Strep Throat, Saying Good Bye and Showers

Two weeks ago, I was doing Ah-MAZE-ing! I pretty much felt like…

top-of-the-world

I had been exercising like a beast… my eating was the picture of perfection and my wedding to-do list was getting smaller by the second.

That my friends was oh-so short lived my dear friends… in fact, lately, I’m feeling a little more like this…

hibernation

About a week ago, a small tickle in my throat became something much more than just that. Like most woman in America do, I ignored it… that is until it stopped me in my tracks. I ended up having strep throat.

After (like the next day) being given antibiotics and a steroid pack, I picked back up on life. I had my amazing friends wedding to go to and thoroughly enjoyed it!

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And then 3 days later my handsome man and I found out some pretty exciting news… he is moving to the Washington D.C. area for a job that is beyond amazing and something we have been seriously praying about and for.

Right after he called to tell me that they want him moved and starting his new job in 2 WEEKS, I pretty sure I looked like this…

woman-crying-hysterically-526

I was slowing talked off the edge by my wonderful mom and brother and had some awesome time with this little girl!

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For the last year I have dreamt of living in Nashville and making memories there… I have thought about how Nashville will be that place we were first newlyweds and how we enjoyed life together in a slow placed world were kindness was given by ever stranger we saw. I kind of secretly wanted to have babies there and make it this place we traveled as a family often to once we moved back to Michigan. But in the snap of two fingers, all of that was gone. To say that I have been having a hard time imagining our lives in fast paced and public transport D.C. is an understatement. But then the goodness of God was shown to me yet again this weekend when my parents threw the fiance and I an unbelievably amazing wedding shower.

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I was, and still am overwhelmed by the love, kindness and generosity that everyone showed us this weekend. Between words of advice on marriage, cast-iron pans (be still my heart), mooshy babies giving sweet wet kisses and enough laughter to make anyone forget that they are moving to D.C. before they move to Nashville… well, I realized something. With that guy by my side as well as the love and support of the amazing and wonderful people in my life, we can do anything!

These people… they have no idea how they have touched my (our) life and we are soooooooooooooooooooooo greatful to them for their kind and encouraging words, unconditional love, support and willingness to come visit us no matter where we live. From the deepest, most reserved place in my heart, THANK YOU!

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The Fam & Grandma Leah, Mom, Dad & Jeromy For Jeromy's Birthday 2013

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I am growing more and more excited to start this wonderful journey with my main squeeze in the D.C./Virginia area. Today we are headed off to Nashville and later this week we will be going to D.C. to check it out. I intend on taking way to many pictures of the area and dumping them all on you later this weekend.

 

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I am Woman, Hear me Roar!

Except that lately my roar has been more like a squeak…. but you know, I am Woman Hear me Squeak just doesn’t sound as good.

So why am I squeaking you ask? Well, it’s the same reason 1 out of 10 woman in America are squeaking… we are low in Iron 😦

I’ve written here and here about my low iron, but I have a feeling, and many facebook messages, that make me think a lot of other woman are dealing with this problem recently. So why not turn yet another almost awkward conversation you could be having with your doctor into one that we can all have today in cyberspace!

iron 2

What’s the deal with iron?

So Iron is a naturally occurring element that your body needs. Remember that high school chemistry class you took in which you had to memorize the periodic table of elements and then you forgot them by June 14th? Well all those amazing compounds and elements are hanging out inside each one of us at this very minute… they are just doing so in teeny-tiny trace amounts.

Why do I need it? Doesn’t my body make it?

We (our red blood cells) need iron to live. Iron is pretty much in this awesome relationship with Oxygen and what it does it deliver (bind) Oxygen to our red blood cells. Without oxygen being bound to our red blood cells, we would be some serious sad sacks who constantly feel exhausted as well as a host of other negative effects. Our body cannot make (naturally) these Iron as well as those other periodic elements so we must CONSUME them. Some people do so my eating foods that are rich in nutrients while others opt-out for supplements.

And how am I low in it?

As a woman, there are about a million reasons as to why you could be low on your iron… everything from heavy menstruation, food sensitivities that are over looked, genetic predisposition, hormone imbalance and on, and on, and on!

