Diary of Decisions Day 1 of 90

I was listening to my 14 year old share his highs and lows, something we do at dinner every night. We each go around the table sharing what was a high for the day and what was a low. Some people call them thorns and roses. So anyway, on this particular night he shared something that really moved me and inspired me to take action, not the kind of action that only lasts for a short time but instead the driven and passionate step of action that really moves you to jump up and do it right that instant.

Before I go on, let me just start with a little disclaimer: this shared journey or “raw reality” will be unedited, raw and purely authentic. I get in my head too often about how perfected each conversation needs or I want it to be. The disclaimer: each and every Diary entry will be in its raw form, my pure thoughts, fully transparent and entirely from the heart.

On to the Diary of Decisions, as I mentioned above, the highs and lows sharing drove me to a decision I have been giving excuses to for almost a year. I don’t have the time, I don’t have the space, I don’t have the tools or proper equipment……..blah blah blah blah blah! You get the picture and I am certain many of us have all been there at multiple times in our lives for multiple “decisions”. This one really stuck………My 14 year old shared his high – “I am starting exercising to gain muscle and strength by the end of the year”. First of all how smart is he that he automatically acknowledges it will indeed take a year or so to accomplish this goal. Smart kid, I learned something in that very moment……….

1 . we set too high of expectations in too short of a period of time.

2. We don’t clearly define “why” we are making the decision.

3. We allow others ideas of how it should unfold deter us from even starting.

4. He declared it right away, there were no “I think” or “I want to”. Just straight up…..”I am”.

I asked him a few questions like, what time or day are you doing your exercises, and what types of exercises are you going to do, and lastly we talked about nutrition to support his workouts. As a Holistic Nutriton Health Coach I thought for sure he would be all ears and ready to take notes. Ummmmm. big fat nope, so I did the next best thing. I pulled out my P90X dvd and played the very first intro for it. I am a genius, it went over all of it and it didn’t come from me. Sometimes even WE need that 3rd party validation to get the information to sink in and take hold of us. He watched, he asked a few questions and then processed his thoughts. He is an inward processor so new changes take a few hours to allow him to develop the plan of attack that best fits his personality. Like I said, smart kid!

Back to my decision, like I said I have been allowing excuses for quite some time and honestly it gets old to keep hearing the same sh!% come out of my mouth about the same damn thing. Just take action I kept telling myself. Well I certainly did!

Dear Diary, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 I started my Core Four training for the next 90 days. Pray for me people I know it will be hard, I will be sore and probably not able to walk up a flight of stairs. I have to remind myself to take it slow and steady and to just keep going. So here is my plan –

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A. HYDRATION – Increased my water intake to 1/2 to 3/4 body weight, added MSM for extra absorption, and spun in a vortex for enhanced molecular structure.

B. NUTRITION – Meal planned for 7 days on each Friday, with a shopping trip on Sunday. Prep ingredients for the week. My focus is tone and definition with some small added muscle gain so my 80/20 meals will support this. I’ll share those as I go on.

C. SLEEP – Bed by 9:00p.m., 5 out of the 7 nights, and up by  5:30a.m. I’m older so apparently I have been needing more sleep.

D. EXERCISE – I’m am learning new methods for an almost 50 year old body. As I continue to move I will focus on different parts of the body for the best results. For starters it’s mostly plyometrics and static contractions with a few weights.

Now, adjustments will be made along the way and so I am extremely happy with my decision to take action and I look forward to the results. Mostly though, I look forward to sharing my next high and low………..

Find your purpose!     Burn the ships!   Take action!

What do you need to take action on? I’d love to support you, add to the comments section below

Decision maker, Jackie

 

Omegas are the new Carrots

There’s a good reason for the common belief that carrots are good for your eyes. Carotenoids, the pigments that give carrots their orange hue, accumulate in the eyes, where they protect against UV light. But, there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to supporting healthy vision – omega-3 fatty acids.

Just ask Dr. John Paul SanGiovanni, an accomplished eye health researcher at the National Institutes of Health. He was recently interviewed about omega-3s and their role in supporting eye health, and to celebrate Healthy Vision Month, we’re sharing some of his insights.

Omega-3s and Your Eyes

The omega-3s DHA and EPA are both important for eye health, specifically, the health of the retina. You can thank your retinas for translating light into visual images that allow you to see. (That’s where all those rods and cones you studied in high school live.)

