I did the 21-day smoothie diet, and I didn’t stop

I did the 21-day smoothie diet, and I didn’t stop

A smoothie diet has become my go-to remedy when I have not been eating well or want to do an effective detox. If one thing this Covid-19 lockdown has shown me, is how I rely on my daily smoothie to steer me towards wholesome food choices the rest of the day. I don't know about you, but when I got laid off back in March 2020 due to the pandemic, I started baking. I baked, I ate, and I did not make my daily smoothie that I used to take to work every morning. Combine that with some sofa lounging and there I was five weeks later and 10 lbs. heavier. Now I'm not a fan of using the d-word, but if a smoothie diet – or even simply drinking a smoothie as a meal replacement – can melt away the excess weight, I'm all for it.

Sharing the smoothie diet plan

So now it's summer, I'm back to work, and I've let go of the excess weight, thanks to the smoothie diet plan. I've also changed the way I drink smoothies, so I can receive optimum goodness without the sugar spike. Why, you may ask, would anyone have a sugar spike in a smoothie that you don't add sugar to?

If you let your blender do all the work that your mouth would normally do to break down food, it stands to reason that you are flooding your body with calories it can't assimilate all at the same time. This revelation does not mean that a smoothie diet is bad. Dr. Michael Gregor explains how smoothies work in the body in the video below:

Here are a few of the main points that Dr. Gregor makes in the video:

Juices are the only reason that you have a higher blood sugar spike, so we don't want to drink fruit juice, right? We're on whole foods so you know if you just drink juice you throw away all the fiber.

“But smoothies, right, you blend it all together so you have a whole food, right? But the reason they have a higher sugar spike in your bloodstream drinking a smoothie than just actually eating all the fruit, like in a bowl, is not because of the the liquid versus solid. It's the speed of consumption. If you have a big bowl of fruit and you had a green smoothie like well the kale and all that, right? How long it would take you – like awhile – to chew it to get through that

But a smoothie, you pop a straw in, I mean you can suck it down like 60 seconds. That's the only difference. So you just sip your smoothie. Like, how long would it take me to eat the fruit I just made, 20 minutes? Okay well I will sip this smoothie over the next 20 minutes and that's what you do, and then the same blood sugar. You actually absorb more nutrition because you can never chew that good and you're blending up all the stuff, breaking all those cell walls, getting all that wonderful nutrition into your body.

I did the 21-day smoothie diet, and I didn’t stop, read why. Click To Tweet

Judging by all the fiber products on the market, we know that fiber is important in our diets. Dr. Gregor explains that when we simply drink juice, we miss out on the polyphenol phytonutrients, the most important components of plant foods. By most estimates, up to 80 percent of these polyphenols are actually attached to the fiber. So, when we juice a carrot or other vegetable or fruit, we throw away the pulp. We away all those polyphenol phytonutrients that are attached to the fiber.

Dr Gregor goes on to say:

If they're attached to the fiber, what good are they to us? Ah, they're good bacteria.
When that fiber gets down to our gut, our gut bacteria in our colon eat the fiber and release the polyphenols that get absorbed into our system, circulates through our body, gets up to our brain, helps our eyesight, all those sorts of other things.

And so, you're missing out on all that nutrition that's attached to the fiber when you throw it away. Now if you juice your carrot and then take the pulp, put it back in the juice fine make carrot cake, something, just don't throw it away.

Smoothie diet basics

Knowing how important whole foods are, I hardly ever drink juice anymore. I do love smoothies, nevertheless, so I throw my favorite plant-based goodies into the blender. Many smoothie recipes suggest adding some juice or nut milk. But following the advice above i don't want to overwhelm my smoothie diet with unnecessary ingredients, so I always choose water as the liquid base. This is my personal choice. I'd rather eat nuts than drink them with out the fiber goodness.

smoothie diet 21-day challenge

Here is my basic outline for smoothies:

  • 2-3 helpings of greens – a scoop of your favorite greens powder and greens other than leafy may be included, such as cucumbers and celery.
  • 1-2 helpings of fruit – I usually add berries and one more, like mango, banana or dates
  • water – add a cup, more or less to your own liking, or water + ice.
  • herbs – a thumbnail of ginger, a tsp. of cinnamon, a pinch of fennel seeds, or try different favorites for flavor.
  • flaxseeds – a staple for vegans, throwing it in the smoothie diet is an easy way to get your daily tablespoon of flaxseed nutrition.

