Butternut Bisque with Coconut Swirl

Besides running and cheering on the marathoners. I have been cooking and eating. It is my all time favorite season. The leaves are changing. The air is comfortably breezy and crisp. Lucky us! ¬†We have been having some absolutely beautiful FALL days here in Washington, DC. And although it hasn’t been too cold yet, I am still craving everything fall.

One thing that defines fall is butternut squash. When I was growing up it was a special treat that my mom made only at Thanksgiving, but now it is a staple in my house. I love everything about it. I eat it all different ways, but my favorite way is in soup form. That is why when I came across the Butternut Bisque recipe in the cookbook Isa Does It, I knew I had to make it asap, plus its Vegan!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you desire)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (extra for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS

ROAST SQUASH

TIP: (you can do cook the squash in advanced, and the soup will come together in 20 minutes.)

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the squash in half.
  • Remove seeds.
  • Brush the parchment paper with olive oil or coconut oil and place the squash pieces cut side down.
  • Roast for 45 mins. until squash is tender.
  • After squash is cooked let cool and continue with the soup recipe. If you are making squash in advanced, refrigerate the squash until ready to use.

LETS MAKE THE SOUP

  • Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat, add coconut oil.
  • Cut up onion, and add to the pot, saute until caramelized.
  • Add ginger.
  • Add garlic.
  • Mix in red pepper flakes
  • Add white wine and deglaze bottom of the pan, by scraping with a wooden spoon.
  • Peel and scoop squash.
  • Add squash to the pot.
  • Add vegetable broth (if you don’t have vegetable broth on hand you can use water.)
  • Add coconut milk.
  • Add maple syrup.
  • Add lime juice.
  • After everything is heated all the way through, add soup to you Vitamix. I actually use the soup setting, which continues to heat everything. Blend until smooth. If you are using a Vitamix it shouldn’t take long.
  • Pour bisque into a bowl, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and swirl coconut milk on top.
  • Enjoy!

What is you favorite way to eat butternut squash. I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about this recipe. 

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

I Quit Sugar (8 week detox) review

I am a really competitive person, and I absolutely love challenging myself.

So that is why I am very excited to tell you guys about my new challenge.

I am trying my hardest to quit sugar.

I have talked about my sugar addiction in the past. I have written about it in the blog post, I’ve been drinking my sugar. I also have seen, Fed Up, the latest documentary on sugar addiction. It is a must see and is available on iTunes to rent. ¬†Now, that I have all the facts on sugar, it is time to really get serious. I don’t want sugar to control me anymore.

Do you have a sugar addiction?

I realized I had a sugar problem, when I woke up every morning craving it. I would get my sugar caffeine fix and neglect eating breakfast, but still feel full and energized. Then I would head into work and around 2:00 pm, I would began feeling sluggish again. The craving would start and I would go get my sugar fix. When I was feeling stressed, or my day was not going well, I would immediately want some sort of sweet treat, whatever it may be, it made me feel better. I never thought I had a huge sweet tooth, but I knew I was drinking to many sweet drinks.

I usually don’t pay to much attention to my diet, I just try to eat as many organic plant based whole foods that I can. However, after reading the book, I Quit Sugar, I began to analyze my daily diet even closer. It was then that I realized that all of my healthy snacks was secretly laced with hidden sugars. Did you know you body can not tell the difference between a natural sugar or¬†an added sugar. Your body processes these sugars the same way.

The American Heart Association sets the sugar limit at 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, which translates to 25 grams of sugar. I was getting way more than that. Are you?

Finding the Detox

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A couple weeks ago, I was at the book store picking up a new cookbook, when I came across the book, I Quit Sugar. I thought to myself, “I need this book.”

This book is awesome. It not only has a sugar quitting program, but it also has a lot of amazing recipes.

What I have discovered about quitting sugar….

I have been doing this no sugar diet for a couple weeks now. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it. It is very hard, because sugar is in everything.¬†Compared to this, eating a plant based diet is easy for me. Being vegan or vegetarian you always face the question, “Well what do you eat?” A common answer to that question is… everything, but animal products. Well when it comes to no sugar, I found myself asking the same question. Does this mean no carbs? In the beginning I was very confused.

During, the first week of this no sugar detox, I found myself asking the question, “Well what do I eat?” ¬†I always knew that I drank my sugar, with my daily indulgence of a sugary chai tea latte from Starbucks. But now I am really becoming more aware of all the sugar I have been eating. My daily diet seemed to be a heathy one, but it was laced with hidden sugars. The author of the book, Sarah Wilson, had a similar issue. She too ate tons of health foods, but they were all sugary.

Now here’s the deal…

This detox is sugar free, low carb, gluten free. The foods that make up this detox is organic meat, dairy, and whole foods. The detox is only no sugar for 8 weeks. After the 8 weeks you can add natural sugars back into your daily diet, but remember keep in 6 teaspoons or less, in other words, no more than 25 grams of sugar a day.

