Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to Drink 80 Ounces of Water Each Day

Water... it's important and yet so many of us barely drink any at all. Water helps keep us hydrated and cool. It helps with digestion and bodily functions. It helps with weight loss and detoxification.

Most of us should aim to get 80 ounces of plain water a day. Lemon is fine to add in but you cannot count soda, coffee, fruit juice or any other liquid as 'water'.

Here is my little game to get my water in.

First, go buy yourself a 32 oz water mug. Any kind will do. It just needs to be 32 oz.. no smaller, no bigger.

First thing in the morning, fill your mug to the top with ice. That should leave room for about 20 ounces of water.

Now, you just need to drink 4 of those thru the day!

Of course, the ice melts and you end up with more water but that isn't gonna hurt you. Just don't refill the water part until you are done with the original mug of water. Otherwise you'll lose count.

Altho, drinking more isn't a bad thing.

This is how I do it... I break my day down into 4 blocks of time:

6 am to 10 am

10 am to 2 pm

2 pm to 6 pm

6 pm to 10 pm

Then, I make sure I drink one mug full during each 4 hour period... that's 20 ounces in 4 hours.. 5 ounces an hour. That's pretty damn simple, huh? You can adjust it for your own personal schedule. I'm usually up by 5 am and eating breakfast by 5:30 and in bed by 10 pm

Now, if you drink coffee or soda.. you should make a deal with yourself to get your water in before you have it... be it 5 oz of water and then coffee/soda or a full 20 ounces and then a coffee/soda.

If you have trouble remembering how many you've had... put four rubber bands around the mug and move them up or down to help you keep track.

Original recipe - FMD Chickpea Salad for One

I recently decided to do a sort of reboot of my metabolism by following The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy. I created this recipe that is allowed for Phases 1 and 3 on the program. It's meant for one serving but it could make a couple sandwiches off program. It has a full 1/2 cup of beans and that is one serving.

When I was first planning out my meals for week one, I thought.. oh, chickpea salad on bread.. super easy, super simple .... then I realized I couldn't use mayo! Uh oh... how do I get it to stick together?

Well... veggie broth helped. If you want it more spread like.. just process the beans more ,, you can even go for a hummus texture but I like the texture with the flaky beans and veggies mixed in.

What I did with it was serve part of it on one slice of sprouted grain bread and the rest I used as a dip for carrots and cucumbers within the same meal. You can also put it in a sprouted grain tortilla or use it as a salad topper over mixed greens. You can also just straight up eat it! It's delicious.

FMD Chickpea Salad for One

1/2 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup baby carrots
2 tbsp chopped onion or green onion
1 tbsp dill relish or chopped dill pickles
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp veggie broth
1 or 2 tsp dijon mustard (do this to taste)
1 tsp vegetable broth powder*
1/2 tsp Bragg's or Tamari
1/4 tsp garlic powder

In a food processor (or with a potato masher or fork) process the chickpeas until they are broken up and flaky but not pureed. Place them in a bowl. Place the baby carrots in the processor and process until they are diced. Add those to the bowl and mix. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

* I like Rapunzel powder - however, it has a little oil in it but I didn't think it was enough to really make this a 'bad' choice. Happy Herbivore has a great recipe for No Chicken Broth in one of her books. You can make that and use that instead. It would be great too. I just forgot I had that and used the Rapunzel.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Review - Follow Your Heart Vegan Shreds

I decided to give these a try  .... 

The Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Shreds in the Fiesta Blend. This is a flavor with some spice and heat to it, much like you'd get in a 'taco cheese'.  This also comes in mozzarella and cheddar flavors.

It is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-gmo, and soy-free.

Here is the company statement regarding their source of palm oil.

I should give you a point of reference for this review. I can tell you that if you ask 10 vegans their fave vegan cheese, you'll get ten answers and what one vegan loves, another loathes so you have to take reviews as they are - the opinion of one person.

That said, I will tell you my taste profile when it comes to vegan cheese. I love the Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti wedges but I very much dislike the Daiya shreds. I like the Teese Cheddar Sauce for mac & cheese but the other flavors are just 'meh' to me. I didn't like the FYH blocks of cheese. I thought they lacked flavor. I tried the Trader Joe's Mozzarella shreds and while it was 'ok', I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. I really do prefer pizza without cheese now so taste testing mozzarella flavors isn't really a fair test with me because I'd just rather have it without it.

So, trying a Mexican flavor is better because I love Mexican food and while I can certainly live without a cheese in my Mexican food, it very often can punch it up a level.