Join us in the smoothie diet challenge!

Are you looking for a quick solution to start feeling better and dropping excess weight? If you're looking for a complete life transformation over the next three weeks, then you’re in the right place! Whether you need to lose the last 5-10 lbs or you want to get rid of 40lbs or more, this will work for you. This diet is extremely flexible so even though this program is 21 days you can continue using it for as along as you want to lose as much weight as you want!

CLICK TO LEARN MORE

 

Fermented foods: living probiotics to help keep you healthy

Fermented foods: living probiotics to help keep you healthy

Fermented foods are strong allies in our goals to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Fermented foods – and I’m not talking the alcoholic drink type – are bursting with probiotics that help feed a healthy digestive tract. Yet the probiotics that flourish in the fermentation process are delicate, and have a long road to travel from the barrel to our stomachs. We want to protect that journey as much as we can, so these living bacteria may live on in our guts.

Just walk away from the fermented drinks

Quick-witted companies these days are producing ‘probiotic-rich’ fermented drinks, non-dairy yogurts, and other single-serve, on-the-run so-called healthy boosts (more like profit boosts). The advertising for kombucha, nut yogurts and other fermented treats are attractive. Hate to break it to you, but all the sugar added to these convenient treats nullify the benefits that come from fermented foods and fermented drinks.

If you still want to buy these products, at least check the ingredients and watch for refined sugar. Sugar in a refined form is simply not helpful for good body maintenance (and it may not even be vegan).

Want a quick probiotic drink? Put a tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar into water, a smoothie, or other beverage. Well, okay, it may not be exactly probiotic. But ACV does contain good bacteria that can contribute to gut health. Do this one to three times a day and you’ll feel the benefits. Don't overdo it, though, in case your body is sensitive.

Fermented foods: living probiotics to help keep you healthy. #fermentedfoods #vegansnacks Click To Tweet

My introduction to the health benefits of fermented foods

When I lived in Japan, my friends delighted in teaching me how to cook Japanese style. They all had their own particular family ways to make miso soup, and I practiced diligently. The number one common and crucial factor I remembered from all of those lessons is:

never boil the miso.

You do not want to kill all the good bacteria, my friends would say. At that time, an aha moment about fermented foods came to me that, I believe, many of us here in the West have overlooked. We’ve been boiling, frying and roasting the probiotics out of our foods.

Growing up at my house and at every house I ate, vegetables were boiled to mush. If they were still crisp, back they went onto the stove. Sauerkraut came out of cans – already an assault on healthy microbes – and then thrown into a pot with a chopped up apple to cut the bitter edge of the fermented cabbage. If any bacteria survived the can, they were doomed to be boiled alive.

The ignorance I grew up with in regards to a healthy diet was breathtaking.

I learned a valuable lesson about preserving the integrity of food from my Japanese cooking buddies. I ate a lot of kimchi, Korean spicy pickled cabbage, while there, too. After returning to the States, I reintroduced sauerkraut – pretty much kimchi without the hot pepper – to my diet in a healthier, more robust way: no more boiling.

I can laugh nowadays about the food beliefs I was raised with. Boiled was the only cabbage recipe in the house. The closest I got to raw was the coleslaw from KFC, which was loaded with sugar. I still remember the first time I ate a cold salad of shredded raw cabbage with a dressing. Fermentation moves this delicious, versatile vegetable from a healthy food to a super-nutrient boost.

