Curried Chick Peas and Quinoa

Here is my recipe for Coconut Curried Chickpeas and Quinoa. It’s creamy and savory with a hint of sweetness. This is one of my favorite dishes to make!😋🌱😋🌱😋🌱

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1/2 Cup Rainbow Quinoa

1 1/4 Cup Water

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1/2 Onion (roughly chopped)

3 cloves Garlic (minced)

1/2 Red Bell Pepper (chopped)

1 can Chick Peas (drained)

1 Zucchini (quartered and cubed)

2 Campari Tomatoes (diced)

1 can Coconut Milk

1 Tbsp Curry Powder

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup chopped Cilantro

2 Tbsp Coconut Manna

Himalayan Pink Salt (to taste)

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In a small pot, combine the Quinoa and Water and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 15 minutes (until fluffy). While the Quinoa is simmering, prep your veggies and other ingredients. On another burner, put a large saucepan on medium heat. Add Coconut Oil. When oil is hot, toss in the Onion, Garlic and Bell Pepper. Sautée until veggies are a little soft but still have crunch. Now add the Zucchini, Tomatoes and Chick Peas. Sautée again until the Zucchini is tender but still has crunch. Hit it with a little Pink Salt. Now pour in the Coconut Milk and stir until well combined with the veggies. Turn the heat down to low/med and add in the Curry, Cayenne and Brown Sugar. Stir until the spices are all combined. Now add in the cooked Quinoa and stir. Add in the Coconut Manna and watch it melt; stir in. Add Cilantro and stir once more. Season with Pink Salt to taste. Serve in a bowl over some Brown Rice or on it’s own. Garnish with more Cilantro. Yum! 😘👌

Power Up Your Recovery Routine with new Vega Sport Performance Protein (+ 2 mind-blowing smoothie recipes!)

We’ve all been there before; leading our hectic lives and just barely finding the time to fit in a workout. And whether we’re running, riding, stretching, swimming or lifting, we may train that extra bit harder to make it worth our while. And boy do we ever feel it the next morning! That achy soreness all over…it hurts so good, doesn’t it? Well, sure, for a little while but at some point we’re going to want to feel good enough to do it all over again. For some of us, it can take up to 3 days to fully recover depending on the effort of exertion. One of the reasons is because many of us focus so much on powering up our pre-workout fuel, that we completely forget about our recovery nutrition.

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To energize beforehand, we usually plan on getting a decent amount of complex carbohydrates in order to build a glycogen reserve (the muscle energy we burn during a workout). And when we finally “hit the wall”, we just guzzle down some water or a sports drink and call it a day until lunch or dinner. Thats the mistake which our muscles can pay dearly for. To curb this bad habit, let’s shift our thinking a bit. First off, we want to replenish the glycogen we lost during the workout; so yes, more carbs (leafy greens, low fructose fruits, starchy root veggies, etc.). But we also want to take this a step further with a combo of Carbs, Protein and Amino Acids. This “trifecta” is the key to restoring, repairing and rebuilding our depleted muscles. Further, research tells us there is an 45 minute window after working out, when many of the body’s metabolic systems are activated. This is when we should be refueling for a quicker, more optimal recovery.

“But how am I going to get all of this stuff, prepare it and eat it within 45 minutes when I’m already tired, have to pick up the kids and get groceries”? Wow, that does sound tricky…maybe even impossible. But not if you have a tub of the new Vega Sport Performance Protein handy! You can simply blend one serving of this with a Banana and some Almond Milk and you’ll not only be on the road to recovery but on the actual road as well (just in time to pick the kids up from soccer practice). Vega has taken the guess work out of post-workout nutrition and passed the convenience on to you. They always take things to a whole other level and I truly think they’ve outdone themselves this time!

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Heres what’s in store from this upgraded Vega Sport Performance Protein:

  • Complete Protein w/ Amino Acids to Build and Repair Strong Muscles30 grams of GMO-project certified, complete-plant based protein per serving and 6 grams each BCAAs and glutamine
  • For Managing Inflammation: turmeric, tart cherry, black pepper, probiotics (1 billion CFUs), and bromelain
  • New Non-GMO Project certified Protein Blend: from pea, pumpkin seed, organic sunflower seed and alfalfa protein

Taste: I have found the taste of all 4 flavors (Vanilla, Chocolate, Mocha and Berry) to be a well rounded compliment to any veggies, fruits and seeds that I add in. I’m partial to Vanilla because it is the most versatile; and I love that the flavor is smooth and mellow with no lingering aftertaste (as some of the other brand’s protein powders have).