What are some symptoms of being low in iron?

I love and hate this question… not specifically about iron, but just the question “What are the symptoms of being low in ___________________?” Mainly because I feel as though 99% of American woman are low in sleep and this often overshadows medical conditions. This often results in woman looking at a list of deficiency symptoms and thinking “Hey, 70% of those things are totally me”, and then sometimes we go take iron supplements instead of taking better care of ourselves and really don’t solve any real issues. So if you have children who are waking up during the night, children who are sleeping bed with you, if you are caring for elderly parents, have a bladder the size of a pea or other issues that are preventing you from sleeping through the night or well, please take these things into consideration.

Iron-Deficiency Symptoms (Source)

  • Feel weak and tire out more easily.
  • Feel dizzy.
  • Be grumpy or cranky.
  • Have headaches.
  • Look very pale.
  • Feel short of breath.
  • Have trouble concentrating.
  • Feel cold or have feet and/or hands that do not warm up.
  • Bruise easily.
  • Have increased anxiety.
  • Struggle sleeping through the night.

I think I am Iron deficient… how do I bring this up to my doctor?

You simply say this…. “Dr. _____________, lately I have been feeling (insert symptoms), do you think this could have anything to do with my iron? I have been reading some information lately and learning about iron deficiency, could we talk about this?” Your doctor will look upon your sleepy face with a smile and happily discuss this topic, because Doctors actually like it when we as woman understand and are listening to our bodies.

What will my doctor suggest if my blood work shows that I am low in iron?

Well, remember the reasons why you may be low in iron…this will dictate the way in which your iron deficiency is treated. For me, my iron deficiency is a 3-sided problem. T.M.I… My menstrual cycle is both long and heavy, I have some food allergies and sensitivities that effect my bodies ability to absorb iron and lastly I am naturally and genetically unable to absorb iron like I should be. So let’s break this down a bit…

– Menstrual Cycle… this can be treated when mild by taking a supplement to balance out the loss of blood you have every month. If it is a severe case, your doctor may suggest (based on age, season of life and other factors) that you go on medication that stops your period and results in you only have a period 3-4 times a year or even less.

– Food Allergies/Sensitivities… if you are consuming foods that your gut (intestines) struggle with breaking down and digesting, you could be destroying your intestine lining enough to put it in a situation in which it cannot absorb nutrients. People in this situation will usually find out that they are not only iron deficient, but also deficient in other vital nutrients.

– Genetic Predisposition… some people who have a family line coming from the Mediterranean (usually Greek and Italian) have a genetic inability to absorb and process iron properly. These individuals have to figure out with their doctor what are “normal” levels for their situation and body and work with many tools to get their iron levels their.

What are the long term effects of having low iron, but not treating it?

Let’s get to the point on this one… their are two main things that happen when you are iron deficient that most woman care about. One, you put your cardiac health in danger if you allow your body to become severely iron deficient over long periods of time, and two, you risk gaining weight.

I am low in iron, however do not want to take a supplement. What foods can I be consuming daily to increase my iron intake?

  • Beef, Lamb, Turkey
  • Veal, Liver, Eggs
  • Shrimp, Scallops, Oysters
  • Tuna, Sardines, Haddock
  • Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Beets
  • Broccoli, Green Beans, Dandelion Greens

 

 

 

 

I’m Seeing Green

If you are a part of my facebook summer challenge group, then you already know that today is all about goals. And although this post is going to be a hodge-podge of non-sense, I promise in the end it will in fact be about goals. So let’s get to it…

goals reassess

About two weeks ago, I went to my doctor for my yearly check-up (I’m only 6 months late this year!!!!!!!) and I got a talkin’ to! My doctor felt some bumps (rash like) under my knees, on the inside of my elbows and near the nape of my neck. She looked at me straight in the eyes and said “Are you following your Celiac diet?”… if you are not familiar with Celiac Disease, it is an autoimmune disease that requires omitting gluten completed from your diet. I looked at my Dr. and was honest, “No, I haven’t”. She replied with… “Then we both know the reason for your hormonal imbalance and fatigue”.

