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The New Year

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope everyone had a fabulous (and safe!) New Year’s Eve and spent t exactly they way they wanted to. I spent mine in NYC, with my brother and his wife early on in the evening, and then at a local bar with some friends … and strangers! But then that’s the beauty of New York – despite the bad reputation of “New Yorkers are rude,” they’re really not. It’s surprisingly easy to engage in great conversations in the city, and I had a wonderful time last night. Moreover, it did not involve copious amounts of alcohol; just one glass of wine, some dancing, and plenty of great conversation.

I’m back in Boston today, and one of the things I’m surprised about is the fact that I haven’t heard too many people making any New Year’s Resolutions for 2012! Usually, I hear folks listing several resolutions from “I will eat healthier food,” “I will exercise 3 or more times a week,” “I will lose weight….” etc, etc. But I haven’t heard any so far this year…. And I wonder if that’s a good or a bad thing. On one hand, a resolution sets some sort of a goal for you, an objective or ideal that you know you want to change or tackle, and it at least helps you identify a certain aspect of your life/lifestyle that you want to change. On the other hand, some people may find that it stresses them out and that when they miss a resolution or don’t initially succeed at it, they get discouraged and regard themselves as a failure…

But I don’t think that it’s really that “cut and dry…” I think that New Year’s Resolutions are actually a good idea to help you identify and list certain goals or objectives for the New Year. They can range from anything from “eating healthier,” to “managing your finances better,” or “setting a budget” for yourself…But, I also think that they should be realistic, and identify and prioritize concrete steps that will help you achieve those goals. They should also set some sort of a timeline for those steps. For example, take the following goals:

1. “Eating Healthier.” On it’s own, this is far too vague and doesn’t define what “healthier” means for you, or identify the steps that will lead you towards achieving this goal. A more meaningful goal might be:

“I will strive to eat at least 2 pieces of fresh fruit every day, to eat breakfast every morning, and to try a new vegetable dish every week (or as frequently as you think is realistic for your lifestyle). I will also swap out processed grains for whole grains at most meals.” This goal sets some concrete objectives that are actually measurable and that can help you towards eating a more nutritious diet.

2. “Managing My Finances Better.” Again, this is far too vague on its own. A more meaningful resolution might be “I will meet with a financial advisor and review my current earnings, savings, investments etc, and decide on a realistic plan of saving for retirement.” Or, if meeting with a financial advisor isn’t affordable, it might be as simple as deciding to set aside a certain amount from each paycheck and having it directly deposited into a savings account. Or setting a budget of $ x dollars for eating out and entertainment every week.

I also think that we need to keep in mind that making a resolution does not mean being “perfect” about it all year round! We don’t all eat “perfectly healthy” all year round, and sometimes we spend a little more than we planned on doing so…but as long as we acknowledge these moments, recognize them and not let them become “the norm,” we ca still maintain a healthy balance and a healthy perspective on life.

So what are my New Year’s Resolutions?

1. To not let opportunities pass me by or put certain goals off for “another time.” One of my goals has been to run another marathon – especially the ING NYC marathon; and so tomorrow, when the lottery for the NYC marathon opens up, I’m putting my name in 🙂 And if I don’t get accepted then I will sign up for another one in the Fall.

2. To run at least 3 half-marathons in 2012. (I’m signing up for 2 when the applications open up this week!).

3. To incorporate more raw foods in my diet by eating at least 1 raw meal per day, and having one “Raw Day” a week.

4. To define a monthly spending budget for myself and then sticking to it! This one will be hard but I’m going to work on it this week, and set specific dollar limits for myself for groceries, entertainment, gas and travel expenses. Savings will have to wait since I’m a full-time graduate student (so I’m not saving anything), but setting spending limits for myself will help me become more mindful of my spending habits.

5. To post on Coffee Beans and Greens at least 3 times a week, even when I have really busy weeks.

But as with all things, I think a balanced perspective will be key for 2012. I may not be able to achieve all my resolutions – but starting and trying is part of the fun and the challenge. After all, you can never know if you can do something (run a 5K, half-marathon, marathon, cook, define a budget, etc etc) until you give it a try and a fair chance! So whatever your goals and resolutions are for the New Year, I wish you all the very best for 2012! May it be a fabulous and prosperous year for everyone!


