I made up a tiny snack/meal last night and was so impressed with the look and taste, I had to capture and share it. This mini-meatless-meatball sandwich is full of protein, on sprouted toast, easy to make, and delicious. Below you see my process of making Chia Jam. It’s a simple and easy recipe (Difficult is not my style). I recycled a ginger jar, so save your old jam/mustard/condiment jars! They work great for things like this. Recipes below!
Microwave the meatballs for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, toast your piece of bread.
Cut the bread into 4 pieces, to make two small “buns.”
Spread all with veganaise and spice up as you like. I used black pepper.
Cut the pickle into two, and place half on each bottom bun.
Place the lettuce on top.
Then 1 meatball.
Smash the top down a little bit.
This will make two mini sandwiches. Dip the last 4 meatballs in mustard.
Nutrition Facts include all 6 meatballs. And onto the jam!
You can see from the photos exactly how easy this is.
1 3/4 C Frozen Berries of choice (if fresh, omit microwave process) 1/4 C Chia Seeds Juice of half a lemon 1 tbsp of Agave/Maple Syrup/Fruit Juice
Blend until smooth, or however chunky you like your jam.
Stir in chia seeds, sweetener of choice, and lemon juice.
Place into jar or tupperware. Refrigerate over night.
Enjoy like regular jam!
I really love this on toast, bananas, or Almond Butter and Chia Jam sandys. 🙂 Sandy is officially my nickname for sandwiches now. Forget “sammy” I like Sandy. This is not for those who like “jelly.” Unless you use blueberries, it will have plenty of “crunch” or texture because of all the seeds. The chia seeds get smooth, but the raspberries and strawberries have seeds. I like it. And most jam lovers do. But jelly-lovers, beware!
First of all I want to say, whenever I see a recipe that has less than 5 ingredients, I click on it. No matter what they are, I’m like, “Only 3!?! I can do that!” I’m no chef by any standard. I hardly measure anything and I truly suck at baking 95% of the time. Tonight was a lucky one when I made this concoction.
I was getting bored with mixing my protein powder with cold water and drinking it as if it couldn’t taste good. I knew it tasted well, but underestimated its ability to become a star. Tonight, it became a shining one.
I saw a post about hot cocoa with soy whip by Kathy Patalsky on twitter and thought, “Mmm that sounds yummy.” And since I’m not cool and dandy with a stock of soy whip or one of these, I figured I would turn my protein powder into a hot cocoa. I have raw cacao powder next to all my Vega and smoothie stuff so my hot cocoa was just asking to be made. Here is the simple 3 minute post-workout delicious drink you will never turn down.
1 Big mug of Unsweetened Almond Milk, Vanilla (12 oz) 1 Scoop Vega Performance Protein, Vanilla 2 tsp Raw Cacao Powder Stevia, to taste (a good sprinkle)
Place all ingredients in a mug and stir. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir again. Enjoy!
With 28 grams of branched-chain amino acid protein, only 9 complex carbs, and a hot chocolate delicious taste to warm you up, this cocoa really can’t be beat. Why have it any other way?
Frozen Hot Chocolate: Freeze the prepared drink in an ice cube tray, throw it in the blender with a 1/2 frozen banana. Add extra almond milk (about 1-2 cups) to get the frozen ice and banana to move! Use your Vitamix or high powered blender and stirring tool.
This frozen hot chocolate seriously tastes and looks like chocolate ice cream! But so healthy. (If you don’t have a Vitamix, it will be more of an Icy milk.)
More Info On Nutritional Timing: http://vegasport.com/en/timing
More Info On Vega Sport Line: http://vegasport.com/en/system
First things first. Drink some water. Not just plain water, but a water that will alkalize your body, readying it for nutrients. Add the juice of half a lemon to a glass of water, warmed if possible. Add an herbal tea bag or some dried Goji berries to go the extra flavor mile. Why? Alkalinity is related to Ph balance. Your digestive system is the main center of your immune system. When your body is alkaline, bacteria, viruses, indigestion, and pain have a hard time surviving. The more alkaline you are, the healthier you are. Lemon may seem acidic, but it actually turns alkaline in your body. Anything that is fresh and plant-based is alkalizing to your body. Processed foods, junk foods, and sugar are acidic. Avoid at all costs!
