Junk-Free Junk Food

Tuesday's trip to Whole Foods yielded three new members to the "I am so obsessed with these foods I want to eat them all day long" club.   I am geekily excited about them.  I hope that you will share in my geekdom, as well.  

My love of coconut ice cream is well documented, but normally it has tons of added sugar.  If you have a tendency to eat a pint in one sitting (ahem…like I do), that can be problematic.  Introducing So Delicious No Sugar Added Coconut Milk Ice Cream!  Just as creamy and yummy just not overly sweet.  Which I actually like better.

Full disclosure:  These are the crack equivalent of cookies. High addictive, hard to quit and could lead you to disown your friends and family just to get one more fix.  Proceed with caution.  Even though they are wheat-free (though not gluten-free) and dairy-free, they should not by any means be considered good for you.   But they are delicious!  Crumble them up and put them on the vanilla coconut ice cream for a homemade Cookies and Cream treat.  Or, like I did yesterday, have 4 for breakfast, 2 after lunch and then crumble them over the ice cream for dessert at midnight.  
No, don't do that.  That is terrible advice.

Oh, happy day!!!  Vegenaise has FINALLY come out with a soy-free version of their popular dressing and sandwich spread.  Since soy and my stomach are not friends, this development opens up a whole new world of cooking possibilities for me.  Hello, Soy-Free-Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing.  My name is Jen. 

-♥ J :)


The Simple Life

Well, well, well.  Look who else has simplicity on the brain….
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits posted this morning "A Simple Strategy for Simplifying."
I think Leo is the cat's pajamas and has tons of helpful stuff to say about…well…everything.  
Check out his post right HERE.
Our very own Simplicity Detox begins in one week!!  July 5th, Veggies.  Mark you calendars.
It's gonna be a juicy good time!!

-♥ J :)

**Up tomorrow: Three of my latest obsessions…and, yes, they are all food.


Detox...The Sequel.

Oooh, Veggies…don't get me started.  
Don't get me started cleaning and organizing and shredding 5 year old bins of paper like I did last week.  
'Cause once I get started, I start getting all kinds of crazy ideas…

Ideas like: "Hey, we never really finished that detox two months ago." 
Ideas like: "The beginning of summer is the perfect time to try it again!"  
Ideas like: "I'm going to call Sophie, Matt and Erin and tell them that (since we all bailed on the last onewe should start a new detox!!!  And we should start it next Tuesday, July 5th!!!  This time, rather than our intention solely being on nutrition, we can focus on the broader idea of simplicity.  We can simplify our eating habits…our homes, our wardrobes, our lives!!!  For the whole month of July we'll strip away all of our physical and metaphorical clutter, leaving only the purest essence of the lives we want to live.  They'll be so excited!!!"

Sophie said, "Nope.  I'll read about you doing it, though."
Matt said, "July 5th is the day before Sophie's birthday!!  We're supposed to get mexican and margaritas!!!"
Erin said, "You know I'm going to New Orleans, right?"

Ok.  That was not exactly the reaction I was hoping for.  
But I am unfazed!  July 5th it is!  I'm going to make shopping lists and sample menus.  I'll even include some of my own food journals. (To keep me honest…)  The whole thing will be so simple it's not even going to feel like a detox!  But it…you know…is a detox.  And it starts July 5th!!!  

Want to join in the detoxing fun???  Or just want to read about me doing it and then have a chat???  
Click HERE for the Happy Healthy Belly Facebook page.  Hit "Like" and then we can yap about all our questions, concerns, recipe ideas and organization tips.   I would love to here from you!!!  Things like this are always way more fun when you do them with a group.  Like I've always said….United We Stand…divided we eat cake frosting from the tub.

-♥ J :)


Yesterday I lost 20 pounds…

...of paper.
See this picture:

This was five years and 20 pounds of junk mail, old magazines and random scraps of paper.  That paper used to live in a big plastic bin in the back of my closet.  Out of sight, out of mind, right??? Oh, contraire mon cheri.  

