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

Ginger & Miso Tea: Calm, Relax, Re-energize & Soothe

Day #9 here on the Macrobiotic/Vegan challenge and I finally made THE TEA! (Yes, Kara…it took me this long). Kara, is the wonderful lady leading me and my group in our macro-vegan adventures this fabulous month of May. So this tea that I made up today is all thanks to her!
Miso is fermented soybean paste. I got Organic Chickpea Miso, so to avoid soybeans. I like the taste of it! Never bring the water to a boil if you’ve added Miso to it because it will kill the active enzymes and goodies in Miso! Whenever you add Miso to a soup or for tea, let the water heat up to the point where Miso begins ‘pillow’ up to the top of the water. Why Miso?

“Fermented foods and drinks help build your inner ecosystem. When your inner ecosystem is healthy, it is full of friendly microflora (beneficial bacteria in your intestines), that help you digest and assimilate nutrients and boost your immunity. In fact, healthy microflora actually go to work for you, creating the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay strong and energized.”
“Miso has been eaten in Japan and China for many centuries and has been attracting the attention of many of us because of its health and anti-aging benefits. It’s also quite delicious. When you aren’t feeling well a bowl of miso soup can be especially soothing.”
 
“Making miso is an art form in Japan. It is made of soybeans and koji, a culture starter made from beneficial molds, yeast and lactic acid bacteria. As long as you choose unpasteruized miso, you will be getting the benefits of live friendly microflora for the health of your inner ecosystem.
 

Miso Benefits:

  • Reduces risks of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.
  • Protection from radiation
  • Immune strengthening
  • Antiviral — miso is very alkalizing and strengthening to the immune system helping to combat a viral infection.
  • Prevents aging – high in antioxidants, miso protects from free radicals that cause signs of aging.
  • Helps maintain nutritional balance – full of nutrients, beneficial bacteria and enzymes, miso provides: protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, tryptophan, choline, dietary fiber, linoleic acid and lecithin.
  • Helps preserve beautiful skin – miso contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps your skin stay soft and free of pigments.
  • Helps reduce menopausal complaints – the isoflavones in miso have been shown to reduce hot flashes.

The other ingredient in this fabulous tea (or soup), is ginger. FRESH ORGANIC GINGER ROOT. ‘Peel’ skin off small piece of ginger and grate ginger. Deposit about 1-2 tsp of the grated ginger into the bottom of your tea cup. Ginger is SO fabulous too! Use on salads in a ‘ginger vinaigrette’ dressing, in cooking or in your tea! It soothes and calms not only your digestive tract and your body, but your mind too! Use ginger root to “heal digestive troubles and decrease inflammation”.

Ginger Benefits:

  • Osteoarthritis. Ginger is an effective osteoarthritis treatment, specifically for the knee.
  • Inflammation. Ginger contains powerful anti-inflammatory agents called gingerols.
  • Nausea and vomiting. People experiencing motion sickness often use ginger to alleviate their symptoms.
  • Morning sickness. Pregnant women have found relief using ginger to eliminate morning sickness.
  • High blood pressure. Ginger can decrease blood pressure and acts as a blood thinner.
  • Digestion. Ginger promotes the production and secretion of bile from the liver and gall bladder, helping to improve your digestion of fats.
  • Free radical damage. Ginger is an amazing antioxidant and offers considerable protection against free radicals.
  • Radiation exposure. Ginger has been shown to protect your body from radiation, possibly in conjunction with its antioxidant capabilities.
  • High blood sugar. Ginger can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • High cholesterol. One study found that ginger can lower blood cholesterol levels, possibly pointing to ginger as an effective treatment for heart disease.
  • Cancer. In lab tests, ginger extracts were found to destroy ovarian cancer cells. Another study found that the gingerols may inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer.

If you’re trying to overcome a craving for something sweet or salty, making this tea is a great way to get past grabbing for that twinkie!

Ginger & Miso Tea:

1-2 teaspoon freshly grated organic ginger root. Put grated ginger root in bottom of tea cup.

Pour 1-2 cups of water in a small pot, place on stove top, turn on burners to medium-high.

Grab your Organic Chickpea Miso, add 1-2 tablespoons to the pot of water.

Stir in Miso and wait for water to heat up. Again, DO NOT BRING WATER TO A BOIL! You’re just heating it to be hot water for your tea or soup.

Once the Miso starts ‘pillowing’ up to top of the water it is ready! Pour Miso tea water over top the freshly grated ginger root that is in the bottom of your tea cup & enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Nat