Hit the road with protein.
The best way to get your hunger under control is to start the day with some plant-based protein. Protein takes longer to digest, and increases your satiety (fullness factor). I suggest a VegaOne shake or smoothie. VegaOne has 50% of your vitamins and minerals, 15g of protein, 6grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of Omega 3’s, Antioxidants, Probiotics, and greens. Plus, it has the super foods chlorella and maca! You won’t only feel full until lunch, but energized and happy. Blend half a frozen banana, one scoop VegaOne, and 12oz unsweetened almond milk or water. If you’re in a rush, you can simply mix a scoop of VegaOne and 8oz water in a to-go BlenderBottle. (Do this at night for a grab-n-go.) The berry flavor of VegaOne is best mixed with water -and nothing else. Vanilla Chai and Chocolate are great with water, or the banana and non-dairy milk.
Why? A mid-morning munchie attack before lunch time can sabotage your calorie count and weight loss efforts. It can also mean snacking on vending machine junk or the cake in the back office. Sound familiar? Candy-dish diving is just going to make you hungrier and grumpier. Be sure to get a smoothie.
Why plant-based? Whey protein digests very quickly and can bloat you. Many people have dairy-sensitivities, which is where whey comes from. VegaOne doesn’t only provide you with protein and satiety- you get most of the greens, vitamins, probiotics, and minerals you need for the rest of the day. Now that’s a good start!
You may have forgot to pack a lunch. You may be invited to go out to a staff lunch. And you will be tempted with that staff pizza party. If you want to be free from guilt, and health-insured, pack some security. I suggest a home-made trail mix, piece of fruit+raw almonds, or non-dairy greek yogurt. Bananas, oranges, and apples are year round fruits that are very purse-friendly. Raw almonds are full of fiber and protein; only a handful will sustain your hunger until you get home. When fruit and almonds are paired together, you will get a healthy dose of carbs, good fats, and protein. Non-dairy greek yogurt, made from coconut milk (Delicious!) is also full of protein and fibers. Plus, it tastes sinful but is actually very good for you.
When you decide to start eating healthy, you have to tackle the monster of grocery shopping. It is daunting with all the fat-free, sugar-free, low-cal, and diet foods. Which vegetable do I pick? And how do I even use it? Well I’m here to help you out! First off, I’d like to say you can always email me from my contact page and I’ll give you free advice and answer your questions to my best ability. And if I don’t know the answer, I’ll research it and get back to you. My main goal is to be a helpful resource for weight loss, fitness, wellness, and overall health. Mind. Body. Soul. Now let’s tackle that shopping cart mess.
I’ll show you what my grocery shopping loot looked like today. Hint: I used the Thrive Forward Food Staples list as a guide. Don’t mind my blurry phone pic.
I shop mostly at Trader Joe’s and go to my local health food store for my specialty items. I don’t have a local farmer’s market so I do the best I can with the budget I have. The list goes as follows, just in case you want to eat exactly what I’m eating haha.
Organic Baby Spinach
Organic Avocados (4)
Organic Cucumbers (2)
Organic Fuji Apples (2lbs)
Organic Tri-Color Peppers
Organic Naval Oranges
Organic Button Mushrooms
Organic Meyer Lemons (2)
Organic Grape Tomatoes (1lb)
Organic Raw Almonds (1lb)
Organic Unsulfered Unsweetened Mango
Organic Unsulfured Unsweetened Tart Cherries
Organic Bananas (3 Bunches) (Ripen and Freeze for Smoothies)
Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus
Silken Tofu (3)
Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries (Craving these, not normally on the list)
Organic Roasted Vegetable Pizza (Vegan, Again, not normally on the list.)
