Product Reviews

Dazzle Dry Review

If you know me, you know that I’m always looking for the best non-toxic product possible. Nail polish is no exception. I’m also notorious for messing up my manicure within 5 minutes of leaving the nail salon. (Carrie can attest to this ????????‍♀️ ) I hate shellac polish for so so many reasons, but love that it would dry before I’d leave and would last up to 2 weeks. But unfortunately because of all of the reasons I don’t like it, I would still opt for a natural manicure with polish and ruin my nails the same day I paid to have them done.

Enter Dazzle Dry. Not only is this nail polish non-toxic and vegan, it dries in 5 minutes (no joke) and lasts up to 2 weeks (the longest I’ve had mine last and not chip was 1.5 weeks).  I discovered this awesome system after having my last professional manicure in January 2020. I was visiting Reno and had a manicure at the salon at the Silver Legacy Resort. The nail system they used was Dazzle Dry. My first experience blew me away. The nail technician assured me my nails would be dry before I even got to the counter to pay and she was right. My manicure life was forever changed in that moment.

Silly me, I didn’t know at the time what nail system it was that she had used. I just hadn’t paid close attention while it was happening. After some detective style Googling I found out it was Dazzle Dry and immediately placed my first order.

Cost

Yes, their products are a bit on the pricey side. But they are worth it! Especially since covid has made nail salons open and close at a head spinning rate. I’m able to give myself salon quality manicures at home AND the products are safe. 

There are specials online pretty regularly, so if you’re nervous to try I’d recommend waiting for a sale. Or you could even search for a coupon code online. Either way, you will love it. I’m so obsessed that it’s hard to not constantly buy new polish. 

The other factor is the the products are non-toxic and vegan. Buying a product that is better for you and the environment generally comes at a higher price tag. The upfront cost of Dazzle Dry is worth the long-term value.

Current Special!

Dazzle Dry has a special right now for the system. If you buy one, you can get one free with code BOGO50 at checkout. This would make an awesome gift for you and one of your favorite gals.

Nutrition and Food, Recipes

Vegan French Toast Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of Vegan Croissant Toast cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 12 oz silken tofu
  • 1, 13.5oz can of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2c frozen mixed berries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cut the bread slices into 1 inch cubes. Remove 2c of mixed berries and leave out on countertop to defrost a bit.
  3. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with a nonstick spray and add bread cubes.
  4. Blend tofu, coconut milk, arrowroot, sugar and cinnamon in your high speed blender to make a custard.
  5. Pour custard over bread cubes. Push cubes down to ensure they all get wet, or leave some dryer areas if you like a crunchy crust.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 20min.
  7. Pour mixed berries over the top and bake for another 20min. It’s ok if the berries are still frozen when you add them.
  8. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Tips

  1. Make sure your bread is dry- it works best if the bread is about 1 day past it’s best date. The dryer the bread the better the texture for this recipe. You can also substitute another type of french bread if you prefer.
  2. My husband and I like a mixture of texture so I like to only push down some of the bread and let other smaller areas remain untouched by the custard so that they come out a little crunchy. If you prefer soft texture make sure you have fully coated all of the bread pieces.
  3. Feel free to add more fruit if you like, 2c is an estimate of the amount I used.
  4. My husband really likes maple syrup on top; I prefer to keep it as is or to add some vanilla plant based yogurt ????
Year End New Calendar Done Over  - eliza28diamonds / Pixabay
Personal Care

Fitness Fun

With the launch of Apple Fitness+, I wanted to take this time to get excited for the upcoming new year and our inevitable resolutions. While not all resolutions have to or should be related to fitness, it can be really fun to have at least one of them be.

For the seasoned exerciser, maybe a resolution is to rest more. Or maybe to improve your mile time. For people who have given exercise a break with everything happening during 2020, 2021 might be a great year to check out some home workouts.

I love working out at home. Not only is it my own space, with my own equipment and no waiting for machines or weights, but I’m also free to workout when it works for me and to shower right after without having to wear flip-flops. I’m not a personal trainer or a Medical Doctor- you should always consult your Doctor before beginning a new exercise program. But here are some of my favorite options that I wanted to share with all of you.

