What Do You Mean He Don’t Eat No Meat?

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If you aren’t a Big Fat Greek Wedding fan, then you probably don’t understand today’s post title. If you are, then I hope you are firing me up some lamb on a spit in your front yard 😉

Let’s be honest, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding we all judged Ian Miller a little bit when we found out he “didn’t eat no meat.” When it comes to dietary trends or “fads” that we don’t understand it’s very easy to judge if they don’t fall in line with our own beliefs.

Did I ever think I would go meatless or at least attempt it, no? Did I also think I would be diagnosed with a genetic mutation of my collagen, definitely not. Before I had educated myself I thought animal protein was our only protein source. Not only that, but I felt there was no a way a human could be healthy without it. Boy, was I wrong.

I realize that .05% of my friends will cut meat because of me but next time you’re buying meat, all I ask if that you buy for the quality and not from the discount bin. We spend so much money on material things like designer clothing, the latest Apple product, Daily Starbucks runs and maintaining our car(s) but we roll our eyes at locally sourced, non hormone injected food because it’s priced too high? Why do we care more about making sure our car runs properly or outfits are on point but won’t splurge on what it makes us well? I don’t understand that.

WHY GO MEATLESS?

Some of you may have noticed a new trend going around called #MeatlessMondays on social media. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. And going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. Not only that, but you can save some money when grocery shopping!  Tip: avoid the aisles and stick simply to the produce section. I went shopping for the week on Sunday and guess what my bill was at Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck? $21! You know why? Because I didn’t buy packaged, processed crap and I didn’t need to buy meat.

I truly did not become passionate about this until my Geneticist encouraged I go meatless but the onion has been peeled and now that I am informed, it truly cannot go ignored. I feel better than I ever have by eating mainly fruits and vegetables and encourage this dietary lifestyle to anyone who feels ill often, or has any family history of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc.

Start slow and see the changes for yourself.

For this upcoming Monday, Go Meatless with this delicious taco recipe. DO IT!

COCONUT CRUSTED AVOCADO TACOS

INGREDIENTS

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KIWI SALSA

3 kiwis. peeled and diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1/4 cup packed cilantro, chopped

1 small red pepper, sliced (or to taste)

1/2 fresh lime, juiced

pinch of sea salt

CASHEW LIME CREAM

1/2 cup raw cashews

2 tbs lime juice

pinch of sea salt

COCONUT CRUSTED AVOCADO

2 avocados, pitted and sliced

a squeeze of lime juice

3/4 cup shredded coconut (or as needed to coat)

THE BEANS

1 tsp coconut oil for cooking

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 can of beans (depending on party size)

1 tbs tomato paste

1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed

Prepare the kiwi salsa:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, set aside in the fridge.

Make the cashew cream:

  1. Rinse and drain the cashews. Place them in a blender with all of the ingredients and blend on high. Add water as needed, small amounts at a time, until you get a nice smooth consistency. Set aside in the fridge.

Cook the beans:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until tender (2-3 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add cooked beans, tomato paste, jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes and leave heat on simmer until the entire meal is complete.

Prepare and cook the coconut crusted avocados:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pit and slice the avocados into thin wedges and place onto a cookie tray lined in parchment paper. Squeeze lime juice all over the avocado slices, getting them nice and soaked. With your hands, sprinkle the shredded coconut covering the avocados until fully coated. Place into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Assemble the tacos:

  1. Warm up the tortillas in either the oven (wrap in foil) or microwave (wrap in damp paper towels). Place a spoonful of beans in the center of each tortilla, top with 2-3 avocado slices, top with pico, drizzle the cashew cream and enjoy!

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196 IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!

 

-C

You Mango Me Loco

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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.

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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

 

 

If Looks Could Kale

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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

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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

Chickpea Party

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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!

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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!

 

Pineapple Express

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PINEAPPLES // have improved immune function and reduce inflammation

The immune system protects our bodies against diseases, fights off harmful microorganisms and repairs damage.