Nutritional Yeast, Fortified (Buy once a month or two months, depending on usage)
Organic Green Tea (For Kombucha Home Brewing)
Organic Vanilla (Will last 1-2 months, for Chia Cereal/Pudding)
Gardein Orange Chicken
Gardein Buffalo Wings
One bottle Probiotic Coconut Pomegranate Elixir (Special treat)
3 Cartons Silk Unsweetened Non-Gmo Almond Milk (30/Calories/Cup) -I forgot my almond milk, which I buy from Wal-mart because it’s the cheapest there.
And that’s the gist of it. This will last about two weeks for two people, except for the things like almonds, chia seeds, yeast, mayo, vanilla, and bread. Those will last up to a month or more. The produce will be gone and I’ll eat the frozen stuff and then go shopping again. Total cost was $123.12. So averaging out to under $5/day of organic food for two people. Who says healthy is expensive? Not me!
What Do You Make? I’ll make salads, scrambled tofu, dip the cucumbers in the hummus, snack on the tomatoes, carrots, almonds, and dried fruit. I’ll eat the apples and juice apples/oranges/spinach. I usually roast/grill my bell peppers and put them in a sandwich, wrap (still in the fridge from last shopping trip!), or my salads. I also dip them in hummus. The mushrooms will be grilled up. And that’s about it. Most of my meals are smoothies, salads, sandwiches, wraps, or appetizer plates of raw veggies and hummus! And when I’m feeling junky, I go for the Roasted Veggie Pizza, but even that WHOLE pizza is 750 calories, with very little fat (good fats!). I’m simple. Once in a while I’ll make some crazy recipe, but most of the time I’ll fail at that. I like to just snack on raw veggies, make dinners in under 10 minutes, and use my time wisely on other things. . . like helping You.
Not Shown Here; But I eat daily: For supplements I use Vega One, Vega Sport Protein, Pre-Performance Drink, Maca (starting tomorrow!), and Orange Dreamsicle Super Greens. I try and drink a VegaOne shake each day, either mixed into my breakfast/dinner smoothie or as dessert before bed. It has all the vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to get your digestion going and your body feeling great. I have 3 flavors now but always stay stocked on at least one. I use the protein powder after my intense workouts that last over an hour, or just as a snack to feel full before a meal or going out to eat. I’m starting my Maca powder routine tomorrow, adding it into my smoothie. I drink a smoothie either for breakfast or dinner, depending on how I feel. I attempt to drink one serving of the Orange Dreamsicle greens (seriously this stuff tastes amazing for a wheatgrass/chlorella/etc. blend) every night, but don’t always make it.
If it has a commercial, it’s probably not great for you. Have you seen any of these products in a commercial? No. They don’t need a commercial. You see them and know they are healthy. Kale doesn’t need a low-cal label. Oranges don’t need a “100% Vitamin C in Every Serving” ad. And bananas don’t need a big sign on them saying “great for smoothies and snacking.” They sell themselves, rightfully so.
Thrive Forward: Now if this is all too much to read and you’re feeling really lazy. Just look at the pictures and watch this video.
Clean Eating 101
Busting Myths About Plant-based Protein
You know what really grinds my gears? When people tell me I’m not getting enough protein because I don’t eat meat. They assume I’m not getting enough vitamins, minerals, or iron. They challenge my diet and look down on me because I’m eating a huge plate of vegetables instead of the sausage and potatoes, pepperoni pizza, or burgers and hot dogs. Little do they know, I’m eating a better protein source that has more vitamins and minerals than their plate!
If you’re debating going vegetarian or vegan this year, keep in mind the following truths:
Plants have plenty of protein. In fact, it’s better to get protein from plants than meat. Why? Thrive Forward explains:
Low in saturated fat
Free of the growth hormones and antibiotics found in animal proteins
Easy to digest
Better for the environment
Contrary to common belief, there are complete protein sources from plants, such as quinoa, soybeans, and Savi Seeds. Most of the time (but not always) you can eat a variety of plants to get a complete protein. (A complete protein means it contains essential amino acids. This just means your body can’t produce these amino acids on its own.) When you eat an assortment of foods, you don’t only get a variety of amino acids, but a ton of different vitamins and minerals. This helps you stay nourished, energized, and healthy. It is better for your body to get a rainbow of vegetables. Your arteries do not get clogged. Your fat level stays low. And your plasma stays clear.
