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vegan

4 Things That Happen to Your Body When Switching to a Plant-Based Diet

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So you’ve heard of plant-based eating, but don’t know what goodness to expect after making the switch?

Give me 5 minutes of your time and read on for 4 effects you can expect when transitioning:


MORE ENERGY-

This is an incredible result that plant-based newbies rave about! Depending on your lifestyle before transitioning, the change in your energy levels can be drastic. Attribute it to more nutrients, quicker digestion, increased complex carb intake, stable blood sugar and/or better sleep.

Relying on fresh, whole foods and juices for lasting energy is much more effective than starting the day with sugar-laden caffeine and relying on processed snacks whenever the cravings strike. The longer you keep up with these healthy habits, the more you will notice you no longer need the energy drinks, coffee drinks and sodas to keep you going.

In short, you can expect to wake up refreshed and have more energy throughout the day. Win!



CLEAR SKIN-

For people who have suffered from acne or dull skin since adolescence, this result can be life-changing. Dairy is a common culprit for breakouts and acne, so removing animal products from your diet can help change your skin ASAP.

Also, your skin is the largest organ of your body which reflects your inner state. If you are loaded with good nutrition, hydration and rest— your skin will glow.

Get those vitamins in and show off that gorgeous, clear, shining skin!



WEIGHT LOSS-

Losing weight can feel like a losing battle at times, doesn’t it? What if I told you that eating more food and making conscious replacements to the foods you love could make weight loss almost… effortless? I know it sounds too good to be true, but weight loss without the deprivation is a beautiful side effect of a plant-based lifestyle.

Why? The foods you will be eating in abundance (i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, foritfied nut milk etc.) are nutrient dense and calorie poor. This means that you can consume larger quantities of these whole foods and still use more energy in your daily activity which results in weight lost.

Also, by focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables as well as juices and smoothies… you are bulking up on the high water content and feeling fuller, longer. The volume of the foods you eat has an effect on how much you end up taking in at each meal, which is why common advice is to have a salad, soup or glass of water before dinner to eat less calories overall.

Bottom line: don’t obsess over calories and focus on health over appearance. However, if you follow a whole foods, plant-based diet and give your body what it needs it will likely shed the extra pounds without cutting back on portions.


QUICKER DIGESTON-

If bloating, constipation or digestive woes affect you on a daily basis, then you might find some relief with a plant-based diet plan. Unlike the short digestive systems of carnivorous animals (like lions), our tracts are long and winding and perfect for a more herbivorous eating style.

Meat, fish, eggs and dairy can be taxing on your digestive system and spend way too much time breaking down. On the other hand, fresh fruits and vegetables essentially fly through your tract with high water and fiber content which keep you regular and bloat-free.

Most Americans are too focused on whether they are consuming enough protein when the fact is they typically over-consume proteins and fat and are lacking adequate fiber. Eat lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes to have a balanced diet that sweeps your intestines clear of any debris and keeps bathroom trips short, regular and effortless.

Let food be thy medicine, and medicine by thy food.
— Hippocrates

These four points are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce when it comes to how plant-based living can help your body. (Also, that was for the sake of punning please stick to dark leafy greens!)

Beyond these benefits many people experience immediate improvements in health markers, reduced or eliminated need for prescription medications, better sleep, mood and mental health improvement as well as the reduced costs of plant-based groceries and healthcare expenses.

Before beginning this lifestyle, it is best to speak with a holistic doctor, nutritionist, dietician or certified health coach (like myself). If you could use some help making the change send me a message or sign up for my monthly newbies coaching program here!

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Luscious Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Almond Milk Latte

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'Tis the season of PUMPKIN EVERYTHING.

Baked goods, soup, crackers and of course pumpkin spice lattes!

I am not a huge fan of PSLs from coffeeshops (like Starbucks), which are stuffed to the brim with sugar and questionable ingredients... not to mention dairy. This is a homemade alternative and tea can be substituted with a shot of espresso if you prefer coffee. 

This packs more than half your daily calcium, 15g of protein and no added sugary syrups!

