Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Wonderful World of Starbucks

I think the world would be a different place without Starbucks.  I mean, they are in almost every town you visit.  So you are sitting in the drive-thru line at Starbucks going back and forth contemplating what to order.  Hot or cold?  Coffee or Tea?  Healthy or Splurge?  Then you lean over to whoever is with you in the car... "What are you going to order?" They respond... "I dunno, what about you?" And that goes on for a while.  That's how it goes for me.  So the big question is... What should you order at Starbucks?

Well, I'm not against splurging every once in a while, but I normally like to keep it on the light side so I can go about my day not feeling too weighed down.  So here are some of my options...

First, I have to mention the new Starbucks However-You-Want It Frappuccinos!!  You pick the milk, the syrup, everything!  How about a soy strawberries & creme frappuccino, tall, no whip for only 190 calories!  Oh, and did I mention that it's made with organic soymilk and it's vegan... double bonus!  Or maybe you don't want anything sweet, you just want that coffee flavor but cold, then you can get a soy coffee frappucinno, no whip for only 170 calories.  To Create Your Own Frapp online and view the the nutritional information just GO HERE.

Here are some other options that I like...

Unsweetened Green Tea, Iced or Hot
Decaf Soy Cappuccino, Iced or Hot
Decaf Soy Latte, Iced or Hot
Any Rooibos Tea, Iced or Hot
Or Just Regular Coffee 

If you want to know the nutritional information for any drink, you can always go to their website.  I haven't figured out what their sugar free syrups are made of, I have heard Stevia and Splenda, so I'm not sure, but I am going to ask next time I go.  If you get a sweet drink, they usually put like 3 pumps of sweetener in it, so to make it a little healthier you can always ask them to only do 1 or 2 pumps of syrup.

They have also started to carry really healthy and yummy snacks!

Oh, and one last thing... Starbucks has the BEST gum!!  I love gum.  You will always find some in my purse, car, or desk.  I just received a gift card for Starbucks, and I bought 5 packs of gum with it (Sam made fun of me, but I was okay with that because he knows he likes it too.)

Well, that's all I have for you today.  I'm considering changing careers to be a salesman for Starbucks. I don't think they need a salesman actually, but if you hear that they do, let me know!

What do you like to get at Starbucks??

With Love, Health, and Happiness,


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What am I reading?

I wanted to fill you in on the things I am reading and the cookbooks I am using.  Since I am sharing all of this information with you, I thought you might want to know where it is all coming from, AND maybe you might want to check it out!  But I will warn you, once you start learning and reading all of the delicious recipes... it gets addicting! (At least for me.)  This is kind of a long post, but it is totally worth reading until the end... there is a secret surprise waiting at the end!! But don't cheat and skip down to the end now though :-)

In my very first email (post), I told you that this all started after watching an Oprah episode on eating healthy.  Alicia Silverstone talked about going vegan and discussed her book, called The Kind Diet.  This book really started it all for me.  She is all about being kind to yourself through your diet and being kind to animals.  The Kind Diet is basically the kinder version of a book, called Skinny Bitch (excuse my language), which boasts a vegan diet without actually saying it's recommending a vegan diet.  They gave it that title to to capture reader's attention, and I guess it worked.  This book is a very quick and easy read if you don't mind the authors being very frank with you.  These books are not just for people who want to know about the vegan diet. They are great books that offer not only everything you would want to know about a natural, healthy diet, but also, they offer both recipes and weekly menus.  These are great starter books to introduce you to a healthy lifestyle.  The Kind Diet has some amazing recipes!  That is where my Peanut Butter Cup Recipe came from.

