Raw Energy Options Courtesy of Vega

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This post is all about good natural raw energy. I usually work out at 5 in the morning so trust me when I say these recipes and products will get you going.  The original energy nugget recipe came from Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive but I have modified it to my own liking.  Those of you who are interested in learning more about being a Vegan athlete I highly recommend reading his book.  I learned a lot about how energy products cause you body to work harder at breaking down what’s in them, therefore making your recovery time longer.  Not to mention you can become dependent on them and instead of you getting physically stronger you need the energy just to workout.  Trust me I used to use those crazy products back in the day and not only was I irritable ALL the time, sometimes I would have a hard time falling and keeping asleep at night(even when I took it at 5am). Since reading his book over two years ago I have stuck to these recipes and products and have fell in love.  The best part is I have converted my husband too.  Now lets get to the good stuff… the recipe.

Energy Nuggets

Ingridients

6 Medjool Dates

3/4 cup almonds (soaked 10-30 mins)

2 T coconut oil (the solid kind), I use Nutivia

2 T Raw Yerba Mate (optional)

Juice of half a lemon

Lemon Zest

1 t Cinnamon

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in the food processor and process until the mixture starts to stick together.

Chef Notes

Remember soaking nuts makes them easier to digest so 30 mins is recommended but if you only have time for 10 minutes then that’s fine.  Definitely don’t soak longer than 30 minutes you don’t want them to get too soft for this recipe.  Also you can add as much or little lemon zest as you like.  Another suggestion is you can roll the nuggets in shredded unsweetened coconut if you wanted.

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Use a tablespoon to scoop into even amounts and mold into small nuggets.  It should make about 9 or so. Put in the Fridge and then eat when needed.  I like to eat one before I go to a hot vinyassa class, lift weights or a cross-fit class and need some fuel in my belly. They should last 4-5 days so if you can’t eat them all you can always freeze some and take out when you need.  They only take a couple minutes to get soft enough for you to eat. 

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I always add yerba mate to mine because like I said I NEED it at 5am but it’s totally optional.  You can order it on Amazon like I do or if you are lucky and have a whole foods you can buy a small amount at a time in the tea section.

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Lastly if I am doing a morning cardio session and prefer to have an empty stomach I use this or sometimes I take half a scoop with my energy nugget.  Again you can find this on Amazon and must cheaper than Whole Foods.  Can you tell I love shopping on Amazon:)

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Enjoy! 

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Raw Chocolate Truffles

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Okay I have to admit I have a serious sweet tooth but I prefer something like this rather than a processed candy bar.  Here is a really simple recipe that you can whip up and have any time for that sweet craving.  Since these only stay good for about 3-4 days in the fridge I typically make only half the recipe because it’s just my husband and I.

Ingredients  

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1 ½ cups dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions

  • Process the almonds until finely ground in a food processor
  • Add in the dates and cacao powder and process until mixture clumps together, if for some reason it doesn’t 1/2-1 T of agave will do the trick
  • Scoop out even sized balls, and roll between hands to shape. I usually use a tablespoon to make sure I am measuring them equally.

Chef Tips: You can roll the balls in extra cocoa powder, coconut or anything else your heart desires.  If you really like chocolate you can also all some vegan chocolate chips to the balls too.  I prefer the brand Enjoy Life because they are egg and soy free.  

The 2013 Dirty Dozen list is out!

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ImageYep, eating healthy is definitely not as inexpensive as eating badly. You’re more likely to find a drive-thru offering a 99 cent burger than you will one that offers a salad at the same price. That being said, we all know now that pesticide use is rampant in the agricultural market which might be great for crops but is not so great for human (and animal) health. So should you go organic to save your future health? I say yes. go as organic as you can afford to in the present and the long term. Personally, I try to buy the organic versions of foods that I know are filled with antibiotics and hormones. That means meats and eggs ( and when I used to eat dairy I included milk too). I love fruit and vegetables but I’m not made of money so I stick to those that have the most pesticides. Luckily, the 2013 Dirty Dozen list was released and you can see which foods rank from most contaminated to least on that 12 point list. 