Buy or make your own fermented foods

Personally, I can't be bothered taking probiotics in pill form. I want to know I'm eating live goodness. If you buy fermented foods like sauerkraut, the brands found in the produce refrigerated section will be fresher and filled with many more gut-pleasing microbes than in jars or cans. Making your own is easy, and here is a simple recipe for you.

Dave and Steve from The Happy Pear demonstrate a quick and easy basic recipe for any fermented vegetable of your choice. The lactic acid process explained in the video is a recipe with simply salt and water – no animals involved.

In The Happy Pear’s video, the pickled veggies start at 02:22

fermented veggies homemade | All Vegan Foods

Fermented foods: living probiotics to help keep you healthy
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Ingredients

  • sliced or chopped vegetables
  • 2 cups water (5 dl)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 quart wide mouth mason jar
  • plastic lid (not necessary, but if you're going to do this often, the regular metal lids will corrode from the acid)
  • any spices or herbs you like (peppercorns, cardaway seeds, dill, basil, bay leaf, chilli)
  • 1 small cabbage leaf - if you have one.

Instructions

  1. Place vegetables and any spices/herbs you're using in the mason jar right up to the bottom of the neck, there should be about 1 inch of space to the top.
  2. Stir the salt and water together until dissolved.
  3. Pour the salt water over the vegetables until it reaches just below the top of the jar. There should be about 1/2 inch of room left.
  4. Fold a small cabbage leaf and press it down on top of the vegetables so that it keeps the vegetables submerged in the salt water. This isn't necessary, but helps make sure the vegetables are submerged. Feel free to skip this step if you don't have cabbage on hand.
  5. Close the lid on the jar tightly and place the jars out of direct sunlight in a relatively moderate temperature (68°F-75°F degrees – 20°C-24°C).
  6. You will start to see some bubbling around day 2 or so. After day 2, over a sink (in case it leaks/drips), gently loosen the lids to let some of the gas escape once or twice a day.
  7. The vegetables are ready anywhere from day 4-10. The longer they sit, the more tangy they'll be. Taste them starting on day 4 to figure out your preference. I like them best around day 5 or 6.
  8. Once you decide they're the level of sourness you're looking for, place the the jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for “months and months” as the Happy Pear lads say (not that they'll last that long!),
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https://allveganfoods.com/fermented-foods-living-probiotics-to-help-keep-you-healthy/

Photo source:Fermented vegetable jar by Kim Daniels on Unsplash

Got a recipe for that? How recipes are overrated

Got a recipe for that? How recipes are overrated

Cooking has strong cultural and traditional ties. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Secret oral instructions privately circle a home kitchen. Some home cooks inherit boxes of hand-written recipes on index cards. Others employ arguments and cook-offs between sisters, brothers, mothers and cousins at family gatherings. And yet others never set foot inside a kitchen until they live on their own as an adult.

Whatever experience you may bring to the table, as it were, start from what you know. Here on AVF, we used to detail recipes with exact measurements. But the more we cook, the more fun we have using the eye method, as well as the dash method. I explain these two methods on cooking without a recipe below.


AllVeganFoods Jacoue at NEEWS loves to eye salads.
Jacoue at NEEWS loves to eye salads.

The eye method

About 10 years ago when I was still eating fish, my brother would ask me for a Hawaiian poke recipe. Nowadays I prefer vegan plant-based poke, and you will see a series starting here on that soon. At any rate, I drove my brother crazy because I never gave him the exact measurements, nor a proper recipe with ingredients, let alone measurements (I've always been that kind of, throw whatever you've got into the bowl kind of cook).

Got a recipe for that? How recipes are overrated! Click To Tweet

Every time he asked me exactly how much of an ingredient to add, my response was always, “Just eye it; you'll get the hang of it.”

Well sure, there's a little more to it than that. For those who have been using the eye method for many years, they don't give it a second thought. Cooking and baking are like muscle memory, to the trained eye. 

The metric and imperial systems are always a consideration (and a royal pain in the butt) when making recipes. Using both systems often makes recipes look overwhelming – and, of course, the risk of making a mistake doubles.

