Pumpkin Peach Pie Smoothie

What makes Pumpkin Pie even better? Peaches! ūüėģūüćĎūüćĎI took my classic Pumpkin Pie smoothie recipe and made it summer-ready by adding fresh organic peaches. Yum!!! Super high in antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals and beta carotene…this smoothie combo is excellent for skin, fighting oxidation brought on by free radicals and maintaining a healthy weight. So, go right ahead, don’t be afraid to gulp this one down and turn your frown upside down ūüėčūüėÉ
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1 Cup Plant Based Milk

1/2 Cup Pumpkin Purée

2 Peaches (pitted/skin on)

1 serving  Vega One Nutritional Shake (French Vanilla)

1/3 Cup Whole Grain Oats

1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 Tbsp Chia Seed

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Blend all on high speed until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

Chocolate Strawberry Quinoa Smoothie 

Whether you’re recovering from a workout or just need a super-boost of nutrition to start your day, this delicious shake is packed with the power you’ll need to sustain your busy life; protein, fiber and antioxidants to name a few. And when people ask where you get your protein from, you can tell em’ where to go! ūüėúūüėā

1 Cup Plant-Based Milk 

1 serving Vega Chocolate Vega Sport, Vega One or Protein and Greens

1 Banana

1 Cup fresh Strawberries

1/2 cooked Quinoa (cooled)

1 Tbsp Chia Seed

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Blend all in a high speed blender with some ice. Pour and enjoy post-workout or to kick off your day.

Mango Vanilla Chai Recovery Smoothie

Fitness can be tough on your body. After working up a sweat, the last thing you want to do is another tedious workout in the kitchen. That said, you’ll be delighted that this smoothie can be prepped and blended in under 10 minutes. It’s creamy, refreshing, delicious and a powerful companion to your post-workout routine. And heck, the bright golden color is kinda pretty to look at too! To get it going, all you need is some Vega Sport Performance Protein and a few things from nature’s medicine cabinet; then you’ll be well on your way to making those gains again.

Ingredients
1 scoop Vanilla Vega Sport Performance Protein
1 cup Silk Unsweetened Original Cashewmilk
1 cup frozen Mango
1 Orange (peeled)
1 thumb Ginger (peeled)
1 tsp Chai Spice blend
Optional: Ice cubes

Preparation
1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
2. Pour into a glass and garnish with some shredded Coconut. Enjoy 45 minutes to 1 hour after your workout.

Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 3)

Day 3: Juicing

The Purpose

Fasting has been used throughout history for medical, health, religious and political applications. Our purpose of it will be for both physical and mental health.¬†As understood by many,¬†a fast is when someone restricts food, water or both. But with a juice fast, we will¬†truly not be restricting either; we will¬†actually be¬†hydrating¬†the body with an amazing amount of nutrition through the extraction of water-rich whole vegetables and fruit. This, in comparison¬†to the lack of nourishment most people¬†receive on their bloated daily diets, is a cleaner, more efficient dietary decision than what juicing naysayers would ever care to admit.¬†Where we used to¬†understand nourishment by measuring how full we felt; we will, instead, now¬†measure by¬†how great we look/feel.¬†This newfound state of “emptiness” is not¬†a reminder of what we think we need but an affirmation of all¬†which¬†we do not. Less is more. By refusing what poisons us and¬†favoring that which¬†allows us to¬†thrive, we are on the cusp of mental and physical freedom.

When faced with any kind of “withdrawal”, we can become extremely emotional; it¬†can be both good and bad. On one hand, we become angry or depressed from the absence of what we¬†desire; but on the other, our higher self realizes it was harmful to begin with, hence, transforming¬†that desire into whatever it’s being replaced with. The more tenacious we¬†are, the sooner we¬†will be able to replace a Beer with a Kombucha, a Donut with a Salad; or a cup of Coffee with a Health Tonic, etc.¬†And as we emerge from the withdrawal symptoms and begin to experience vibrance and energy; we’ve already done the difficult work to remove the previous conditioning and replace it with a whole new set of ideals. This is called “change”. Since every physical action is a response to¬†what our brain¬†is communicating, a juice fast can help break the unconscious cycle and impart us¬†with better habits moving forward.

The Method

There are many ways to do a juice fast. There are plans, recipes, tips etc. I like to keep my juice fasts fairly simple. I usually mix it up with a green, red and gold recipe and drink them throughout the fast. Five 12 oz juices per day is a good start; beginning the morning with Psyllium Husks Powder (in 8 oz Water) and an 8oz Warm Lemon Water. Space your juices out between 2 1/2 to 3 hours with plenty of water and herbal teas in-between. Check out some more of my tips here and here.

Other important considerations will be to reduce as much stress from your life as possible during this time period. The more stressed you are, the more likely you will lose focus, cheat or give up altogether. Take advantage of the time to not only detox your body but to detox your mind as well. Relax with Organic Herbal Teas, get massaged, do stretching or light Yoga, meditate; remove yourself from outside noise such as gossip, media, socializing, etc. Use this time to truly be with yourself and you WILL find answers. Being present, especially during potentially uncomfortable situations, will keep you focused on transformation; not falling into the same old habits.

