Spicy Chana Masala

ChanaMasala

I came across this recipe on Happy Herbivore’s page and I wanted to give it a try. I’m so happy I did, because it’s delicious! I was limited on time, but next time I make this I’m going to add organic carrots and organic potatoes (not entirely traditional, but I think they’ll make this dish even yummier :). I will also add a bit of roasted jalapeno as I thought the original recipe was fairly mild. This dish is delicious, easy-to-make, cooks quickly, and everything required to make it is affordable. I had about 1/2 a bowl full of organic baby kale that was left over from lunch, so I added that to my chana masala and it was delicious! Make sure the cans that you are using are BPA free, otherwise you should buy the chickpeas and cook them, and then roast some tomatoes with jalapenos. Here’s the recipe as I made it:

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 whole onion, small
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis 
  • 1¼ tsp coriander or fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric (probably a bit more though)
  • ¼ tsp ginger (or fresh ginger)
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala or curry powder if that’s what you have on hand
  • Tiny bit of roasted jalapeno
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup organic baby kale to have with your meal (I just stirred mine into my plate)

I’d also recommend adding 1 organic carrot (chopped) and 1 small, organic potato (cut into medium sized chunks).

Instructions:

Add vegetable broth or water to a medium sauce pan and saute the onions for about 3 minutes. Add black pepper and minced garlic and continue to saute until the onions are translucent. You will likely need to keep adding vegetable broth or water, so keep these handy. Add cumin, turmeric, paprika, roasted jalapeno, and ginger, and continue to stir the mixture for a couple of minutes.I usually make fresh salsa at home and I always have a bit of roasted jalapeno left over, so I’d use this. You can roast a jalapeno in a toaster oven if you have one – it’s a fairly quick and simple process :). If you’re using ground coriander, add this as well. If you’re using fresh cilantro, I’d wait to add it until the end. Add the chickpeas and  fire roasted tomatoes with the remaining broth or water and stir everything together. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in garam masala or curry powder and let sit for 5 minutes. Salt to taste and serve with brown rice or whole wheat pita bread. Enjoy!

ChanaMasalainPot

 

 

Are You Addicted to Sugar?

OrganicBerries

    I love giving workshops and presentations because I get to share helpful information on how to truly lead a healthy lifestyle. I often make samples of #vegan food for people to try. I share research and scientific evidence that shows the many health benefits of switching to a plant-based diet. Some people will pay for a cleanse, detox, 1 month program, 3 month program, or 6 month program on the spot.
    For some amazing others, months will pass, and then I’ll get an email from them saying that they’re ready to make some positive diet and lifestyle changes. I love them. Something has shifted for them. They’re not resistant anymore. They’ve had an awakening. I don’t know if it’s the fall weather, the millions of sweets that are being passed around right now, or if there’s just something fantastic floating around in the air, but I’m getting tons of sign-ups for my 10-Day Sugar Cleanse. This isn’t a juice fast. You won’t starve. You will eat healthily, nourish yourself, and get rid of your sugar cravings.

 

In case you’ve forgotten, here are some not-so-sweet facts about sugar:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consume 156 pounds of sugar per person each year (yikes!)
  • Sugar contributes to obesity
  • According to the American Diabetes Association, “adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes, and the risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.”
  • Limiting sugar in intensive care units saves lives (wow!)
  • Sugar interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium – two important minerals for our health

If you’re experiencing some resistance to making positive changes, here are some reasons to kick your sugar habit for good:

146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D. explains how sugar is damaging our health. Sugar can:

  • Suppress the immune system
  • Cause cardiovascular disease
  • Lead to both prostate cancer and ovarian cancer
  • Cause depression
  • Contribute to diabetes
  • Cause headaches, including migraines
  • Make our skin age by changing the structure of collagen

Read more about the cleanse. Sign up now. Break the cycle. Sugar doesn’t have to control your life. I can help you heal. <3

Testimonial: “Christina is amazing! She has a holistic approach that helps you make sense of several different systems going on at once– wellness doesn’t have to be as confusing as all the conflicting media would have you believe! Christina knows how to be healthy for the sake of actual health, how to end calorie counting and carbo-phobia, and how to respect your body with the foods you put in it and the activities you engage in (like yoga!) I’m so happy to have Christina as a healthy influence in my life!” – Kelsey L.

Should You Eat Walnuts?

WalnutstuffedDates

I run into lots of people who avoid nuts, because they think that eating them will make them fat. While nuts do have some fat, eating them will not make you fat. In fact, eating nuts, especially walnuts, may save your life. It’s no secret that I love Dr. Michael Greger – the fantastic, amazing, vegan doctor who always puts together videos that are packed with helpful information. This video from him about walnuts is worth watching. In summary, “not eating walnuts may double our risk of dying from heart disease (compared to at least one serving a week), perhaps because nuts appear to improve endothelial function, allowing our arteries to better relax normally.”