The most recent book I have purchased is The Engine 2 Diet.  I got this book for my Dad for his birthday.  I have heard so many great things about it.  It's hard to get men interested in health and nutrition when it seems like all of the books are geared towards women.  Well, this book is perfect for both men and women.  I haven't read it yet, but my dad is in the process of reading it now, and I hope to read it when he is finished.  If you buy one book, I suggest buying this book.  It gives you pantry guides, workout regimens with pictures, shopping guides, recipes, menu ideas, and more.  It is the perfect starter book for anyone wanting to get healthier, have more energy, live longer, and loose weight (if that is a goal of yours).  Here is a how the book came about: 

Professional athlete-turned-firefighter Rip Esselstyn is used to responding to emergencies. So, when he learned that some of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, TX, were in dire physical condition-several had dangerously high cholesterol levels (the highest was 344!)- he sprang into action and created a life-saving plan for the firehouse. By following Rip’s program, everyone lost weight (some more than 20 lbs.), lowered their cholesterol, and improved their overall health. Now, Rip outlines his proven plan in this book. With Rip as your expert coach and motivator, you’ll transform your body and lifestyle in a month. His plant-powered eating plan is based on a diet of whole foods, including vegetables, whole grains, fruit, legumes, seeds and nuts.

Please go to the book's website and watch this short  video. 
And if you have a little extra time, watch the video on this website.

I am also in the process of reading Michael Pollan's book, In Defense of Food.  Here is a little snippet about the book... 

"Because most of what we're consuming today is not food, and how we're consuming it -- in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone -- is not really eating. Instead of food, we're consuming "edible foodlike substances" -- no longer the products of nature but of food science. Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy. In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion.  In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites, and return eating to its proper context -- out of the car and back to the table." 

Michael Pollan wrote another book that I would like to read called, Food Rules.  This is a great clip from when Michael Pollan was on Oprah discussing Food Rules. This is a short book and another great starter book.  In this book, he offers a guide for anyone concerned about health and food.  The book is a set of memorable rules for eating wisely. Whether it is at the grocery store or an all-you-can-eat-buffet, this book is a handy, pocket size resource/guide for anyone who would like to become more mindful of what they eat.  He also just released a documentary, which I really want to see, called, Food Inc.  Watch the trailer!  You can actually rent this documentary at Blockbuster! 

I get a lot of the scientific information from a book called Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, who are both Registered Dietitians.  Don't freak out, this book does talk about how to become vegan, which is odd considering the title.  Instead, it discusses all of the myths and actual scientific information and studies regarding protein, dairy, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals, etc., and end of the book describes what a vegan diet should look like.  It talks about vegan athletes, raising vegan children, and pregnancy.  It gives you the scientific resources to make your own decisions, and if you decide to do the vegan thing, then it provides a great guide.  Overall, it's just a very informative book on nutrition.  

Robyn Openshaw is a mother of four teens and creator of the website,  She is a nutrition professor at a university and has also written a guide called, 12 Steps to Whole Foods: Manual & Recipes.   The guide is expensive to buy in hard copy, but you can download a copy onto your computer from her website, and have it printed off and bound so it's just like the hardcopy but cheaper!  (Sam actually did that as one of my gifts for my birthday... so sweet!) Robyn has read many of the popular and widely recommended health books that I would love to read, but I just don't have the time to read 50+ books.  BUT thanks to her, she has already done that, and shares all of the information she has learned in a condensed version on her website and in her guide.  She is a busy, working mother, and she offers great tips for staying healthy even with a busy lifestyle.  She is full of information and is one of new favorite resources. Check out these clips of Robyn making her fresh salsa in five minutes and healthy alternatives to chips.

In addition to the blogs that I have shared with you, I have been using some great cookbooks.  I already mentioned The Kind Diet.  Another cookbook that I love is  The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. This is my go-to book for entertaining.  This is the book I used for my Easter brunch recipes.  She divides the book into occasions such as, Romantic Dinners for Two, Casual Meals for Four to Six, and more.  Then she divides each occasion into spring, summer, winter, and fall menus.  You don't even have to plan the menu, she does it for you!  She has great recipes even if it's not an occasion, and you just want something delicious like Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies (yummy!).  Visit Colleen's website  and watch her video on how to make her Garlic and Greens's soo good! 