4 Strategies for healthy choices

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work-life-balanceSometimes I think that Balance really IS the key to life in every way. People often wonder HOW/WHY I and others like me train and compete the way we do. Part of it is the “genetic ethic” that compels us to push beyond our limits. The other part is the life ethic that is powered by that genetic component. For me, it simply means that I want to feel good ALL the time up until the very last breath leaves my body while I’m having the time of my life.  Tall order, I know but I refuse to leave my health up to fate and work hard to control the variables I can. Oh, and then there is the vanity factor, let’s not discount that because it sure does help. Being the vain control freak that I am means that I, naturally, assume that you would want to hear my thoughts on how I strategize healthy choices.  Of course you do!

  1. Speak well, live well: I believe in the power of words over mindset because you can really talk yourself into and out of things with a few choice. Keep giving voice to the weakness in you while ignoring the strength and what you repeat will come to fruition. The same goes for your relationships.
  2. Consider exercise is the same as brushing your teeth: You ignore either activities long enough and you WILL experience pain and decay eventually. Do each at least once per day for the best results and consider both as required daily maintenance.
  3. The food you refuse will always be there:  One trick for battling cravings is to remind yourself that “hey! it’s not the last time I will see/have (insert favorite food here) I just choose to not have it now”. Personally, I crave foods the way I shop: I see something like and then  get some distance from it. If it’s still on my mind hours or days later then yes, indulging is allowed (portions are key!) Instead of eating every meal like it;s your last how about reminding yourself of the countless times you’ve had that  treat before?
  4. Be willing to give up some ideas and habits:  If you think wellness professionals don’t struggle with the same things that you do then you are very deluded. We struggle with body image issues, cravings, harmful mental patterns, the WORKS just like you do, fellow humans. Most of us have just worked hard on our willpower muscles too. Coupled with willpower is the acceptance that for every action there will be a reaction. Every indulgent food choice comes with a price that must be paid with extra time in the gym and/or restraint at the dinner table later.  After all, what goes up must always come down which brings us back to where we started: Balance. 

5 healthy habits that are making you gain weight

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ImageMost of us have been there: you’re doing what you think is the right thing in the food and exercise department but you STILL can’t seem to lose the weight. At least not as fast as you want. What’s going on? well, it could very well be that all of those right things you’re doing. They might still be right but your execution is off. Check this out

  1. You Eat Breakfast...but only a little: Eating breakfast is a must but eating too little in the day time sets you up for massive hunger pangs later in the day. Breakfast is the perfect time to have your healthy carbs so add more with some lean protein.
  2. You Eat 5 Meals a Day….but they’re not small: The idea behind having 5 small meals a day is to keep your blood sugar balanced so you don’t binge. All you need a some healthy carbs, some lean protein and a little healthy fat. Think Spanish “tapas” sized for each meal.
  3. You Eat Fruit & Nuts….allll daaaay: The daily servings for fruit is 5 per day and no more. Use this handy chart from the Mayo Clinic to figure out what the proper serving size for the fruit of your choice is. The serving size for nuts is a handful and this article can explain to you what that should look like.  **Occasionally pair it with some lean protein like a handful of nuts to stay satisfied.
  4. You Only Do Cardio…the same kind all the time:  I am  Cycling Instructor ( among other types of exercise) and an avid runner. I get it. You love cardio. Still, your body is a highly adaptive organism and needs to be surprised often in order to change. Not only that, your cardio habit could be eating the highly metabolic muscle tissue you have which just makes room for the fat on your body.  Trust me, you WANT lean muscle on your body as it keeps your metabolism revved up and displaces fat.
  5. You eat protein bars…..a lot: Have you read the ingredients list for some of these protein bars?! Some are just glorified candy bars! Boil a carton of eggs and pre-portion your nuts to have handy. If you MUST eat a protein bar, choose one like Quest’s lowcarb/gluten free bars or Kind Bars which both have limited yet tasty and  healthy ingredients.

Cashew Mozzarella Cheese Pizza from vedgedout.com

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finished-pizza-pictureWho doesn’t love pizza?

This cheese created by Vedgedout.com ” stays in a “melted” type form until baked, and then it forms a nice crust, like dairy cheese does. It’s not intended to be eaten plain (like real dairy fresh mozzarella can). It’s also fairly salty to make it stand out in your recipes”.

