You Mango Me Loco

You Mango Me Loco

IMG_5223

MANGOES // rich in beta-carotene

Beta-carotene is a powerful carotenoid. This element of mango helps to enhance the immune system and make it impervious to bacteria and toxins.

Excess beta-carotein is also transformed into Vitamin A. This is another antioxidant vitamin and gives you additional protection from the free radicals that harm your internal systems.

Mangoes increase your chances of living a disease-free life.


Today’s post is one that is near and dear to my heart currently.

Starting around 2005 I was getting sick nearly every 30 days. I paired it with living the life of a college student; poor sleeping hours, binge drinking  at Bogie’s bar and Canes chicken fingers on repeat.

Fast forward to my post college life where I started cleaning up my diet and drinking less. I was still getting sick almost every 30 days…colds, light fevers, bronchitis, sinus infections, repeat.

When I had learned I had Celiac Disease, it finally made sense as to why I was always sick. Celiac disease wrecks your immune system but not only that, I was not fueling my body with the correct nutrition. For starters, I was harming my body by eating gluten but also I wasn’t making fruit and veggies the main focal point of my meals.

After my Cardiologist and Geneticist both encouraged new dietary restrictions, I knew it was time to take the plunge; take the sarcastic comments from those who aren’t in the know on nutrition acting as medicine nd heal my body the right way..with clean eating. Think gluten free + Vegan + fish…but sometimes chicken and beef. Moderation and source is key with your animal products. I one day hope to be solely vegan plus fish but until then I will ingest the best local sources of my animal products.

After being committed my new diet (lifestyle) I now can say I am 5lbs from my target weight set by my Geneticist and have not been sick in 174 days!!!

You guys seriously don’t understand how HUGE this is for me and others who struggle with this disease(s). Imagine being sick for over 10 years around the clock, struggling to gain weight, dealing with the harshness of people/strangers comments that can’t see the struggle and still moving forward with a plan people don’t fully comprehend.

I have made it my life goal to live well and feel well despite my diagnoses and I love seeing the strides I have made.

With that being said, let’s get started on this delicious Mango Salsa recipe!

The other weekend, I got to spend some time at my sister and her husband’s beach cabin. With the weather being so hot, we wanted to have something refreshing for dinner. Whenever I think of refreshing meals, I always think of lime juice which then makes me think of ceviche. After some more brainstorming, we settled on shrimp tacos with a mango salsa. Yum!

This salsa is super versatile. It can be paired with shrimp, scallops, salmon, white fish, chips, etc. etc.

IMG_5202

MANGO SALSA

1/2 mango diced

1 heirloom tomato diced

1 small red onion diced

handful of chopped cilantro

1 fresh lime juiced

  1. Add all above ingredients in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until main dish is cooked
  2. Top desired dish with mango salsa or use as a dip
  3. Enjoy!

174 days IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!

 

-C

 

 

Life’s a Peach

Life’s a Peach

IMG_4819

PEACHES // the zen fruit

Peaches are often referred to as the “Fruit of Calmness” in Hungary.

Peaches are a healthy stress-reliever that help reduce anxiety. Who new something so tasty could be so beneficial?


There are two things that I love so much…summer salads and peach season! Today’s salad basically encompasses both of my loves and it’s also a crowd -pleaser.

Who doesn’t love something cool and refreshing during the Houston melt-fest that is our summer?

This past weekend, I got to spend sometime with my family at the beach which was so nice but we all couldn’t help to notice that even the nice coastal breeze was hot! When we were planning dinner, all we were craving was light and refreshing. I knew it was a great time to whip out this salad recipe.

I am a big fan of simple recipes and quick to whip up –this salad is definitely those things. If you’re in the market for a new summer salad, see below!