If you prefer another non-dairy milk, you may substitute. I use the Protein Nut Milk because of the extra protein and the creaminess of the almond and cashew blend. Also, my tea of choice is the Trader Joe's Spiced Chai. 

 

Please add the spices to your own taste and pumpkin pie spice would work wonderfully! Simply add about a teaspoon.

Happy Fall!! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups Silk Protein Nut Milk (can substitute another non-dairy milk)
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pour milk into saucepan, add pumpkin and spices. 
  2. Whisk over medium-high heat until piping hot and bubbles forming rapidly.
  3. Add tea bags and remove from heat. 
  4. Allow tea to steep for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove tea bags and whisk to froth, then pour into mug. For extra chai flavor, add the tea bags back into mug while you sip

Tropical Fruit Salad

 
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I need to share with you an ultimate vegan find: So Delicious CocoWhip!

CocoWhip can be found in the freezer section of your grocery store and it is an airy, delightful, sweet and decadent dairy-free topping. The taste is better than other options such as "Coolwhip" and holds its form quite well.

 

This dessert plates calls for sunrise-hued fruit, chia seeds, raw cashews, cinnamon and CocoWhip for dipping. 

Plant-based diets do not have to mean deprivation and once you are finished with this amazing dish, I know you will agree. I have eaten this for breakfast, dessert and a hefty afternoon snack. 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1/2 banana
  • 5-6 strawberries
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup CocoWhip
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice banana, strawberries and oranges.
  2. Cut mango into parallel slices and then do the same vertically. Push the center of the flesh to separate cubes. 
  3. Arrange fruit onto plate, sprinkle with cashews and chia seeds.
  4. Top CocoWhip with cinnamon and get to dipping!
 

Crispy Baked Sweet Potatoes with Basil Tahini Dressing

 
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Lately, I have been on a bit of a Tahini kick. If you aren't familiar with this heavenly ingredient, it is a paste made of crushed/soaked sesame seeds and can be purchased from most grocers. You will find Tahini in hummus, Middle Eastern dishes, "goddess dressings" and more! 

 

Tonight I was looking to jazz up the usual sweet potato, and the result was this tasty and filling dish with a punch of flavor from fresh garlic, lime juice, Tahini and freshly picked basil.

 

This meal comes highly recommended from my family and I hope yours enjoys it as well. It is remarkably simple to make and the oven does most of the work for you. So, preheat to 400 degrees and get cooking!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 5 tbsp Tahini paste
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6-8 leaves of fresh basil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt to taste (Coarse preferred)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and place face down on foil covered or greased baking sheet. 
  3. Brush skin with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place in oven for 45-50 minutes. 
  4. Use blender or food processor to make the dressing. Add Tahini, water, garlic, basil and lime juice. Blend until smooth and salt/pepper to taste. 
  5. Heat black beans in small pan and season as desired. 
  6. In medium pan, heat olive oil and then add asparagus. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Saute until slightly firm. 
  7. Once potatoes are cooked through and edges crispy, place on plate and lightly mash the flesh. Add spoonful of beans, plenty of Tahini dressing and sprinkle of tomatoes. Serve with asparagus and enjoy!
 

Blueberry-Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl

 
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Hello from the Positive Palate!

This recipe today is my morning snack/meal of choice: SMOOTHIE BOWL.

You can top them however you wish, they taste like a treat and can be prepared in 5 minutes. What's not to love!? My favorite vegan protein powder is by Amazing Grass, and I have a hard time finding this in stores. I recommend purchasing on Amazon for the lowest price!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 banana, frozen

  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen

  • 8 oz. almond milk (sub cashew, flax, soy, coconut)

  • 1 serving of Amazing Grass Pure Vanilla Protein Superfood

  • 1 tbsp, flaxseed

  • 1 tbsp, cacao nibs

  • 1 banana, sliced

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Blend together frozen banana and berries, almond milk and protein powder.

  2. Spoon out into a bowl and quickly arrange your favorite toppings.

  3. DEVOUR!

 

 

Irresistible Protein Milkshake: Almond Butter

 

I am jumping up and down excited to share this with you today!!!

Recently, I have decided that dairy isn't my stomach's best friend. After completing my first Whole 30, my body is rejecting yogurt, ice cream and cow's milk. This intolerance also includes whey protein. 

 

My quest to find the most delicious plant-based protein led me to Amazing Grass' Protein Superfood. I am already a fan of their Green Superfood powders and was impressed with the ingredients in their protein blend. It is touted as an organic, all-in-one nutrition shake that includes:

20g Plant-Based Protein

7 Alkalizing Greens

2 Full Servings of Fruit and Veggies

<1g of Sugar

 

This shake has everything from wheat grass, alfalfa, spirulina, broccoli, hemp protein, chia, acai, goji......

The list goes on. 

 

However, I am completely sold on the taste!! Seriously. I have tried upwards of 20 types of protein powders and this one takes the cake. I typically use my protein for blended drinks and there wasn't a hint of chalkiness, artificial sweetness or medicinal flavor. 

 

The recipe I am sharing tastes like a decadent dessert, but somehow has all the benefits of superfood greens, raw nuts and antioxidant-rich fruits. Please give this one a go and let me know your thoughts!

 

I plan on creating more delicious shakes recipes to help spice up your morning routine on-the-go or provide a sweet end to your day in lieu of ice cream and cupcakes. 

<3, 

Jess

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 c. almond or cashew milk, unsweetened
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Pure Vanilla Protein Superfood
  • 2 tbsp unsalted almond butter
  • 1 c. frozen mango
  • 1/2 c. frozen cauliflower

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place all ingredients in blender, keeping a bit of almond butter to drizzle on top.
  2. Pulse until smooth. Top with remaining almond butter. 
  3. Devour this protein-rich treat!
 

Get Glowing Juice: Carrot, Ginger & Pineapple

 

This past week I made the ultimate purchase that I've wanted FOREVER: a juicer!!!

I know it might seem like a trivial excitement, but I remember seeing the Jack Lalanne juicer commercials on TV as a kid and wanting to throw combinations of my favorite fruits and veggies into it and make my very own drinks. So, a mere 20 years later here I am with a brand new kitchen toy and I couldn't be happier. 

 

There will be a series of juicing recipes to follow, as I discover the healthiest and yummiest blends. 

One note, I am making a habit of drinking these first thing in the morning before consuming any food. Why? Because your body is able to easily digest the nutrients in juices because it does not have to breakdown the fiber. Prime time for absorption of these vitamins is on an empty stomach!

 

I do not recommend having juice replace food, but it makes a nice prelude to breakfast. You can start your day energized without caffeine and knowing that you are giving your body a major boost of nutrition and antioxidants before the sun rises!


Side note: consume juice immediately if made with a centrifugal machine. Cold-pressed juices (masticating) are able to keep a bit longer, but those made with a spinning blade should be drunk as soon as possible to avoid loss of nutrients. 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 handfuls of chopped kale
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 slices of pineapple
  • 2 slices of lemon, peeled
  • Sliced ginger, add to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slowly add ingredients into machine. 
  2. To get the most of your greens, put them in between other "juicier" ingredients such as pineapple and celery.
  3. Stir to combine and drink up!
 

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cinnamon Latte

 

Currently, I am 18 days into my Whole 30 journey!

For those of you unfamiliar with this program it involves a complete focus on whole foods and avoiding: dairy, legumes, sugar and sugar substitutes, grains of all forms, alcohol and additives. For the month of June I have chosen to try this elimination diet and test myself like I never have before. 

 

What do I think? So far, it has been much easier than I had anticipated. My sweet cravings have lessened and are satisfied with fruit and the occasional Larabar. The sight of my trigger foods are still difficult to overcome, but I have made a commitment to myself and will not give in!

 

This recipe was created due to my love of caffeine, and while I tend to drink my dark roasts black... I also love to treat myself with lattes from the amazing local cafes nearby! Unlike Starbucks, they aren't sickeningly sweet and artifical tasting. The following recipe is my attempt at being a healthy dairy-free barista.

 

This latte is deliciously subtle in flavor and fulfills the desire to head to the cafe!

