BBQ Pulled Jackfruit

At the Worcester Vegfest there was a vendor promoting young jackfruit as a meat alternative. They weren’t even selling anything, they were simply putting the word out there!  Well, Joel and I both taste-tested a bite of seasoned young jackfruit on a cracker and holy cow jackfruit it was good! When I looked up recipes, I discovered that making it only took 2 ingredients and minimal steps.

Firstly – Why young jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a very large pod-like fruit. Very large as in.. sometimes they grow to 80lbs! Yah, large! When ripe they are sweet and juicy. When young, they are more fibrous and not sweet. Nutritionally, they are high in fiber and protein. They provide a lot of vitamins C, B, and A.

Secondly – Where to find it?
It shouldn’t be too hard. The young (green) jack fruit comes in a can. You’ll want to find the kind in brine or water. (not syrup)
You should see it at Whole Foods, or most ethnic markets. Personally, I ordered mine on Amazon. (My cans came all jacked up and dented. But, seem fine)

Now, onto the recipe!

Take your can of jackfruit. Open it.  Drain it. Rinse the jackfruit a couple of times to remove a lot of the brine.
If you care to, you an press it to release more liquids, as you would tofu. But this is not necessary.

Dump the entire can into the crockpot (or pan, but I recommend crockpot for ease). Lightly cover all the jackfruit with your choice of BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

When its tender and saucy, you’re good! Remove from the crockpot.

Take two forks and shred it as you would pulled chicken or pork.

Ta daaahhh! Looks like pork, no? Crazy!

My plan was to make a pulled jackfruit sandwich on rye bread with cole slaw.. but I honestly don’t love a big messy sandwich. So I grilled the bread and ate it open faced instead, with the coleslaw on the side and some fresh pineapple.

It was really delicious! I didn’t LOVE the BBQ sauce I used… it was some kind of spicy bone-suckin’ sauce and it was too hot for me. But, as for the jackfruit? … amazing!  The texture is very similar to meat shreds, but its also similar to say, an artichoke heart. I don’t think you could absolutely fool someone into thinking this was meat, but its a really tasty and way more nutritious substitute, for sure!

It couldn’t be easier to make, and I can see it being quite versatile. I’m excited to see what else I can do with it!

 

 

New Rules to Live (and Eat) By

So! My consultation with Heather is still going well!  I completed the 4 day alkaline cleanse, and now I’m emailing back and forth with her regarding changes I can make to my everyday diet.

It does feel a little bit like splitting hairs at this point. I can only refine my diet so much, before I’m back to driving myself crazy over it. For me, it’s about eating the healthiest possible way, losing weight, and just being happy.  I want to find the magic mix of those elements and live it!

Anyway!  She does think that there’s an imbalance somewhere (hence, the alkaline cleanse to balance my adrenal glands). So she recommended 4 supplements to take on short-term to even some things out. After reading about them, and discussing with her,  I decided to only partake in 2 of them.

She advised to just take these until they are gone. Not take them as a daily supplement forever, so I figured I could certainly give that a try!  The major downside to this, is that I am to take 2 capsules of one 3 times a day, and 1 capsule of the other 2 times a day. Add in my vitamin D and B12, and I’m up to 10 pills a day! This problem is made bigger by how much a wee little baby I am, and I find it incredibly difficult to swallow these pills. Anyway! Moving on…

Her other recommendations :

1. Add in some more protein, especially into my smoothies.
I’m ok with this.  I do try to avoid protein powders, but its more for the fact that I thought I didn’t need them.  But sometimes, I make my smoothies with very little protein.  So, I’m ok with bumping it up a bit with a vegan protein powder.

I had a sample packet of some powder I got in my VeganCuts box awhile ago, so I tried it out this morning.  It may take awhile to get used to the protein powder flavor again!

2. Drink 1.5L of water a day (can include green/herbal tea)
You know how much I hate to drink my water! But I’ve been good about it lately. So, a little more effort won’t kill me.

