Chocolate PB Protein Bars

I love making protein balls, bars and any make ahead forms of food that I can carry on the go.  These are great because they are all natural, don’t have all the sugar and have a sufficient amount of protein without all the chemicals.

My husband and I also have a side business where we make and sell all natural GF protein balls for on the go on HighLinePure.com but these were some fun ones I wanted to share and pass along the recipe!

Overall they take about 30 minutes to make if you count to time it takes to freeze and set them but really are no hassle at all.  Without adding in a bunch of commentary I like to get to the point.  If you want to watch more commentary or watch videos on how to make some of these things follow me on Instagram @angiehart1 to see more.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups organic rice puffs
  • 1 cup organic oats
  • 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 scoop of vanilla plant protein powder (I use Vega One or Plant Fusion)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup PB
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut oil and honey.  Place in micro and heat on high for 30 seconds.  Stir and add back in for 30 seconds to melt completely.

Add in the cocoa powder and protein powder and mix well.  Mixture should be thick but still wet.  If it appears too thick add more melted coconut oil and warm water until you get a smooth mixture that is thick and wet.  Add the vanilla, oats and rice puffs.  Mix well until mixture is completely coated.

Pour the mixture into a 8×8 pan and press gently to set the bars into place.  Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  When bars are set cut up into 1″x 3″ bars and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the other PB drizzle mixture and melt in the micro for about 30 seconds.  Stir and make sure mixture is smooth.  Once you have a smooth consistency drizzle over top of the bar and along the sides.  Once you have finished the drizzle, set pan in freezer to cool for about 15 minutes.

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Slow Cooker Paleo Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos

One thing I try to keep in mind when shopping or preparing food is the number of ingredients and what type of ingredients are listed on the items I purchase at the store.  I have really tried in the past 7 years to simplify my food and really focus on simple ingredients and the most natural possible.  Most of this blog is vegan and vegetarian and I’ve really had to try to incorporate more paleo recipes as my husband is very gracious and eats vegan and vegetarian with me at times but really prefers a chicken or meat dish of some sort.  Its really been fun trying to find recipes he also enjoys as his palette is a bit different than mine.

You have to be creative and when you have a spouse or a family and you really have to try to incorporate so many different food preferences into one meal but also not over complicate as nobody has time for that.  Although I do not eat chicken I do buy hormone free, organic chicken and beef no matter what.  I gave up chicken and meat over 15 years ago because I just couldn’t stand  the amount of hormones that were pumped into meat and they way it was processed.  That being said, its a personal choice and by no means do I expect everyone to live by those same rules and extremes.  Hence why I accommodate my hubby since he is very tolerate and very accommodating of what I eat.  Don’t get me wrong, in no way is he demanding I make him meat.  If I make a vegan/vegetarian dish and he wants meat he will make his own if he feels he needs it.  We are a team and both want each other to eat what is filling and desired.  We do both however eat very healthy.  He and I both don’t eat processed foods and we limit our carb and sugar intake.  We only eat whole grain carbs if any, never refined.  I do really enjoy making paleo carb substitutions and now in 2017 there are SO many ways to get creative with all natural paleo ingredients.

Today I made these Salsa Verde Chicken tacos, which I’ve made in the past from a recipe that I found on Pinterest.  I’ve tailored this to have my own creative flare and also made the taco shells from scratch, paleo of course and hubby likes it so much he had a couple servings!  That’s when I know the meal has passed the test!

When I have time, I really prefer to use a crock pot and this recipe is one that is so much better after simmering in a crock pot for 4-5 hours.  The juices just marinate and the taste is so much more flavorful.

Ingredients:

Salsa Verde Chicken Taco Meat

  • 3-4 large chicken breasts
  • 1 cup organic salsa verde
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp Spiceologist Chili Margarita seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • *Hot sauce and cayenne pepper to add a bit more spice!