My 3rd Day (Monday, April 4th)

Today began my juice only portion of the detox which will last for 5 full days. I woke up this morning and began my usual routine and created 2 really great juices for the day (about 60 oz). Here are the highlights:

Psyllium Husks w/ 8 oz Water

8 oz Warm Lemon Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

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8 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea (Turmeric Ginger)

8 oz Water

12 oz Golden Juice (Golden Beet, Carrot, Mandarin Orange, Basil, Pineapple, Ginger, Turmeric)

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16 oz Coconut Water

8 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

8 oz Herbal Tea: Detox Lemon

8 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

8 oz Water

12 oz Golden Juice (Golden Beet, Carrot, Mandarin Orange, Basil, Pineapple, Ginger, Turmeric)

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8 oz Herbal Tea: (Sleep tea: Passion Flower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip, Hop Strobile, Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass).

 

Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 9)

Day 9: Transition/End

Today marks the final day of this detox. At this point you can slowly transition back by integrating some cooked foods. Ideally, all meals should still be entirely plant-based. Take your time integrating back grains, meats and dairy; as these things will aggravate your digestion if brought back in too soon. Or you can just do what I did two years ago and cut out all animal products for good! Either way, my recommendation is to begin integrating¬†juices, smoothies and raw foods into your daily eating regimen…all the time! It will not only help crowd out old habits but will begin to contribute to your overall health and wellness.

Always remember, this was not a “diet”; this plan was meant to reverse habits, clean us out and reset the way we¬†would normally do things. That said, if you don’t feel that the last 9 days have made a lasting impression, my suggestion would be to repeat the process until it does. When I first came up with this program 2 years ago, the first time I tried it, I ended up extending the juice fast for 20 days. Depending on your current health/lifestyle, this could create ultimate changes for you. The longer you go, the more you will condition yourself into a new, healthy lifestyle.

You can easily prolong this program by simply extending the 5 day juice fast portion by as long as you’d like. Just make sure you get this ok’d by your physician¬†first! And depending on what the Colon Hydro-Therapy technician said, you can get as many sessions as required over the span of the juice fast. For best results, I would suggest a colonic at the beginning, middle and end of the fast.

Thanks again, for following me along my journey (and being on it, if thats the case). Keep it up!

Since you already have the idea from the first transition day, I’m not going to post everything I did below. Although, here are a couple shots of some of the amazing things I ate on this day…

Spicy Tofu/Black Bean Scramble

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Adaptogenic Hot Tonic (Ginkgo Biloba, Green Tea, Ginger Root, Maca Root, Ashwagandha, Raw Cashews, Goji Berries, Dates, Cacao, Moringa, Cinnamon and Agave)

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Creamy Peanut Rice Noodle Salad

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Chaga Chai Tonic (Hot)

One of my favorite healthy treats to prepare daily are Medicinal Tonics. Always plant-based, served hot or cold; all varieties of medicinal tonics are born from the ancient healing practices of many different cultures around the world. Some of the more popular therapies come from Ayurvedic Medicine (India), Chinese Herbalism and Native Americans. These cultures depended heavily on preventing and curing the ailments of their people by extracting the nutrients from various plant species and utilizing their unique health benefits into the form of a tea. In many cases, a mixture of carefully chosen plants and herbs can be used alchemically to solve multiple issues.

In the modern day, these practices still hold strong but in much smaller, scattered communities; usually limited to those interested in health and longevity. Mainstream medicine has done away with herbal treatments and focus only on prescription chemicals and surgical therapies, all while the nutritional value of our food is destroyed by the high profit companies who crowd our supermarkets with processed food-like products, filled with refined sugars, additives and preservatives. It’s no wonder why Cancer, Heart Disease, Respiratory Disease and Diabetes top the charts for leading causes of death. Our attention is primarily focused on the Healthcare industry,¬†when it should be on the Food & Agriculture industry. Prevention is the key word here and that has EVERYTHING to do with food. And from where I’m sitting; fresh pressed juices, blended smoothies and superfood tonics are ALL very strong ways we can prevent illness and disease.

Take for example this hot, creamy tonic I made today. It’s something you can drink everyday as a general “wellness” beverage. It is the very essence of prevention because of the carefully chosen ingredients. But it tastes so good, you’d probably have no problem replacing your usual Coffee or Tea with this. Sometimes I go very simple and straightforward; other times I like to experiment and add some complexity to address more than one health issue. For this tonic, I’ve borrowed therapeutic and culinary ideas from multiple¬†cultures to create something that not only tastes wonderful but is packed with vitamins, minerals, iron, protein, magnesium and healthy fats. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants, polysaccharides and phytonutrients. It’s got heart healthy, immunity-boosting, anti-viral, digestion, liver, skin and cognitive function benefits; and with none of the over-stimulating effects found in coffee, tea or other caffeine products.

So, do yourself a solid and check this out…your body will thank you for it.

