently had a chance to try and review (and to give away) some Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil. I have many friends who have tried this and have been raving about it, so of course, I jumped right on board and ordered up my sample. Wow! I have to say I was very surprised at how large the jar was and how versitle the oil is after doing my research. Of course you can cook with it… stir fry or bake, whatever you would regularly do with oil. But I thought I would try something different as this “oil” is a solid at room temperature and can be used for skin care as well. So I made some coconut coffee oatmeal body scrub. I LOVE the way it makes my skin feel. You really should try it for yourself!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Enter to WIN Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil HERE!
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.