Like a half eaten cupcake left in the fridge, that paper was always on my mind.  "
Shred paper" was on every "To Do" list.  It was my New Years resolution 3 years running. I had promised to do it before we moved and yet what did I watch the movers huff and puff into my new apartment???  The Bin.  The task just seemed SO daunting and there never seemed to be enough hours in the day to tackle it.  I ignored The Bin.  For a really long time.  

But lately I had been feeling like The Bin's days were numbered.  Like Luke Skywalker knowing that his show down with Darth Vader would soon be upon him (Star Wars marathon was on this weekend…), I knew that The Bin and I would meet in a great battle and that I must emerge the victor.  
You see, ever since I became obsessed with this family...

I have been trying to give the excess in my life a big 'ole heave-ho.  To me, that's exactly what a detox is all about. (Um…we are detoxing*, right???)  All the excess is cleared and what is left is the glowy, shiny, happy being that you were meant to be.  The Bin was holding me back.

That is, until yesterday.  Yesterday I decided that The Bin the was going down.   It took HOURS but, I shredded it.  I recycled it.  And now it is GONE!  Take that Bin of Stagnation!  I might have kept that extra 20 pounds in the closet, but now that it's gone, it feels as if that weight has been physically lifted off of me.

My new mission:
Must. Stop. Junk Mail.

Most of the paper in that bin of purgatory was junk mail and solicitations.  I had to spend a whole day of my life shredding documents that I had never asked for!   Who knows what I could have done with that time if I wasn't stuck in the house doing that.  I could have invented a hovercraft.  Or started a movement that led to world peace.  Or caught up on The Real Housewives of New York.  But, alas, the day is lost and we will never know what could have been.  Darn you Junk Mail!!!  

Want to join me in my fight against Junk Mail???  Zero Waste Home lays out some great strategies for fighting the Junk Mail war here.

Have a great weekend, Veggies!!!  May The Force (and a good shredder...) be with you.

-♥ J :)

*On Monday let's start talkin' detox again.  I'll get to work on some more sample menus.


Vegan Blog Lovin'

pictures and illustrations via The Vegan Stoner

Feeling the need for some vegan inspiration???

Take a trip to The Vegan Decision* where you can find "thoughtful essays from people who made the decision to stop eating animals." There people write about "what led to that decision" and how it has affected their world.  The writers also share links to some of their favorite vegan things.

After you are done, hop on over to the blog that Vegan Decision called the "coolest vegan recipe blog, by far." Introducing: The Vegan Stoner.  This blog will show you how to "cook cheap, fast, and vegan"  with mouthwatering photos, simple instructions and adorable illustrations.  (Those are their yummy pics up above...)

I'm so in love with these blogs.  Fall in love, too, right here and here.

-♥ J :)

*Want to share your vegan story???  Email The Vegan Decision here.  Be sure to check the website for essay guidelines.


Summertime and the Dessert Makin' is Easy

Happy first day of summer, Veggies!!!
I'm dreaming of sun soaked days, margarita fueled nights and every bit of glorious summer fun that falls in between.  As a kid, my favorite summer pastime was taking nightly trips to the local pizza place for Italian ice.  Back then the summers were scorchers and your entire goal was to finish your ice before you were wearing it.  My favorite flavor was "rainbow", a swirly mishmash of cherry, lemon and whatever flavor "blue" was supposed to be.  Today, in honor of that childhood memory, I'll be making...

Homemade "Rainbow" Italian Ice
You will need:
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups frozen pineapple
2 cups frozen raspberries
agave syrup
a blender
a glass bowl
and some water

-Blend 2 cups of frozen blueberries with 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons of agave syrup.
-Fill 1/3 of the glass bowl with the blueberry mixture.
-Put bowl in freezer.
-Blend 2 cups of frozen pineapple with 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons of agave syrup.
-Take bowl from freezer and layer pineapple mixture on top of blueberry mixture.
-Put bowl back in freezer.
-Blend 2 cups of frozen raspberries with 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons of agave syrup.
-Take bowl from freezer and layer raspberry mixture on top of pineapple mixture.
-Put bowl back in freezer and let set for 40 minutes or until frozen. 
Or if you are impatient like me...

Dive right in and enjoy!!!