3. Keep salt minimal Yeeeaahhh… I’m trying!  The cleanse taught me a lot about not adding salt, and just tasting the pure flavor of veggies.  It’s an adjustment, but  I can do it!

4. Have serving of beans/legumes/quinoa at least once daily
I think currently, I do beans every other day. So I can definitely add that in daily. I made a gigantic batch of quinoa & beans last night, so I’m good to eat that for about 4-5 days.

5. Include some protein in afternoon snack (powder, nuts, bean dip) – especially post-workout
I actually eat dinner after my workout, so this is unnecessary.  I typically have protein with dinner, but I can pay more attention now to be sure I am.

6. Keep whole grain flour products to once per day (eg pasta, bread, wrap, crackers, etc), favoring cooked whole grains when possible
This I can do, as well. I would say my usual currently is 2 servings a day of these things. I would have a wrap or toast with lunch, and a pasta or rice with dinner.  I don’t mind cutting down on those, either! I need to ask her how she views potatoes.  I treat potatoes like a vegetable, and not as a “starch”  like pasta, etc.  So I’d like to know her thoughts on that.

7. Be active in lighter ways (walking, yoga, etc) whenever possible, not just when working out
Definitely agree with this.  It is MUCH much easier for me to do this when the weather is nicer.  I like to walk the dogs, go hiking with the dogs, and spend more time moving outside.  I also am trying to outfit my office with a stability ball for sitting to help engage muscles and my posture.  I keep trying to get into yoga and its just not happening.  So, I’ll keep experimenting there!

All great, great suggestions!

Anybody have any opinions on this? Anyone want to try out some of these new guidelines with me?!? :-)

 

Worcester VegFest

Yesterday, I attended Worcester VegFest, which was according to the website – the largest vegetarian festival in the area.  But in reality – it was all vegan!

It was totally free for admission, and parking at a lot nearby was just $5. (street parking was free, but we didn’t want to circle around searching)

We arrived just 7 minutes before the door opened, but there was already a line!

Just one minute later, the line was around the block!

I love seeing and trying new products and brands, but I get overwhelmed pretty easily by so many people.  I don’t want to stop and look at things when I’ve got hundreds of people shoving to do the same.  So we whizzed through the aisles pretty quickly, surveying what we could.  Then we pulled aside and made a game plan.  I wanted to buy a cupcake, some sunflower spreads, and a cup of soft serve, Joel wanted some samosas.  So, we fought our way through to those tables and got the deeds done!

We each got a samosa and found a quiet corner to eat them. So tasty!

Then we ventured back in and got my other items, and joined the line for the ice cream!

Waiting in line, I anticipated this dairy free soft serve to be delicious. However, I when I got it.. I didn’t expect it to be THAT delicious!

I mean, DAMN. It was good. Like No Udder is a food-truck, and it looks like it’s based out of Rhode Island, so I’m not sure I’ll ever experience it again, but man, I hope I do!

I really enjoyed the VegFest, and I will certainly go again next year.  It was smaller (in terms of actual size/vendor amount) than I’d expected, but it certainly had plenty to enjoy. They also had a series of talks and presentations which we did not stay for, but I think for free, that’s incredible and well worth a trip.

Last week I won a YouTube giveaway, in which I received a giant box of vegan goodies as well.
So I feel like between the VegFest and this goodie box, I am just swimming in great new products to try!


(if you want to see all these items, I do an unboxing here  )

Detox Day 3

Well, it’s the last day of the Detox phase! That was a quick and easy 3 days. The next two days are a “fade-out” plan, to easy my body back to my regular diet. I’ll do my thoughts on the detox as a whole when it’s all done.

So, moving on!

BREAKFAST

Sweet potato porridge.  It’s quinoa, sweet potato, some almond milk, chia, sunflower seeds and some spices.
Pretty dang tasty, I say.  I ate it hot and it was flavorful and filling.

