Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Why I Meditate and Tips for Better Meditation

Hey guys! Today I wanted to talk about the practice of meditation. I am going to talk on a few points related to mediation. What is meditation, the benefits of regular meditation, why I meditate, and a few of my best tips for meditation. My hope is that you will take the information provided here and take the time to check in with yourself.





What is Meditation?
Most people think meditation is about consideration, it is actually the opposite. It is more about getting to the point that you are thoughtless. It is about taking the time to be with yourself, work through the thoughts and relax your mind.

Benefits of regular meditation
Meditation offers many different benefits; such as health, mental and spiritual benefits. I think the best way would be to list them.
-Lowers blood pressure
-Lowers levels of blood lactate, this will help lower anxiety attacks
-Decreases tension in the body
-Increases serotonin production, this will help improve mood and behavior
-Improves immune system
-Increases energy level
-Improves emotional stability
-Gain clarity and peace of mind
-Gain focus
-Creativity increases
-Will help you learn more about yourself and become more connected with yourself
-Help increase willpower

Why I Meditate:
The reason I started meditating is because I wanted to gain some type of control over my anxiety without taking any medication. After doing research I found that meditating may help. After I started meditating, I found that not only did it help with my anxiety I also experienced all of the benefits I listed above. Most of them were immediate.



Top 3 Tips For Better Meditation:

1. Get comfy
The very first thing you need to do is find the perfect location. You want to have a space where you feel safe and comfortable. You also want to be alone. The two places I meditate is sitting cross-legged in the middle of my bed or in the bathtub.

2. Setting the mood
It is important to set the mood in the room. You want to feel relaxed. Some people like to meditate to music, Spotify has a few playlists that are really good. You can also do it in silence if you would prefer. You may even want to try lighting a candle or incense.

The last thing is to turn off your phone, turn off the lights (not a requirement but works best for me) and breath in for 3 and out for 4.

2. Make it a habit
In order to get the most out of meditation, you will want to make a habit of it. You can start by doing it once a week and then work your way up to meditating every day. Meditating will soon become the best part of your day.



Even though you may feel silly at first, you will get the hang of meditation fast!


Thanks for reading!
~Stella~

Follow us on Facebook at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies to know when we post or just to keep up with us!

Intermittent Fasting: Introduction




Good morning, afternoon, evening! This post is the introduction to a two-part series. The first part is going to be this post. Here I am going to go into the why? In 30 days I will post a second post that talks about the result of my little experiment. After it is all finished I will link it here. I do not recommend starting a diet like this without talking it over with your doctor first.

Fasting is something that humans have been doing since the beginning of time. It used to be done out of necessity. In the colder months food was hard to come by so people would eat less. These days we are lucky to have constant access to food.

 There have been recent studies that a practice called Intermittent Fasting can be extremely beneficial. There are a few different ways to do this, I will list them below.


  • Leagains: This is the method I will be doing, With the Leangains method you will eat for a span of hours. If you are female it is recommended to do all of your eating in a 8 hour period. If you are a male it is recommended that you do all of you eating in a 10-hour span. This is best for people who want to lose body fat and build muscle.
  • Eat Stop Eat: For this one, you would fast for a 24 hour period once or twice a week. During the break, you can only consume zero calorie drinks. This is best for people who already have healthy lifestyles and are just looking for a boost.
  • The Warrior Diet: With this one, you fast for 20 hours every day with a large meal in the evening. This is recommended if you are a person who is a rule follower.
Click here to read more about each of these options and see if it is this is the best option for you


Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
  • Weight loss
  • Reduce insulin resistance: this will help prevent diabetes
  • Reduce chances of developing heart disease
  • Help prevent cancer
  • Helps improve brain health
  • Prevents Alzheimers
So, why am I trying this?

I am still in the process of finding what works best with my body. I have been heavy my entire life, I hope this is a way to help me get my weight under control. This is a concern for me because heart disease runs in my family.

I find that the best way to see if something works for me is to jump in head first, give it a try, and let others know how it went.

With practicing this for the next 30 days, I will learn if this is the best option for me. My hope is that by sharing my insights with all of you guys you will be able to gain some insight on if this is something you want to incorporate into your life as well. If you have tried this before, have any tips or questions leave them in the comments! I will answer all of them.

~Stella~

Follow us on Facebook at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies to know when we post or just to keep up with us!

Recipe!! Vegan Buffalo Sliders




Hey guys! Today I am going to share with you a delicious vegan alternative to a Chicken Buffalo Sandwich. My husband absolutely loves buffalo anything, the for him the best of the best is a Chicken Buffalo Sandwich. This is one of the things he has missed the most since we have transitioned to a plant-based diet. We really try to stay away from the frozen vegan food, or as I like to cal it "Vegan Junk Food" as much as possible. I find that it makes me feel heavy and bloated. 

So, I used cauliflower instead of a processed alternative. If you want to make this as a regular sized sandwich rather than sliders, you can simply slice a head of cauliflower into 1/4-1/2 inch slices, for sliders, it is a bit more complicated. You will actually need to cut up a bit more to fit into the size of the bun you are using. Now, because we are working with cauliflower if we cut it the wrong way it will all fall apart! My solution to this is to cut it into triangles or in half depending on the size of your cauliflower, photo example below. Then I roasted them this way.  If you would like, you can pan fry them, but I was looking to cut out extra fat where ever I could.