Now the trick with this recipe is the consistency of the fruit mixture.  You don't want it to be watery like a smoothie, but you don't want it to be so dense that you can't work with it.  Experiment with your own blender.  If it comes out too watery just add more frozen fruit or put the mixture back into the freezer to thicken it up.

I put this recipe in these pyrex glass containers because they come with lids and that makes for super easy storage.  However, if you are feeling like a fancy pants, you can serve your "Italian ice" in pretty martini glasses or champagne glasses with long spoons.  These would make great popsicles as well.  
(Note to self….buy popsicle molds.  Oooh, maybe these???)

For all you perfectionists out there,  DO NOT stress if the layers run together.  It's all about how this treat tastes…not how it looks.  Besides what is summer for if not for having some good, sloppy fun.  And if the hot sun melts your ice and you wind up wearing it...worry not.  It has happened to the best of us.

- ♥ J :)


Erin is the Biggest Winner!!!

Erin and Jen 2010

As I said in this post, my bestie Erin got booted in the first round of her school's "Biggest Loser" competition.  To know Erin is to know that she is not a person who takes "no" for answer.  This early setback filled her with a fiery determination to be crowned her school's at home winner.  I chatted with Erin to find out how she lost nearly 20 lbs. while working two jobs, getting her master's degree and keeping a (very) active social schedule:

Tell us a little about the contest.
The contestants were split up into two teams. Weigh-ins were Monday mornings at school, every two weeks. Each person’s percentage lost was calculated and noted. Then each team’s overall percentage lost for those two weeks was calculated. The losing team then automatically lost whichever teammate did the worst at that weigh-in. Unlike on the TV show, we did not want to create drama in the workplace by voting people out of the contest.

How long did it last? 
The first weigh-in was the Monday after your wedding! So, I weighed in on Tuesday, October 5th.  It ended on June 6th, 8 months later.

What was your plan of attack? 
Well, when the competition began, I already had pretty healthy habits – comparatively speaking. I really felt like I was going to be a prime competitor. A few years ago I had great success with Natalia Rose’s Raw Food Detox Diet and I had managed to incorporate some of those habits into my everyday life. My plan for the competition was to work slow and steady(and try not to drive myself crazy...). Since the weigh-ins happened every 2 weeks, I was going to follow my usual “healthy” plan in the first week, then amp it up the week before the weigh in.

How was it that you were the first one kicked out of the competition?
I followed my plan for the first ten days and lost about 3 pounds. Then my boyfriend’s “birthday weekend” began. We went out with friends on Friday night – they ordered beer and greasy appetizers, I ordered wine and a decent entrĂ©e. Did I have four or five glasses of wine? Perhaps. Did I then drunkenly share a dessert with my very thin and fit friend? Possibly. But that was fine! I was not a cheeseburger eater and I exercised regularly! No problem! Or so I thought.  Saturday night was Birthday Fiesta Part 2. The boys had apps, shots, and beer – I had wine, chicken, and vegetables. (I may have also had a couple of vodka and club sodas...) On Sunday I baked birthday cookies. The wheels were clearly off the bus at this point. But I still kind of figured, “Honestly, how bad could it be??! I don’t eat McDonald’s! I am a well-oiled machine!”

Cut to Monday morning: first competitive weigh-in. Not only am I 3 pounds heavier than I was at the first weigh-in, but I also managed to gain 5 pounds since Friday morning!!! Since my team lost the weigh-in, and I was figuratively the “biggest loser” (as in fool who manages to gain 5 lbs. in 3 days), I was the first person booted! Out of like 16 people! My first thought was, “WHAT THE F@*&!!!!!”

How did you get back on track?


The Skinny on Tracy Anderson

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

What's that, Veggies???
"Good news," you say??

So optimistic of you Veggies.  I love it.

Ok, here's the good news...
The Tracy Anderson Workout works.  
It work-ity, work, works.

Everything that Gwyn-ie says is true.  After this workout, you feel like a lean, mean fitness machine. Parts that were once jiggly are jiggly no moreyour skin pulls tighter to the muscle and your posture is improved.  Remember the jumping test??  After doing the Tracy Anderson workout for about 2 weeks, I am happy to report that the butt is coming to a full stop.  
It is by far one of the best workouts I've ever done.  

