Nov 14

The Pescestarian Diet: The Best of Both Worlds?

Posted In Healthy Living

 

The word pescetarian is derived from the Spanish word for fish, pesco. Pescetarians do not consume dairy, poultry, pork, or red meat. The only meat — or animal product — they consume is seafood.

Given the side eye by meat-eaters, looked down upon by strict vegans… where do pescetarians fit in? And where is the benefit in being pescetarian?

The pescetarian diet is a great way to beautify your skin since most fish is high in omega 3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that gives your skin a glow. Also, this diet is a gentle way of transitioning from a meat-eaters diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet – call it a stepping stone. Lastly, some people choose pescetarianism as a healthy heart-friendly alternative to non-lean — especially red — meat.

It should go without saying that fish is meat and that being pescetarian DOES NOT MAKE YOU A VEGETARIAN! For some unfathomable reason, some people seem to be confused.

Some famous pescetarians include:  rapper, Common; singer, Tracy Chapman; the late Steve Jobs; actor, David Duchovny; and actress Mary Tyler Moore.

Meat-eater, pescetarian, vegetarian, strict vegan, and not elsewhere classified, remember that fish has its own dangers. It contains mercury and other industrial toxins. Mercury has been shown to damage the brain, kidneys, and lungs. However, smaller fish such as salmon, trout, and cod usually have a lower level of mercury when compared to bigger fish like tuna and mackerel.   It is therefore recommended that you do not go overboard with the amount of fish you eat and stick to mostly smaller cold-water fish.

After putting the brakes on my journey to veganism, I decided to give pescetarianism a try. So far, so good. I’ve been consuming fish every other day for about a week now and have once again cut out (other) meat and dairy. I am currently not experiencing the daily headaches that I did when I was vegan and am hoping not to experience any unwanted weight loss or dips in energy like before. The cravings for meat did a number on me mentally. In fact, that may have been what did me in. I basically want to be on a mostly plant-based diet without some of the personal side effects that come with it. I’m hoping that this new “diet” will work out for me.

Can’t quite commit to being vegan, feel “aways” about consuming meat/dairy… Have I finally found a balance?

 

 

 

 


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Sep 24

The Benefits of Garlic Tea

Posted In Healthy Living

 

The sulfur contained in garlic has many health benefits…

First, garlic is antibacterial; therefore, it acts as a potent antibiotic. It kills harmful bacteria and strengthens the immune system, making it great for colds (the smell alone can clear nasal passages and aid congestion), infections (including respiratory), and general inflammation. It is also believed to be antiviral, helping prevent colds and the flu from occurring in the first place.

Garlic is anti-fungal. It effectively kills Candida/yeast in your body. It kills intestinal parasites too.

It is believed to be great for heart health, as it lowers cholesterol levels and thins the blood. It is not recommended, however, for those currently on blood thinners or planning to undergo surgery.

Surprisingly, garlic contains vitamins – vitamin A, B1, and C, as well as calcium, copper, iron, and zinc. The selenium it also contains (known to flush out metals) makes it great for detoxification!

Garlic tea can be made with 1/2 to one full clove of crushed garlic, steeped for 10 to 15 minutes. To make it even more potent, it is recommended that the garlic be allowed to oxidize after being crushed… in other words, sit for roughly 20 minutes before water is added.

I personally find that garlic tea tastes like soup broth that lacks seasoning. I consume it whenever I have a really bad cold and do not wish to take over-the-counter medication. I hope to one day try it to help treat my little one’s chronic bronchitis. She’s only six so I’m not holding my breath (no pun intended).

If the thought of drinking garlic intimidates you, you may want to try adding lemon, honey, or even ginger to alter the taste. Once you get past the odour, garlic really has some tremendous healing properties.

 


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Apr 07

The Vegan Challenge: Week 1

Posted In Healthy Living

 

Well, I’ve completed a 7-day week of the vegan challenge. I kept to it pretty strictly too, except for the whole wheat bagel I had when I was pressed for time and the Lick’s vegetarian chili I had today (which contained a little butter). There were a few things I found surprising…

First, going vegan was easier than I thought. I did away with the meal plan completely because I had at least a dozen recipes in my head to pull depending on my mood. I had veggie ground with whole wheat spaghetti and tomato sauce, chickpea/brown rice pilaf, tofu scramble with veggies, tofu with broccoli  and soya sauce on top of couscous, black bean and whole wheat pita wraps, the list goes on. On one occasion, I walked into a West-Indian takeout place, thinking that the only thing vegan I could get would be some root vegetables. I purchased some fried (as in sauteed) plantain. I was later informed by my mother, who’s West-Indian, that I could have had channa and roti (curried chickpeas w/ an Indian-style tortilla),  double (pretty much the same thing), roti with root vegetables or curried potatoes,  or simply asked what was vegan/vegetarian. Now I know for next time.

My iron did not drop at all and I’ve put on a couple pounds in the last couple of weeks, which pleased my personal trainer. I find that since I’m no longer eating meat, my fear of food/eating has dissipated significantly. I can eat larger portions without feeling guilty or physical discomfort.

