Saturday, June 14, 2014

Veggie Quest Redesign (and Funny Flashback)

It's official: Veggie Quest is undergoing its first-ever redesign

My timing's not perfect: I recently started a nutrition internship with PCRM, and on top of that, I'm trying to decide if I should apply for a master's degree before or after completing my dietetic internship. (Any RDs out there who care to weigh in on that?)

However, it turns out there's never a convenient time to turn your blog upside down. So why not now, right?

In that spirit, over the next few weeks I won't be posting, as I'll be guiding Veggie Quest through a migration to WordPress and complete design overhaul. I'll also be working on mouthwatering recipes and go-to tips to help you love those veggiesand feel better than ever.

In the meantime, I want to leave you with this funny flashback from the Veggie Quest archives: a piece of hilarious health advice from the USDA, circa 1917. Let's just say the USDA's recommendations used to be a little more, um, moving than they are now. Curious? Check it out here.

Can't wait to see you back soon!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Interning at PCRM + 4 Online Resources You Won't Want to Miss

Have you ever had a week that went by in such a whirlwind that you're left standing there, your hair still blowing in the breeze, wondering how it got to be the weekend?

Well, that was this past week for me! Just after Memorial Day, I started a 7-week nutrition internship at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

In case you aren't familiar with it, PCRM is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting preventive medicine and plant-based nutrition, as well as the use of non-animal research, testing, and medical education methods. Headed by Neal Barnard, M.D., a nutrition researcher and health advocate who has authored numerous books, PCRM provides a wealth of resources that empower people to live healthier lives.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled to be interning with an organization that advocates for plant-based nutrition. So far it's been a great experience—bright, friendly colleagues; meaningful work; and of course, food that's 100% plant-powered!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Making Green Smoothies in a Standard Blender - the Easy Way

I'm embarrassed to say this given how much I love them now, but in my pre-Vitamix days, I hardly ever drank green smoothies. Proof positive: I started Veggie Quest in 2010, but didn't post a green smoothie recipe until 2014! That's because the few times I tried making a green smoothie in a regular blender, for the life of me, I couldn't get it to work.

In fact, I amassed quite the list of things NOT to do, including:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ridiculously Simple Green Smoothie Formula

Some mornings it's fun to experiment with your green smoothie, adding a little of this and a dash of that until you come up with a new 12-ingredient smoothie masterpiece.

On other mornings, though, you just want to make something that's simple, tastes great, and takes zero thought. (So you can get your butt out the door on time!) 

This is that something.

Monday, May 5, 2014

4 Creative Ideas for Green Smoothies

If you're trying to work more vegetables into your diet, green smoothies are one of the easiest ways to do it. Sweet and refreshing, they're nutrition powerhouses, packed with vitamins, minerals, and protective phytochemicals. What I like most about green smoothies, though, is the immediate energy boost. They never fail to get me going, even on those sleep-deprived mornings when I'm so tired I feel like I might not make it through my shower. (Much less the rest of the day!)

Like any routine, though, making green smoothies can become ho-hum. So I was thrilled when my friend Jason shared a recent New York Times blog post on Facebook, Drink Your Greens. The post's author, Martha Shulman—who for years rolled her eyes at the very idea of green smoothies—recently decided to give them a whirl. And like most people who try them, she fell in love.

What made her post so helpful, though, was that she brought a "beginner's mind" to the smoothie-making process. Without preconceived notions about what green smoothies "should" be, she came up with combinations that sound so scrumptious, I want to run to the store right now to buy the ingredients. For example, her pineapple basil smoothie, where basil IS the leafy green. Yum!

Reading her delicious ideas also got me thinking. What are some of my own tricks for keeping green smoothies fresh and snappy? And what surprising new ideas would be fun to try?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How to Eat 2 Pounds of Vegetables a Day

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted on Veggie Quest in awhile. That's partly because I've been researching a new media project. (More to come on that later!) But, alas, it's mostly due to the fact that I've been off the wagon big time. And when you have a blog focused on healthy eating and vegetables, well, you can see how that could be a little...embarrassing.