The Social Butterfly

One of the things I love most about NYC is the fact that there are people everywhere! I know that might seem strange to some folks who think that cities, and NYC in particular, are too crowded and many are too polluted. And I remember that when I used to live here, there were some days when the rush-hour crowds would drive me insane. But now that I live in the ‘burbs of Boston, I kinda miss the crowds of NYC… among other things of course…

And it makes me wonder if there’s a social butterfly in all of us really. After all, we are a social species, we enjoy the company of our kinsman and revel in good conversation, good company and of course good food! But I think there’s also a certain comfort in knowing that there is life around you, whether or not you choose to participate in it. At least you know it’s there, in the background, like a comforting buzz of business …. a “white noise” that reassures you of social company and interaction should you decide to venture out into it.

And I think that’s why living alone in NYC doesn’t really feel like “living alone,” because you have the city around you. And staying indoors watching TV in NYC on a cold, rainy night feels so different from sitting at home alone on a cold, rainy night in the ‘burbs of Boston. Because that really does feel “lonely…”

I think the social butterfly in all of us enjoys company… whether it’s through active participation in society/ with other individuals or through the reassurance of life around us. I think we need that interaction, even though sometimes people seem to drive us insane 🙂

So I’m going to try and remember that the next time I’m standing in line behind someone and getting frustrated because it’s taking so long. And when I’m sitting in traffic, cursing the number of cars out on the streets. And when I I’m out running, shopping, walking… doing anything, and find myself getting irritated due to the crowds. Because in fact, I need those crowds….I like those crowds…They are the comforting signs and sounds of life around me…and a reminder that we are a social species.

Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet – Part 3

So what does a “plant-based diet” mean? To me, it means making plant-based, unprocessed foods the mainstay of my diet, and using processed foods to a minimum, only as/when needed. I agree with the studies described in Forks over Knives, and don’t think that animal protein is necessarily the best source of protein for our bodies, nor is it easily digested. I’ve personally found that incorporating plant-based sources of proteins, such as tofu, tempeh (a fermented soy product), legumes, beans and nuts, are much easier on my body and leave me feeling “lighter” and with more energy than I have had in the past. Again, this is my personal experience, but I can vouch for the positive effects of making this transition. In addition, as a society, we seem to eat far too much protein anyway, and we don’t really need that much in our diet on a day-to-day basis.

I think that when we start to incorporate more fresh, wholesome foods into our diet, it reawakens our palate to flavors and aromas that we may have forgotten due to a reliance on heavily packaged and processed foods. In fact, I think that some of the best meals I have had have used minimal ingredients – so that you taste the actual food rather than the mask of fat, sugar or salt around it.

So how do you incorporate more plant based foods in your diet? Well, one of the easiest ways is to substitute and replace packaged and processed foods that you currently eat, with fresh, wholesome foods. For example, rather than having packaged or canned fruits, eat a piece of fresh fruit as a snack or dessert. For dinner, instead of microwaving a packaged meal or ordering take-out, make a quick stir-fry of brown rice, fresh vegetables and a small amount of protein (nuts, legumes, beans). It usually takes less time than ordering take-out, tastes FAR better, and is much healthier than any greasy, salty take-out dish that you might receive. But…it does mean that you have to be prepared for meals at home, and it does mean that you have to plan your grocery shopping. And I think that’s where most people think that they either (i) don’t have time, or (ii) don’t think it’s worth the time or effort to make that investment.

Well, I think it is. Our body will only function well if we treat it and feed it right. And that requires some effort – but if it means a healthier life, more energy, and a healthier environment (which we happen to inhabit!!!!) isn’t it worth it?

So small steps to making the transition might include any or all of the following:

Buying local or organic foods whenever possible (it’s healthier for the environment, yourself and it helps local farmers.

Relying less on packaged goods and take-out, and making more meals at home.

Reducing the amount of animal protein in meals, and adding more legumes, beans, tofu/tempeh or seeds.

