Listening To Your Body

Heart Shaped Vegetable Potato 014-1

For the past three years the thought of eating meat has repulsed me.  Prior to turning to a plant-based diet I was suffering from digestive issues which seemed to be worse when I would consume meat.  Following a dinner containing meat I would wake-up in the morning and feel as though it was still in my stomach completely undigested.

I learned long ago to truly listen to my body.  Three years ago my body was telling me to forgo meat and shortly after that to forgo gluten (which will always be absent from my diet).  I know that is what my body needed because it told me so.  So often people choose to ignore what there body is telling them…symptoms are there for a reason.

This summer my children and I went to visit my sister and her family near Tahoe and then my parents in Santa Cruz.  While in Santa Cruz we went on a berry picking trip about and hour away and ended-up at an old family favorite for lunch, Barbara’s Fish Trap.  When it came time to order I WANTED the clam chowder, so I had it and I enjoyed it.

I slowly began eating eggs more often than usual (I have always kept them in my diet) because I craved them.

Meat followed a few weeks later.  Yep.  Meat.

Please keep in mind that I am not talking about just any meat or eggs, I am consuming pastured meat and eggs.  Meat from animals raised as nature intended.  I do not think we are meant to eat meat from factory farmed animals because THEY are eating diets they are not meant to eat and by virtue of that WE are not able to process their meat well, nor are they as nutritious as they should be.

My foray into a plant-based lifestyle was made because my body requested it of me at the time.  Will I always eat meat from this point forward?  I am not sure.  For now it feels nourishing.  My body will tell me what it needs as I move forward and I will listen.

Is this admission going to upset some Veggie Grettie followers?  I am sure it will.

That being said, I am still Veggie Grettie.  Vegetables are still the absolute basis of ALL of my meals.  Am I eating a huge slab of steak at each meal?  NO, never in fact.  When I eat meat the portions are small and appropriate.

Do I love animals?  Yes and I always will.  I respect and thank the animals that have provided nourishment for my family.

Peace and health,

Gretchen

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TROP POPS

tropical popscicle 2 compress

A while back I saw a Pin on Pinterest that looked really good.  That pin served as the inspiration for this wonderful Tropical Popsicle….they are so simple and taste REALLY good!

Warning: If you don’t like coconut, these aren’t for you!

tropical popscicle 1 compress

INGREDIENTS – Makes 6-8 Popsicles

1 can full fat organic coconut milk
1 bag frozen pineapple (10 oz.)
2 Sweetleaf stevia packets
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Blend the above ingredients in your high speed blender until fully incorporated.

Pour into Popsicle molds.

Freeze.

Enjoy!

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FOOD FOR LIFE – Black Rice Tortilla – Gluten-Free

ezekiel black rice tortillaFood For Life recently sent me some of their new Black Rice Tortillas to sample.  It is nice to have another gluten-free tortilla in the market and fun to have it made from such exotic ingredients.

The tortillas arrived just before my family and I went to visit my sister and her family near Tahoe.  I brought the tortillas along because two of her four children and gluten-free as well and I wanted to get their opinion of the product.

We used the tortillas to make quesadillas and my nephew liked them.  When I asked him how he thought the compared to other gluten-free tortillas he has tried, he said he thought they were about the same.

I find that they are a little more pliable and not as brittle as some of the other brands I have tried.  They also have a slightly chewy texture which I am fine with.

Have any of you tried these yet?  What are your favorite gluten-free tortillas?

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CHRISTMAS IN JULY – SO DELICIOUS STYLE

So Delicious Cashew Milk COMPRESS

It is always fun to receive packages in the mail, especially the ones that are gifted to you.  So delicious has done it again and upped the ante by sending their newest milk…Cashew Milk!  This shelf-stable milk will be available nationwide in stores beginning this month and the suggested retail is $2.49.

We love cashews around here.  The love runs so deep that I have to restrain myself from eating them by the handful(s) since we all know nuts are not a treat we can eat in unlimited quantities (though I wished they were).

The new cashew milk is creamy and flavorful, which will make it a perfect addition to my morning smoothies (especially the unsweetened vanilla flavor).  Since it is made from cashews, the fat content is high (30 of the 35 calories are from fat), but since I wont be drinking it by the glassful, I am not worried about it.  I can’t wait to make my Mac and Cheez with the unsweetened original flavor.

So Delicious Frozen treats compress

So Delicious has made good use of monkfruit from which the fruit extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Thanks to this wonderful fruit, the “no sugar added” frozen treats they sent us have only 1 gram of sugar per serving.

My daughter is over the moon about the Fudge Bar Minis.  The timing of this treat couldn’t be more perfect since she has been feeling left out this summer as she watches the local kids nosh on Fudgsicles.

I know BOTH of my kiddos are going to go nuts for the “world’s ONLY gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free cookie dough ice cream“…it is going to be a serious spoon war between the two of them.

Now we just need So Delicious to come-up with a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan ice cream sandwich!  I am officially putting in my request :-)

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Happy Fourth!!!

This is an oldie, but a goodie…I thought I would share this recipe with all of you again.  Have a wonderful Fourth of July!