MORNING SNACK

Carrots and zucchini hummus

LUNCH

This salad! YUM!  Avocado & beet salad with a balsamic tahini dressing. Pretty, no?

AFTERNOON SNACK

Quinoa with sweet potato

DINNER

Creamy Carrot Soup! With nori and sunflower seeds. This was delicious, filling, and pretty!

Now, it’s time for bed! 3 days of the alkaline cleanse – completed.

 

Detox Day 2

Yesterday went well. Tasty food, plenty of energy for my workout, and I went to bed full and happy.

Today, is Day 2!

BREAKFAST

I thought – You, quinoa salad… are going to be the blandest of the bland…

But OH. I was wrong.  This was delicious. Seriously. I new super easy favorite that I will definitely make many times!

MORNING SNACK

Veggie mix tossed with the zucchini hummus.

Nice and freshy fresh!

LUNCH

So, I was supposed to have a sweet potato salad, however… I had neglected to cook an extra sweet potato last night (oops!) so I ended up eating the second half of  my baby food soup, along with the salad I was supposed to have.
I added some extra spices to my soup and re-blended it.  It made a big difference. Nice and thick and smooth (thats what she said!)

AFTERNOON SNACK

Carrots!

DINNER

Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce & veggies.

Success! Another tasty day!

I feel good… light.

Let’s do it again tomorrow!

Detox Plan…

I love YouTube. It’s true. There’s beauty vloggers, comedic people, and nutrition experts. There’s something for everybody.. and everything for me!
One of my many subscriptions is to a beautiful young woman named Heather. She is a very knowledgeable Registered Holistic Nutritionist and she’s also super likeable.  Last week, she posted a new video stating that she was offering nutritional counseling and I jumped right on it! I’ve seen dietitians and nutritionists before, but never a holistic one, and never someone I felt like I already knew.

Anyway!  After many, many questionnaires (which I love taking, btw)  she sent me so many pages of great information.  Of course, I won’t share any specifics with you, but I encourage you to get your own plan!  

She gave me a 3 day detox plan, specifically to detox my adrenal glands. (we’re addressing my specific problem which is eating healthy but not losing weight!) It also has a 2 day fade-out plan as well. So it’s a 5 day meal plan. Plus some recommended supplements.  I have started taking Vitamin D3, but the other ones I am holding off on until I can discuss with her further. I’m not really into taking supplements (if I can do it with food, instead!)

I won’t be providing you the recipes for my meals, but I will be posting photos of the foods, so you can get the gist of it.

I’m excited to try this, even just for something different. Also, it’s going to really help me cut back on salt like I’ve been trying to. Because this meal plan has virtually NONE. (eep!)

Note : I’m kind of “live-updating” this, so I keep coming back throughout the day to add my new foods and thoughts. So, if it feels disjointed – it is!

DAY 1 BREAKFAST

I had an herbal tea (cucumber mint). No coffee, or caffeinated teas on this plan!

This is a Spiced Carrot Quinoa.  It’s actually quite delicious. And, if you’ve ever eaten quinoa you can also guess that it’s super (super!) filling.

MIDMORNING SNACK

Lettuce wraps. That’s a veggie mixture, with half an avocado.

I’m not a big fan of snacking. So I’m not that big on eating right now (it’s 10:30am). But this is a mixture of a lot of my favorite things, so of course it’s delicious!
I drank 20oz of cold water, and 1 more 12oz of tea.

And, some more water. Blah!

LUNCH

This salad was actually quite beautiful before I smushed it all up. It was also RIDICULOUSLY filling. I did finish the whole thing. But, dang. It’s fresh veggies chopped with avocado and beans. With a tahini based dressing.

AFTERNOON SNACK

Zucchini hummus and carrots.

It’s 5:21 and I just finished my carrots and hummus. My feelings about the day so far?  I’m certainly not hungry. I don’t typically eat this much fat in a day, so between all the avocado, tahini, and sunflower seeds – I feel very full. Not gross! No, just… satiated, for sure.

