Pickled foods are my jam! They usually pack a crunch, satisy a salty craving and they last forever so it's okay to stock up without fear of wasting them. But, the benefits of eating pickled foods are grwater than you may realize.
1. They Boost Immunity
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, okra are high in vitamin C, E, A and iron, which help the body fight infection and have powerful antioxidants
2. Pickles are hydrating
Yup, the Real Dill pizza from Via 313 could help with your hangover because of the pickles! Pickles replenish electrolytes naturally and boost hhydration. They're also blood-sugar stabilizing and can help curb unhealthy cravings from the sudden rise and drop of insulin. This benefit means they can also soothe muscle cramps AND menstrual cramps!
Probiotics found in pickled foods help with clearer skin, gut health, reducing/treating yeast infections and improved cardiovascular health. The good bacteria in the gut means not only a healthier physical wellbeing but healthier mental wellbeing! An unhealthy gut can mean depression and mental fogginess so keep your gut in check and eat some pickled foods.
My personal favorites are a jar of "Fickle Pickles" found online or in Gruene or Boerne, Texas. Trust me, they're worth ordering online or taking a day trip. I also love pickled okra, pickled beets, pickled herring with sourcream on crackers and kimchi on a veggie taco! If you're a meat-a-saurus, top your bratwurst or hot dog with sauerkraut! Add pickles or relish to deviled eggs, potato salad, or tuna salad for added flavor and healthy gut benefits!!
Ve well. Food is medicine.
"I could never be vegan. I need protein"
This will blow you mind: Plants have protein.
In fact, broccoli has more protein than steak. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! All fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grasses have protein. They also have minerals, vitamins, and bacteria your body needs, not only to survive, but to thrive! And, they don't have the fat, cholesterol, and hormones from animal products that weigh your body down and cause heart disease and cancer. In fact, some of the world's top athletes live on PLANTS! Plants can even REVERSE aging, fight cancer, and greatly reduce your risk of other diseases like heart disease and dementia.
And, theres a difference in being vegan and being "plant-based". Vegan means no animal products, no meats, no broth, no eggs, no daity. Being plant-based means limiting those things to about 10-15% of your diet and getting the rest of your nutirnets and calories from plants 85-90% of the time. Its SO much easier and yummier than you may think too.
First, try shopping ONLY in the produce section and seasonings. Really, that's all you need. Your belly and wallet will thank you. Here are some of my favorite things I prep after returning from the store so I'll have easy-to-grab options all week.
1. Sliced watermelon with feta and mint (skip feta if you prefer)
2. Cut up celery for tuna salad, spreading with nut butter, or eating with hummus
3. Cut up peaches, beets, basil, plums, and goat cheese for "salad"
4. Protein Balls
1c oats, 1/2 c nut butter, 1/4 c honey. Add cinnamon, tumeric, vanilla, chia seeds, flax oor hemp. You can also add dried cranberries, pistachios, or sunflower seeds. Let it chill 30 min before rolling into balls.
5. Thai Cucumber
Sliced cucumber, 1/3 c rice vinegar, 2tbsp sugar, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, chopped peanuts and green onions. Store in the fridge to marinate.
6. I roast a sweet potato at 425 for an hour while I'm preparing the other meals. Store sweet potato in the fridge for sweet potato pancakes in the morning. Add an egg or two, cinnaamon, vanilla, and coconut oil or milk to make it more liquid if you need to before cooking pancakes.
7. At the 20 minute mark, I'll add cubed butternut sqash to the oven in a glass dish with grassfed butter and salt and pepper. Mash this on a tostada topped with black beans, pico, avocado, and cashew cheese if you like for a mexican tostada lunch or dinner.
8. I also made tuna salad with vegan mayo, celery, mustard, salt, pepper and a soft boiled egg. I'll top half an avocado with this or eat in on a Wasa cracker (low carb, high fiber)
9. Greek Salad
Chopped cucumber, tomato, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, feta cheese and a tad greek dressing or use olive oil. Stir together and store in the fridge. Add fresh onion when you're ready to eat it.