DHA’s main job is structural: it helps maintain healthy cell membranes. EPA’s role is functional: it helps cells communicate with each other. EPA is also used to make important antioxidants. That’s critical, because the delicate retina is particularly prone to free radical damage.

According to Dr. SanGiovanni, DHA is highly concentrated in the retina, just like carotenoids. In fact, there is more DHA in the retina than any other tissue of the body! That gives us a good indication of how important DHA is to eye health.

Eat More Omega-3s, See Better

Dr. SanGiovanni points to studies going back over twenty years showing that people with higher levels of DHA enjoy better vision. Later research, which looked at intake (in other words, how much DHA and EPA you consume) rather than status (in other words, the level of these fats measured in your blood) has found over and over again that the more rich in EPA and DHA that food you eat is, the more likely you are to have healthy vision.

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Omega-3s are essential fatty acids, which means your body needs them but does not make them on its own. As a result, you need them to get them from your diet or from supplements.

Yet just as most people don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables daily, they’re also lacking in omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, according to a recent study, 90 percent of Americans do not get enough omega-3s in their diet.

How to Get More Omega-3s

Most people know EPA and DHA are abundant in fatty fish such as salmon, cod, and mackerel, and that’s a good place to start. But you can also get them from algae, which is not only vegetarian, but also a sustainable resource.

The Juice Plus+ Omega Blend capsules contain omega-3s derived from algae, rounded out with a broad array of other omega fatty acids — 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 — from plant-based sources such as pomegranate seeds, sea buckthorn berries, raspberry seeds, tomato seeds and safflower seeds. Just like the other Juice Plus+ Blends, the Omega Blend bridges the gap between what you should eat, and what you do eat, every day.

What’s your favorite way to get enough omega-3s? Share in the comments below!

Massive Meal Plan Upgrade

How sick of the excuses are you? Really, I’m just OVER IT!!!!!! We could use a meal plan upgrade, change comes from change, it’s time to make one and that time is NOW!!!!

Seriously, how many times do you keep telling yourself………tomorrow or next week or after my birthday or or or……honestly are you going to get serious or not??!!

Now, I’m not certainly trying to be harsh, damn it we need a swift kick in the patootie, am I right or am I right? Anyway the event begins June 18th, that’s next Monday. We need to time to plan, shop and prep items for this. So, click here to join and for the @$$ kicking good time!! Oh, this has nothing to do with the weight but everything to do with feeling “good” and losing the brain fog, sleepiness and so on. Don’t be surprised however, if the weight starts falling off little by little. That should not be your primary objective but a sure outcome when making these changes.

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Raw Joy, Jackie

The Swamp Monster Breakfast Smoothie (Great Post-Workout Recovery!)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 1-2 servings (depending on how much liquid you added) The Swamp Monster Smoothie is a great way to start your day after a hard workout! This recipe is just a template – feel free to add/subtract ingredients to make it even more awesome!

Base ingredients:

  • 1 big leaf kale, thick stem removed (or 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach)
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger root
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 4 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter (I use my homemade almond or cashew butter)
  • 1 Tbsp raisins
  • 4 dates (or another 1 Tbsp raisins –but it might come out too sweet)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed
  • 1 packet of Juice Plus Vanilla Complete 
  • 4-5 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup or more coconut water (or 1 small cucumber)
  • dash of cinnamon

Optional ingredients for an even healthier smoothie:

  • 1/2 tsp light miso paste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp wheatgrass
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp spirulina
  • 1-2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • Up to 1/2 cup other kinds of frozen fruit or berries (I like blueberries)

Instructions

  1. Add all of the base ingredients and whatever you’re using from the optional list to a high-powered blender (see note below).
  2. Blend everything together until smooth, 2-3 min depending on your blender, stopping halfway to check on the flavor. At this stage, you can add more of any ingredient to your taste (add more raisins/prunes to make it sweeter). If it’s too thick, add more almond milk/water.
  3. Once it’s smooth, pour into a glass and enjoy!

 Notes

If using a regular blender (other than a high speed blender like Vitamix or Blendtec), stop blending often and scrape down the sides to ensure even blending.

Raw Joy, Jackie

10 Fast and Simple Plant-Based Meal Ideas in under 20 minutes

Ask just about anyone what keeps them from switching to a plant-based/vegan/healthier diet, and one of the most common answers (besides ‘I love my cheese/bacon too much’) is likely going to be, ‘I just don’t have the time to make those elaborate meals’.