Hmmm…What's that now???
"What is the bad news?" you ask.
Nothing.  Never mind.  Just focus on the good news.
Oh, ok.
It's lots of repetition, an hour long (an hour and a half if you add in the cardio) and the music is just ok.  I should also warn you that, the first couple of times you do the workout, the moves seem so bizarre that you feel as if your body is a completely foreign entity over which you have very little control.  Or maybe that was just me...

But…to reiterate…IT WORKS.  
So what if you're a little bored?  
You know what is boring??  
Not fitting into your pants is boring.
A butt jumping without you is boring.
Spending time and money on yet another exercise regime that doesn't deliver results is boring.

Since I enjoy company in my madness, I enlisted my resident guinea pigs Charli and Erin to try Tracy Anderson with me.  When asked for their thoughts, Charli said, "My thoughts = OW." and Erin said, "My arms hurt." and "Tell her to stop making those faces at me."

Want to judge for yourself??

Here's a Tracy video to get you started:

I would love to know what you think! Comment below or tweet me @hhbelly.
For all things Tracy click here and for other exercise reviews by Charli click here.

-♥ J :)

P.S. Don't forget to check in Monday for my interview with Erin about her recent journey on the road to wellness or, as she calls it, "The Revolution."

Did someone say Vegan Twinkies???

Jenn Shagrin did.
My dear friend Luka gave me a copy of Jenn's new vegan cookbook Veganize This! where she attempts to "veganize the seemingly impossible."  The book has so many fantastic sounding recipes I don't even know where to start.  There's Vegan Quattro Formaggio White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese, Vegan Pancetta, Bourbon Buffalo Mole Chicken Wings with Vegan Blue Cheese-Avocado Oil Aiol…and, of course, the aforementioned Vegan Twinkies.  

Peppered throughout the book are funny anecdotes from Jenn's life and stories abut how the recipes came about.  She, also, doles out some pretty sage advice:  "As vegans, we all know how many times the ingredient list for dishes at a restaurant can feel like just one giant no…So unless you want to get stuck with a sprig of basil on a plate, take matters into your own hands instead and play by your own damn rules!"

Jenn's book makes you feel like you are cooking with your smart, hilarious friend who knows how to turn everything into a good time.  I, mean, how can you not love a girl who titled one of her chapters "Recipes to Get You Laid"???

Thanks for the fabulous book Luka!!!  I will have you over for some of Jenn's Cumin and Avocado Oil-Rubbed Portobello Tortas with Dragon Fruit Pico De Gallo and Purple Basil-White Peppercorn Mayo.  
With a side of her Vegan Doritos of course.

-♥ J :)

Learn more about Jenn here and buy her book here.


Put down the the free weights and watch this….

I know it's fitness week, but this video that Cara posted is so interesting I had to share it.  It's
Robin O'brien speaking at TEDx Austin about the contamination of our food supply and the subsequent rise of food allergies.  Be sure to watch through until the end when she talks about why organic food costs more.  My favorite quote of Robin's:  "You can't make the perfect the enemy of the good."

-♥ J :)

Learn more about
Robin and her book The Unhealthy Truth here.


Free Your Mind and the Best Will Follow

picture by Norman Potter

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. "

-Thomas Jefferson

The following will be a earthy-crunchy feel good parable.  
Don't say I didn't warn you…

In the early 1950's no one could run a mile in under 4 minutes.  Back then the world record, set by Sweden's Gunder Haegg in 1945, held strong at 4 minutes, 1.4 seconds.  Many tried to break Haegg's time, but the four minute mile remained a seemingly impenetrable wall.

This barrier led many to believe that it was physically impossible for the human body to run a mile in under four minutes.  Many held that a runner would come to great harm if he tried.  But, stubborn bunch that they are, runners continued to try and they continued to fail and on it went for nine long years.

That is until one rainy, windy day in May…May 6th, 1954 to be precise…when a young med student by the name of Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.

