Lemon ‘Cheese’cake

…I made Lemon ‘Cheese’ cake…which didn’t turn out as I wanted but we still ate it! I couldn’t find agar agar at the store so I used arrowroot, but this did not give the desired ‘cheesecake’ effect. But, I threw it in the freezer and it became more of a lemon sorbet ice cream cake of sorts and tasted pretty damn good for my first go at this awesome dessert! Will be trying this one out again with the agar agar next time! The recipe below is the ‘right’ way to do it with the agar agar, so let me know how it turns out for you!
Lemon ‘Cheese’cake turned Lemon sorbet ice cream cake…

Vegan Lemon Cheesecake:

  1. Crust (make first): This crust is phenomenal!
    1. Throw 1-2 C Walnuts, 1 C Dates, and 1/4 C brown rice syrup in food processor and blend until ingredients stick together
    2. Combine and press into bottom of pan (coat pan with olive oil first)
    3. Optional: Bake 10 minutes at 350F (don’t let walnuts overcook/burn)
    4. Once pan cools, place in refrigerator while you make the filling
  1. Filling:
    1. Extra Firm tofu
    2. 1/2 C brown rice syrup
    3. Lemon Juice (2-3 lemons)
    4. Blend all ingredients, taste and adjust accordingly
    5. Prep 2 TBSP Agar Agar
      1. 1/2C Apple Juice or water & 2 tbsp agar agar
      2. Stir in stove top pot, let dissolve
      3. Bring to simmer and cook until clear (10 min)
    1. Then add agar agar to blender, blend and put right into pie crust
  1. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours

 

Let’s talk about Alkalinity, Acidity & Inflammation! Yeah!

I know, I know…this topic probably sounds like it has nothing to do with you or your fitness goals. Am I getting too ‘technical’ on you? Well deal! Because you need to know about ‘getting more alkaline’ and getting out of an acidic and toxic and inflamed state. So take a few minutes out of your day and read on. (Next post will be about the ‘constricting’ and ‘expanding’ properties of food, I promise).
Blood pH Level ranges from low pH (acidic) to high pH (alkaline). Our body fights to keep our blood pH level between 7.35-7.45 via its internal regulating systems. If the blood pH dips below 7.35 it turns too acidic (acidosis) and above 7.45 too alkaline. So why do I care about this?

“A diet rich in alkaline foods help reduce inflammation in the body…chronic inflammation can negatively impact your health. Experts seem to agree that one of the first ways to reduce inflammation is by assessing your diet and adding in alkaline foods and removing the acid ones.” While, it’s said that acidosis leads to diseases, brain fog, poor mood, irritability, poor digestion, low energy, excess weight, aches and pains and it is said that cancers thrive in an acid state…so this is why pH is so important. Once I got the acid-forming products out of my life, my quality of life improved, do you want to improve your quality of life?

So, what do you do? Counteract acidity by consuming foods that bring your pH up to the alkaline side of the scale. The average western-diet is acid-forming. Coffee, animal meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, bread (even whole wheat), pistachios, peanuts, butter, margarine, artificial sweeteners, sugar, beer, liquor, wine, canned food, microwaved food, processed foods are all foods to stay away from because they are highly acidic! Click this link–> Look on the internet for a chart of acid-alkaline foods.

Almost all vegetables are GREAT for you and alkaline forming, fruits are to be eaten in moderation. Fruits that are alkaline forming are avocados, fresh lemon & limes. Almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, and sesame seeds are alkaline forming too. Flax seed and Olive oil are alkaline. Get a pressure cooker, and start cooking up your grains and beans/legumes from their whole and untouched/unprocessed states. Such as whole buckwheat groats and lentils which are on the alkaline side of the spectrum. Again, look up a chart online and make note of what is acid and alkaline forming.

You may read this and say to yourself that getting rid of these ‘foods’ or changing the way I eat to be more ‘alkaline’ would be too difficult. But let me ask you this, “is there not more to life than the food we eat and the clothing we wear…?”. The food you eat should be the fuel to power you through your day!