Just like that… I got caught. The truth of the matter is that I haven’t been following my Celiac diet and not only is my skin and hormones telling so… something else told on me too.

I had blood drawn that day and my iron levels are literally close to extinct. Despite being pumped (literally) full of iron less than two years ago, it is all gone.

My doctor and I chatted and it’s two-fold for me. One, I have a genetic pre-disposition in which I do not absorb iron in the way the “average” person does. Two, when I consume gluten, my body stops absorbing much of the nutrients I give it via food.

So I learned my lesson… mainly because I paid $150 for every iron drip I got that summer two years ago… and I had 8 iron drips. That’s $500 gone… like forever. And for what? Well, you know… bread, cupcakes, cereal, pasta and so on, and so forth.

So first I got a little angry at myself… then I went to the grocery store, and there I bought one of the biggest bags of spinach you have ever seen. And I ate it! Not the entire thing in one day, but day by day. Every morning since then, I have had 2 GIANT handfuls of spinach with breakfast… sauteed with onions, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.

Guys……. I can’t eat another bite of mushy, somewhat cold but still a little warm, runny spinach, possibly ever!

I’m seeing green and it isn’t good.

But do you know what is good? Setting goals, learning lessons, re-adjusting, re-committing and staying motivated so that in the end, you can in fact meet your goals.

For the last two weeks, I haven’t even looked at gluten. I haven’t been tempted to eat it and I don’t want to even touch it. I am off to the store again today to get a different form of iron that will not drive me to the insanity (I’m an emotional eater and dramatic person). I am going to keep going… I am going to continue staying away from foods and choices in life that do my body no good and I am going to be thankful for my body and all it does for me.

The amazing this about my goals this month is that they are not what I am currently focusing on. This month I wanted to lose 10 in. off of my entire body as well as focus on taking my vitamins much more religiously everyday. Now please understand that I am still working towards those goals, however some new motivation came over me this month that I wasn’t expecting and rather than brush it under the rug, it’s good to scoop it up and put it to work in my life.

Maybe your goals for this month are no longer in the picture, maybe they are looking you straight in your face because you are THAT close to reaching them, or maybe you are exactly where you started this month and are lacking a bit of motivation. Well, will you remind yourself of something today…

EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS HARD BEFORE IT GETS EASY!

This truth isn’t because you aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough or pretty enough… this truth is due to the fact that we are all human, trying to do “it all” everyday of our lives and if things didn’t take hard work and effort, then we would never see self-growth.

So I ask you today…. what are your goals? What lessons have your learned so far this month? How have you become motivated, or maybe you have lost your motivation… how and why? Have you committed or re-committed to anything lately? And finally, what goals are you going to accomplish in the coming weeks, months and years?

 

 

 

 

#tkrgoesveg week 4

Happy Monday friends! If I am being completely honest with you, then this last week was an absolute bust as far as eating vegan or vegetarian goes. And the reason behind it is all vanity. What can I say, I’m human.

With my wedding shower less than 2 weeks away, I have been watching what I eat. And although vegan and vegetarian lifestyles can be healthy, they usually are not that low carb. When I gain and lose weight, it goes directly to and comes directly from my mid section… if I omit carbs from my diet, the latter happens. So I have been doing just that!

Although I didn’t come through this week with a beautiful college of pictures all of vegan and vegetarian meals, I do have a recipe for you that is in fact vegetarian as well as delicious!

 

Med Quinoa Salad

 

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Cooked and Rinsed Quinoa
  • 1/2 of a Large Cucumber
  • 1 Medium Tomato
  • 1 Large Yellow Sweet Pepper
  • 1 Small Purple Onion
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1/8 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Rinse all ingredients and lay out.
  2. Chop all vegetables and mix together.
  3. Add quinoa to the mixed vegetables.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and add garlic.
  5. Cover bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  6. If you are going to use feta, sprinkle in right before eating.

This salad is delicious, travels well and can be made then eaten all week long, because it honestly get’s better with time. It is a great source of fiber, protein and magnesium. I know that this salad will be making it’s way to the beach and pool with me many times this summer and I love than I can eat it and after still feel light yet full.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a great Monday!

