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The other week I met my friend for yoga and dinner at a vegan café in Coconut Grove. It’s an adorable spot, with smoothies, salads, and even vegan pizza. They have so many customizable options, so I decided to create my own salad. Walnut meat was on the menu and I was intrigued – I’d never heard of it before. I selected my ingredients along with some vegan cream sauces and waited…
It was so delicious, all I could do was wonder how I’d never heard of walnut meat before! Making walnut meat was immediately on my to-do. I figured it couldn’t be all that tricky – and I was right, piece of cake! Plus, it was high-time I posted a non-smoothie recipe up here!
Walnut Meat Tacos will Make Your Summer so Deliciously Nutritious
Not to mention summer weather calls for tacos! I decided to add some smoked paprika to the mix cause it’s just so smokin and delicious. 😉 I love smokey flavor mixed with nuts, so I figured it would add some nice dimension to the flavor profile of the walnut meat.
Not to mention – it’s raw! No cooking required!! This is one of those recipes that makes a plant-based diet – and a raw diet for that matter – actually doable. Because what is life without tacos.
Walnut Nutrition and Health Benefits
Truthfully, I’ve also been wanting to get some more walnuts into my diet. Walnuts are packed with Omega-3s, one of the essential fatty acids. They also contain a good amount of vitamin E and some B vitamins, as well as iron, selenium, calcium, and zinc. They also contain the good fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
More intriguing to me are the potential brain-boosting benefits of walnuts. Both the phytochemicals and polyunsaturated fats have potential benefits for brain health and brain function. The omegas help reduce oxidative stress in the brain. Not only that, but they also help improve neurogenesis – the creation of neurons – and brain signaling.
The vitamin E, folate, and ellagic acid all contribute neuroprotective and memory benefits to the brain.
There is also some evidence that omega-3s can play a role in mood disorders. Eating walnuts has also been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. In fact, some research has found that walnut consumption may improve the health of our microbiome – and therefore our overall health – by altering the composition of our gut microbial community.
How to Make Walnut Taco Meat
Walnut meat is a food after my heart (and my taste buds)! It literally takes under 60 seconds to make. Plus it’s both vegan and non-vegan approved taste-wise. Everyone who has tried it (yes, non-vegans included!) has asked for the recipe… so here ya go!
You take the walnuts, spices, and coconut aminos (soy or tamari work too if you eat them), and throw them all into a food processor. Pulse a few times until the walnuts are reduced to tiny bits and they’re only just beginning to clump together (and look like, yes, ground meat!).
That’s all folks! Simple ingredients. No cooking required. Literally just seconds. And I promise your taste buds will thank you forever. You’re welcome.
Regular paprika totally works for this recipe as well if you’re not into the smoked paprika, or simply don’t have it on hand.
The Best Ways to Eat Walnut Taco Meat
First – duh – make a taco! But if you’re gluten-free like I am, taco shells present a problem. Fortunately I found these gluten-free grain-free tortillas and they’re a total game-changer. Delicious yet easy on the stomach, and they don’t fall apart! I fill the taco with the walnut meat, a little bit of chopped greens, some avocado, and salsa, and bam #tacotuesday just got elevated to every day!
I am also a big fan of taco salads. This walnut meat is perfect for that. I’ll just throw some greens into a bowl and top it off with the walnut meat, avocado, salsa, maybe throw in some cucumber and diced tomato, and sprinkle it with nutritional yeast and perhaps a dash of turmeric, smoked paprika, cumin, or all of the above!
Also on the list is lettuce wraps – a combination of the previous two options. Easy, healthy, and oh-so-satisfying!
Whip up a batch of this taco-flavored walnut meat at the beginning of the week and you’ll be sorted for days.
Smoked Paprika Walnut Taco Meat
A flavorful plant-based version of the classic taco meat, made of just walnuts and a few seasonings and spices, ready in minutes!
- 1.5 cups walnuts use organic if possible
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- pinch cayenne
- lime juice
Add all the ingredients to a food processor.
Pulse until the walnuts are finely ground and the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Be careful not to process too much, otherwise it will turn into butter! A few quick pulses will go a long way – I do about 10-15 seconds max!
