Tag Archives: Healthy eating
What’s going on folks?! Thanks for the much needed time off. Honestly, I’ve missed you all!
I have been working with McCormick for the past three months. I was in their Consumer Affairs department working in an outsourced office here in NJ. It was great. They are such an amazing company to work with. Great people, great products, and honestly an amazing learning experience. Now that 2013 has (almost) gotten through its winter season, it was time for me to focus on what I knew and loved the best. Serve M.E. Now and the much needed healthy eating lifestyle I kinda threw away ever since I moved to NJ back in June 2012. I never forgot but just kinda fell victim to New Jersey’s immense amount of tasty treats, however unhealthy. I don’t regret falling to the wayside, my decisions were mine alone. If anything, it is making me stronger because I know how eating healthy helps, revitalizes, and strengthens my body. And guess what, I’m ready!
We all have a time that we fall behind. We’re human, face it, we give into temptations easier than following a healthy eating lifestyle that most would roll their eyes on. That’s why it’s so imperative to have the proper education and support in this AMAZING way of life!
So queue the flashing lights and welcoming red carpet. Someone near and dear to my heart has joined the healthy eating community not so long ago. She has adapted a new way of eating and living that supports the body’s strive for health and natural energy. She’s been a friend of about 10 years and definitely growing strong. (PlantStrong ;-P Haha) She is not only a credible healthy eating partner but what I call, “Good Family!” She’s my daughter’s awesome godmother. At least I know I have someone else on my team that won’t administer my daughter any dairy. Haha. that’s for another post. Anyway, I would like to introduce you all to Portia Joyce Festejo of Portia Joyce Wellness.
She has just launched her website and newsletter this past week. Now I wouldn’t send you just anywhere. I’m definitely sending you to someone I trust with my own healthy eating life. She has been pursuing her Health Coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition for the past year and is now practicing out of the comfort of your home. She has been trained over 100 dietary theories that can help in sculpting a specific nutritional and wellness plan for your body. Everyone is different. Everyone responds to health in their own way and Portia is the best person to help direct you down the right path.
I advise you, no I DEMAND you, to check out her website and sign up for her newsletter. Trust me, I know you’ll love it and keep wanting more. Tell her Chef Flo aka “King” sent you her way. You won’t be disappointed. The best part, she’s offering a FREE 50-Minute, initial consultation. WHAT!?!? How can you say NO to that? Now immediately after you COMMENT, LIKE, and/or SHARE this post, say “Hi!” to Portia Joyce for me!
Good Luck and Happy Eating!
I featured this recipe for the first time at one of my Whole Foods Market, Engine 2, 28-Day Challenge classes in Henderson, NV. It was a hit because its amazing flavor that masked the fact it was an oil-less, fat-free, and cholesterol-free version of a traditional American salad. But potato salad is not only popular in America.
Throughout the world, there are different versions of this boiled potato concoction that is enjoyed by all kinds of people. From America to Italy and Bulgaria to Brazil, there is a form of this “salad” in their cuisine. Potato salad varies in ingredients but will always have the same, basic ingredients: potatoes, an acid (usually vinegar), and a fat (usually mayonnaise or its counterpart, oil). Then, different accompaniments and garnishes are added to the trifecta. From string beans and red onions in Italy to bacon bits and hard-boiled eggs in the US, there are many things you can add to the potatoes to make it much more tasty.
My version is definitely plant-strong and the healthiest way I serve potatoes in a salad.
Ingredients: 1 1/2# Russet Potatoes (quartered lengthwise), 1 medium white onion (sliced in rings), 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth (I like using Imagine found at Whole Foods Market), 1 tbsp turmeric, 2 tbsp paprika, 1 cup kale (finely chopped), 1/4 cup green onions (slcied), and 1/4 cup dill (finely chopped)…
Mustard Dressing: 1/4 cup stoneground mustard, 1 garlic clove (minced), 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp So Delicious plain coconut yogurt, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp fresh oregano (roughly chopped), 1 tsp fresh thyme (roughly chopped), and ground black pepper to taste.
Directions: 1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and preheat grill to HIGH. 2. Boil potatoes in water for 5-7 minutes or until potatoes are half-way cooked. It will vary depending on the thickness of each potato. Drain from water and let chill in the fridge. 3. While potatoes are boiling and chilling, combine all the ingredients to make the dressing. Dressing will seem like it isn’t enough but it will be. Remember, we want to taste the ingredients not mask it with the dressing. 4. Once the potatoes are completely chilled, toss them in a bowl with the vegetable stock, turmeric and paprika. The vegtable stock is to lubricate the potatoes and cause the spices to stick. 5. Grill the potatoes on the hot grill, skin-side down first. Cook potatoes on all sides until nice and charred, or at least until you see nice grill marks. Grill the onions alongside the potatoes. Once all cooked, set aside to let vegetables cool down. 6. Toss the potatoes and onions with the dressing. Pour the dressing in small batches. You don’t want to overwhelm the salad with the dressing. Remember, its just for flavor, it isn’t the main ingredient. Haha! 7. Add the kale, green onions, and dill to the salad. Chill and enjoy!