 

 
 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup coffee, dark roast or preferred
  • 3 oz coconut milk, canned
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pour hot coffee into blender followed by milk, vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa.
  2. Blend thoroughly about 30 seconds.
  3. Allow to settle and the layer of froth will rise to the top. Pour into mug and sip!
 

Summer Smoothie: Rhubarb, Watermelon & Berry

 

My favorite farmers' market just opened yesterday and I could NOT BE MORE THRILLED!

We live in Milwaukee and this market is stretched along a park next to Lake Michigan, with beautiful city views, a playground, beer garden serving farm-to-table fixings, live music and dotted with vendors selling:

fresh produce/meats/homemade items/coffee/hot food! 

It is a food-lover's PARADISE.

 

Shopping healthfully is possible in grocery stores, but nothing compares to the local and seasonal goods you can find at your farmers' market. I bought a few stalks of rhubarb and couldn't wait to experiment with them. Most recipes containing this tart fruit also have a lot of added sugar... but my challenge was to create a tasty drink that did not require any added sugar (natural or refined). 

The result? This summer smoothie was a hit

 

Head down to your local market and whip up this delicious drink PACKED with antioxidants, healthy fats and nutrition minus any preservatives or sugar. This recipe makes enough for two snack-size drinks or one larger smoothie as a meal!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup watermelon, frozen
  • 1 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen
  • 1.5 cups spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup rhubarb
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Ice to desired thickeness

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add melon, berries, spinach, rhubarb, coconut water and almond butter to blender. 
  2. Pulse until smooth. Add ice and blend until desired thickness is reached.
  3. Pour into glass and sprinkle chia seeds before serving!
 

Warm Apple-Pecan Steel Cut Oatmeal

 

Warm and filling bowls of oatmeal are not reserved for chilly months.

In fact, I enjoy steel cut oats year-round for breakfast, or even a late night snack! 

 

This recipe was what got me through my challenge of 10 days without refined sugar. The sweetness comes from the cinnamon, apples and swirl of agave nectar. (aka nectar of the gods). 

 

Avoiding added refined sugars can be a breeze if you prepare your own meals and a steaming serving of these steel cut oats will keep you satisfied for hours too!! Be sure to serve in an elephant bowl. (Not required, but can be found at World Market). 

 

In addition, making steel cut oats ahead of time is a great meal prep routine for breakfast all week!

Let me know what you think. <3

 

 

INGREDIENTS (serves four) :

  • 1 cup dry steel cut oats
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 medium apples, diced (prefer Honeycrisp or any variety with tartness)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk (prefer cashew, but feel free to use another nut milk or cow's)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare oats as instructed on container, and 5 mins before they are done, add apples.
  2. Once oatmeal is cooked. Stir in milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt.
  3. Transfer to bowl.
  4. Sprinkle with pecans, swirl agave on top and garnish with apple slice if desired. 
  5. If prepping for the week, put oatmeal in container prior to adding pecans and agave.
  6. Once re-heated, then top with nuts and agave nectar!

 

 

Crispy Kale Chips

 

 

CHIPS. CHIPS. CHIPS.

My personal kryptonite. However, I can easily sit down to demolish an entire bag of kettle chips without blinking an eye!

Think you couldn't possibly utilize the superfood kale to replace your usual crunchy fix? 

THINK AGAIN. 

 

I was not a believer until I finally perfected this recipe. Now, I am addicted. 

Kale will not replicate the oily, heavy potato chip experience, but it makes a fantastic substitute when you're trying to satisfy your cravings without ruining your diet. My four year-old even loved these and she would never touch kale in any other form!

 

As always, this recipe is incredibly simple to implement and takes very little time

If you adore another seasoning combination then experiment!! Make 'em spicy! Add lots of garlic! 

The options are endless.

 

Best part? If you find yourself finishing a bowl there is zero guilt. You just fed your body nutrients and healthy fat. 

SNACK AWAY!!

 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 3 cups kale, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Place chopped kale in large mixing bowl and massage with oil using your hands.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, chili powder, garlic powder, pepper and red pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread out in single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate pan.
  6. Put in oven for additional 5-10 minutes until edges are slightly brown and chips are crispy!
 