Coconut Flour Tortillas:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/16 baking powder
  • 3 egg whites + 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup warm water (stir to make sure consistency is not chunky and a bit runny to ensure you can spread in the pan)  Add more warm water if you feel its still too thick.

Directions:

Step 1:

place 4 chicken breasts at bottom of slow cooker.  Add all ingredients from above (except for hot sauce and cayenne) and cook on high for 3-4 hours.  If you want it to simmer a bit longer you can add another hour.  I actually left these on high for about 5 hours.  Otherwise, you can cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Step 2:

After chicken has simmered for 3-4 hours take two large forks and begin to shred the chicken while in the crock pot.  Once its thoroughly shredded mix and make sure its marinating well in the juices.  Add in your hot sauce or additional spices if preferred.  I added in more chili powder and cayenne pepper because my hubby likes it really spicy.  Let simmer for another hour or two if you have the time.

Step 3:

While waiting on that final hour for the chicken to marinate you can prepare your tortillas or have them prepared ahead of time.  Keep in mind these take time to cool so you want to start them at least 30-45 min before you are ready to serve to also leave room for error.  These tortillas took some perfecting so give yourself time!

Start by mixing all the above ingredients for the tortillas into a bowl.  Use a whisk to ensure the mixture is smooth and not lumpy.  Heat a pan on the stove top on medium and use grapeseed/olive or coconut oil to ensure the tortilla doesn’t stick and also helps to form the edges.

Pour in about 1/4 cup of the mixture and immediately pick up the pan and circle the pan so the mixture smooths out over the surface of the pan.  Set back on the stove and let simmer for about 1-2 minutes or until the top starts to form bubbles.  Start by edging the tortilla with a flat spatula.  Once it isn’t sticking and edges start to come up place the spatula directly underneath the tortilla and flip very quickly!  I try to use the pan to quickly flip but it may take a few trials to get it!

Let the opposite side saute for about 1 minute and take the pan off the heat and very carefully slide the tortilla out of the pan on to parchment paper to cool.  Let cool for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

 

Once you have the cooled tortillas take approx 1/3 cup of the shredded taco meat and serve on each individual shell.  Top with your favorite toppings.

Recipe makes approx 6-10 tacos depending on the serving size.

Finished tacos

 

Best Ever Veggie Burgers with Flare!

When I decided to make these veggie burgers I got my inspiration from Pinterest and honestly there are a LOT of great recipes out there.  Because I had so many veggies in the fridge I wanted to use I created my own based on what I know I do and do not like about traditional veggie burgers.  First, I like mine to be so fresh the almost fall apart when they are heated up.  To me, that is the epitome of freshness.  I don’t like dry or bland veggie burgers so I made sure to add a lot of spice.  WARNING: the recipe while making it DOES NOT look inciting but if its made with real veggies and beans, it shouldn’t be.  So don’t freak out.

When making veggie burgers its essential to make sure you include all of your macros in the burger since this will be your primary meal with possibly additional sides.  Because I made a larger batch and wasn’t sure how I would use them I did just that.  Pack them with beans & legumes for protein, oats for whole grains, and of course loaded them with veggies.

First you will want to start with your mixture of vegetables.  I took what veggies I had in the fridge and chopped them up and put them in the food processor.  I like when the veggies are ground up with the beans, oats and flour so I prefer to use in a food processor, however, its perfectly fine to mix in a bowl.  Just make sure you get your veggies chopped nice and small.

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The veggies that I used include the following:

  • Carrots
  • Red Onion
  • Purple radish (however this is not necessary and you can use another crunchy veggie of your preference.)
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Spinach
  • Red & yellow peppers
  • Green Onion

 

 

 

 

 

Once your veggies are chopped/diced/sliced every which way then place them in a bowl and put them to the side.  Rinse your beans if you are using canned, and rinse them well.  I use a strainer and let them set over the sink until all the water is drained.  This will helping the burger forming process later on.  Once they are drained, pat them with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture and add them to your veggie mixture.