While the cauliflower is roasting, the next step is the buffalo sauce. Traditional buffalo sauce does have butter in it, so this will not work for us. You can pick up a vegan buffalo sauce at Trader Joes or you could just make it! I will include a recipe for it below. I love making things from scratch, I feel that it is the best way to know what is really going into your food. However, I also get that sometimes we just don't have time to do all of that extra stuff and just need to buy it. Whichever way you decide to go it will still be delicious!

If you use this recipe or even put your own spin on it take a picture and tag us in it on Facebook at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or tag us on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies!

~Stella~






Recipe Vegan Buffalo Sliders
Makes 2 Servings

Buffalo Sauce
- 1/3 Hot Sauce (I loveTexas Pete's)
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
- Salt to taste

1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan on medium heat
2. Gently stir mixture until it starts to boil
3. Pull off of heat and let cool for about 10-12 minutes before using


Sliders
- 6 pretzel buns, cut in half and toasted ( I bought mine in the store)
- 2 slices of a 1/2 inch slice of the cauliflower head
- 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce
- Sliced Tomatoes
- Romain lettuce
- Vegan Mayo

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Cut cauliflower slices in half or to size of bun
4. Roast cauliflower in oven for 15 minutes on each side
5. Let cauliflower cool for 10 minutes
6. Take cooled cauliflower and lightly cover with sauce mixture
7. Spread mayo on bread
6. Put the sandwich together. I recommend doing it in this order from the bottom. Cauliflower, tomato, lettuce and top with any extra sauce.
7. Serve!

ENJOY!


Buddhism and Yoga Meditation



Buddhism is not so much a religion as it is a dharma. A way of being; a way of life. Buddhist worship, pray to, and believe in no higher being. There is not a heaven or hell in this way of life. Buddhist believe that life should be lived in a kind and simple way that has little negative impact on others. This is the reason many Buddhist become vegetarians or vegans. There are many branches of buddhism suited for different people. I personally cannot put a definite name to the form of buddhism I follow. In a way it encompasses many branches to form a way of life that most suits what I hope to learn from this life.

When I was first introduced to Buddhism I was fairly young and did not have the maturity to fully grasp or appreciate buddhism. Looking back on my past self I was controlled by my anger which led me to be thoughtless in my thoughts, speech, and actions. It wasn't until I looked honestly at my past actions that I was able to begin looking for a better way of being.

Music was my first outlet and quickly became a passion. Whenever my emotion got the better of me I turned to the comfort I found between the lines of the stave. The familiar intervals and harmonies could always perfectly express everything I was feeling and became my voice whenever my emotions overwhelmed me. Unfortunately, music was only treating the symptoms of life not the cause of my suffering.

It was then I turned to buddhism and truly began living my life in a more positive manner. Buddhism provided the final guidance I needed to let go of the anger I cultivated for so long. I tried meditating the way I saw others; legs crossed, palms relaxed, breath deep; and often found myself waking up from a very restful nap. I learned that I needed body movement to accompany my meditation to prevent my impromptu naps.

I began what I refer to as yoga meditation. Yoga meditation helps me begin and end the day more mindfully. Movement accompanied by deep breathing created for me a more focused mind capable of keeping present throughout the day.

I begin and end each yoga routine by taking 10 deep breaths in cobra pose. Cobra pose opens my chest which is where I carry most of my emotions. After cobra I do various slow stretches accompanied by 8 count breathing to give my body time settle into each pose and consciously feel all my muscles stretching. I choose not to have a strict pose routine, because the focus for me is not the poses themselves, but to feel more at one with my body and consequently my thoughts and actions.

In the past I tried to meditate in a completely quiet area of my home, but I found the quiet gives my mind too much space to wander and become unfocused. I now use gentle background music, such as nature sounds or white noise, to give my ears a base, of sort, to focus on. I sit with the background music for 5 minutes just long enough for my ears to begin to tune it out, so that if a loud noise interrupts it's not as terrifying (I can't begin to count the number of times I was meditating, had one of my precious fur-children bark or meow, and nearly threw them across the room in fear). Also if you're new to meditating gentle music is also good to focus on to help get your mind to clear itself. (Tip: avoid music that is tied memories or builds in tempo. When meditating your emotions are vulnerable and easily influenced. It's completely possible to find yourself feeling overly emotional because of music that is playing.)

In the end, meditation is a completely personal experience and what works for me is not the path for everyone. Throughout our lives we change and so do our needs. With changing needs it's important that you stay conscious of what still works for you and what has begun to become a habit. I hope this posts helps those who are interested or those who are familiar have a better understanding of yoga meditation and Buddhism.

-Dahlia

Follow us on Facebook at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies!

My Struggle With Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hey, Y'all! Today I'm gonna talk about something kind of embarrassing. I've never really talked about it publicly before so this is gonna be a huge thing for me, so bare with me. 

I have HS, which stands for Hidradenitis Suppurativa. The technical definition for it is according to Medscape, "Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a disorder of the terminal follicular epithelium in the apocrine gland-bearing skin." In simpler terms, I develop very painful pea to marble sized lumps in my skin where two areas of skin rub together. The lumps are caused because my sweat glands getting infected (by just existing, my body attacks itself), this can cause open lesions that bleed and drain liquid. Personally, my breakouts are under my arms, and under my breasts, but it can technically happen anywhere there is a sweat gland, which is pretty much everywhere.