In fairness, I haven't been chowing down on steaks and fried chicken or anything—but to be honest, those kinds of foods aren't my weakness. Instead, I've been indulging my sweet tooth like crazy—we're talking egregious amounts of refined sugar! Oh, sure, it was just a little at first, but that little bit turned into more and more as my taste buds acclimated. Then I added in some caffeine, and then some fat, and then a little more fat. Now, perhaps unsurprisingly, my breast pain is back with a vengeance and I feel completely run down.

I know how it started, the same way it always does: emotional overeating in response to feeling stressed and overtired. I mean, why sleep and take care of yourself when you can stuff your face with sugary carbs, right?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: Gluten Free and Vegan at Sandals Emerald Bay, Bahamas (Part 1)

Vacations, while rejuvenating, can actually be a little stressful if you're trying to follow a gluten free, vegan diet. Doubly so if you have additional dietary restrictions like I do. (Low fat, soy free, and oat free, just to name a few.)

So when Jeff and I vacation, we usually make most of our own food. But we've been dreaming of a trip to the Caribbean for years, so when we had the opportunity to take one (thank you to my in-laws for the amazing Christmas gift!), cooking and doing dishes weren't on the itinerary.

In fact, we wanted to do as little as possible except soak up the sun and enjoy ourselves. So after hours of research, I came up with Sandals all-inclusive resorts, because they cater to customers with dietary restrictions.

Since I have an irrational fear of going hungry, I watched (and rewatched) Sandals' dietary restrictions video, read reviews on TripAdvisor, and even called Sandals to ensure that they really could handle food sensitivities. Then, with some trepidation, Jeff and I took the plunge and booked a room at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas.

Review: Gluten Free and Vegan at Sandals Emerald Bay, Bahamas (Part 2)

Five days of food and fun at Sandals Emerald Bay

After our busy first day, we spent the rest of our vacation relaxing, playing in the surf, and eating amazing food. Our daily itinerary looked something like this:

  • Walk the beach and watch the sunrise
  • Enjoy a tasty plant-based breakfast
  • Lounge by the quiet pool and read
  • Eat lunch, custom-designed by a resort chef
  • Hit the beach for water sports, swimming, and relaxing with a cold drink
  • Savor a four-course dinner

It was a tough life, but someone had to live it! Since I know you're here for the eats, though, I'll jump right into the good stuff...

Monday, March 17, 2014

What's Your Favorite Healthy St. Patrick's Day Treat?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Given how much sticking to a low-fat, plant-based diet over the past two months has reduced my breast pain (thank you Dr. Neal Barnard and Foods That Fight Pain), I've been really good about staying the course. That said, for me, St. Patrick's Day always brings to mind a host of unhealthy traditions that—I confess—I miss. 

Green beer and green cupcakes, for example, top the list!

So while green smoothies are great (in fact, I plan on starting my St. Patty's Day with one), I'm finding myself having pangs for addictive green treats.

That said, I don't want to go there! I've been doing too well to get back on the junky, emotional-eating roller coaster.

So I'm asking you, healthy plant-based diva (or dude), for suggestions: What's your favorite healthy St. Patty's Day treat?

Whether it's traditional Irish fare with a vegan twist or your favorite green dish, tell me about it! Bonus points if you leave me a link to your recipe so I can try it out. Can't wait to hear your suggestions!
Image credits:
Shamrock: By graymalkn, [CC-BY-2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
Cupcakes: By tonydolor, [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Energizing Kale Smoothie with Orange and Pear (Vegan)


Need an energy boost? This kale smoothie with orange and pear is for you!

Another creation from my Adventure Cleanse days, this smoothie, bursting with fresh kale, tender spinach, sweet pear and juicy orange will make you feel like a million bucks.

Superhero Nutrition

I don't know if it's the immune-boosting vitamin C (298% of your daily value!), the hefty dose of lutein for laser vision, or the fiber to keep things, ahem, "moving," but whatever it is, this puppy will make you feel like superwoman! (Or superman; we don't discriminate here. ;-) )