Eat.Pray.Heal


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Samosa Wraps

(Adapted from fatfreevegan)

Ingredients

2 medium gold potatoes

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

1/2 sweet onion, minced

1 cup frozen peas

1 medium tomato, diced

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced

1 Thai chili pepper, minced

1/2 cup water

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp curry powder (I used the Vietnamese brand ca ri ni an do, but you can use any madras curry powder–the yellow powder)

1/2 tsp ground coriander

3/4 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

6 whole grain or spelt tortillas

Directions

1.  Peel and chop potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes.  Boil until cooked through.  Strain and set to the side.

2.  Heat a nonstick skillet on medium, and add onion.  Cook until onions sweat (about 5 minutes).  Add peas, tomato, ginger, pepper, and 2 Tbsp of water.  Stir around until peas thaw out.

3.  Add potatoes and chickpeas along with 1/2 cup of water, salt, curry powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice.  Cover the skillet and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add a little more water if necessary.  Remove the lid and cook uncovered until the water has evaporated.  Do a taste test before removing the skillet from heat.

4.  Place a few spoonfuls of the mixture onto the middle of a warmed tortilla.  Fold in the sides, and then roll up.  I like to have this with a side of fruit.


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The Oil Cleansing Method

Are you tired of your usual skin care regimen?  Want something that makes you feel like you’re at the spa?  Do you struggle with acne and feel like you’ve tried everything?  Or maybe you just want a more natural approach to skin care.  Well, I have the skin care method for you!

I only recently learned about The Oil Cleansing Method, but I decided to give it a try last week, and it actually works VERY well!  Think waaay back (at least it will be way back for many of you) to your years taking chemistry.  Do you recall the Law of Attraction?  It says that like attracts like.  That’s the concept used in The Oil Cleansing Method.  We can actually use oil to extract the excess oil out of our skin so that it doesn’t clog our pores.  I know it sounds crazy, but I noticed a difference in my skin after the very first night I used oil to clean my skin.  It left my skin feeling soft, fresh, clean, and balanced.  No need for moisturizer either.  Here’s how it works:

Mix 1 part castor oil, 1 part extra virgin olive oil, and 1 part grapeseed oil.  You can switch out some of these oils with other oils, such as jojoba oil in place of grapeseed oil, or sunflower seed oil in place of the olive oil, but make sure you use castor oil, because that’s the antibacterial in this equation.  You may also add a few drops of an essential oil, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil, for its aromatherapy type characteristics.  Depending on your skin type, you may want to adjust the amounts of each oil you use as well.  If you have combination skin or average skin, then use the equation I gave above.  However, if you have dry skin, you will want to use 1 part castor oil, 2 parts extra virgin olive oil, and 2 parts grapeseed oil; if you tend to have oily skin, you will want to use 2 parts castor oil, 1 part extra virgin olive oil, and 1 part grapeseed oil.

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Why did I choose these oils?  Castor oil is a MUST in The Oil Cleansing Method, as this is the antibacterial ingredient in the mixture.  Extra virgin olive oil balances that out, because it is moisturizing to the skin.  It’s also full of important vitamins, such as vitamins A and E, which are both good for the skin.  Grapeseed oil is rich in antioxidants, so it has anti-aging properties in addition to evening out the skin tone and making it feel soft.

The Method:

1.  Wash and dry your hands to remove any dirt or bacteria.

2.  With a dry face, pour a quarter-sized dollop of the oil mixture into your hand, and rub hands together to warm up the oils.

3.  Massage the oil mixture into your skin for about 30 seconds.

4.  Wet a cloth with hot water–as hot as you can handle–and wring it out.  Place the cloth over your face and allow it to steam your skin until the cloth is back at room temperature (about 30 seconds).

5.  Repeat step 4.

6.  Use the cloth to gently wipe the oil off your face.  I like to splash my face with warm water at this point as well.

7.  Use a towel to pat the skin dry–do not rub the towel on your face, as this can be harsh on the skin.

At this point, your skin should feel clean and soft–not too dry, not too oily; however, if your skin does feel a little tight, use a very small drop of extra virgin olive oil to moisturize your skin.  In addition, if you have a blemish, even if it’s cystic acne, you can apply castor oil directly to the spot and it should help diminish the inflammation and clear it up.

Do this every night, and I promise your skin will thank you!  If you are someone who usually washes their face in the morning as well, I like to use an all natural toner rather than a harsh facewash.  Mine is from Whole Foods, and it has rose water, witch hazel, and aloe vera in it.  You can even make this toner at home pretty easily.  You may also want to create a natural exfoliater for your skin to use twice a week to remove any dead skin cells that accumulate.  Many people mix baking soda with water, or there are recipes online that use oatmeal.  I may need to write another post about how to make an exfoliating wash…

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If you decide to try The Oil Cleansing Method, please leave me a comment and let me know how it works for you!  I don’t think I’ll ever be washing my face with a harsh cleanser again.  Not to mention, this method saves a lot of money when you think of all the store products you normally buy:  facewash, exfoliating scrub, toner, moisturizers, etc.


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Apple Nachos

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Ingredients

3 granny smith apples, thinly sliced

1/2 lemon, juice only

1 Tbsp peanut butter, melted

vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

shredded coconut

coconut whipped cream (see recipe below)

Directions

Place apple slices in a medium bowl and squeeze the juice out of half of a lemon.  Toss the apples so that all of them are covered with lemon juice to prevent browning.  Spread the apple slices out on a platter.  Melt 1 Tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave, and then drizzle across the apples.  Sprinkle a handful of vegan chocolate chips across the apples, and then do the same with the shredded coconut.  Spoon dollops of coconut whipped cream onto the apples.  Either serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a later time.  This makes a great healthy snack!  You can really add anything you want to the apples–nuts, caramel, or melted vegan chocolate might also be nice.