Peloton is known for their fancy at home bike workouts. But did you also know that they have an awesome app that includes strength, stretching, cardio, outdoor running/walking, and even pilates and yoga? This app is easy to use with some great trainers. They have a 30 day free trial going so if you’ve never signed up before, now is a great time to test it out! This is the Peloton Digital version, not the membership including the hardware. The digital membership is for a single-user where their All Access membership, which includes all digital content on your phone PLUS content on your Peloton hardware, can be shared with an unlimited amount of household members. I don’t have any Peloton devices so I don’t know what the experience of using their hardware is like.

Alexia Clark is a personal trainer with a massive online following and presence. There are home and gym workouts available and they don’t require a lot of equipment. You can get a great home workout using dumbbells and resistance bands. I started her program after having needing to find a new workout that wasn’t running due to surgery on my left foot and then 6months later breaking my right foot. So I speak from experience when I say you can find ways to modify. I have been using her workout program for over a year and I absolutely love it! I don’t follow her nutrition plan, but if you need new menu ideas you can definitely find some inspiration. Her workouts have a 30min or 60min option, 5 workouts/week, and are brand new every day! And when I tell you they’re new each day, they truly are different each day. The workouts are designed to be completed Monday-Friday and if you follow her on Instagram she shows you the first circuit daily. You can also mark your favorite workouts so that you can do them again in the future!

This brand new service launched this week and I love it! For those who are looking for a slightly less expensive service that is similar to Peloton, this is definitely for you. Very comparable, and I’d say even better for beginners. I really like that the strength workouts are all full body so if you’re new to working out or coming back from injury it’s easy to make sure that you’re hitting every muscle group. My most used feature of any digital workout is definitely the stretching. I really like that Apple Fitness + includes mindfulness with their cooldowns/stretching series. I’ve found that adding the extra minute or two to meditate at the end of my workout is a great way to fully bring my body down from the high of exercising. This is one feature that the Peloton stretching does not include. Apple Fitness + also doesn’t currently offer any outdoor guided walks/runs like Peloton does, but considering it’s a brand new service, I’m sure it’ll evolve over time to include more features as they get feedback from users. Apple Fitness + as a great option for getting a great workout in at home, and can be shared with up to 5 household members.

Another great option for home or gym workouts. Anna Victoria is a personal trainer who also has a massive online presence, just like Alexia Clark. Her program is similar in that it includes workouts and nutrition, but otherwise I found the Fit Body experience to be different from Alexia Clark. I definitely love that Anna Victoria’s app has tons of meal options AND they have a Registered Dietitian on their staff. Not only does your membership include access to the app, but Anna Victoria has said that you can also contact them with questions for their Registered Dietitian or their Physical Therapist. Her workouts are definitely tough, but can also be modified. She recently gave birth to her first child and has added pregnancy workouts to her app for other women who want a workout program during that time. The only complaint I had with her program when comparing to Alexia Clark’s was that there wasn’t enough variety for me. You will definitely hit all major muscle groups, it just felt like most of the workout movements were repeated a lot. They recently debuted a massive overhaul of the app to include a lot of changes for how the workout week is structured and variety with the trainer you use. You have way more flexibility over which muscle groups and exercises you do and on what days, whereas with Alexia Clark you’re kind of forced into a Monday-Friday schedule. The other feature I like is that the Anna Victoria meal plans have a ton of variety and are available for any type of diet: vegan, paleo, vegetarian, flexitarian, etc. The recipes are definitely high quality and provide great inspiration even if you don’t follow the calculated macro meal plan.

UPDATE 12/18/20: For a limited time online you can get the 12month subscription to Fit Body for only $99.99! Use promo code FITBODY2021 at checkout.

Dance Church Go is the perfect workout for people who don’t like to workout. They offer live classes every Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday. Classes are donation based with the recommendation to give $15, the price you would pay for an in-person class. Dance Church has nothing to do with religion or church and is everything dance. All classes were in-person before covid. Classes are partially guided with instructors who also give you time to just dance around your space and enjoy yourself. The 55ish minute classes include a Daydream sequence near the end for you to catch your breath and do some stretches before starting lower body work on the floor. The 30ish minute (usually Saturday class) skips the Daydream sequence and lower body specific work, but is still a great way to get your blood pumping. A friend of mine told me about Dance Church near the beginning of the pandemic and I’ve been hooked ever since! The teachers are so fun and have so much energy, you can’t help but have a good time. Classes are mostly PG-13 and friendly for kids, but I’d recommend you leave that to your discretion as a parent.