This salad is best served at room temperature. However, I have had it cold, straight out of the fridge and it was still yummy. If you feel the salad is a bit dry, just add a tbsp of the vinegar or the yogurt to revive the moist feel of the salad. The potatoes are a starch and constantly act as a sponge with liquid.
Variations/Additions: I have made this by adding whatever other vegetable I had in my fridge that was going to go bad soon. Remember that my recipes are always just a base recipe. Alter it to your liking and taste, add what you like in a potato sald. Enjoy!
Please post a comment on your variations so we can share with others what we like to do with our salads!
So here’s the skinny on the Engine 2 Diet…
For the best results, GET THE BOOK!!
The diet offers two plant-strong, 28-Day Challenges, the “Fire Cadet” and the “Firefighter.”
The “Firefighter” challenge hits the ground running by eliminating meats, dairy, and processed oils from day one. You live a plant-strong diet from the get-go and start to substitute your old favorite ingredients with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes which will become your new favorite ingredients.
The “Fire Cadet” challenge is a less rigorous program where you slowly eliminate the three food groups week by week.
WEEK ONE: Challengers remove dairy from their diets. That includes all forms of cow’s milk as well as cheese, which Rip describes as “the greatest source of saturated fat.” Best recommended substitutions are nut milks, (almond, rice, soy, and coconut) hemp milk, and rice milk. If you add nutritional yeast flakes to any dish, there can be a slight resemblance in taste to cheese.
WEEK TWO: It’s time to exclude meats, including fish and and all kinds of seafood. This by far was my hardest exclusion in the entire diet. Animal protein, however good you think it is for you, is the worst kind because of its highly acidic levels and it’s cancer causing traits.
WEEK THREE: The elimination of processed oils, even olive oil, are next. I make sure I talk about olive oil because up until now we have all been told that it’s the source of the least amount of monounsaturated fat. As least the amount is, we have to remember that it is still pure fat! One tablespoon contains 120 calories from fat. Can you imagine how much we actually use in recipes that we make? I know I used to use it as much as I could, why not? It’s olive oil right? Think again!
WEEK FOUR: This week is the time to reflect on everything you’ve given up and understand why it has changed you for the better. This is the transition period where you change from “dietary extravagance to dietary excellence!” This is also the time where you start to see how “plant-strong” you want to be for the rest of your life.
Both these 28-Day challenges are accompanied by plenty of support material online including a 28-Day Meal Plan that literally breaks down each day with a meal guide, recipes, and shopping lists. It’s practically fool proof. Along with all three food groups being eliminated from your diet, you are going to have to stray away from processed foods and products that are high in sodium and added sugar. When shopping you want to look at the ingredient lists for that key word “whole.” Whole wheat, whole oats, whole quinoa, and whole everything. The less processed the better!
Like I have been constantly stating, THIS IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS diet, at least primarily. Will you lose weight? Of course you will but this diet doesn’t target weight loss initially. It targets lowering your cholesterol levels and reducing your chances for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. So you have to exercise in order to see the best results. Just like my pediatrician always told me, “EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE!” Whether its a daily walking regimen in the morning and a brisk walk in the afternoon or a yoga session and a Zumba workout at your local gym. Supplement this diet with physical activity.
Now I know that in order to really survive this challenge or live this lifestyle you are going to have to rely on cooking for yourself a lot more. Was it hard for me? Of course not but it was still challenging and time consuming for me. But in order to see the best results, we really need to try. The book includes 100+ plant-strong recipes that are all delicious and especially easy. There are plenty of other plant-based cookbooks out there but just be mindful of everything you are to eliminate and watch out for. I have plenty of recipes I developed myself that I’ll be posting so keep posted with my blog if you so dare.
Lastly, FIND A PARTNER OR SUPPORT GROUP! If you want to make it easier on yourself, try your best in finding a partner to take on this challenge. Trust me, it’s hard enough to do it with 20 other team members at my Whole Foods Market, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do it alone. You need someone to help you destroy those cravings as well as give each other uplifting support. If you need one, I am here for you. I’m only a click away on FACEBOOK or a tweet away on TWITTER or comment me here on my blog. I can provide you with recipes, cooking tips, advice, and even motivational talks if you need. I know how much support from family and friends help so if I can be any of that, I wouldn’t mind a bit. This is how much I believe in this diet.