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INGREDIENTS

CRUST
1 ½ cup Gluten Free graham style crumbs (I used kinnikinnick foods)
1-2 packets stevia
6 Tbs. Earth Balance Soy-Free Spread
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BASIC FILLING
2 cups raw cashews (soaked 6-8 hours)
1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts (soaked 6-8 hours)
2 tsp probiotic powder (I used New Chapter All Flora)
½ cup filtered water
1 Tbs. meyer lemon juice
1/3 cup So Delicious Vanilla coconut creamer
1 Tbs. vanilla flavor (mine is by Frontier)*
4 Tbs. agave or maple syrup
4 stevia packets
Pinch of salt
*Do not use vanilla extract.  Since this is raw the alcohol will not cook out and will taste bad.
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Blue
½ cup frozen organic blueberries
1 cup Basic Filling
All natural blue food coloring (optional)
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White – Basic Filling (as is) OR
1/2 cup sliced bananas
1 cup Basic Filling
 
Red
½ cup sliced organic strawberries
1 cup Basic Filling
All natural red food coloring (optional)

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Upon first glance this cheesecake recipe seems much more time consuming than it really is.  This is how I easily tackle this recipe…

In the morning put 2 cups of raw cashews and 1 cup of macadamias in a container and cover the nuts with filtered water.  Place the container in the fridge to soak (click here to see how I did just this for raw vegan goat cheese).

In the afternoon or evening take the container of cashews and macadamias out of the fridge and drain and rinse the nuts.  Place the drained and rinsed nuts in your Vitamix along with ½ cup filtered water and blend VERY well.  This process will take quite a few minutes and your Vitamix will be working very hard!  Make sure you use the center agitator to help it along.  You want to mixture to be very, very, very smooth…it will be warm from all of the blending.

Once the mixture is smooth, place it in a bowl and combine with the probiotic powder.  Mix well.

Place the mixture in a cheesecloth lined colander and cover it.  Place the colander in a bowl (in case any liquid leaks out) and leave it out at room temperature for 12 hours to cure (overnight).  You can also place a plate and pie weights on top of the cheesecloth to encourage the release of moisture.

Meanwhile make the crust by combining the graham style crumbs with the melted Earth Balance and Somersweet.  Once combined, press the graham crust into the bottom of a springform pan or create individual cheesecakes by using a mini crumb cake pan and filling each with 1 Tbs. of the graham crust mixture and pushing it down (in a crumb cake pan the bottom of each cake lifts-up to help unmold the cakes).  Place in the fridge to set-up.

In the morning place the cured cheese mixture in a bowl and use a hand mixer to blend in 1 Tbs. lemon, 1/3 cup So delicious, 1 Tbs. vanilla, ¼ cup agave, 4 stevia packets, and a pinch of salt.  The Basic Filling recipe is now complete.

Create the blue layer by blending 1 cup of the Basic Filling with ½ cup of frozen blueberries (optional blue food coloring).

For the white layer, either use the Basic Filling as is or blend 1 cup of the Basic Filling with ½ cup of sliced bananas.

Create the red layer by blending 1 cup of the Basic Filling with ½ cup of sliced strawberries (optional red food coloring).

Pipe a small layer of the blueberry mixture onto each crust.  Smooth the layer to make it level and follow with a layer of white, and then a layer of red.  Place in the freezer to set-up for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Remove from the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the cheesecake to thaw slightly.

Top with your favorite non-dairy whipped cream and fresh berries.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Note – I am a Vitamix affiliate and whole-heartedly endorse the use of this wonderful machine!

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Filed under Cheesecake, Dessert, Frozen Treats, Holidays, Recipes

EGG-FREE PALEO MACAROONS

Elana's Pantry Egg-Free Paleo Macaroonsphoto provided courtesy of elanaspantry.com

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Summer is here for my kids…yay!!!  School just got out and I couldn’t be happier.  I just made these Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons and they are in the oven as I type.  The macaroons came together insanely fast and I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry.  If the batter is any indication, these are going to be amazing.

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Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons

Recipe provided courtesy of Elana’s Pantry

  1. In a food processor, combine shredded coconut and coconut flour
  2. Pulse in salt, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla
  3. Dough will form a ball
  4. Scoop batter 1 level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

Makes 12 macaroons

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For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

HEALTHY FUDGESICLES

Fudsicle carobsicle collage

Or “carobsicles” if you make them like I did.  I have been using a lot more carob lately because I really enjoy the flavor.

These popsicles were inspired by a “Cocoa-Bean Ice Cream” recipe I saw on Dr. Fuhrman’s website.  The “bean” in the title is just that…beans.

You know I like packing as much nutrition into a recipe as I can and adding beans to the mix actually adds creaminess to the frozen treat in addition to fiber.  I promise you will not even taste a hint of the beans…the carob OR cocoa takes care of that.

I chose to make popsicles vs. ice cream which resulted in 7 popsicles vs. the 4 servings the recipe originally made.

This recipe is made with WHOLE FOODS and is a wonderful way to end your day.