The most common places for HS to appear is:
  • Underarms
  • Buttocks
  • Groin area
  • Under the breast
At this point, they do not know what exactly causes this to happen and the symptoms vary person to  person. Some of the general symptoms according to Johns Hopkins Medicine are: 
  • Severe itching
  • Pain of the infected area
  • Scarring
  • Recurring infections
  • Depression


To be completely honest, it is awful. It hurts to shave, Deodorant burns, Underwire bras hurt when there's an outbreak, and it smells kind of bad sometimes, mostly in the summer. So, no wonder depression is a symptom, and I suffer from that greatly. 

The worst part is? There is no known cure. I have tried so many things like:

-I've taken 1389334575 different types of antibiotics 
-I had huge needles stabbed directly into the open wound
-I've gotten silver nitrate pressed on them to see if that would seal it over

Nothing worked. 

I've even tried more natural things like coconut oil and it still did not help.

Sometimes when there's a really bad outbreak the lumps under my breast grow to the size of ping pong balls and there's absolutely nothing that can mask the pain. When this happens I go to my local patient first, they numb the area completely, go in and remove all the infected tissue, and then pack it with gauze. When this happens it ends up leaving ugly, nasty scars. I'm usually out of work for 2-3 days after this procedure because they give me very strong pain killers. 


I've gone through that procedure 3 times. 

HS is not contagious, but it's probably my biggest insecurity.  I can't wear tank tops in public because of the scars, and the open wounds under my arms (those never seem to heal) and it's just all around really terrible. Some have it worse than others, and there are certainly people who have it way worse than me. 



The scariest part is that this can cause more serious issues such as cancer. 

I would also like to point out that having HS does not negatively affect my sex life, and if you have HS, you should not let it impact yours either. 
It took a LOT to tell my boyfriend about my disease when we first started dating, and he was very open to learning about it and did not act freaked out at all. It's to the point now where I openly discuss my issues with it with him and he offers bounds of love and support. It's nothing you need to be ashamed of. 

I've heard from all of my doctors that eating healthy and getting active can really help the symptoms. This was one of the contributing factors in my decision to become a vegetarian. 

Since becoming a vegetarian and eating healthier I haven't noticed any improvement. However, it hasn't been very long.  I've started going to the gym daily as well to see what kind of changes my body makes.  My hope is that I can fight this because it can get worse, and if it does, more serious problems could emerge. Sharing this experience with the public is still very nerve wracking, but I hope some confidence comes along with it. 


If you would like to learn more about my disease, visit: http://www.hs-foundation.org/

As always, you can Facebook us at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies! Comments are welcome as well.


Stay healthy, stay positive and stay happy!!
~Until next time~
*Michele*
#veggiesforlove #veggiesforlife 

Documentary Review: Cowspiracy


Hey guys, it is time for our next documentary review!
This documentary really surprised me, it was not about what I thought it was going to be about. I thought this was going to be a sad documentary about how animals are treated. I had even put off doing this one for a few weeks! I am not sure why I thought this maybe it was because the people who recommend that I do this one also recommend a handful of sad documentaries or maybe a part oof subconscious somehow got the notion that it was going to go that way. Either way, the documentary left me in shock with all of the new information I had learned. My hope is that you come into this with an open mind, listen and learn about this perspective. 



Has always we are going to start off with the trailer and a quote from the website.


"Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. "


It was extremely hard to fact check this documentary. As it was mentioned several times in the film, this issue is not talked about anywhere. Honestly, before I viewed this film it never crossed my mind that this was an issue. People tend to not pay attention to things unless they see it. The issue of the effects on the environment caused agriculture is not something we see.

The meat and dairy industry produces more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined. The methane gasses created by the farm animals digestive process is 86 times more destructive than carbon dioxide created by cars. My question here is then why do we hear so much about cars and the hurt they are causing, why are these environmental groups not pushing for people to change to a plant-based diet?

Livestock is also the leading cause of resource depletion and environment degrading destroying the planet. Meat and dairy products are extremely water intensive. Raising the livestock alone in just the United States uses 34 trillion gallons of water per year. 

Hydraulic Fracking for Natural gasses uses 100 billion gallons per year. 

FACT: 1 quarter pound hamburger requires about 660 gallons of water to produce

Domestic water use is about 5% of the water used in the united states. 55% of the water goes to animal agriculture.

Let's talk for a moment on what this 55% of water goes for. This is not only for the animal itself. This also takes into consideration the water used for the grains the animal needs to eat. The average human eats 4 pounds of food a day (according to the Mayo Clinic). Where the average cow eats 7 pounds per day. Although those numbers way be pretty close how many days does a cow need to eat before it is slaughtered to make food? The answer to that question is 900 days (2.5 years). So, that is a total of 6,300 pounds of food for one slaughtered cow. One cow feeds about 50 people. In order to feed 1 person, the cow ate 126 pounds of food. 

Raising animals for food is responsible for:
  • 30% of the world's water consumption
  • occupies 45% of the Earths land
  • 91% of the Brazilian Amazon Rain Forest Destruction
  • Leading cause of Ocean Dead Zones
  • Leading cause of Habitat destruction
  • Leading cause of species extinction.
Dead zones in the ocean are caused by animal waste run off into the ocean. In the United States alone 116,000 lbs of waste is produced from farm animals per second. I don't know about you but I can not imagine what that much waste would look like. 

