Vegan Chili

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I completed a 21 day cleanse a couple weeks ago and ever since completing it, I have been trying to stay on a vegan diet. My body seems to function so much better when I remove animal products from my diet. When my hubby decided he wanted chili one day, I thought it would be nice to find a way to join him, that didn’t mean I had to consume meat.

After searching online for vegan chili recipes, I decided to combine a few together and make it my own. I made a huge pot for a week’s worth of lunches and it’s even more amazing the second and third days!! Here is the recipe for you to enjoy.

Ingredients:
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbs chili powder
1 1/2 cups each of cooked kidney, black and garbanzo beans (or 1 (15oz) can of each – drained and rinsed. discard the fluid)
6 oz tomato paste
2 28 oz cans crushed tomato
8 oz vegetable broth
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen edamame

Directions:
Sauté onions in olive oil until tender. Add spices and cook additional 1 – 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and heat, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30-45 mins.

Banana Smoothie Pancakes

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Holy Pancakes!!!
I grew up in Kentucky, home to KFC and four major food groups; meat, carbs, fat, and sugar. When I used to think about becoming a vegan, I found it super overwhelming!! Kentucky is definitely behind the times, so finding good whole foods and animal protein alternatives can be difficult depending on the seasons.

I recently completed a three week long cleanse that helped me transition into more of a vegan lifestyle and I actually found it quite easy! Educating myself on the most nutritious foods and the types that can offer high amounts of protein are probably what made this journey a lot less taxing. I’m very proud of my success so far and I’m excited to see how it goes in the next few months.

Along my journey I came across a lovely pancake recipe. I was sooo delighted because I LOVE carbs. Pancakes used to be one of my favorite breakfast items until I became aware of how horrible they made me feel. Now, I can enjoy them AND get in lots of nutrients from replacing the ingredients I use!

Here is the recipe for these scrumptious breakfast cakes:

Pancake Ingredients:
1 heaping cup of rolled oats (use gluten-free if needed)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 ripe banana
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup blueberries
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Pancake Directions:
1) Combine all pancake ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
2) Allow the batter to rest for 5-10 minutes. This gives the oats time to soak up the liquid and thicken up.
3) Preheat a pan coated with coconut oil over medium high heat. Once hot, pour in 1/4 cup of batter.
4) Cook for 1-2 minutes or until you can easily slide a spatula underneath. Flip and cook on opposite side for 1-2 minutes.
5) Repeat until all the batter is used up.

Topping Directions:
1) Place blueberries in a small saucepan on high heat.
2) Heat until berries are slightly oosing  with juice.
3) Remove from heat and add in pure maple syrup.
4) Pour over your stack of pancakes and ENJOY!

Happy Eating,
Carmen

Greek Salad

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I’m in my last week of my cleanse and this week it’s all about fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. Luckily everything is super tasty and full of flavor!!
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This Greek salad has been a staple lunch for me during this cleanse and becoming one of my favorites. It is absolutely delicious and keeps me full and energetic throughout my day.
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Greek Salad
-1 head of romaine lettuce
-1 medium cucumber
-1/2 medium tomato
-5-8 kalamata olives
-1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
-1/2 avocado
-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
-1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
-1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-Himalayan pink salt to taste
-Sprinkle with basil, parsley, and oregano (optional)

Reset Your Body, Reset Your Life: Acne Attack

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This is super hard for me to talk about because let’s be honest, I love putting on makeup and most people don’t see what’s underneath. I used to be ashamed of what I looked like. I never felt beautiful unless I had my ‘face’ on.
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For years I struggled with acne. I thought it was just the whole teenage puberty thing, but when I never grew out of it, my self esteem dropped. I grew up with the impression that everyone had to be perfect. The perfect hair, the perfect skin, the perfect sense of fashion. I had NONE of that!!  I wanted soooo badly to fit in but I was the girl who tried way to hard to impress people. I wore makeup that I thought was great, but was made fun of for my lack of application skills. I was trying hard to cover up any imperfections! (and there were a lot!)

When I started taking birth control, in my late teens, it all my skin problems went away. I was thrilled! People actually started to comment on how good my skin looked. That just boosted my confidence and gave me the motivation to work more on fixing myself. Work more towards finding out who I was and how I could love myself. I mean let’s face it, I felt great knowing I looked better on the outside, but I was still missing self love on the inside.

Fast forward 8 years and my hormones start to get funky. I’m starting to have pre-menopausal symptoms and my acne was coming back. Not having the options of taking medication to treat my problems, I had to find another way to combat the problems. That’s when I realized the ONLY relief I could get was to change to a healthier lifestyle and ridding my body for toxins and impurities eating real whole foods. After a year of this new lifestyle, my face cleared up and I was back to the old me. But of course, I let myself fall back to old habits and my poor eating choices throughout the holidays brought back my breakouts.

