Back to School

I’ve been enamored with nutrition, food, cooking for quite some time now. Cooking healthy meals, that actually taste good, out of whole ingredients. I’ll be honest, there were times when it wasn’t so much about the whole foods as it was about tasting absolutely delicious. Well, that’s changed a bit over time.

 

Almost two years ago I gave up land animals. I’ve written quite a bit about that. Once you start reading, watching, learning not only how they treat mass produced for consumption animals, but what they’re pumping into them, feeding them and what they do to the human body….well, it’s definitely a personal choice to not eat meat, but one I couldn’t have felt more secure in making.

Veggies

Veggies

So, where to get my protein!? That seems to be the most commonly asked question as a veggie-eating gal. Being a pescatarian (I do eat fish occasionally) helps cool the heals of protein-crazed people, but a whole diet started becoming more and more nutritionally important. Mike is a contractor, check out his blog MAS Quality Construction, so someone in his worker-shoes needs to be extra careful, as the energy he’s putting out during the day needs to be properly replenished.

The quest to learn began and for anyone who’s curious about food, diet, nutrition, the resources are endless. Overwhelming even. And the studies are plentiful. Why not go back to school, to really learn about this stuff? OK!

I started researching programs, for fun at first, that taught nutrition. Did I want to be a nurse? No. A dietician? No (there’s a lot of school involved in that!) I wanted to mostly learn about the science behind what happens to the food we put into our bodies, what happens to our bodies from the food that’s put there. Scientifically, what the hell is going on!? What nutrients (or combination) of foods works best. Open up Pandoras box!

We moved to Colorado late December 30th 2013, demoed our house, Mike started his company up again, I continued my Marketing gig from my home office…..a year later, we were settled. Time to dive into the next chapter: Back to School!

 

Studying my Anatomy & Physiology

Studying my Anatomy & Physiology

I enrolled in the Nutrition Therapy Institute (NTI) January 6th, 2015. Their philosophy struck a cord with me: Better Health Through Nutrition. So simple, yet such a foreign concept. Traditional Western Medicine doesn’t incorporate nutrition into the bigger picture, which boggles the mind considering most of the chronic diseases in this country are preventative and can be proactively managed, hell even avoided, with proper nutrition. I digress….

My first class is Anatomy & Physiology – fascinating, hard, mind-boggling stuff! I can’t believe we’re all still alive with the damage our body takes, the amount of energy and cell repair and organ functioning that takes place under our integumentary system (skin, look at that, I’m so scientific!!).

Spring Rolls in a coconut dipping sauce

Spring Rolls in a coconut dipping sauce

I hope this program enlightens me beyond my current state of nutrition, so I understand the options out there, the whole foods that could work for someone suffering from allergies, celiac, asthma, hypertension. I truly believe health starts with what you put (or omit from putting) into your body. And so my nutritional journey begins….I’ll try to share my knowledge here, as it’s so absolutely fascinating.

Let food be thy medicine – Hippocrates

Happy eating!

Simple Meals are Best

Healthy, simple meals that don’t take 4 hours to prepare are possible!! I promise. I often hear the ‘I don’t have time to prepare something elaborate,’ or ‘How long did that REALLY take you to prepare?’ or ‘Healthy meals are boring and tasteless!’ Ok, I don’t really hear the latter, but I know that’s a general misconception.

I stopped eating land animals (chicken, pork, beef, lamb, quail, bunny, venison, buffalo…if it walks or flies, I don’t ingest it!) almost 2 years ago and have expanded my culinary palate to new heights. I’ve had to! To make sure Mike and I are getting the correct nutrition, I’ve incorporated legumes, plant protein, nuts, whole grains in a variety of ways. It’s fun to think about food not only as delicious and comforting, but as fuel our body needs to function correctly.

So, what the heck does all this mean for the time-deprived, busy, multi-tasking, I need something quick, average person?! Well, here are two super simple, super healthy, super quick meals you can make for dinner. Let me know how un-boring healthy can be afterwards. The below recipes are portioned for 2 adults.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Kale & Balsamic Tempeh

Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Kale & Balsamic Tempeh

Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Balsamic Marinated Tempeh and Kale

Pesto Sauce

3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
1 1/2 cups of spinach
6-10 basil leaves
3-5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of Romano Cheese

Blend all in cuisine art till well mixed

Cube Tempeh – put in bowl and add 4-5 tablespoons of balsamic. Put in fridge and marinate for 20-40 minutes.