Texture: The powder itself seems finer than the last version, it doesn’t clump at all and blends for a nice smooth, silky texture. Just be careful when scooping not to toss it in the blender too fast; since it is so light and fine, you’ll be breathing in an airborne cloud of it.

Cost: The price has also come down $10 from it’s predecessor, which is also great news. More bang for your buck!

Overall: Vega never disappoints when they announce an upgrade. The Vega One reformulation was epic, as is this Vega Sport one. Not only did they increase the Protein, BCAA’s and Glutamine but then topped it off by adding extras like Turmeric, Tart Cherry and Probiotics (known for their anti-inflammatory properties). I love Vega because their products are well conceived and each ingredient serves a purpose; they leave no room for chemicals, fillers and other garbage that some other brands use. It’s a win for me!

Enjoy these 2 delicious, post-work out smoothie recipes using the newly formulated Vega Sport Performance Protein!

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Vega Sport Hemp Nog

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Hemp has long been known for being one of the most complete plant-based sources of protein containing all of the essential amino acids. And Lucuma is packed with B vitamins, iron and helps with inflammation. These are great compliments to your post-workout shake. Those tired muscles will be up and running again in no time. Also, if you’ve been looking for a healthy replacement for egg nog; this is it. I could drink this stuff all day!

8 oz Hemp Milk
1 Banana
2 Tbsp Lucuma Powder
1 Serving Vega Sport Performance Protein (Vanilla)
2 Tbsp Hemp Seed
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Clove
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

Blend all ingredients on high speed until smooth. Add ice cubes for a frostier texture. Garnish with Hemp Seed and Ground Spices (if desired).

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Vega Sport Mocha Cappuccino Smoothie (w/ Peanut Butter Swirl)

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I’m not a huge advocate of Coffee, especially since I had an addiction to it a couple years back. But it does have it’s benefits; there is definitely a time and place for it (just not everyday).  There has been some debate over the years about consuming caffeine post-workout. Although, an Australian study done in 2008 by trainer Monique Ryan, author of “Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes”, showed that endurance athletes who combined caffeine along with carbohydrates after their workouts actually increased their glycogen levels 60% more than those who had no caffeine. Isn’t that something? Convinced me anyway. Drink it down 45 minutes after your workout. It can also be consumed “pre-workout” as well; the caffeine will give you a stimulating boost while giving it your all.

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For the smoothie:
11oz carton So Delicious Cococcino (Coconut Milk Iced Coffee)
1 Banana (or Avocado if you’re feeling a little crazy)
1 serving Vega Sport Performance Protein (Mocha)
1 Tbsp Chia Seed

Blend all on high setting until smooth. Pour into a glass.

For the swirl:
2 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
1/2 tsp Filtered Water

In a small bowl, whisk water and peanut butter together until liquidy but still thick. Adjust with more water or Peanut Butter if needed. Pour mixture into smoothie and swirl in with a straw. Garnish with Shredded Coconut and Cinnamon (if desired).

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Why “Eat the Rainbow”?

I was drinking my Blueberry post workout shake this morning while contemplating an article that I recently read by Ronnie Landis called “The Color Code of Food“. We’ve all heard the term “Eat the Rainbow” before but how important is this? Well, it turns out that it’s really important. You see, the entire plant family consists of main color groups (similar to that of a rainbow). Aside from looking really cool, these pigments actually serve a greater purpose; in fact, each individual color provides unique health benefits all to their own. Plant pigments come from metabolic molecules called Flavonoids. These molecules are known to pack super antioxidant power which aid in the maintenance, repair and vitality of the many functions of the body.

For instance, Red foods are beneficial to the heart and circulatory system. The green family takes care of the lungs, respiratory and immune systems. Yellow is for the skin and digestive system. And my favorite; Purple is exclusively fuel for the brain, memory and helping fend off certain cancers. We have Anthocyanin to thank for that! Anthocyanin is the flavonoid which gives certain plants, fruits and berries their vibrant, purple color as well as a host of free-radical crushing power!

That said, one of my all-time favorites from this family are Blueberries. Originally, I loved them mostly for their taste but have come to learn of the massive health benefits they provide. From fighting cancer and diabetes to preventing aging and improving blood pressure; they’re oxidation’s worst nightmare. Blueberries also help protect our LDL (bad cholesterol) from oxidizing, a process which can usually lead to heart disease. And lastly, one of the benefits that led me to write this in the first place; these berries help reduce muscle damage after a tough workout. This means a shorter recovery time between workouts. Who doesn’t want that?

