Guidelines to Smoothie Making

Smoothie making isn’t as easy as it sounds and some people may struggle with never making the perfect smoothie; I know I used to. I’d thrown in a bunch of ingredients, but never end up with that sweet and fruity flavour I was aiming for. The truth it, it can be complicated, especially when you’re adding varieties of ingredients. Here I have made a short list of guidelines to assist you in your smoothie making.

*side note* I ALWAYS use frozen bananas in my smoothies. It gives a better texture, makes the smoothie colder, and it even makes it taste better! I highly recommend freezing bananas for smoothies. Click here to see banana prep.

1. Amounts and Ratios
Some people believe that in order to make a smoothie you just throw a bunch of fruit into a blender, add some water or milk, and hope for the best. However this is not the case. You need to measure your ingredients properly, and have a perfect ratio of flavours for your end result. For instance; if you’re making a strawberry banana smoothie, I wouldn’t advise putting 3 bananas, and 2 strawberries. You have to even it out so that the flavours are prevalent throughout the smoothie. I would suggest the more banana you put in, the more strawberries. Ex. 3 bananas, 6-8 strawberries. Or if you’re making a green smoothie, 3 bananas, 1 handful of spinach or kale, and half a cup or more of water.

1 01d62. Consistency
The same idea goes for adding liquids. If you are aiming for a thicker smoothie, add less liquid. Most people prefer their smoothies liquidy and more drinkable, so I’d advise adding more water/almond milk to ensure that consistency. But be careful not to add TOO much liquid, for you still want to have that smoothie texture.

IMG_95093. Ingredients
Smoothies all depend on the ingredients you put into them. You have to think and carefully choose what ingredients you want to add to your smoothie. Think about flavours that go well together like banana and strawberry, or chocolate and peanut butter. Don’t go crazy and just pour everything you have in your fridge into one smoothie because you want to fit as much as you can in there. Even a simple smoothie that only has 2-3 ingredients can still be a good one. Chances are the more you add to it and the more complex you make it, the less great it will taste. I know this from experience by trying to make a green smoothie with 7 ingredients. Now i just stick with 3 and I’m golden.

IMG_81664. Mixing flavours
That brings me to my last point: mixing flavours. I know it sounds obvious, but some people still do it. You have to know which flavours go together and which one’s don’t. Everyone makes smoothies differently, but personally, I wouldn’t add preferably strong fruity flavours like orange and pineapple, to a chocolate smoothie. If you are making a chocolate smoothies, keep it simple with just banana, almond milk, cacao powder, peanut butter, and water. When I make chocolate date smoothies, I add a few dates and 1-2 strawberries just for that extra flavour. The same idea applies to fruity smoothies. Don’t add super sweet or dessert flavours like chocolate and peanut butter to a strawberry pineapple smoothie because the flavours will clash.

IMG_8554Hopefully if you stick to these four simple guidelines, you will be able to perfect the art of smoothie making and end up with a sweet and tasty drink!

Shoutout to my dad who made a smoothie with 1 banana, 8 strawberries, greek yogurt, cacao powder and pineapple. According to my mother, It was too thick and didn’t taste good. But kudos for trying paps ❤  This one’s for you.

PS. since that incident he has been practicing and learning how to create better smoothies.

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Kevala Review

The other day I received a package in the mail from Kevala which is a company based in the United States that makes whole organic foods. Gerardo was kind enough to send me a very generous sample kit which I opened like a child on Christmas. In the package I got a jar of Tahini, Coconut oil, Cashew butter, and a bag of raw Cacao Powder.

IMG_0063At Kevala, their products are made with only one ingredient. There is no sugar, salt, oils or chemicals added or used in the production process.  “Your health is our number one priority and we will continue to develop new and innovative products that serve as basic ingredients in a healthy diet. Most of our products are made in the US but, since our passion is to offer genuine pure ingredients, we sometimes need to go in search of them in other countries as they are not always available at home. Our Organic Raw Honey is harvested in the tropical forest of Oaxaca, where we make sure that the bee habitat is respected and protected. Our Organic Agave Nectar comes from Mexico’s Blue Agave fields. Our Organic Olive Oil is truly Mediterranean, picked and cold pressed following ancient Tunisian traditions. Wherever the source may be, more than 90% of our products are bottled in the US always complying with both the FDA and USDA’s high quality standards.”