UPDATE 1/10/21: Dance Church Go announced this week that they are making some changes. Sunday classes will remain the same, and the Wednesday and Saturday classes are being discontinued. But the amazing news is that they’re working on having a streaming service so that you can dance whenever you want! That’s even better than classes Wednesdays and Saturdays! You can subscribe to their newsletter at go.dancechurch.com to stay up to date with everything Dance Church.

Cow Meadow Nature Cattle Landscape  - Ben_Kerckx / Pixabay
Nutrition and Food

Hormones and Dairy

It’s an unfortunate reality that our modern lifestyle exposes us to many possible cancer causing things daily. My intention with this article is not in any way to cause fear. This is simply to raise personal awareness and challenge some of our perceived norms. I’m here to provide information; what someone chooses to do with that information is entirely up to them. My hope for you is to learn something new here today or at the very least challenge your own view/beliefs and cultural norms related to dairy products. Because when we stop talking about issues we can become complacent and start to pretend they aren’t there. And I love talking about food. ????

Quick note about me

I’ve mentioned before that I was lacto-ovo vegetarian for almost a decade before finally eliminating eggs and then dairy products from my diet. The decision to eliminate both of those products was very personal and caused a lot of internal reflection as well as research- not only to understand the nutritional implications, but also the environmental, animal-welfare, and potential long-term health effects. A lot of my decision was based on the environmental and animal welfare aspect of this topic. Nutrition was somewhat easy for me because the alternative products on the market today taste good, can provide similar nutrient profiles, and are accessible to me (not only because I’m a Dietitian). I recognize that I’m fortunate and privileged to be able to say that; not everyone is.

Dairy products can be part of a healthy diet. If you’re debating your milk stance I recommend reading my article Dairy Dilemma to get a little more background on dairy and how it can fit into a healthy diet. The article also discusses alternative dairy products and a brief explanation related to living a vegan lifestyle.

Quick thoughts on The PCRM

Several studies have linked the consumption of cheese and dairy products to an increased risk of breast cancer. On September 22, 2020 The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of the FDA’s failure to respond to their petition asking for a warning label to be added to dairy cheese products

To be fully informative I think it’s important to point out that The PCRM is not what it sounds like from their name. At their core they are an animal activist group, not necessarily a collection of Medical Doctors. There is a lot of much information out there both for and against this group.

Rather than focusing on one group we should focus on what the science tells us so far and where we are falling short. I also think it’s worth mentioning that many groups, businesses, and the like have colorful pasts. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t or don’t contribute useful insight and information. Many of the nutrition handouts available on The PCRM website are full of helpful, evidence-based information.

What some of the science says

According to the authors of several studies, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and other growth hormones may be responsible for the increased incidence of breast cancer in women consuming the most cheese. It’s well established that following a vegetarian diet pattern is associated with lower risk of many chronic diseases, including cancer.

This study, published by Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, found that dairy milk consumption could increase women’s breast cancer risk up to 80% depending on how much they consume. This study evaluated the dietary intake of almost 53,000 North American women who were all initially free of cancer. Study participants were followed for ~8yrs during which time they were required to complete food questionnaires and diet recalls. Participants also completed a baseline questionnaire to provide information related to their demographics, family history, alcohol consumption, and other factors that the authors deemed relevant for the purpose of the study. Researchers found that consumption of dairy foods was associated with an increased risk for cancer. The data collected also predicted a marked reduction in risk associated with substituting soymilk for dairy milk.

Possible explanations

The main author, Fraser, went on to explain that possible reasons for these associations between breast cancer and dairy milk may be the sex hormone content of dairy milk. The female cows producing the milk are lactating, and often about 75% of the dairy herd is pregnant. Breast cancer in women is a hormone-responsive cancer. Intake of dairy and other animal proteins in some reports is also associated with higher blood levels of a hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is thought to promote certain cancers.

“Dairy milk does have some positive nutritional qualities,” Fraser said, “but these need to be balanced against other possible, less helpful effects. This work suggests the urgent need for further research.” 

The Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition raises several good points related to hormones and antibiotics in our food. Specifically they point out that some protein hormones given to cattle are water soluble. During digestion, your stomach would break down any consumed, water-soluble proteins.

However, the use of protein steroids is different. Steroid proteins are fat soluble. They can remain intact even with heat applied. They can even survive stomach acid! Potential risk of cattle and cow products treated with steroid hormones then causing changes to the human consuming them has room to be further studied. Because there is a lack of strong, reliable data this topic is pretty controversial. There is data supporting all sides of the argument, and no firm stance established by the professional Dietetics or Medical Community (that I was able to find anyway).

What now?

I have to agree with Fraser- dairy milk does have some positive nutritional qualities like protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins/minerals. But don’t we have a right to further investigate possible links between our food supply and rates of cancer? To understand the possible long-term effects of our food choices? Do you think certain foods should have a warning label? We put warnings on alcohol and cigarettes, should food be different? The Surgeon General warnings are there to raise awareness. Adding a warning label to certain foods might also help consumers make informed choices based on their own personal risk factors. 

Every day it feels like we’re reading headlines stating that another study has found higher incidents of cancer in today’s youth compared to 50 years ago. The more solid scientific research we have related to hormones in the food supply, the more educated and evidence-based our food choices become.

Further Reading

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)- Let’s beat breast cancer

Winchester Hospital- Controversy over added hormones in meat and dairy

Nutrition and Food, Recipes

Easy Tofu Veggie Scramble

Ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet potato or any other potato you have, diced
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into bit size pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
  • 14 oz block firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp garlic (or more to taste; can sub garlic powder but use less since it’s stronger than fresh)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Drain tofu well. I use my tofu press for about 20 minutes. Don’t worry about making the block have fissures or breaks- you’re going to be mashing this up once it’s drained anyway.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and garlic over medium heat in a deep pan or a medium size pot.  Add diced potato.
  3. Once potato pieces are slightly browned (about 5-7 min), add in the yellow and zucchini squash.
  4. Once the potatoes look a bit darker and your squash has some browning, crumble in your drained tofu. Mix together with turmeric, onion powder, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, cumin and black pepper.  Add more or less of each seasoning to taste- I like to have enough turmeric to make the tofu appear yellow but not so much that it’s a dominant flavor. 
  5. Stir together tofu, seasonings and vegetables to distribute flavors well (about 2-4min). Serve warm.

Tips

  1. Don’t be afraid of adding or omitting spices. You can make this taste like whatever you want- that’s the beauty of tofu!
  2. Try adding in fresh diced onion instead of onion powder, or other vegetables you might have in your fridge. 
  3. Want a little more comfort? Melt some vegan (or dairy if you prefer) cheese on top to make it a melted scramble.
  4. I like to make this in my soup pot because I sometimes stir a little vigorously ???? So if you’re like me (accident and kitchen mess prone) consider using your soup pot instead of a skillet. Know yourself. ????
  5. Serve with your favorite toast (I suggest avocado toast or toasted vegan croissant toast), coffee, and orange juice for a lazy Sunday brunch. Cheers!
latte in cup beside strawberries and raspberries
Product Reviews

Kindle Paperwhite Review

I love books. I love the way it feels to hold a book, to smell inside a new book, to spend hours perusing the bookstore. Everything about reading and books brings me a special sense of peace that washes over me. I love to get lost in a good story, and I love to see how far I’ve come with how many more pages there are ahead of me. I even did a 52 books in 52 weeks challenge this year and completely annihilated it (I’m currently at 65 books for the year).

Part of my reading experience included flipping the pages and looking ahead to see how many pages are left in the chapter – maybe I can squeeze it in before I fall asleep or go back to some other annoying responsibility. The only part of the reading experience with books that I dislike is the amount of space that the printed book takes up after I’ve finished it. I have been a huge fan of the library simply to keep my book collection at a reasonable level and not make myself a target of the show Hoarders. 

Enter the Kindle Paperwhite

My husband had been trying for years to get me to convert to some sort of e-reader. For a while I even used my iPad and the iBooks store to test the water with e-reading and I was not impressed. The experience of reading on my iPad was nothing compared to the amazement I felt when reading a physical book.

One Christmas everything changed. My husband gifted me the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and I haven’t looked back since. 