When you ‘eye it’ you use the volume system.”Pour a good amount could be anywhere from a quarter of a cup to a few cups, depending on how large your recipe is and what the ingredient is specifically. Don’t worry too much, though. This is how you learn to adjust your recipes through tasting rather than measuring – how you learn to have a good eye.

Our friends over at Taste of Home have some good tips on how to wing it when you don’t have your measuring cups:

The dash method

Another way to share a recipe  is just to list the ingredients of a dish. That’s how chefs exchange secrets. They are not bothered to give measurements, as they know the foundations of how to cook – well, okay, not a surprise, it is their job after all.

When you ask one of these pros to give measurements, they may simply say, use a dash of this and a dash of that. Bartenders can be notorious for using the dash method, as you can see here:

https://www.womenwhotiki.com/bartenders

 You’re getting the idea now.

Here’s a helpful video from my favorite vegan cooks over at The Happy Pear. They are fans of practicing the art of cooking, not just following a recipe:

.

Let’s take a closer look at a few more measuring references:

  • a handful, a few handfuls
  • to taste
  • the juice of a fruit
  • a dollop
  • a pinch
  • a dash 
  • a smidgen

These are called vague measurements. On a funny note, you can buy measuring spoons for the last three at https://amzn.to/2NgZwHw

A handful of cooked chickpeas does not weigh the same as a handful of parsley, so you may want to eye your measurements rather than weigh them.

What vague measurements to you commonly use?


Anyone up for a Too-bean salad sandwich?

Anyone up for a Too-bean salad sandwich?

The birds living at the New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary in Rhode Island are the inspiration for naming of this salad. The cockatoos love healthy snacks, and when I shared this one with Kongo Bird, he dove into it. So, I thought it would be a cute play on words, for the two beans of cubed baked tofu and chickpeas, or garbanzos. You can find the recipe for the baked tofu at the end of this post under “sources”.

Eat chickpeas not chicks

When I was a carnivore, I used to eat a lot of chicken salad. I made it different ways – curried with raisins, or with walnuts and cranberries – it always had a creamy base to it. Now that I am vegan I started to explore different kinds of creamy salads. Salads I can spoon into a pocket, definitely a comfort food for me.

The two beans in the salad are baked cubed tofu and chickpeas. Try smashing a few of them so it holds together better. A handful of grape tomatoes and a stalk of celery provide a nice contrast in color and texture. Some leftover parsley needed to be used, so I chopped that up and threw it in, too.

Italian Herb Mix Baked Tofu

Oven Baked Italian Herb Tofu from OhMyVeggies
Check out this loose recipe: Two Bean Vegan Salad with Oven Baked Tofu. Click To Tweet

I remember visiting a friend down in South Carolina awhile ago and going to the neighbors for dinner. The neighbor had a big bowl of potato salad with some interesting ingredients in it, like peas. Sue said, “Yeah, I put about anything I have in it.”

Then I added a spoonful of the vegan pesto from Trader Joe's and a spoonful of Vegenaise. If I ever have more time I may try making a homemade mayonnaise recipe I found on YouTube. The base is navy beans and vegetable oil. The only thing I don't like about Vegenaise is the canola oil. It doesn't stop me from buying it though, because it tastes so good. Besides, I'm getting less and less comfortable using cashews, so any other alternative ingredients work for me. See why in “sources” at the end of this post.

Too Bean Vegan Salad with Chickpeas - Garbanzo tomatoes and celery.


Here below is VeganLovlie's video how to bake vegan mayonnaise. It looks delicious with the white beans.

Make your own mayo that rocks the house!

I found that chopped up celery gives a nice crunch. It replaces onion, without the aftertaste of onions. As I write this, it is late spring with chives and scallions, green onions, in season. These have a lighter taste than regular onions, so you may enjoy mixing them in as well.

A few raisins add sweetness. Yum!

My blogging partner reminded me that celery is not welcome in her home. She said “I would replace your celery with radishes.”