————Did you know that quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain!—————

 

 

 

 

Directions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Up Green Festival

I am always amazed at the stories of strangers. About a month or two ago, I met a woman at a bridal shower who I have become fast friends with.

Through her, I met her sister Nicole. Nicole is a mother of 3 whom is extremely passionate about health as well as natural living. She is putting on a pretty amazing festival next month all about living a green and natural lifestyle.

I was recently able to catch up with her and got some pretty amazing information about how she got this rather large project of hers started and what the real reason behind her doing so is. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and meet my friend Nicole!

Mother, daughter and son planting flowers together.

Nicole and her business partner, Courtney are putting on a festival right here in the metro-Detroit area called Growing Up Green. The festival will be held July 26th, at Packard Proving Grounds right on VanDyke in Shelby Township.

1. Why did you feel it necessary to start this festival in the metro-Detroit area?

My business partner, Courtney, and I were having a really hard time finding the resources and services we wanted to support our more natural lifestyles. We felt like we had to dig so hard to find the information we needed and that it shouldn’t be so hard to be healthy.

2. At what point in your life did you turn to natural living and why?

I started learning bits and pieces when I was pregnant with my first baby about 5 1/2 years ago. I learned that midwives still existed and that whole wheat pasta is something you can get used to. Since then it’s been a slow change but in the last year our eyes have really been opened more and more to complete natural living.

3. What is the greatest testimony you have of this lifestyle change?

Quite simply, it may have saved my husband’s life. Eric had a reoccurring infection that came back for the third time. The first two times it was very resistant to antibiotics and put him in the hospital for a week. The third time we decided to try essential oils. We used oils, garlic, no sugar, pro-biotics, and some other things and the infection was gone within three days.

4. What are you looking to be the outcome of this festival?

Our goal is to make natural living approachable for families. When we dream about the festival, we see families sitting on blankets, listening to island music from the band, people walking around, enjoying awesome food, and kids doing yoga on the grass. We want people to find the local raw honey they’ve been reading about on pinterest. We want the mom who’s tired of hearing about fluoride to find her holistic dentist. We want kids to find handmade toys and learn how good food helps their bodies. We want people to have fun and be empowered.

5. Why should people come to this festival, what should they expect to see/hear/read?

One big reason for people to come to this festival is because two moms are hosting it. We know what is fun for families and what is stressful. Our kids will be there and we want them to have a great time too! There will be classes and activities that are all free through the day, wonderful food, and a live steel drum band. It’s a great chance to come in the morning for some farmer’s market foods and come back again at night for the music.

6. What activities will their be to make this a family/child friendly event?

We will have kids yoga and nutrition classes, some animals, face painting, games and crafts, and a lot more!

7. If individuals want to get involved, how can they do so?

There are a few ways. We’re still looking for companies to sponsor the festival so we can do even more. We are still welcoming vendors (the more the merrier!) And we need volunteers. The applications and forms for all those are on our website at www.growingupgreenfestival.com. We also want you to come out with your families and tell your friends!

8. If you could give one piece of advice to a family who wants to start living a natural and green life, what would you tell them?

I would say to take it slow. Do one thing at a time and do it all the way. We are still very much on our journey and still have changes to make but we’ve come a long way.

9. Tell us one fun fact about you and your family!

We LOVE to be outside. Whether it’s a beach or our garden, we could practically live outdoors. Well, maybe if the mosquitoes disappeared

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I love specifically a few things that Nicole said… she and Courtney want to make this lifestyle an approachable one to families. I honestly believe that this festival will do just that!

I also love that Nicole and her family have personal testimony about how this lifestyle does in fact help to health individuals spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. It is so important for us to be whole and healthy people.

But most of all, my favorite part of what Nicole said is her advice on how to start living a natural and green lifestyle… her response is to take it slow. So easily we can become overwhelmed by fads and new lifestyles that we get burnt out. Nicole also said that her and her family are still on this journey to a green and natural life and it’s important to remember that we will never be through with this journey.

