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Step Up Your Game

BEC Green Smoothie

 

Isn’t the BEC Green Smoothie THE BEST SMOOTHIE EVER? Guys, it really is. But, believe it or not, I have a few ways to make it pack even more punch without realllllllly changing the taste (too much).

1. Mix in a little water.  I like my smoothie with a looser texture so I used to add extra coconut milk (my current non dairy milk of choice). Recently I starting using half coconut milk, half cold water and you cannot taste a difference.  Love the texture, love using less milk, and obviously it contains less calories!

2. Throw in some seeds.  I used to swallow a spoonful of chia seeds every morning then it got to the point where I would rather stay in bed all day then walk down the stairs and choke down chia seeds. Now I drop a tablespoon of the white or black variety into my smoothie (we love the seeds by Health Warrior). Chia can makes things “gelatinous” but this small amount doesn’t change the consistency and adds Omega-3s, protein and fiber.  Flax seeds are also always in my smoothie; they’re cancer and disease fighting so why not?

3. Camu Camu Powder. I love throwing some of this fine powder in my green smoothie every day. It is full of immune boosting antioxidants and Vitamin C.

4. Cinnamon has so many benefits we should all be sprinkling it onto everything all the time. To name a few it’s anti-inflammatory, contains antioxidants and multiple nutrients, and can even boost your mood!

5. Change up your greens game. We know the usual green smoothie suspects…kale and spinach. But try mixing it up. Today I used a bag of romaine in mine and as usual, delicious. Try micro greens, beet greens, collards or dandelion greens (these last two can be bitter so maybe use a little less for your first attempts). Different greens give us different things, y’all!

6. Throw in a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar.  Just a bit won’t alter the taste but you get loads of benefits such as lowering blood sugar, aiding in weight loss, and fighting bacteria!

Do you have any smoothie tips that you love?  Let me know!

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Heading to College this Month? Read This First!

Well, we all know those days are long behind me but I vividly remember the excitement, the nerves, and the weight I gained my freshmen year at VCU. More importantly, I remember feeling super unhealthy because of a sedentary lifestyle, eating everything from a can or a buffet, drinking beer and jungle juice and whatever else we could get our hands on, and not even thinking about working out much less walking to the gym.

Recently I stumbled upon the Instagram healthycampuslifestyle and was amazed that the pics and food choices came from a college “kid”!  I had to know more.

Turns out, Katelyn Barker is a freshmen at Virginia Tech and a Lynchburg, Virginia native (small world, once again I am reminded!).  She is majoring in human nutrition, food, and exercise with the goal of becoming a registered dietician. So she knows her stuff!

 

As a vegan and a dorm dweller, I was curious how Katelyn managed to eat, cook, exercise, etc. Thanks Katelyn for sharing your tips with BEC!

Tell us about eating on campus at Virginia Tech.

I live on campus and although there is one kitchen in my building, I never use it just because it’s a hassle. But there are definitely a lot of healthy options on campus, as well as a nutrition app for all of the dining halls and ways to make things like oatmeal and sweet potatoes in the microwave. I always have oatmeal, it is definitely my go to breakfast food with bananas; rice cakes and peanut butter is another and then I always have a bag of almonds or some other type of nuts. I don’t keep too much in my fridge, but there’s apples, maybe some carrots and hummus, and cashew milk.

You’re vegan, right?  What’s up with that and how do you get enough protein?

Even though I was eating fairly healthy before, veganism definitely ensures that I keep a clean diet which can be really hard on a college campus with all of the temptations. Now I can honestly say I don’t even think about eating any of those foods after being vegan for about three months. To get my protein without meat I try to eat a lot of beans, one of my favorite things to get on campus is a burrito bowl with pinto beans and black beans. Another thing I’ll do is make my own salad at the salad bar with spinach, which surprisingly has a substantial amount of protein, and add chick peas, kidney beans, green peas, and tofu. One thing people aren’t aware of is how much protein is in plant foods, getting protein definitely isn’t something I focus on because I know I’ll get enough as long as I eat enough natural plant foods in a day. Since I do lift I usually drink a vegan protein shake after just to get that extra boost but that’s definitely not necessary to get all the protein you need.

What do you recommend college students do for exercise?

Use the gym! It may be only time in your life you won’t have to pay for a gym membership so take advantage of it! If you don’t like going to the gym find something fun like an intramural sport, you won’t even feel like you’re exercising (you also don’t have to have ever played the sport before). If your school has an app to tell you the nutrition information of certain foods they’re serving definitely take advantage of it. By looking at VT’s app I’ve learned that a lot of the foods are very calorie dense and have a lot of sodium in them… like unnecessarily a lot, so I try to stay away from those foods. Don’t buy unhealthy food to keep in your room, if it’s there you’ll be tempted to eat it! And if you’re really trying to not put on weight, don’t drink too much alcohol. It’s definitely a big thing in college and it’s a fun way to celebrate after a hard week, but it can get the best of people and needs to be moderated. 

 What do you like to do specifically to stay in shape?