Vegan cheeses tend to have a powdery flavor. I'm not sure what that ingredient is but they all seem to have it in common. This one does as well.

My grocery store had it for $5.39 but I had a $2 coupon from Veg News Magazine. The Daiya Wedges I buy are the same price at this store so while it's pricey, I feel like it's reasonable in a certain way since I use small amounts and I can get quite a few servings out of a package. The truth is that it's still an all fat ingredient so it isn't something you should eat large amounts of anyway.

Out of the bag, it isn't horrible. It's probably the first vegan cheese I've tried that I didn't make a face when I tried it raw. I probably wouldn't toss it raw on a salad tho. It has cheddar orange and cream color shreds but the cream colored ones have maybe a pepper or spice in them that honestly, makes it look like blue cheese/mold so I'd be very aware of that so you don't mistake it for having gone bad. It has a bit of a tanginess to it that I've not really had in vegan cheese before.. a flavor very much expected in a cow cheese so that was interesting.

I decided to try it on nachos. I did some with just the Fiesta blend and some with some leftover enchilada filling of black beans, corn, tofu and black olives.

I put it in my toaster oven and it melted ok. I probably should have let it go longer than I did but I just have no patience.  It melted better on the plain chip, of course. It tasted mostly the same melted as it did raw. A little more mellow. Pleasant and with a slight spicy kick so you know it's a 'taco' cheese. Besides the normal powdery flavor, it didn't have any lasting aftertaste that I noticed. 

I will be trying this in my enchiladas, quesadillas and burritos for sure. I'm curious to see the meltability in those items. I do think it pairs well with other ingredients rather than on it's own. I don't know that I'd make a grilled cheese out of it.

So.. bottom line .....  Would I buy it again?  

Possibly, if I felt like I wanted that fiesta type flavor but given a choice, I'd always choose the Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti over this. That can be sliced for use in a grilled cheese or grated.  This is a clear second tho. I like knowing I have an alternative to Daiya wedges if I can't find it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Favorite Things - Supplement Products

People are always asking me what products I use so I thought I'd do a few posts of my recommendations. First up.. supplement type products. 

I research everything and I search for the best product I can find that I can afford and has the benefits and requirements I'm looking for. I try to keep it vegan and no artificial sweeteners. I'm not a Stevia fan either so I look to avoid that as well but Stevia is ok if you don't mind it.

I recommend researching products for yourself and not just taking my word for it. You may want to talk to your doctor before adding in supplement products to make sure they are ok for you to take. Consider any medications you are taking and your lifestyle. 

This isn't every single thing I use.. but these are my faves. I take other things like calcium and a multi vitamin.. but those are pretty boring. 

I don't take every supplement every day. Some are daily, some I take when I think I need them, like the B12 and some I take a couple times a week. 

There are some supplements that I take that are not vegan (they have a gelatin capsule) so I won't mention those here but I do the best I can and I try to find vegan products but sometimes the best product and most affordable product is one that isn't available in a vegan capsule and I just have to deal with it.

I'm linking to the products but it doesn't necessarily mean that link is to the best price.. make sure you check places like VitaCost, iHerb, Amazon, and various online vitamin stores to locate the best deal.

I encourage you to research each ingredient to see why you might consider adding it to your diet. 

Blender Bottle

I love these. I have a few and I prefer the 28 oz size. Every morning, my first glass of water for the day is mixed in this bottle with 1 tsp of Spirulina, and 1/2 tsp each of Just Barley and Wheat Grass powder. I have a 32 oz mug that I fill up with ice and then I use 20 oz water in my blender ball and it fills it to the top!

In order to be able to drink this, you need to like the green flavor .. if you don't, then mix the powders into a shake or smoothie instead but I love the fresh, green flavor first thing in the morning! The wheat grass is the strongest of the flavors.

Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina

I researched and researched to find the best spirulina .... here is the info from the brand website:

"Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica® is a unique superior strain of Spirulina with the highest known nutritional content in the world. It’s all natural, 100% vegetarian, Kosher Certified, and Non-GMO. It’s the only Spirulina cultured in a Biosecure Zone free of herbicides and pesticides on the sunny Kona coast of Hawaii. Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica thrives in ponds fed with 100% fresh potable water from Hawaiian aquifers and pure, deep ocean water drawn from 2000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. This ultra-pure, deep ocean water enriches Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica with 94 trace minerals and is a unique natural resource used in our patented Ocean Chill Drying™ technology which ensures maximum nutrient potency."
Amazon is usually the best price.