My experience and what I have learned so far…

This detox (sugar free) and then diet lifestyle (low sugar) is very similar to paleo. For me this detox has been especially hard because I eat mostly plant based. I am finding that a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes have a good amount of sugar in them. If you eliminate both animal products and sugar form your diet, it is more difficult to find things to eat. For example, a friend of mine is also participating in the I Quit Sugar detox,  but because she eats meat, I found her nibbling on an organic chicken breast though out the day. Chicken breast is sugar free, so it works for her, but you will NOT find me nibbling on chicken, thats just not my style.

So the first couple weeks of the detox, I have been reading labels and have now gotten a really good idea of how much sugar I eat and drink daily. Because I was confused on what to eat, and didn’t have time to meal prep, I have not been cold turkey off all sugars yet. I also didn’t necessary feel like I was eating healthier. For the next 4 weeks I am¬†planning on keeping all of my sugars under 25 grams a day.

In conclusion…

So that is the plan. I will be updating you through out the next couple weeks about my experience. I also will be sharing with you some of the recipes I have tried from the cook book. And when it comes to a very meaty dish, I will be substituting the meat with a veggie option, while keeping everything organic and whole.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Are you a sugar addict?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Spring Cleaning (your diet)!

Today is the first day of spring…

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Hellooo Spring!!

Goodbye effing Winter!! 

During the cold winter months, fresh, local, colorful, produce has been nonexistent. However, I have been avoiding heavy comfort foods and staying true to my clean organic lifestyle by eating tons of spicy soups. They have kept me warm and satisfied during this brutally cold winter. ( If you haven’t read my soup posts do it now. )¬†My soup recipes are easy to make and you can freeze a pot full for later.

Soon though very soon, temperatures will warm up and farmers markets will open. Plus, I love to grow some staples of my very own in my backyard garden. Herbs such as basil, sage, mint, and rosemary are easy to grow and add flavor to many dishes. They are great additions to urban gardens for those who live in city apartments/condos. They also add a refreshing burst to fresh brewed ice tea.

So first comes first, it’s time to Spring Clean your fridge and kitchen.

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Eliminate all processed foods and all foods that are not clean and organic.

Reduce sugar intake.

This is a hard one but it makes a huge huge huge difference in preventing disease and in your waist line. Trust me, I know, I use to drink my sugar. According to the American Heart Association the average woman should get no more than 30 grams of added sugar a day.

Added sugar can be hidden in juice, tea, non fat milk, milk replacement products, yogurt, granola, oat meal, salad dressings, sauces, and many more foods. Easiest way to reduce your added sugar intake is by reading labels, eating whole foods, and making your own sauces, dressings, and granola from scratch. For more information read my post on added sugar and try making making Scott Jurek’s vegan granola by following the recipe I posted.

Also clean your kitchen of any foods that have chemically made sweeteners, aka sugar replacements. If it is made in a science lab it is not a clean food.

Research your oils.

I have many oils in my kitchen. Different oils have different flavors. My stash includes Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, and Coconut Oil. Make sure all oils you have in your kitchen are cold pressed. This means your oils are truly what the label says and not mixed with any other oils. Also make sure your oils are unrefined. Along with cold pressed this means they have the highest standard of processing. If it is not unrefined during processing your oils may have been heated too hot. When heated too hot the nutritional value may be in jeopardy. Also keep in mind that some oils have more saturated fat then others. For example: The American Heart Association recommends no more than 16 grams of saturated fat a day. 1 table spoon of coconut oil has 12 grams of saturated fat. Although, coconut oil has many health benefits, use it is small doses and be careful not to heat it over 300 degrees. I like to use my coconut oil in substitute to butter or cooking sprays when greasing baking sheets.

Increase your raw food intake.

Although, I had fun making pots of homemade soups (Broccoli with Pickled Ginger, Chicken with Sweet Potato and Chipotle in Adobe, Farro, Pumpkin, and Vegan Chile) by now I am ready for some veggies in the raw. I am not going completely raw, but the plan is to eat as much raw fresh produce as I can. When it is the season, raw is way more sweet, flavorful, delicious. Why cook and ruin a good thing.

Eat the Rainbow.

The more colorful your food is the better. Rich, bright, vibrant color means more fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants!  Runners especially need antioxidants because of the wear and tear/ stress that is put on the body daily.

Hydrate!

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Drink water. After the winter months, the air has been cold and drying. This leads to dehydration. It is time to up our water intake. I recently purchased a new water bottle that I plan to bring with me everywhere. Every chance I get I plan to refill. Having adequate amounts of water helps regulate metabolism and cleans the body of toxins. Another tip I do, is add lemon to my water. The lemon is a natural cleanser. So by adding it to your water I will be hydrating and detoxing at the same time.

Meal Prep.