To see for yourself, try out this quick and easy recovery shake after your next workout and start on the path to upping your rainbow intake!

BLUEBERRY OAT RECOVERY SHAKE

8 oz Almond Milk
1 Banana
1 Cup frozen Blueberries (if fresh, add some ice cubes)
1/4 Cup Whole Grain Oats (Raw)
1 serving Vega Sport Vanilla Performance Protein

Blend all ingredients on high speed until smooth. Drink up and enjoy!

Creamy Coconut Cantaloupe Smoothie

Today I really pushed myself to get in a couple of extra miles on a morning run and, boy, are my legs feeling it! I’m sure you know exactly what I mean; a mix of energy depletion, dehydration, fatigue and muscle soreness? Yup, you know the score. And if you’re anything like me (age 40+), muscle recovery can take a bit longer than those spry young-guns that seem to zoom past us when we least expect it!

In any case, it’s becoming common knowledge amongst athletes and fitness buffs that a plant-based diet is the way to go in order to achieve quicker recovery times between workouts. I guess I have no choice since I’m vegan anyway 😉 And since I’m pretty active; cycling and running (40/50ish miles a week) I pretty much need to be eating clean, mostly raw, whole foods throughout the day.

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On most workout days, whether they be cardio or strength training, I fuel up with a Vega Sport smoothie afterward. It’s basically got all the components a high performance athlete would need after giving it their all. Those components mainly being: Protein (from sprouted whole grain brown rice, pea, alfalfa, and SaviSeed), Glutamine and Branched Chain Amino Acids. It’s really a “power-trio” of natural, plant-based ingredients that get working on both repairing and building new muscle tissue.

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I curated some other fine ingredients (Coconut Water, Coconut Meat, Banana and Cantaloupe) to aid in hydration, electrolyte replenishment, anti-inflammation and good digestion. Not to mention plenty of good Fat, Complex Carbohydrates, Potassium and Fiber!

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If you’re an athlete seeking out a well balanced post-workout meal…you’re looking at it. Now all you have to do is make it and drink it!

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10 oz Coconut Water
1 Banana
1 Cup Fresh Coconut Meat (or Coconut Manna)
1 Cup Cantaloupe
1 serving Vega Sport Vanilla Performance Protein
2 Tbsp Flax Meal
Ice Cubes

Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high setting until smooth. If desired, adjust texture with filtered water or ice. Garnish with shredded Coconut and Ground Cinnamon (optional). Drink 45 minutes after workout.

VEGA SPORT MOCHA APPLE PIE (Post Workout Smoothie)

Whether you’re making extreme gains, defeating triathlons or finishing up an intense Yoga session; chances are you’ve strained your muscles, depleted your energy or have lost some hydration. Whatever the case may be, you can put your body through some really extreme stuff while “fueling your better”. And armed with the proper nutrition and recovery routine, you can afford to go even a little harder next time (easy for me to say, right?).

Heres where Vega Sport Performance Protein comes in. This protein powder is packed with BCAA’s and Glutamine to help repair and build damaged muscle tissue after a tough workout. It’s smooth, creamy, tastes great and is nothing if not a life-saver for me after my weekly cycling adventures. Once I finally get off my bike it’s spaghetti-legs for hours! So, to get my recovery game going I just simply mix a serving into my favorite beverage (cough.cough.THIS SMOOTHIE!) 45 minutes after my workout, kick back and let Vega Sport do the rest.

In addition, I combined the Vega Sport with some other really thoughtful ingredients that will get you back on the saddle in no time. Coconut Water (for Hydration/Electrolytes), Banana and Apple (for Potassium), Quinoa (for Protein and Iron) and Ginger (for Inflammation). Now I’d say this smoothie is shaping up to be a great part of any workout recovery routine. Just don’t discount the pie spices…they aren’t only there to do the happy-dance on your taste buds; they also contain a host of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which aid in digestion, reduce inflammation and help manage your blood sugar.

How could something taste this good and still be good for you? This is how…

8oz Coconut Water
1 Banana
1 Gala Apple (skin on)
1″ Ginger Root (peeled)
1/4 Cup Quinoa Flakes
1 Serving Vega Sport Performance Protein (Mocha)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Clove

Blend all ingredients on high speed until smooth. If necessary, adjust texture using ice or water and blend again. Drink it down and keep it up!