Is it not harder to go to the gym, stick to your exercise routine 100% day-in and day-out and not see results because you haven’t changed your diet in a way to align with what you want to achieve with your health and fitness? Is it not absolutely frustrating when you feel like crap when you wake up in the morning, and you have a whole day ahead of you of work and errands and life to deal with? Wouldn’t you like to wake up and feel ready to take on the day? Sleep better? Feel energized after a meal instead of tired and weighed down? Walk out your door, look up at the sky and see ‘true blue’ for the first time? Be so clear-minded and on-point that you tackle work stress, work problems and work duties like you’ve never been able to before? Shed excess weight that you can’t seem to lose no matter what exercise routine you do, no matter how many minutes you walk/run a day, no matter how many spin classes you do, or crazy starvation diets you put your body through?

YOU CAN achieve optimal wellness, YOU CAN experience a better quality of life, it all depends on whether you MAKE THE COMMITMENT TO, whether or not you decide that you’re fed up with feeling like crap everyday and you decide that you’re ready to make the changes you need to make to achieve your goals. We all hit rock bottom at some point, but if I were you I’d start before I hit rock bottom.

Once I learn something, I implement it into my life in a way that will make a positive impact on my well being. How can you learn something that is life-changing and not use that new information in how you live your life? Many people out there read about and learn things that could make a positive impact on their well being and the environment, yet they just move on and don’t do anything about it, they are numb, maybe they’re scared, maybe they haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Don’t be numb, don’t wait until you hit rock bottom, don’t wait until you get some horrible health diagnosis from your doctor, you were given life…one life…to be ALIVE, feel ALIVE and see ‘true blue’!

 
This may be controversial, some may reject this topic, I don’t care and don’t knock it until you try it. What I do care about is helping others ‘see the light’. I’m sharing what I know and learn in hopes to help others have a better quality of life. Take what you will from what I tell you, but just remember you were given one life…to live, be well, and do well…
 
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. What I write in my blogposts is simply information that I have gathered over the years from reading and researching several health related topics from credible resources as well as personal experiences. I urge you to consult with a physician before changing your diet. The purpose of my blogposts are to share my experiences and fitness knowledge with everyone I possibly can to help others in their journey to improve their state of well-being.

Health & Happiness,

Natty Mac

Chocolate Pudding? Superfood? Why Yes!

I had an epiphany today about food, nutrition and how EVERYONE should start viewing the ‘eating process’. The macrobiotic challenge has greatly helped me to have this ‘epiphany’. I changed my eating habits A LOT, from what I eat, how often, when, why, how and so on. I’ve cut out all animal products (gone vegan) and for the most part have cut out anything that is processed, meaning everything I prepare or cook is truly a ‘whole food’ in its natural state. At first it was really challenging to make these changes…I didn’t know what to eat, how to prep meals, I got a little frustrated but pushed through and am SO GLAD I stuck with it 100% because the experience has been life changing.
EVERYTHING I eat or drink is to ‘fuel’ my body. Each ingredient in my meals and snacks serve the purpose of contributing the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbs, fats, proteins, etc that my body needs to function at optimal capacity. AND THIS IS THE REASON I FEEL AMAZING. For the last 20 days, everything I have eaten has had some purpose in feeding my body what it needs to function, when you do this amazing things begin to happen. And it has only been 20 days, imagine what 3 months will hold.

My epiphany: Every meal or snack and every ingredient in that meal or snack should have a purpose, fuel for Raw Zucchini & Pesto Lasagnaoptimal performance.

When I wake up, my tea energizes me to start my day and my 16 ounces of water I chug first thing in the morning hydrates me. My breakfast of buckwheat groats gives me the sustained energy I will need for work and my exercise routine. Each meal/snack also has cooling or warming effect depending upon the season (warm/cold/winter/summer). Food, my meals/snacks, fuel me for the next few hours of activity. BUT…the big change, the epiphany…these meals & snacks are so much more fun to make, more satisfying, delicious, have variety, can be ‘sweet’ or ‘savory’, and are SO easily digested because there aren’t any animal products, artificial ingredients or highly processed crap & they are in their natural and ‘whole’ state so that I can receive ALL the nutrients from each ingredient. In turn…the outcome is a clear mind as I’ve never experienced before, energy like I had when I was a 5 year old, weight-less feeling, joy, and as my new friend Kara says ‘seeing the deepest, coolest, most vivid color blue as you’ve never seen it before’.