I’ve already brushed my teeth 4 times today. Chia seeds, sprouts, garlic… it’s all up in mah grillz.

The foods on this plan are all alkalizing, which is part of what cleanses the adrenal glands I suppose. But there isn’t a huge variety of alkaline raw veggies. So even just 4 meals in I am repeating all of the same foods. I don’t mind much, but I can foresee that by the third day, I’ll be a little bit over it. We shall see!

DINNER

Dinner was a sweet potato “soup”. It was essentially a steamed veggie puree. It tasted remarkably like baby food. I didn’t love it, but it was warm and filled me up after my workout.

So, Day 1 : completed!

See you again tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

In Praise of Fruit

I’ve already berated you for not eating your veggies in defense of vegetables.  Now it’s time to talk about my other true love…

fruit!

Let  me tell you something that maybe you don’t know – fruit is good for you.

Really, it is. It grows from the earth with water and sunlight. It gets so colorful and amazingly sweet just to tempt us to eat it. It’s quite literally – made for us to eat. We should do it that favor, don’t you think?

All of those vitamins and minerals, those antioxidants and phytonutrients that you hear about?  Yup. They are all up in the fruit!

Allow me to also clear up something for you (a personal pet peeve of mine) : Fruit does not equal sugar.  Yes, fructose IS a sugar. So I don’t want to discuss semantics here, I’m just talking about the notion that eating a 90 calorie apple and eating a 90 calorie chocolate truffle are doing the same things in your body. They aren’t.  Fructose and sucrose are broken down in different ways, and of course there is the reality of the apple carrying so much more nutrition through your body.  It’s the whole basis of the idea that a calorie is not a calorie.  Energy is one thing, but nutrition is another.

So please don’t limit your fruit intake because you don’t want to consume “that much sugar”.  Just eat fruits (and veggies!) to your heart’s content!
The only thing you’ll get – is healthier.

Fruit is a perfect snack (or meal!) it’s filling, it’s hydrating, and completely nourishing.

The only fruits that I personally limit, are avocados – because of the high fat content. Yes, it’s “good fat” but that doesn’t mean to me that it should be eaten in abundance.  I probably have 1 avocado a week.

If you’ve been a fruit-avoider (shame on you!)  It’s never too late to start enjoying nature’s candy.  But I would advise you to start slowly.
Most fruits have high fiber content, and some have a laxative affect if you’re not used to them. Unless you’re allergic, you’ll most likely get used to it and that will not happen to you if you just start slowly and work it up.

Figs, dates, plums, even grapes can have you running to the potty if you overeat on them right away.  For me, I’m used to it, and can eat a whole container of figs in a sitting (see image above! that was breakfast yesterday!) with no ill affects.

What else is stopping you from eating fruit?
It’s too expensive? Bananas are about 50 cents a pound. You can’t beat that! Buy fruit when it’s in-season. It’s a way cheaper snack than chips and cookies!

You don’t like it?  I highly, highly doubt that. There’s fruits out there that I don’t like. But for each one I don’t like, there are HUNDREDS that I do. Fruit comes in vast varieties. Branch out! Try every fruit they offer at your grocery store. Then, go to another grocery store!

It’s too much work? Fruit is called “nature’s fast food” It comes in a little (most times edible) wrapper, you can hold it in your hand and eat it while going anywhere. Whats hard about that?

All I’m saying is… I’m giving you permission to eat fruit in abundance! Take advantage of such a delicious freedom!

 

 

 

 

 

Life Lately

I live an enjoyably boring life, don’t you know? It’s true!

You ask me what’s up? I will tell you, my dogs are being cute and also asshole-ish. I ate something delicious. I watched a movie. The end. Same answers for the past 10 years.  Why I keep a blog, I have no idea! But you lucky lot get to see inside the life of SweatyGirl lately… by way of.. iPhone photos! Wee!

Bagel Friday, errr Friday.

To ease his anxiety, Zevon is now on Prozac.

Attempted my first vegan calzone.