IMG_4506

PEACH SUMMER SALAD

2-3 peaches

2 heirloom tomatoes

1 ball of mozzarella di bufala

1 small bundle of basil

6-8 slices of proscuitto

 2 heads of greens of your choosing (I now have used kale, arugula and spinach)

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  1. Rinse and dry the lettuce and rip larger leaves in shreds
  2. Slice the peaches and tomatoes into wedges
  3. Assemble the salad by laying the lettuce down on the bottom, scatter the peaches and tomatoes over the lettuce
  4. Tear the mozzarella over the salad
  5. Spread the basil over the salad
  6. Lay slices of prosciutto throughout the salad
  7. To make the dressing, whisk together the EVOO and balsamic vinegar
  8. Drizzle desired amount on top of the salad
  9. Enjoy!

169 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

-C

 

Guac-Amoré

Guac-Amoré

variety-hero-2014

AVOCADOS // contain more potassium than a banana

Potassium is a nutrient that most people are not getting enough of. This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells and serves various important functions.

Avocados are actually very high in potassium…with a 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving containing 14% of the recommended daily amount (RDA), compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high potassium food.

Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.


Today’s meal share is not just one recipe but THREE! I normally only share one but this pic shows the entire meal, so why not share the whole thing? They all can be whipped up in no time, so sharing them all is no big thang.

On the Menu:

-White fish tacos topped with guacamole and pomegranate seeds

-Black beans topped with goat cheese

-Chopped kale salad with mangoes and toasted pumpkin seeds, lightly tossed in grapeseed oil

IMG_4054

It all may sound complex but it was one of the quickest meals to make and for this night’s case, it was for a lot of hungry mouths!

What makes these dishes so nice is that they each have that one ingredient that really makes the flavors pop. For the salad, it’s the mangoes, for the tacos, it’s the pom seeds and for the beans it’s the goat cheese. You don’t need to focus on much seasoning since its all right there in the ingredients.

So, the next time you’re wanting to cook for a large group or just don’t have the energy to put some time into dinner, try out this meal.

CHOPPED KALE SALAD

1 bunch of kale (feeds 2-3 people per bunch)

1 thawed bag of frozen mangoes (highly recommend the Trader Joe’s version)

Half a bag of toasted pumpkin seeds

2 tbs of grapeseed oil

  1. Remove kale from stems and pulse briefly in a blender/food processor until the entire bunch has been blended. Add to salad bowl.
  2. Lightly toss the salad with 1-2 tbs of grapeseed oil, massaging it into the kale (this helps you get more nutrients from the kale)
  3. Pour the entire bag (juice, too) of mangoes on top of the salad
  4. Lightly toast pumpkin seeds in a saute pan on the stove. Make sure you keep your eye on these bad boys, if they sit too long they will burn…take my word for it. Stir occasionally and then once lightly toasted, pour on top of the salad
  5. Place in the fridge until the rest of your meal is cooked and plated.

BLACK BEANS

1 can organic black beans

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. Heat beans on stove and when ready, serve in a bowl and top with goat cheese

WHITE FISH TACOS

fresh Halibut filets (or any other white fish of your choosing)

pre-made guacamole

packaged pomegranate seeds

corn tortillas

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

paprika

Side Note:  I meant it when I said this was a quick recipe. The guacamole was pre-made from Whole Foods and the pom seeds had been removed from the pom itself for me and placed into a plastic container…expensively contained but worth every penny. Have you ever tried to remove pom arils yourself? It might be worse than cutting up a mango. Just buy them pre-packaged from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Place your fish on a large metal tray lined in foil or parchment paper and season with your S, PP, paprika and sprinkle lightly with your red pepper flakes.
  3. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes (or until flaky)
  4. When you have a few minutes remaining, wrap your tortillas in a damp paper towel and place in the oven until warm.
  5. Once the tortillas are ready, top them with the fish, guac and then the pom seeds.
  6. Enjoy!

 

163 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

 

-C

If Looks Could Kale

If Looks Could Kale

easy-kale-recipes-400x400

KALE // packed with vitamin c

Vitamin C is an important nutrient. It is a water-soluble antioxidant that serves many vital functions in the body’s cells. For example, it is necessary to synthesize collagen, the most abundant structural protein in the body.

Kale is much higher in vitamin c than most other vegetables, containing about 4.5 times much as spinach. The truth is kale is actually among the world’s best sources of vitamin c.