Test tube studies have shown that bromelain strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation.

Animal studies have also shown that bromelain may reduce the severity of inflammation, stimulate immune responses and have beneficial effects in asthma and allergic airway diseases.

Human studies have shown that intake of pineapple or a bromelain supplement, may shorten the duration of sinus infections, stimulate immune responses, prevent the formation of blood clots and reduce inflammation.


Last week I discussed a way to boost your immune system; passion fruit. This Monday’s ingredient gives me even more excitement…turns out pineapple not only can strengthen your immune system but also reduce inflammation. I will be honest, I never really obsessed over pineapples because I always chose the fruits rich in antioxidants first (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries) because I felt they offered me more benefit. Someone who gets recurring sinus infections and has a crappy immune system, I really should have been incorporating pineapples into my diet more frequently.

Over the last few years I have been avoiding antibiotics at all costs. I used to get sinus infections quarterly and my ENT handed out antibiotics and a steroid shot like candy! I trusted his judgement but after being on 4-6 antibiotics a year, I started to wonder what they were doing to my body…there is no way it’s good that someone be on them this often. After some research I found out that just one round of antibiotics can alter your good gut bacteria for up to one year. (Gut to brain health is a fairly new topic in the medical world but it truly is something to read up on…)

I started treating my sinus infections naturally and haven’t needed an antibiotic since. I truly was dependent on them because of the blinding pain the sinus infections caused but I just needed to be patient vs needing that quick fix. I now use a Neti-pot every morning, eat foods that aid in inflammation and load up on H20. It may take a little longer to get rid of them but it turns out I am able to get rid of them without medication. I even get them much less than I used to.

If it wasn’t for my EDS, I never would have started researching these fun food facts. Food truly can be medicinal and I can thank my mother for mentioning the bromelain that is in pineapples and how helpful it can be. For my next sinus infection I will definitely be loading up on pineapple!

Her fun fact inspired this delicious dish. I made it for breakfast but it can be made for any meal or snack. Enjoy!

Pineapple Express Yogurt Bowl

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1 passion fruit

1/2 cup pineapples

1/2 cup raspberries

3/4 cup granola

3 tablespoons chia seeds

  1. Combine all above ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Enjoy!

 

-C

Snap, Crackle, Pomegranate

POMEGRANATES // have impressive anti-inflammatory effects.

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Chronic Inflammation is among the leading drivers of many killer diseases. This includes heart disease, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes.

These anti-inflammatory properties are mediated by the antioxidant properties of the punicalagins.

Test tube studies have shown that it can reduce inflammatory activity in the digestive tract, as well as in breast cancer and colon cancer cells.

When it comes to the syndrome I have (EDS), an anti-inflammatory diet is the best way for me to be pain and symptom free from many different issues affecting my body — sinuses, gut, joints and heart to name a few. Unfortunately, SO MANY of the foods we ingest cause inflammation.

 Just because my condition benefits from an anti-inflammatory diet, doesn’t mean others couldn’t benefit from one, too. I personally have benefited from removing gluten from my diet which is why I am so passionate about what I eat. These benefits include improvements with my heart, thyroid, skin, migraines and chronic sinus issues.

Removing these common ingredients from our diets (gluten, dairy, red meat, etc) is tough to do consistently and should require proper discussion and follow up/blood work thru your doctor or licensed nutritionist. You must make sure you’re not denying your body proper vitamins and nutrients thru elimination.

I personally encourage this lifestyle for those who have the above diseases running in their families; obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and/or Alzheimer’s. Not only those diseases but also if you’re suffering from IBS, Celiac/gluten intolerance, thyroid issues and/or migraines. Choose a health issue that is ailing you and eat the foods that will counteract the symptoms. Food can act as powerful medicine.

Heads up — those who don’t realize yet (or care) that food can improve how you feel, will give you grief for this lifestyle. People can simply be jerks when it comes to something that’s not the norm but stand strong because you CAN change the way you feel.