Replacing dairy with non-dairy alternatives (soy, almond or rice milk)

Adding more fruits and vegetables (organic and/or local whenever possible) to our diet

In upcoming posts, I will try to incorporate some of my own meals as examples of my plant-based meals. But there are also many, many books on the market which have fabulous recipes that are all based on plants. Some of my favorites are Peas and Thank You by Sarah Matheny (who also has a fabulous blog ), The Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay Nixon (who also has a great blog), and The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone).

Try some of the recipes in these books – you won’t be disappointed, and they might be great place to start experimenting with more plant-based foods in your diet!

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(Image sources: peasandthankyou.com, thekindlife.com, thehappyherbivore.com)

Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet – Part 2

Recently, in one of my classes, we watched two movies that really made me think hard about where our food comes from and how it is grown/raised/treated: FoodInc and Forks over Knives. The movies really highlighted several important points about our food industry, and the impact of our current diet and lifestyle on our health.


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Image courtesy of Food Inc (the website)
FoodInc provided an insight into the factory farming industry, and really highlighted the conditions in which livestock are raised, plus the problems that we essentially have caused by focusing on cost-cutting, profitability and mass producing items. One of the most interesting things to me was the fact that feeding corn to cows has such an impact on the digestive health of their gut – and in turn the likelihood of contaminating our food with E. Coli. Turns out the cows were never meant to subsist on a diet of corn (used as livestock feed because it is a hardy grain, easy and cheap to produce, easy to store and therefore heavily subsidized); but have always traditionally lived off grass, in grassy pastures. The diet of corn affects their intestinal health and fosters the growth of a harmful strain of E. Coli. So are we essentially creating our own problems (with food contamination and illnesses) by commercializing and changing the diet of our livestock – simply to cut costs?? Ironically, instead of switching cows back to a diet of grass – our industry decides to treat the beef with ammonia to kill any bacteria…. great…. Love some ammonia with that beef…or beef with that ammonia….

FoodInc also provides a look at the conditions in some traditional farms, where livestock are allowed to roam free, and highlights several other important issues such as the impact on our health, the growth of the fast-food industry, genetically modified crops etc. I won’t describe everything in the movie because (a) it would take too long, and (b) I wouldn’t do it justice. I just highly recommend watching the movie to really appreciate it. The movie really made me think hard about the food I buy, and to care about where it comes from and how it was grown/raised. I no longer eat meat, poultry or fish, but I do sometimes buy it for M, and I do sometimes eat eggs. I need to care about where that meat and those eggs come from – for ethical, health and environmental reasons. Because factory farming and the commercialization of our farms and food industry has a widespread and cascading effect on our health, the health of our environment and ultimately the health of future generations – who will inherit the environment that we leave behind.

The movie also reinforced one of my primary reasons for transitioning to a plant-based diet; the ethical factor of caring about how my food was raised. It is easy for us to buy packaged meat and isolate it from its source – the animal, but should we really maintain the shroud of “Out of sight, out of mind?” Is distancing ourself from our food source a healthy stance to maintain? Because doesn’t that by default make us stop caring about how the food was raised, treated, fed and ultimately slaughtered? And when we stop caring, does commercialization, convenience and cost-cutting take over?

Forks over Knives

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Image courtesy of Forks over Knives (the website)

Forks over Knives has a slightly different focus. It’s a powerful documentary that shows how many diseases which are prevalent in our society right now (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol etc) can be reversed simply by adopting a wholesome, plant-based diet. Sounds too good to be true? Watch the movie! The documentary highlights the work of Dr Colin T. Campbell (author of The China Study), and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, both of whom did independent studies on the effects of plant-based diets on different populations, and the evidence they provide in support of this statement is profound. Their evidence comes from studies done in Norway, the Philippines, and China. Dr Esselstyn’s evidence also includes results from patients he has treated, reversing their diabetes, high cholesterol etc, simply by witching them to a plant-based diet (without ANY medications) for just over a month.

One thing that I feel the movie missed is actually providing examples of what the plant-based diet included; something that I think would be beneficial for most people who watch it. However, the book “Forks over Knives,” does include recipes from the plant-based diet that the subjects ate, and so that might be a useful accompaniment to the movie (I am planning on buying the book).