Another factor facing the ocean is overfishing. The ocean a nearly depleted. We are fishing so fast the fish do not have time to procreate. The demand for fish in the United States alone is 90 million tons per year. In order to meet this large quota, fishermen have to use large nets to catch fish. This leaves little to no control of what they catch. For every 1 lb of fish the wanted to catch, they catch 5lbs of fish they did not want to catch. These animals often die in the process. This is called "Bi Kill".

Photo from rainforestsofnewyork.net
Sister Dorothy Stang
1931-2005

  • She was a Nun who lived in the Brazillian Rain Forest
  • She made it her life's work to protect the Amazon Rain Forest
  • Spoke openly about the destruction of the Rain Forest from cattle ranching
  • Was gunned down in 2005 by a hired gunman hired by the cattle industry








FACT: Over 1,100 environmental activist have been killed in the last 20 years in Brazil

Several years ago I had a conversation with a family member who said, that we should continue to eat animals because of these issues. I look at this from a different point of view, farm animals are raised to be eaten. If more people converted to a plant-based lifestyle then there would less of a demand for meat and dairy. Then they would stop breeding the animals they have. All of this will result in fewer farm animals. What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments below!

~Stella~

Follow us on Facebook at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies to know when we post or just to keep up with us!

Recipe!! Overnight Chia Seed Oatmeal



Good morning, afternoon, evening!
Today I am going to share another quick and easy recipe. This recipe takes 5 minutes to put together. This is perfect to make up the night before and bring to work or school for a snack or breakfast. The chia seeds and oatmeal will keep you fuller longer and is full of lots of yummy nutrients.

I did not include sugar in this recipe because the fruit adds plenty of sweetness for me. If you would prefer it a little sweeter add sweetened almond milk, add a little honey (or honey substitute), or add a little bit of sugar. The trick is to add the fruit in and let it sit overnight.This will let the chia seeds absorb the natural sweetness from the fruit.

If you use this recipe or even put your own spin on it take a picture and tag us in it on Facebook at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or tag us on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies!

~Stella~




Overnight Chia Seed Oatmeal
Makes one serving

-1 Mason Jar
- 2 teaspoons of chia seeds
-1/2 cup of oatmeal
-1/4 cup fruit (I used frozen berries)
-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (your your favorite non-dairy milk)
-3/4 cup juice ( I used homemade apple juice)

1. Add all of the ingredients into a mason jar
2. Put the lid on and shake it up
3. Put in the refrigerator overnight
4. Stir and enjoy!



Recipe!! Blueberry Banana Ice Cream

Hey, Yall!

So. If you're anything like me, you can't walk away from the kitchen without dipping your spoon in that gallon of ice cream you've tried to hide behind the frozen vegetables in the back of your freezer
(because come on, we aren't fooling anyone)
So upon talking to some friends they told me this amazing secret

If you put frozen bananas in a Nutribullet
with a little bit of milk

YOU'VE GOT ICE CREAM!

I was like "whaaaaat!"

So I decided to give it a shot.
and low and behold
there was ice cream right in front of me
and I inhaled it before I could get a picture.

I recently learned how they get milk from cows, and decided that I didn't really want to use dairy milk anymore, so that night I went to Kroger and bought this DELICIOUS almond vanilla honey milk and it was the BOMB.

SO. I put it in my blender, with the frozen bananas and it was so much creamier and sweeter with the almond milk! It was blissful and just amazing <3

So I reported back and I was given the suggestion to add some blueberries to the mix

So I blended them separately, without the milk and swirled it up in there and it was
thebomb.com

Here's the recipe! If you decide to try this or have any ideas about what else we can add to make this even more amazing, I'd love to see it! You can Facebook us at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or tag us on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies! As always, comments are welcome!
~Until next time~
*Michele*
#veggiesforlove #veggiesforlife



Blueberry Banana Ice Cream

  • 5 frozen bananas
  • A splash of Vanilla Almond milk (with a hint of honey)
  • About 20 blueberries

Literally. That's it. 

What to do: 
  1. Cut up your frozen bananas! (Funny story: I'm dumb and couldn't cut through the frozen peel, and had to hammer a knife into the banana to cut it. Please don't do that, I almost lost a finger :p) 
  2. Place them in your blender or Nutribullet, or Food processor
  3. Add just a splash of your milk of choice, I use the almond milk i listed above, it tastes sweeter and makes it creamier! 
  4. BLEND. FOR ETERNITY.
  5. Finally, after eons of time, it should be nice and smooth. 
  6. Add some blueberries and blend without any milk added
  7. Swirl through the banana mixture and freeze (If desired)  
ENJOY!


Living with a Meat Eater: Questions from my Curious Meat Eater


When I told my husband I was going to be transitioning to a plant-based diet he had exactly 3 concerns. How would our grocery bill be effected, would my health suffer, and does this mean he had to stop eating meat too (spoiler alert: he did not stop eating meat!).

The questions my husband asked are questions that meat eating significant others and family members often find themselves wondering. Just because we have committed to a plant-based diet does not mean we can expect our loved ones to do the same.

So, today is post geared toward our meat eating loved ones; you can tell your loved ones to put down their swords there won't be a war on bacon today.