Master Macrobiotics in 10 easy steps!Depending on how much time I have, I can whip something up that’s good for my mind and body. Or take my time to make an elaborate meal. I HAVE MORE VARIETY NOW THAN I DID BEFORE! Some people may say that I’m on a restricted diet…this is incorrect actually. Look at my pinterest boards, the vast array of recipes and options for all meals of the day is endless and in NO WAY restricted.

In fact, I find the ‘macrobiotic way’ more satisfying. I can even have dessert now! If you stick to the ‘macrobiotic way’ you will shed any excess weight, feel amazingly energized and clear minded and get to enjoy in a variety of satisfying and delicious meals and snacks. I don’t know about you but this is way better than eating oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch and chicken and broccoli for dinner every day!

I made my new favorite dessert today, I call ‘Superfood Chocolate Pudding’. So easy to make and tastes AMAZING! Perfect for this time of year (Spring/Summer), has healthy fats, low G.I., loaded with vitamins/minerals and cools you down while satisfying that desire for something sweet and tasty.

“Superfood Chocolate Pudding”

Makes 1 serving.

  • 1/2 Organic Avocado
  • 2 TBSP Raw Cacao
  • 1-2 TBSP Lacuma Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla bean or alcohol-free organic vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup filtered water
  • Optional- 1 TBSP organic shredded coconut

Put all ingredients in your magic bullet, blender or food processor and blend. Enjoy! Add fresh mint leaves to the blender for mint chocolate pudding! Or fresh squeezed orange juice. Options are endless!

I encourage anyone to do their research and give the ‘macrobiotic way’ a real try, give it 100%, give it 30 days, it will be worth it.

Health & Happiness,

Natty Mac

Vegan 5 Course Meal – Nat’s Test Kitchen

It’s day #16 of the 30 Day Macrobiotic challenge. I FEEL AMAZING! (I had a little ‘hiccup’, ate adzuki bean dip I made that had gone old and it made me feel sick for a day or two, but I learned now how long beans ‘keep’). I’d like to give a shout out to my friend and the host of the 30 Day Challenge, Kara Mejia, for the amazing results I’m experiencing as well as the recipes I’m sharing in this post. Kara taught me and the 30 day challenge group these recipes last week and I tested out my skills this past weekend for mother’s day. Everything turned out great…with the exception of the lemon ‘cheese’cake (which was my fault, I learned quickly that arrowroot is NOT a good sub for agar agar lol).
Kara Mejia has some great info, recipes and a blog. So be sure to check it out so you can have the positive experience too!

Website: Cooking with Kara

Blog: Natural Body Makeover

So, here it is…my 5 Course Vegan/Semi-macrobiotic Mother’s Day dinner!

Cream of Celery Soup:

  1. Whole head of celery
  2. Nayonaise w/mustard (to taste)
  3. Green Onions (one stalk)
  4. Olive oil (2 tbsp)
  5. Water (slowly add as blending to bring to right consistency)
  6. Sea salt (a few dashes)
  7. Heaping tsp of sweet white miso
  8. For creamy: add avocado, zucchini or cauliflower
  9. For a kick: add cayenne pepper
  10. Blend in blender and garnish with cilantro

Served with Pinto Ginger Hummus:

Hummus:

  1. 2C cooked Pinto Beans
  2. Pinto bean broth
  3. Cumin (start with 1 tsp, add to taste)
  4. Blend and slowly add in below ingredients until right consistency
  5. Add olive oil, flax or hemp seed oil
  6. Add grated ginger 1tsp & salt to taste
  7. Optional, garlic and/or sweet potatoes

Next we had a fresh cut romaine salad with citrus lime vinaigrette:

Romaine w/Citrus Lime Vinaigrette:

  1. In the bottom of large bowl add the following.
  2. A few tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  3. 2 TBSP olive oil
  4. Juice of one organic lime
  5. Pepper & tiny dash of salt
  6. Fresh or dried basil, cilantro
  7. Optional: add fresh grated ginger
  8. Now add chopped romaine on top and mix, place in fridge and let flavors infuse salad.