Product 1: Coconut Oil

The first thing I used, and by far the most common product was the coconut oil. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend you do. Coconut oil has many benefits that include skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. Not only that but it relieves kidney problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer.

It’s great for cooking and baking, and is also a great substitute for butter and other oils. I used it in quinoa, on the frying pan to make tofu, on my skillet making pancakes, and even used it to make vegan chocolate sauce.

IMG_0926Product 2: Raw Cacao Powder

The second thing I used was the cacao powder. It’s raw, vegan and gluten free. Cacao powder is a great anti-oxidant that you can add to smoothies, cookies, brownies, oatmeal etc. Just 1-2 tsp. can have amazing benefits for you. It keeps all of it’s nutrients when used raw so I like to add it to smoothies and oatmeal the best. Who would have thought chocolate could be so good?

IMG_0388Product 3: Cashew Butter

I’ve never tried cashew butter before, but I LOVE cashews and I LOVE peanut butter, so I assumed I would love this as well. Sure enough, I did. It’s creamy, delicious, has a great texture, and tastes just like cashews.

Not only do cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, but approximately 82% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 66% of this unsaturated fatty acid content are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

IMG_0390You can use cashew butter in just about anything. It gives a great flavour and texture if you add it to baking, but I also enjoyed adding a blob on top of my morning oatmeal.

2014-04-26 004 2014-04-26 001I decided to combine two of the products and create a Chocolate Cashew Smoothie. I simply put 2 frozen bananas in my blender and added a couple of dates, 2 tsp. of cashew butter, 2 tsp. of cacao powder, 2 strawberries, some almond milk and water, and it tasted just like a chocolate milkshake!

IMG_0392Product 4: Tahini

The final product I tried was the Tahini. Tahini is a ground sesame seed paste, similar to peanut butter. It is a creamy, oily, and smooth butter rich in calcium. It’s also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, iron and helps to promote healthy skin growth. You can use it on vegetables, pasta, salad, stir fry, and so much more. You can drizzle it onto meals, or use it in cooking. It’s a great substitute for peanut butter if you are allergic because it has a similar texture.

It’s also awesome for making homemade hummus. Mmmm yes, hummus; the perfect vegan/vegetarian dip. All you do is drain and rinse your chickpeas and combine it together in a food processor with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and water.

IMG_1075IMG_1101Overall I absolutely LOVED the products that Kevala sent me. Not only were the products great, but the service was amazingly fast – I’m talking 2 days fast, and I’m in Canada. The jars were a great size and the bag of Cacao is enormous! These products will definitely last me a long time – well, that is unless I use them every single day because they’re so good.

For more information about Kevala, or if you’d like to buy some of their products, check out their website: https://www.kevala.net/

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pancakes

Do you like pancakes? Do you like cookie dough? Well then, I don’t see why you wouldn’t love these pancakes! Soft and gooey with melt in your mouth chocolate, these pancakes are healthy, vegan and gluten free!

IMG_0032Many people ask the question: “are oats gluten free?”.  Anything that contains wheat has gluten in it. Luckily, pure grown oats are wheat and gluten free. Unfortunately some commercially processed oats have been contaminated during the growing and harvesting processing stages. If you don’t want gluten in your oats, make sure you read the label or buy gluten free oats.

These pancakes taste like soft chocolate chip cookies. The flax-seed meal gives them a gooey texture and when I was licking the bowl it tasted just like cookie dough. I rate these an A++ in taste.

IMG_0039Onto the recipe…

You will need: oat flour, flax-seed meal, coconut sugar or a substitute sugar, brown sugar, 1 ripe banana, almond milk, vanilla extract, pure maple syrup, and all natural peanut butter.

