21 Days to Total Health: Take the Challenge!

What can you accomplish in 21 days?

You could de-clutter every room in your house. You could walk from San Francisco to Seattle. You could write a novel. You could break or start a new habit.

Or, you could transform your body and your life forever.

I’m going to do just that — and I want you to do it with me.

On October 31st, the UC Davis Integrative Medicine 21 Food Day Challenge begins. It’s a three-week journey of 100% whole food, plant-based eating. The best part? Not only do you get a huge network of support, full of people like you who are trying this thing out together, but you’ll get everything you need to plan and prepare your meals for all 21 days. That includes checklists to help you meal plan and shop plus recipes, recipes, and more recipes — plus, the chance to win all your meals delivered to your door for FREE. In fact, the entire challenge is completely, entirely, 100% free. Continue reading

Advertisements

Why I eat the way I eat

How do you know which diet is right for you?

I’m not using the word “diet” as it’s commonly known, in the way that means “eating less to lose weight.” I’m talking about “diet” in the traditional sense, meaning “habitual nourishment.”

Maybe you read a book or heard about the latest health & diet bestseller. Maybe you had a friend or family member who lost a ton of weight after changing her diet and she convinced you to give it a try. Maybe you watched a documentary or two or started following a few blogs that made you realize it’s time to re-think the way you view food.

Whether you follow a specific diet or not or whether you’ve even stopped to think about how you feed and nourish yourself, there’s one question we all need to ask ourselves: “Is this really the way I should be eating?”

Continue reading

What do I have to offer?

I have this terrible feeling that I’m not good enough for you.

That I’m not enough of an expert. That I don’t provide enough detailed information, or that I provide information with so much detail that nobody will want to read what I write. That I don’t provide enough insight and tools to actually be helpful. That the message I spend my nights awake thinking about, pondering over, writing and re-writing and re-writing so as to uplift and inspire and change lives — that it actually doesn’t matter to anyone else but me.

Most of all I worry that I’m not thin enough. Or more to the point, I worry that the way I live my life isn’t inspirational enough to get anyone to take notice. Despite what I’ve said about being skinny, and despite really really meaning it, I worry that nobody will bother taking my advice on healthy eating if I’m not a perfectly toned size 2. Because isn’t the thin, sexy, smiling woman on the cookbook cover the reason we buy the book? Sure, we want to be healthy and eat well, but what we really want is to look like that. Because even though I’ve made great progress over the past 11 months, even to the point where I actually bought a bikini and wore it for the first time in public in years, I still am only a size 8-10 and can’t seem to get below 140 lbs.

IMG_9219

Left, July 2014. Right, July 2015.

I really worry about all this stuff because somewhere inside, I feel that if I look like this and not like Giada de Laurentiis — if the way I eat and live my life isn’t as enticing as that teeny little package — then that what I have to offer isn’t valuable. That I’m not good enough to do this thing that I’m so passionate about it makes me skip through the house with glee whenever my daily page views go above 100. Or even 50, if I’m being honest. Because if I can’t offer you that thing that every woman in America wants, what do I have to offer?

Well let me break through the fear and self-pity and tell you what I’m offering.

Continue reading

Poor nutrition isn’t about fat — it’s about life and death

There are a lot of damaging lies about health and nutrition, but none as physically and emotionally crippling as this: the lie that being fat is the problem we need to solve.

It isn’t. In fact, fat is a sign that your body is out of balance and desperately trying to cope.

The ways and reasons that excess body fat accumulates should be paid urgent attention, much more than the “muffin top” or “saddlebags” we wear. An overloaded liver, unbalanced hormones, excessive stress levels, and nutritional deficiencies are just a few of the reasons our bodies are forced to create and store fat. And all of them have much more serious ramifications than we often believe.

But perhaps the biggest concern of all is that we believe fat is a matter of willpower, or lack thereof. We think that if we just stay off the sugar and carbs and spend our lives at the gym then everything will be in balance and we will be the picture of trim, slim, health and perfection.

This is far from the whole picture — and the whole picture is far more terrifying.

Continue reading

Recipe Roundup: 3 new twists on old favorites

Whenever you change your diet, no matter how in love with your new lifestyle you may be, eventually you find yourself craving old favorites. Whether or not you decide to cut yourself some slack and indulge in a family fave (which is always my plan of action and a good way to maintain balance and not start to resent a diet), there are plenty of ways to find a substitution and turn a new dish into a new favorite.

With that in mind, here are three recipes that put a new spin on a classic dish.

Tofu Basil Ricotta

eggplantlasagna-7521-2

Image courtesy LuminousVegans.com

I’ve never been a big fan of ricotta cheese; it’s way too much dairy and far too little flavor for my liking. But a homemade basil “ricotta” from tofu? Now we’re talking. Continue reading

Everything you know about protein is wrong

When you become vegan or vegetarian, suddenly everyone becomes all concerned about your protein intake. With frenetic intensity they ask, “But where do you get your protein?” And though they seem to genuinely want to know, they’re already skeptical of the answer before they’ve even heard it.

That’s because our culture’s beliefs about animal-based proteins are so deeply entrenched that to go against them is nothing short of blasphemy. But the thing is, those beliefs are based on myths, misinformation, and lies.

The myths about protein

Take a look at the most pervasive beliefs about meat and protein:

  • Protein is only found in animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy.
  • You need to eat meat (a lot of it) to build muscle mass, and you need lots of protein to slim down.
  • Protein keeps you fuller longer.
  • The more protein in your diet the better.

And while there is plenty of testimonial and anecdotal evidence to back these claims, the most complete and un-biased research (read: the studies not commissioned by the meat industry) proves them all to be false. Let’s look at the claims one by one, paired with the truth about protein — including the facts about how much you protein you really need.

Continue reading

Recipe: Hold-the-Tuna Salad

Here’s a fresh, tasty lunch idea that will appeal to you meat-free folks: tuna salad minus the tuna, with all the flavor and fixin’s of the original but completely vegan. Instead of tuna, the base is made of nuts and seeds, soaked, chopped and flaked to mimic the texture of tuna salad to a T.

When I excitedly tried to share this recipe with some of my family members, they eyed me dubiously and said, “Why don’t you just use tuna?” A valid point, I suppose.

For me the answer is simple: Because I don’t like tuna, or any other fish. I never have. Plus, I don’t like mayo. That’s two strikes right there, no need to go for a third. Continue reading

A whole day of whole foods

One of the biggest hurdles to switching to a healthy foods lifestyle is, quite obviously, knowing how to eat. More specifically, it’s hard figuring out how to get from where you are to where you want to be — or even what that ideal looks like.

There are a lot of really great diets out there, but even more that are just nonsense recycled year after year. (I mean, you do realize that Paleo is just the Atkins diet with new marketing, right?) What makes sense to me is whole foods and clean eating. There are a lot of ways that people define these two terms (check out 100 Days of Real Food for some great info), but basically it just means you try to eat actual food that’s grown out of the ground, plain and simple. Nothing processed, no chemicals, and often without any animal products. The goal is to keep the food in as close to its natural state as possible, because the more you break down a food item, the more nutrients it loses. Continue reading

How to break up with soda, for good

So you’ve decided it’s time to end your love affair with soda once and for all. Awesome! Good for you! It’s about time you decided to man-up and walk away from that abusive relationship. After all, you don’t want to end up like this guy, do you?

(Oh, wait, you haven’t made that decision to get off soda yet? Read this and you will soon.) Continue reading