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Next, you want to prep all of your remaining ingredients and have them accessible – or at least that is how I like to have them.  That way you can mix and add as you go to ensure the consistency is on par.

Now because this mixture was a double recipe it was too large for my food processor so I took about half and mixed it then took the other half and did the same.  WARNING: if you are using a food processor just make sure not to over process your mixture.  It can become watery and just end up looking like mush.  You want it properly mixed but not over mixed, make sense?  I know, its a fine line with veggie burgers!

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Once you have mixed the beans and veggies combine into one large bowl.  Here is where you will add your flour, oats, spices and oils.  Below is what it looked like when I combined everything together.  Again, NOT PRETTY but trust me, delicious in the end!!!!

Step 1:

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Step 2:

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Step 3: Let cool.

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Final Step: Add toppings!!!

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Now its time for the fun to begin!

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5-8 minutes

Total Time :30-33 minutes

  • 1/2 large red onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/4 large purple radish, chopped
  • 3-5 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6-8 mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 mini peppers (red, yellow, orange) or 1 large, chopped
  • 2-3 handfulls of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 – 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 – 15 oz can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten free whole grain oats
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (chickpea flour)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp of SPICEOLOGIST Greek Freak

In a large bowl, combine veggies and beans that have been rinsed and drained.

If you are using a food processor, this makes a double batch so make sure to split the mixture in two, process and transfer into a new large bowl.  Take the second half of mixture, process and add to larger bowl with newly processed mixture.  Otherwise, you can process the veggies separate then the beans and transfer to the same bowl once both are processed.   If you are mixing by hand, make sure to mix well!

Once you have the mixture into one large bowl, add the oats, spices,and chickpea flour, egg and mix well.

Get your stove top ready on medium-high heat with about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan.  Don’t worry you will be adding more as you cook more patties!  This makes about 16 patties, depending on the size of the patty you want.  make them as large or small as you like, just remember they are quite soft so the larger they are the less you can fit in your skillet.

Form into ball-like patties and drop them into your heated skillet.  The oil will help with sticking and forming the patties as they cook.  Don’t worry about making perfect patties before they start cooking, they will form as you cook.  Leave cooking for about 3 minutes then try to flip them.  Cook on the opposite side for about 3-5 minutes or until they are well-browned at the top.  I flipped mine a couple times as it became easier to flip as they hardened.

Set the patties aside on foil or parchment paper and let cool for about 5-10 minutes.

Continue with the remaining mixture and keep adding oil as you go as the pan will start to dry out.  You want to make sure you have enough oil so they cook and so you are able to flip them.

Finishing touches:

In this particular photo I cooked two fried egg whites and topped my burger with whole fat organic Monterrey jack cheese, the fried egg white, smashed avocado, chopped olives and sriracha sauce.  It was absolutely scrumptious!!!!

I posted this photo along with several other food photos on my instagram if you want to follow along @AngieRHart1.

 

 

 

 

Week 1 – Healthy Eating on a Budget

The great thing about being prepared is you don’t stress out about lunch and you know you are eating healthy.  I’m also saving a lot of money this week and it’s only day 2!  Beyond the groceries I have I would typically get a regular coffee for close to $3.  I generally would spend between $12-15 for lunch, at least 2, sometimes 3 days during the week.  For dinner, we always have a bottle of wine (averaging about $15-18) and for the past two nights we’ve been going wine-less.  In one day, I’ve saved over $30 which is pretty exciting!

Going back to my previous post on my groceries bought for lunch in my week 1 post, I had the following meals on Tuesday.

DAY 2 – Week 1

9:30 AM – Breakfast (at work post spin class)

1 pkt 365 Instant Original Oatmeal (150 cal/2.5g fat/27g carbs/4g dietary fiber/1g soluble fiber/<1g sugar/6g protein)

½ scoop Sun Warrior Blend Chocolate Protein Powder (which I keep stock in vanilla and chocolate at all times)

1 Tsp maca (I use as a supplement because it is rich in vitamin B, C, and E. It also contains calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids)

1 tsp PB2 ( I typically have in the house and this is just for flavor if I want to keep my fat content lower at a specific meal otherwise I would use the nut butter itself)

Mix in all the above ingredients.  Add approx. ¾ cup water (hot or heat in microwave for 1 min).  Stir & add in ¼ cup of almond milk until consistency is creamy.  Add more milk if needed.  Heat another 20-30 seconds, stir and enjoy!