How Will Our Grocery Bill be Effected?
When I told my husband I was committing to a plant-based diet he was positive that our grocery bill would skyrocket trying to accommodate both of our diets, and at first it did. My mistake was trying to meal plan two completely different meals for our diets.

Shopping this way for month was the equivalent of our budget for two. Instead of making two completely separate meal plans I made a vegetarian and a meat version of the same meal plan. For example, I would make Alfredo pasta with mushrooms and broccoli and for my husband I would fry chorizo and add it to the pasta I portioned out for him.

Once I figured out our meal plan I and began shopping I saw our grocery bill go way down. While our produce budget did increase our meat expenditure decreased.. DRAMATICALLY. Buying meat for one and veggies for two had our grocery bill lower than I've ever seen it.

Would my Health Suffer?
My husband's biggest concern was if my health would suffer on a plant-based diet. With iron deficiency anemia it is very important that I get more than the recommended amounts of iron because my body such a hard time absorbing the iron I do ingest.

In my past experiences with vegetarianism my health would always end up being my down fall. I was determined for vegetarianism to work this time, so I took the necessary precautions to head of my iron ever getting too low.

What's helped me the most is to plan an iron rich diet. Most of my meals consist of one or two dark leafy greens, beans, and a source of vitamin c.

Will He Have to Stop Eating Meat?
The short answer was no. I didn't want him to stop eating meat if he didn't want to. I however, did not want him to continue eating the same amount of meat he was eating.

As Americans, we eat more meat than we should causing for the livestock industry to adopt practices that can keep up with our consumption. I explained to my husband that I wanted him to eat healthier and that meant cutting back his meat intake some.

I honestly expected more of a fight from him, but after some compromising, we finally worked out a diet for him that we both agreed on. One that did include meat but less frequently and in smaller quantities.

Follow us on Facebook at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies!

Recipe!! Stuffed Acorn Squash






Hello everyone! Today I want to share with y'all a great recipe. It seems like everywhere you look it just screams fall. The leaves are changing, Starbucks have the Pumpkin Spice Latte, and there are jack-o-lanterns everywhere! My local Farmer's Market is no different, every stand is offering autumn squashes. Today's recipe, for me at least, really captures the flavors of this season. 



If you use this recipe or even put your own spin on it take a picture and tag us in it on Facebook at The Smoothie Vegetarians, or tag us on Instagram @smoothievegetarians or Twitter @smoothievegies!

-Dahlia


What you'll need for this recipe:
  1. One Acorn Squash
  2. One can of black beans
  3. One can of golden corn (or mexi-corn)
  4. One cup of dry rice
  5. One bundle of rainbow chard
  6. Dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees 
  2. Cut the acorn squash in half and scrape out the guts. Scrape a little extra to make room for the rice mixture (you can save the seeds and roast them for a snack to enjoy another day)
  3. Coat the squashes in olive oil and season to taste. Cook them until soft (30-60 min)
  4. Cook the rice according to packaging
  5. Tear the rainbow chard away from its stalk and cut into bite size pieces
  6. Drain the black beans and golden corn
  7. When the rice is finished cooking add the rainbow chard, black beans, and golden corn. Cook until the chard is wilted and the beans and corn is warm. (season mixture to taste)
  8. When the acorn squash if fork tender, stuff it with the rice mixture
  9. Top with dried cranberries (optional)



ENJOY!

Can Fruit Make You Gain Weight?



This is a question we have been asked a few times and I thought I would address it in one post.

Can fruit make you gain weight?

It turns out there is quite a bit of people who are under the impression that fruit is bad for you or that it will make you gain weight if you eat it. The reasons I have heard is because of the sugar in it. So here goes my view on the subject.

Just like anything, if you eat to much fruit it will cause you to gain weight. The difference between fruit and a candy bar (for example) is the calorie density of it. Calorie density is the number of calories a food as compared to how much of it there is. For example, an apple had around 100 calories in it where a candy bar has around 200 calories in it. An apple is considered a calorie dense fruit other fruits have much fewer calories in them.

Let's stick to our example of an apple. In order to get your recommended calories per day (which is at least 1200 calories a day. Can be more depending on your weight, height and activity level) you would need to eat at least 12 apples to meet your calorie goal. Where if you ate the candy bar instead you would need to eat 6 of them. 

A huge factor into this the nutrient value of the food. Apples are much higher in nutrients than a candy bar so it will keep you fuller much longer. Fruit is full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

Another point I want to touch on is that although fruit does have sugar in them, it is natural sugar. This is much different then the sugar you buy in the grocery store. Although fruit intake may need to be limited if you have certain medical conditions. In this case, your doctor would let you know.

Fruit is also a great fix for your sweet tooth. It is a much better snack than sugary junk foods. 

So basically it comes down to this. Yes, it is possible to gain weight eating fruit, it is highly unlikely. If you are eating a healthy balanced diet you do not need to worry about weight gain from fruit.

I hope you found this information useful and informative. Leave your questions comments or concerns in the comments below!

~Stella~

Recipe!! Vegan Rice Bowl

Hey yall! 
Today I wanted to share another recipe with you. 

My boyfriend's FAVORITE food is rice. Any type of rice. In any form. So naturally, rice is a food we always always ALWAYS have in the house.

Before I went on a health kick, my favorite place to eat was Moe's and I fell in love with their burrito bowls. So instead of cheating on my diet, I decided to make a healthier version!

