The Acquired Taste of Healthy Foods

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This week I was told twice that my last name is the exact same name as someone’s favorite drink: Buchanan. I had to google it to find out that it is scotch whiskey.

Alcohol is a funny thing– it takes years to acquire the taste for many, and mixed drinks are truly an art form. People boast of the best ones by saying “you can’t even taste the alcohol!” When enjoying the finest of drinks, you will see some of the liquor connoisseurs take their time, maybe take a whiff, and savor each sip as they note hints of flower, fruit, wood, and smokiness.

Don’t be fooled– when someone describes the drink as smooth, it’s smooth relative to other alcoholic drinks and would still most likely feel like fire going down with a lasting burning feeling in the chest for the novice drinker.

There are some brands so distinctly known that people drink them to be seen, not because they enjoy the actual taste. I marvel at all of this- the cost, need for acquired taste, the social aspect and I think we put a lot of effort in to enjoy alcohol. With the exception to wine, these drinks do nothing to benefit long term health.

Now, enter the green juice and smoothie trend we’ve recently seen taking off. Not everyone is doing it. Green veggies taste gross to some. Too much broccoli or kale on the drink tastes swampy. Oh, but the effects! What I’m wondering, is why can’t we put the same effort to acquiring a taste for something that gives us life as we do for something that takes life away?

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Foods to Eat for Healthy Hair

The last video of the healthy hair series is by far the most important. What you put in your body as fuel is more significant than any number of shampoos or techniques to grow longer, healthier hair. Here is a video with my top nutrients for healthier and stronger hair as well as a delicious salad!

Salad Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 tangelo (or orange), sectioned and peeled
  • 2-3 cups shredded leafy greens
  • 1 bell pepper, julienned
  • 5-6 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Toss all salad ingredients except avocado. Whisk together salad dressing and then toss salad. Add avocado slices. Garnish with basil or cilantro and serve chilled or room temperature.

Mixed Green Detox Salad

I know I cannot be the only one that is on a bit of a sugar overload. A little bite of this, and little bite of that and by the end of the day I’ve had more sugar in one day than I usually have all week! With all the traveling I’ve been doing, it’s hard to stay on track with my usual eating regimen. My usual diet is usually about 50% raw. Half raw food keeps me feeling energized and balanced so I can make it through the day. As I was ending Christmas yesterday, I really felt like I needed a detox, and so I made this simple and yummy salad from the ingredients I was able to find where I am staying. You’ll love it! I know I did.

leafy greens kale detox salad

Serving size: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup kale, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup hearts of palm
  • 1/2 orange
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
Mix baby greens and kale and place in the bowl the will be served in. Add beans. Roughly chop pieces of hearts of palm. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 an orange over the whole salad, followed by vinegar, oil, a pinch of sea salt and paprika.

Easy Lunch: Sausage & Kale

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Now that I have finished graduate school and rejoined the working world, I shared the challenge that many working professionals share which is a lack of time but a desire to eat well. As I adjust to my new schedule, I find myself exhausted and definitely in need of healthy food on a budget.

This yummy meal required minimal prep and cooking, but was filling and healthy. If you aren’t a vegetarian, feel free to use real sausage. Some nonvegetarians still use Tofurkey sausage from time to time because of the low fat.

I used organic frozen Jasmine rice from Trader Joe’s, but you can use any variety. For rice:
*dash of sea salt
*1/4 tsp smoked paprika
* 1/8 cup petite green peas
* 1/8 cup white corn

For stir fry:
* 1 cup fresh kale (rough chopped)
* salt free seasoning
* pinch if sea salt
* 1/2 cup chopped sausage
* 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
* pan oil spray

Heat pan on medium high. Sautée sausage until browned. Add kale and bell peppers for only one minute. This is important when making a lunch in advance. Upon microwaving, the vegetables will otherwise be receiving too much heat.

Enjoy!

A Day at The Ranch Malibu

When I was asked to join a group of fitness bloggers to experience and observe what this wonderful place, The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu had to offer for jump-starting fitness and facilitating weight loss, I was completely excited! Now I can share my firsthand knowledge with others who may benefit from this completely amazing and energizing experience.

The Ranch

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The ranch itself is one very large plot of land just a few miles from the ocean, and just far enough off the beaten path to feel like it is a far away place. The less distractions during this journey, the better! In fact, my cell phone did not even have reception, which is probably a good thing. The grounds have a fitness facility, plenty of land to hike, an organic farm, a vacation-worthy pool, and more. The sleeping arrangements were nice and serene just like the rest of the grounds, and there is laundry service too! They are very well equipped to handle all the special care needed for fitness gear.