Resting is Hard Work (Vega Sport Performance Protein Review & Recipe)

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For as far back as I can remember I’ve suffered from seasonal depression. When winter hits, I basically retreat into my cave and overdose on Vitamin D supplements; occasionally exercising, not really doing anything to write home about. But as soon as the snow and bitterness of winter finally passes, I get back out on my bike and push myself. Fueled by the sun, fresh air and calming energy of the ocean water, I transform into an entirely different person. With this also comes my desire to workout and be active. I wasn’t always like this, though, until I changed my life last year by juicing, blending and going vegan. Through this new and exciting journey of health, I learned a very important thing (the hard way); you can easily overdo it! This is why I went out of my way to research more about nutrition in the first place. I discovered that it is a MUST to give your body proper rest and recovery time between workouts. Since our muscles actually become damaged from physical activity (in varying degrees), they need sufficient time to heal and rebuild themselves. In fact, contrary to popular belief, if you are trying to “build” muscle, this process occurs entirely when you are at rest (not while you’re in the gym working out). That all said, recovery is just as important than the workout itself. “Awesome! So I can just sit around drinking beer and eating tacos all day”? Ummm…no. 😉

For a proper muscle recovery, you do need a bit of a plan. Reduce your physical activity to some light activity such as walking, light cardio or stretching. Lots of rest and sleep. Stay off as much of the inflammatory and acidic foods as possible. Stay hydrated, alkalize your body and choose foods that are known to be helpful in repairing and building muscle. Filtered Water, Coconut Water, Berries, Nuts, High Glycemic Fruits, Leafy Greens, Cinnamon, Turmeric and Ginger are all very good. And what a better way to get some of these servings in than by blending them up quick and drinking them? That said, let me introduce you to Vega Sport Performance Protein. My friends at Vega sent me a large tub of the Mocha flavor and I had been completely floored to try this for a while now. Especially because this particular variety is specifically meant for recovery.

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 Learn More about Vega Sport

As stated on the product page, it’s a multisource, plant-based protein powder, featuring 25 grams of complete protein, 5,000mg of BCAAs and 5,000mg of glutamine per serving. Great, so what does all that mean? Well, for starters, 25 grams of protein per serving is pretty awesome! We all know that protein is a must for our muscles. As for the BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), these are essential for repairing and building new muscle; they can only come from a food source (your body does not produce BCAAs). Interestingly enough, BCAAs are also metabolized directly in the muscle tissue, not in the liver which gives the body immediate access to their benefits. Glutamine is also an amino acid known for repairing and building muscle cells, although it is not essential, as our bodies can already produce it on it’s own. That said, the added Glutamine in the powder is an extra boost to what you’ve got naturally; which is great since it is also a component of digestive and immune health. All in all, this is a great, clean protein powder to aid in your workout recovery. Drink it within 45 minutes after your routine to maximize the benefits.

But how does it taste? The quick answer is: incredible! I’ve tried it on it’s own with just some Almond Milk as well as mixed into more complex smoothies and it all around tastes great. It has a very smooth, chocolatey coffee taste (hence Mocha flavor) which seems to go well with nut milks, dates, berries, nut butters, Maple, etc. I’ve also added leafy greens and the taste is still on point. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. Here’s an all in one recipe designed to give you everything your body needs to help recover after going hard. Coconut Water is known to aid in replenishing electrolytes, while Bananas, Blueberries and Kale are a power trio in helping repair and build new muscle tissue. On top of all that, its smooth, tasty, super quick and clean eats for post workout. Here’s to giving your muscles the love they need…Cheers!

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Mocha-nut Berry Recovery Smoothie

8 oz Coconut Water
2 Cups tightly packed Baby Kale
1 Frozen Banana
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1 serving Vega Sport Performance Protein (Mocha)
2 Tbsp Cacao Powder
1/4 Cup Coconut Flakes
1 Tbsp Flax Seed

Pour the coconut water into your blender and add the Baby Kale leaves. Blend on the high setting until the leaves have been completely broken down. Now add in all the remaining ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Add some ice if you prefer a more “slushy” consistency in your smoothie. Garnish with some shaved Coconut and Cacao powder if desired. Drink up and enjoy!

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Want more info on how to prepare, sustain & recover? Vega has got some excellent FREE Running Training & Nutrition Plans here. Click on the banner and sign up now!