Features I love

Not only is it super light weight and easy to take with me everywhere, but my love for borrowing from the library was able to continue. An app called Libby changed my life. You sign up for Libby using your local library credentials and link your Kindle. This allows you to borrow e-books from your library and load them directly onto your kindle! Not only can you instantly borrow any available e-book, but you can even place holds on e-books and manage your waitlist, too! Finished reading a book? Simply return the e-book through the Libby app or directly from your kindle device.

I’ve had my Kindle Paperwhite for 2 years and it is just as amazing now as it was when I first opened it. I love that I can read it in any light, including direct sunlight (I used my kindle daily on the beach in Grand Cayman), and it has a dark mode now that you can turn on (I love dark mode for reading before bed). Don’t like to read before bed because you fall asleep and lose your place? That will never happen with your kindle. If you leave it idle for too long and it falls asleep, when you wake it the next time it’ll still be on the page you left off at. 

It is so easy look up the definition of a word. You simply highlight the word and the dictionary definition will pop up, including examples of how to use the word in a sentence. I love this feature since it isn’t super distracting and helps me increase my vocabulary.

Can we talk about the battery life? This thing has an amazing battery life. I use mine daily and I don’t charge more than once weekly. The only reason my battery wears down a bit is because I like it bright when I’m reading inside. When using it with no light, like when reading outside, my battery life is so long that I forget which cable to use to re-charge it. 

Another feature I love is that you can adjust not only the font but also the size of the font. When I don’t really feel like wearing my glasses, like when I’m reading before bed, I simply make the font bigger so that I can see the text more clearly. This is a feature I’ve definitely wished some books came with- you know the ones. With the teeny tiny text crammed onto the pages. Kindle solves that for anyone who has eyes that need a little help.

The argument for ad-supported

Normally I’m completely against advertisements. They can be so annoying and intrusive. However, with the ad-supported kindle (which is the one I have) the advertisements are books! Since Amazon loves to learn your habits, Amazon also does a pretty decent job recommending other books for you to check out. The ads are also pretty easy to ignore since they only ever show when your kindle is locked and don’t pop-up while you’re reading. In my opinion it’s the only time I’ve ever felt having ads was a net positive for an experience.

Kindle Unlimited

I had the 3 month free trial of Kindle Unlimited and was a huge fan! There were so many books available on demand that I had trouble pacing myself. The only reason I didn’t convert to a paid subscription after my trial was because Libby has been a great resource for me. However Libby’s options will only be as good as your local library system. I live in a big city with tons of library branches so my ability to borrow an e-book is pretty easy. If I lived somewhere smaller with a smaller library circuit, I’d probably consider doing Kindle Unlimited.

Final Thoughts

My kindle is probably one of my favorite electronic devices. If you’ve been thinking about getting one but are unsure about using an e-reader, fear not! This device is amazing and will only increase your love for amazing books and rainy day snuggles. Stay tuned for a follow-up post about some of my favorite kindle cases. 

Make sure to check out these awesome Amazon Black Friday specials on kindle and kindle books! If you love to read or have a goal to read more, this device will change your life. 

skeleton full of candy
Nutrition and Food

Study finds Vegan diets more than double the risk of a broken hip- Here’s what you need to know

By now I’m sure many of you have seen the headline making news this week about a study following more than 50,000 British people over two decades finding that vegans were 43% more likely to suffer a fracture compared to people who ate meat and fish. You can read an article summarizing the study here.

Without analyzing the data and doing a complete deep dive on everything the study found, including any potential flaws, the methods and limitations, it’s important to take a moment to recognize that yes, following a vegan diet will require some planning to ensure that you’re meeting your micronutrient needs. Honestly, most any diet in today’s modern food system that meets all of your nutritional needs is going to require some level of planning, so don’t let that discourage you from making the change to eating more plant-based.

Ways to meet your needs

Lucky for today’s vegans and other dairy-free individuals, many products on the market are fortified with important vitamins and minerals that can be lacking in a vegan diet. A few commonly fortified nutrients that can be lacking in a vegan diet include vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium.