Pure Planet Just Barley

When I'm searching for a product, I want the least amount of ingredients as possible and when it comes to these types of powders, you really want one that is just the ingredient, no fillers and you want organic.

Read about the benefits of barley grass juice powder at the Just Barley website.

NOW Wheat Grass Powder

Organic juice powders, like NOW® Wheat Grass Juice, feature high concentrations of valuable nutrients, including chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and natural enzymes.

Natural Factors Jungle Juice Vitamin C

If I can avoid swallowing a pill, I will .... when it comes to vitamins, I'm a kid at heart... give me something I can chew! These are hard wafers even tho they call them 'chews' .. it makes it sound like they are gummies.. they aren't. They have a fruity, tangy, tropical flavor that I really enjoy. Some chewables can have a weird 'medicinal' flavor, these don't. It's sort of like a piece of candy! I just let it dissolve in my mouth. I think they offer other flavors in the Vitamin C and they have other supplements. These are sweetened with natural fruit sugars.

Jarrow Methyl B12 1000

Methylcobalamin is better absorbed and retained than cyanocobalamin. I take one of these meltable wafers a couple times a week to make sure my B12 levels are maintained. They don't taste great but they aren't horrible.. kind of a lemon flavor.

NOW Glucosamine 1000 VCaps

This glucosamine is made from a plant source and not shellfish. My joints aren't what they used to be and I figure this can't hurt. 

My favorite protein shake

I shared our favorite shake in a previous blog posting. (click the title above) I am now having this almost every morning and I really notice a difference in how I feel. I think it has to do with the Amazing Grass powder as it has probiotics.

I'm sharing this here because I add supplement powders to it so it kind of falls into this blog.  I talk about most of the ingredients in that blog except the Amazing Grass Superfood, which is below. 

One thing I like to do is to make up powder packets in small containers so they are ready to go every morning. I just have to grab the almond or soy milk and the powder and then blend that.. and then add a frozen banana. Super fast. It tastes like a thick and yummy milkshake. 

Amazing Grass Superfood (chocolate)

** Amazon usually has the best price on this.  I can get the 60 serving jar for $25 to $30 .. shop around!

I love this because it's probiotics! We all need probiotics.. plus, it has a fabulous grass blend! This comes in a variety of flavors. I also have the Orange Dreamsicle flavor for my husband. It has stevia in it tho so I don't like it. I am very sensitive to that fake sweet flavor. The berry is stevia free .. I want to try that one next!  They also have Energy (lemon lime), Pineapple Lemongrass, Original, and a couple other types.

Spotlight on Cruelty - Fois Gras

One of the cruelest things you can consume is Fois Gras, or duck liver pate. I am aghast at the ways in which humans have thought of to torture animals for their pleasure. 
Fois Gras is illegal in many countries and in California - for good reason. 
"These intelligent, gentle birds are condemned to spend their lives in small, barren pens, where they are forced to stand 24 hours a day on metal grating as their urine and feces build up underneath. The geese panic and struggle as they are roughly grabbed by the throat and a metal pipe is forced down their throats so that huge amounts of grain (up to 4 pounds!) can be pumped into their stomachs. This cruel process happens three to four times a day – every day. On some farms, a single worker may be expected to force-feed 500 birds three times each day. Because of this rush, animals are often treated roughly and left injured and suffering with injuries to their throats and wings. Many die from their liver rupturing.
Their distended and diseased livers swell to 10 times their normal size and press against their lungs, causing them to pant constantly. Some of the birds can no longer stand because their legs can't support the weight of their livers, resulting in possible leg fractures." ~ PETA

Look at these photos... humans have actually designed and manufactured specialized equipment to torture these beautiful birds... special cages, special holders, special throat pipes.... I am routinely disgusted to call myself a human.

Guess what? You can make delicious pate using plant ingredients that are healthy and no one has to die for your pleasure. The really good news is that I rounded up recipes that can please everyone... if you don't like mushrooms, try the one with tempeh. If you can't find tempeh, try the lentil one. If you're allergic to something.. odds are you can find a pate recipe that will work for you .... No excuses!

Veggie Pate (sunflower, potato and quinoa) 

Oh, wait... one last excuse... you don't cook, right? Well.. guess what? You can BUY vegan pate. So there. Sorry... no good reason to eat tortured duck liver. Ever.

Here is just one.. but I know many exist .... so go google!