Yipee!!!  Hurrah!!!  Three cheers for Roger Bannister!!!!  

He had achieved what no human before him had ever achieved.  It was miracle.  Roger Bannister was now the only person on the planet to have ever run a mile in under 4 minutes.  And he was able to enjoy this super human feat for all of…46 days.

On June 21st, 1954 John Landy came along and bested Bannister's time by running the mile in 3 minutes, 57.9 seconds.  (It's right about now that you are wondering why I am telling you this story…I'm getting there…I'm getting there.)

The previous record had taken nearly a decade to crack, but Bannister only got to enjoy his moment of glory for little over a month.  AND by the end of 1957, sixteen other runners had also cracked the 4 minute mile.  But..but...HOW could this be???  Did all of these men suddenly develop into better runners within months of each other???


What changed was their perception of what could be achieved.
You see, the 4 minute mile was impossible…until it wasn't.

As we move into fitness week, ask yourself this (Ah!  The point!  Finally!)...

What is your "four minute mile"?  
What is the thing that you think you can't achieve?  
Do you believe that you have certain limitations that are fixed?

I think that we hold on to our "limitations", not only because they feel familiar and safe, but because we believe that they are permanent.  Maybe you think your body will always look a certain way or that you were just born with certain ailments or that you can only achieve a certain level of health.  But many of those ideas are based on past experience and old habits.  If you change your mind, you will change your habits.
It is then that you will change your future.

-♥ J :)

P.S. Remember that Bannister broke the "unbreakable" record by 2 itty-bitty seconds.  The smallest change makes all the difference.


Workin' It

Welcome to Monday, Veggies!
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and is well rested for the week ahead because….
This week at Happy Healthy Belly we will be talking all things fitness!!!
Give it up for the fit-to-the-ness!!!
Yaaaay, fitness!!!
(Yep…a little too much coffee this morning…)

Coming up:
-She got booted in the first round of her school's "Biggest Loser" competition, but that didn't stop Erin from turning that loss into a big honkin' win.  We'll find out how Erin lost more than 15lbs. while working two jobs, getting her master's degree and keeping a (very) active social schedule.

-Tracy Anderson's workout.  Will it get your butt tight or is it nothing but hype???  Charli and I weigh in.  (Metaphorically speaking.  We are not weighing ourselves.  That would be silly.)


-The story of the four minute mile.  Are limits only in your mind? (That's right.  I'm getting all Zen on your be-hinds…)

Stay tuned!!!
-♥ J :)


Coffee=1 Willpower=0

On Monday I casually mentioned that I was quitting coffee.
Here are some of the comments that I received:

"Again with the coffee quitting?! Why do you do this to yourself? Don't you like coffee?"
"You will quit coffee when you are pregnant. Until then, enjoy your only vice while it lasts!"
"For God's sake - enough with the coffee!!! ENOUGH I say!!! Just accept that it is magical and embrace it!"

I made it the whole week.
Then Charli came over this morning to workout.
Very early.
And I saw that John had left us a full pot of fresh coffee.
But I had tea.
Even though Charli had coffee.

The wheels didn't come off the truck until I saw Jennie's Facebook comment about how she and her husband have started taking morning walks with their twins to their neighborhood coffee shop.

Suddenly I was plagued with fantasies of long strolls, leisurely mornings and steaming, hot coffee goodness.
I couldn't stop thinking about coffee!

This post by Averie didn't help.

Resolve.  Broken. 

You won this round coffee.
But I will be back.
I. will. be. back.

Until then, I'm making Marla's Coffee Frappe-a-Shake!
How delicious does this look?!?

I love how she drinks it straight from the blender cup.  A woman after my own heart.
Have a great weekend, Veggies!

-♥ J :)

P.S. Don't forget to set the DVR…Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution is on tonight ABC 9/8c.


