Fierce appetite? Barley Soup

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Barley seems to have a lot of benefits, probably the first one  is  keeping you warm on a cold day but this little grain has more to offer, considered to be a super food it help digestive system in many ways plus it makes you feel full with not much calories , this could help  to control appetite and studies have shown that people eating barley for breakfast would eat 100 calories less at lunch time, but benefits don’t end up there, it slows starch digestion, which may help keep blood sugar levels stable, lowers blood cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of colon cancer and women are less likely to develop breast cancer… the list goes on!

ingredients:

1 cup barley
1 tbls coconut oil
1  yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 cups of white button mushrooms, sliced
1 liter of water                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   3 cubes of vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 T. fresh thyme, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1 In a medium pan, bring 4 cups of water and the 1 cup of barley to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 40 minutes.

2 Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft. Add the carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they are soft. Add the vegetable broth cubes, water, bay leaves, and fresh thyme. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked barley and cook for 15 minutes or so.

3 Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

 

 

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Beet it!

 

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Beet, carrot and sweet potato juice to pack the body with  a wide variety of vitamins such as Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E and K, Folate, Niacin and Pantothenic Acid, and minelas like Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Selenium.  All that means that we are taking care of our skin and at the same time we are boosting our immune system!

Salud!

Ingredients
  • 1 medium beetroot, washed and quartered
  • 5 large carrots, washed
  • 1  sweet potato, peeled and quartered
Instructions
  1. Start your juicer  and work your way down the ingredients list.

 

Recipe adapted from: http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/2013/02/pink-lady-carrot-juice/

 

Let’s get ready to rumble Quinoa

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Ladies and gentlemen welcome to your protein charged breakfast, featuring fiber, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, and manganese!

Back in the days Incas believed that quinoa increased warrior’s mental and physical power.

Today we know quinoa is considered  a super food (and it’s also gluten free), we can use it on sweet and salty recipes, I prefer to used it in m y fruit salad for breakfast:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa (all red or a mix of red, white, or black)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Toppings

  • fruits
  • maple syrup or honey
  • walnuts or almonds
  • coconut flakes
  • almond milk

Directions

Wash quinoa in several changes of water in a bowl, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off water (if quinoa does not settle, drain in a large fine-mesh sieve after each rinse), until water is clear.

Drain washed quinoa well in a large fine-mesh sieve.

Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and keep covered to keep warm. Remove cinnamon sticks.

Serve and top with walnuts, maple syrup or honey, almond milk or fruits of choice.

recipe adapted from: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cinnamon-Scented-Breakfast-Quinoa-366130

“Give me fuel” Banana Oatmeal

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Today we had the first snowstorm, a little reminder that winter is here to stay until next year. Mornings are cold and dark, I guess the best way to start a winter day is with a nice bowl of hot oatmeal. I will confess that I wasn’t attracted to oatmeal because of the way was made at home with regular milk and without fruits, I don’t drink milk since a loooong while ago so eating it was not an option; fortunately I found a blog ( ohsheglows.com ) that opened my eyes to a new way to prepare this healthy breakfast, no only with bananas, but with apples, carrots and pumpkin. Since then our mornings are full of flavor and fuel to start the day and workout like a champion!

I’m not brave enough to go running out in the snow but indoor body-weight workouts work perfectly to keep the body moving and avoid winter blues, high intensity interval training (HIIT) are also great for a challenging sweaty session. This breakfast gives you all you need, so no excuses to skip workout today!

Today’s workout was a total of 600 reps :

60 half burpee jump, 60 push ups, 60 jump lunges, 60 one-leg dead lifts (30 each leg), 60 crunches, 60 squats, 60 leg assisted dips, 60 backward lunge + jump up (30 each leg), 60 chest lift (belly on the floor ), 60 over the chair kicks (30 each leg).

Banana Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 3 cups Almond Milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 ripe banana, mashed into oats
  • 1  1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  •  1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1  1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Whisk well until combined. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes until thickened.
You can use different toppings, we love walnuts and a little bit of maple syrup.

Recipe adapted from: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/02/10/how-to-make-a-light-reflector-in-1-minute-flat/

 

 

Pump Up the Iron!!

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If you feel tired and lethargic might be time to increase your iron intake, if you are vegetarian this is important and if you a woman is even more important you get enough iron. Iron from plant based diet doesn’t absorb as good in our bodies, that doesn’t mean we cannot get enough, a vegetarian diet has a lot of resources like spinach, broccoli, asparagus, lentil, chickpeas, oats, hazelnuts, raisins, etc.

Iron carries oxygen to all parts of your body and it’s involved in many functions such as  brain development and function, regulation of body temperature, muscle activity and helps to improve immune system and keep us  ready to fight infections and anemia.

If you take t iron-rich foods along with foods that provide plenty of vitamin C, your body can better absorb the iron on the other hand Tannins from tea, coffee and wine reduce iron absorption by binding to the iron and carrying it out of the body. The absorption is related to the amounts of iron already stored in your body and too much iron can be toxic, so  it’s always good to keep moderation and some advice from a professional in the field. Still we can try to include more iron rich foods and here’s my suggestion for today, I found it, tried it and loved it, specially when it’s getting colder and colder.

