Should You Eat Walnuts?

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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

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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.

Constipated? Skip the Dairy

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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 :).

 

A Perfect Dessert Smoothie

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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

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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!

Fresh Vegetable Sandwich

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This fresh, yummy vegetable sandwich has become such a favorite of mine! It’s simple to put together, the ingredients are affordable, and it’s absolutely delicious! I can’t get enough of it and I know that once you try it, you will quickly make this a go-to in your line of recipes :).

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-Free

1 ripe tomato

1 organic carrot, shredded

1/2 avocado, sliced

1 handful organic spinach (or other organic green)

Pickles

Spicy brown mustard (that’s the one I love, but feel free to use whatever you’d like)

Grapeseed vegenaise (optional; I do love the creaminess that it adds to the sandwich though!)

Cucumber, sliced (I didn’t add it this time, but sometimes I do)

Black pepper (optional)

Cayenne pepper (optional)

Any other vegetables you’d like to add 🙂

Spread the mustard on one slice of bread and the vegenaise on the other. Add the tomatoes on one slice of bread and sprinkle some black pepper on top. Add the pickles, shredded carrot, organic spinach, cucumber, and avocado. Add cayenne pepper to the avocado for a spicy kick. Be careful not to use too much or the sandwich will be way too spicy – a little cayenne pepper goes a long way. Add everything else that you’re using, put the other slice on top, and enjoy!

Jessica Simpson’s Vegan Diet

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{Photo courtesy of Jessica Simpson’s Instagram}

Jessica Simpson enjoyed a vegan diet in order to prepare for her wedding to Eric Johnson. She decided to forgo animal products so that she could look her absolute best for her nuptials. It’s no secret that eating lots of fruits and vegetables will give your skin a gorgeous glow, and it looks like Jessica Simpson knows that skipping meat, dairy, and animal by-products will help her look even more radiant. People.com shared Jessica Simpson’s first wedding photo and she looks absolutely stunning. People.com also shows this video of Jessica Simpson with Carolina Herrera, who designed Simpon’s wedding gown. I love the inspiration behind her wedding dress; it’s so romantic and beautiful. What do you think?

Jessica Simpson married Eric Johnson at the beautiful San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California. I went to college in Santa Barbara, and I do believe that it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. I am always so happy when people get a chance to visit and tell me that they were able to enjoy its beauty. I am even more excited about Jessica Simpson’s plant-based diet. I hope that this will inspire more people to give it a try – at least for a little bit. I’m actually a little surprised that Jessica Simpson did this, because she has always been so open about the fact that she is from Texas and enjoys eating meat and dairy. This just goes to show that anyone can give a plant-based diet a try. I promise that the good that you will do for yourself, the environment, and animals will be worth it! And there are so many delicious plant-based foods to enjoy!

I also love the fact that Jay-Z and Beyoncé famously went on a vegan diet for 22 days in December 2013. Jay-Z wrote on his blog, “This all began a few months back when a good friend and vegan challenged me to embrace a plant-based breakfast every day. It was surprisingly easier on me than I thought.” Jay-Z and Beyoncé were spotted at some of my favorite vegan restaurants in LA, including Real Food Daily and Cafe Gratitude.

Jennifer Lopez turned to a 22-day vegan diet to help her lose weight, but unlike Jay-Z and Beyoncé, she decided to stick to her plant-based diet a little longer. Us Weekly reports that Jennifer Lopez shared that she wanted to lose “that really stubborn 8 to 10 pounds.” Now that she’s been enjoying a plant-based diet, she says, “I feel great mentally and physically!” I’m happy to hear about the positive changes that these celebrities have made and I hope that they will inspire others to do the same.

Would you try a 22-day vegan diet? If so, I can help! Contact me for your free initial consultation, where we’ll talk about food choices, your health history, and more. What would motivate you to go meat-less – at least for a few weeks?

Celebrate Earth Day, Go Vegan!

 

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I’ve been hearing lots of people talking about Earth Day, and the truth is, I honestly feel as though my diet and lifestyle celebrate the Earth and all of her beauty every day. Since I have a plant-based diet, I know I am making healthier choices for myself and leaving kinder footsteps on the Earth. Plus, I’m pretty sure that animals are very happy that I love to play with them and not eat them :).

I believe that one of the best ways that we can take care of ourselves and our planet is to cut down on our meat consumption. In fact, the Environmental Defense Fund states that, “if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads” – wow! Imagine what participating in Meatless Monday might do. Or, better yet, going meat-free for an entire week. Or forever! There is no denying that a vegetarian diet would save countless lives and help save the environment.