For the main entree, I cooked up the famous ‘Grain Burger’!

Grain Burger:

  1. Brown Rice: 2C serves 2 people
  2. Beans (1/4 beans:1 rice) *re-cook beans w/dash salt
  3. Spanish oregano
  4. Roasted ground pumpkin seed w/dulse flakes
  5. 1C grated carrot, celery, onion
  6. Juice from bean stock
  7. Garlic (a couple dashes)
  8. Onion powder (I didn’t have any so I added green onions)
  9. Red pepper flakes (dash)
  10. Cumin (a few teaspoons)
  11. Combine ingredients into patties and roll in Oat Flour (I used coconut flour)
  12. Cook in pan in toasted sesame oil (I used sunflower oil)
  13. Plate up with chopped cilantro on top & a squirt of miso mayo!

As you can see I substituted a few ingredients for what I had in my kitchen. I used adzuki bean pate, but you can use chickpeas or lentils that aren’t pureed. Also, I used brown rice but quinoa works as well. If you don’t have spanish oregano just use regular oregano. These are so yum!

Lastly…I made Lemon ‘Cheese’ cake…which didn’t turn out as I wanted but we still ate it! I couldn’t find agar agar at the store so I used arrowroot, but this did not give the desired ‘cheesecake’ effect. But, I threw it in the freezer and it became more of a lemon sorbet ice cream cake of sorts and tasted pretty damn good for my first go at this awesome dessert! Will be trying this one out again with the agar agar next time! The recipe below is the ‘right’ way to do it with the agar agar, so let me know how it turns out for you!

Lemon ‘Cheese’cake turned Lemon sorbet ice cream cake…

Vegan Lemon Cheesecake:

  1. Crust (make first): This crust is phenomenal!
    1. Throw 1-2 C Walnuts, 1 C Dates, and 1/4 C brown rice syrup in food processor and blend until ingredients stick together
    2. Combine and press into bottom of pan (coat pan with olive oil first)
    3. Optional: Bake 10 minutes at 350F (don’t let walnuts overcook/burn)
    4. Once pan cools, place in refrigerator while you make the filling
  1. Filling:
    1. Extra Firm tofu
    2. 1/2 C brown rice syrup
    3. Lemon Juice (2-3 lemons)
    4. Blend all ingredients, taste and adjust accordingly
    5. Prep 2 TBSP Agar Agar
      1. 1/2C Apple Juice or water & 2 tbsp agar agar
      2. Stir in stove top pot, let dissolve
      3. Bring to simmer and cook until clear (10 min)
    1. Then add agar agar to blender, blend and put right into pie crust
  1. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours

We (my mom, boyfriend and I) were fully satisfied after this fabulous 5 course meal. We felt good too! Not weighed down or groggy after a large meal with animal products. I must say that I absolutely LOVE vegan. As of right now, I’m not turning back and I’m going to keep experimenting with fun, new vegan and macrobiotic recipes. I always felt bad about eating animal products and now I can eat knowing that I’m not only being good to my body but also to the environment, animals & earth!

It’s truly amazing the variety of really fun and delicious recipes out there that are vegan & macrobiotic. The best part is that you feel better physically and mentally after eating. Clearer mind, better digestion, energized and ready to enjoy your day! I’ve been enjoying researching and finding new vegan and macrobiotic recipes to try out for the weeks to come. It makes ‘meal’ time so much more exciting and fun to cook in this new way. A lot of the recipes you can throw together with no cooking at all, and it’s for the most part, totally unprocessed ingredients. Truly ‘clean’ eating. As I’m learning and getting into the swing of things, I’m able to throw together amazingly yummy, wholesome meals and snacks in minutes. I urge you to try out some vegan and macrobiotic recipes, you’ll feel so good, physically & mentally! Especially if you’re trying to drop some excess weight or body fat!