I will share the recipe with you below. If you decide to try it out, take pictures!! We wanna see it!! you can tag us on our Instagram: @smoothievegetarians or twitter: @smoothievegies
Or post to our Facebook page: The Smoothie Vegetarians! As always, your comments here are welcome!
~Until next time~
*Michele*
#Veggiesforlove #Veggiesforlife



Vegan Rice Bowl
  • 1 Package of uncooked, whole grain brown rice. 
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • Black beans
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 avocados
  • Garlic 


Directions
  • Cook the rice according to directions on package 
  • Dice tomatoes and add to avocados, add garlic to taste.
  • Cut onions and pepper into strips, add to greased pan and sautee until soft
  • Open can of black beans and cook until warm (I put mine in a microwave safe bowl and place a damp paper towel over it and heat up for 2 minutes) 
  • Put everything together, I put mine together in the order: 
  1.  Rice
  2. Black beans
  3. Sauteed onions and peppers
  4. Guacamole 
ENJOY! <3 

Recipe!! Holiday Addition: Vegan Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Casserole

Hey guys! Today's recipe from me is a vegan take on the best part of Thanksgiving; Sweet Potato Casserole! Vegans can not eat your traditional casserole because there is usually egg in the sweet potatoes and marshmallows are not vegan!

Here is a delicious cruelty-free option you can bring instead. There is not much sugar in this dish because I really wanted to concentrate on all of the natural flavors of this dish. If you would like to add more sugar, why not? It is the Holidays after all!

If you make this recipe or a version of it I would really love to see it! Tag me in your photo on Instagram @smoothievegetarians


Vegan Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Casserole
Serves 6-8
Ingredients
- 1 Pumpkin roasted (or 1 can of pumpkin)
- 2 Sweet Potatoes (chopped up and boiled)
- 1/4 cup of Almond Milk (or your favorite non dairy milk)
- 2 tablespoons of vegan butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 teaspoon of Allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/3 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)
- 1 cup of chopped Almonds
- 1/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds (without the shell)

1. Mash together Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and butter
2. Mix in Almond milk, sugar, and spices.
3. Put mixture into baking dish
4. Top with the almonds and sunflower seeds
5. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes
6. Let cool for 15 minutes
7. Serve!
ENJOY!

Recipe!! Avocado Pasta

Hey, ya'll! 
Today I wanted to share with you a new recipe I made. 
I personally like to call this dish the "Avocada-lots-a-pasta"
(get it?)

I was in my kitchen, half broke and scratching my head trying to figure out what on earth to make for dinner, and how I could possibly make it healthy. 
Then it hit me.

PASTA IS MY LIFE. 
I will forever and ever be addicted to the angel hair, and the penne and anything you cook in a boiling pot of water and smother in butter or tomato basil sauce. 
Knowing I am trying to establish a healthy platform to build my eating habits on, I knew neither butter nor pasta sauce would cut it.  So, I decided on the next best creamy substance I could think of, Avocado! They are so good, and so good for you too! 

I will provide you with the recipe below
If you decide to make this dish or something like it, I would LOVE to see it! 
Tag us on Instagram @smoothievegetarians

Until next time
*Michele*






Avocado Pasta Recipe! 

  • 1/2 box of whole wheat angel hair pasta (not pictured)
  • 1 bunch of broccoli florets 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 2 avocados 
  • 2 Roma tomatoes diced
  • Diced onion
  • Mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • Garlic (optional)


Directions!

  • Cook pasta per directions on the box
  • In the meantime, cut the broccoli florets and toss them in a pan coated with non-stick cooking spray along with your onion, and diced garlic!
  • Mash the avocados in a bowl (kind of like you're making guacamole!) and add the diced Roma tomatoes! (season to taste) 
  • When the broccoli mixture is done (should be soft, but not mushy) mix into the avocado sauce
  • Add the cooked pasta, top with mozzarella cheese if desired!

Enjoy! 


Recipe!! Holiday Addition: Vegan Broccoli Casserole


Good morning, afternoon, evening! I am super excited for the next few months. The holidays are coming  and their best time of the year! You get to see your family and enjoy time with those closest to you. Over the next few months, we will be working to bring you lots of recipes your meat eating family will also enjoy (don't worry they're meat eater approved)!

To kick it off I have come up with a recipe that is a spin on the traditional green bean casserole. In my family, we are not huge fans of green beans, so we usually have broccoli casserole with our holiday meals.  Not only is this dish cruelty-free it is also delicious!

If you make this recipe or a version of it I would really love to see it! Tag me in your photo on Instagram @smoothievegetarians

~Stella~


Vegan Broccoli Casserole
Yields 8-10
Ingredients
- 8 oz of sliced mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic sliced
-2 tablespoons of vegan butter
-1/4 cup flour
- 2 cup vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 bags of frozen broccoli (or 2 heads of broccoli slightly steamed)
- 1 container of fried onions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2.Melt butter in skillet, add mushrooms and garlic. Cook until mushrooms are fork tender
3. Add flour and stir into butter mixture
4.Slowly add the stock
5. Once all stock is added, bring to mixture to a boil and stir to prevent sticking
6, Take gravy off of heat
7. Dump broccoli into casserole dish
8. Mix in gravy
9. Cover with foil
10. Bake for 45 minutes
11. Top with Fried onions
12. Serve
ENJOY!