Vitamin B12

The only source of vegan vitamin B12 comes from fortified foods, supplements, and nutritional yeast. Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal products including meat and dairy products. I recommend requesting to have your Physician monitor your vitamin B12 levels when you first begin a vegan diet to establish if your levels are optimal and then monitor annually after that to ensure that you’re continually meeting your needs. The general recommendation is for anyone following a vegan diet to take a vitamin B12 supplement. I personally have had a low vitamin B12 level which is embarrassing to admit because I’m a nutrition professional. But we’re all human and it can happen to anyone. Having your vitamin B12 levels out of range can cause permanent damage if not rectified, but luckily your levels increase pretty quickly with supplementation or the use of B12 shots, if indicated. Your Physician or Registered Dietitian can provide you with more information regarding vitamin B12 specific to your needs and lifestyle.

Calcium

Calcium is another nutrient that can be lacking when following a vegan diet and doesn’t always get as much attention as vitamin B12. Calcium is tightly regulated in your body and is required for a ton of processes including vascular contraction and dilation (think blood vessels constricting or expanding), hormone secretion, and muscle function. The level of calcium in your blood does not fluctuate with dietary intake changes which makes it sometimes challenging to find a calcium deficiency because there aren’t any obvious symptoms in the short term. Most low calcium levels result from other medical conditions such as renal failure or use of certain medications. Instead of not having enough calcium to function, your body will steal calcium from its massive reservoir: your bones and teeth. This can be problematic for your bone mineral health if your body keeps leaching calcium out of them. According to the FDA, “adequate calcium and vitamin D as part of a healthful diet, along with physical activity, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life.” 

The nuances involved with bone health and remodeling are much too involved to include in this post. The short story is that calcium and vitamin D in conjunction with phosphorus work to keep your bones healthy. If any of these end up out of their recommended range it can have a detrimental effect on your body. A sedentary lifestyle lacking weight-bearing exercises and resistance training can also negatively impact your bone mineral density (BMD). Your body individual ability to maintain calcium balance is based on a lot of factors that you have no control over including calcium excretion in your urine and feces and calcium absorption in your intestines as well as your dietary intake of calcium.

There are many vegan foods fortified with calcium, such as vegan milks, but most people limiting or avoiding animal product consumption will need to have an awareness of what plant foods can also help them meet their daily needs. If you continue to eat dairy products these foods can provide you with calcium and vitamin D. Plant-based sources of calcium include fortified orange juices, chia seeds, tofu, fortified cereals, raw broccoli, cooked kale, bok choy and supplements. Here you can find more vegan sources of various nutrients.

The RDA (recommended daily intake) is the average daily level of intake that is sufficient to meet the needs of nearly all healthy individuals. For a healthy individual between the ages of 19-50 years old, the RDA for calcium is 1,000mg daily. This number changes for women due to hormonal changes that affect their bodies but stays pretty consistent for men until they’re 71+years old. Vegetarians and vegans should also keep in mind that their absorption levels of calcium may be slightly lower due to increased intake of oxalic and phytic acids from plants. Don’t start stressing about having another thing to keep track of. This just means you need an awareness of your intake since oxalic and phytic acids block your bodys ability to fully absorb calcium. That being said, it’s also important to note that more isn’t always better. You can consume too much of a good thing.

Hypercalcemia (elevated calcium)

Excessively high levels of calcium can cause problems including soft tissue calcification, renal insufficiency and even kidney stones and constipation. Make sure to discuss your personal calcium needs with a Registered Dietitian if you have any questions or concerns related to your calcium needs. 

Further Reading

Interested in reading more? Here are some links to credible sources you can trust:

NIH on calcium

NIH on vitamin B12

NIH on vitamin D

Meeting Calcium Recommendations on a Vegan Diet from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

appetizer bowl bread breakfast
Nutrition and Food, Recipes

Soup Season

It’s my favorite time of the year for so many reasons, one of them being soup! There is nothing more cozy than a fresh homemade soup at the end of the day. But making a big pot of soup can be overwhelming when your household is smaller. I know for us making a soup sometimes means we’re eating soup for the next 3-4 days in our house. In an effort to mix it up and not get bored with your favorite soup, here’s a tip: freeze that leftover soup. But don’t just stick it in any tupperware and freeze, continue reading for my favorite way to store leftover soups, stews, and chilis.

Freezing Soup

One of my favorite kitchen finds is the Souper Cube on Amazon.