Health & Happiness, Nat

Week One of 30 Day Macrobiotic/Vegan Challenge Complete! Results Fantastic! *Quinoa Veggie Slaw Recipe

Happy Monday!
It’s day #7 and I’m feeling great! I am so much more clear-minded, energized, light, balanced, clean, strong, happy! This first 7 days was challenging but I took it one day-at-a-time and made it 7 days thus far, which I’m proud of! Also, I couldn’t have done this without the help and instruction from Kara Mejia! Check out her website www.cookingwithkara.com and blog www.naturalbodymakeover.com

Challenges: Learning how to prepare meals, learning what my daily meal plan would be, avoiding coffee, alcohol, processed snack foods, and eating when out and about.

What I did to overcome these challenges: Made a list of all the foods I’d include in my diet for the next 30 days. Combined these foods to make meals. Put meals into categories for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Put these meals into an excel spreadsheet that listed Monday – Sunday what I’d eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. I then made a shopping food list according to the weekly meal plan and hit up the local health food stores (Trader Joe’s & Mom’s Organic Market). Once I got home I prepped/cooked large quantities of some of the staples or foundations of the meals that I’d be eating, such as brown rice, quinoa, ground roasted pumpkin seed, adzuki beans. This way I could have the food ready to go and all I’d have to do is combine foods according to the meal I wanted to make. I had my meal plan printed out and recipes close by so I could quickly prepare a meal.

I think the work week days are easiest because there is less temptation. On the weekends, you are out and about enjoying life and there are many temptations to stray from the vegan/macrobiotic lifestyle. Such as hanging out with friends or family gatherings. I just made sure to bring my own food with me if I was going out and about and would be hungry (like a green smoothie) or if I was going to a family gathering (crab feast cookout on Sunday w/beer & margaritas, a lot of temptation but I held strong!) I brought my own meal and water with lemon. I still had a great time at each outing this weekend, more focus on enjoying spending time with family and friends and being active. It’s a great way to live life to its fullest for sure!

Changes in Fitness & Body & Appearance:

The first few days I noticed a little less energy, this due in part to my body detoxing and cleansing itself as well as me still trying to figure out how to get enough calories/protein/energy for my daily activity and exercise. Once I got more of a handle on daily meals, I feel ‘light’ and energized, more focused and ready to take on the day. Refreshed. My skin complexion has improved, which was surprising because I already had a pretty good complexion. I’m maintaining my lean muscle mass while I’ve noticed my abs and arms have become more defined. After eating, I feel satisfied and don’t crave sweets or salty snacks as I used to. Also, the meals are so much easier on your digestive system and this adds to that energized feeling versus ‘crash’ or heavy feeling after eating a meal. Overall, I am impressed with the improvements after only 7 days and looking forward to this upcoming week.

Week One Summary:

I’d suggest this approach to nutrition to anyone. My goal is to improve my overall wellness and a more defined/strong physique. This approach to lifestyle and nutritional habits is also specifically beneficial to those who are looking to lose weight, decrease body fat, digestive system problems, and other concerns involving your health because the macrobiotic/vegan approach to diet helps to ‘balance’ your body’s alkaline/acidic levels which affect how your systems and organs function and interact. Thus having an affect on your mind, body, energy, spirit, and overall wellness! You learn how to combine foods properly for the best digestion and absorption of nutrients. You learn what foods will help you achieve more balance in pH and overall wellness, such as mental clarity and organs functioning properly. Drinking enough ‘clean’ (filtered) water is vital. An emphasis on ‘whole’ grains that are not processed such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, and amaranth. An emphasis on organics. An emphasis on little-to-no  added salt & sugar. An emphasis on dark leafy greens and vegetables according to your climate and season. Chewing food and taking the time to eat each meal. Getting daily exercise and breathing deeply to get more oxygen. Sea vegetables for nutritional content and minerals. Avoiding dairy, meats, poultry, eggs, and a little bit of fish is okay. Really taking into consideration the effect a specific food has on the body and if it is in line with your goals and ‘constitution’.