10. Vegan Taco Soup
1 can corn, 1 can black beans, 1 can rotel,, 1 pkg taco seasoning, 1c vegan crumbles from freezer section (optional). Cook on the stove on low until flavors meld and crumbles are cooked. Top with corn chips, pico, or black olives and cilantro!
Bonus: I also make taco meat with mushrooms and cashews pureed and cooked down with water simmering on the stove. Add in taco seasoning and use for tacos, taco bowl, or enchiladas!
11. Portobello Steaks or Fajitas
Marinate and grill a portobello mushroom like a steak, or sautee with peppers and onion and fajita seasoning for fajitas. Top with jack cheese (cashew option), olives, jalapenos, and pico.
12. Jackfruit "Chicken"
Jackfruit is rumored to be a kick-in-the-dick to prepare, but it can be found canned at specialty grocers. Cook with mexican seasonings for carnitas option or pull it apart and roast in verde salsa for "chicken" enchiladas. It can also be dipped in panko crumbs and fried in olive oil or grassfed butter for chicken nuggets. Mix with mashed chickpeas if you'd like it to hold up stronger for frying.
We also have a basket full of fruit! Apples, bananas, peaches, kiwis, papaya, mango, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. Our freezer usually has frozen peaches, cherries, acai packets and wheatgrass for smoothies or packed lunches.
Our pantry staples are usually oatmeal, ezekial bread, corn tortillas, canned fish, oysters and sardines (I'm obsessed), popcorn, and LOTS of nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios, and various seeds to sprinkle on things. I also love to snack on pickled things like pickled veggies, kimchi, pickled okra, peperocini peppers and pickles made with different spices and fermented items are SOOOOO good for maintaining gut health. Drink your coffee black if you can handle it and drink LOTS of water throughout the day and you'll feel like you've discovered the fountain of youth!!
Be well. Food IS medicine.
"I want to be a representative of my race- the human race. I have a chance o show how kind we can be, how intelligent and generous we can be" -Maya Angelou
When I was seventeen I was drugged and raped at a party by a white friend I knew and held down by two others, both black. This was a heinous crime committed against me, but it was a crime committed by wicked people against an innocent young girl, it wasn't racial.
When I was twenty years old I was followed to a gas station by three Mexicans and had a gun held to my head. They shot at my friend, a white man who was blonde and blue eyed like me. They screamed racial slurs at me calling me "white bitch" and as they were exiting the scene they screamed "we're Mexican! Remember that!" This was a racial crime.
Good people do bad things and bad people do good things. Bad people also do bad things, but that doesn't mean everyone who looks like them should be punished, just like when good people do good things everyone who looks like them should not be celebrated and rewarded.
The crime against George Floyd was disgusting. It was murder and it was not justified. No one deserves to be killed. When I watched the video of his killing I saw an asshole cop abuse his power and kill a criminal unjustly and without reason. He should be punished accordingly and I hope he is. However, I did not see a white man kill a black man for being black. I didn't see a racial crime. Black cops kill white criminals. White cops kills white criminals. Black cops kill black criminals. Black criminals kills innocent black people. White criminals kill innocent white people. George Floyd served time for holding a gun to the pregnant belly of a black woman during a robbery. He did not deserve to die, but his life is being used in a movement protesting racism as if this crime was racial? This is causing more hatred, violence, and separation and inncent people in both black and white communities have died as a result.
If I tell a man I don't want to give him my number or go out with him, I have to hear, "You don't date the brothers?" even though this person simply isn't someone I'm interested in. And, side note, my greates love and first real boyfriend was black. I loved him twenty damn years and maintained a close friendship.
If I move to the side of the street to be polite to the person who may be bumped by my large purse I have to hear, "Oh you're scared because I'm black?"
When I wouldn't help my kindergarten student cut out a bat during a CUTTING practice project, his mother accused me of racism against her son, who by the way was one of my most loved students. I didn't help him because he needed to practice cutting like everyone else.
If President Obama was half black and half white, why is he referred to as the first black president? Why isn't he known as a democratic prsident who the people felt was best for the seat in office? Why use race rather than his capability to justify choosing him to lead the country? How much better for ending racism would it have been if he was simply a representative of the American people?