My Top 5 Favorite Snacks

Marysa emailed me earlier in the week asking for some snack ideas.  I am not a big fan of snacking.  In a perfect world we would all eat three meals a day in a civilized setting at a slow pace with good company and great wine.  In a perfect world…or you know…France.  But, alas, the world is not perfect and I am not French and I often have to eat in my car.  Such is life.  Here are my Go-To snacks when real life eclipses my French day dream:

1. Lara Bars or Pure Bars
I don't like "food" bars.  Most of them are just glorified candy bars full of dairy, sugar and chemicals.  These two are the exception.  They are raw, vegan, gluten-free and made of actual food.  I literally have one of these in my bag at all times.

2. Trader Joe's Nut Packs
That's not their real name.  That's just what John and I call them.  They are the pre-portioned packs of Trader Joe's Trail Mix.  These, also, are always in my bag.  Always.

3. Raw Cucumber and Carrot Sticks
Unglamorous. Utilitarian.  The dieter's cliche.  But I still contend this is the best thing that you can have as a snack.  For 3 reasons:
1. They are portable.  
2. They automatically up your veggie quotient for the day.
3. They are a litmus test as to whether you are really hungry or just looking to have a party in your mouth.  I always say if you are not hungry enough to eat a carrot then you are probably not really hungry.  Fun the veggies up by eating them with salsa, hummus or Faux-a-mole (avocado mushed up with garlic powder and lemon pepper).

4. Trader Joe's Organic Popcorn (2 cups)
This is my late night snack.  Try it sprinkled with Parma Vegan Parmesan or Braggs Liquid Aminos if you are in the mood for something savory.  Sprinkle it with cinnamon and Nu Naturals Stevia if you're craving sweet.

5. Romaine Lettuce Wraps
These work great as a lunch, too.  Take a large romaine leaf and layer it with your ingredients.  Fold in half like a taco and enjoy!  Here are some ingredient ideas:

-romaine with almond butter and honey (sounds weird, but is SO good!)
-romaine with hummus, tomato and cucumber
-romaine with mustard, tomato and avocado

Now we all know that I am vegan and greatly encourage all things vegan, but since I know that many of you readers are not vegan…

Here's a little tip: 
Romaine Lettuce Wraps are a great answer to the food combining question "What do I do with deli meat if I can't have sandwiches?"  Two of those wraps (hint: not the almond butter one…) would work great with say…turkey.  
But you did not hear that from me.  
Because I'm a vegan.
And I think turkeys are friends...not snacks.

-♥ J :)


Calling all Virgins!!!

Veggie Grill virgins, that is.  
(What were you thinking???)

It's Veggie Grill Virgin Day at the new LA Farmers Market location (next to The Grove).  Bring in a friend who has yet to experience the vegan wonder that is Veggie Grill and your very lucky friend gets their meal for free! 

I met Julia and our VG Virgin Gary there for lunch today.  Julia and I both had the "All Hail Kale" salad (my favorite!!!) and Gary had the "VG Cheeseburger."  Not only did he say that the burger was "delicious!", but afterwards he remarked how full and satisfied he felt…not how he feels after eating a "real burger." Gary is a man who loves meat and the truth, so if he gives it the (green)thumbs up, you know it is good!

Ok, time is running out.

Grab your virgin and go!  
I'm serious. 
They close at 10pm! 
Stop reading. 

Don't live near a Veggie Grill???

Fear not, Veggies.  I wouldn't leave you kale-less and sad.
Try this scrumptious kale salad recipe.  Guy recommend it to me last year and I've been hooked ever since.  

-♥  J :)

My Life at Every BBQ...

Illustration by Gemma Correll via Cup of Jo

-♥ J :)


"To-Do" or not "To-Do"...

Good Monday, Veggies!

This morning I'm feeling quite overwhelmed by my very hearty and definitely urgent To-Do list.  The fact that I picked today to quit coffee (yes…again) is not helping matters.

So while I go tame the beast otherwise known as "responsibility", I'll leave you with this lovely video by Marie Forleo.  Marie is the force of nature behind the uber successful Rich, Happy and Hot Live franchise.  She strikes me as the type of girl who you would want to plan your bachelorette party…and help you with your taxes.  I'll take advice from anyone who can pull off that dynamic.

-♥ J :)

p.s. Writing without coffee is SO much harder.
p.p.s. This site won't help your productivity.  But the laughs are worth the time wasted.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...