Favorite Recipe of Week One:

Quinoa & Veggie Slaw: (1 serving)

  • Organic Cooked Quinoa (1 portion = size of one clenched fist)
  • Organic Sliced Red Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zucchini, diced celery, red onion, carrot & Kale lightly steamed in water in pan on stove top
  • Pumpkin seed – roasted and ground, blend in food processor or magic bullet with 1-2 tsp dulse flakes & pinch of sea salt.

Mix quinoa & veggies together with a few dashes of ume vinegar, juice of lemon, fresh cilantro, pepper, dill, basil, 1-2 tsp chickpea miso paste, & if desired 1-2 tbsp vegenaise. Cover bowl & let sit on countertop for 15-20 minutes so that flavors infuse dish. You can serve this mixture as is with the roasted ground pumpkin seed mix ontop, or you can ‘wrap’ in a leaf of collard green for a lettuce wrap.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. What I write in my blogposts is simply information that I have gathered over the years from reading and researching several health related topics from credible resources as well as personal experiences. I urge you to consult with a physician before changing your diet. The purpose of my blogposts are to share my experiences and fitness knowledge with everyone I possibly can to help others in their journey to improve their state of well-being.

Health & Happiness,

Nat

Lunch with Kara Mejia – Macrobiotics Chef – SO GOOD!

I met with an amazing woman yesterday. Her name is Kara Mejia and she is a macrobiotics chef/natural health advocate. She recently moved to the area from NC where she used to offer cooking classes to groups of people as large as 50 – 100 per class and has helped so many people get over disease, illness, overweight, or just feeling crappy all the time.


For lunch yesterday we had an Open face brown rice and lentil grain burger, Garden slaw with a kiss of red lady slipper apples… And sinfully delicious, chocolate, date truffles dusted in cocoa, coconut, and pecans…Sorry, no picture. We ate them all:) Next time …

After having lunch with her today (she prepared a meal for me personally in her very own home, what a treat!), I totally 100% can say I agree with her approach to nutrition and health and would recommend her to anyone looking for answers to their health & wellness dilemma’s or questions in general regarding nutrition and how macrobiotics can help.

She follows a vegan diet that consists of whole foods/unprocessed/prepared to avoid disturbing the enzymes/nutrients they contain that our bodies need. Her website is www.cookingwithkara.com and email is cookingwithkara@gmail.com. If you’d like to contact her in regards to your health or macrobiotics or whatever, she is amazing!

This Thursday she is offering (to anyone willing to commit & lives in the general Baltimore area) a 30 Day Cleanse/Challenge to get themselves on track and on the path to wellness. It will entail 6 consecutive Thursdays from 7-9pm in which she will teach cooking/prep/rotation know how & questions/answers and is supplying with a grocery list/plan to get you through the 30 days. It is similar to the ‘raw’ approach to diet in that you prepare foods in a way that your body can digest and obtain the vital nutrients it needs to function properly, but there is ‘cooked food’, look up ‘macrobiotics’ to get a better understanding or check out her website. If there was anything I’d ever suggest someone try out and give a go-ahead for 30 days, it would be this. She is ‘rolling out’ her business here and offering this 6 week (30 Day Challenge) FOR FREE only once. If you want to join me in this challenge, contact me a.s.a.p. so I can send you the details so that you can decide on whether you’d like to commit to this. Or contact Kara Mejia at the email I listed above.

Info, share with friends & family: 30 Day Natural Body Makeover beginning Thursday, April 26th, from 7 -9pm. This will be a 2 hour Introductory cooking and weight loss program re-introducing folks to the deliciousness of whole foods. It will run for 6 consecutive Thursday evenings and the best part…. It is absolutely FREE!!! For further details they can get in touch w/Kara directly by calling (706) 970-9505.

Kara also shared a book with me, in which I’ve already read a good amount of it, and I’d recommend to ANYONE and EVERYONE. It really helps spell out all the improvements/changes/ways to go about eating/diet to assist someone in becoming very knowledgeable on what is good and bad for the body! It’s called, ‘Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition” Third edition, by Paul Pitchford.

Health & Happiness!

Natty Mac