Well it’s official – I’m on an avocado smoothie kick! After last week’s green superfood avocado smoothie, I decided to get inspiration from my own recipe and made a dark chocolate avocado smoothie. Like the avocado chocolate mousse, this smoothie is super smooth and creamy, […]
Avocado Smoothie for Breakfast Anyone!?
We all know avocado toast has become a favorite go-to for breakfast. It’s hard to find a good breakfast or brunch menu without it. But an avocado smoothie!?
We all know I’m obsessed with avocados. They make any meal better, adding creamy deliciousness and healthy fats to keep you satisfied. You can even make a decadent vegan chocolate mousse with it, and – yes – even ice cream (coming soon!).
But one thing I’ve neglected is smoothies – how is it that I’ve never posted an avocado smoothie recipe!? I’ve added avocado to my go-to blueberry smoothies in the past to add a little extra creaminess, and yes, those healthy fats!
Going for the Green Avocado Smoothie, and Winning
But I decided to try a full-on avocado–forward, heavy-on-the-greens breakfast smoothie and oh wow I surprised even myself! As crazy as it might sound, trust me it’s worth a try.
I wanted to avoid all fruit in this avocado smoothie to create a low-sugar breakfast option, so I wasn’t entirely confident it would be a success. But it actually turned out to be pretty delicious… in my humble opinion!
I added vanilla protein powder to give it a touch of sweetness and a chunk of ginger to give it some zing. The cucumber keeps it fresh and adds some bulk, while the spinach blends in and boosts the nutrient-density. I added some almond milk and boom – an easy-peasy delicious smoothie recipe!
You’ve gotta like avocado to like this smoothie, but with all the health benefits they pack in, this smoothie is one hundred percent worth a try. Smoothies are a great on-the-go breakfast option, and this one will keep you satisfied all morning.
The Many Health Benefits of Avocados and Why You Should Add more Avocado to your Diet
Avocados are technically a fruit – but with all the healthy fats and only 2g of net carbs per serving due to their high fiber content, they are super low-carb friendly. The soluble fiber is a prebiotic, making them good for gut health.
They are also incredibly nutrient dense. Based on RDA standards, one serving includes:
- 26% vitamin K
- 20% folate
- 17% vitamin C
- 14% potassium (more than bananas! and most people don’t get enough)
- 14% vitamin B5
- 13% vitamin B6
- 10% vitamin E
- plus small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin)
Full of Healthy Fats – and why you shouldn’t be scared of fats
People are often concerned about the fat content of avocados – but you shouldn’t be. First off, we all need healthy fats in our diet. Many vitamins – such as vitamins A, D, K and E – are fat soluble, as are many antioxidants and micronutrients like carotenoids. Eating avocado with your veggies can dramatically improve the nutritional uptake from your food (aka how much of the nutrients you actually absorb).
Plus, fats are incredibly important for our brain and cell health. Our cell membranes are made up of fats and proteins.
Furthermore, avocados contain zero cholesterol or sodium, and for those who are concerned, they are low in saturated fats. The main fat is oleic acid, the same major component in olive oil, whose health benefits have been touted for years. Oleic acid is linked to reduced inflammation and has been shown to have a positive effect on cancer-linked genes.
In fact, avocados can actually help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Studies have shown they can also help lower HDL levels (the bad cholesterol) and increase LDL levels (the good cholesterol).
Avocados are Linked to Lower Rates of Disease and Possibly Cancer Prevention
Studies of people who regularly eat avocados have also found that they tend to have lower rates of metabolic disease (e.g. diabetes and heart disease), tended to weigh less, have a healthier BMI, and less belly fat. The caveat is that this study only showed correlation, not causation, so take these results with a grain of salt.
Furthermore, avocados have been linked to eye health. The nutrients contained in avocados can dramatically reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
While current research is limited, there is also evidence that avocados are good for cancer prevention. One study showed that the extract inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells, while another showed that they can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
How to Incorporate More Avocado into your Diet, and my favorite ways to eat avocado
Best of all – avocados are super dleicious and super easy to incorporate into your diet! Make guacamole, put it in a salad, pile it on your toast, make a creamy soup, top off your favorite savory dish…. even make dessert!