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16 oz Freshly Brewed Chaga Tea
4 Dates (pitted)
1/4 Raw Cashews
1/4 Raw Pepitas (shelled)
1/2″ Fresh Ginger (peeled)
1 tsp Reishi Mushroom Powder
1 Tbsp Lucuma
1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
1/4 tsp Ground Clove
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

Brew Chaga Tea according to package. When steeped long enough (usually 30-40 minutes), pour into a small pot on Med/Low to bring heat back up. Add Dates, Cashews, Pipitas and Ginger to pot. Bring to a low boil and then back down to a gentle simmer (the idea is to soften/soak our nuts, seeds and ginger so they will blend easy). While the Tea mixture is simmering, prepare all of your dry ingredients and add them into your blender. After the Tea mixture has simmered for about 10 minutes or so, carefully pour it into the blender with the dry ingredients. Add the Maple Syrup. Mixture is very hot; so take care in making sure the lid is properly held down. Carefully start the blender on low speed, slowly working up to the highest speed. Blend until very smooth (up to 1 minute or more depending on the blender). Pour into a mug and enjoy!

The 10 Excuses to Skip my Morning Run and How I Overcame Them

Over two years ago I would have gawked at the idea of going for even a short walk outside, let alone an exhausting run. Obese, tired and suffering from poor health; I was at the wheel but I wasn‚Äôt driving the car. My mind was my nemesis during some of the toughest points in my life and it really had it’s hold over me. But after many years of practicing grounding therapies such as meditation, aikido and yoga, I finally gained enough mental clarity to take control of my body. It only took about 6 months to overhaul my eating habits, shed 70+ pounds and realize that my addictions, depression and fatigue were a product of self-manufactured

The ego provides us with excuses as to why we should not change; even if our higher self knows it would be good thing. We have to become ninjas at fending excuses off as they approach. For instance, “I can’t find time” is one of the most common excuses. But instead of agreeing, we can ponder the excuse for just a short moment…and realize that by getting more rest at night and rising earlier, we can easily find this time. See how easy that was? Diffused. But that’s only one excuse! When you awake for your morning run, be prepared for a “song and dance” with your brain.

#1. “I’m too tired”!
No, you’re not! You’ve had plenty of rest because you planned ahead! According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 18+ need 7-9 hours in order to function at their peak capability.

#2. It’s too cold/hot outside!
Dress appropriately. Always check the temperature before setting off on your journey and dress for the occasion. If you’re unsure, try out this nifty What to Wear Calculator.

#3. I’m too sore!
Hmmm…is it just because you slept in crazy positions all night? The body wants to stretch, move and expand; it keeps everything in tip top shape. Always make sure your post-workout recovery and rest is strong enough before getting back out there. If your excuse is always that you are too sore, you’ll eventually be worse off by living a stagnant life; I know, I’ve been there ūüėČ

#4. The road/ground is wet!
It’s not rocket science. Wear an extra pair of socks and watch where you’re running. Avoid slippery situations; wet leaves, puddles, mud, etc.

#5. It’s too windy out!
It’s only wind, wear an extra layer if needed. Avoid exposure, especially if it is cold and windy. Use the direction of the wind to your advantage whenever possible. Breathe deeply and oxygenate your lungs. Invigorating!

#6. I don’t have time!
Here we go again; didn’t we figure this one out earlier? Plan for the time you’ll need the night before. Get enough sleep so you are able to rise earlier than usual.

#7. Oh boy…those steep hills! I don’t think I’ll make it.
Hills make us stronger and build our endurance. And nobody said you couldn’t ever take walk breaks on your run. In fact, according to ex-Olympian and running coach, Jeff Galloway, you can not only improve your time using the run-walk-run method but it will keep you more in control of your running and create less possibility for injury as well.

#8. What about food, won’t I run out of energy?
Nutrition is an integral component to any exercise plan. You should provide yourself with clean fuel to prepare, sustain and recover. This will ensure you are well hydrated, have the energy to burn and the nutrients to repair strained muscles. Loading up on complex carbohydrates will help you keep a nice reserve of glycogen to burn. In addition,¬†Vega Sport¬†has some great plant-based products specifically geared for the on-the-go athlete. Personally, I have used the¬†Pre-Workout Energizer¬†beforehand;¬†the¬†Electrolyte Hydrator,¬†Endurance Gels¬†and¬†Energy Bars¬†during; and the¬†Performance Protein¬†after. I gotta say, the workouts¬†that I didn’t include these items were the hardest; both during and after.

#9: I just don’t care, I’m going back to sleep!
If you truly “don’t care”, have a wonderful time trying to navigate life by this terrible philosophy. Instead, try doing the opposite. Extend your caring to everything around you; doors will open up for you and paths will become cleared for you.

#10. Don’t go! Just go back to sleep, you can make it up tomorrow.
You are not your brain. The ego does not want you to change; it wants you to stay in that zone of comfort. The most clever of obstacles in life is the mind itself. Each day it lays more bricks upon a wall built from our stresses, anxieties and fears. It is this very wall which causes us to recoil from opportunity and closes us off from the openness of the world around us. If you can tap into your “witnessing you” and learn how to quiet your mind; you will begin to see the blank space as a window of opportunity.

Now throw off those blankets, get out there and run!