This gadget is perfect if you’re a small household. Simply fill the cubes and place in the freezer. Whenever you’re in the mood for some soup, simply heat up the pre-portioned servings.

Favorites

Here are some of my favorite soup recipes:

https://www.savorytooth.com/instant-pot-tomato-soup/ This one was shared with me by a friend and she was right- it’s delicious and super easy to make! I made it constantly last season. I recommend pairing a bowl of this with a vegan (you can use dairy if you’re into that) grilled cheese sandwich ????

Thug Kitchen Cookbook Coconut Curry Soup *Language Warning. Thug Kitchen has some rather colorful ways of expressing themselves, but their recipes are amazing. Don’t let the foul language fool you.

One Pot Everyday Lentil Soup One pot?! Yes, please. Lentils are such a great source of protein; this soup makes a hearty meal on its own.

The Best Vegan Tortilla Soup I love a good tortilla soup! The Thug Kitchen Cookbook also has an amazing recipe, but this one is a little easier to make.

As per usual if you’re making a soup that recommends blending, I highly recommend the Blendtec.

Have a favorite soup recipe you want to share? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below.

flat lay photography of three tray of foods
Nutrition and Food

Meal Prepping Tips & Ideas

Weeknight dinner planning can be a challenge. With long hours and long commutes, it’s sometimes impossible to find enough time available for preparing a healthy, delicious meal. 

Luckily fall is finally here and so are some amazing in-season vegetables!

One of my favorite meal prep techniques is spending Sunday morning roasting every vegetable I can get my hands on. Brussels sprouts, various squash including acorn and butternut, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, I could go on forever. The beauty of roasting vegetables is that they retain their flavor in the days to come after being cooked. They also tend to hold their texture where sometimes frozen vegetables end up soggy. I don’t know about you, but frozen broccoli is probably one of my least favorite quick foods. I’m much happier when I’ve roasted a head of broccoli in advance for the week instead of settling for heating up frozen broccoli.

Another tip for meal prep is to have canned beans in your cupboard. I have an instant pot and prefer to cook dried beans whenever possible, but sometimes life gets the best of me and I need food now. Whenever this happens I’m always glad that my pantry is stocked with backup canned beans. Simply drain, rinse, heat and portion out your serving to add plant protein to your meal.

Not really into beans? Try roasting a block of tofu, pre-make a batch of lentils instead of beans, or even heat and cut-up your favorite veggie burger patty to add! 

Speaking of my instant pot, other great food items you can prep in advance for weeknight dinners are quinoa, sorghum, rice, or bulgur. I personally love to cook these in my instant pot simply because I don’t like to stand over a hot stove, especially for 30min or more. Cooking extra servings of my grains to have throughout the week makes this food hack a no brainer.

You could also pre-make a pot of high protein pasta to store for portioning out during the week. Just make sure to mix with some olive oil if you plan to refrigerate it sans sauce. This will help to minimize the pasta sticking together.

Putting it all together

Using my roasted vegetables, beans, and grain of choice I find an easy weekday dinner or lunch is to portion that out into a bowl and top with my favorite fixings. Depending on the variety, I might add some fresh avocado, sprinkle on some hemp hearts, or even add a sauce or peanut dressing. Another way to add flavor is to add fresh herbs and some lemon juice to keep it low sodium friendly. Experiment with different combinations to find what you and your family prefer.

Stay tuned for more meal prep ideas and tips!

Nutrition and Food, Recipes

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Hemp Seed Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 and 2/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1-2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 c canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c hemp seeds
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c dairy free dark chocolate chips
  • nonstick spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ℉.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pumpkin spice.
  3. In another bowl combine mashed banana, pumpkin, water, and olive oil.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until moistened.
  5. Fold in hemp seeds, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips.
  6. Spray a 9×5 inch bread loaf pan with nonstick spray. Pour batter into greased pan.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and top of the bread is slightly browned and crunchy.
  8. Let cool and enjoy!

Tips

  1. Banana quantity can be decided according to how moist you like your breads. To make it more moist like a cake use 2 whole mashed bananas. For slightly less cake-like density use 1- 1.5 whole mashed bananas.
  2. Try having a piece warmed with your favorite cup of coffee!