Okay, radishes, celery, I don't judge. What would your optional crunchy veg be?

I also decided to splurge and add two twists of the black pepper mill and a sprinkle of pink salt.

Two Bean Vegan Salad


As you can see from the image, I chose to use a pita pocket. Lately I've been on a flat bread, or unleavened bread Kik because I know they do not have eggs or dairy added to them. Perhaps even subconsciously I am thinking about the yeast, I don't know.

Whatever your choice of bread or grain, let us know! I didn't have any greens, but I may have added some arugula or spring salad leaves. Come to think of it, this salad has chopped up kale in it, too.

As my friend Sue from South Carolina says, “Throw whatever you've got into it.”

In Joy!

Ingredients:

  • Chickpeas – either from a tin or soaked and cooked. Not raw or soaked only.
  • Italian herb-baked tofu, cubed
  • Celery and/or radish
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Kale, chopped or your choice of leafy greens
  • Parsley or your choice of herbs like chives, basil.
  • Anything else you want to throw in, like chopped up walnuts, raisins or cranberries
Cockatoo living at New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary in Rhode Island.
Cockatoos love salad, so I named my two-bean salad, Too-bean.

Sources:

‘Blood cashews': the toxic truth about your favourite nut

Italian Herb Baked Tofu

A Guide to Vegan Boots

A vegan guide to buy boots

Vegan Boots: A Boot Whose Time Has Come

I got a pair of vegan boots a Target about four years ago for $30. They are adorable, durable, and still get plenty of compliments. If you’re looking for hiking boots or for fashion boots to wear downtown, it may appear challenging to find leather-free options. Yet, with a few tips, finding cruelty-free boots becomes a piece of cake.

When you begin your search for the perfect pair of boots, you’ll want to consider two things:

  1. Material is the most significant. Luckily shoe labels make it easy to distinguish between animal materials and vegan materials. You can expect boots are made from leather or other animal fabrics unless the label says, “All Man-Made Materials” or “100% Synthetic.” Then you’re in the clear! Just be careful, some shoes have a synthetic outer but a leather sole or a wooly interior.
  2. Glue is one of those “how vegan are you?” questions. It can be difficult to determine whether the glue that binds the boot together is vegan or made using trace animal ingredients. Many vegans decide not to worry about such details. Others commit to buying only vegan-certified footwear.

Vegan Boots List For Mindful Shopping

We are including two lists, the first with 100% vegan shoes and boots. The second with retailers that carry footwear made without leather or wool, yet, could contain trace animal ingredients in the glue.

100% Vegan Boots And Shoes Companies & Shops:

Big Retailers That Carry Man-Made Boots:

We wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect cruelty-free boots this season!

Vegan Köfte Kebab Recipe – Video

Vegan Köfte Kebab Recipe – Video

Köfte kebab is a Turkish version of kebab. The vegan version of köfte kebab is delicious. Köfte is minced meat with herbs, often including parsley and mint, formed into big fingers put on a skewer and grilled. Tim Shieff is leaping across tall buildings, doing one-handed handstands or performing other daredevil antics and free runner can often be found whipping up delicious vegan meals and speaking out for animals on his YouTube channel.

Here is one of his most delicious vegan recipes “Kofte Kebab in a naughty sauce” and posted in on youtube. The ingredient list is below the video.

[videoframes src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=574nNRzWynw” skin=”10″ autoplay=”1″ controls=”1″ headline_text=”Köfte Kebab w Naughty Sauce” headline_color=”#000000″ headline_size=”22″]

Ingredients: (in order as appear in the video):

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Ginger, fresh
  • 2 courgettes / zucchini
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 tin / can of chickpeas, drained
  • 40 g / 2 oz breadcrumbs

Dip:

  • 4 tablespoons of soy yoghurt
  • 3 sprig of mint
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed

Naughty Sauce:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 100 g cashew nuts
  • 140 ml / 1/2 cup (a tiny bit more) of coconut milk, light
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

1 pita bread.

Visit his vegan YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/

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