When I was younger, my mom would always take peanuts and stuff them inside of dates. When I finally tried them, I loved them! I use walnuts instead of peanuts and this treat is just as delicious as the one my mom likes to make – and a bit more nutritious, too! Enjoy this video and go eat some nuts :).

 

Did You Know? Prediabetes Increases Cancer Risk

OrganicBerries

According to a new study published in Diabetologia, prediabetes increases a person’s risk for several cancers, including endometrial, liver, stomach or colorectal cancers. Fortunately, researchers noted that lifestyle changes can treat and even prevent this condition. You can read more about the study here, but this is a reminder that doctors are making people aware that prediabetes is a disease in itself. If you or someone you know has prediabetes,  please seek help, as this can save your life or the life of a loved one.

As a Health Coach, I can help you make simple, effective, lasting diet and lifestyle changes. You will learn how to eat foods that nourish and satisfy you – not ones that leave you feeling sluggish, sick, and bloated. I will also teach you how to manage your stress, find an activity you love, get better sleep, seek a form of spirituality that fulfills you, and much more. In addition to working with me, you can also join your YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. I am facilitating the Diabetes Prevention Program at the Culver-Palms Family YMCA in Culver City. We started our first class for our September 2014 session on Tuesday night! This is a great way to learn more about healthy eating and living, so I encourage you to work with a Health Coach, talk to your doctor, or join your local YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

You are in charge of your health. The decisions you make on a daily basis determine how healthy you are – your health is in your hands. Make good choices. I can help.

Delicious On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas

CreamyBerrySmoothie

Lots of people are always asking me about healthy breakfast options, especially when they’re pressed for time. This morning, I had a meeting in Downtown LA, so I made this smoothie and put it in a to-go cup. It was yummy, satisfying, and quick to make. I always have organic fruits in my freezer, bananas, greens, and organic flaxseeds. Even if I just had some fruit, I’d still be able to make a smoothie.

My recommendation to you if you’re concerned about spending too much time preparing breakfast is that you start stocking healthy fruits and vegetables and just blend them together before you leave your house. I understand that you may be incredibly busy, but I hope you’ll be able to spare a couple of minutes to give yourself the breakfast you deserve. If you have organic flaxseeds or chia seeds, throw some in – if not, it’s okay – just have some fruit and possibly some greens (like organic kale or organic spinach) to blend together.

This simple action of making a smoothie will give you a healthy, quick, affordable breakfast that can be taken wherever you’re going. If you have a refrigerator at work, you can keep an organic nut butter in there and spread it on some fruit or rice crackers. You can also make oatmeal the night before and take it with you to work. When it’s warm outside, you can use a nut milk to make your oatmeal by using old fashioned oats and leaving them in the refrigerator overnight.

When the weather cools down, soup is another satisfying option. I know this might sound a bit strange, but actually, in many parts of the world, people enjoy soup for breakfast. If you’ve made some the night before, you can heat it up in the morning, and put it in a to-go cup and enjoy it once you get to work.

These are great options and are much better than skipping breakfast, grabbing a doughnut, going to a fast food place, or just having coffee and toast. What do you think? What’s your favorite quick, affordable breakfast? Share with everyone!

Constipated? Skip the Dairy

OrganicSoymilk

Constipation remains one of the most common and consistent issues that my clients are experiencing. In fact, the more that I talk to people (whether they are my clients or not), the more that people will share with me that they are chronically constipated. I had a client who swore that he only had bowel movements once every two weeks. I had to ask him a couple of times if he was certain this was the case, and he assured me that he’d been this way his whole life. After working with me, he had regular bowel movements. More often than not, he had bowel movements every day, but he definitely had them once every other day – a great improvement from what he was experiencing before.

As you may have guessed, diet plays a huge role in our health, including whether or not we will experience constipation. Since I have a plant-based diet and do not eat any animal products, I am able to share with my clients tips, recipes, and foods that they may have never tried before, to help them improve their health and well-being. I know that eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, and legumes – all of which have fiber, can ease constipation (and are recommended as part of having a healthy diet :)). And that’s what I recommend my clients try in order to have regular bowel movements. I also recommend that they drink enough water, exercise, and actively practice stress reduction methods. It’s no secret that I also encourage people to pay attention to how much dairy they’re consuming, and I do ask my clients to experiment with reducing and/or eliminating dairy and noticing any changes they may experience.

Dr. Michael Greger put together a wonderful video sharing lots of studies that show the link between consuming cow’s milk and being constipated. I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to watch this informative video, which can help you or anyone you know who is struggling with constipation, including your children. If you don’t have time to watch the video, I’ll share this with you: there have been several studies conducted on children to see whether or not eliminating cow’s milk from their diets would cure their constipation, and when cow’s milk was entirely eliminated, 100% of the children were no longer constipated.