Pump it up!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2  teaspoons coconut
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger, depending on how zingy you like things
  • 2 small garlic cloves, chpped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 11 ounces carrots (that’s 3 to 5 smallish or slender carrots), peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, washed
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Heat the coconut oil in a small nonstick saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently until golden, then add the ginger and garlic and stir for 40 to 60 seconds. Add the coriander, cumin, and salt and pepper and stir for 20 seconds. Add the carrots, lentils, and stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Take the pan off the heat and use an immersion blender to puree it or set aside for at least 10 minutes and then puree it in a blender. If the consistency is too thick for your liking, just add a little water and blitz again.

3. Reheat over low heat, taste, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Recipe adapted from: http://leitesculinaria.com/77235/recipes-carrot-and-lentil-soup.html

Heavy Metal Pineapple

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The first time I heard about juice fast was while watching a documentary called “Fat, sick and nearly dead”, around that time we also watched “Food matters”. I was so curious about the subject that I had to dig a bit on this, I found many people talking about how to fast… how? So it wasn’t only just juicing and drinking for a certain amount of days? No, not really! There are some things to know as well as different opinions and juice fast gurus out there, I’m far from being one, but there are some things I can share with you before jumping on a juice fast: how, when, how much, what, but the main question should be why? Otherwise there’s no reason for doing this in the first place. Juice fast is a way to “reboot” all your system, physically and mentally, it comes with benefits like losing weight, but I will make a stop here to warn about it, yes it helps to get rid of some pounds, but some of those pounds will  inevitably come back once you go back to your regular solid diet, some of those pounds will go away if you get rid of bad habits but in my opinion this shouldn’t be the main reason for a juice fast. The main reason for a juice fast is to give your body a break and  the chance to get rid of toxins and connect with your inner self, embrace your body, a time for insight and a time to think about the way you eat.

When we drink a juice we give to our body all the properties of fruits and vegetables, remember liquids are absorbed easier and faster. Think about beets, sweet potatoes, fennel,celery,kale, cabbage, for example, you might eat them often but you might as well eat them cooked, so some of their properties are gone because of that, but if you put kale in a juice you probably  won’t even notice is there and at the same time you are having a great source of protein and vitamins, same for the other vegetables even the ones you don’t like or those you are not brave enough to try. You can mix some fruits to make it tastier and here comes the other important part of juice fast, how much fruit and how much veggies, the vast majority agree on the 20% percent fruit and 80% vegetables to keep the blood sugar levels in the right balance, but we are all different and our bodies can’t react the same way, some people are sick of vegetables and at some point they can’t handle the taste, other can even go beyond the percentage, so the rule is always listen to your body and believe me you will.

How much juice should you drink? There’s also an approximate amount and goes around 96 oz. to 120 oz. per day.  and a lot of  water too!! Here we go back to the rule of listening to your body, I read about people that said was too much, others said was not enough, but I was doing well with this amount, and here’s a tip if you decide to juice fast, always have an extra juice in your fridge, you never know, some day you feel more hungry and is better having an extra juice than to break the fast. You can spread this amount  in 4 or 6 portions, but be careful not to leave your juice in  the fridge for too long, not more than 48 hours if they are sealed properly and refrigerated, and depending on the produce used for the juice. Is important to always wash your produce and only used the peels if it’s organic.

What can you drink during juice fast? Juices, water, tea, coconut water, vegetable broth. I was drinking hot water and lemon before my morning juice, this is part of what is known to be “the master cleanse” some people fast only drinking this,  drinking it empty stomach is good to cleanse and help your detox, just a tip. There are some vegetables low in water  like avocados and bananas, I will suggest you to add them later using our blender. You can use liquid chlorophyll,  spirulina or chlorella powder into your juice/water.

How long? as long as you think you need, set yourself a goal before you star and try to stick to it, I read some people do 3-day detox but I also read that is not enough time to really give your body the time to cleanse, but it’s up to you and the way you feel. I would say at least one week but you can go as long as you want.

What happens once you are done with your juice fast? First of all if you did it all the way don’t throw your effort and great job to the trash, by running desperately to the first fast food restaurant or pizza place near your place. What you just did was a reboot, it wasn’t a miraculous diet or a magic trick, it is serious, your stomach is used to liquids and your system is feeling brand new, so be careful and go back to solid food slowly, you don’t have to stop drinking juices from now on they can be part of your life, same as smoothies!  So go from juices to smoothies and raw fruits and veggies, do it gradually and see how you feel, you might need more than a few days.

Exercise? Yes, just pay attention to the way you feel, waking is the most recommended exercise during juice fast, or maybe you will have energy to do more than that or you will prefer to do yoga, it all depends on how our body is reacting to the new diet.