It was seriously incredible. I’m a genius.

Wanted to try Yoga again. Found these on recommendation from someone else with EDS. Verdict? NOPE. No matter how flexible or strong I am, the fat legit gets in the way. This is definitely yoga for skinny, skinny people.

Smoothies.

Yeah. Smoothies.

I’m doing smoothies. OK?!

Doing lots of roasted veggies lately.

Going to get my hair done….

Getting my hair done…

Derp.

Hairs done!

Yes, you can still eat fast food while vegan! I’ve had some fries and a veggie sandwich at Five Guys, and this glorious cheeseless pizza! No, not on the same day.. just saying, its possible!

This.

Unnecessary shopping. Shopping always feels necessary though, at the time!

BUTT. (Little Z in the background!)

Really, thats it. I hope you enjoyed this little trip through my photo album. I hope I’ll come up with something useful to say next time!

Stay Sweaty!

Conflicting Information: How to decide when to try something new.

There is SO much conflicting information about health, food, and fitness out there. It’s nearly impossible to be an informed consumer. Every time you pick up something you’ve heard is good for you, Dr. Oz is coming on telling you it will give you cancer.  Then, your favorite blogger says no, this item will cure cancer!  How do you know?  Even when you find seemingly legitimate sources of information like research papers and studies… there is no way to truly verify these claims.  You can choose to believe that the studies are skewed (some are!) that the government/food industry has only profits in mind and not your health.  Every bit of information seems to have an equally convincing counterpoint.

So, what do you do!?

Step 1. Do Your Own Research
To the best of your ability, of course. The truth is, most of us are not scientists or medical professionals. So the chances of us even thoroughly understanding advanced research studies are pretty low. But try to get the gist of it. Look up the item, find out what exactly it is supposed to do to your body. Research the adverse affects. Find forums or review sites where real people have tried this item for an extended period of time. Read the bad reviews with the good ones.  This step is important because you really should have an informed decision about what you are putting in or on your body. But… aside from that, this step is important because it prevents you from looking like a dummy. For example, when you’re in the kitchen at work, putting chia seeds into your oatmeal, and someone asks what they are/what they do, and your answer is “Dr. Oz says they are good for you” or “I saw them on The View” you look kinda dumb.  But, if you are able to tell them about the high omega-3s, the calcium and fiber that they offer. That they keep you full for a long while and offer a thick texture to the meal… they might be interested in looking into them themselves.  It helps everyone to be informed!

Step 2. Set Your Intentions and Boundaries.
Your body is yours. You have to live in it, and only you can decide how to treat it. Think long and hard about it.  What is your ultimate goal? Do you want longevity? Do you want to take risks? Do you want to be symptom-free? Do you have a family history of something that you want to avoid? Think about the goals and aspirations you have for your body.  Then, think about how the things you eat affect those goals.
Consider these things when you are researching the new exciting health products. Does this item play for or against your ultimate goals?
An example – you’ve heard about the benefits of using coconut oil as a facial moisturizer. So many success stories, with an equal amount of claims of it worsening acne over time.  If one of your main goals for your body is to look good, to have clear skin, maybe you don’t try this out. If your goals are to be all organic and natural with your skin care,  then maybe its worth the risk of breaking out a little. It has to be about YOUR needs and desires, or it just doesn’t matter.

Step 3. Commitment.
So, you saw on your favorite blog that Oil Pulling is the best thing ever.  You’ve gone and done your research and decided that it aligns with your goals. Now you’re going to try it! Awesome.  Now its time to commit to trying it.  Our bodies are deeply complex, and some processes take much longer than others. If you’re doing to try a new health regimen, you need to give it an extensive amount of time to work. Don’t try the Oil Pulling for 3 days and declare it a farce. Nothing can happen is just 3 days! Try it for 3 months and see. (barring any adverse affects, of course!  If you have a reaction to anything, stop immediately!)