#tkrgoes veg week 3

Hi friends… week 3 of the summer challenge to eat more vegan and vegetarian meals went pretty well.

As a whole, this week was terribly busy. I had my usual schedule that included helping out my grandma, watching the little chickedy that I have in the afternoon and the home health care position I have in the morning. I also had my niece once this week (pure bliss I tell you) as well as had the chance to hang out with my cousins two kiddos quite a bit this week. My cousin and her husband had the opportunity to head over to Europe for the week (how lucky are they!), and their two little pumpkins got to spend the week between both sets of grandparents. I am very close with my aunt (their grandma) so I got to hand out with them.

I found myself thinking “oops, I think this last meal was supposed to veg” pretty often this last week and as a whole was thinking on my feet trying to come up with something vegetarian or vegan pretty quickly. But at the end of it all, I was able to pull it off.

As a whole, I am finding that a lifestyle, whether vegan, vegetarian, gluten free or just clean eating requires planning and preparation if it is expected to be successful. I don’t necessarily think that being a vegan or vegetarian is necessarily harder than being a meat eater, however do see the perks of following the Standard American Diet and just winging it when it comes to meals.

So lets get to it…. what exactly did I eat this last week that was vegan and/or vegetarian?

tkrgoesveg wk 3

Meal 1 : Mediterranean Quinoa Salad… my goodness was this delicious! I will make sure to post the recipe for this within the next few days. It was so nutritious that I didn’t get hungry for about 4 hours. I love when that happens because it helps me not only stay energized but it also keeps me satisfied. I will make sure to post this recipe in the coming days.

Meal 2 : Cranberry-Starwberry frozen yogurt. I made it myself… it was beyond amazing and the recipe is below. You are welcome 🙂

Meal 3 : When I decided to start this challenge, I started researching almost immediately a few easy things that I could make if I had a busy week all the while attempting to stay true to this challenge. As previously stated, I had a busy week. These small but oh so yummy black bean taquitos from Trader Joe’s more than did the trick.

Meal 4 : This sweet spinach salad is to die for and a re-make of one I had from Trader Joe’s. I think I will be doing a Summer Salad post in the near future and will make sure to add this to the list.

Now onto the recipe for some beyond delicious frozen yogurt.

O.K. friends…. everyone loves frozen yogurt, but let’s be honest it really isn’t any healthier for you if you are loading it up with toppings. When ever I head down to Nashville to see my main squeeze, we get frozen yogurt. It is an absolute favorite of his and my waist has been begging me to come up with recipe that will not only satisfy his sweet tooth, but also my health conscious mind. Well I did it! With only 5 ingredients, I was able to whip up a delicious treat that I promise you will love!

Strawberry Cranberry FroYo

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. of Non-Fat, Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4-6 Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Cranberries
  • 1/2 of a fresh Banana
  • honey (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, mix all ingredients together. If you are using honey, make sure to add it in as well.
  2. Place mixture into a freezer safe container and place in your freezer uncovered.
  3. Every 15-20 minutes, check on your frozen yogurt and gently mix.
  4. Once your yogurt is the consistency you like (mine took about an hour), remove from the freezer and eat.
  5. If you are making this and want to store it, it should last up to a week in a well sealed container. It will taste better fresh, and you may need a blender or the food processor to “bring it back to life” the longer you keep it frozen.

 

Have you been following along with this vegan/vegetarian challenge? If so, how has it been going for you up to this point?

 

Guzzle

Hello Friends, this is a post that I wrote some time ago… but with the summer approaching, I felt it was good to share it again. Below is a post all about water and why it is important to be drinking enough of this miracle liquid. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you don’t mind me post this again.

Everyday I'm Guzzling

Water…. where do we even begin?

– Our bodies are about 60% water (source). With out adequate water, function cannot happen at the proper rate, efficiency and effectiveness.

  • lungs are 90%
  • blood is 80%
  • brain is 70%

– We lose water when we urinate, sweat and even breath (source).

– When we lose water we also lose vital minerals and/or electrolytes (source).

– Although we can get some of our water intake through other beverages, some of the chemical aspects of substances in those beverages can actually be dehydrating (alcohol, sugar, caffeine). Thus these drinks often cancel out the water intake considered from those beverages (source).