Recommended reading: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole by Drs. Matthew Lederman & Alona Pulde, and the movie Forks Over Knives (available on Netflix)
Tags: challenge, cholesterol, diet, eat, engine 2 diet, exercise, fat, firefighter, fruits, grains, HDL, Healthy eating, heart disease high blood pressure, LDL, legumes, plant based, skinny, vegetables, weight loss, whole, whole foods
So it’s been thirty days since the new year has come upon us again. We all decided to start that resolution to change our lives. How has it been? Did we even start? Have we jumped off already? Do we feel like it was too ridiculous of a resolution to keep on going? Well I’m hoping you all are on top of your resolutions or at least started them.
For two and a half weeks after Christmas, I was in NY/NJ enjoying a vacation with my daughter. Other than sightseeing and enjoying time with family, my most favorite thing to do on vacation is eat! Who doesn’t love to eat? Well, knowing that in a few weeks I’d be on a very rigorous and strict diet, I thought why not indulge? Well indulge did I do! Authentic pizzerias, traditional Filipino food, diners, fried foods, and White Castle were on my list to enjoy while on vacation. Hey, they were all foods I missed living out in Las Vegas and all food I’ll most likely miss once I start my diet. Mind you, two months prior were the holidays, so I definitely have had my share of calorie-filled foods and a diet was what was inevitable.
So on the 16th of this month, I began my Engine 2 Diet from author and firefighter, Rip Esselstyn. Rip is the son of the highly acclaimed, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a pioneer in heart disease prevention as well as an advocate for a whole food, plant-based diet. Well, I jumped into the Firefighter 28-Day challenge where I eliminated meats (animal protein), dairy, cheese, and processed oils from day one. I thought, “If I’m going to be extreme, I might as well jump in head first!” Well, along with about twenty team members and a handful of customers at the Whole Foods Market in Henderson, NV, we started this challenge head-strong. Everything, burgers, pizza, sushi, traditional pasta, traditional salad dressings, and all I loved to eat and cook was out the door.
Now, up until now, I read the books, watched the documentaries, and understood the lifestyle. I knew what I was getting myself into. But do we really know what we get ourselves into until our lives were immersed in it? So needless to say, it’s been a hard two weeks. I have had major cravings, feelings of hunger, and just frustration with it all. But that’s what a “challenge” is, isn’t it? Hard, frustrating at times, maybe even…challenging? Haha! However hard it has been, I’ve been moving forward head-strong and living it up. Whole grain everything, oil-less vinaigrettes and “stir-frys,” large salads filled with green leafy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, Rip’s Big Bowls in the morning and baked tofu and vegetable sandwiches for lunch, I do it all!
Diet is defined as the sum of food consumed by an organism.
Now like I’ve been telling everyone, this is NOT a weight-loss diet. This is a heart-healthy, disease-preventing, and cholesterol-lowering diet. It’s a whole foods, plant-strong diet that changes your lifestyle for the better. Will you see a dramatic weight-loss while on this diet? Well if you incorporate active daily workouts, of course you will. But it’s needs to be supplemental to what you eat. You need to add both activity and plant-based food in order to see the best results from the Engine 2 Diet. My next question going through my mind was “Is this really working FOR ME?”
On day ten of this challenge, I decided to take a simple cholesterol and triglyceride blood test because I haven’t done so yet. In order to see the best results from this diet, it’s all in the blood! After a 6-hour fast (and a Sonic dinner the night before), I took my test. I felt that let me try and produce a horrible test so at least I’ll definitely see how good this diet can be. Being that it has only been ten days on this challenge I didn’t expect much. Well was I wrong! I won’t share the exact results but let me put it this way, never, in my wildest imaginations would I ever think my total cholesterol would be that astonishingly healthy. In less than two weeks? No! Remember, I ate all that crap in NY/NJ before hand and I had all the turkey, prime rib, sides, and desserts during the holidays. Other than me having to work on my triglycerides and HDL, it was still at a “average” rating. It was minimal work that I had to do in order to get those two scores better. Now I won’t share the results with you, I just want you to believe me. This darn diet WORKS!
I am currently at 244 pounds (6 pounds lost since the 16th) I am clinically obese, have a BMI that would have doctors worried, and have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes. I am definitely unhealthy and need a change. I will have to advocate that THIS IS THE CHANGE I NEED! And if these results are what I am looking forward to at the end of this, maybe even for the rest of my life, why not? I can’t wait to share my final results with you all. I’m excited to know that you will all be shocked. If you’re interested in this diet and all the results that a whole food, plant-based diet has to offer, contact me. I can provide you will all the materials to better inform you and hopefully change your life. It has changed mine for sure!
Tags: caldwell Esselstyn, cancer, cholesterol, diabetes, diet, disease, engine 2 diet, exercise, food, fruits, HDL, healthy, Healthy eating, heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, LDL, oil-free, plant based, plant strong, resolution, rip Esselstyn, vegetables, weight loss, whole foods market