Colorism: A Journey


Welcome! Today I wanted to talk about something a little more personal than my usual posts, it's called colorism. This topic has always been near to my heart as it's something I've experienced all my life.  A lot of people I know don't actually believe colorism exists. Anyone who's grown up with darker skin has experienced first had the differences in how they're treated compared to their lighter counterparts. 

Growing up I've always had dark skin, for the first couple years of my life it didn't bother me. I was unaware it would ever be a problem, after all it was only my skin. I first noticed the difference in how I was treated in elementary school. I can remember it  distinctly. It was during recess. All of my girl friends were choosing "boy friends" so that we could play house. When it was mine turn to pick the boy I choose had the most disgusted look on his face. When asked what was wrong he "why do I have to get the blacky". At first, I didn't understand he was African American too why would he call me blacky. Then his friends joined in and started calling me burnt, the darkness, a shadow, and other horrible names. I was hurt. All I wanted to do was play house with my friends but the next thing I knew I was being teased relentlessly. That night I went home crying and my mother told me that I was beautiful; that my skin was rich with my heritage, and that I should be proud of the skin on my body because the sun loved it so. 

Though I knew my mother was correct it never made hearing the teasing any less painful. So, in middle school I tried to lighten my skin socially. I stayed away from anything that could be seen as "ghetto" or stereotypical. I never showed my anger (so I could never be considered the "angry black lady"), avoided aav (African American vernacular) like it was the plague, I stayed quiet, straightened my hair almost every week, and stayed out of the sun. Staying indoors during the summer is something I most regret now. At the time it was to prevent me from getting any darker, but looking back I missed out on a lot of fun. I envied and resented people with lighter skin tones, they didn't worry about going out in the sun, they were always portrayed as beautiful, clean, respected, and in a lot of situations given opportunities that were closed for me. 

My skin seemed to work against me in most parts of my life. In school teachers were always surprised by intelligence and the "properness" of my speech. This was most notable in my english and math classes. I always took advance classes where I was one of a few minorities. Socially other African Americans thought that I was " too dark to act so white" I was frequently called an Oreo and told that I "speak funny". 


Finally, embracing that I was dark, beautiful, and worthy was one of toughest, but most rewarding journeys. I owe it completely to my mother. Throughout my life my mother has always been there for me when ever I began feeling low. She constantly reminded me of how beautiful, strong, and powerful I am and encouraged me to love myself. She always encouraged me to go outside and take care of the skin I had saying "if our ancestors could only see you.." with all the love in her eyes. When I entered college I finally began hearing her. Everything she ever told me was true. Yes, I am dark, but that doesn't make me any less beautiful. I am strong and kissed by the sun.

-Dahlia

Documentary Review: FoodMatters



Hello everyone! I can not believe we are already on our third installment of this series. This series has been so informational for me, and I hope it has been for you also. My goal for this was to go evaluate these documentaries purely on if they were factually based. What I have learned is that every single on of them are backed up with facts and studies. In fact, all of these documentaries and studies back each other up. At this point, I have come to the conclusion that they documentaries are not full of false facts. In fact, these are just the unpopular opinion. Thank you for reading this opening paragraph, I will not continue on to this week's documentary review. 

Unlike the other reviews we have done so far, this documentary does not have a website. So the setup of this will be a little different. I still have included the trailer so you can get a bit of background information on the documentary if you have not seen it. Even if you have seen it, it might be a good idea to refresh yourself by watching the trailer. 



FoodMatters examines how the food we eat can help our hurt our health. It also get's into some detail of how we ended up this way, to begin with. Multiple experts, nutritionists, naturopaths, doctors, and journalists weigh in on the topics of organic food, food safety, raw foodism, and nutritional therapy. The most interesting part of this documentary for me is that it covers a wide range of topics. It starts with talking about how food is grown and the problems there all the way to drug companies and the problems there, This documentary is so chalked full of facts and information that I had to pause it multiple times just to give myself time to fully take in what I was being told.

One of the most interesting facts that came up about how food is grown was that the fertilizers we use are made up of 3 minerals. These minerals are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. The issue is that soil requires about 52 different minerals, this means that the soil is missing about 49 essential minerals from it. This is causing the plants to be much weaker and this causes the need for pesticides. 

FACT: 50% of protein is destroyed in any food once it is cooked,

When you cook your food you are killing the enzymes in it that help with digestion. The body does not even recognize cooked food as food. It recognizes it as a toxin. This is called Digestive Leukocytosis. One of the prime cornerstones of rawist ideology is a very old and dated research paper, Kouchakoff [1930]. In this research, Kouchakoff studied the effect of foods on human blood and observed what was termed digestive leukocytosis, an increase in the number of white blood cells after eating foods heated to a certain temperature, whereas raw, unheated foods did not have this effect. This observation has been widely publicized by raw diet advocates and is often cited as proof that raw foods are "good" whereas all cooked foods are allegedly "bad." Further studies have shown that even if your diet consists of 51% of your meals being raw you will not have digestive leukocytosis. 