Or, blend it up to make an avocado smoothie like this one for a healthy, satisfying, nutrient-dense breakfast to keep you going all morning.
Creamy Avocado Green Smoothie
A creamy, satisfying, vegetable-heavy breakfast smoothie that packs in a nutrient-punch to start your day the right way!
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 large cucumber optional – use a frozen cucumber
- 1 cup spinach or a large handful
- 1 1/2 in piece of fresh ginger
- 1 cup almond milk coconut milk or other dairy-free milk of choice will work well
- 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored plant-based protein powder
- 1/2 tbsp raw honey to add a touch of sweetness... start low then add more to taste
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed, chia, or ground nut and seed mix of choice
- 1 serving adaptogens or greens potions of choice
Wash your vegetables and peel the ginger.
Throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!
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Miami Life: Good vibes and Sunshine
So I’ve been a little quiet on here lately, because I’ve been gearing up for a major move to Miami! It all happened very quickly and with everything going on I had to put my blog on pause. But wow what a month it has been!
I was at a point in my life were I needed a change, and things just fell into place so seamlessly, and here I am, living in South Beach. So far, I’m loving every second of it.
The sun shines bright, the people are warm and welcoming, and I’m feeling motivated.
Why I Decided to Pick Up and Move to Miami
The real reason I moved? #wintermademedoit. Truly, this past winter was incredibly long and difficult for me up in the tri-state. I decided I’d just had enough. I was fortunate to come down for a little girls weekend in early March, and it was cold, snowy, and windy on either end of my trip. Literally as soon as I landed, as I waited next to the baggage claim, I thought to myself, “What on earth am I doing!?”
That very night, I started researching the logistics of a move to Miami. Miami is still very much the adult playground we all know it to be. But when I came down in March, I got a more balanced taste of the city. The wellness scene down here is big – and it’s growing.
My Initial Glimpses of the Miami Wellness Scene
Sure many people are into healthy eating and fitness because they want to look good in their bikinis. But it definitely goes beyond that. I’ve been exploring the yoga studios and wellness offerings in my local area and I’m definitely impressed. I can find organic and vegan cafés and restaurants, lots of fresh juice places, and all the matcha and smoothies I could ever want a hop skip and a jump from my place in almost any direction.
Not to mention, I really hit the jackpot with my apartment – I’m four blocks away from Whole Foods! There’s a park half a block away, and I can walk to the beach in just ten minutes. For real I think I landed in my own version of paradise.
But there’s so much more to Miami than all of that. It’s a diverse and interesting city, big on art and chock full of culture. Fashion and design permeate the city.
Embracing the New and Going with the Flow
I was ready for a change. I arrived down in Miami on Sunday May 6, after a four day solo road trip with stops in DC, Wake Forest, Charleston, Savannah, and Reddick, Florida – stunning horse country. The road trip was an exhausting adventure in itself, but it was absolutely amazing.
My aim was to get down here by Sunday, because arriving on a Sunday seemed like a good idea. I’d have time to settle in and get down to sorting out logistics of fun things like parking permits that week. It also turned out that it was exactly two years to the day since I started treatment. Arriving to my new life in Miami exactly two years later seemed even more appropriate.
I arrived and immediately felt at home. My new roommate helped me unpack, and neighbors and friends were in and out all week. I had just landed in a new city and had already met a whole group of new friends. I wasn’t just busy settling into a new apartment, I was busy socializing and building a new social network.
Best of all, my new roommates and their whole group of friends are really into healthy eating and fitness. The weather is warm, and so are the people.
Possibility Mindset and Openness
But I think everything has been falling into place so well because of the mindset I adopted when I decided to move down here – I’m open to possibility. I’m embracing new opportunities, saying yes to (almost) everything that comes my way, and so far it’s all been wonderful.
I moved to Miami not just because I needed to escape the Winter. I am definitely extra sensitive to the cold, and I definitely need more warm weather in my life. But really I moved to Miami because I needed a fresh start. I moved to Miami because I wanted more – more of the healthy lifestyle that I’d begun to create for myself.
And that’s exactly what I’ve found: beach, sunshine, yoga, plenty of green juice, blue skies, and a clear mind. Count me as a very happy girl right now.
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