Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Detoxing with "Jelly Beans" and Green chips! ;)

Happy Tuesday!! :)

Ok, so I actually was not planning on writing a post anytime soon. In fact, I was sitting down, about to take the first bite of my food I had prepared for myself...

... when I took a good look at it and thought to myself, "I feel like I'm about to eat jelly beans and chips, except in the natural form they were meant to be... so cool!"

However, I did NOT at all expect that the fruit salad I made would end up tasting so much like candy!!! I'm not joking, you guys. Depending on how you combine the fruits, it tastes like blue raspberry, sour grape, and a couple other flavors I can't remember the names of. But I'M SERIOUS! Don't look at me like that.

This is not a recipe. This is an idea - and I DO hope you try it!

(I bought all of these fruits from Costco)

* Crunchy green grapes
* Sweet red grapes
* Blueberries
* Raspberries

1) Ready for the most obvious step ever? MIX IT ALL TOGETHER IN A BIG BOWL!! :D

2) My favorite flavor combination: Blue Raspberry - Get one of each fruit, and eat it at the same time. Warning: consumption in this combination of ingredients may result in a big explosion of sweetness and blue raspberry goodness on your tastebuds.

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As I write this right now, I continue to enjoy delicious fruit candy.

Just imagine, for a second, that you could have all of the dessert you cared for. Let's say you could even occasionally make a meal of it. Imagine a heaping bowl of ice cream that you could eat all by yourself, that would nourish you and make you feel amazing. Or maybe you just finished a workout and you decide to treat yourself to a generous helping of caramel - gooey, sweet, energizing caramel.

Sound too good to be true? Maybe you're shaking your head with your bowl of fruit "candy", feeling like there's not much special about it. "Natalyn, it's just fruit," you try and explain to me. Yes, it is. It's "just" fruit. The ice cream I mentioned is actually "just" frozen fruit. The caramel is "just" dates. But let me tell you something about living a healthy lifestyle... When you make the first change, when you take the first step, something changes in you. And the more that something changes throughout your health journey, the more you come to realize that food does not have to be a "cheat day"anymore. Food does not have to taste so good, but be so bad for you. In fact, the ideal food should taste and feel good to eat. And I'm not just talking about feeling good when you're at the weight you want, or at that thought in you're mind when you eat that first piece of cake on your cheat day ("wow, this feels amazing to eat this). I'm talking about feeling GOOD. The kind of good where you know that the treat you are giving your tastebuds is also treating your whole body. In fact, it's helping give your body the function and energy it needs to keep you physically healthy and strong.
So why is it not the case? Why can't the super healthy, cleansing fruit taste like skittles and not like sweetened water? Why can't the lettuce taste like potato chips and not like dirt and grass? Our tastebuds have become accustomed to the excessive oil, salt, and sugar that we put in our foods.

All this that I'm telling you has to do with the concept of detoxifying, or cleansing.
From the moment we're born, most of us are taught that we need to eat well to grow well. However, we are also told that we can have plenty of "treats" throughout this time. Every year, we are treated to a generous slice of birthday cake, and maybe some ice cream to go with that. Throughout that same year, we get more birthday cake "treats" and our "salty fixes" of potato chips and maybe some pizza when going to parties hosted by friends or extended family. Then we have the rest of the holidays... And Christmas! Let's not even talk about Christmas food. So already, plenty of "treat" days added up. That's fine, right? Oh, but it doesn't stop there. On top of this, famous companies that our parents and our grand parents have enjoyed for decades have decided to get even more commercial. I'm sure you've heard these words before: High fructose corn syrup, GMOs, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives. We know we need to avoid these. But then come more hidden ingredients. Here's one many people roll their eyes at: sugar. But hey, it's proven that white refined sugar is another not-so-helpful ingredient.
So there's a bunch of bad stuff, and it isn't very easy to avoid when weaving through your average grocery store's aisles. Most stuff in the aisles is packed with sugar, HFCS, GMO's, and other monstrosities - among these food victims are common condiments like ketchup, pizza and pasta sauces, peanut butter, jam, even some honey (don't you think honey is sweet enough on its own??). WHY? Well, to this day, I'm still trying to figure out a balanced explanation for this.