And, as Dr. Michael Greger shares, these children also saw a, “resolution of rectal inflammation and complications such as anal fissures.” I’d say a 100% success rate is pretty amazing, wouldn’t you? Don’t underestimate the power of making healthy choices. And don’t be afraid to try new milks, such as organic soy milk, organic almond milk, organic rice milk, organic hemp milk, organic coconut milk – there’s no shortage of vegan milks that taste great, contain calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12 (some vegan milks are fortified with vitamin B12), and won’t cause you or your family to become constipated. What’s your favorite non-dairy milk? Share! And watch this video :).

 

Vegan Bagel Burger

BagelBurgerI live next to a delicious gluten-free bakery, so I picked up some vegan, gluten-free bagels, and they’re delicious! I make this burger bagel whenever I want something really filling; I actually made it today, but could only eat half of it at a time, so I saved the other half for later in the day.

If you want something tasty, satisfying, and easy-to-make, read about how I put this together and get one for yourself!

A Perfect Dessert Smoothie

TropicalIslandSmoothie

I absolutely love this smoothie! This blend of strawberries, pineapple, and coconut is perfect. I truly feel like I am on a gorgeous, tropical island when I am drinking this smoothie. I can honestly say that it makes the perfect dessert, as it’s refreshing, sweet, and satisfying. This is the same as my Tropical Island Smoothie – please try it and share it with friends and family. It’s so good that I feel that I have to share it again and again!

Blueberry Pineapple Banana Smoothie Bowl

BlueberrySmoothieBowl

I made this Blueberry Pineapple Banana Smoothie Bowl one day when I wanted to have a smoothie, but I also wanted to add other things to it. I ended up blending organic blueberries, pineapple, half a banana, and organic, ground flaxseeds. I chopped up the other half of the banana and put it on top. I’ve added walnuts, too. One time I had some healthy cereal (I hardly ever buy cereal) and I added some of that, too.

I usually follow this rule, “eat it alone or leave it alone” when it comes to fruit, but I’ve never had any issues when I’ve eaten this bowl. In fact, I love it! Fruit is easily digested, so the reason why we want to eat it by itself is that if we’ve had a meal and then we eat fruit, the fruit will want to pass through our digestive tract, but it will just sit on top of the other food, and it may ferment and give us a stomachache – yikes!

I haven’t found this to be the case with this bowl, so I recommend trying it and seeing how you feel! It’s super tasty :). And thanks to the blueberries, it’s packed with antioxidants! Pineapple is anti-inflammatory, so in addition to making this smoothie super yummy, it’s also really good for you. The flaxseeds will give you omega-3 fatty acids and plant lignans. Try it and tell me if you like it! I’ve made this before early morning meetings, put it in tupperware, and chopped up the banana during the meeting – it’s that simple!

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-free

1 cup organic blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)

1 medium sized banana

2 tablespoons organic, ground flaxseeds

Enough water to cover the fruit

Add all of the ingredients to the blender, blend, and enjoy!

Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

SlicedOranges{Sliced oranges on my cutting board – yum!}

When I went to visit my friend Felice in Ojai, we picked oranges from the gorgeous orange orchard that was essentially in her backyard. Ojai is filled with delicious, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and people often leave bags of oranges on the side of the road where you can make a donation (based on trust and honesty) and take some home for yourself. I’ve also seen people leave out avocados with a small donation box next to them. I love the idea of living amongst a group of people who are genuinely committed to helping each other.

Felice has a beautiful young daughter named Phoebe, and together, the three of us picked lots of oranges. For the remainder of my trip, I had freshly squeezed orange juice at least once a day. I even got to take a big bag full of fresh oranges home with me. This was in the fall; even though I am enjoying my summer, I still want one more cup of freshly squeezed orange juice from those yummy Ojai oranges.

My parents actually have an orange tree in their backyard. They swore to me that the oranges are bitter, but I was so excited to see them that I decided to pick some for myself. This was several months ago, but they were tasty! I was happy that I could have freshly squeezed orange juice for just a little longer. Some oranges were a little sour, but combined with the sweet ones, my juice was perfect. I am thinking that I’ll step into my parents backyard and see if I can gather any more oranges. I may just be able to squeeze enough for one more cup :).

I would definitely recommend squeezing your own oranges, instead of buying orange juice from the store. By then, the juice has been pasteurized, and it has lost almost all of its nutrients. It’s best to buy (or pick!) your oranges and make freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning (or whenever you’d like). That way, you get all of the nutrients – right in your cup – and then straight into your body! In addition to lots of vitamin C, oranges also have fiber, folate, vitamin b1, vitamin b5, and minerals such as potassium, copper, and calcium – wow!

Start thinking ahead for fall and grab those oranges when you can!