– Illness also factors into our water intake needs as symptoms can often dehydrate us as well as the fact that extra water is often needed for immunity efficiency (source).

– Adequate water intake increases your metabolism as well as decreases calorie consumption (source).

It’s vital for our health and we already know that, but let’s be honest… it’s a touchy subject. Some people tell you to drink 8 glasses a day while others hand out a formula that includes your weight to get the answer. Whether your only water comes through the form of fizzy drinks or you are throwing back 100 oz. a day, water is vital to us.

Stressed? Drink more water.

Tired? Drink more water.

Retaining water? Drink more water.

Trying to lose weight? DRINK. MORE. WATER.

When people ask me how much water they should drink, my heart felt response is to drink so much water that you crave water tomorrow. I don’t give out numbers, because well I think they are crap.

Please forgive me dear math for speaking so negatively about you…. I love, I always have and always will but sometimes you get in the way of people living healthy. Think, the number on the scale, the whole calories conversation and now water intake.

I’ve had enough of the numbers game and I am suggesting that today we all drink water… so much water that you think you may get “in trouble” by your boss for going to the bathroom too much. Then tomorrow wake up and ask yourself, “Am I thirsty?”. If the answer is yes, then drink as much water tomorrow as you did today. If the answer is no, well drink more water!

Some days, I drink 150 oz. of water without thinking twice. Generally speaking, those are days I do a lot of running/sweating, this may also have to do with caffeine intake, hormone levels and even the previous night’s sleep. All of those same factors are often the reason if I only drink, oh… let’s 80 oz. of water one day.

Do you know why it’s OK that my water intake fluctuates in that way? Because every day I drink plenty of water, and I drink it until I am no longer thirsty. My body fluctuates, and it is not a constant therefore my water intake isn’t a constant.

I do think it is important to monitor your water intake and make sure that it is somewhat suitable for your weight. By this I mean that a 200lb. adult man should not be drinking 25 oz. a day and think that is acceptable. The 5 year old I take care of drinks more than 25 oz. of water a day so you should to! Therefore, I can appreciate the formula and 8 glasses golden rule that so many people “swear” by. However we should all be going a step further, listening to our bodies, paying attention and thinking for ourselves.

So dear friends, I leave you with this today… go drink water. Get up where ever you may be and go get a bottle/glass or whatever other method you would like to use and fill it with water. Drink it. Guzzle it. Sip it. Just drink it! And when you are done, go get more. Keep getting more until tomorrow morning. Allow your body to have so much of this beautiful thing that you crave it tomorrow. If you crave water, drink water. Before you know it, you will be drinking water based on your bodies need for it! Who would have thought that maybe our body knows how much water it needs. Amazing isn’t it!

Please note that these instructions are NOT for those who drink enough water currently. Instead it is for people who drink soda every day and enjoy multiple cups of coffee. If you are drinking your far share of water, which can be somewhat checked by the formula and/or 8 glasses rule, continue drinking water and feel free to disregard this post.

Coconut Water

Happy Wednesday friends… how has your week been going so far? Mine has been extremely busy but absolutely wonderful. In fact, today I am off to the zoo with little miss for her end of the school year field trip. I love the zoo and am very excited to be going, especially with all the cuties that will be in my group!

Today, I wanted to talk to all of you about coconut water. In yesterday’s post (found here) I had mentioned that I use coconut water in my smoothies. I got some feedback regarding coconut water that I wasn’t terribly surprised to hear, people aren’t loving the way coconut water taste.

So why then is “everyone” drinking it? Because of the massive health benefits that coconut water has to offer.

I don’t want to lose you guys at this point because you think I am going to just suggest you suck it up and drink it up… that really isn’t the case and after I throw some facts at you, I am going to give you a stellar coconut water recipe that will help make drinking this nutrient power house drink more than just do-able.