If you could prevent these diseases from reducing your quality of life, why wouldn’t you? What if it could be as simple as a dietary lifestyle change? DO IT. Cast aside whatever is holding you back, and do know feeling better can be done effectively and affordably.

Alzheimer’s currently affects my grandfather and all I want to do is force my father and siblings on a gluten free, anti-inflammatory diet, but that is not up to me. It truly doesn’t hit most people that a dietary change is necessary until they are faced with something so life changing that they have no other choice. What breaks my heart is the group that still won’t change even when they’re facing something that could kill them. I am constantly reminded not many people care about nutrition like I do which is why “The Informal Grub” was born. I care deeply about my friends and family and just want them educated, happy and to live forever. Is that too much for a girl to ask??

I will end my rant and give you guys a super quick and easy snack packed with a powerful antioxidant which will aid with inflammation…Pomegranates! Great for on the go or just a quick snack to make at home.

Snap, Crackle, Pomegranate Rice Cakes

Rice cake

Almond Butter

1 Banana

Pomegranate Arils

Teaspoon of Chia Seeds

  1. Spread the almond butter on the rice cake
  2. Cut the banana into half inch slices and place on top of almond butter
  3. Sprinkle the pomegranate arils on top
  4. Finally, sprinkle the chia seeds on top
  5. ENJOY!

 

-C

 

 

Turmeric // You’re Golden

“Turmeric is extremely effective due to curcumin.  It is the best aid in treating many anti-inflammatory diseases.  Psoriasis, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis and many more.” -Authority Nutrition

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Turmeric entered my life about 6 months ago after coming across a few articles on Facebook, the most trusted science source we know of, obviously.

For those who aren’t very familiar yet here is a blurb from WebMD, another extremely trusted source…

“Turmeric is a plant. You are probably familiar with turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine.

Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomachbloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems and gallbladder disorders.

It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems.

Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, inflammatory skin conditions, soreness inside of the mouth, and infected wounds.”

When I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) I decided early on I did not want to mask its symptoms with medications.  I wanted to face the pains and struggles face on, free of pain killers, injections and medications. The only medication I take currently is for my POTS, Midodrine 5mg, 3x daily. Without that medication I would not be a functioning adult in society. How I survived that long without it, I will never know. Shout out to my Geneticist.

We live in a world now where we can be our own doctors and cheerleaders through proper research. I am fortunate enough to work as a Pharmaceutical rep in the Medical Center and have access to wonderful knowledge and doctors day, too but I still found myself digging deeper than they were, especially when it came to a nutritional + holistic approach. Doctors have dedicated their lives to medication vs food and I respect that but know food can heal me just as well if not better, in some instances. I say that due to my Hypothyroidism being now stable and my MVP “dormant” at the moment since going Gluten Free. I now don’t take Synthroid; cutting gluten in my medicine, yo.

After reading a few articles from trusted sources I decided to start ingesting some form of Turmeric everyday to combat the inflammation that occurs in my body and joints.

A study has recently showed that Turmeric is as effective as Ibuprofen.

If you are down to introducing turmeric into your life, here are a few ways to get your daily dose.

Turmeric + Almond Milk

-1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

-6oz of your choice of milk (I use Almond Milk)

-stir well

-chug baby chug

Hot Tea +Fresh Turmeric

-boil one cup of desired tea (Ginger, Lemon, Mint, etc)

-thinly slice 1-inch of fresh turmeric root

-add turmeric and let steep

-swallow those bad boys on your final sip

Morning Smoothie + Turmeric

-1 to 2 cups of kale

-1 banana

-handful of strawberries

-1/2 cup blueberries

-1 cup almond milk

-handful of ice cubes

-2 teaspoons of chia seeds

-1 inch piece of fresh turmeric root

Smoothies can make more than one cup so seal your extras properly and save it for the next day. Freshly blended veggies//fruit stay ingestible for 24-hours. Feel free to add the juice from half of a fresh lemon to cut the bite of the kale.

Enjoy!

-C