12:30 PM  – Lunch

½ cup leftover homemade daal & ¼ cup brown rice (From Sunday’s dinner)

1 slice Ezekiel bread

¼ sliced/mashed avocado

1 bottle Kombucha – post meal.  During lunch I drink water

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3:30 PM – SNACK

Wallaby 0% Greek Plain Yogurt

1 Tbsp Almond butter

1 medium mango sliced

8:00 PM – DINNER

2 – Homemade Black Bean Sweet Potato Burger topped with ¼ sliced avocado & salsa (recipe to come tomorrow and will be linked)

*Made baked lemon pepper chicken for my fiancé so I’m including that recipe here since I don’t eat meat)

  1. Cut 2 large organic chicken breasts and divide into 2  (makes 4 pieces)
  2. heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in microwave for 20 sec or until melted.  Pour mixture over chicken breasts
  3. squeeze 1/2 lemon over chicken breasts and top with black pepper
  4. Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes or until cooked all the way through

1 Liter of water

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SNACK – post dinner

½ cup wasabi peas (not recommended for a clean diet by craving them!)

 

DAY 3 – Week 1

10AM – Green Juice

12PM – HU Kitchen

This was a last minute lunch with an out of town friend who was in the city for 1 day. I went outside of my grocery list to meet her because sometimes there are things that just come up and you have to make exceptionsJ

  • 1 paleo wild salmon cake
  • 1 paleo curried sweet potatoes
  • Cranberry Kombucha

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3:30PM – Vega One Spiced Chai protein shake with almond milk

7:00PM – Dinner

  • Homemade sweet potato burgers from the previous night topped with sliced avocado, sliced tomato and a side of salsa

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DAY 4 – WEEK 1

8:30AM Breakfast (post workout lifting)

2 hard-boiled egg whites

1 slice whole grain bread

¼ avocado smashed on toast

1 tsp hemp seeds sprinkled on top

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LUNCH 12:00PM

2 slices of whole grain toast

¼ avocado smashed on top of one piece and lemon dill tuna on the other

1 hard-boiled egg white

 

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SNACK 3:30PM (need extra carbs for spin class at 6:30)

Bowl of fruit drizzled in raw almond butter.  (1 small mango, 3 strawberries & ½ banana sliced)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we are leaving for Miami tomorrow morning the goal was to clean out the fridge and that meant getting creative and mixing a lot of sides to equal a main.  It ended up delicious and very filling!  Best part is we cleaned out the fridge before we left for the weekend to start week 2!

Dinner 7:30PM (empty out the fridge night)

Sauteed brussel sprouts & tempeh  + leftover homemade sweet potato & black bean burger topped with a slice of avocado

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Breakfast on Friday pre our 8am flight was 2 hard boiled egg whites, leftover avocado and a slice of sprouted grain bread.

The weekend consisted of eating and drinking whatever we wanted.  We enjoyed wine, mojitos, gelato, chocolate desert, sushi, chips & guacamole, tacos and whatever we wanted.  We also were very active walking, running, biking and dancing the night away in little Havana.  We enjoyed the food, drink, culture and spent time with friends.  Life is about balance and its not worth it if you can’t enjoy yourself once in a while.  Next week goes back to eating clean.

 

 

 

 

Health Food on a budget challenge Week 1

I decided to challenge myself to actually track how much I spend on groceries.  I love seeing how creative I can get with the groceries I just purchased for the week combined with what I already have in my cabinets.  Now I have pretty basic ingredients to start but if you don’t know what I mean by basics you will start to learn if you follow along throughout this challenge.