1.  In a large mixing bowl, pour 1 cup of oat flour, and 1/2 cups of flax-seed meal (make sure you buy ground flax-seed meal to get the full nutritional value)

2. In a blender or magic bullet, break up and add 1 ripe banana and 1/2 cups of almond milk

3. Blend it together really well, then pour it into your bowl.

4. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir in really well. You may need more water if your mix is too thick and dry. You want to make it liquidy

5. Add in 2 tbsp. of coconut sugar and 2 tbsp. of brown sugar. (If you don’t have coconut sugar you can just use 4 tbsp. of brown sugar)

6. Add in 1 tbsp. of vanilla extract and 1 tsp. of all natural peanut butter

7. Finally, add in 1 tbsp. of pure maple syrup.

8. Mix everything together really well, and like I said above, make sure it’s more liquidy rather than thick.

9. Add in vegan chocolate chips, stir mix them in well.

10. Grease your pan with coconut oil which should be set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to turn up the heat a bit as they are cooking. Just make sure they don’t burn.

10. Cook them until they are brown and cooked. They will have a soft and flimsy texture.

This should make 10-12 regular sized pancakes. I topped mine with strawberries, bananas, and pure maple syrup.

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries & Vegan Chocolate Sauce

At last – the long awaited post about vegan chocolate sauce; and the delectable fruit I decided to dip it in – strawberries. One of the most common desserts that people love, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. The idea kind of just sprang about when I was experimenting in the kitchen. So you can enjoy this dessert guilt free.

IMG_1055Ever since I began eating a vegan plant based diet, I realized that the regular desserts and foods that everyone loves are actually SO easy to create vegan versions of.

This chocolate sauce is sweet, gluten free and delicious. I do this thing where I serve my desserts to my family, especially my brother who loves chocolate, and if he approves, I can say my treat is “brother approved”. That’s a big deal. So when I tell you my mom, dad, and brother all loved these, you can be assured they are good.

IMG_0466What you’ll need: Vegan chocolate chips or a vegan chocolate bar, coconut oil. (I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips; dairy, nut and soy free)

1. Put a small saucepan on your stove and turn it to low.

2. Add in 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate, and 2 tsp. of coconut oil

3. Stir in the chocolate as it melts. You have to be careful to keep an eye on them and continuously stir them so that they don’t burn.

4. Pour your melted chocolate into a small deep container or cup so that it will be easy to dip your strawberries into.

IMG_09485. Wash your strawberries and dry them well.

6. Get a small wooden or medal stick and stick it into your strawberry.

strawbs7.  Dip it in, let it drip for a moment, then place it on wax paper to let them dry.

IMG_09188. You can leave them at room temperature for an hour or so, and once they are dry, stick them in the fridge to cool and harden.

Serves the whole family, and is guaranteed to be finger licking good.

strawbs2IMG_0936

 

 

Organic Burst Review

Many of you have probably heard of Organic Burst. They are a company based in the UK that sells organic super foods and powders. I see their products around Instagram all the time, so I thought it was time to check them out. Ekaterina was kind enough to send me 5 bottles of their organic powders!

IMG_0558These powders have amazing scientifically proven benefits for the skin, fighting sugar cravings, detox, anti-ageing, hormonal balance, exercise performance and more. Their products are loved by the celebrity health, beauty and fitness experts and have been featured in the leading media such as Vogue, Elle, The Times, Sunday Times Style, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Sun, Grazia and more.

Their products are 100% pure and organic superfoods that are super high in many nutrients, so they are natural alternatives to multivitamins supplements. Each of their chosen superfoods has an amazing history- spirulina was cultivated by the Aztec, maca was taken by the Inca, and the Pharaohs of Egypt took wheatgrass for rejuvenation.

They source from small ethical organic producers all over the world and manufacture in the UK to the highest quality standards. Organic Burst superfoods are a higher quality grade than many conventional superfood brands – with very high levels of potency and purity, UK pharmaceutical grade standard, free from heavy metals, toxins, pesticides, herbicides, fillers or additives and each batch tested in an independent laboratory in the UK.

IMG_0556I’ve heard so much about acai berries and acai powders, but believe it or not, I have never tried it. So as soon as the package came in, the first thing I made was an acai berry bowl.

2014-04-10 001 2014-04-10 008In my blender I added 2 frozen bananas, a handful of raspberries, and broke open 4 capsules of acai (4 is the recommended serving per day) and blended it all together. This beautiful creation was the outcome. It tasted delicious and was packed with super foods and anti-oxidants.