But what does this have to do with cleansing and detoxification?
Here's the answer, in a nutshell: our bodies were originally meant to daily enjoy fresh, tasty food. Food that is pure, unrefined, wholesome... and alive with enzymes and phytonutrients. When we ingest things other than this - especially those harmful chemicals, artificial flavorings and colorings, refined sugar and salt, and heavy amounts of oils (especially refined oils) and fats - our bodies have a harder time functioning. The more we live that way, the worse we get, until one day, we either die young or become gravely ill. And then what happens when we start trying to eat the way we are supposed to eat? We feel sick! Though it seems like our bodies reject the healthy stuff, what the body is actually doing is quite extraordinary. It's cleaning up! See, you can't fit the good stuff in if you still haven't taken the bad stuff out. 

And there you have it. Detoxification in a nutshell.

I could go on forever. This is my passion, and I wish to share it with you.

Some people think that I'm SO HEALTHY, and that I'll live longer than everyone else, and stuff like that. But in reality, the struggle for health is real for me too. I'm not perfect. I may have enjoyed my bowl of fruit candy today, but it was initially a little bit difficult to enjoy the bitter leafy greens that accompanied my fruit. My tastebuds have yet to finish transforming, as does the rest of my body. My body still carries emotions, bad choices, and fat that still clings onto my body. I've been detoxing for a while now, I'm detoxing today, and I will probably continue detoxing for quite a while.
I wanted to share this with you guys because I get asked questions about this stuff from family, friends, and even some strangers from time to time. I just want to let all of you know that these are important questions. And, as many health enthusiasts like to say, YOUR HEALTH MATTERS NOW.

Have a fantastic remainder of the week!

~ Natalyn

Friday, September 6, 2013

Overnight Spring Rolls

Today's recipe is fun. It's simple. It's FRESH. Packed with marinated tofu and mushrooms, raw crunchy vegetables, and a kiss of basil.

I'm going to call these:

Simple Overnight Spring Rolls

I was so excited when I was prepping the ingredients last night. See, I was craving crunchy, savory, and fresh - of course, spring rolls were the first thing to pop in my mind. I decided that I wanted to make spring rolls with tofu, mushrooms, basil, and other fresh (and leftover) veggies I had on hand. To take it to the next level, I decided to marinate the tofu and mushrooms in a slightly sweet and VERY savory sesame soy sauce with a hint with garlic and ginger. 

So I did, and then retreated upstairs and went to bed with visions of sugar plums overnight spring rolls dancing in my head (not Christmas yet? Just me? Whoops). 

The next morning, I did my morning routines and then marched downstairs. I threw that marinated goodness in a frying pan with a drizzle of sesame oil and got to work prepping the veggies.

God is the best chef! Look at this pure, wholesome goodness!!!
I then started my assembly line...

And then rolled up my spring rolls!

Success? I'm thinking YES!

Overnight Spring Rolls 
(with Marinated Tofu, Carrot Strips and Fresh Basil)

Serves 8 Spring Rolls 

* 3/4 block extra firm tofu, drained
* 10-12 white (or baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
* 1/8 cup low sodium soy sauce 
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* small knob ginger, minced
* 5-6 drops stevia (or 1 tsp. preferred sweetener)
* scant tsp. sesame oil

* 8-10 round rice paper wrappers, dry (can find at any asian market)
* 2 long sprigs fresh basil
* 5-6 leaves butter lettuce, torn into small, bite-sized pieces
* carrot, julienned (or peeled into strips)
* large handful sweet onion chive (or green onion, julienned)
1) Chop tofu into somewhat thin, fingerlike strips. Chop mushrooms.
2) Place tofu and mushrooms in a tupperware, and add soy sauce, garlic, ginger, stevia, and sesame oil.
3) Close tupperware and give it a good shake. 
4) Let mixture marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
5) Throw entire mixture in a wok or frying pan and saute for 5-8 minutes (or more, if desired). Remove from heat.
6) Heat up some water while prepping fresh ingredients.
7) Pour very warm water on a large plate, and immerse rice paper for 5 seconds. Flip to other side and immerse for another 5 seconds. Do this until rice paper starts getting softer and the pattern is slightly fading away. 
8) Place rice paper on a flat plate and add ingredients. I put a small handful of the tofu/mushroom mixture, 4 carrot strips, a fair amount of butter lettuce, a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil, and 4 or 5 little strings of sweet onion chive. 
9) To close spring roll, fold like a burrito. 
10) Place on serving dish of choice and make the rest of the spring rolls (careful not to put them too close to each other - they stick!).
11) Bon appetit! 

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I hope you enjoy those spring rolls - they are so simple and easy to make, and will go PERFECTLY with practically any asian dipping sauce. I personally enjoyed them without any sauce and they were so full of flavor.

Have a great weekend!! 

Much love,

~ Natalyn