If we're fighting to end racism, we have to start judging people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. This was Dr. Martin Luther King's dream, right? The murder of george Floyd shouldv'e been used to demand mental health tests for police officers, better training, better education, harsher punishments for police brutality and holding them accountable for unjust actions. It should NOT be used to divise two communities who have fought for civil rights since the beginning of America. We have made HUGE strides as a nation and have fought the oppression based on race, sexuality, age, gender, and handicap. Let's not move backwards and allow the media to divide us again.
ITS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT RACE.
Unfortunately, we live in a Kardashian-esque world that places high value on looks, status, and material belongings. It's a junk culture where depth is rare and thinking about others is even rarer. Few people are able to take on another person's perspective and show empathy with any regularity. As a parent of two young boys with a narcissitic ex, I place HIGH value on teaching empathy and I work hard daily to avoid raising narcissists. So...how do you avoid raising a narcissist in a world like today's?
1. Teach them its their fault
Narcissists are unable to take blame or apologize for their actions. They never accept fault and can always find a person, place, or thing to put the guilt on. This way, they never have to experience consequences either. I have always allowed my children to experience the hurt for their choices. For example, when they fall, I'm careful not to say, "That stick was in your way", which places blame on the stick and robs the child of the opportunity to practice caution. Instead, I'll show love and empathy, but allow them to experience fault, "Oh no! You weren't watching where you were going and you got hurt. Come here, I'll hold you". Or, when something doesn't go our way, we practice, "This is disappointing. We'll have to try a different way next time" instead of being angry at circumstance which implies we have some sort of control over the universe.
Teach them to accept fault, allow them to experience guilt, praise efforts and recognize small achievements. Accepting fault for both good and bad is a learned skill.
2. Acknowledge others in need
When my boys were two year's old they had a fascination with fire trucks like any young boy. Their father would clap and get excited when a fire truck passed by, "Look boys a fire truck!", This always made my stomach cringe because I felt we were ignoring the purpose of the fire truck which is to help people in danger. I've modeled, "Fire trucks are fun to look at, but that fire truck has on it's sirens. That means someone is in danger". Similarly, when an ambulance passes by, we turn off the radio and send positive, healing thoughts to the person, or people, that may be hurt. In your home, perhaps you'll say a prayer.
Children will never do what you say, but they will do what you do. We visit farmer's markets to support local farmers and talk about where food comes from and how people eat all over the world based on what grows and lives nearby. We give dogs water that we pass in the park and take time to pet them and "give love". We hold doors for strangers and "spread joy" by waving out the window to passersby. Throwing away trash is followed with "we are a family that takes care of our world" and we always pick up litter. These small acts daily add up and help to develop the inner workings of a child to consider a world, and people, outside the self.
Remember that being a mother is not synonymous with being a martyr. In fact, you're doing your children a disservice when you don't take time for yourself, your spouse, or your interests. You're sending them the message, "You are all that matters in the world", which isn't true. It's best for them if you say, "I'm a better mother when I've had exercise" and you go for a run. Or, "I've been working long hours to provide for us, so I'm going o bed early tonight". Perhaps you secure a babysitter to catch a play, or a movie, you've been interested in. This behavior models for your child the importance of maintaining an identity of your own, pursuing your passions, practicing self-care, taking time to rest, and valuing your health overall. They, too, will do the same as they grow.
It's easy in our modern world to open an app and buy a toy. Grandparents and friends send money, toys, treats, and goodies year around. Everytime your child gets a haircut, a teeth cleaning, or hell, they survive the grocery store wth you, they're offered a treat of some kind. Why?! For existing? Its ridiculous! I turn these things down. I tell my children, "I love you enough not to buy you that toy" or "I love you enough to tell this person we don't need a balloon today". I'm not being cruel or ungrateful, but I do not want to raise children to think they're rewarded for simply exisiting. I don't want them to think they need to "get" something everytime we leave the house or they wipe their ass. There's more value in practicing patience, distracting oneself, saying 'no', and doing with what you have. I value contentment and gratitude and hope to raise boys with work ethic not an attitude of gimme gimme gimme.
What do you do in your home to teach these values? How do you model empathy, gratitude, and self-care?
Parenting expert, blogger, inventor, single mom to twins, barefoot nomad, adventure seeker, boho spirit, advocate of play