A cup of raw kale even contains MORE vitamin c than a whole orange!


The one time I will ever be grateful for a long delayed flight is because of this recipe right here!

I had purchased only so many magazines and had scored a sweet spot to sit and charge my work iPad, so obviously I was not getting up until my flight came…or extreme restlessness ensued. So, there I was reading my Martha Stewart Living Mag for the third time and my eye caught this very small blurb about an easy kale pesto recipe.

Kale is a staple in our house for 2 very simple reasons–Ryan is obsessed with Morgan’s Kale Salad and I love it in my smoothies, ergo, we keep it in the fridge on the reg. So, when this recipe came into my life after skimming over it time and time again, I knew it had to be made for the upcoming Meatless Monday.

There is nothing more exciting than reading a new recipe and realizing that all of it’s ingredients are staples in the house.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Above it discusses how vitamin c is crucial to the body’s cells, it is necessary to synthesize collagen. Something that I am curious about when it comes to my own (genetically mutated) collagen, is mine being synthesized? Is the vitamin c intake truly benefiting towards the protection of my collagen? I ask this to myself often when healing my body with food because since my collagen is genetically mutated (Ehlers’s Danlos Syndrome) it cannot be altered back into a “normal” state. So, the question is, Am I eternally doomed and I will just deal with the natural degradation of my collagen or can I maintain it with diet? Time shall tell, won’t it?

Until then, let’s stuff our face with some really great food that will keep us alive and happy forever 😉

KALE PESTO PASTA

IMG_3724

INGREDIENTS

(feeds 2)

1-2 gloves of garlic

1/2 cup almonds toasted

1/4 cup Parmesan finely grated

10 oz kale (or any leafy green)

1/2 cup EVOO (I use grapeseed oil)

sprinkle of coarse salt (I use Celtic sea salt)

1 box of linguine pasta

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

cherry tomatoes

  1. In a food processor, pulse garlic and almonds until finely chopped.
  2. Add cheese and half of greens, pulse until combined.
  3. Add remaining greens, pulse to a paste.
  4. With the motor running, pour in the oil.
  5. Season with salt
  6. Top with goat cheese and tomatoes
  7. Enjoy!

119 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

 

-C

You GUAC My World

You GUAC My World

variety-hero-2014

AVOCADOS // people who eat them tend to be healthier

One study looked at the dietary habits and health of people who eat avocados. They analyzed data from 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the U.S.

Avocado consumers were found to be much healthier than people who didn’t eat avocados. They had much higher nutrient intake and were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that are a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

People who ate avocados regularly also weighed less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat. They also had more HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.


For those of you who are close to me or read my blurbs know that I am trying to eat less meat for inflammation purposes. To get myself to lower my animal protein intake, we have started doing Meatless Mondays in hopes that I can get enough staple meals to have Meatless Wednesday’s, Fridays, etc. relying less and less on meat.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice bloody steak or a well-dressed chicken breast but the way I feel after I eat them just isn’t worth the frequent intake, nor the long-term effects it has on my body. I will not judge or preach to other meat-eating family members or friends since I do miss the stuff and realize the nutritional benefits. But, like I said, this is for my health and I am determined to feel like a normal, healthy, adventure-seeking individual.

For a recent Meatless Monday, I came up with a dish that became an instant classic. Not only because it was delicious, but it also could be stored in the freezer and enjoyed time and time again. I love a good comfort meal and this one really hit the spot.

If you feel like trying a fun, new weekly tradition, try Meatless Monday’s! You will be very surprised to find how filling these meatless meals can be!

 

VEGAN CHILI SMOTHERED SWEET POTATO

(Feeds 4)

IMG_3237

INGREDIENTS

4 sweet potatoes (1 per person)

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans tomato sauce

2 cans diced tomatoes or 5 roma tomatoes, diced

1 4oz can chopped green chilies

5 cups veg. stock

2 tbs chili powder

1 tbs ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp black pepper

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

avocado, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips or Fritos, green onions, sour cream, salsa, etc.