Now for the cons…

I made it a point not to go around telling people that I was — for the moment — vegan. I mentioned it to one of my neighbours when she asked what I was preparing for this coming Easter. She was surprised. Her words were, “Why? You’re so skinny already.” I mentioned to my mother that I was not interested in attending a vegetarian chili cook-off because I didn’t know what the crowd would be like/if I would fit in. She made some remarks about blacks  not being into vegetarianism or something like that. I knew some people would find fault with my eating habits. I remind myself all the time of the primary reason for doing it (minimizing chronic illness and improving my health by alkalizing my body). It helps me stay on track.

Black beans. What can I say about them? They are the first beans I’ve come across that I have trouble digesting. I know they’re popular in vegetarian recipes but I’ve had them 2 or 3 times recently, have tried slow cooking and mixing them with other beans. They just don’t agree with me. Thank goodness there’s a wide variety of beans out there, right?

Lastly, I get bored of beans, veggie ground, and tofu sometimes. I know I don’t have to eat these things but since they’re a great source of protein, I feel compelled to. (Yes, I’ve read all about the “protein myth”) If I weren’t weight-training, I don’t think protein would be a concern for me. It’s also difficult for me to be around freshly cooked eggs, ham, fish… any animal product that has a distinct but pleasant smell. My 6-year-old asked me to make her scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast the other day, and I just couldn’t do it. I insisted she eat the whole wheat hot-cross buns I gave her and added a few slices of cheese with some hot chocolate.

Overall, I don’t feel much different than when I eat meat. With the raw vegan diet, I experienced an increase of energy and mental clarity. Maybe that would return if I juiced more often. I can, however, get by on less sleep and no longer smell without deodorant.  I have to credit spurilina (a supplement containing vitamin A, iron, B12, and lots of chlorophyll) for that as well.

In the next coming weeks, I’m going to try to get away from the meat substitutes and experiment with more exciting recipes (maybe lentils, soups, etc.). Someone recommended the book, “Color Me Vegan.” It has a lot of cool recipes I’m dying to try out. Like I said, I also plan on juicing more. Stay tuned ;)

 

 


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Feb 26

Smoothie Recipe: Serenity Smoothie

Posted In Clean Meals, Juicing and Smoothies

 

This recipe substitutes milk (soya, almond, etc.) for green tea. This makes for a lighter texture and added antioxidants.

 

Ingredients:

-8 oz. of brewed/cooled green tea

-2 tablespoons plain yogurt

-2 cups of fresh or frozen berries

-1 to 2 tablespoons of raw honey or chopped dates (optional)

 

Directions:

Blend for about 60 seconds.

Enjoy!

 

Makes 1 to 2 servings

 


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Feb 23

What Body Part Makes You Sexy?

Posted In Beauty, Healthy Living

 

 

Raw food chef Dara Dubinet believes sexy starts from the inside out.

 


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Jan 31

Adventures in Juicing – Week 4

Posted In Healthy Living

 

 

I’m still juicing regularly and making changes to my diet here and there. I feel good. I haven’t had any bouts of low iron or cravings recently.

One thing I find interesting because I spent years being addicted to coffee and sweet treats such as cinnamon rolls and milk chocolate  bars, is that I have not been craving them at ALL! I stopped consuming white sugar around Christmas 2011. A few weeks later, when I decided to cut out white flour as well as up my raw veggie intake, the only thing I crave here and there is fresh white bread. It’s weird because I was not a big bread eater before and would always choose whole wheat over white. I actually gave into this craving a couple of times. I’m back on track now though.

I’ve been making small transitions (liquid honey to raw honey, table salt to sea salt, roasted almonds to raw almonds, tap water to filtered water, etc.) here and there. I’ve also been trying new foods such as dandelion greens (very bitter), dates, pumpkin seeds, etc.

On days when I’m too busy/tired to juice or don’t have enough produce on hand, I plan to have a large salad. I did so last night. My salad consisted of kale, dandelion greens, chopped apples, celery, cucumber, and balsamic vinegar.I felt just as clear and energized (I want to use the word “oxygenated”) as I do when I juice and it took about one-fourth the amount of produce. The bonus? Fiber.

I have yet to incorporate Meatless Mondays into my routine. Avoiding meat on certain days of the week is easier to keep track of and involve the family in.

 


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Jan 20

Adventures in Juicing – Week 3

Posted In Healthy Living

 

This week was a tough one.  I feel my best when I have green lemonade (kale, parsley, apples, and lemon) daily or every other day. I’ve been experimenting with different combos lately, substituting kale for spinach or broccoli, and skipping juicing all together on certain days, opting for sugar-free cranberry juice, tea (spearmint leaf or ginger), and water with chlorophyll instead.

On a couple of occasions, I experienced extreme coldness at night. I was so cold that I absolutely could not sleep. I would put on a sweatshirt, cover myself with three blankets, and turn the heat on, causing other family members to complain about it being too hot. I was still cold though and would just lie awake until morning came, and I was able to move around. It felt like I was trying to sleep outdoors. The first time it happened, I thought it was some kind of freak instance. The second time, it happened, I looked it up. I read that both people who suffer from anemia (like me) and people who are on very low calorie diets suffer from this at times. On the last occasion, I remember having a cup of oatmeal for breakfast that day, a bowl of broccoli for lunch and a sweet potato w/ a small portion of salmon for dinner. I usually eat more than that. I decided to pay more attention to what I eat, making sure that I’m taking in enough calories, rather than eating like a dieter or some fairweather vegan (no offense intended).