I also really like The 30-Minute Vegan: Over 175 Quick, Delicious, and Healthy Recipefor Everyday Cooking  by Jennifer Murray.  This cookbook offers quick, easy recipes and great tips.  

I know all of these cookbooks are vegan recipes, BUT you don't have to be vegan to enjoy them.  I have cooked several things out of these cookbooks for my parents and others, and they love them!  I even get people requesting the recipes!  You could simply consider incorporating a few vegan dishes into your weekly meal routine, just to get an idea of how delicious and easy the food can be!  And you will notice how you feel full afterwards but not miserable... just simply satisfied with maybe some room left for dessert later! 

I'm not saying that you should go out and buy or read any of these, but I wanted you to know where I am getting my information.  And if you want to go check out some of these books, than that's great!  I also just have some general knowledge of my own from personal experience that I share, and I have a monthly subscription to Women's Health Magazine where I get information from every once in a while too.  I also frequently visit many of the blogs and website that I have listed on my blog list for more information.  

I will continue to keep you updated on any good books, cookbooks, blogs, or websites that I find.  In the meantime, let me know if you decide to check out any of these books, try any new recipes, or if you find anything that I should try! 

With Love, Health, and Happiness,


Did You Know???
So we all know about the wonderful world of Sprinkles Cupcakes.  If you don't know about these cupcakes, then you must go try them!  They are absolutely delicious.  They company started in Los Angeles and the celebrities quickly made these cupcakes famous... and for good reason!  So when I decided to do the vegan thing, I was sad that I was going to miss out on the many desserts that I love (I have a huge sweet tooth), BUT little did I know that I have not missed out on anything.  Sprinkles has VEGAN CUPCAKES served daily.  Red velvet cupcakes with a cute little "V" on top.  I didn't really like the red velvet flavor when I was eating their original cupcakes, but these vegan red velvet are SO good!  They taste just as good if not better than the original.  Sam surprised me with a box of four on my birthday, and I had half of a cupcake every night that week with a little vanilla coconut milk ice cream on top of the warm cupcake.  One word...AMAZING! 

The Protein Myth

Ever since I started this vegan journey, the first question/concern I hear is... "Where do you get your protein?!"  And that was exactly my question when I started this, until I learned that there are a million other protein sources besides animal meat.  I have also learned that we THINK we need way more protein than our bodies ACTUALLY need.  For all those non-vegans/vegetarians, I'm not going to say don't eat meat (if you do, get grass-fed, organic, naturally raised meat), but I do want you to know how much protein our bodies actually need and what are the best sources of protein, and then you can use that information to decide what you want to eat. 

The multi-billion dollar cattle and dairy industry, which consists of some influential farming politicians, has ingrained it into our minds through the food pyramid (established by a governmental agency) and advertising that animal protein is the best source of protein.  Bodybuilders also show off their bulky muscles, which are a result of high animal protein and a bunch of other crazy chemicals.  So, as a result, we think we need lots of protein and the best source for that is from animals.  But, surprisingly, plant protein is the best source of protein.  Animal protein has all of the essential fatty acids that our bodies need, but that comes at a price... we also get the  saturated fat, cholesterol, and chemicals that our bodies do not need.  Saturated fat and cholesterol are well linked with many chronic diseases. Animal protein actually raises blood cholesterol levels, while plant protein lowers it.  Also, animal protein may give you the bulked-up look, but it doesn't benefit your long-term health.  In fact, animal protein creates short-term muscle, whereas plant protein not only contributes to your long-term health because plants don't have just protein but SOOO many other nutritional benefits, but also, plant protein creates long-term muscles.  So, let's say you get an injury and can't workout for two weeks, animal protein muscles will wither away much faster than plant protein muscles.  Check out vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke. Not that you want to look like this, but just proving the point that plant protein is definitely sufficient for our bodies!  He does use protein powders to get that extra bulk, but they are plant protein powders...I'm still on the search for the best one for days when you have those really good workouts.