I always like to purchase groceries for my fiancé and I and plan meals for the week.  We give ourselves a weekly budget but let’s be serious, we never stick to that budget.  Of all places we live in New York City with the best of the best restaurants, happy hours and a very packed social and work calendars.  Some weeks eating at home can be challenging but to hold ourselves to this challenge we removed our wine budget, yes we have a wine budget, and challenged ourselves to really stick to what we purchased this week.  Here’s a log of what was purchased to be prepared at work for lunch, including total cost, and a breakdown of what I ate today.

Lunches

Every Monday I walk to Whole Foods at lunch and get a few groceries for the week.  I’m usually pretty good about sticking to what I purchase but usually 1 or two days I’ll opt to go get sushi, a bowl or something else that sounds more appealing that day.  Here’s an image and long of what I purchased for $62.58.

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Here’s the full list of food purchased:

Ezekiel Bread

Unsweetened Almond Milk

2 mangos

2 avocados

3 small bananas

2 pink grapefruit

.84lb lemon dill tuna salad (no dairy)

1 jar organic almond butter (no sweetener, just almonds)

12 oz raw organic pressed beet juice

2 wallaby 0% plain Greek yogurt

12 oz vegan carrot ginger soup

Engine 2 Tuscan White Bean Burger

Monday, April 4th Log

Wake up 6:15 – Hot water with 1/2 sliced lemon to start every day

Breakfast 10AM (not standard. Case of the Mondays = no workout and late arrival to work) – Juicy Cube fresh juice 12 oz Detox Expert (carrots, spinach, cucumber, ginger, apple, parsley)

Lunch 12:30pm – 1/3 cup lemon dill tuna salad + vegan carrot ginger soup 12oz + small homemade falafel brought in by colleague at work topped with tsp tahini.  I drink water with lunch but have my kombucha after to serve as my probiotic which is key in my diet.

snack 3:30 – 1/2 grapefruit + 1 tbsp almond butter drizzled on 1 sliced banana

*dinner 7:30 – baked sole & zucchini noodles

Tonight my fiancé and I were craving sweets so I had a ton of frozen bananas and made nice cream with what I had in the cabinets(cashew butter, cinnamon, coconut milk, coconut flakes & cacao nibs) Now these kitchen ingredients are not standard but I’m not normal so they are for me and I typically have a variety of foods like this hanging around:)

I also drink a ton of water all throughout the day.  Key to keep hunger at bay and maintaining or losing weight.

That’s about all I can write this evening because I’m just exhausted and need to get up early.   However, tomorrow I’ll share my dinner pics and groceries purchased from Fresh Direct and log my daily meals from that order.

 

 

Why is breakfast to important??

We hear it time and time again from scrolling through our social media feed, numerous studies published on the benefits of breakfast on our health to memories of mom saying as a kid why we HAD to eat our breakfast before we left for school.

Why does breakfast get all of this hype? Why do the breakfast freaks swear by this and non breakfast eaters can’t imagine downing a bowl of oatmeal to save their lives.  Its an endless debate and I believe if anyone attempts to incorporate a healthy breakfast into a daily routine for 2 weeks, you will see for yourself why this magical meal is the kickstart to your day.

Here are just a few benefits us breakfast lovers enjoy on a daily basis.

1.) Energy Boost.  According to studies published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, consuming a breakfast high in fiber and low in carbohydrates will make you feel less tired during the day.”

2.) Eating breakfast helps you jumpstart your metabolism and burn more calories. “The key: eating a breakfast that’s high in Resistant Starch (RS). Found in foods like bananas and oats, RS actually signals your body to use fat for energy.” Shaun Chavis, Health Magazine

3.) Improves Concentration. In one study, Jianghong Liu, an associate professor in the School of Nursing, has found yet another benefit of eating an early morning meal: higher IQ scores.  Eating a well balanced breakfast–such as eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit–keeps “blood sugar levels steady and allows optimal cognitive function throughout the day.”