Okay, I understand that making a fresh, wholesome plant-based dinner every night sounds like too much work, especially if your schedule runs crazy, you work long hours, you’ve got kids, etc.

So today I’ve made a list of 10 meal ideas that will show you how to have a quick and healthy homemade meal even when you’re pressed for time. Nothing fancy or complicated, just 10 meals that’ll keep you from making a bad decision even when all else fails.

Staying on track with your plant-based diet has never been easier – after all, where there is a will, there is a way, right?

10 Fast and Simple Plant-Based Meals to Save the Day

1. Chickpeas + [BBQ sauce/teriyaki/salsa] + rice. A quick and easy meal that’s full of flavor, and provides a complete protein: toss some home-cooked or canned chickpeas with some flavorful vegan sauce (make sure to read the label to avoid junk), and serve it on a bed of rice (use quick-cooking microwaveable rice if pressed for time). Got 30 minutes? Make it a little fancier by baking the chickpeas like I do in my BBQ Chickpeas and Rice recipe.

2. Green salad on a bed of cooked grains. Use any fresh salad veggies you have on hand, and serve them over a cooked grain of choice – barley, rice, quinoa, millet, etc. You can either use the quick-cooking varieties (stock up in advance), or make a large pot of grains once a week and use it as you go. Don’t do grains? Mix in some quick-roasted potatoes, like I do in my Warm Potato Salad recipe.

3. Hummus and veggies in a wrap. This is my go-to combo for lunch and sometimes dinner: spread a tortilla with hummus, throw in any available vegetables (I love kale, red onions, carrots, tomatoes and olives), squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the mix, and wrap up burrito-style. Healthy, tasty, never fails.

4. Quick stir-fry. Microwave a bag of mixed frozen vegetables, toss in teriyaki sauce or a combo of equal parts of soy sauce and brown sugar, and serve over a grain of choice. Want more protein? Add some edamame or other beans to the veggie mix.

5. Loaded baked potato. Rinse a medium-sized potato, microwave it for 3 minutes, cut it open with a fork along the top (be careful not to burn yourself with the escaping steam!). Top with any veggies/beans/sauces that you have on hand – I like the Southwestern combo of black beans, salsa, and some sliced avocado. If you have more time, you can wrap the raw potato in tin foil and bake it in the oven for 45 min to an hour instead of microwaving.

6. Quick pita pizza. Spread marinara sauce/hummus on a pita, top with any vegetables available (onions, peppers, spinach, olives, sundried tomatoes work great), add some tofu/tempeh/seitan/vegan sausage if you have them. Got some vegan cheese? Throw it on too! Bake at 350°F for 5-10 min.

7. Veggie tacos. Warm up a few small tortillas in the microwave between two sheets of moist paper towels. Rinse and drain any canned beans of choice, season with cumin and chili powder. Assemble the tacos by putting some beans onto the tortilla and topping with salsa/sliced avocado/lettuce, etc.

8. No-cheese quesadillas. Spread some mashed sweet potato on a large tortilla (you can microwave the sweet potato for 3 min to cook it quickly), add peppers/onions/any kind of beans, etc. to one half of the tortilla and cover with the other half. Grill on a large dry skillet for 2-3 min per side, cut into wedges, and serve. Alternatively, see my recipe for Veggie-Loaded Quesadillas where I use refried beans and hummus instead of sweet potato.

9. Nut butter and banana/jelly sandwich. I love the classic Elvis (PB&B) sandwich every now and again that I usually make with my homemade nut butter. A cashew or almond butter sandwich with jelly or bananas is always a better choice than greasy fast food.

10. Green smoothie. Ain’t nothing wrong with a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The smoothie doesn’t have to be green in color – ‘green’ stands for ‘made with vegetables and fruits’. Most green veggies work fine in smoothies (except lettuce – some people find it weird-tasting when blended). To make the smoothie more filling, add rolled oats, nut butter, seeds, nuts, etc. – see my Swamp Monster Smoothie recipe for more tips.

I hope that this list will make it easier for you to stay on track with eating healthy! The naysayers now have one less reason to say ‘no’ to going vegan…

By the way, if you have any quick plant-based meal ideas that I didn’t bring up here, please let us all know in the comments!

Raw Joy, Jackie

Wholeness from Perfection

I was once a person who strived for perfection. The perfect outfit, hair, attitude, humor, car…….honesty the list could go on. The very idea of being seen as someone who “had it all together” was my ideal feeling of acceptance. Full disclosure here, I felt undervalued and unappreciated if I didn’t uphold everyone else’s ideals of what “all” looked like. As if my identity rested in someones opinion and acceptance of me. It’s crazy how I once let this outside world determine my worth!