So what about all these high-protein, low carbohydrate diets like Atkins??  Bottom line, they are not good for you.  Our bodies need carbohydrates (good carbs like whole grains) to fuel our brain. And our bodies do not need that much animal protein and protein in general.  If we don't get enough carbs, we have less energy so we burn less calories.  Too few good carbs can lead to a condition called ketosis, which leads to dizziness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, sleep problems, and bad breath.  Also, just a side note about diets...I think a diet should be a lifestyle.  If you go on a diet for a period of time, once you stop that diet, your body is not going to know what to do, so you will begin to gain the weight back that you tried so hard to lose.  So make your diet a life choice... make "diet" a good word! 

Okay, now to the exciting stuff!  How much protein do you need and where can you get plant protein??  I have a fancy little formula for you (I know your shocked... the accounting major gives you a formula!)

Recommended Protein Intake (from Becoming Vegan):
Step 1) Weight in lbs ____ divided by 2.2  =____ kg.  This gives you your weight in kilograms.
Step 2)  Multiply your weight in kg ____  x 0.9 = ____ grams.  This gives you your recommended grams of protein intake. 

You can get your plant protein from any dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale (kale chip recipe below), spinach, broccoli (spinach and broccoli have more than 40% protein!) and avocados and more. Most vegetables have 9-10% protein.  Also, you can get protein from legumes (lentils, any kind of beans, garbanzo/chickpeas), tofu, tempeh, or any other veggie "meat" (links below about these products!).  Nuts, seeds, almond and peanut butter,  and non-dairy milks (almond milk is my favorite) are other sources of plant protein.  Also, whole grains such as brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread or pasta, barley, millet, quinoa (so yummy!) and berries are also good sources of plant protein. 

I hope you find this informative and not too overwhelming.  It definitely takes some time to change the mind-set of not having meat as the main dish, but rather a side dish, or like me, not at all.  But if you have any questions about ANYTHING (like recipe ideas so you can incorporate more veggies) just ask!  I have posted a list of blogs below that have great recipe ideas.  Enjoy! 

With Love, Health, and Happiness,


Recipe Blogs that I Like
Check out my Blog List to the right of this post.  There is a list of several blogs that are so helpful and very fun to read.
VegCooking - Here is eight weeks of ideas and recipes for every meal.  You can also type in any ingredient or meal that you want to eat in the search tool, and it will give you a ton of recipes.
Vegan Recipes Blog Search - This site is really cool, you can just type in any recipe you want, lets say "soup" or "casserole," and it searches through all of the vegan blogs to find recipes!

What can I do with tofu?
Tofu scramble and tofu "egg" or "chicken" salad are some of my favorites.  Let me know if you want any of those recipes.  Tofu has such a neutral flavor that it takes on any flavor that you marinate it with, so slice up some tofu, marinate it in BBQ sauce and put it on the grill! You can fry it too, just use high heat safflower oil (it has the good fats) and dredge the tofu in 100% whole wheat flour and cereal crumbs first, and dip into a honey mustard sauce! Squish most of the water out of the tofu before preparing it (just use two plates and some paper towels, and mash down on it pretty hard).

What is tempeh?
Sam and I actually made tofu "eggs" benedict with tempeh bacon (it really tastes like bacon) and a non-dairy hollandaise sauce for my family for Easter, and it was delicious!  Let me know if you want this recipe.

Delicious Veggie "Meats"
Gardein: Best "chicken" tenders and breasts ever!  I'm not kidding, they taste just like chicken strips.  You can get these products at Central Market and some at Tom Thumb.
Amy's Products:  We love the veggie burgers and the breakfast burritos.  My mom also takes their meals to work to heat up for lunch.   
Lightlife This brand has a lot of veggie "meats" including hot dogs, deli "meats," and more.  

*These are all still processed food, so I don't recommend eating them for every meal, but a few times a week is perfectly okay.  Sam and I usually have one of these products at least once a week when we need a quick dinner.  For the Superbowl, we did Lightlife's veggie dogs with Amy's veggie chili and onions, and Ezekiel* hot dog buns...delish! 