Chef Notes

This recipe calls for a lot of salt which I recommend leaving in. I originally made it with 1/2 teaspoons and it wasn’t salty enough like the real version. Also if you do have a high speed blender then you really only need to soak the cashews for about 30 minutes. You should always soak your nuts before eating them. Not only do they taste better but it makes them easier to digest. Now for the best part, because you only use 1/4 cup cashews and the recipe makes a decent amount you are looking at less than 5 grams of fat per piece. I am referring to the cheese portion only.

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You can choose to use any crust you like but I decided to use the following. If you like a really crispy crust I would definitely recommend it. I made my crust and put it in the oven while I was making the cheese and sauce.

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You can buy your own sauce but honestly it’s so easy to make and fresh is always better for you. Go to Vedgedout.com for the recipe!

 

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CREAM REPLACEMENT: Sweet, decadent, and HOME MADE cashew cream

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CREAM REPLACEMENT: Sweet, decadent,  and HOME MADE cashew cream

Yep, that’s right I’m exercising my right to not buy creamers and milks from the store when I can MAKE my own versions for 1/3 of the cost and 1000% of the taste. Cashews have a higher fat content than almonds (whoa Nelly) so this neutral cream is an ideal replacement for baking and cooking recipes that call for cream or full fat anything. You can also use it as a coffee creamer by flavoring it with vanilla bean and agave!
You’ll Need:
2 cups of raw whole cashews ( want to make less for just yourself or 2 people? use only a 1/4 cup of cashews)
water
A high powered blender/good food processor
If you don’t have a high powered blender you’ll need a sieve to strain the cream through.
This recipe is the same for Almond Cream/Butter too.
Rinse Cashews under cold water then top them with enough water to cover them in a resealable container.
*Refrigerate and soak overnight
The next day, put them in your blender/processor and cover them with about an inch of water then blend until smooth and creamy (3-5 mins).
If you want a thicker cream use less water, a thinner cream use MORE water.
*Lasts up to 5 days when refrigerated and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Stir up before serving!

Cashew cream can replace your alfredo and other creamy sauces too!
Almonds can replace the cashews for the almond cream
*Make Cashew or Almond milk by using a 1:4 cup almond/cashew to water ratio.
*Stay Tuned for a Cashew Cheese Pizza Recipe and Review at Krystal’s Korner.

How to tell if you are really content or have just given up.

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lookbackinpinkNot sure if this is a universal feeling but for me, the 30s have been all about trying to maximize my time. Realizing how fleeting it is, trying to make the most of it, even being selfish with it because you KNOW it’s fleeting and WANT to maximize it. When you realize how fleeting said time is, you begin to come to accept the things you really cannot change. I say “begin to come to” because I am still a little defiant about my rear end and how much I can control it’s fall. SCREW YOU GRAVITY & FULL LENGTH MIRRORS!…ok, ahem, as I was saying.

So, yes, you very adultly start to realize that time is finite on this planet and wow, it flies so fast that you really don’t have time to squander it on self defeating things. Like the size of your body, bank account or Facebook Friends list ( please tell me none of us really care about that?) That leads you to accept the shape of your body, the fact that the toilet seat remains up no matter how much you nag, and that some friends are only for a season and some for a reason.  But when does self acceptance become giving up? Well, because our time IS limited I came up with this handy checklist:

You’ve might have given up if you :

Hide  or constantly change your eating habits-  do you secretly hoard /binge/purge on junk food but say you “love your curves” or dig your “svelte figure”?  Are you always on the latest fad diet hoping to lose those last few pounds? Then you really don’t love how you look or feel NOW. You might also need professional help. Think about it.

Use food, drink, or any other substance to self medicate- Is the only sensory pleasure you share with your partner from food and drink but never sex? Then you’ve given up on sex. Seek the help of a sex therapist because sex is fun. It’s the only  thing that separates you from being siblings and roommates. If you’d rather eat or drink than talk to your partner then, well, Houston: we have a problem.

Find yourself envying your friend’s success- Is your response to a friend’s good news to snark about their lives? Do you feel pangs of sadness that you explain away as Real Life in comparison to their Fantasy Lives. Then you might have given up on possibility! Yes, life isn’t a bed of roses BUT great things do happen. Don’t give up on your Great Thing. Ever.

Being truly content means being ok with what and how you are doing right now. It doesn’t mean you aren’t still improving but it just means you aim to get BEST from your current BETTER.