But God…………….

I am a woman of value, purpose, worth and love. I am equipped to handle my circumstances, mistakes and opportunities. I am capable of greatness beyond the limitations I think. Maybe you need to hear this today or maybe I need to read this a few times to remind myself of His plan and promises for my life. There are more reasons to cave than there are to crave the life that has already been perfectly carved and chiseled for me (you). But God………. with him ALL things are possible.

It took me a. long. time. to really believe that. I thought “all” meant just the religious or spiritual things and so my journey through life has allowed me to see that ALL means ALL!! All thoughts, all things, all actions, all opportunities all love, all all all!! What is your ALL? Moving from perfection to wholeness for me is like finding those missing keys that you tear the house apart for when they are exactly where you left them to begin with. In that place you keep overlooking or missing because you are too focused on the loss of them instead of the discovery of them.

It is only when I focused on the discovery of Wholeness that I released the idea or loss of being perfect!

Earlier today, when taking my son to work, we were discussing math (of all things) and of course I turned it into a life lesson. I mean, I am a mom so It just naturally comes with the territory I suppose or well, at least it does for me. So, he mentioned he just couldn’t get Algebra 2 because the process or method to get to the answer is so confusing. At first I thought, well then memorize the formula and you’ll master the process. But what I was really led to say is, the rules for solving the math problem don’t change, meaning the formula is the same. We get so caught up in the process of solving the equation we forget to just apply the rules or principle. He knows the answer because of the rules (formula) but spends so much time asking why the process is laid out that way and fails to see the simplicity of the question or math problem from the beginning.

Isn’t that just like life, we focus so much on the process or how we are “doing” the process we neglect to see the simplicity behind the principle or rule. Just follow the rule and the process will reveal itself. Kind of like working the problem backwards from the answer. Re-engineering life from the outcome can reveal a more simplified process or journey to reach the goal or dream you set out to achieve from the very beginning. Wholeness allows you to see that applying the principles you’ve learned along your journey will unfold the process so naturally and easily and can fulfill you on a soul level.

Raw Realities, Jackie

Release, Reframe and Reset

It was an ordinary Friday, one that speaks of resting, preparing and playful episodes of jam sessions and craft classes. We woke late, took our sweet time getting to our morning jobs and breakfast.

We had a plan for the day a mission of sorts to go out and conquer fun. I spent the week pinning ideas, making lists, and choosing favorites and was overly excited to share with the kids what I had planned.  We wrapped up the morning just in time to gather our things for the day and head out into adventure.

The very moment we closed the doors and started on our way to load up, I panicked. the spontaneous adventure had me full of anxiety, I was desperately trying to be light and airy with excitement for the fun we would have. I was none of that, I was stressed, anxious and uncertain about the plans we had. I don’t know if it was me trying to be spontaneous with a bit of preparation or prepared with some added spontaneity. Either way I was a mess. I never let them see it but inside I was wrecked.

And then it hit me, release, reframe and reset. I kept playing those words in my head, release and rest, messaging I had learned from my coaching classes. As a certified holistic health coach, the tools were right there, in my head and tucked away in my heart. I said them over and over until I felt myself calm and settled. 

We started on our way, joy emanating from within and had the best fun we’d had in months! If it weren’t for the reframing of my mind, the day could’ve and certainly would’ve been a train wreck affecting not just me but my kids as well.

What you think matters, what you say matters, how you feel matters and your choice to overcome it matters. YOU MATTER!!

Unknown

Release……………Reframe…………….Reset

Injoy, J

Road Trip Yahoo!!!

In an ideal world, we would all take plenty of time to plan, purchase, and prepare a cornucopia of healthy snacks any time we took the family on a road trip. But life doesn’t always cooperate with our lofty intentions. And so, unless you are a preternaturally organized person, you will inevitably find yourself mid-road trip at a convenience store, looking for a healthy snack for yourself, your partner, or your kids. What are your best options?

Most convenience stores do have some healthy offerings; the main challenge is avoiding all the less-than-healthy temptations, especially if you’ve got a kid in tow. I know I need to keep my five-year-old’s attention away from the candy aisle whenever we go into one of these places.

Going in with a plan can help, whether you’re negotiating with your child or your inner child. Before you open the store door, decide what kinds of foods you’re going to look for. You could even try to make it a game or a treasure hunt.