I’m feeling much better now though. I learned that if I ever decide to juice fast in order to detox, it’s nothing to be apprehensive about.  Many underweight and/or sick people fast with no issue. Even if they lose some weight during the fast, they put it back on quickly once they start eating again. Water fasting is another story. I don’t know if I would have the will power and it’s recommended that you don’t move around much while doing it (busy mom over here).

I “found” an awesome new grocery store. I’m getting so much more produce for less money nowadays.  It’s not even a specialty store. It’s a franchised supermarket called “No Frills.” I used to avoid it because it was always super-crowded (often with loud/rude people) and the ones closest to where I live aren’t in the nicest neighborhoods. I’m not even trying to be “bougie”, I used to work at the one I visit now (in my teens) so I know what I’m talking about. To save money and have more selection, it’s worth the trip though.

Some of the “treats” I picked up today include a pineapple for $0.99 and a couple bags of gala apples at $0.99/each. Avocado, a favourite of mine, was 3 for $2.00, lemon was 2 for $0.77 as well… Good prices for winter (in Canada anyway). ;)

I’m excited to start juicing daily again and have even ordered my first raw food book (“Eating for Beauty” by David Wolfe) to better understand — in scientific terms — why I feel so sluggish after eating certain foods (white pasta, white flour, etc) and what foods are best for me in particular. It’s highly acclaimed and I will definitely do a review once I’ve read it.

 

 

 


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Jan 12

Adventures in Juicing – Week 2

Posted In Healthy Living

 

I’ve managed to juice daily for about 2 weeks now. On the couple of occasions where I didn’t juice, I went to Booster Juice, a place where you can get freshly-made smoothies or juice (“no sugar added”). On one occasion, I ordered a “ginger hammer”, which consists of apple, carrots, and ginger. On the other, I ordered a “very berry”, which consists of raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries. I try not to have their smoothies too often because they add sorbet to sweeten them so they can sometimes be high in sugar, even though the sugar isn’t white/refined.

This week I noticed that my skin has remained clear for quite some time. My skin care regimen has therefore changed. I used to alternate between the Dan Kern System (from Acne.org) and Fair Lady Black Soap with Tea Tree Oil. The Dan Kern System consists of 10 percent benzoyl peroxide, a soap-free facial wash, and a rich moisturizer. I have more confidence now that I will not get occasional breakouts (especially since I now drink so much water and no longer consume bacteria-feeding sugar). I use the black soap twice a day and moisturize with aloe vera gel  if I’m chillin at home and Alba Seaweed Moisturizer with SPF 15 if I’m going outdoors.

Also, my tummy is flatter, even though I haven’t lost much weight, which means I’m no longer experiencing constant bloating.

So those are some of the positive effects. To be real though, juicing makes me feel good but not amazing. There are days where even though I juice iron-rich food such as spinach or beets and take my prenatal vitamin (for iron), I still feel weak or moody. And even though I don’t feel tired often, that doesn’t mean I sleep through the nights. Insomnia has always been a problem with me. Lastly, I just don’t feel like juicing every single day. It takes some time to prep the produce, juice, disassemble the juicer, clean all the parts. etc. so I’m trying to juice enough servings for 2 days from now on.

I start my mornings off by taking an hour or so to learn more about the raw food diet and research any questions I may have, my most recent being, “Will adding lemon to your water/juices daily erode your teeth enamel?” The answer, “Diluted and not taken excessively,  it shouldn’t be a problem; especially if you use a straw.”

YouTube’s liferegenerator a.k.a. Dan the Man has some great information on raw eating. His vids are lengthy and informative. He’s honest and in no way preachy. Anyone interested in juicing or the raw food diet should definitely check him out.

 


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Jan 09

Kale Chips

Posted In Healthy Living

 

The saltiness and crunch factor of kale chips may just be enough to satisfy your potato chip craving. My 6-year-old  loves them! The first time I gave them to her, she could not believe that it was just kale, olive oil, and sea salt. Even though it may look like spinach or seaweed, the flavor of kale is very mild/delicate.

Check out the video below to find out how to make them.

TIP:  Make sure your oven or toaster oven is set to 300 degrees F or less to avoid the kale being bitter.  Cook time is usually 10 to 15 minutes.

 

 


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Jan 09

Juicing Recipe: Broccoli, Carrots, Apple

Posted In Clean Meals, Juicing and Smoothies

 

 

Broccoli is high in calcium. This recipe is nothing to be afraid of. You absolutely will not taste the broccolli.

 

Ingredients

-1/2 cup fresh broccoli pieces
-3 medium carrots with tops cut off
-1 apple without core
-small handful fresh parsley
-1/2 peeled lemon

 

Directions

Juice

OR

Blend and strain…

Enjoy!

 


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