Ezekiel: Their bread products are made from sprouted grains, which are so good for you.  You can find their bread products in the freezer section, and you just keep them in the refrigerator, and heat them in a toaster or microwave before you use.  

Kale Chip Recipe - You Just Have to Try It 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sugar Isn't So Sweet

If you were to put ice cream or cake or anything sweet in front of me about 4 months ago, then I would have eaten every single bite. Once I started, then it was impossible to stop until it was gone (which is why I would usually split dessert).  Today, I still love dessert and sweets, just a healthier version of dessert that, I think, tastes just the same if not better!

There is a reason why we can't stop eating sweets or why we go back for's because sugar is addicting.  Literally, sugar is an addicting substance like a drug.  It lifts you up, making you want more, and then an hour or two later, you experience that crash.  So we all know that sugar comes from sugar cane, which is the natural form of sugar that your body understands because sugar cane has vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Your body understands food that nature grows in its whole form.  However, refined sugar is everything but natural.  In order to get refined sugar, the sugar cane is basically destroyed and stripped of any nutritional value.  Similarly, heroin, another addictive substance like sugar, comes from the poppy flower, which is a pretty flower whose seeds end up on your breakfast bagel (The Kind Diet).  Same thing with cocaine, it comes from a coca leaf that people eat every day, but the cocaine is the result of the healthy leaf stripped of all of its nutritional value, and what is left is this awful addictive substance (The Kind Diet)  A horrible analogy, but it's the truth, and it allows you to understand why it's difficult to stop after just one bite of a donut.   Refined sugar is associated with cancer because it spikes insulin levels and has been linked to several health problems such as a weakened immune system and hypoglycemia to name a few.  And what is even worse, is that refined sugar is in everything...cereals, breads, crackers, drinks.

So, what about all these artificial sweeteners...Equal, Splenda, SweetNLow?  The problem is aspartame, which is in just about anything that has the word "diet" or "sugar-free" on it such as diet sodas.  An ingredient in aspartame forms into formaldehyde, a deadly neurotoxin, after it is ingested.  I don't think that requires any further explanation... that just sounds awful.  Splenda has become more popular because it does not have aspartame, but the finished product is actually sucralose.  They say that it is 98% pure, but what they don't tell is what the other 2% is made from...heavy metals, methanol, and arsenic.  Yuck!  Sucralose and aspartame have also been linked to many health issues, and surprisingly, there is evidence that they stimulate appetite!  So even though these artificial sweeteners have less calories, they make you want to eat more!  So if you are going to choose between diet soda and regular soda, I would say go with the regular soda and just drink half a can.  But the best thing, would be no soda made with refined sugar.  

Okay, don't freak out.  I am not saying you can never have dessert or anything sweet again.  There is hope out there... natural sweeteners!! Sweeteners from nature.  100% organic maple syrup (not Aunt Jemima), agave nectar, and this may sound weird, but brown rice syrup is an amazing natural sweetener too. You can find most of these at your regular grocery store, but brown rice syrup may be a little more difficult to find.  I know they have it at Whole Foods and the Central Market in Fort Worth.  You will find these items near the maple syrup.  Another amazing sweetener that is not a syrup is Stevia, which is made from a plant with sweet leaves.  It comes in a liquid or powder form. On the back of many of these products it will tell you what amounts to use to substitute for refined sugar in recipes.  You can use these natural sweeteners in many baking recipes (check out some delicious recipe below!).
Now, what about soda?  My favorite alternative is sparkling water with lemon or lime, or both, or mixed with any organic, natural juice. Or naturally sweetened flavored sparkling waters called La Croix (they have La Croix at Tom Thumb and other grocery stores). But if you are craving a coke, root beer, or orange soda, you have to try Zevia, which is sweetened with stevia and tastes really good.   Another alternative is Organic Blue Sky Soda.  It is sweetened with organic sugar cane juice, which is still sugar, so not the best, but better than refined sugar.   I know you can find these at Central Market.