Low-Hanging Fruit:
As soon as you enter the store, check the counter for fresh fruit. Are there apples or bananas? Don’t worry about the fact that the fruit is wildly overpriced compared to what you’d pay in a grocery store. The mission right now is not to save a few bucks.

Mix and Match:
Is there a refrigerated area with pre-cut fruit or veggies? These are sometimes packaged in trays with hummus, cheese, nuts, or a hard-boiled egg. Oftentimes you can buy these items separately and combine them until you’ve created a pretty healthy meal.

Go Nuts.
A bag of nuts is always a good snack option. Nuts have protein and healthy fats, and they provide the satisfying crunch you might get from chips. Raw nuts are preferable to roasted, because roasting can damage the healthy fats and create a harmful substance called acrylamide. But if roasted nuts are your only option, they’re still better than almost everything else you’ll find in a convenience store!

It’s All Greek.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find some plain Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, in the dairy section. The plain part is important, because conventional single-serving yogurts have almost as much sugar as a 12-ounce soda! I carry a little bottle of liquid stevia (a zero-calorie, low-glycemic natural sweetener) in my purse at all times so I can sweeten just about anything without adding any sugar. My daughter loves the taste.

Drink It Up.
Water’s always a good option, and if you drink  Plant milk, it’s almost always available. Plant Milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, and it has some protein, too. Bottled tea or coffee might seem like a good idea if you also need a little energy boost, but it’s almost always heavily sweetened, so check the label. You’re better off getting a cup of joe that’s been brewed in the store so you can control how much, if any, sugar you put into it.

What’s your go-to healthy(ish) convenience store snack?

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Oh these were so dang good I made 3 batches. So, for all you fall lovers out there, but still live in 100 degree weather, you’ll love these.

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20-24 muffins

400 for 8-10 minutes

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of coconut oil
  • 1 t. pink salt
  • 1 t. baking soda (non aluminum)
  • 1/2 t. baking powder (non aluminum)
  • 2 t. vanilla extract (non alcohol)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

What to do:

Mix the sugar, eggs, and oil together in mixer until light and smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, except chocolate chips and mix well.  Add the chocolate chips and bake in muffin tins for 8-10 minutes at 400.  this recipe should be halved to make only 12-15 muffins but like I said, I made 3 batches. So, bake away my friends…………

 

Rawful Joy, Jackie

Dang Good Granola

I love granola, so much so that I add it to my fruit bowls, my smoothie bowls, halved papayas, parfaits. You get the picture. My kids on the other hand not so much, they do like some of my variations (goji berry is their preferred) but not adding it to everything, haha. Well, I started with  recipes from Minimalist Baker and Cookie and Kate and sort of tweaked it according to my likings and my inventory.

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Gather all your ingredients, I used what I had on hand at that time. Oatmeal, chia seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, maple syrup, himalayan pink salt and coconut oil. That powder you see in the first pic, that’s my plant shake mix. I just threw the mix in then gave it all a whirl. I literally threw various amounts of nuts into the food processor and pulsed until they broke up a bit. I then ground the chia seeds and added those while pulsing again. Being careful not to over process so I didn’t end up with nut flour. Next I poured this into a large bowl and added roughly 3 cups of raw uncooked oatmeal, gave it a little stir to mix it all in. Let this sit for a minute. Go over the stove and add 1/4 coconut oil and 1/4 maple syrup to a pot and melt over medium high heat mixing the two together to a liquid.

Now, listen I am all about skipping steps and just throwing it all into the food processor and hoping for the best. I mean come on……..we have about 6 1/2 minutes to whip recipes up on most days so……… you make do. This one however, really does taste a whole lot better when you add the cooking on the stove step.

So, back to the recipe. Once the oil and syrup are thoroughly melted, add this to your bowl and stir by hand really getting all of the oats and nuts fully coated, fave part for the kids. A whole lot of finger licking after this one. hahaha, I was fine with it.

Now once all ingredients are completely covered and mixed in spread the mixture onto a baking sheet as evenly as you can. Bake in the oven at 400 for roughly 8 minutes and take out, stir up the bottom, flatten out again and bake for another 5 minutes.

Walala, Dang Good Granola!! Store in a sealed mason jar in the fridge for about 3 months. However, if it lasts that long I’d be very surprised.

 

For those of you who need some measurements, I’ll do my best. I eyeballed this one but there are a few specifics.