Acai is an Amazonian berry that does wonders for the skin and body. It has one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruit and vegetables ever tested by science – up to 8 times that of blueberries and 10 to 30 times that of red wine. Its powerful antioxidants, polyphenols and Vitamin E, help slow down the effects of ageing by protecting our cells from degeneration.

IMG_0554Another super food I’ve heard many things about is Maca. It has been used in Peru for endurance, energy and hormonal balance for over 2000 years. Maca root is known as the Peruvian Ginseng due to the variety and density of its minerals: calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, silica and zinc.

I made chocolate Maca oatmeal. I cooked my oats, added 1 tsp of brown sugar, 1 tsp of cacao powder, and 1 tsp of Maca powder. I also added chia seeds, peanut butter and some fruit! Oh, and I drizzled it with some of my homemade vegan chocolate sauce.

2014-04-19 001 2014-04-19 0012014-04-19 001 2014-04-19 002Next I decided to take the Maca powder and pair it with another powerful super food: Wheatgrass.

Organic Burst Wheatgrass is a 100% pure, organic, green wonder-food from a multi-award winning UK brand. Humans have been consuming wheatgrass for over 5000 years, dating back to the Pharaohs of Egypt. It’s well known for its detoxifying and cleansing properties. It contains chlorophyll, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, enzymes and energy-metabolising minerals. Their wheatgrass is organically grown and carefully dried, preserving all its nutrients.

I made these smoothies for my dad and I. I know what you’re probably thinking – they look like grass. But I promise you, they were DELICIOUS! And if you are a health freak like me, or even someone who appreciates nutrition, you will believe me. (Because green smoothies are the bomb) They are simply 4 frozen bananas, lots of spinach, 1-2 tsp. of peanut butter, 1 tsp. of Maca powder, 1 tsp. of Wheatgrass powder, and water!

IMG_0158The fourth powder I tried was Spirulina. Spirulina is a blue-green microscopic plant that has existed on our planet for 3.6 billion years and served as a source of nourishment to many civilizations. It has a full spectrum of nutrients that nourish the body and mind: beta-carotene, iron, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin B complex, chlorophyll, complete protein, GLA and more.

Organic Burst Spirulina is grown organically in clean, freshwater ponds, free of toxins, chemicals or pesticides. Thanks to these strict conditions, their spirulina powder is a completely pure, easily digested, and has a pleasant taste.

I created a beautiful coloured smoothie that included: 3 frozen bananas, blueberries, almond milk, and 1 tsp of Spirulina.

spirulina The last powder I tried was Baobab. Baobab fruit powder is a powerful new superfood and Africa’s best-kept secret until now. It’s known as the “Tree of Life” and has been cherished by locals across the African continent for centuries. It has a unique nutritional profile, with more Vitamin C than oranges, more iron than red meat and a rich content of alkalising minerals: calcium, potassium and magnesium.

I made a green smoothie that was 2 frozen bananas, 1 tsp. of peanut butter, a handful of spinach, 1 tsp. of Baobab, 1 tsp. of Wheatgrass, and 1 cup of water!

2014-04-18 002 2014-04-18 006This smoothie was so good and refreshing that my parents even asked for some so I had to make more. You know Organic Burst is good when the whole family wants some.

2014-04-18 002 2014-04-18 007Organic Burst is a wonderful company that has some amazing products. I will for sure being using these in every smoothie I make. You can also add them to oatmeal, pancakes, cookies, brownies, quinoa; virtually anything. They are all powders, except for the Acai which is capsules, but you can open them and use the powder inside. They are fun, healthy, and make a great super food.

For more information about Organic Burst or to purchase some of their products online, visit their website: http://organicburst.com/

IMG_9797IMG_0625

Spinach, Tofu and Quinoa

I must say this is one of the best vegan meals I’ve made yet! It had the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and a perfect ratio of vegetables to grains to legumes. If you are looking for a great dinner to make this Easter, I highly recommend this collection of super foods.

IMG_0352Looks delicious doesn’t it? I had such a busy hectic forty minutes in the kitchen! I made this last week when my mother and brother were having pizza and egg salad. So I was in there busily trying to create a plant based meal for myself. (Which my dad would later ask for my food over the family’s. Plant based: 1, Regular food: 0)

So there I was standing over the stove busily stirring my quinoa, poking at my broccoli, tossing my tofu, and flipping my sweet potato fries. Yep, it was just as hectic as it sounds. But I remained calm and collected and simply turned on the oven fan to get all the heat out. Not to mention my mother was also boiling eggs on the stove as well.