I still love sweets, but made with natural sweeteners, and I eat them all the time.  I will admit to you... my parents ordered this delicious chocolate cake at dinner, and I had a few bites, but I was able to stop after that.  I still eat products made with refined sugars such as dairy-free ice creams and sorbets, but maybe only a few times a month.  It's funny, once you take out the refined sugars, it is much easier to stop eating after a couple of bites.

I know this was a long one, but to sum it up... refined sugar is bad, artificial sweeteners are bad, natural sweeteners are good.  And with anything, these are all good in moderation.  So just because it is a natural, more healthy form of sugar, don't go crazy, but you will be able to enjoy it without getting that addictive feeling and crash later.  Instead, your sweet tooth will be completely satisfied, and you won't feel like you have to go back for more.

With Love, Health, and Happiness,



This show will really appeal to if you are at all interested in health and, particularly, the nutrition that children are getting in U.S. schools.  The show aired on abc, and it just finished up with it's first season.  If you read any articles or watch any clips from the show, I think you will be quite surprised. 

Peanut Butter Cup Recipe from The Kind Diet
(A Glorified Version of Reeses PB Cup)

This is a dairy-free butter that I know you can get at Central Market, and possibly at Tom Thumb.  It tastes just like butter.  Or you can use your own butter.

3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
Central Market makes their own that is so delicious, and you scoop it out of a bucket in the bulk section.  Or just make sure you get an organic peanut butter where the only ingredient is peanuts and maybe some salt. 

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or 10 graham cracker squares
1/4 cup maple syrup or maple sugar 
1 cup chocolate chips (I use nondairy chocolate chips which are usually in the gluten-free section of the grocery store.)
1/4 cup soy, rice, or nut milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans, almonds, or peanuts 

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and maple sugar or syrup, and mix well.  Remove mixture from heat.  Evenly divide mixture, approx. 2 tbsp per muffin cup.  Combine chocolate and milk in another pan (I use the same saucepan that I just emptied).  Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted.  Spoon the chocolate evenly over peanut butter mixture.  Top with chopped nuts.  Place in refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving.  Delish! 

Cornbread Recipe from The Kind Diet
(This  is so good!  Great with soup, stew, or chili.) 

Serves 12
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup safflower oil 
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Oil a 9x9 baking dish. Combine syrup, soy milk, and oil in a medium bowl and mix well.  In another bowl, stir together cornmeal, baking soda, and salt.  Ad the dry mixture to the wet mixture, and mix just until well combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan, bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cornbread comes out clean.  They should be golden brown.

This is a great way to use ripe bananas, and it is so good as a snack or breakfast with butter or peanut butter.  I just substituted brown rice syrup for the sugar, and it made the bread really moist, but you definitely have to cook it for the full 50 minutes if not a little bit longer.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Staying Healthy ~ Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins

Cancer is not the happiest subject, and, for some, this is a very sensitive subject, but it is something that I feel should be addressed when talking about health.  Many people have family members affected by cancer, and it is important to consider how our diet and lifestyle can help to prevent and counteract cancer.

Sam's dad, Dave, recently sent me this article (thank you) with a cancer update from Johns Hopkins, and I thought it was so informative that I wanted to share it with you.  I hope you find it useful, even if you only take one thing away from this article.  And if you do take something away, then please share it with those you love.

Article From Johns Hopkins:


Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins: 
1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size. 
2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime. 
3. When the person's immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors. 
4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors. 
5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system. 
6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc. 
7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs. 
8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction. 
9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications. 
10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites. 
11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply. 

Cancer Cells Feed On: 
a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc. are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color. Better alternative is Bragg's aminos (you can find this at Central Market) or sea salt. 
b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk cancer cells are being starved. 
c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer. 
d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). 
e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer fighting properties. Water - best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it. 
12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines becomes purified and leads to more toxic buildup. 
13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells. 
14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body's own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body's normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells. 
15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life. 
16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells. 
1. No plastic containers in micro. 
2. No water bottles in freezer. 
3. No plastic wrap in microwave. 