So whether or not anyone decides to follow a wholly plant-based diet, I do highly recommend watching the movie. It really does force us to re-evaluate our current diet and lifestyle, question our reliance on commercial, processed foods, and meat and dairy, and question whether or not we are perpetuating our own health problems in society. Maybe it’s worth looking back at and seeing the virtue in our traditional diets: the emphasis on wholesome, unprocessed foods, moderation, eating locally and eating foods that are in season.

Maybe we wouldn’t be as plagued with obesity, heart disease and diabetes if we just cleaned up our diet…

Stay tuned for Part 3 … On what can we do to make these changes, and the types of foods we can and should be eating!

Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet – Part 1

As promised, I’m going to provide some more insight into my transition to a vegetarian diet that’s primarily based on plant-based, unprocessed foods. However, due to the length of the post, I’m going to break it up into 2 or 3 parts. Part 1 summarizes my transition over the course of this year, Part 2 will provide additional information on why I feel that a plant-based, whole foods diet is so beneficial (with sources and references), and in Part 3 I hope to provide some sample recipes and menus to illustrate how delicious, nutritious and balanced a plant-based diet can be.

Part 1– My transition to a plant based diet was a gradual process, not something that happened overnight. I guess I’ve always been somewhat bothered by the thought of eating animals or anything that was a living creature, and this goes back to my childhood. I have two vivid memories of when I felt really disturbed about eating meat/poultry. One was when I saw a goat being slaughtered in my neighbor’s back yard for a feast they were having (this was when I lived in Bahrain). I remember feeling awful for the goat and mortified at the thought that we actually ate animals who had been put through that slaughtering. The second memory was from a dinner party at my parent’s friends house. They served baked cornish hens as part of the dinner, and I initially put a piece on my plate thinking that it was a piece of chicken breast. But then, when I turned it over and saw that it was a “body,” I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t eat it – or anything else on my plate.

However, I still continued to eat meat, fish and poultry while growing up. As long as the servings were cut up and “unidentifiable” as bodies, I didn’t really think about it, or think about where my food had come from, how it had been raised, and in what conditions it had lived. But as I read more on the benefits of plant-based foods, and on the conditions in factory farms, I became more disturbed by the thought of eating meat and poultry. I gradually cut out red meat from my diet and only ate poultry and fish occasionally. Then the final change – of eliminating poultry and fish, came earlier this year in late January/early February. M. had bought a whole chicken to roast in the oven and had left it it sitting on the stove to be marinated, when I walked into the kitchen one night. The sight of the “body” sitting on the stove made up my mind. It brought home the message once and for all that I was eating an animal that had once been alive, and I decided I could no longer do it. It had bothered me for years and I was finally going to make the change once and for all. So I stopped eating poultry, and then gradually gave up fish too. With seafood, the transition was not as difficult as I had initially imagined. Although I used to love shrimp and salmon, I just stopped craving them after a while as I incorporated more plant-based sources of protein (such as tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils and nuts) into my diet. I tried new recipes and added healthier fats such as nut butters and avocado to my diet, and I just didn’t feel the need or desire to eat any fish or poultry again.

Now, I still do eat eggs occasionally, though far less frequently then I used to, and more recently I have decided to just buy organic eggs or local, farm eggs (when I do buy them) for ethical reasons (more on this in Part 2 of this post). I also used to eat a minimal amount of dairy (mainly cottage cheese for some protein), but gave that up more recently due to an increased intolerance to lactose, and additional information on how dairy affects our bodies (again – more on this in Part 2!) Now, I enjoy a whole variety of foods and I don’t miss meat, poultry or fish at all. Moreover, I know that what I am putting into my body is wholesome, fresh, unprocessed food that required a minimal amount of resources to be produced. Not only is it healthier for my body, but it is also environmentally friendly, sustainable and ethical. And that matters. It matters a whole lot.

I’ll explain why in Part 2!

Another go at this blog

It’s been almost a year since a last posted anything on this blog, and even this post has been a long time coming. I’ve been meaning to post/ thinking about it/ planning it/ even updating the blog theme and header – but never actually writing anything and hitting publish. It’s like that long-lost friend from high school whom you keep meaning to call or write, but you never get around to it. And the longer you wait, the harder it gets. That;s how I feel right now. But I figured that it’s better late than never.