IMG_0343What you’ll need: 1 large sweet potato, broccoli, asparagus, quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, walnuts, cucumber, kale and spinach.

1. Sweet Potato Fries. Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. You will begin with your sweet potato fries, where you can find my full recipe here. Cook until they are golden and crispy. *Note, I left the skin on for these ones and they tasted great!)

IMG_06642. Quinoa. Turn one of your burners to high. In a pot, pour in 2 cups of water, and 1 cup of quinoa. (Make sure you always use the ratio of 1 cup of water to half a cup of Quinoa). Once it starts cooking, turn it down to medium and continuously stir it until it’s nice and fluffy. When it’s finished, stir in 1 tsp. of coconut oil.

IMG_06603. Tofu. Turn another burner to medium, grease it with coconut oil, and fry your tofu. Cook until it has a light brown colour to it. (Remember to press your tofu before hand to get the water out).

2014-04-09 005 2014-04-09 0124. Broccoli and Asparagus. Turn one more burner to high and get ready to boil your broccoli and asparagus. Once it’s finished, squeeze lemon on top and a dash of salt.

IMG_03535. Presentation. Wash you spinach and kale and put it onto your plate. Once everything is done cooking, you can begin adding everything on top. I first added quinoa to the center, put my broccoli and asparagus to the side, sprinkled some chickpeas, walnuts, and cucumber around the edges, put my sweet potato fries to the other side, and finished with my fried tofu on top.

IMG_0349

Family Eating Update

Hi everyone and happy Easter weekend! I finished my first year of University yesterday and I’m back at home all unpacked. I am so exhausted today but that didn’t stop me from doing some smoothie making and vegan baking. We’re having Easter dinner on Sunday so I’ve been brainstorming some ideas I can make for the family that doesn’t involve harming any animals. Comment some ideas below if you have some 🙂

2014-04-15 006 2014-04-15 002Anyways, I am writing in here now to give a little update on my families eating habits. I wrote a post last week called Plant Based Diet Challenge where I talked about how I got my parents to watch Forks over Knives, a really good documentary about the plant based diet, and even got them to go vegan for 3 days.

Since that post,  my father has been improving his eating habits and incorporating more plant based foods into his diet. I cant say how proud this makes me and how happy I am to make a change in the world, even if it’s only a small one. Vegan’s save almost 200 animals per year. Just myself not eating meat is already a change enough. But the more people I can get to stop eating meat or even cut back on their meat consumption can help as well. Change has to start somewhere, and even if it’s only one person, it makes me happy knowing I am making a difference.

Not to mention the health benefits. Forks over Knives focuses on how much better a plant based diet it is for the human body, including statistics like ‘vegan’s have a 50% lower chance of developing cancer than people who eat meat’.

2014-04-12 002 2014-04-12 001I came home from school yesterday to discover my dad has been cutting up and freezing bananas (like me) for his smoothies. He’s been having one everyday, and even making salads and cutting back on his meat/dairy/egg consumption. He says it’s easier when I am around because I always keep the fridge stocked with whole foods and I’m available to make meals for him.

2014-04-18 002 2014-04-18 016This morning I made a green smoothie and my parents both asked for some, so I made more. I told them I’d be happy to make them food whenever, as long as there are groceries available for me to make stuff!

2014-04-18 002 2014-04-18 011The toughest person to change however is my brother. He is 17 and does not eat well at all. It makes me quite angry, but I know I can’t control everyone – I just want to help, that’s all. And eating a plant based diet not only helps the consumer, but also the animals AND this planet.

2014-04-06 007 2014-04-06 008But last night and this morning, my brother has made smoothies AND he has put almond milk in it! Okay, he still puts regular milk in it too, but I’m hoping since he’s currently adding both that he will soon be able to omit the cow’s milk and permanently switch to almond milk! Eek, so exciting. My mom also told me she’s been using my almond milk as well! 😀

If you are a vegan or vegetarian who faces similar circumstances, comment below; I’d love to hear about it! Also, I found a ‘vegan save’ calculator which tells you the amount of animals you’ve saved and how much CO2 you’ve prevented from going into the atmosphere. I’ve been a vegetarian for 5 months now, so I’ve saved: 84 animals, 81 pounds of meat, and 670 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.  WOW, that puts the biggest smile on my face. Want to calculate your vegan save? Click here.