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well. Dioxin chemicals cause cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Dr. Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Cast le Hospital, was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of! Fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons. 
Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead. 

End of Article from Johns Hopkins

That was a lot of heavy information, and, again, I hope you can at least take one thing away from the article and share it with someone you love.

Changing the tone a little bit, I would like to leave you on a lighter note as you continue through your day since this blog is not only about staying healthy but also about being happy.  So I end with a somewhat inspirational, but more so funny quote from one of my favorite actors... Jim Carrey.

"I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That's the thing. You can't just visualize and go eat a sandwich." ~ Jim Carrey 

    Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura Pet Detective 

With Love, Health, and Happiness,


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tonight's Menu

Sam made dinner tonight while I was finishing up some CPA studying for the day, and it was so yummy that I wanted to share the recipes with you!  The tempeh sloppy joes recipe came from The Vegan Table (I love this cookbook), and we just came up with the sautéed kale recipe.  Tempeh is a great protein source and is really versatile like tofu.  Go here to learn more about tempeh.  

Tempeh Sloppy Joes and Sautéed Kale

Tempeh Sloppy Joes 
(serves 4)

1 package (8oz) tempeh, cubed
1 Tbsp olive oil or water (we used water, it works just the same)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange), finely chopped
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 Tbsp organic Worcestershire sauce (we buy central market brand)
1 Teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
4 buns, toasted 

Steam tempeh for 10 minutes in a steamer basket/metal strainer placed in a pot filled with 2-3 inches of water.  Once your kitchen fills the tempeh's nutty aroma, the tempeh is done (around 10 minutes).  Transfer to a bowl, and crumble with your hand or mash with a fork.  

In a large size saucepan over medium heat, heat oil (or water) and saute onion until translucent.  Add bell pepper and tempeh, and saute for a few minutes more, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.  Add tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes longer.  Serve on your toasted buns... we just used Ezekiel bread.  

Sautéed Kale
(serves 2) 

3 stalks of kale
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper

Chop 3 stalks of kale (with the stem removed) and saute in about a tablespoon of safflower oil until it is mostly wilted (3-5 minutes).  Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute.  Season with salt and pepper before serving.  


What are you cooking in your kitchen?  Any recipes that you would like to share? 

The Importance of Organic Foods

This is probably one of the easiest things you can do for your health.  The only thing many people know about organic foods is that they are expensive.  You can't directly see the benefit they have on your body, but yet you are paying more for them.  So the question is... Why should I buy organic foods?  

Foods that are not organic contain pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful chemicals that we may not even know about.  Farmers use these chemicals because they increase the farmers production and productivity.  The farmer does less work and more crops live because the chemicals are doing the work for the farmers.  Farmers have incentives to use chemicals to produce as much as possible because they receive government subsidies for the quantity produced.  So the farmer with the most output gets the most money.  As a result, these farmers are able to charge us lower prices; even though, it actually costs more to produce non-organic goods because the farmers have to pay for all of those chemicals they use.  

Organic farmers, on the other hand, do not use these harmful chemicals, and, as a result, they produce less because the chemicals aren't there to keep their entire crop alive.  So since they are producing less, than they receive less money from the government, and, as a result, have to charge us higher prices.  Surprisingly, organic goods are actually cheaper to produce!  They farmers don't have to pay for all those chemicals. 
The question comes down to... why do we want to avoid these chemicals that are in non-organic foods, especially fruits and produce?  The United States Environmental Protection Agency states, "Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time."  Personally, I find it odd that a governmental agency is reporting this, and yet, the government still subsidizes conventional farmers when they should be subsidizing the organic farmers....right?!?! 

One other big reason for me is that organic foods actually taste better!  If you buy the organic Heinz ketchup and compare it to the regular Heinz ketchup, you will taste a huge difference!  Also, organic foods have so much more nutrients because they weren't exposed to the chemicals that kill off a lot of nutrients.  They have more antioxidants and powerful cancer-fighting nutrients.  Organic foods also have higher levels of serotonin, and low levels of serotonin are tied to depression.  So organic foods = more serotonin = happiness!  And the last good reason to buy organic that I will tell you (although the list is endless), and everyone is going to love this, they increase your metabolism!  Research has shown that the chemicals found in pesticides actually slows your metabolism, so the less chemicals you consume, the more you amp up the calories you burn! 