So, there’s a lot of catch up information I need to post, and then define a new direction for Coffee Beans and Greens. Part of the reason I may have stopped posting is that I never really had a clear direction to the blog, but I feel that’s changed (or in the process of changing!)

My life has changed so much over the course of this year that I don’t know where to begin…. I left off in February with a post on studying, and things on that end are still the same. So in a nutshell, here is a quick summary of what’s happened this year – and details of some things will follow in a later post.

1. I’m still studying for a Masters in Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University. However, I have shortened my program so that I (hopefully!) graduate in May 2013 with my MS degree, and then do my internship to prep for the RD exam somewhere else (hopefully in NYC!!)

2. I do plan on moving back to NYC after getting my Master’s. I’ve been back to NYC a few times this year and I miss it dearly. The life, the energy, the people, and above all my brother and my friends. I’m hoping to spend the Summer 2012 in NYC and then come back up to Framingham to finish school.

3. I ran 3 half-marathons and 1 half-marathon relay race (with my friend Jillian) in this year! That’s a huge comeback from last year when I was told that I might have a torn cartilage in my left hip and would need surgery. My hip still gets sore from time to time (my PT in Boston explained that it’s tendonitis that gets aggravated), and I still have issues with plantar fasciitis in my right foot, but taping my arch and wearing arch supports has helped tremendously…as has the Strassburg Sock. I’m so thankful and grateful to be able to run again and compete in races – though I have learned to take it easier and not push my body beyond what it’s capable of doing. I’m older (and slower!) and I try to keep that in mind when I run now…but I’m still thrilled to be back in the game!

The half marathons this year included:

– Rock n Roll 1/2 in Providence, RI (August 9th)

– Smuttynose Half-Marathon in Hampton, New Hampshire,

– the Green-Stride half-marathon relay in Newburyport, MA on Oct 23rd (which I did with my friend Jillian),

– and the One Lucky Guy half in Newburyport, MA on Nov 6th

4. I had a great summer. Went to York Beach, Maine 3 times, and rented a beach house for a week there. Went to a friend’s lakehouse in Western Massachusetts several times, and the Miami Florida for our wedding annniversary.

5. Went to Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding in November. The wedding was really nice. Vegas is overrated.

6. I transitioned to being vegetarian in early February and have not looked back since (more on this in another post). SInce then, and especially more recently, I have revised my earlier doubts about being able to sustain a vegetarian diet, and I take back my earlier statement that vegetarian diets are not for everyone. I think that everyone CAN maintain a truly healthy vegetarian diet and I whole-heartedly support a whole-foods plant-based diet now. As I said, I’ll explain my position in another post, but I did want to include an introduction here.

7. Earlier this year (Feb/March?) I also transitioned to a gluten-free diet on the recommendation of my doctor (due to severe anemia, fatigue and other mineral imbalances). Since making the transition, I have felt a million times better – no fatigue, or anemia and I have so much more energy now than I did before! Apparently I must have been intolerant of wheat and gluten, and my system is so much better without them.

8. I plan on continuing to update Coffee Beans and Greens in a regular manner now. It will be taking on a new direction, as I learn more about my specific strengths and areas of interest in Nutrition. I hope to post more on healthy plant-based, wholesome foods and meals that people can incorporate into their diets, and explain the benefits of these meals and dishes. I will still include some fun, random posts from time-to-time, but I hope to explain more about my transition to vegetarian eating and why I think that it can be beneficial to us all.

9. I’m taking a photography workshop early next years so I do plan on having better photographs for ya’ll!

10. I hope that you continue reading and posting comments and suggestions!

With that, I’ll end for tonight. No pictures today, but I will be back soon with more posts – and do my best to keep this blog updated more regularly than my past experience has shown 🙂

MIA Blogger

Hi folks (I write this with a sheepish grin on my face)…I know I haven’t been very diligent about posting regularly and I’ve felt guilty about it for a week now 😦 When I first started the blog, I was trying to post daily….that went down to every other day, then twice a week…and now, I dread to even count the days I’ve missed. Actually – my last post was dated January 27th, so that’s about 2 1/2 weeks ago…eeek! Sorry!