4.) Improves overall health. For example, Harvard conducted a 16-year study of 26,902 American men aged 45 to 82 and found that those “who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of CHD compared with men who did not.  There are numerous studies on the overall improved heath benefits in relationship with eating a well balanced breakfast.

5.) Improves your memory. There was also a study released in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior that discovered that eating breakfast, such as oatmeal, improved the spatial and short-term memories of elementary school children.

Here are some examples of a well balanced, healthy breakfast that you can start incorporating into your daily regimen.  It takes planning and preparation to eat clean and the saying goes…”if you fail you plan you plan to fail” so start planning!  Cheers to a healthy day!

At home or at work staple: 1/2 grapefruit + 1 slice Ezekiel bread + 1 tbsp raw almond butter + 1/4 sliced banana
Awesome post workout fuel when you are starving! 1 slice Ezekiel bread topped with 2 egg whites + 1 slice of Ezekiel bread with 1 tbsp almond butter and 1/4 banana sliced on top.
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Quick and easy high protein breakfast. 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (no sugar) topped with raw granola (as clean as possible with low sugar), fresh raspberries, 1/4 sliced banana and drizzle with raw honey for added flavor if needed.

The SUPER in Hemp

We hear all this buzz about hemp but what does all of it mean? We are inundated with information about SUPER FOODS! How do we differentiate and choose just ONE or even a couple SUPER foods to add into our diet? Which is most important for me and why? Its all very confusing to navigate and understand all of the information we are given.

I really enjoy learning about foods and the impact they have on the body. I’ve also tried to alleviate natural symptoms that I’ve had just through normal everyday mental stress, physical stress on the body and natural hormonal side effects. I have really taken the time to go through the benefits of some specific super foods that I choose to incorporate into my diet. Through my own testing and trial and error, I’ve found a few that I use and would like to share to hopefully help others. Today, I will focus on Hemp Seeds.

Hemp seeds are high in nutritional value and contain 20 different varieties of amino acids and all nine of the essential amino acids.  What’s the deal with all of these amino acids? What do they actually do? Why do we need them? Some essential amino acids can’t be naturally produced by the body and we don’t always produce all essential amino acids.  Therefore, we need to supplement through food or other supplementation. Eating hemp seeds gives the body all the essential amino acids required to maintain health, and provides the necessary amounts of amino acids the body needs. Eating hemp seeds could also aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. How great is that?

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Hemp seeds also contain high amounts of protein. This helps to strengthen the immune system, thereby, reducing the instances of diseases, besides helping in excreting toxins from the body. The question then becomes why choose hemp over other foods with amino acids? There is no other food that contains the high level quantities of essential fatty acids found in hemp seeds. Even flaxseed and other nut or seed oil, that contain very high amounts of vitamin E and other minerals does not compare. It has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fatt around a three to one ratio.

You can consume hemp seeds in a variety of ways and its probably the easiest to sprinkle on your food, blend into your protein shakes or smoothies and bake with them.  I LOVE having the shelled hemp seeds on hand in a small container and I sprinkle a small tablespoon on my oatmeal or toast in the morning.  I also sprinkle into my homemade granola or topping for my smoothies.  It adds some texture and you don’t really even taste them.

 

Hemp seeds has no known side effects when consuming them. However, you should always remember that excess of anything is bad, so make sure that you consume just enough to keep your body healthy.  Cheers to your health and taking great care of your body!

 

 

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse Parfaits

I work in a beauty office where everyone is constantly on diets.  Whether it’s trying to cut out sugar, count calories, remove carbs or whatever the latest fad I try to keep my colleagues excited about eating HEALTHY food.  By doing so, I have them focus less on what they shouldn’t eat and more of what they SHOULD eat.  Healthy, raw food does taste good you just have to learn how to make it work for you.