I'm not saying everything you consume has to be organic, but when you have the option to buy organic, I think it is a good idea.  It is more expensive, but you are paying for your health, so that could mean less doctors visits down the road.  And we all know doctors visits and anything that might come with them are definitely more expensive than the extra dollar or two for organic foods.  Check out these videos below for how to shop for organic foods on a budget, how to know if packaged foods are organic, and just another funny perspective on why you should eat organic foods when you can.

With Love, Health, and Happiness,


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

To all of the amazing Mother's out there, I want to wish you a happy and healthy Mother's Day!
Last night Sam and I came out to my parents house with my aunt and uncle and my grandparents, and we all were able to spend some quality time together.  We have had some delicious food, and I wanted to tell you about it!

Hanging out with my Mom last night outside in the cabana... it was chilly!

This morning, Sam and I made Maple-Almond French Toast (recipe below), and everyone loved it!  
Last night we grilled out.  Yesterday, was a busy day for me so I didn't know if I would have time to make anything so I didn't cook a thing, but we still had a great meal!  Although, I would prefer cooking because that's healthier since it's fresh, but sometimes you just don't have the time.  Sam and I are the only ones who eat completely vegan so there was still some meat on the menu.  
Burgers were on the menu for the evening, and we purchased Amy's Texas Veggie Burgers, which you can find in the frozen section of your grocery store.  They have a delicious barbeque flavor, and we just put them on the grill like you would any other meat patty, but it doesn't take nearly as long to cook.  We used Ezekiel 4:9 Burger Buns, and we had all of the fixings for the burgers: lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, organic ketchup, and Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise).  We also had some delicious sides.  Grilled asparagus, mushrooms, and bell peppers.  I also bought some pre-made side items from the Cafe on the Run at Central Market: garlic yukon gold potato fries and cucumber salad, which had cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions with a dill seasoning and an olive oil and vinegar dressing.  
The great thing about the Cafe on the Run at Central Market and the Cafe in Whole Foods is that everything is made fresh, so it is just as healthy as if you were to cook it at home.  Also, they label all of their food items if they are "vegetarian" or "vegan," so that makes it really easy when you are shopping for a quick dinner or some simple side items.  Sam and I usually get dinner from Central Market at least once a week and enjoy the band out on the patio on Thursday or Friday nights.  The Cafe on the Run has several options for those simply wanting to eat a healthy dinner or if you are going the vegan route.  You can make your own salad or get a veggie pizza, pad thai, stir fry with vegetables (I add tofu), veggie sandwich, soup, pasta with grilled veggies or tomato sauce, and more! 
I hope all of you have a great Sunday and that all of the Mother's enjoy THEIR day and know how much we love you and appreciate each and every thing you do.  Love you, Mom!

With Love, Health, and Happiness,

Maple-Almond French Toast ~ The 30 Minute Vegan
(Makes 10 Slices, less if using thicker slices)

Ezekiel Bread 
(we used their cinnamon raisin bread)

French Toast Batter
1 1/4 cup soy, rice, or coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 Tbsp almond butter
3 tablespoons of flour 
(we used buckwheat flour which you can find in the bulk section at CM)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds (optional)

1.  Prehead the griddle/pan over medium-high heat.  Combine the batter ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well.
2.  Place a small amount of vegan butter on the griddle.  Dip the bread slices into the batter, coating both sides well, and place on griddle.  Flip after a few minutes, to prevent sticking.
3.  Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes, adding more vegan butter to the griddle if necessary to avoid sticking.  Re-whisk the remaining batter between dipping the bread slices.  Serve the toast with toppings of choice (more almond butter, maple syrup, fresh berries, etc.)