3 Ways to Stay Healthy & Happy This Winter

Well hello, Storm Juno! In Boston we were projected to get 8-12 inches of snow today, but the snow’s definitely already a more than a foot, and it’s supposed to keep coming down until 1am. The public transit is closed, work is canceled, and we’re all hunkered down in our homes waiting for the constant and misleadingly gentle snowfall to stop. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking out at snow and watching Willie (my doggie) twirl around in the fluffy winter wonder land. But if I’m being honest, the winter can also make me feel sluggish and cold, and if I’m not taking care of myself I can (and do) get sick.

Winter in Boston

Here are 3 tips I plan to follow this winter onward to give my body the best chance to stay healthy and happy in the frigid weather. I hope you find them helpful too!

1. Exercise regularly

Exercise in the Winter

With exercise, rationalizations come easy. It’s cold out. I’m in a cozy mood. I worked out yesterday. I deserve a break. I’m tired. Skipping one day isn’t gonna make that big of a difference… Or, the worst excuse of all: I’ll make up for it tomorrow! Bull, Aruna – you totally won’t.

The thing is, exercise boosts the immune system and gives the human body energy. We sweat toxins out, and produce those awesome endorphins that make us happier and more positive. So, yes, it’s easy to convince yourself not to go to the gym. But it’s much, much better for you if you do go. Lately, I’ve been trying to convince myself to go. I literally have a full-blown internal conversation about it. Even though it’s still a work in progress (because I don’t always successfully convince myself), it’s totally worth trying to make it to the gym 3-5 times a week.

2. Eat well

Eat Well in the Winter

Mmm, smoothie. I drink one of these bad boys 7 mornings a week. It’s packed with banana, apple, blueberries, strawberries, yogurt, flax meal, orange juice, and almond milk. With so many great ingredients, I feel like I’m giving my body the fuel it needs to function better.

If you want to try to funky and awesome looking smoothie recipes, definitely check out ALOHA’s Smoothie and Drink recipe page. They all look absolutely delicious. (Update: I just discovered that you can also try a free bar of their superfood chocolate. Yumm!) Many thanks to the Social Media folks at the company for letting me know about it!

On top of smoothies, I want to do more to boost my health, like eat ginger regularly (to support a strong immune system), drink tea more often (which contains many health benefits and keeps you warm), and consume more citrus fruit (probably in the form of lemon in my tea, because citrus has vitamin C which prevents colds).

Side note: If you feel you’re getting sick already, definitely invest in some high-quality honey (like Manuka honey), which is not only delicious but also has surprising medicinal properties that will help your body fight the sickness.

3. Dress Appropriately

Dress Warmly

It doesn’t have to match. It doesn’t have to make you look glamorous, chic, or model-like. Seriously, I instantly look like a dopey walking potato when I throw my winter gear on. What matters is that I’m comfortably warm. This sounds so obvious, but I see a lot of people under dressed, wandering the windy streets of Brighton, bracing themselves against the cold. Even if you live in California, my home state, where the weather is famously vacation worthy, invest in what’s appropriate for the local winter climate. Sometimes this involves saving up enough money to buy an expensive but highly effective article of clothing. What not to do? Wear a skirt, flats, and a small sweater in the hope of looking hot on the way to a party. That’s so not warm.

If you (and I) follow these three tips, we’re sure to be as happy as Willie pup, after his adventures in the snow.

Willie Plays in the Snow

Willie Gets Snow on his Face

Happy Willie

Wishing you a happy winter!

Yours,

Aruna

Raw food spiralizer

What Do Raw Food Vegans Eat?

Discovering the world of the raw food vegan diet has been fun! (What does it mean that I’m a raw food vegan? Well, to me it means as much raw food as I can, vegan when I can’t. Add a dash of flexibility for those dinner dates and unavoidable cheese-tastic moments, and you’ve got a diet that you can keep up with for a long time.) I’ve been experimenting with different recipes and have figured out that you can eat a really delicious variety of foods that are mostly (if not completely) raw or vegan!