Let’s dive in…

  • Coconut water has all of the benefits of sports drinks without the sugar and sodium all the while giving off a bigger punch in the potassium category.
  • The sugar that is found in coconut water (naturally) is in the simplest form and readily available to the body for energy.
  • Coconut water is packed with Vitamin B & C to help aid in immunity.
  • Coconut water aids in anti-aging efforts as it is full of lauric acid and cytokines. These elements also help in balancing your bodies pH levels.
  • Regular consumption of coconut water is suggested to help raise your metabolic rate – all this means is that long term you can potentially burn more calories throughout the day by just living and breathing.
  • Since coconut water is rich in Magnesium and Potassium, it is the perfect team mate to anyone trying to fight off cardiovascular disease.

I really could go on and on… but the point is, coconut water is worth drinking.

So how then do I stomach this thick and sweet drink that so many people pass up? It’s easy… I fix it up a bit!

Coconut Water

  1. In one large mason jar, mix 6 oz. of coconut water and 6 oz. of white tea – preferably freshly brewed.
  2. Place the lid on the mason jar and close tightly. Shake the water and tea for about 1 minute to make sure this is mixed well.
  3. Open the mason jar and add many (6-8) ice cubes.
  4. Slice up fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple and/or kiwi and add them to the mason jar.
  5. Stir the drink well and enjoy!

The lightness of the white tea breaks up the thickness of the coconut water and the ice cubes make this drink extremely refreshing. By adding the fruit, you are giving some natural sugars (that your taste buds are used to) to this drink, so that you can slowly adjust to this new flavor. Over time, you can decrease the amount of white tea in the drink and increase the coconut water, or you can enjoy it how it is since both drinks are very beneficial to your health.

Have you ever drank coconut water? If so, how do you serve it up? In general, what is your favorite healthy drink to have during the warm summer months?

Smoothie Recipes

Smoothies are an absolute favorite of mine. They are refreshing, filling and quick which are always “musts” for me in the summer. I love that by mixing fruits and veggies you can get in your servings of fresh produce and I find them to help immensely my running during the hot months.

I have been getting many requests on facebook for some smoothie recipes and ideas, so today all of those requests get answered! Also, if you do not have a blender that you love, here is a review of the one I received from my sister-in-law for Christmas. I HIGHLY recommend it.

Smoothie Recipes

The Tropical: Not only is this smoothie delicious, it is also full of Vitamin C and Iron. Add to your blender 6 oz. of water (if you can, use coconut water), as well as a large handful of spinach, 1/2 Cup of frozen pineapple and 1/2 Cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. Blend on high until you reach the consistency that is your preference.

The Classic: I like to eat-eat-eat, apples and bananas… and strawberries! Most Strawberry-Banana smoothies you buy from the stores/restaurants use apple juice. But in this recipe we will cut out that added sugar and instead use real apples! Who would have thunk? It’s like this… 6 oz. water (again, coconut would be fabulous), 1/2 of an apple diced – combine these first, then add… 2 tbsp. of plain, non-fat greek yogurt, 1/2 banana and 4-6 Strawberries. If this is to thick for you, add more water until your desire consistency is reached.

The Sweet Tart: Cranberries, Bananas, Raspberries and Lemon! Seriously, it’s delish! Add to your blender either 6 oz. of Almond Milk (you can use regular milk if you’d like) or water and then plop into the liquid as follows: 4-5 Cranberries, 5-6 Raspberries, 1/2 Banana, 2 tbsp Lemon juice. Once everything is combined, you can add some ice if the smoothie isn’t thick enough. topic.

The Perk Me Up: I hate coffee…. ahhhh, I feel so much better getting that off my chest. Unfortunately though, much of the world does not feel the same way I do. So, to please all of you (because seriously, I hate it…. this recipe literally does NOTHING for me), this recipe has been born. Not only will it please your taste buds, it will also please your nervous system as well as your coworkers. So here is the scoop, combine in your blender 4 oz. of almond milk, 4 oz. of cold coffee, 1/2 of a banana and 4-5 almonds. You can relieve your little heart and time schedule and not blend heavily and it will be frappuccino like… this may require a bit of ice as well. If you need a bit more “starbucks” to the taste (a.k.a. sweetness), add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and thank me at 9 a.m. 🙂

The Berry Blast: 4 oz. of Almond Milk, 1 Cup of fresh Blueberries, 1/2 Cup of fresh Strawberries, 1/2 Cup of fresh raspberries and 1/2 Frozen Banana. It’s as simple and delightful as that!