If you are interested in knowing how a vegan diet may benefit your health, read about Loma Linda University’s Adventist Health Study-2. The study started in 2002 and followed 69,120 Seventh-day Adventists; what’s special about this study is that people were divided into several categories (non-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegan) based on their responses to a questionnaire that asked them how often they eat over 200 different kinds of food, so researchers were really able to determine how certain foods affect our health. In the end, researchers concluded that vegans have an overall reduced cancer risk – yay! Vegetarians had less gastrointestinal cancer, especially among lacto-ovo-vegetarians (those who do not consume any meat products, but eat dairy and eggs); and there were less cases of female specific cancers in the vegan group. I would also encourage everyone to read T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health. I could go on and on about the health benefits of veganism, but I want to share more on how eating meat is hurting us and our planet.

We are currently using too many of our resources to feed livestock that are being bred for the sole purpose of consumption. These animals are confined to tiny cages and are forced to “live” in miserable, filthy, inhumane conditions. The majority of meat sold in stores comes from factory farms, so if you eat chicken, eggs, beef, turkey, and/or pork, you are contributing to the suffering of animals and to the increase in greenhouse-gas emissions that we have been experiencing for years. In fact, PETA reports that, “a German study conducted in 2008 concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than seven times as much greenhouse-gas emissions as a vegan’s diet is” – that’s crazy!

If you’ve been thinking about reducing your meat and dairy consumption, consider making a delicious, vegan smoothie for breakfast. Enjoy a yummy veggie burger or scrumptious tempeh bowl or even a chickpea salad for lunch, and a vegan quiche, shepherd’s pie, sushi, sautéed Brussels sprouts, green beans, tortilla soup, or roasted sweet potatoes for dinner. If you think you’ll miss all of your favorite foods, enjoy these vegan nachos with friends and/or family members for a delicious appetizer. Last night I made vegan chocolate covered strawberries and they were amazing! I meant to make them for Easter, but I felt that we had so much food already, so I waited to have more treats later and they were worth it! I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and the organic strawberries that I bought from the farmers’ market on Sunday. I wish that I would have taken a picture, but they were gone so quickly after my boyfriend and I made them! I used to have such a sweet tooth, but after switching to a cleaner, plant-based diet that’s filled with fresh, healthy foods, I indulge in sweets on special occasions, instead of constantly reaching for chocolate like I used to.

I have lots of people in my life who love ice cream, so I set out on a hunt to find a vegan ice treat that’s not filled with GMOs, artificial colors/flavors, and other junk. I discovered Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss and it’s amazing! I know that some people think that vegan foods are bland, but that’s just not true. I want people to explore more plant-based options, and it’s important to me that people enjoy what they’re eating.

Since I am a Health Coach and I believe in the healing power of food, remember to fill your plate with lots of greens, such as organic kale, organic spinach, broccoli, collard greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, and more. Explore new whole grains such as organic quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, organic brown Jasmine rice, and much more. Make smoothies, eat lots of fruit when it’s in season, and indulge in your favorite veganized treats every once in a while. You will feel so much lighter, healthier, refreshed, and at peace knowing that you are doing what’s best for yourself and the environment. Start slowly. Skip the eggs and bacon for breakfast and have a smoothie, oatmeal, beans and rice, miso soup, or something else that you would enjoy. Instead of getting a beef burrito from Chipotle, try a vegan bowl filled with brown rice, beans, vegetables, guacamole, and salsa. Have a bbq with tons of veggies and skip the meat. It’s easier than you think. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Happy Earth Day!

Join Me for a FREE Healthy Living Lecture at Whole Foods

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I am looking forward to giving another workshop at Whole Foods! This one will take place on 3/25/2014 at 6:00PM at the Whole Foods in Northridge. I will be talking about how to make healthier food choices so that you will feel energized, look amazing, reach your ideal weight, and become healthier and happier than you’ve ever been!

Join me for this workshop and you’ll be able to sample three delicious smoothies! You will learn all about the vitamins and minerals that make certain foods so healthy and good for us to eat; you’ll also learn about how to prepare these foods, shop for them on a budget, and make them in as little time as possible! Now that spring is here, fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables are in season. These seasonal fruits and vegetables are exactly what we should be cleansing our bodies with on a daily basis. Learn how to crowd out processed foods and replace them with whole foods instead – it’s easier than you think! Get rid of extra weight, sugar cravings, and fatigue and replace it with lots of energy, health, whole foods, and happiness!

I have so much fun each time I give a workshop at Whole Foods; everyone is always so warm and welcoming and the last time I gave a workshop at the Whole Foods in Pasadena, Jay, the marketing manager said that he’d, “never seen the crowd so engaged during a presentation at Whole Foods.” He went on to say that he was happy that everyone was so interested in what I was saying and he genuinely felt like they were excited to be learning new health information and inspired to make simple changes in their diet and lifestyle – wow! I am so happy to keep hearing positive feedback, so please join me for another fun and informative workshop! Please RSVP – I’ll see you there soon!

Whole Foods Northridge
19340 Rinaldi Street
Northridge, California 91326
(818) 363-3933