Going back o the beginning, if you’re planing to do a juice fast to improve your health this means you want to adopt better habits and get rid of the old ones, after a juice fast your taste buds are also rebooted, this is  the time to say goodbye to those sugary treats, carbonated drinks full of colorants and chemicals,  processed cereals, salty chips etc. You know the list goes on and on! Take the best out of your juice fast and include more raw stuff to your diet.

While you are doing a juice fast take the time to do all those things you haven’t done because you “haven’t got the time”,  enjoy a sunset, take the dust off that book, go and grab your camera, relax, breath, meditate, enjoy!

There are more details about juice fast, I listed the main points but if you think you might be sick please go and make an appointment with your doctor, this post is based on my own experience and what I read before fasting, I’m not and specialist, neither a doctor, and my intention is to share my opinion. Hope it’s helpful!

One of my all time favorites is what I call The Heavy Metal Pineapple

(the “heavy metal”  in the name is because of the cilantro, check the note at the end of the post)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cilantro, washed
  • 1 lemon peeled (unless is organic) but usually is good with peel and seeds
  • 1/2 Pineapple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño chilies,  if you like spiciness don’t seeded them
  • 1 English cucumber, (unless is organic)

Instructions

Run your ingredients through the juicer.

Note:

Cilantro: is a powerful, natural cleansing agent. The chemical compounds in cilantro bind to toxic metals and loosen them from the tissue.  etc.

Jalapeno Peppers: Fight Migraine Headaches and Sinus Headaches, Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion,  Fight Cancer, Help Lower High Blood Pressure, etc

Pineapple: Packed with minerals and vitamins, prevent coughs and colds, strengthens bones, keeps gums healthy,  etc.

Lemon: boosts your immune system, aids digestion, cleanses your system, good source of potassium, etc.

Vegan Tacos al Pastor

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Have you ever felt homesick? I wasn’t expecting to miss Mexican food like this, but now that I’m not the only Mexican food lover here I have the perfect excuse to go to the Latin Market and get 4 kilos of tortillas so we can skip all the steps and go straight to the “filling the tacos” part. I came across an interesting recipe the other day, while searching for something to cook with a packed soy mix, but I wasn’t sure about the procedure so I checked a few recipes and compare the ingredients this is also to adapt the limited amount of ingredients I have in my pantry. The first thing that shocked me was to find recipes with a fusion of tex-mex (a mix of texan and mexican food), I guess we all try to adapt to what’s there, so I won’t judge, but I will clear the air about hard shell tacos, and the only excuse I see for using them is that there’s nothing else and I mean NOTHING else to wrap your food, and still  would prefer not to used them. Why? Because they crack in the first bite and then you have a complete mess instead of a taco, they are almost like chips, they don’t taste the same and just in case there’s still doubt we (mexicans) don’t used them, we like tacos with soft and warm tortillas, I should clear another point now that I’m talking about the “mexican ways” : we don’t eat enchiladas filled with cheddar cheese, we don’t put rice inside a taco, and finally if you are using a tortillas to wrap whatever is in your fridge that doesn’t mean you are eating Mexican food. Unless you make a fusion that is going to become part of the traditional ways then it is, and I say it because tacos al pastor is an adapted recipe with roots in the Lebanese Cuisine back in the 1930s. Lebanese immigrants arrived in Mexico and left their print in the way this type of tacos are made, in Central and south Mexico are called tacos al Pastor, in the north we call them Tacos de Trompo (trompo= spin, because of the resemblance with this object) originale made with pork and marinated in a sauce called “adobo” made of dried chiles and served with pineapple, cilantro and onions, always accompanied with red or green salsa.

…and here it is my adaptation of this delicious and meatless dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 pieces of lemon
  • 4 pieces of tomato
  • 4 pieces of chile guajillo, seeded
  • 4 pieces of chile pasilla, seeded
  • coconut oil (I use this one to cook on high temperatures and olive oil for dressings and roasting)
  • 16 pieces of corn tortilla
  • 1/2 white onion piece
  • salt to taste
  • 2 slices of pineapple
  • Textured soy 200g
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce ( I use Bragg’s)

Preparation:

To prepare the marinade , let the chiles (pasilla and guajillo) and the tomatoes sit in boiling water  for 5 minutes. Drain and grind in a blender along with the garlic clove .

Fry sauce in a little olive oil. Set aside.

Bring water to a boil , as it boils , turn off heat and add the soy . Soak for 1 minute. Drain in a colander. With great care not to burn , squeeze well to get all the water until it is as dry as possible . This can take the taste of soy and it is absorbent and acquire the taste that you want to give .

I you have packed soy skip the previous step.

Saute soy and squeezed slightly in a pan with olive oil. Add the soy sauce and lemon juice and mix well. Add the marinade and continue cooking a few minutes, stirring to integrate the flavors . Rectify seasoning and add salt if you need .

Heat the tortillas , filled with marinated soy .

Serve sprinkled with cilantro , onions and chopped pineapple .

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