I recently came back from a very fun trip with my family to “The Happiest Place on Earth,” Disneyland in Southern California. One of my goals on this trip was to find a way to eat delicious, healthy food and stay true to my diet of vegan/gluten-free (V/GF). I have to admit, eating V/GF while at Disneyland wasn’t a walk in the park (no pun intended). There were a few times where I realized the true meaning of the slang term “hangry.” (Definition: irritable or bad-tempered as a result of being hungry.) I even thought about calling this blog, “Woman cannot live on fruit cups alone” or “Starving with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty,” but settled on a more positive choice. 🙂
Posts Tagged ‘healthy’
Can I confess something to you? I am a foodie. No, really: I love great food. Not good food, superb food! As I have transitioned my diet into a “mostly” vegan one (and gluten-free), many of my friends have said to me, “Oh good for you, but I could never do it! I just love ____ too much!” (Fill in the blank with your favorite dairy, meat or wheat-inspired food.)
I want to share with you that, yes, it takes some exploring and learning new ways to cook. And yes, it’s not always easy to find things to eat out at restaurants. But I am so blessed to live near one of the world’s yummiest cities in the world: San Francisco. Just a short drive from where I live, I have found a blissful vegan’s paradise …
I was in the kitchen the other day whipping up a gluten- and dairy-free meal for my family when it occurred to me: Shouldn’t I also be cooking up some healthy treats for our dog, Mystic? After all, the dog snacks you buy in stores have the same problems as the prepackaged foods we humans often buy for ourselves: dyes, preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients.
Homemade dog treats, on the other hand, are healthier, made from wholesome ingredients, and I’m guessing they taste better, too! (I admit, I haven’t tasted her dog treats myself—but who can argue that fresh ingredients are going to taste better than processed ones? Which do you prefer: fresh brownies or store-bought? … Hm, I rest my case.)
I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions, but I appreciate this idea of letting your animals guide you toward healthier, happier living. What better time than in January, when we’re all ready for a fresh start?
Here are five ways our beloved animal companions (especially dogs) can help us achieve our goals in 2015:
1. Live healthy every day: Walking your dog every single day (or even twice a day!) is an easy and fun way to add aerobic fitness to your routine without even realizing it. (Those of you with dogs know what I mean.) And if you’ve always wanted a dog but haven’t yet adopted one, a loyal and enthusiastic (albeit furry) walking partner could be just the motivational boost you’re looking for. In fact, according to the University of Western Australia, new dog owners walked an additional 48 minutes per week. For more on the amazing health benefits of walking your dog, check out this article.
2. Widen your social circle: Take your dog for regular walks around your neighborhood, and suddenly you meet neighbors you haven’t seen before. Take her to play on the beach or at a dog park, and you just might make new friends (and your dog can have a playdate, too). Let him join you when you travel, and you’ll discover dog-friendly gems like Carmel or Laguna Beach, California, which welcome leashed dogs in many hotels, stores and even some restaurants (on the patio).
3. Try new things: Whether it’s walking a new trail in the redwoods, biking, camping or even trying a fun water sport like kayaking or boating, most dogs are always up for adventure! Both of you will get to experience something new, and that alone can be super rejuvenating.
4. Advocate for animals: Sometimes it can be hard to find your voice or the time to really “live for” the causes and issues you believe in. Let your love for animals inspire you. If you witness cats, horses, dogs or other helpless creatures being neglected or mistreated (like stuck inside a hot car or in other terrible conditions), let the authorities know. If a specific area of concern interests you, such as the plight of feral cats or hoarding, find a local organization supporting that cause and see if their volunteer program is a good fit. You could even start a blog, use social media and fundraise to spread the word about the animal welfare issues you’re passionate about.
5. Give back a little bit more: You don’t need a lot of extra money to give back in small ways. “Shop for a Cause” programs like AmazonSmile, GoodSearch, iGive and Living Zoe let you shop for things you would buy anyway; they donate a percentage of the purchase back to the charity of your choice. Not sure which charity to choose? My favorite would have to be … the Shelter Animal Rescue Association, or SARA, which I founded with Leah D’Ambrosio to support animal Reiki programs at shelters and sanctuaries worldwide. You can find us on AmazonSmile, iGive and Living Zoe.
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
This is probably obvious to everyone else out there but me, but recently I discovered the art of roasting vegetables. I can’t believe I’ve gone all these years without doing this!
I’m a vegetarian, so eating veggies is already a huge part of my daily diet. But it seems I’ve always blended, baked or sautéed them. Now that I’ve discovered roasting, it’s my new favorite kitchen trick.
Here’s my super easy process (beware—it’s addicting):
- Line one or two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Chop all your favorite veggies. If you do potatoes, make sure they are super thinly sliced.
- Coat everything with 1-2 tablespoons of oil, pepper, a pinch of salt (optional), and 3 garlic cloves, minced. You can use a bowl or a gallon Ziploc bag for easy cleanup.
- Place the veggies in a single layer on the cookie sheets and bake 20 minutes or so until done.
That’s it! Once roasted, they’re so versatile. You can sprinkle them inside tortillas, top pizzas and pasta, stir into scrambled eggs or just enjoy alone—whatever works for you.
Here’s a delish recipe for Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes from The Novice Chef blog (see my sis Char’s take in the photo above).
Want to know the best kind of oil for healthy roasting? Check out this great article.
Do you roast veggies? Any tips, tricks or recipes to share?