  1. Add all ingredients (except the sweet potatoes) to a slow cooker and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  2. Taste and season with additional Salt, PP or seasonings, if need be.
  3. When there are 1-2 hours left of slow cooking, wrap your sweet potatoes in foil and place in the oven on 425 until soft (between 1-2 hours)
  4. Serve immediately, garnish with extra toppings.
  5. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  6. Enjoy!

105 days IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!

-C

Chickpea Party

Chickpea Party

IMG_1335-1.jpg

CHICKPEAS // help support wound healing and bone development

Garbanzo beans also contain vitamins and minerals and significantly boost your intake of manganese and folate.

The mineral manganese helps support bone development and would healing and also help carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism.

A 1-cup serving of chickpeas contains 1.7 milligrams of manganese, approximately 94% of the daily recommended intake for women, or 74% of the RDA for men, according to the Linus Pauling institute.

Folate,  or Vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication and protects against genetic mutations that contribute to cancer development.

Eating a cup of chickpeas provides you with 282 micrograms of folate, or 71% of your daily folate requirements, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center.


 

Some “fun” issues that come from having EDS (Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome) & Celiac is that my wounds don’t heal as well and I am at risk of osteoporosis. Unfortunately, my bone density is decreasing (slowly) but luckily thru research I have found ways that hopefully can help me in these departments.

When I came across the benefits of chickpeas, I knew they needed to be added to my daily regiment. Thank goodness for Instagram because I have come across so many recipes to integrate them into wonderful meatless but protein packed meals!

Do I know if this will help with my bone density or wound healing? No, but I am willing to experiment with really delicious and nutrient-packed meals to find out!

Today’s recipe was very easy to make and definitely out of the norm of what I typically create. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

IMG_2887

CHICKPEA AND COCONUT CURRY SPINACH SOUP

2 tbs olive oil

1/2 onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced

1.5 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed

1 tbs lemon juice

4 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

salt + pp to taste

  1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over low heat
  2. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add in garlic, curry, red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes
  4. Add in the coconut milk and chickpeas, bring to a gentle boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Lastly, add in the lemon juice and spinach and cook for 1 minute until the spinach leaves are lightly wilted.
  6. Taste, season with salt and pp and serve warm.
  7. Enjoy!

90 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

 

Quinoa pronounced KEEN-WAH

Quinoa pronounced KEEN-WAH

index

QUINOA // high in minerals that most do not get enough of

There are many nutrients in the modern diet that people tend to be lacking in.

This is particularly true of some minerals…especially Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and (for women) Iron.

Interestingly, quinoa is very high in all 4 minerals. It is particularly high in magnesium, with one cup having about 30% of the recommended daily amount.

The problem is that quinoa contains a substance called phytic acid, which can bind these minerals and reduce their absorption.

However, by soaking and/or sprouting the quinoa before cooking it, you can reduce the phytic acid content and make these minerals more bio-available.


Most dinners I plan days in advance but with this one that was NOT the case. I literally threw things together that were in my pantry and quite honestly I got lucky with the outcome!

I always keep quinoa, beans and sweet potatoes on hand and I bought a pre-made butternut squash soup that I had been meaning to play around with. I found it in the same section where you would buy broth.

If you’re in the mood for something easy, protein-packed and filled with carotenoids, here you go!

Butternut Squash Soup + Stuffed Sweet Potato

IMG_2653

(Serves 2)

32oz Pacific brand Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

1 can black beans

2 sweet potatoes

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

S & PP to taste

  1. Set oven to 425, wrap sweet potatoes in foil and cook until soft (60-75 minutes)
  2. Soak/rinse uncooked quinoa for a few minutes before cooking
  3. Add quinoa with 2 cups water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until fluffy. Set aside.
  4. Pour entire soup mix into medium sized pot and turn heat to medium low and simmer, adding the almond milk and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add black beans to a small pot a cook on low
  6. Once all of the above has been cooked, pour the soup into bowls and add your desired amount of black beans and quinoa.
  7. Top sweet potatoes with beans and quinoa.
  8. Enjoy!

65 days IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

(I HAVE NEVER GONE THIS LONG WITHOUT GETTING SICK)