Ok all of you smoothie lovers… I hope you enjoy these and if you find similar versions of these on this bad-boy we call the internet, well I’m not a thief, smoothies are just ridiculously popular! Blend on friends!

 

 

 

 

#tkrgoesveg week 2

my vegan summer

Hey there everyone! So week one of #tkrgoesveg went pretty amazing and happened BEFORE I posted the introduction post (found here) last week. So technically, I have a double photo dumb for you today. I also wanted to talk a bit today about some of the benefits of including vegetarian or vegan meals in your diet. So let’s dive in!

#tkrgoesveg week 1

Meal 1: Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit! I loved this meal because first off it shows that even thought I didn’t go vegan with this meal, I still accomplished something which is….. going vegetarian. I also think that this meal shows that a lot of us already do have vegetarian meals in our diet but we just don’t realize it. So in retro-spec, this meal makes this challenge a little less scary.

Meal 2: Dehydrated and Salted Snapeas. So if you don’t know this, I’m a snack-er. Finding a snack that is healthy and vegan is not easy, but I did it! Snapeas, or any vegetables for that matter are the perfect snack for this challenge!

Meal 3: Tabbouleh…. tabbouleh is delicious, nutritious and vegan. If you make it yourself, you can cut out any yucky oils that may be in the stuff you buy from the store. Also, if you don’t have any gluten allergies or grain preferences, you can add this to a cracker, slice of bread or on anything else you can think of really!

Meal 4: Deliciousness… just kidding it’s actually a slice of Ezekiel bread, with avocado smeared on top, sprinkled with chia seeds and topped with tomatoes. I cannot tell you how amazing this is. You seriously need to eat it!

#tkrgoesveg week 2

Meal 5: The best sandwich ever… this is going to be a recipe on my blog here shortly. I little hint though about what is inside, sprouts, avocado, hummus and quinoa.

Meal 6: Ezekiel bread with almond butter, sprinkled with chia seeds and topped with thin banana slices.  I’m telling you friends… chia seeds are my new fairy dust. Gosh, they deserve an entire post one day, and I have a feeling that will be happening sooner than later.

Meal 7: Tea and chocolate… I swear this has been my somewhat saving grace these last 2 weeks. Every night, or close to it, I sit on my porch for 20 minutes and drink tea while eating 2 tiny squares of vegan chocolate. It has been my me time when I think about the next day and plan it out. This also seems to cut any cravings I have and leads me away from snacking.

Meal 8: A raccoon… just kidding, I definitely didn’t eat a raccoon. Instead I are a salad of green peas and chickpeas. Again, this was amazing and I will be posting the recipe in the near future. I had posted a picture of this meal on instagram but lost it 😦

The reason I put that picture of that baby raccoon is because the night before Memorial day, my brother found and rescued this little girl and between my black shirt and apparently raccoon colored hair, she and I bonded and I’m pretty sure she thought I was her momma at one point. Long story short, you will probably read a post in the future in which I tell about how Coop yelled at me that I need to stop feeding the raccoons…. yeah, she changed my life.

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So let’s talk about some of the health benefits of including vegetarian and vegan meals into your diet… did you notice anything about my above meals? They were all relatively low calorie, yet extremely nutritious. You see, when you are giving your body all of the vitamins and minerals it needs, as well as carbohydrates that can fuel you, fats that can be absorbed by your cells and protein to help your many body systems thrive, your body is less likely to crave things. Add on to this that you are doing it for cheap (caloricly speaking) and you are more likely to maintain a healthy body weight all the while thriving physically.

As I stated in this post… I am not trying to convinve people that eating animal or their products is bad. Instead, this challenge is all about becoming more aware of our eating habits. So how about you? Did you attempt to go vegetarian or began for any of your meals this last week? If you did or plan to join in here, make sure to post pictures of your meals on social media using the hashtag #tkrgoesveg.

Happy Eating everyone!