By the way, I’ve learned that a spiralizer is a MUST have. You just can’t sustain this lifestyle without the proper tools. I got this one from Amazon and I LOVE it. It’s easy to operate, easy to clean, and saves so much time and effort.

Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer

Raw food spiralizer

This amazing spiralizer chops carrots and makes squash, beets, and zucchini into spaghetti.

So what do I eat? Rabbit food? Not exactly…

  • Homemade almond butter (just almonds and a food processor – SIMPLE!)
  • Thai almond butter sauce (can be used with so many recipes)
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Normal potato fries
  • Guacamole
  • Thai lettuce wraps (so much more filling & satisfying than it sounds)
  • Beet, carrot, mixed green salad
  • Walnut pesto (I use just a little bit of Parmesan cheese)
  • Smoothies (yum – breakfast every day!)
  • Date and pecan energy balls (easy to make, and so tasty)
  • Carrot sticks (another easy snack with lots of crunch – haha, literal rabbit food! 😛 )

I want to learn to make a hearty vegan stew (maybe with potato chunks, lentils or beans, squash, curry powder, and so on) to eat for dinner so that I sleep well with a full warm belly. I also want to get my hands on a gazpacho recipe! Soup in a cup is basically the best idea since sliced bread.

My body is still adjusting. I get cravings for grilled cheese sandwiches or omelettes. But I distract myself or eat some date and pecan energy balls to tide myself over to the next meal. My body feels great, and I keep reminding myself how much more energy I have now 🙂

Yours,

Aruna

Day 6 of Raw Food Vegan

I have to be honest, I haven’t been fully raw or vegan in the last 6 days, but that’s mainly because I have decided not to be rude to others in social situations. When your boss buys the whole office pizza at work, you don’t just turn your nose up, right? And when you visit your boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law, you can’t just devour all of their bananas and carrots instead of having the veggie burger they’ve dug out of the freezer. Oh, and I eat just a dollop of yogurt in my morning smoothie, partially out of habit.

But what I can say is this: I love raw food vegan already.

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Basically I try to eat as many raw food meals as I can. And when I can’t I try to make sure that my vegan (cooked) meal doesn’t contain any animal products (including eggs, milk, and cheese – formerly known as the other love if my life). I’m still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. For example, I’ve realized that nuts are and easy raw vegan item, but I need to be careful. Preparing a whole raw meal takes much more time and effort than just making a cooked meal (if you want to make it tasty). But when I don’t have time or energy , I just shovel nuts into my mouth (uhh, hah — mind out if the gutter, you). The nuts certainly make me feel full, but don’t have the nutrition my body needs.

Anyway, in general what I’ve noticed is that I feel more energetic. I have been able to get away with less sleep (which I would have sworn was impossible before). Weirdly, my body has been feeling warmer (I sweat more easily). I have been in a better mood in general, and I feel lighter, not so bloated or icky.

Going forward I’m going to continue to gently and persistently introduce more and more raw and vegan foods into my diet. I’ll let you know how is goes 🙂

Warmly,
Aruna

Trying Proactiv+, No Frizz Shampoo, & Raw Food Diet

Hey,

I’m back! Here’s a video apologizing for my absence, and telling you what’s new in my life: the Proactiv+ system for my acne, Living Proof’s No Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner (which is sulfate-free!), and the Raw Food Diet.

Please excuse my hair – I basically just rolled out of bed late in the day and recorded this.

Lots of love,

Aruna

Life as a Freezer Monkey: Fruits & Veggies for Health & Happiness!

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you’ll already know that Josh and I are self-professed freezer monkeys. Today I thought I’d do a bit of show and tell about how freezing our fruits and vegetables has changed our lives for the better.

