Archive | January, 2012

Sweet potato and black bean tacos!

31 Jan

I have an obsession with looking for recipes online.  I just keep looking, and looking, and looking….

In fairness, I had a pretty good repertoire of recipes before 6 months ago.  It feels like I am starting over.  And it is hard to find recipes that meet all of my nutritional criteria that I think will stand a chance of the kids liking.

Tonight, I made a quick slaw while I had sweet potatoes roasting.  This recipe is super yummy and full of good things!  We kept it gluten and corn free and had it on brown rice tortillas.  But you do whatever floats your boat.

For the slaw, I just shredded some cabbage and baby sweet peppers and squeezed the fresh juice of one lime on it.  I then seasoned it with kosher salt, cracked pepper, and a pinch of raw sugar.  Massage it with your hands to really let those flavors blend.  Then taste it.  If it needs more seasoning, go for it.  If I had an extra red onion, I would have added that.  You can really play with this and mix it up.  It is a GREAT way to amp up your veggie intake.

Have you seen these little cuties?  Tiny little sweet peppers?  Yum!  Luck and I have just recently realized how much we love colored bell peppers.  We spent years eating green when we could have had these!

For the tacos, I found a recipe on Tasty Kitchen that looked good.  Then I adapted it for us.

Sweet potato and black bean tacos

Homemade slaw (see above)

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into smallish pieces

Olive oil

Ancho chili powder (or regular, I just happen to love ancho)

Cumin

Kosher salt and cracked pepper

1/2 of an onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

Brown rice tortillas (or whatever you prefer)

Avocado, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 400.  Toss your sweet potatoes in a small amount of olive oil (you don’t need much), 1 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, and salt and pepper, if desired.  Roast them for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add your chopped onion and minced garlic to a pan and saute’ it over medium heat.  I don’t use oil to saute’ anymore, but you can certainly do it.  Add a bit of salt to the onions and that will help coax the water out of them and they won’t stick.  (I use a nonstick pan….but it isn’t the kind where the nonstick can peel up. This is the only time I use nonstick pans.)  Add water to the pan if they begin to stick.  Cook until they are soft and translucent.  Add the drained and rinsed black beans.  Add another teaspoon or more of the ancho chili powder, as well as a few more tsp of cumin.

When the sweet potatoes are done, add them to the beans.  Stir and taste for seasoning.  Always taste for seasoning!  Learn to tell when things need more salt.  Or learn to like things without salt.

Fill your tortillas with this mixture.  Then top with the slaw and avocados or lettuce or jalapenos or onions or whatever makes you happy.  This is gluten, dairy, corn free, as well as being vegan and nutritious!

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Too Much of a Good Thing

31 Jan

So as a follow up to my weird bruising, it seems I was getting too much Omega 3 in my diet.  The doc said that some people take Omega 3 instead of an aspirin to keep their blood thin.  Who knew?!?!  Certainly not me!  His opinion was this:  The vegan source of omega 3 is algae.  Fish eat algae, which is why they are high in omega 3’s.  Instead of taking a product of the fish, the omega 3’s are more potent coming straight from the source.  I am not explaining myself well.  But there you have it.

I stopped taking omega 3’s for about a week.  Bruising healed and stopped.  The life span of platelets is 10 days.  He said I would know if that was the reason within that period.  He was right!  I am now back on omega 3’s, but per Elisa’s recommendation, I am just staying on a smaller dose.  We take omega 3’s because of all of their great benefits, including the anti-inflammatory benefits they offer.  And when you have a disease of inflammatory responses, this is a good thing!

Kids Living Free!

31 Jan

I am going to put together a Facebook Group of moms who need support from other moms. Seems a lot of kids are going gluten/dairy/corn/dye/soy free!
If you want to be part of a group of moms (or dads) sharing tips and recipes, let me know!

6 Weeks to a New You

14 Jan

6 Weeks to a New You.

Here it is!  Sign up today for an investment in YOU!  We can’t wait to help you meet your fitness and health goals!

Six months!

10 Jan

It is my half year anniversary!  I have now been plant fueled for 6 months!

At this point, I am not in a flare.  🙂  I am having more good days than bad.  Overall, I feel like my old self pops in every once in a while. It is a beautiful thing!

Like I say all of the time, I SLEEP A LOT. Or at least I lay in bed a lot (which is why I am on the computer a lot).  This is big for me.  When I am busy one day, I actually plan nothing except coming home and getting in bed from 6 or 7pm until the morning.  Or I will plan for the next day to be spent in bed. I have discovered how to preemptively strike so as to not get sick from stress and busyness.  It is something I still find myself defending occasionally.  Especially when people tell me how lucky I am to get to lay in bed a lot.  But overall, I realize that it isn’t their fault that they don’t understand.  And I pray that they don’t ever have to understand.

New syptoms…I am bruising easily, and the bruises don’t go away.  On my shins.  This happened back in high school and college.  I had bruises that where there for literally years. This makes sense given my blood counts recently.  I am not anemic (so don’t tell me to eat red meat!), I just have low counts.  I also have slight pleurisy.  What a change from this time last year!!!  I was in constant pain from pleurisy!  And nauseated all of the time.  And totally wiped out.  And sun sensitive.  And having fevers all of the time.