Senior year of high school I started lifting weights and found that I really liked it. So now I have a three day plan that I try to follow. I do chest and tris, back and bi, and legs and shoulders. I also am part of the Dance Company here which is a super fun way to do cardio because let’s be honest, most of us don’t like running on the treadmill for hours. I find lifting to be challenging to the mind and body and I’ve seen progress in my body so fast. It might be intimidating to start lifting when you’ve never done it before, especially in college when the weight room is filled with a bunch of buff guys, but I promise they’re all focused on themselves and if you need help with anything most people are more than happy to help you. 

We love your instagram!

I started my Insta mostly to motivate myself to eat healthy on campus and when I went vegan I used it as a tool to keep myself liable. I definitely slipped up a few times while transitioning to veganism, but that’s okay because everyone is different when it comes to switching their diet and it takes time to make that transition official. These slip ups didn’t hold me back, they just made me work harder to change my diet to a vegan one because sometimes your body craves things and its okay to give into those cravings as long as you get right back on track afterwards. Strive to be healthy for yourself and be the best you can be and you’ll be more motivated to stay on track than if you’re trying to look different for someone else. 

Thanks Katelyn for the awesome tips and beautiful pictures of your healthy food!  Follow her here at @healthycampuslifestyle.

Share this post with anyone heading off to college in a few months!

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Simple DELICIOUS Summer Side Dish

So simple in fact, you don’t need a recipe.

And just in time for your July 4th weekend festivities!

Who doesn’t love a caprese salad?  Am I right?  Super ripe, sweet, LOCAL summer tomatoes with slices of salty mozzarella and ribbons of crisp, fresh basil.  Splash on some good olive oil, maybe some balsamic and BOOM.

I LOVE THIS.

But when serving a crowd (which I do more in the summer when everyone can spread out outside) I like to serve up a chopped caprese with a twist. I add bread to put a little panzanella spin on the salad and spinach so it packs even more of a nutritional punch. Pine nuts give added crunch and texture-which to me is what takes a salad from boring to bright and something people will go back for seconds and thirds!

There is no need to measure, just add what you like in whatever amount. Here’s what you need:

  • Local cherry tomatoes, the more color variation the better. Slice in half.
  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella or burrata cheese. I will be using creamy burrata because it is INSANE. Tear into bitesize pieces.
  • Basil leaves. Either tear into pieces or slice into ribbons.
  • Organic spinach. Same as with the basil, tear or slice for easy eating.
  • Toasted pine nuts or any sort of nut you like.
  • Local, fresh bread from Lorraine’s if you live in Lynchburg or any other clean, whole wheat bread torn into bitesize pieces. Toss with olive oil and toast until lightly browned in the oven.

Put all of your ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle with GOOD, fruity olive oil and a little balsamic if you like. Dash generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately!

Voila!

Happy holiday weekend y’all!

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More Pantry Staples

Is everyone’s biggest complaint, while gazing into a packed fridge and pantry, “I have nothing to eat” or is it just me?  I may have just returned from the grocery store, decide there is nothing to eat and promptly order take out. Whaaaat?  No!  We can do better than that guys! I have found that by keeping these few items in my pantry, I can quickly whip something up that’s healthy and delicious. I just have to do it!

Avocados– I know, I know.  I scream the avocado benefits from the rooftops but eat one a day and you notice a difference in your skin and hair, you feel fuller faster, and not to mention they are SO GOOD!  Eat it plain with sea salt, throw in some organic salsa to make a fast guacamole, mash into avocado toast or mix half an avo with half a sweet potato for a double super food punch.

 

 

Sweet Potatoes– Speaking of…my husband got me on a sweet potato kick.  They are so good and easy to use.  Throw them in the oven and bake a few at a time so you can eat them throughout the week. Cut them into strips and make crispy baked oven fries (our favorite). Slice them thin and use them for Sweet Potato Toast!

 

 

Brown Rice PastaThis is my personal favorite pasta to use.  I order it on amazon.  It’s organic, wheat free, gluten free and the perfect white pasta swap.  Sometimes I just top it with EVOO, parmesan and crushed red pepper.  During the hot summer months I use fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and ripped basil. Use your favorite, no sugar added jarred sauce if you prefer. Nearly instant gratification.

 

Dave’s Killer Bread Thin Sliced– Y’all.  You know it’s a win if my husband is requesting more loaves. This bread has it all.  It’s good for you, it tastes SO fantastic toasted or not, and the toppings are endless.  We love crunchy Barney Butter on top of ours.  Local, organic jam. Local honey. Avocado. Poached egg. Grass fed butter.  WHATEVER.

 

Beans– Ok I know this doesn’t sound very glamorous.  But we actually eat a lot of beans for a number of reasons.  They are quick, tasty, and and can stay in the pantry until you’re ready to use them.  I take a can of white northern beans and simmer on low with a chopped garlic glove, EVOO and a sprig of rosemary.  It isn’t fancy but it is a tasty side dish served alongside anything.  Grind a can in your Vitamix and make a white bean puree or white bean hummus.  Add them to soups and stews.  Black beans are perfect to mash and make a puree for tacos, toss with corn and cilantro for a quick side, or throw in to some chicken stock with veggies and make an easy black bean soup.

Super simple (you know me!) but keeping your pantry stocked with a few of these essentials means a healthy, quick meal is only minutes away.  What am I missing?  What else do you keep stocked?

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