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Food

With the exception of one breakfast food item, the ranch is completely vegan. I loved the reasoning given for the ranch for being mostly vegan– it was to completely simplify the diet to whole, plant-based foods, to give the body a good baseline for how it performs and responds in terms of allergens, inflammation, exercise, and energy levels.We found that we were able to have full energy to attack each exercise challenge as we learned that plants fill the stomach and provide vital nutrients at a much better rate than do processed foods. This picture shows 120 calories of nuts, oil, kale, refined sugar, and spinach. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat on the planet!

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At lunch we had a totally yummy massaged kale salad featuring chick peas, pickled red onion and olives.

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Dinner was even more amazing– a “veganized” bolognese with celery noodles and lima beans with lovely cashew shavings that really reminded me of Parmesan cheese. Honestly, I am not a big fan of celery but I loved this!

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Exercise

A normal day for a guest would include 8 to 10 hours of fitness (lots of walking) meals, snacks, possibly time at the pool, rest time, and a massage. 8 to 10 hours would have seemed like a very long time had I not experience it firsthand. On this day, we got about 6 hours of fitness in with hiking, a TRX class, a yoga class, and foam rolling to loosen up difficult-to-stretch and tight muscles. My favorite class will come as no surprise to you– it was the 75 minute yoga class with instructor Ted! He was a great teacher, and I loved that the course had parts that were dynamic and aerobic, and other parts that were more focused on lengthening and strengthening the muscles. Check it out, I’m wearing the yoga pants I recently bought from Athleta! 🙂

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One important observation I have was on this day of attendance, all the leaders and instructors were men. Some of the nurturing and intuitive qualities that are so often associated with women were not spared that day. They were all amazingly attentive, patient and encouraging. I can’t think of a better place to recommend for someone who is very serious about turning their health around and getting back on track!

Want to see more? Check out this video overview:

Remember my philosophy: Eat like you love to live! ❤

Easy Kale, Black Bean, Avocado Salad

Sometimes I eat a salad because I’m in the mood for something refreshing and light, and other times its because I had French toast for breakfast and I figure I could use a little balance. I always grab some type of green when I grocery shop. Something that is versatile like spinach or kale because I can use it raw or cooked. As with all of my recipes, you can add more accessories to make it more filling or creative!

Ingredients
1.5 cups shredded raw kale
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice
Sea salt
Paprika
Avocado
1/2 cup black beans (canned preferred)
1 tbsp jalapeño minced

Mix the shredded kale in a bowl with olive oil, balsamic, 1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice, sea salt to taste, and 1/4 tsp of paprika. Once mixed well, top with 1/4 cup cubed avocado, and 1 tbsp jalapeño. Simple and delicious!

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Winter Salad: Stay well this winter!

In addition to wanting to keep up with our 2013 fitness goals, it is also good to eat healthy food to ward off the sickness which so often comes with the winter months. This salad is packed with vitamin a, vitamin c, fiber, and protein. It makes a great complete meal, or can work as a side along with a main dish. This yummy salad was a collaboration with Brown Vegan. Make sure you watch her video for a delicious Asian tofu salad and subscribe to her channel!

Springy Kale & Cucumber Salad

Spring is my favorite season. I love the flowers that come into bloom, the delicious stone fruit that comes into maturation, and the extra sunlight. Spring is a fickle season, though. It has one foot in winter cold, and the other dangling over summer sun. As a result, my taste in food is just as inconsistent. When the day is unexpectedly warm, I usually want cooler foods that are also simple to make. This salad was created out of a need to use the rest of the Persian cucumbers I had while they were still fresh. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I tossed marinated sauteed tofu into my salad, so this is an option. Alternately, I’d recommend my salmon recipe to make it a complete meal.

Serves: 2 (main dish) or 4 (side dish)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chow mein noodles, boiled
  • 2 cups of raw kale, roughly chopped, stalks removed
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive or grape seed oil
  • Crushed red pepper (optional, for added spiciness)
  • Rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • ½ cup seedless cucumbers thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds
  • 21 seasoning salute or sea salt
Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP oil of choice on medium high heat. Once heated, add kale, 1 tsp soy sauce, crushed red pepper, 21 seasoning, and a dash of salt. Add 1 to 2 TBSP of water to help steam the kale. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until kale is tender.
  2. Boil chow mein and rinse in cold water. Drain, and add to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add kale, noodles and thinly sliced cucumbers into mixing bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix dressing: 1 TBSP sesame oil, 1 TBSP rice vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp soy sauce. Mix well and toss with salad.
  5. Add TBSP sesame seeds and chill. Serve cool.