So I was told to give this diet 6-12 months to see any real change.  http://www.eaturveggies.com/  Please go give Elisa a shout if you are needing to combat a disease or have health issues you wish to address with a plant based approach!  She will steer you right.  And I can tell you, she has been right.  It has taken about this long to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I am no dummy.  Lupus comes in flares.  A new flare may be on the horizon tomorrow.  But I am going to keep eating like a rabbit and praying that this balance of eating plant based and resting all that I can is making my body reverse this disease.

ps.  I am stronger right now than I was 6 months ago, too!  I do more weight in BodyPump than I have ever done before.  Don’t believe that you need animal protein to be strong!  Plant protein is doing my body good!

Do you have a picky eater?

10 Jan

Do you have kids?  I bet at least one is picky!!!  If you don’t have a picky eater, consider yourself blessed.  Don’t be fooled in to thinking it is because you are exposing them to everything early on and nothing more.  It IS exposure, but it is ALSO that child!

Remember that you really do need to expose your kids to lots of foods.  They need to see it on their plates, see you enjoying it, try it, over and over and over before they may even take a bite, much less like it.  Their are “magical” numbers like 20 floating around.  I am not exactly sure what the number is, but it is a lot.  Bottom line, keep making it, keep putting it on their plates.  Don’t give up!

If you haven’t figured this out from my blog, our family rates everything we eat at home on a scale of 1-10.  It helps us know how we all truly feel about things. It also helps the kids learn to articulate why they like certain flavors/textures/combos.  We started this when I went vegan and I highly recommend it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

For us occasionally, Reid will down an entire plate full of food and give it a 2.  He is not a picky eater at all.  But we have learned what he actually likes instead of just assuming he liked it because he ate it.

Daniella, on the other hand, picks at her food.  Occasionally, she will rate something an 8 and only take a few bites. In the past, we would have assumed she didn’t like it.  To be honest, she just doesn’t like much dinner food.  And we are okay with that.  As long as she tries it.  We do not make her anything else to eat.  She gets whatever is made for the family. But she knows this and just willingly prefers to not eat dinner.  It is no longer a war because we have fought many, many years of battles.  Hang in there, parents!  It is worth the fight.  I can tell you that this girl who picks at food, now loves salad with vegan dressings, roasted veggies, pretty much anything Greek, and olives.  She will now TRY almost anything, including things that are mixed, ie…casseroles and soups. Homegirl likes her food separated!  I am not going to say she doesn’t occasionally gag at the table.  Because she does!  But oh the joy of seeing her mature and WANT to like new and healthy things.

The norm in our house is this: Reid rates most things about a 7 or 8, though a few times a week something will blow up the scale and get a 100, and Dani usually rates things about a 3.  Nearly everything.

Here is how we fight the dinnertime war!

  • Fruit is not on the dinner table.  We found that it created problems because that is all they wanted to eat.  Fruit is now snack before every bedtime.  The kids can count on coming down for almond milk and some sort of fruit before bed.  They love it!  It is a dessert to them.
  • We have never made them clean their plates.  They eat what they eat. If they are hungry later, they can wait for fruit.  Or they can hear us say for the millionth time in their life, “You should have eaten your dinner!”
  • No seconds on anything unless they have eaten all of their food.  This is especially important if they don’t want to eat a veggie, but they really want more pasta.  They will down that veggie to get more of what they want.
  • We will often give them a first course of salad.  This ensures they are getting raw veggies in before anything else.  A huge mistake for us: dressing the salad for them.  For Daniella, that works. For Reid, he HATES salad dressing and likes undressed salad.   Once they finish or eat whatever amount we think is appropriate, they can move on to their main course.
  • Lucky has taught me to not fight over food.  The dinner table is a place for peace.  No feelings are involved. This one is hard for me because the kids can actually hurt my feelings by rejecting my food.  Kind of embarrassing, I know.  But true.  He is good about making it about a choice regarding food and nothing else.
  • We spent YEARS of making Dani take a number of bites of her food.  She would sit down and instantly ask, “How many bites?”  I wish we hadn’t done that.  But we did what we did to survive. What we do now as a compromise is tell them for every bite of what they want, they need to take one bite of what they don’t want.  We just say, “A bite for a bite.”  And they know what that means.
  • We definitely battled at the dinner table.  And we still do occasionally.  But our main goal at the table was 1) to chat as a family and 2) to teach our kids to eat foods that will nourish them their whole lives. It is never too late to change courses.  Eating largely vegan drastically changed our meal course because I stopped preparing meats.  And you know what?  They are less picky now than they have ever been!  And they still eat about the same amount of food.  They haven’t lost weight or gotten gangely.  I can’t say they aren’t skinny b/c they are.  They got their daddy’s genes NO DOUBT!  But that has been in place forever.

And if you are wondering, Daniella approved of this post.  She is open about all of this and I don’t want anyone to think she would be embarrassed.

How do you deal with picky eaters?

75 Ways Going Vegetarian Has Made My Life Better

9 Jan

This is a great website!  Lots of resources.  I can pretty much concur with his 75 ways…only I don’t eat cheese and am not a runner and certainly don’t have a pregnant wife.  🙂

75 Ways Going Vegetarian Has Made My Life Better.