FACT: Vitamin C can not withstand heat. It is destroyed in the foods that we cook,

There are many studies that show taking vitamins can prevent illness. There is absolutely no evidence backing up that taking to many vitamins is bad for you There have been 10 alleged deaths from taking to many vitamins in the last 25 years. These deaths are unproven and undocumented. At the same time, the Journal of the AmericanMedical Association published a paper which indicated that 106,000 Americans die from pharmaceutical drugs each year. This does not include suicides. 106,000 people die each year from taking the medicine as prescribed and they die from the expected side effects.

The idea is that our body has everything it needs to heal. If you nourish our bodies correctly the body will fix and heal itself. Vitamins give the body what it needs and enable the body to fix itself.. This concept actually makes a lot of sense if you look at it. If a deficiency of a vitamin can cause so many issues, then having plenty of the vitamins in the bodies system can fix so many issues. Let's talk about Vitamin E for a moment. A deficiency of Vitamin E can lead to muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass, vision problems, and unsteady walking. Vitamin C can help the body right heart disease and help reduce seizures. You can also apply it on a burn to help it heal. The same goes for Vitamin C it is an Antitoxin, Anti-histamine, Anti-Viral, Regulate blood sugar and it can help elevate the mood in people who are depressed.


For this post, I decided to only touch on a small fraction of what was discussed. I strongly suggest you take a few hours out of your day and watch this one. There is so much information available in it and all of it is factual and is legit. I hope you were really able to get as much out of this as I was!

~Stella~

Recipe!! Vegan Berry Waffles


Last night I had a dream that I was sitting on a cloud eating the fluffiest waffles with warm syrup. Let's just say I was disappointed when I woke up and found myself nibbling the side of my pillow. I decided first thing in the morning that for lunch I was going to have waffles. I was already to go, my mouth was practically watering at the idea. Then I looked in my refrigerator and saw that I was completely out of eggs. I let myself feel defeated and settled to make a smoothie when I got a brilliant idea. Fruit puree! The waffles came out amazing! They were soft, fluffy, and absolutely to die for! I put together this recipe and I hope y'all enjoy! 

If you use this recipe or even put your own spin on it take a picture and tag us in it on instagram @smoothievegetarians!

-Dahlia




What you'll need for this recipe:

- 1 1/2 Cups of your Belgian waffle mix of choice

- 2/3 cups of water

-1/4 cup of frozen berries

- 3 tablespoons of oil of choice (I used Avocado oil)


Directions:
  1. Pre-heat your waffle iron
  2. Combine water, Avocado oil, and frozen fruit in the blender and puree until smooth (I had to puree it twice with my blender to get the desired consistency).
  3. Once pureed combine with the waffle mix and whisk until it is smooth.
  4. Pour waffle mix into the waffle iron and cook according to the waffle irons instructions.
  5. Optional top with syrup or fresh fruit.
ENJOY!

A Little About Michele And Why She Became A Vegetarian

Hey ya'll! My name is Michele! I'm 20 years old and live near the beach in Norfolk, Virginia with my wonderful boyfriend, who conveniently doubles as my best friend, and our two very spoiled fur-babies!

Before I get into what really sealed the deal with me becoming a vegetarian, I will first take you on a journey that includes my struggles, ups-and-downs and, most importantly, the decision to change my life. 

Up until the age of 14, I was tall and thin for my age. I could put whatever I wanted into my body, and would never gain any weight. 
Childhood was quickly coming to an end, and adolescence and puberty were coming on full force, and I began to struggle not only with my weight, but with my self-worth, confidence and overall outlook on the world. I have suffered from depression since I was a child, and anxiety followed shortly after. 
I became a pessimist, a critic and walked around with a terrible attitude all throughout high school and the beginning of college. This attitude I was carrying with me like baggage, was beginning to shape the relationships I kept with people around me. My family and friends began to suffer because misery loves company. 
When I started dating Brandon, in December of 2015, he made me realize that my attitude was unhealthy and for a while it really took a toll on our relationship. 

Since I've made the decision to cut meat out of my diet, we have bought a juicer and started juicing fresh fruits and veggies, along with eating healthier as well. The support I am receiving at home is essential to any health journey, mental, physical and otherwise. 
My boyfriend remains a die-hard meat eater and I will love him just the same. What others choose to put in their bodies has no affect on me, and I will never criticize, judge or demean you for your choices. After all, they're yours to make! After only a short time of making these positive changes to my body, I can already feel a difference. I feel light, and free and happier than I have been in a very long time. 

I am currently in the process of learning how to improve my mental and spiritual being through the art of meditation. In this practice, I hope to achieve a loving attitude and a better sense of my place in this world!
~Until next time~
*Michele*
 #veggiesforlove #veggiesforlife <3 

Living with a Meat Eater: Introduction






When I hit the dating scene I was looking for someone who was smart, taller than me, let's be honest good looking, and had an amazing personality. Basically perfection. It never crossed my mind how potentially difficult it would be to date a meat eater, let alone be married to one. When we first started dating our different diets was no biggie. I'd order the vegetarian options at a restaurant while he ordered meat dishes. When we started living together the constant balancing act of managing both of our diets had, on many occasions, me wishing one of us would give. What I have learned is that I cannot change my partner as much as I sometimes wish I could. They are gonna eat what makes them happy and I'm going to eat what makes me happy. I can only love them for who they are. In this series I'm going to cover everything from  tips and tricks I've learned along the way to my continued journey living with a meat eater. I'm so excited I get share this journey with all of you. If you have any questions or specific topics you would like for me to cover, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below this post.



- Dahlia