Have a great long weekend everyone!

2014-04-17 003 2014-04-17 005

 

Healthy Banana Split

My dad always complains that I never make him any food. Since I eat a plant based vegan diet, I often am making tons of food for myself, and none for my family because they don’t always eat the same foods as me.

But lately I’ve been getting my family, especially my dad, to eat more of the foods I do. I love baking and cooking and making different foods for everyone! So since my dad had been complaining, I decided to whip him up something so he would no longer have anything to complain about.

IMG_0251What you’re looking at is a completely healthy, 100% vegan and gluten free banana split. I know right? Hard to believe such a gorgeous piece of food can be so nutritious. My dad sure didn’t think so when I presented this to him. “How can this be healthy?” he asked. Haha, well let me tell you.

IMG_0254All that is on this plate is simply banana, peanut butter, some fruit, nuts, and vegan chocolate. It’s seriously not as complicated as it looks. But oh boy was it delicious.

IMG_0272Here’s what you’ll need: 4 frozen bananas, 1 regular banana, all natural peanut butter, cacao powder, raspberries, strawberries, vegan chocolate chips, vegan brownies, almonds, cashews, muesli or granola.

Let’s begin with the ice cream.

Strawberry
1. In a blender or food processor, add 2 frozen bananas. *remember to cut up and freeze your ripe bananas 4-5 hours prior to blending them. You get a better taste, temperature and texture.*

2. Add in a few raspberries, more or less depending on how pink you want it

3. Add in a bit of almond milk. I didn’t really measure, just poured a bit, blended it, poured a little bit more.

4. Once everything is blended and you have a smoothie/nana ice cream texture, put it into a tupperware container and stick it in the freezer. You will do this with both flavours for at least 4-5 hours to make ICE CREAM!

Chocolate
4. In a blender, add 2 bananas, 1 tsp. of all natural peanut butter, and 1-2 tsp. of cacao powder.

5. Add a bit of almond milk, and blend everything together so you have a thick creamy smoothie texture.

6. Pour it into a container and freeze it with the other one.

IMG_0269*fast forwards 4-5 hours*

7. Remove your frozen ice cream from the freezer. It may not be frozen all the way. If not, freeze it for longer. Or if you’re impatient like me, you can remove them anyways (what I did) and just work with what you got!

8. Cut open one ripe banana through the center, put it on a plate and spread all natural peanut butter on both sides.

9. Scoop on some chocolate and strawberry ice cream.

10. Throw everything single healthy thing in your pantry on there. I’m talkin strawberries, almonds, cashews, vegan brownies, muesli or granola, and vegan chocolate chips!

11. Drizzle on some homemade vegan chocolate sauce.

VCSServes 1 person (or 2 if you’re cute like me and try to split it). Eat right away before your plate of deliciousnes melts.

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What I’ve Learned About Living Healthy

What do you think of when you hear the term “eating clean” or “eating healthy?” Do you think of salads, and kale shakes? Do you think of eating an apple for lunch, and saying no to dessert? Well if you believe any of those things, you have fallen under the category of people who put a stereotype on health. I’m going to tell you what I have learned from this lifestyle, and hopefully it can help you as well.

1. Joy. The first thing you need to know about living a healthy life style is: it makes you happy. No one should ever be unmotivated to eat clean or hate their eating habits. I hate to say it, but if you don’t look forward to your meals, than you are doing this all wrong. This kind of life style doesn’t have any end goals because essentially we eat better to prolong our lives and be happy. I don’t like the word ‘diets’ because they imply a temporary fix that usually has an end goal in mind. You shouldn’t think of it as a diet, but more of a lifestyle. If you are not happy with how you live today then you need to revise your lifestyle. But once you make the switch to a healthier and happier one, you will realize all that you have been missing was right there in front of you!

image2. Easy. Eating healthy is not hard at all. People complain all the time saying “eating clean is so hard”. No, it really isn’t. You just have to change your motivation and will power and it’s all up hill from there. Think positive and believe that you can make a change. Don’t slack and give up by eating junk food because it’s “easier”. Your body will appreciate it when you fuel it with healthy foods.

If it’s the actual food itself you are worried about being hard, don’t fret, that part is easy as well! Every grocery store has fresh fruits and vegetables for you, and even beans, legumes, lentils, grains, nuts seeds, etc! You just gotta look for them. You can also look for the whole foods or organic section, more and more stores are starting to incorporate them now.

3. Exciting. Eating healthy is so fun and exciting. I’ve heard people say salads and vegetables are boring. Well, hello! There are tons of healthy foods in the world besides salads and vegetables, just take a look around my blog! Expand your horizon; try new things. You’ll love it, I promise.

2014-02-10 006 2014-02-10 0014. Worth it. Once you set goals for yourself and know what you want in life, you can start to work towards them and accomplish so much. Being healthy and happy is way better than sitting on the couch eating potato chips. PLUS if you say no to a hamburger and replace that with rice, sweet potato, lentils and broccoli, it will be so much better for your body, and you’ll realize it’s worth the sacrifice. You may regret that greasy burger, but you will never regret vegetables and a workout.

meSome people believe they are living a healthy lifestyle, but they actually are not. I’ve seen people trying to lose weight and putting themselves on strict meal plans. They drink “nasty” kale sakes, workout every day of the week, eat an apple for lunch, and say no to anything sweet. This breaks my heart because this is NOT living healthy and they are putting themselves through such a hard time in the process. Below I have listed these common habits and how to correct them.

1. Restricting. You should never have to restrict yourself. If you are eating all the right healthy foods, you can eat in abundance. Eating tons of vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, nuts, grains, etc will NOT make you fat. So why not indulge? Never should someone restrict themselves to “one” fruit, or “one” vegetable.

2. Gross. Healthy foods are not supposed to be “gross”. If you are on a juice or smoothie cleanse, or even just eating vegetables at dinner, they should never be gross. It all depends on how you prepare your foods and what you put in them. Healthy protein shakes and smoothies shouldn’t taste bad because YOU are in charge of what goes in them. I make a delicious green smoothie with just bananas, kale, spinach, peanut butter, water and almond milk. It’s green, it’s healthy, and it’s to die for. I just can’t get enough of it. Don’t think that just because you’re making a protein shake that it has to contain every single vegetable there is in the world, because then you just end up with a brown colour and a nasty taste. Just think simplicity.

IMG_95093. Over exercising. One should never over exercise or push themselves to make it to the gym 5 days a week. Take it slow and take it easy. There are no rules saying you have to go to the gym a certain amount of days to workout. Exercise when you feel like it. The best amount of time to work out is 3-4 times a week for 30-40 minutes. This gives your body a short but great workout, and it’s enough to lose weight and or build muscle. And you don’t even have to go to the gym! I do all of my workouts at home. You can create workout schedules from the comfort of your own living room. It’s that easy. And you’ll feel great about it.

step ups4. Saying no to anything sweet. NO! Don’t ever do this. I’ve say this many times before, but if you eat clean and exercise, and live an overall healthy lifestyle, than it is 100% okay to treat yourself. You shouldn’t have to say no to a chocolate cookie when all of your friends are having one. You shouldn’t have to say no to a piece of cake at your mother’s birthday dinner. A treat will not make you fat and it will not make you lose all of the progress that you have made. Smile. Eat. Be happy. Treat yourself.

On another note, I know it’s hard to believe, but there ARE indeed healthy desserts; I’d know because I make em all the time! Flourless, refined sugar free, vegan, paleo, etc. I’m not saying you have to strictly eat healthy desserts, because unhealthy desserts are 100% okay, and 100% delicious. But I am just letting you know that there are options and variety, and you can eat desserts that are guilt free.

IMG_8532Now that you have read my opinions on living a healthy lifestyle, I hope you are able to think about it and allow it to help you become an overall healthy and happier person. I know you think it can be hard, and I know that you may want to give up, but if you ever feel like that, just read this over again. I promise you it will help. Remember, this will all be worth it. There are never any downsides to living a healthy lifestyle. 🙂