Monday, May 27, 2013

Raspberry Smoothie

I love making this smoothie for breakfast, and it's so quick and easy to make that I even have time to whip it up in the morning before rushing out the door for work.  It is vegan of course, with no added sweeteners.  Just layer everything in the blender in the order it is given:

1 small banana, peeled and broken into several large chunks
1 (rounded) cup of frozen raspberries
4 slices of frozen peaches
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed

Just blend all together, pushing down the frozen fruit as needed until it is all blended through.

The color is so beautiful to look at and so delicious!  It fills a 16 oz. glass perfectly.  If I take this to work for breakfast, I just pack it in one of those insulated plastic cups.  I don't use frozen bananas in this because a raw banana adds to the texture and thickness of this smoothie.  If you use a small banana you don't really taste it, so if you only have larger bananas, just use about 2/3 to 3/4 of it if you don't want the banana to overpower it.  You don't have to add the flax seed, but it gives you wonderful antioxidant benefits, and as long as you have to deal with the raspberry seeds in the smoothie, you may as well slip the flax seeds in as well.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Veganizing My Life - New Beginnings

Okay, I'm new to blogging, but I've been wanting to start my blog for some time now.  Recently, I found some great vegan blogs online, and decided to finally give it a try.

I guess I'll begin my story where else, but at the beginning of my journey into this Plant Powered Life.

I look back now and can see that it all began when I watched the documentary "Food, Inc." a few years back.  That movie planted the seed that started my personal food revolution.  I wasn't really thinking about where my food came from.  I mean, if they are selling it to the public, then it is safe to eat, right?  Boy, was I wrong.  I've always prided myself on cooking most of my meals from scratch....not eating very many prepared foods, although I have to admit that I was eating too many fast food meals for the sake of convenience.  And drinking WAY too many cokes.  But this one little documentary, started me down the path of thinking about what I'm putting inside my body.  Over a period of time, I slowly began reading more about nutrition, watching more documentaries, scouring the internet for information.  Also to move me into the right direction, my new doctor is a vegan, and she had been gently guiding me to make changes little by little, providing me with information on documentaries, books, websites and such.  Then, in September 2012, I ordered the documentary "Hungry For Change".  A few days later I received the DVD and couldn't stop watching it.  And this was my final awakening.  This was the last piece of the puzzle that I needed to change my life.  After watching this, I couldn't go back to the way things were.

So, I decided to "go vegan" on October 1, 2012. After spending the first part of September watching this movie over and over, and doing more reading, I was ready.  But I had plans to be out of town doing an art festival (I am a ceramic artist) the last weekend of September, and I knew that I probably wouldn't be able to start this while I was traveling.  So, with this in mind, I spend the last few days of September eating all of my old favorites....burgers, salmon, fish, cheese, cheese and more cheese, pasta with rich sauces, tacos, cookies, cheesecake, coca cola....well,  you get the picture.  I ate very little fruits and vegetables that week.  After a few days of splurging I was tired of it.

So the journey began....My plan was to be strict with myself for 6-8 weeks, then reevaluate things.  After 6 weeks, I had my routine lab work done and saw what a dramatic change I made just by changing what I was eating.  My cholesterol was on the low end of normal, my blood sugars were normal, EVERYTHING was on the low end of normal, my blood pressure was lower than it was when I was an active teenager!  Wow!  But in addition to the test results, my body felt really good on a cellular level.  My body felt alive!  I really never had cravings for sugar, carbs, meat, etc.  Why did I not have cravings for these foods, when every diet I've ever been on made me crave these foods endlessly until I gave in to the cravings.  Well, it's really very simple.  I was giving my body the nutrition that it needed, so it wasn't craving anything.  So, this vegan thing was looking pretty good to me now...I never once felt deprived.  Before giving up animal products, my knee caps would just burn with pain every time I went down a set of stairs.  And considering that I have to walk downstairs every time I need to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water or use the kitchen/break room, go outside at work, then add in the stairs at home that I had to use daily and wasn't pleasant, and it led to me being more sedentary.  BUT....after a couple of weeks being vegan, I suddenly realized that I was actually jogging down the stairs at work!  WHAT???  I hadn't done that in too many years to remember, and I was doing it without even realizing it.  There was no more pain in my knee caps.  

And from there, things just keep getting better.

To me, being a "vegan" means that I don't eat any animal products, and I don't eat processed white sugars, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, and the like.  In future posts, I will share some of my favorite new recipe creations and my veganization of some of my old favorites.