Today I made raw vegan chocolate mousse parfaits for everyone and made one batch with a natural sweetener(honey or agave) and one without.  Working within the constraints of no sugar, yes not even a natural sweetener like honey or agave, I was able to make it work.  As it turns out the non sugar crew, along with the sweetener crew, LOVED the mousse.  So much in fact they commented it was not only satisfying but tasted great and was extremely filling.  Below is a pic of some of the parfaits I made for my office crew along with the recipe.

Happy mousse making!

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Unsweetened Chocolate Mousse Parfaits

Makes about 5-6 parfaits:

2-2.5 frozen bananas

1 refrigerated avocado

1/4-1/3 cup raw unsweetened organic cacao powder (add more if you want to make darker)

1/4 cup raw almond butter

1/2 cup almond milk (add more if texture is too thick to mix)

Mix in a food processor or NutriBullet until smooth

Topping:

Top with 1/2 banana sliced into 5-6 pieces

Sprinkle Raw organic cacao nibs

Sprinkle Raw unsweetened coconut flakes

Drizzle with raw organic almond butter

Eating for your life

People ask me daily what I eat and how to avoid temptation and stay on track. Food should be viewed as fuel for your body. Something that enables you to have energy, focus, and get through the day. There are enough struggles we deal with on a daily basis and food should not be added to the list of complications. Food can be a joy. It can be enjoyable making it, eating it and sharing with others.

Food also can be our enemy. It can be something that drains us of energy, gives us stomach aches and makes us bloat, makes our skin break out, causes weight gain and give us anxiety after eating bad food. Why not make our food work for us not against us? Why not eat things to invest in our future selves? Why not eat things that make us feel good and make us look and feel beautiful?

If we were to only look at food as something that could not only make us feel better in our daily lives, but prevent diseases, slow down the aging process and produce an unlimited amount of benefits we would all choose to eat healthy without hesitation. There is no simple solution. No diet. It’s a reset of your mindset. It’s a lifestyle. Being healthy is something we choose to do every single day. Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. Relax. Reset and Repeat.

Getting started is the hardest part….

People are always asking me how I stay on track with my eating and how I get motivation to workout so consistently.  The answer is you need the discipline, simply stated that’s the trick.  You need a goal, whatever it may be.  You want to start with a small goal and gradually add to it or set more goals once you have achieved your initial goals.  Start with working out an extra day a week or an extra 30 minutes or just simply starting.  Sign up for a new physical activity that you’ve never tried in addition to your regular workout routine.  You need to mix it up in order to stay on track.  no one wants to get bored with a fitness regimen, that’s the quickest way to give up on your goals.

I’ve counseled many friends and family and how to get started, that’s the hardest part.  Making that decision to actually start moving forward is the biggest step.  Once you decide to get started you can start making goals and checking them off.  The more goals you achieve, the more motivated you will be to stay the course.   Here are a few tips to get you started:

1.) Choose a time of day to workout and stick to it.  Some of us are AM fitness freaks and some of us are PM fitness owls.  Whatever your preference, set a time of day that works in your schedule so you can ensure you stick to it.

2.) Try something new.  Start by trying the pilates or yoga class at the gym you’ve always wanted to try.  Not only will this mix up your routine, but it will hold you accountable to show up to class:)

3.) Be active in some way at least 3-4 days a week.  Even if its for 30 minutes, try to get in some type of activity.  If you can’t go the gym, take a walk or try an online workout class.  Get your body moving and you’ll start to build up that motivation little by little to continue.

4.) Try cooking at home.  Rather than going out to eat for every meal, try eating at home and preparing your own meals.  This is the only way to ensure you know what ingredients are being put into your meals.

5.) Be conscious of what you eat.  Starting a food journal is probably the easiest way to get started.  Whether is downloading a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal or even if its just tracking what you eat in your phone or in a notebook.  This will start to hold you accountable and give you a better idea of what you are consuming daily, which can be extremely eye opening to some.

Start with these easy steps and you’ll be well on your way to transitioning into a healthier lifestyle.  Stay tuned for more tips!  Enjoy!