Freeze-vegetables-and-fruits

We cut and freeze our fresh produce on the weekends and use it throughout the week. Freezing preserves the nutritional value of our food, and makes mid-week cooking a breeze. We usually freeze:

  • Fruits: bananas, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, mango, peaches,
  • Veggies: bell peppers, mushrooms, shallots, purple cabbage, carrots, cellery, onions

The best part is that it makes healthy eating easy. We blend smoothies with the frozen fruit every morning in a matter of minutes. And we cook chili, muncheehee, omelettes, and so on, without worrying about an hour of prep for each. And as everyone knows, extra time is rare to come by in this busy modern life!

veggies-fruits-ziploc-bags

After cutting the veggies, we put them in large Ziploc bags, flatten the contents so that they do not freeze into one massive, difficult-to-break brick, and stack them in the freezer so that we can easily see all of the bags.

Frozen-vegetables-fruits

I have to admit that there is no substitute for freshly cut produce in any recipe, but let me tell you – this freezer monkey business is a game changer if you’re pressed for time and love to eat the good eats!

Yours,

Aruna

Layered Hash Browns, Cheese, & Eggs Recipe [photos]

Happy Memorial Day! Today I’m sharing Josh’s and my latest edible obsession. It’s definitely not as healthy as other recipes I’ve shared here, but it’s delicious 😛 It’s so easy to make, so I won’t included sections for ingredients and directions.

Hash-browns-and-cheese-for-brunch

We decided to indulge in some (frozen) hash browns last weekend. But, as usual, we wanted to make it even tastier. So this weekend, we layered strong cheddar cheese and egg patties on top! (Just cook the eggs as you would a plain omelette.)

eggs-for-hash-brown-brunch

Then cut it into little rectangles and place them on top.

the-finished-brunch

Easy! (We also made a ketchup and sriracha sauce.) Honestly, it was so tasty and was the perfect brunch for a lazy day.

I hope you had a fun weekend!

Yours,

Aruna

Healthy Sidedish: Beet Recipe with Photos!

After writing a post about 6 health benefits of eating beets last month, I totally forgot about them. I thought for sure they had gone bad, but I was really surprised to find that they were fine when I took them out of the fridge this weekend! Yay! Resilient little roots.

Beets look funny
I know, the tails don’t look very appetizing.

I found inspiration for a healthy sidedish beet recipe in How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman. These are basically beet patties (rosti) that can be flavored however you please. Hope you like it as much as Josh and I did!


Ingredients:

  • Beets, duh. (The recipe called for 1.5 lbs. I had 3 beets and no scale. I winged it.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (or to taste) any herbs or seasoning (rosemary’s recommended, but I used oregano)
  • 2 tbs butter, or extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Buy beets with the leaves attached, and be sure the leaves are healthy. Cut them off of the beets. You can save the leaves if they look vibrant and edible, and use them in other recipes (which I plan to do in the future). Wash the beets and peel them with a vegetable peeler.

Grate the beets

Then, grate them. Honestly, this was the hardest part of the process for me. I took a chunk of my skin off in the process – but that’s because the beets are small rounded objects (like hacky sacks) and because I’m a bit of a clutz. Just be careful, because the beets are definitely awkward to grate. Alternatively, you could use a food processor.

Mix in a bowl

Place the grated beets in a large bowl and mix in the salt and herbs/seasoning. The recipe recommends to mix in the flour in 1/8 cup at a time. I’d say that’s sound advice. It tends to cling together, and it’s easier to mix in small amounts.

Browning butter

Brown the butter or heat the olive oil on a skillet. Now – the recipe in How to Cook Everything instructed me to pour the entire beet mixture into the pan, but I think that’s a big mistake. It’s just too difficult to manage. Just make smaller cakes out of the stuff (like hash browns patties). You can flip them easily and give each patty individual attention. Just cook them until they have crisped and browned a bit on both sides.

First attempt
First attempt: mega patty!

Second attempt
Second attempt: smaller patties worked better


You can add carrots to this recipe, you can add bolder flavors like curry powder or Parmesan – whatever you like! I think with a food processor this recipe would be a breeze – so that’s definitely on my kitchen wishlist. Oh, and if you read my article on the 6 health benefits of beets then you already know this, but if your pee is pink after after eating beets, eat more beets! It’ll help to normalize your stomach acid levels. Woot!

Yummy beets!

Yours,
Aruna