Al I can say is that I’ve been busy with school work and still adjusting to life in Framingham….and the snow…:( School is going well so far. I have a Chem class, a Bio class (both of which have labs), and an on-line Nutrition class (which I love!). The labs do take up a great deal of time, and then there’s also the study and homework time to be factored in outside of that. So my weekly looks like the following:

Monday: Class from 8:30am – 11:30; home to get lunch and walk Folly; back to school for Bio lab from 2:30 – 5:30pm. Home, gym or yoga, dinner, walk Folly, Bed

Tuesday: No classes! Homework and study time for all classes. Chores, errands etc

Wednesday: Class from 8:30am – 11:30; home to get lunch and walk Folly; back to school for Chem lab from 1:30 – 5:30pm. Home, gym or yoga, dinner, walk Folly, Bed

Thursday: Class from 10:30am – 11:30; Homework, study, gym, chores

Friday: Class from 10:30am – 11:30; Homework, study, gym, chores

Saturday: Team in Training Mentoring!!!! (8am – 10am); Play time 🙂

Sunday: Catch up on homework, study, prep for Monday morning, laundry…yuck 😦

Sometimes on Tuesday afternoons, I’ll take my work to the Starbucks across the street (as I did today in preparation for a Chem exam on Friday)…so I end up looking like a classic grad student with laptop, notebook, pens, highlighters and a coffee cup, all spread across the table in a coffee shop corner…. (iphone picture)….

Cafe and homework

And such will be my life for the next few years as I work on my Masters degree…

In other news, as I highlighted above, I’m a mentor for Team in Training’s summer season this year – and helping the team train for the San Diego half-marathon in June! (I’m also participating in the run too). So most of my Saturday mornings will be spent training with the Central Mass team here….Now that’s something I don’t mind getting up early for on Saturday’s…and I mean that!! 6am Saturday mornings….bring it on (with extra strong coffee if you please 😉

– Cheers (and I promise to post again before two and a half weeks are up!)

Nutritional Yeast

Hi folks! Sorry I’ve been MIA for a week (yikes!) I’ve been trying to balance school, homework, work, household chores, dog-walking and digging my car out of the perpetual snow/blizzards we’ve been getting up here in Massachusetts…Grrrr…. I’ve really had my fill of snow – for a lifetime. This morning, I couldn’t even get out of my building because they hadn’t snowed our walkway yet! I didn’t mind wading through knee-deep snow, but poor Folly was awfully distraught and confused…she ended up “bounding” through my tracks in an attempt to make it to the parking lot….since the snow was higher than her!

All right…enough complaining about the snow… (well for now anyway..till our next snowstorm :)). Today, I thought I’d write a little about Nutritional Yeast and it’s benefits – particularly for vegetarian and vegan diets.

I have the Red Star brand of nutritional yeast at home:

nutritional_yeast

To begin with, it should be noted that Nutritional Yeast is NOT the same as Brewer’s Yeast which is used in baking, beer-making and producing wine through the mechanics of fermentation. Brewer’s yeast is “live” and the growth of the fungi (because that’s what yeast is!), the fermentation, generates the carbon dioxide and causes bread to rise, beer to be “brewed” and wine to be produced. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast so it does not cause any “fermentation.” As this article outlines, nutritional yeast is obtained from a different strain of fungi called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is grown on beet and cane molasses. It’s harvested, pasteurized and dried after the fermentation process is over and then packaged and sold as a nutritional supplement.

Nutritional Yeast is used by many vegetarians, vegans (and non-vegetarians) as a supplement because it is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber.

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Just 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of this parmesan cheese-like powder contains 4g of fiber, 8g of protein and an abundance of thiamin (670%), niacin (290%), folate (250%), riboflavin (590%), vitamin B6 (480%) and vitamin B12 (130%), plus 20% of our daily requirement for zinc (all percentages are based on a 2000 calorie diet. As noted above in the label, individual needs may differ based on individual calorie requirements). Nevertheless, at only 70 calories – that’s a whole lot of nutrition! Especially for vegans who sometimes may have a difficult time meeting their vitamin B6 and B12 requirements through other plant-foods alone (since vitamin B12 especially, is only found in animal products).