Halve a spaghetti squash – de-seed & microwave for 10-12 minutes until tender. Shred squash using a fork into a bowl & mix with pesto sauce – keep warm.

Saute 2 cloves of garlic in pan with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 cups of kale – saute for 3-5 minutes. Add marinated tempeh, sauteing until brown on all sides.

Voila! Scoop the spaghetti squash onto a plate, then top with kale & tempeh. Enjoy!

Sweet potato & Kale Flat Bread Pizza

Sweet potato & Kale Flat Bread Pizza

Sweet Potato & Kale flat bread Pizzas

1/2 red onion minced
1 garlic clove
1 large sweet potato
1 heaping cup of kale
4 tablespoons of fresh Parmesan or Italian cheese
2 pieces of Flat bread of your choosing (I actually used garlic naan!)

Toast flat bread for about 5 minutes. Saute onion & garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Throw sweet potato in the microwave for 3 minutes to soften. Chop potato into tiny cubes then add to the pan, along with the kale, for an additional 5 minutes (until potato is slightly brown). Linea a baking sheet with parchment paper and top toasted flat bread with all the sauteed goodness (there will most likely be overflow). Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Our 2015 Intentions, Goals & Bucket List Items

2015's Gonna be a Good Year! As we lie in bed this evening, Mike and I are discussing our goals for the coming year. I like to call them goals as opposed to resolutions, as I’m more goal oriented, so trying to have that mindset when thinking of what we’d like to accomplish this year. So, here it goes…

1. Mike will get his Denver contracting license. He’ll need to get some paperwork together and file it with the Denver building department and he’ll be all set!

2. I will learn as much as I can at the Nutrition Therapy Institute (where I have recently enrolled in a certified nutritional therapist program). Beyond learning in the classroom, I’d like to expand my knowledge of nutrition and apply it to my everyday life.

3. Mike will find a skilled carpenter’s apprentice. He’s found a great crew in the surrounding Denver area, but hasn’t found any luck with skilled woodworkers.

4. I will continue my yoga practice and make time for it each day, even if it’s just 5 minutes. It calms my mind, refreshes my body, and awakens me.

5. Mike will outfit his trailer so it is a functional, organized work vessel. Most of his tools are huge, so being able to house & transport them in an all inclusive space will be huge!

6. Starting January 1, I will put a few hundred dollars a week away for the next 3 months in preparation for our next investment property. This means an extremely tight budget, which will actually be quite a fun challenge for me. I’m a freak for saving money! Homemade meals instead of restaurants, packed lunches for ski days instead of high priced lodge food. Let the savings begin!!

7. I will climb 3 14’ers this year. In 2014, Mike and I climbed Mt. Sherman, our first 14,0000 foot hike. It was amazing! Colorado has 53 mountains with elevations 14,0000 feet. I think 3 is a pretty obtainable goal!

8. I would like to venture to 3 new mountains to ski this year. Colorado has 23 ski resorts and I’ve only been to a handful of them! Now that I’m a Coloradan, I need to add some notches to my ski poles.

9. Mike will ski 50 times. Last year, he skied 29 days and we only got here in January, plus we gutted a house! This year he’s been 5 times already (4 for me) and our house is complete. Think he can do it!

10. I will be more social with my family and Colorado friends. Being that i work from home, can be a bit of a homebody and am trying to save money, going out often gets put on the back burner. I love entertaining though and there are plenty of inexpensive things to do in Denver, so will plan to do more of all of the above this year!

11. I will run my first 1/2 marathon. Just signed up today for the Colfax marathon…yikes! I can’t wait to start training!

I intend to be be patient this year, kind to all (especially those who seem to be miserable, for they need kindness the most), diligent about my goals and aspirations, supportive to Mike and all he works for, focused on positivity, gratitude and love.

Looking froward to an amazing year!!!!!

Happy 2015