  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • a pinch of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup ground chia seeds ( I just used my coffee grinder)
  • various nuts added to your own liking
  • Bake at 400 for 8 minutes then take out, stir and bake another 5 minutes

When it turns golden brown, it’s time to take them out.

I had this ready and in bowls in under 30 minutes, whoop whoop!! It’s delicious, vegan, gluten free and simple. Add your own homemade almond milk, your favorite plant based protein shake mix and you’ve got one heck of a nutritious start to your day.

Head on over to the 2 sites above and get some more ideas!!

I’d love to hear your faves in the comments.

Oh, you can add some fun superfoods to it if you want to get a bit creative. Like raisins, chocolate chips, craisins, dried mulberries, goji berries, cut up dried figs………so many options.

Rawsome Rocket, Jackie

Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice

Ingredients

14ounces non-gmo extra-firm tofu, drained

2tablespoons gluten free soy sauce, I use Tamari

1– pineapple, or 11⁄2 cups diced pineapple

1tablespoon coconut oil

— onion, thinly sliced

— Pink Himalayan Sea salt

3– cloves garlic, minced

2teaspoons curry powder

1teaspoon ground coriander

1teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

3/4cup cashews

— carrot, peeled and shredded

1/2cup frozen peas

1/2cup raisins

3/4cup cooked rice, preferably brown basmati or quinoa

1/4cup vegetable broth

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a small baking sheet.

Press the tofu to get out as much water as possible. After pressing, cut the tofu into 1⁄2-inch cubes. In a bowl, toss tofu with Tamari sauce until each cube is coated. Place in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, turning the tofu a couple of times with a spatula. Remove from oven and set aside.

To prepare pineapple, cut in half lengthwise using a sharp knife. Remove the flesh and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside 11⁄2 cups for this recipe, and save the rest for another use (see here for other uses) Reserve the shell for serving.

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions until soft and lightly browned. Season with pink salt. Add garlic, curry, coriander, and chili-garlic sauce, and let cook a few more minutes. Add cashews, carrots, peas, raisins, rice, broth, pineapple, and tofu. Cook until heated through and adjust salt to taste. Serve the rice or quinoa like they do in Thai- land—in the pineapple shell!

Raw Joy, Jackie

8 HEALTH BENEFITS OF PLANT-BASED DIETS

The earth is covered in plants that provide living creatures with food to keep us healthy and medicine for when we are sick. It makes sense that plants are an essential part of any healthy way of eating. Even in the harshest conditions, plant life, in some form, has been a part of traditional diets.

By shifting plant foods to the core of your diet, you are making great strides for your health whether or not you choose to go entirely plant-based. Instead of getting caught up in labels, focus on including more plant-based foods in your diet.

 

Here are several great bene ts of a diet relying mostly on plant foods:

1| Body Mass Index (BMI): Individuals following a plant-based diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are more likely to have a healthy BMI and less likely to be overweight.1,2

2| Risk of Chronic Disease: Plant-based diets reduce the risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In fact, those who follow plant-based diets are more likely to have improved insulin sensitivity and lower cholesterol levels.2,3

3| Toxic Load: Meat, dairy, and farm-raised sh may contain hormones, steroids, and other toxic residue from their feed and processing. Although a better choice, wild sh can still be contaminated with heavy metals, like mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which may disrupt our hormones. Consuming organic produce and reducing consumption of animal foods can help limit exposure to these toxins.

4| Money: Individuals who follow a plant-based diet may save about $750 per year on grocery costs. Whole grains, beans, and in-season produce are economical and incredibly nourishing.4

5| Animal Welfare: To meet the demand for animal foods, animals are often raised under poor conditions and crowded together in con ned animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Supporting humane farms – or not purchasing meat at all – is a way to place your vote against animal cruelty.

 

6| The Planet: The demand for animal products is a major cause of deforestation as land is cleared to make room for animals. In fact, nearly 30% of the earth’s land area is used to raise livestock.5 Farm animals are also a major contributor of greenhouse gases, which are linked to global warming.

7| Resources: Plant-based foods require less energy, space, and water than animal foods and are less taxing on our resources. Producing one kilogram of animal protein uses 100 times more water than the same amount of protein from grains.6

8| Longevity: Plant foods are high in antioxidant compounds like vitamin C, selenium, and vitamin E. These compounds assist in reducing oxidative stress in the body, which decreases disease risk and supports healthful aging.7 Some of the world’s longest-living people live in the Mediterranean and Asia. Both areas have traditional diets focused on plant-based diets.

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