Coconut Whipped Cream (adapted from ohsheglows)

1 can full-fat coconut cream (not coconut milk–coconut cream), refrigerated overnight

3 tsp raw turbinado sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Place a medium sized bowl in the freezer for about 5 minutes while you get out the ingredients.  Empty the can of refrigerated coconut cream into the bowl.  Using a hand mixer, whip the cream until it’s fluffy.  Add in the sugar and vanilla and mix again until well blended.

You can use this coconut whipped cream just like dairy whipped cream.  It can go on pies, fruit, cupcakes, or apple nachos!  Store leftovers in a sealed tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


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My Story

Welcome to my new blog!  Some of you may have come to Eat.Pray.Heal due to my infertility blog This Luminous Road I Travel, so you probably already know my story.  But to the rest of you, let me start off by sharing my journey with you.

You can read all about my background with infertility, which was the catalyst for the seemingly drastic changes I have made in my diet and lifestyle this year, either on my About page or at my infertility blog linked above, but I want to tell you about my path to veganism.  After my husband and I experienced a few failed rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination), we were devastated.  We felt we had hit a wall.  I was beginning to wonder if we would ever be able to have children of our own (I still wonder that sometimes).  But I’m no quitter.  I delved into the world of alternative medicine to see if there was anything there that could potentially help me overcome my fertility issues.  I had two problems blocking me from conceiving a baby:  I could not ovulate without medication (or so I thought), and my immune system produces antibodies that attack sperm before they reach my cervix.  I set out to tackle problem number one first, because we moved to the St. Louis area from Birmingham right after our last round of IUI and I didn’t want to see another reproductive endocrinologist (fertility specialist) for a while.  I was so exhausted from the intense treatments, and I was really sick of going to the doctor several times a week for ultrasounds and injections, etc.

I actually learned about maca root from an episode of Taboo on the National Geographic Channel.  A woman on the show (from South America) believed that she would eventually become pregnant if she ate maca root on a daily basis (and if she took a pilgrimage to see some famous shaman in her native country who would go into an altered state, cut himself all over to prove he was possessed by some other being, and then cut her stomach open so her infection could bleed out–but I’m not going to get into that part of her story, though).  Despite the fact that I first heard of maca root on a show called Taboo, I was intrigued by this root I had never seen or heard of before, so I did a little research.  I learned that maca root, which is native to Peru, actually balances hormones in the body, so it is a popular alternative for women who need meds, such as clomid or letrozole, to induce ovulation.  I was sold.  I bought a bag of maca root powder from Whole Foods the very next week, and to my utter amazement, I started ovulating the very same month I began taking maca powder, and I have continued to ovulate ever since.  This really got my wheels turning.  If I could fix such a major health issue by simply adding one new food to my diet, what else could I fix via food?

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That’s what pushed me to learn more about nutrition.  The first change I made to my diet was removing all dairy.  I gave up dairy for a number of reasons:  cows are often injected with hormones, which pass through their milk to us; cows often eat genetically modified, pesticide-filled corn, which again, passes through their milk to us; dairy causes acid build-up in our bodies, which can cause our bones to become brittle and frail over time; dairy products cause more mucus production in our bodies, which can lead to worsened allergy symptoms.  (Not to mention, we are the only species to drink breast milk into adulthood, and the only species to drink the milk of another species.  Ew.)  I can’t say I noticed a lot of physical changes in my body from giving up dairy, but my allergy symptoms have definitely improved, and I know that I’m doing my body a huge favor in the long run by keeping those hormones and pesticides away.  Next came meat.

Dairy-Free

I was always under the impression that meat was safe to eat as long as it was organic, because if it was organic, that meant the animals were fed their natural diet, were free range, and were treated ethically.  Then, I watched the documentary Vegucated on Netflix, and I immediately vowed to never eat meat again.  I never knew half the things that happen to animals in the food industry, and that includes animals raised on organic farms.  It was sad, it was disgusting, and I felt awful.  If you want to learn more about the unethical treatment of animals that goes on in our food industry, please watch this documentary!  That pushed me to watch more documentaries and read more books and articles about the meat industry as well as the vegan lifestyle.  Even if you could care less about animals and how they are treated, I urge you to watch Forks Over Knives, an excellent documentary that can also be found on Netflix that lays out the science behind why a vegan diet is best for our health, all politics aside.  Vegans are WAY less likely to suffer heart disease, heart attack, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, or cancer.

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After going fully vegan earlier this year, I immediately felt like a new person.  (For those of you who may not know the difference between vegetarians and vegans, vegans do not eat any animal products.  That includes dairy, eggs, and honey.)  My energy levels soared (this past Easter was the first time I’ve ever eaten a big holiday meal without needing a nap or feeling exhausted the rest of the day), I sleep better, I’m more conscientious about the things I put into my body, my allergy symptoms have greatly improved, and I have opened up my pallet to so many new flavor combinations.  I have always enjoyed cooking, but not like now.  Becoming vegan has made me fall in love with food in a whole new way!

I can’t wait to continue sharing my journey with you, as well as giving you solid information about health and nutrition and sharing with you some of the recipes I love most.  I’d love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment.