Articles and Tips for a WELL Life
Our future is a result of what we do TODAY, not tomorrow!
The day before my birthday I took this once a year opportunity to get something that I really wanted. That was for my family, especially my husband, to get healthy! I went to my husband and explained that what I really wanted for my birthday was something that would not cost him any money and would make him feel great! I went on to say that I would provide him with three yummy meals a day for an entire week, but that they would not contain any animal products. He asked what does that mean and I casually told him no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy. He was surprised, but actually said "yes"! You have to understand that my husband has never considered a meal a "meal" if it doesn't have any meat or fish with it, so this is huge!!!
The day after I spoke with my husband about this he woke up in a complete panic about what he agreed to do. He said that he didn't really understand what I was asking and didn't realize all of the things that he couldn't eat. I did not panic or get upset. I explained that I wanted this to be fun, not stressful and that if he wanted to just do vegetarian for the week, that would be fine. So, he was vegetarian and my 6 year old daughter & I were vegan.
I was not a vegan, but could have been one with just a few modifications. I have never had any attachment to meat or dairy, so could easily leave them. I probably only ate a few servings of chicken or fish per week and would probably have less if I was not married and having to find meals that meet everyone's needs.
I can't tell you how excited this family vegan/vegetarian challenge made me, but I knew that it was going to be a LOT of work! I work fulltime, so there is really only the weekend to get the shopping, prepping and cooking done for the week. The first thing that I did was create a meal plan for the week. I went through my saved recipes on Pinterest and picked a few to cook and also picked a few restaurants to eat at or get take-out from. I would have loved to cook it all, but there is just not enough time in the day when you are working full-time. Also, I wanted this to be fun and yummy for everyone and not this stressful experience. There are a few great vegetarian/vegan restaurants locally that I have been dying to try and now is my chance. Again, it's my birthday, right? :) I went to three different grocery stores and would ideally like to go to another one today to complete my recipe list, but that's a lot! Below are some of the things that I planned to prepare.
Breakfast - Cold pressed juice, Fresh fruit, Smoothie
Lunch - Avocado on Ezequiel bread with sunflower sprouts, tomatoes & nutritional yeast, Hummus and veggies and Mary's Gone crackers, Hearty salad with roasted veggies
Dinner - Spaghetti and veggie meatballs, Portobello mushroom quesadillas, Veggie no cheese or vegan cheese pizza with kale Caesar salad, Veggie stir-fry, Veggie sushi rolls, Veggie/nut burgers with Portobello mushrooms, Coconut Curry with chickpeas and veggies
**the key is finding tortillas, pizza crust and bread that does not have any animal products like eggs.**
There are so many ways to eat Vegan, but it's about making the time to explore and find recipes, trying them and finding the ones that work for you and your family.
What I envisioned for the week: All of these amazing vegan & vegetarian dishes that would just amaze my husband and transform his health and how he felt. He would just be so thankful for me opening his eyes to this new way of eating and feeling. LOL!
What really happened: I did not have time to cook everything after work, so the meals were simply ok. Hubby was patient and did not complain. My daughter didn't notice anything different. I was stressed and disappointed. We joked that the meals weren't any worse than my normal meals - lol! I just don't have the time after work to cook the way that I would like to. That is a reality right now and I accept that for now. So, not having meat did not make the food worse for my husband, so that's progress! :) I also realized that I don't have to make a big declaration of change to implement positive changes. Sometimes the best changes that actually stick are the ones that gradually happen and are not forced. So, I am now just cooking foods and meals that are more whole food, plant based, experiment with new recipes and gradually eliminating and substituting with better ingredients. I add some cheese and/or meat for my husband and daughter when needed, but it's a lot less than before, so that is progress! As for me, I am mostly vegan. I have dairy 1-2/week for a few things, mainly for convenience. If I ever miss eating chicken and fish or feel that my body is being deprived in any way, I would add it back to my diet. But, I feel great and know that it is good for me and the environment, so I'm sticking with this for now! I am just in the beginning stages of exploring all of the yummy whole foods, plant-based options, so I am excited for the journey!
"The Wellness Chik"
"One man's food is another man's poison."
We have all been hearing about Quinoa for years now. It is a gluten free grain with SO many amazing health benefits! In addition to being gluten free, it is high in protein, fiber, zinc, B-6, folate, iron, magnesium, amino acids and antioxidants. It is a superfood for everyone, right? No!
Yes, Quinoa has all of these amazing nutrients, but not all people can tolerate it well. I am one of these people. I can eat quinoa in small amounts, like in an energy bar, salad or a soup, but when I eat a bowl of quinoa I have unbelievable cramping and discomfort for about 24 hours after eating it. I am not the only one that this happens with. There are a couple of things that can be causing this reaction- fiber and saponins.
If your body is not used to high amounts of fiber, quinoa can cause bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea. You may have to start with eating smaller amounts and build up from there. Also make sure that you are drinking enough water when eating quinoa.
Saponins are a naturally occurring substance on the outer layer of the quinoa that protects the seed by helping propelling insects. It is an irritant to the small intestine, so make sure that you always soak and rinse quinoa well before cooking, even if the packaging says that they were pre-soaked.
It is important for us to realize that we are bio-individuals. Something that can make someone feel great can make another person sick, even if it is good for you. Quinoa is an amazing food, but it's just not always amazing for me & my body. I will continue to eat quinoa, but in moderation. I believe that fiber is the "issue" with me, but will make extra effort to soak and rinse them better. It is important for all of us to pay attention to all of foods that we put into our bodies to determine how our body reacts to them. If there is a negative reaction, take the time to understand why & if there is something that you can do before you eliminate something that you may love.
Are there any nutritious foods that you know that your body can't tolerate? Please share below in comments!
Do you want to buy organic, but hate the expense? The lists below can help you decide which fruits and veggies that you should put the extra money towards buying organic and where you may be ok to save money and buy conventional.
Every year The Environmental Working Group, EWG, analyzes pesticide residue of the most popular 48 produce items. They then rank them from the worst to the best. The Dirty Dozen are the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the most chemical pesticides found on them. These "dirty dozen" are items that you should always try and buy organic if you can and I would just avoid if you can't. Keep in mind that these are just the twelve worst ones. There can still be pesticides on fruits and vegetables that are not in the top "dirty dozen" list.
The Dirty Dozen
10. Sweet Bell Peppers
11. Cherry Tomatoes
The Clean Fifteen were the fifteen produce items, out of the 48 produce items that were analyzed, that had the least chemical pesticide residue. Please note that even though Papaya and Corn are on this list, that they tend to be items that are from Genetically Engineered seed stock, so consider buying organic for those items if you want to avoid GE produce.
2. Sweet Corn
5. Frozen sweet peas
12. Honeydew Melon
I know that it can be extremely frustrating that it is more expensive to buy fruits and vegetables without harmful chemicals and pesticides than it is to purchase the ones that do have these nasty chemicals on them. Please know that this price gap is closing every time that we purchase organic by shifting public demand. It is a slow change and victory, but every time you shop and purchase organic items, you are casting your vote and telling the suppliers that is what the we really want to eat!
Welcome to the Wellness Chik!
Hi, I am Cari Beard, The Wellness Chik, and I strongly believe that taking care of your body & mind through conscious eating, proper nutrition, exercise & spiritual connections is the key to a life of health and happiness.
Who is this website for?
"The Wellness Chik"
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.