Personally, I love to try new “fads” and “superfoods” I’m curious and adventurous with my diet. But I never go in blindly.  I watch real testimonials on YouTube, I read reviews and research conclusions. I learn how the product is made and what the history of it is.  You’ll never get conclusive evidence on anything. There is a naysayer to every single thing.  It seems to be a given that spinach is one of the healthiest foods for you, however there is scientific information saying otherwise.  It’s EVERYTHING.  Everything can sound like a miracle-worker or a cancer-creater.  You have to decide for yourself. I realize that is the scary part. We all want to be told what is good for us and what to avoid. We want to follow the rules and be healthy forever.  But we’re all different. We have different bodies, different agendas, and different ideals for our lives.

Good luck out there!

Another Fluff Post. Don’t judge me.

I love surveys.  I even fill out those ones at restaurants that you get with the bill. So of course when my favorite ladyfriend posted this one, you know I couldn’t help myself!

I am absolutely overwhelmed with stuff right now and haven’t had time to make anything crafty to share in weeks, so here’s a silly survey I found on the internet:

A. What are your favourite smells? Lilacs. Almond. Tomato’s buttholes (the little part where the stem comes off)

B. Can you go a whole day without caffeine? Oh yes, easily.

C. Who knows more about you than anyone else? Anyone who reads this blog. I talk more about myself here than with anyone in person.

D. What song did you last listen to? Happy by Pharrell, because I was watching some of his 24 hour music video. It’s pretty awesome.

E. Do you have a crush on anybody? Yes, but just celebrities and characters like all the other maladjusted people today.

F. Do you like The Beatles? Yes, love them with a big chunk of  my heart.

G. If you could choose one color to wear for a whole year, what color would you choose? I guess black, so I could accessorize the heck out of it and still feel fun.  But if it was like, no accessories and just that one color?  I think maybe coral or teal.

H. Do you cook often? I do.  Everyday, multiple meals, multiple times a day.

I. What was the last film you watched? Did you like it? Gravity.  It was OK.  Had some cool moments, had some dull moments. Overall it was a good movie.

J. Can you sew? Yes, but I am very, very bad at it.

K. What is your favorite fruit? This is an impossible question to answer. I’ll tell you some of my faves though… limes, bananas, carambola, mango, lychee, kiwi, clementines, grapes, peaches, cherries, raspberries…

L. Are you health conscious? Yep.

M. Go do the Kinsey scale test, what number result did you receive? I got “X” which apparently stands for non-sexual. Haha, thanks a lot Kinsey, if you don’t know what that means, how am I supposed to? Here’s the test if you want to take it. I don’t think it would tell you anything you don’t already know!

N. Do you curse a lot? No, not at all. Sometimes “shit” and lots of “crap” and “ass”.  But never the f-bomb!

O. When was the last time you had a pint of beer? Never in my life.

P. Are you pro life or pro choice? Pro choice 100%

Q. Is there a certain food you often crave for no reason? Cupcakes. But there is a reason for that, and the reason is that they are delicious.

R. What was the last book you purchased? Wow, I actually have no idea. Oh wait! I remember, I bought my Aunt a 100 Ways to Tie A Scarf book for Christmas.

S. Where was your last vacation? Joel and I went to Sugar Hill, New Hampshire for our anniversary in January.

T. Do you shave your pits? Yep!

U. Did you ever play seven minutes in heaven? Yes! But nothing frisky ever happened.

V. Girls, when was the last time you went out without a bra? Never, except maybe in a bathing suit, but those things kinda have built-in bras, so I am not sure it counts.

W. Guys, when was the last time you went shirtless in public? n/a

X. Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how did it happen? I “may have” broken my nose in a car accident when I was 16. But I guess it was set fine, so I don’t really know if it was ever actually broken.  I broke my big toe twice, once by stubbing it on a rock when swimming and once on the corner of the stove.

Y. How do you like your eggs? Sunny side up.

Z. What was your last argument about and who with? With myself, over whether or not to get out of bed this morning. I was SO comfy.