Taste and texture-wise, nutritional yeast is somewhat like a parmesan/cheddar cheese mix, in a powdered/flake form, and so it can be used in any way that you would use a shredded cheese. I like to sprinkle it on soups, salads, pasta and vegetables; you could also add it to stews, casseroles, curries and pasta dishes – or use it in place of parmesan cheese on pasta. Many vegans and vegetarians also like to make a nutritional yeast “queso” sauce out of it for dips and mac-and-“cheese” dishes. One recipe  for a Nutritional Yeast Queso sauce is on vegweb.com

I have yet to try the Queso sauce recipe with the nutritional yeast but I do plan on trying it at some point soon! Till then, I’ll keep sprinkling it on my salads, veggies and soups…If you haven’t tried nutritional yeast yet, give it a shot….you may find that you like it – and the nutritional benefits are definitely going to be a bonus!

– Cheers!

References:

Vegweb.com, Yeast DefinitionsRed Star Nutritional Yeast

Folly’s Birthday!

January 21st and it’s Folly’s 1st birthday! Happy Birthday to my little pumpkin 🙂 I’m so proud of her  – that she’s grown into such a spunky and adorable little puppy. Though now, she can’t be called a puppy anymore…she’s considered a young adult!

M says that when he first saw her, after I had just gotten her and she was only 3 months old, he wasn’t sure if she’d make it because she was so sick. She had a horrible cough (the shelter thought it was a respiratory infection) and was on antibiotics twice a day for a month and a half. It was supposed to get better in 2 weeks but unfortunately it dragged on. And she had no appetite and was so listless and weak. But she made it! My little champion…after weeks of crushing her pills into her food twice a day so that she would take them. I tried hiding the whole pills in bits of cheese but after a while she clued in, and mastered the art of eating the cheese and then spitting out the pill. So I ended up having to crush them into her food. Well, it eventually worked! And she’s a healthy munchkin now 🙂

Folly also got three new bowls for her birthday (yes – I’m feeding my bowl obsession vicariously through my pup).

A green one with paw prints on it . . . and those are remnants of her breakfast in it.

green bowl

And then two small pink ones for when we travel . . . and just because they were so cute!

 

Diva bowls 

Love the Diva bowl 🙂

diva bowl1

 

And then I spent the rest of today studying Chemistry…since I just started classes.

chem book

Next week, I’ll be starting Biology and my first Nutrition class. It’s going to be a long road to getting my Master’s in Nutrition and RD credential… Sometimes I feel like I need a pep talk when I think about how long it’s going to take me… till 2014 because of all my science pre-requisites. And of course I keep second-guessing myself and wondering if I made the right decision by going back to school. But as I’ve said to myself and others before, “Go for it,”…No looking back…If things don’t work out, you can deal with them then…

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend…and send some happy vibes this way ;)!

– Cheers!

Fish-tailing and Icicles

It’s ironic how I hate the cold – and yet I keep moving further north every few years…The thought of a warm, sunny beach sounds incredibly good right now… considering this is what it’s like up in the Boston/Framingham area:

snowed in again

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One of these days, maybe when I’m done with school again, I’ll convince M to move down south 🙂 To sunny Florida or even the west coast… We’ll see…

Anyway, this morning, after digging M’s truck out of the snow to go to campus and get my parking pass and ID (since classes start later this week), I ventured out of our parking lot onto the main road. . .  only to fishtail everywhere, freak out and frantically call M saying, “I can’t drive this truck…I’m fish-tailing…going to crash,” (I had pulled over by this time). Well at least his truck has 4 wheel drive because switching to that certainly helped and averted any crisis 🙂 Poor M had a worse time with my little car. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not driving anywhere else in this weather today… just too dangerous…Sunny Florida is sounding even better…

The only thing I think I actually enjoyed about the cold this morning was seeing these beauties hanging off the bush outside…

icicles2

Beautiful icicles …

But I will still take a warm, sunny beach over these frozen droplets of water any day 🙂

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