“But I’m an athlete. I need 7lbs of chicken a day to build muscle.” This is entirely false. The leader of Thrive and Vega, Brendan Brazier, is an Ironman Triathlete AND a vegan. You can build plenty of muscle using plant-based carbs, fats, and proteins. Look up vegan body builders; they are a whole culture of people who go against this belief.
Apply It–>Show Me How You’re Thriving
I’m challenging you to replace your next meal with a plant-based protein source instead of the animal-protein. Try black beans, quinoa, brown rice, mushrooms, kale, spinach, hummus (chickpeas + sesame seeds), or even a Gardein product. Don’t just take out the meat you’re using and consider that a veggie meal. Replace it with something delicious! Get creative! Take a pic and post a link below.
I love to make a sprouted grain bread sandwich, with hummus, sprouts, and grilled/roasted veggies. Use some fresh avocado or Chipotle Veganaise. Have some chopped raw veggies on the side, like baby carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers.
I was inspired to make my own trail mix after seeing an easy how-to chart on Thrive Forward. The Maca and Cacao powder are for my super smoothies and other recipes (which I will feature here later) but the berries and savi-seeds were going in the mix! Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of trail mix, but knowing I could make it a mix that I enjoyed every part of, I was in. (Usually I have to pick out my favorite parts and the bag is left with all the nasty parts.) Here is the motivating chart to help you make your own mix:
This took all of about 5 minutes, including taking the photos. So order some up, or head to your local health food store that has bins, and mix and match your favorite super foods. You can bring these to work, keep some baggies in your car, put one in your purse, or hand it to a hungry friend trying to be healthier! No more excuses of running to the vending machine for chips, crackers, or candy. You’ve got a healthy snack right in your purse or desk.
Good Fats and Carbs
It’s important to get the right kinds of carbohydrates and fats in your diet. This means getting whole grains and plant-based fats. You may think that cutting out carbs and fats will make you lose weight. WRONG! Eating packaged and bottled fat-free foods and low/no-carb stuff is not healthy. Those are packed with sugar, chemicals, and preservatives to give them proper taste. It’s healthier to eat full-fat avocado than a processed fat-free dressing. A good way to start eating cleaner is to look at this Thrive Forward Food Pyramid. (The order in which the items are placed are not by importance, but by suggested portion.)
Figure out your favorite versions of each category and incorporate them into your meals. Click on the pyramid, read the “Reference: Thrive Staple Foods,” and get your health into a better situation today. Throw out or donate all the junk food in your house. Organize your cupboards with healthy foods so that it’s a joy to enter the kitchen and eat healthy, not a hassle or hard task. Make your shelves look pretty by putting brown rice, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in big, glass, mason jars. (You can get them at Wal-Mart for cheap!) Wouldn’t you love your kitchen to look more like a cooking show than a pre-packaged mess?
It’s important to stay hydrated through out the day. Every action your body does, from digesting food to cleaning your blood, requires water. Without a proper amount, you will feel fatigued, hungry, and uninspired. I like to keep a big bottle of fruit-flavored water or herbal tea around at all times.
Fresh lemon will help your body stay at a good Ph level, which is important for a variety of things. Fresh Ginger root will assist your intestinal tract with proper digestion and decrease the chance of inflammation throughout your body. This is especially important if you plan on exercising, since it will prohibit your soft tissues from becoming over inflamed. The frozen fruit you choose will flavor your water and keep it cool. And when you’re done you get to enjoy a sweet treat. 🙂
I suggest frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, and mango. You can also place a tea bag in, like a green tea or yerba mate. (Just take off the string and paper part if it has one.) Fresh lemon is best, but if you don’t have local organic ones around, buy a bottle of organic lemon juice and keep it in your fridge. Ginger root is sold at most grocery stores, so go pick one up and start grating!