INGREDIENTS

2 ripe bananas, frozen
1/2 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup cooked aduki beans, rinsed and drained (the original recipe called for black beans)
1/4 cup toasted carob powder (the original recipe called for 3 Tbs. cocoa powder)
4 dates, pitted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (alcohol free)
1 cup soy, hemp, or almond milk

Blend all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender until very smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds, freeze, and enjoy.

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For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Dessert, Frozen Treats, Ice Cream, Recipes, Sorbet, Vegan, Vegetarian

SAN-J GLUTEN FREE ASIAN DRESSINGS

San J Dressing Collage

San-J is a favorite brand in this gluten-free Asian household.  Their Thai Peanut Sauce has been a staple in our fridge for years as has their Szechuan Sauce & Terriyaki Sauce.

That being said, I was excited to try their new salad dressings (which they sent to me free of charge).  The flavors are good basic Asian flavors:

While admittedly HIGH in sodium, I am a fan of these dressings.  I used them on seaweed salad and to lightly marinade some cucumbers (they tasted best after only marinading 30 minutes…when left overnight they became too salty).  I did however cut the dressing with a bit of rice wine vinegar because I like a more “vinegar-y” dressing and I also added some red pepper flakes to the cucumbers.

Using the dressings on a regular salad produced a great result.  My favorite 2 dressings were the Tamari Peanut and Tamari Ginger since they had more flavor than the Tamari Sesame.

Some more good news…San-J has Reduced Sodium Tamari now…yay!!!  HOPEFULLY they will come out with Reduced Sodium Travel Packs soon (I keep the travel packs in my car for when I go out to Asian restaurants).

San-J graciously shared a recipe for one of their favorite ways to use the Tamari Peanut Dressing…

TAMARI PEANUT PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI

Created by: Amie Valpone

INGREDIENTS Serves 4.

12 oz. whole grain spaghetti
1 Tbsp. olive oil (eliminate if water sauteing)
1 large zucchini, diced
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp. San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing Sub out for either ginger or sesame dressing and add 1Tbs. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
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PREPARATION

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Then, drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (eliminate if water sauteing). Add the zucchini; cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add white beans, garlic, sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat; add bean mixture to the spaghetti along with San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing and mix well to combine.

Serve warm and top with sesame seeds.

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Recipe courtesy of San-J. www.san-j.com

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

CALORIE RESTRICTION

I was recently alerted to the video, “Eat, Fast, & Live Longer” through a newsletter I receive from VegSource.  The concept of elongating lifespan through calorie restriction  or intermittent fasting is fascinating.

“The CRON-diet (Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition)[1] is a nutrient-rich, very low calorie diet[2] developed by Roy WalfordLisa Walford, and Brian M. Delaney.[3][4][5] The CRON-diet involves calorie restriction in the hope that the practice will improve health and retard aging, while still attempting to provide the recommended daily amounts of various nutrients. Other names include CR-dietLongevity diet, and Anti-Aging Plan. Several people, including the Walfords and Delaney, founded the CR Society International to promote the CRON-diet.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting (usually meaning consumption of water and sometimes low-calorie drinks such as black coffee) and non-fasting.

There is evidence suggesting that intermittent fasting may have beneficial effects on the health and longevity of animals—including humans—that are similar to the effects of caloric restriction (CR). There is currently no consensus as to the degree to which this is simply due to fasting or due to an (often) concomitant overall decrease in calories, but recent studies have shown support for the former.[1][2] Alternate-day calorie restriction may prolong life span.[3] Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction are forms of dietary restriction (DR), which is sometimes referred to as dietary energy restriction (DER).

Scientific study of intermittent fasting in rats (and anecdotally in humans) was carried out at least as early as 1943.[4]

A specific form of intermittent fasting is alternate day fasting (ADF), also referred to as every other day fasting (EOD), or every other day feeding (EODF), a 48-hour routine typically composed of a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period.” – Wikipedia

While this is not a short video (clocking-in at around 1 hour), it is a very intriguing watch.

Have any of you tried intermittent fasting?  Any fasting experience?

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ETHICAL OCEAN VEGAN RECIPE CONTEST

pineapple upside down cakes (12)

RecipeContestBannerThe Ethical Ocean and Vegan Cuts Vegan Recipe Challenge recipe contest is live!!! 25 of the most talented vegan culinary masterminds have submitted recipes for the contest, and now we need you to pick your favorite (I’d love your vote for my Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes!

You can vote daily (and for as many recipes as you want!). And if a recipe that you vote for wins, you’ll be entered into the Grand Prize draw for a chance to win a $250 shopping spree on Ethical Ocean OR a 1 year subscription to a Vegan Cuts’ Snack Pack. The more times you vote, the more chances to win you have!

Timing: The contest kicks off at 9am EST on Friday April 26 and ends at 11:59pm EST on May 17.

Note: While you must sign-up to Ethical Ocean to vote; you can choose to unsubscribe to emails at any time.

Links:

·         Click HERE to vote for my recipe

·         Click HERE to see the general contest                                                        

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