Acai & Watermelon Superfood Smoothie Bowl

 

I am extremely excited to share this recipe with you!!!

This exquisite and beautiful bowl is packed with SUPERFOOD goodness and is you guessed it... is so easy to make!

 

For this particular bowl I chose to utilize a watermelon I had frozen as well as other berries. 

If you find other types of fruits that you fancy in your freezer, then substitute away!

However, I would be sure to include the banana for the sake of texture. 

 

Also, choose the milk that suits your tastes and dietary needs best. Dairy-free nut milks work wonderfully (I prefer unsweetened cashew)!

 

As you can see below, I chose the one on the left as coconut is not my friend! On the right is my four year-old's dish who enjoys fruits and honey without the nuts and could be convinced that the Chia seeds were from the kiwi!!

Shhhhhhhh ;)

 

I can't wait to see your own unique take on this nutritious bowl!! 

INGREDIENTS (per full-size bowl):

  • 1 4-ounce Acai frozen puree packet
  • 1/2 cup frozen watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened coconut
  • Sliced fruit: strawberries, kiwi and banana
  • Drizzle of honey

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Run Acai packet under warm water for 10 seconds and break up into chunks.
  2. Add acai puree, frozen fruit, and banana to blender or food processor. 
  3. Pour in half of the milk and start to pulse the mixture. Continue to pulse and slowly add remaining milk.
  4. Blend smoothie to a thick and smooth consistency. Then, spoon into a bowl.
  5. Top your smoothie with sliced fruit, walnuts and coconut.
  6. Sprinkle Chia seeds and drizzle honey as desired. 
  7. Dig in quickly and savor this delectable frozen treat for breakfast, dessert or as a mid-day snack!
 

Honey-Lime Fruit Salad

 

Fruit is nature's candy, but sometimes I like to switch things up a bit!

 

One of my favorite ways to add some variety to a fruit salad is with a honey-lime dressing. The topping takes less than 5 minutes to mix together, adds no refined sugar and a ton of flavor!

My four year-old had to be cut off from digging into this. 

 

I typically create a fruit salad with a couple substantial options such as melons, pineapple or grapes then add berries!

The leftovers will keep in the fridge for a day or two, otherwise you can freeze and use in smoothies. 

Please let me know what you think!

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound of strawberries, sliced
  • 1 small pineapple, cubed
  • 1 cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small dish zest an entire lime and then squeeze juice into dish. 
  2. Whisk in honey and cinnamon. Set aside. 
  3. Layer fruit in large bowl.
  4. Spoon over honey-lime mixture slowly over fruit and lightly toss.
  5. It's best to allow 30 mins to chill and marry flavors, but can also be enjoyed immediately!
 

Best Ever "Candy Bar" Protein Balls

 

Adults love candy bars just as much as kids. 

Case in point: the hand trying to snag one pictured above belongs to a 30 year-old :)

It's not difficult for me to eat the things I should eat (ie: veggies, fruits, healthy fats.) However, it's a challenge for me to avoid sweets... enter: PROTEIN BALLS!! 

This treat is creamy, crunchy, sweet, chocolatey and guilt-free. 

Chopped dates add chewy sweetness that mimics caramel. Eating one or two should be enough to satisfy your sweet tooth while holding you over to your next meal. 

Hungry? Grab a protein ball!!

 

INGREDIENTS (makes 20-24 balls) :

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

  • 2 1/2 scoops plant-based protein powder

  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 3/4 cups natural creamy peanut butter

  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

  • 6 tbsp almond milk

  • 5-6 dates, chopped

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

  • 1/8 cup peanuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Stir together dry ingredients in medium bowl.

  2. Add peanut butter, maple and almond milk. Mix well and use hands if necessary.

  3. Sprinkle in nuts and dates and combine.

  4. Use hands to roll into balls of desired size and place on cookie sheet.

  5. Place in fridge to cool for 30-60 mins before eating.

  6. Enjoy as the perfect, portable snack!