What is your favorite trail mix?
Do you tend to get the ones with more candy or healthier stuff?
It has taken me a while to come around to Kale. I’ve had some experience with Kale in the past few years, but never dared to make it myself. And when I tried, I usually failed and had to pretend it was great. The best recipe I made with Kale (before this salad) was Creamed Kale. But now I want to replace my baby lettuces with Kale more often, and have finally found a way to do that.
I’ve found out that there are different kinds of Kale, and some are better for cooking, like Tuscan Kale, and others are better for eating in a salad, like this Dino Kale. The leaves are less bitter, more pliable, and quite tasty with the right massage! So be sure to get the right Kale for your recipe.
After making the Kale Chips above from Thrive Forward (click on pic for recipe), I wanted more Kale. Since I’ve had Kale Chips before I knew I liked a spicy-cheezy flavor, so I added Nutritional Yeast Flakes and Cayenne onto the original recipe from Thrive. Feel free to use whatever spices you choose. I was tasting it raw before baking into chips and decided I wanted a salad of it for dinner. Here’s the recipe!
2 Cups Dino Kale, washed & de-spined 2 Different Colored Bell Peppers, halved and chopped (Save the other halves for dipping in hummus!) 2 Palm Shoots, Jarred from Trader Joe’s A handful of Smoked Sun-dried Tomatoes Juice of one Lemon Organic canola oil, in Misto Spritzer 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast Fresh Ground Black Pepper Himilayan Sea Salt
Turn on your George Foreman Grill or Oven Broiler and place the chopped peppers on. Let cook/warm while you do the following:
Place the kale in a large bowl. Spritz a few seconds of organic canola oil onto leaves. Douse in spices & lemon juice, and dig in with your hands. Massage the kale until it starts to shrink and deflate. It will become softer and tastier. 🙂 Feel free to pick up a leaf and take a bite.
Chop the palm shoots to bite-sized pieces.
Take the peppers off, throw everything into a bowl, and toss.
Enjoy eating clean. Buy a veggie you never have before and experiment with it. Have fun with being healthier. Don’t make it a chore or pain.
Have you ever tried Kale? What did you think? What’s your favorite lettuce to use in salads?
I want to help you in every way possible. Something great has come along that is assisting me and I want to spread the joy.
Brendan Brazier has launched a fully FREE, educational, video series to teach you everything you need to know on leading a healthy plant-based whole-foods diet. It reminds me of taking an online course in college, yet everything is free and well organized! The forum is Twitter and Facebook
A little about the creator:
“Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. He is now a successful performance nutrition consultant, the bestselling author of the Thrive book series and formulator of the award-winning Vega line of plant-based nutritional products
Recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on plant-based nutrition, Brendan has dedicated his life to spreading the word about an ethical, environmentally-friendly, and healthy lifestyle through plant-based foods. Brendan currently works with elite athletes all over North America, including athletes in the NFL, MLB, NHL, UFC, PGA and several Olympic athletes. He has appeared on CTV and CBC in Canada, and NBC, ABC, and FOX in the United States.
Thrive Forward, Brendan’s latest endeavour, is the next generation of Thrive in 30— his original free online program that helped over 70,000 people harness the power of clean, plant-based nutrition to feel their best.”
This program is not about counting calories, worrying about your weight, or fretting over a latte. It shows you a complete step-by-step overhaul to your health, from how to shop to how to sleep. The subjects are as follows:
I highly encourage anyone and everyone to watch these videos, read the references, and make the recipes. Share this with your family and friends. Share it with the world. We need better nutrition, facts, and myths busted out there. These videos will do that. I’ll be posting my personal experiences on Twitter, so keep an eye out for my photos of shakes, trail mixes, kale chips, and more. If you look now, you can see plenty of links already!
How are you thriving forward this year? Are you trying to eat cleaner, increase your energy, or buy locally?