What a weekend, it could not have been any more perfect! Bridal shower, bachelorette party, early mornings, late nights, vegan cakes, dancing, and lots of driving, needless to day, I am a little bit sluggish today. But like I always say, nothing a couple big doses of green smoothie and lots of water can’t fix right up!
I was talking with a dear friend of mine this weekend who has been struggling with her weight ever since she can remember. Obsessed with food, her weight, and her body, she is exhausted, with no idea how to end this cycle. Having tried every diet imaginable, she found solitude when she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. But life as a young thriving 20-something female has constant demands that have caused her to put herself – and her health- in the shadows. Still adhering to a mainly vegetarian and somewhat vegan diet, she tries to remain true to her beliefs, but for some reason her health – and weight – has taken a nose dive – or more like a skyrocket. Frustrated with where her life is going she confided in me her battle with food, society and expectations, and weight.
She is like so many of us who are just tired of chasing our tails. Frustrated, always trying to “make up” for something we’ve eaten or done “wrong”, we continue on this cyclic road of destruction until we completely deplete ourselves of any will. This is the point that we either make a change for the better or for the worse. Often times siding with genes for being the culprit behind our struggles (which I hope all of you know by now that they only play a small aspect in our road to health, it’s what you give your body that determines your well-being, our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for). Luckily, my friend has made a turn for the better and decided to once again take hold of her health and her life.
Lost with where to even begin, I told her to start basic. The mind-body connection has been thrown off and needs some attention. Devoting time to yourself and making your health a priority will only help you physically, emotionally, professionally, and financially. This does not just mean taking an hour for yourself to sit and relax, but also preparing the freshest and most healthy food available, exercising, meditating and getting plenty of quality sleep (as a matter of fact, sleep has been found to have a profound affect on health and weight management). We are all deserving of health and happiness, and as noble as many people think it is to put other before themselves, they are actually only doing themselves harm in the end – you can not take care of others if you can not take care of yourself.
In terms of helping you beyond the physical and emotional aspects, a healthy lifestyle will improve your professional and financially. Yes, up front you may spend a little more on the highest quality organic foods, but in the long run you are investing in your life and healthy – both of which you can not put a price tag on. This up front cost is significantly less than that of numerous visits with doctors and medications that you may need otherwise. Professionally, you will be more productive, have a clearer mind and memory, have a brighter disposition, more energy and fatigue less easily. All because you made the decision to be good to yourself and make yourself and your health a priority.
I advised her to take a look at her diet to see where she may be straying. It is easy to make unhealthy choices as a vegetarian just as any other diet, but by taking a closer inspection of her daily intake she could see some possible problem areas. I also told her to start her day with a big class of water, followed by some yoga or meditation, and then a giant nutrient packed smoothie once she feels hungry. For this first week while she gets back on track, I recommended maybe she do green smoothies all day long (4 to 6) to give her a much-needed boost, otherwise she could do nutritionally dense salads for lunch and dinner. Once she has begun to feel good again, I suggested slowly adding back other vegan and vegetarian foods, in smaller portions and only when she truly wanted them, but to be sure she is getting a variety of foods in her diet to not become bored, malnutrition, or feelings of restriction or deprivation.
Speaking of making a healthy lifestyle a priority, lets talk about healthy food. Vegan Mexican Pizza to be exact. Here is the recipe I promised from the last post.
Vegan Mexican Pizza
1 store-bought organic whole-wheat dough (thank you Trader Joe’s)
1 can black beans – drained and rinsed
1/2 c. fresh salsa
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. sliced peppers (red, green, yellow, orange – your choice)
1/2 c. sliced yellow summer squash (or zucchini)
1 medium tomato – sliced 1/4″ rounds
1/2 c. fresh or frozen corn
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
On a flowered surface, spread your dough out to the thickness you like. I prefer a thin crust pizza so I rolled the dough out to roughly 1/4″ in thickness.
In a blender or food processor combine beans, salsa, and spices. Spread this mixture onto your pizza dough. This is your “sauce” of your pizza. Next, arrange the peppers, squash, tomatoes, and corn on your pizza as you like.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pizza – be sure to check it regularly.
After it is fully cooked, sprinkle the nutritional yeast on the top of the pizza and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
Cut into squares and enjoy!