THIS is why I’m cleansing. My body is holding on to so many toxins that it is clogging my pores and causing my breakouts. Detoxing the body can stop this completely and continued maintenance can prevent breakouts all together. I never thought I’d say this, but this is what healthy acne looks like. This cleanse is helping my skin, the body’s largest organ, eliminate impurities and toxins. This is a sign that my cleanse is still working and that I’m soon to be back to having healthy looking skin. Back to a balanced system. That’s the ultimate self love!
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This picture was from the first week of my cleanse. My acne is getting better and I’m so excited to see the end results. Goodbye toxic cheats, hello glowing skin!!

Vegan Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!

I am on my cleanse but that doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in a little chocolate covered strawberry action!!! These are completely vegan and completely clean!! Every ingredient (there’s only THREE) are ALL approved by my cleanse!!!
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Here’s the recipe:
-6 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
-1/2 scoop Vegan Chocolate Shakeology
-12-20 Strawberries
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Combine Shakeology and oil, let thicken, and dip in your strawberries!! Sooooo delicious and provides you with vital vitamins and nutrients your body needs!
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Who wants some Shakeology? Free coaching is included when you start your journey with me!!

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Taco Tuesday: Vegetarian Tacos

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I’m still dreaming about the tacos I had last Tuesday night!!!

As I venture on my 21 Day Detox journey,  I am discovering new ingredients and new recipes that are absolutely DELICIOUS!! Last week, my dinner for day two was a nice plate of vegetarian tacos. When I read the recipe, I thought it would seem kind of bland with all the rice and beans, but to my surprise, this has become one of my new favorite taco fillings!! The ingredients are basic but when put together, it’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth!!

Here is the recipe for the fantastic rice and beans mixture to go inside your tacos. I combined a 1/4 cup of corn kernels with my rice and beans, served on warm corn tortillas, and served with homemade guacamole.
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Ingredients
-1/2 cup black beans
-1/4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
-1 dash of chili powder
-1 pinch of cumin
-1/4 tsp. coriander
-1 tsp. of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
-Himalayan pink salt to taste
-3/4 cup cooked brown rice
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Instructions
Combine beans, oil, spices, aminos, and salt in a sauce pan. Mix well and heat over medium heat. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat and fold in rice.

YUM!!

Reset Your Body, Reset Your Life: The Journey Begins

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You’re 116 lbs, why in the hell do you need to go on a cleanse? Don’t you know you’re already skinny enough as it is? People are going to think you are crazy!!! 21 days with NO coffee, alcohol, or dinners out? NO Valentine’s Day sweets? Yea, I’ll believe it when I see it!!

This are all the things that ran through my mind for over a YEAR!!! I had heard so many amazing things about this 3 week detox that my company promotes, but yet I had always been so skeptical to try it. I knew this cleanse was to help with weight loss and get the body back on track, but I had never really seen anyone go through who has NO weight to lose. This scared me. Not only did I have the thoughts mentioned above, but I wondered if I’d even be able to make it through the day. Would I get enough calories? Could I still coach gymnastics and work on the farm? I’m those two things keep me pretty active.

After a year of research, hearing success stories, and getting out of my own head, I remembered a quote I once read. “Great things never came from comfort zones.” For the last year and a half I’ve been living my life by this quote!! It has brought me great opportunities and good fortune, so after remembering this simple little thing, I finally said ‘why not?’ to this whole cleanse thing. What do I REALLY have to lose? If anything, this will be a learning experience for all of us!!

I ordered my program, that included my supplements for 21 days and an entire guide of food and meal plans to follow. When my kit came in the mail, I was quite surprised by how in depth the guide goes into explaining the detoxification process. Everything from why this cleanse helps the body, how it helps the body function, why you shouldn’t exercise while cleansing, things to promote the cleansing process, to the exact meals to eat every day including a grocery list for each week, snack ideas, recipes for each meal, and a separate eating plan for those always on the run. I was amazed at how easy this whole thing seemed. Read the directions. Do what the book says. Follow the program to a T. See fantastic results.

And so, this journey begins!! I slip on this natural fiber bracelet (that came with my kit) as a commitment to myself and my body’s health. THIS bracelet serves as a reminder, for the next 21 days, about the positive decision I’ve made to be the healthiest me! The decision to rid my body of the toxins, pollutants, and impurities my body has struggled to process for MANY years.

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Stay tuned! I plan on documenting my ENTIRE journey!