This is something I am constantly working on. I love it when I have done it but it is a hard one to do. But if you can do it – well done! For those that don’t know what meal prepping is… I’ll explain. First you must plan your menu for your week. Second, get to the farmers markets or grocery store and buy your food. I normally do this on Saturday. Next thing, prep all food by washing, cutting and portioning raw foods. Cook foods that need to be cooked. Portion all meals with a protein, complex carb, and healthy fat. Follow your macros for portion sizes. These meals are now portioned and prepared ready to go. If you are eating clean you should be eating a small meal every 2-3 hours about 6 meals a day. The meal sizes depend on your calorie intake and macros. If you can do this, it will save you. It will help you avoid ever getting “hangry” and impulsive. It will help you avoid the need to eat out at restaurants. It will keep you high with energy and your metabolism speedy.

So that is it, thats my advice to spring cleaning your diet.

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So get in your kitchen.

Let’s clean, shop, and cook!

This post was inspired by an article in Runner’s World (march.) I love their idea to use dandelion which is high in vitamin A, C, and K in salads and pesto. They also mention fiddlehead, ramps, and rhubarb. I’m definitely keeping my eyes open for these!

What are your nutritional tips for spring?

© 2014 sweatdaily

Post Workout Drink

Everyone who lifts, knows protein is the best thing for your muscles to repair and grow.  This is true, so I always try to have a protein shake with in 30 minutes after my workout. However, July is here, which means hot and steamy, air smothering days.  And although, I have found a new passion for weight lifting, my love is for running, that is where my heart is and always will be.

Week 1 of Marathon training is over. I am officially in marathon training mode. And training in this hot July weather, has made me craving something a little more refreshing then my traditional protein shake. Protein shakes are great ways to refuel, but after a run outside in the heat, my body needs hydration.

Well after flipping through the pages of my favorite cook book, Super Natural Every Day, I found the perfect drink to hydrate me post run.

Cucumber Cooler

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cucumber
  • A couple cucumber peels
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 cups of ice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • mint leaves or you can garnish with a cucumber slice or lime wedge.

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender until slushy like consistency.
  • Pour into class and Enjoy!
  • Garnish with mint, cucumber slice, or lime wedge. (Your choice)
  • Store in a pitcher in the refrigerator for up to a day or freeze as popsicles.

Cucumber is a Super food. It is a good source of silica, which helps promote joint health by strengthening the connective tissues. It is also rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. Cucumbers are also 95% water, but always remember to chose ones that are organic because pesticides can be hard to remove from skins.

*This would also be a wonderful drink after Bikram Yoga!

Questions for You…

  1. What is your favorite post workout drink?
  2. How do you hydrate and prepare for the heat?
  3. Do you like cucumber flavored drinks?

© 2013 sweatdaily

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Clean Eating…

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So Lets talk about Eating Clean…

Eating Clean: To eat organic whole foods.  To eat 5-6 small well balanced meals a day,  consisting of a protein (does not have to be animal flesh) and complex carb. in 2-3 hour intervals. The idea is to fire up the metabolism, providing energy, and promoting weight loss.

 

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I have been really cleaning up my diet since the beginning of 2012. I would have to say I eat clean 80% of the time, so it is still something I am working on. The transition of Eating Clean is not the easiest or cheapest alternative, but it is totally worth it.  It makes you feel good Рfull of energy, and it taste amazing.

As you may know, my clean eating lifestyle began with the 2012 New Year’s resolution – To try one unique exotic food once a week.¬†This got me shopping at organic markets and local farmers markets. This led me to read books such as ¬†Skinny Bitches, The Eat Clean Diet, and¬†The Crazy Sexy Diet¬†which led me to buying a juicer. Which led me to start a veggie garden. Which led me to cook more vegetarian and vegan meals. Which led me to research more, read more, seek more knowledge.

 

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All of this led me to crave a stronger body, in order to enhance myself as a runner. Now I am running further, faster, stronger. Eventually, this led me to start the Livefit trainer, which taught me how to meal prep. Which also taught about supplements and protein shakes. Which also taught me about calorie counting and carb-cycling. Which led me to using a kitchen scale, and measuring out my food. (I am not that picky though, and don’t always measure everything, but the point is I have the knowledge now, and tools, to do this if I desire too.)

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Side note: (Although, I would like to point out that, I do not label myself as vegetarian or vegan. I would rather choose the purest form of food, the highest quality of food, the lesser of two evils. And take note on this, that in some cases the vegan option can be just as highly processed. For example, I would rather eat a local organic egg, then a highly processed powder egg substitute that is vegan. )

Which ever nutritional lifestyle you choose, whether Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, High Protein, when it comes down to it, most nutritional lifestyles include organic non-processed foods.

So start eliminating those processed foods from your diet today. Start eating clean. Trust me it is worth it!

© 2013 sweatdaily