Category Archives: Health Benefits

Crispy Latin Chickpeas

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I love an easy healthy snack that’s not only packed with flavor and crunchy, but has no added fat and provides health benefits!  To this end, I have perfected my oven roasted chickpea (aka garbanzo bean) recipe.

Chickpeas are good for you! They’re loaded with insoluble fiber and promote a healthy digestive system, and studies have shown that they provide more appetite satiety when compared gram for gram with other sources of fiber.  1 cup can provide you with 85% of your daily recommended antioxidants. Garbanzos can even help regulate blood sugar!  These and many more health benefits are detailed on one of my favorite sources for nutrition information, World’s Healthiest Foods.

As I mentioned, these chickpeas are super easy to prepare!  First, rinse well and drain your beans.  If you’re using beans you’ve cooked yourself (instead of canned) and they’re completely dry on the surface, go ahead and give them a rinse.  Since we’re not using oil, we need a little moisture for the seasoning to adhere properly!

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While your beans drain, grab a zip top bag – gallon or sandwich size is fine.  Add all of your spices to the bag.

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Add your damp (but not dripping!) chickpeas to the bag and shake, shake, shake!  When the beans are evenly coated,  dump them onto your favorite baking sheet and distribute evenly.

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Bake at 375° for about 25 minutes, depending on desired crispness.  Serve warm or cooled!

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Crispy Latin Chickpeas

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) or about 1 cup precooked garbanzos
3/8 t salt
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/4 t cilantro
1/8 t garlic powder

Rinse beans well and drain.  Combine seasoning in a zip top bag, then add drained (but still damp) beans to same bag.  Shake until beans are evenly coated, then spread evenly on ungreased baking sheet (with edges to keep beans from rolling off!) Bake at 375° for 25 minutes,  stirring half way through for even crisping.  This will produce chickpeas with a light crisp on the outside but a fluffy inside.  If you like less crisp, cook 10 minutes less.  If you prefer more crunch, cook 10 minutes more.   Eat warm or cooled! 

Firsty day!

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Wow, what a day yesterday was. A day of many firsts. A very firsty day!

To start out, it was the first time my boss offered to buy lunch since I started this whole vegan thing.  He doesn’t know of my drastic lifestyle change and is probably chalking it up to a new year’s resolution fizzle-out diet.  When he asked what sounded good, I just told him anywhere that has salad (so pretty much anywhere), so he recommended Subway.   I was excited at the idea, as that meant I could create a salad of whatever I wanted… until I got there.  I was so disappointed in the variety of veggies available,  not to mention the cost of the veggie salad is $5 when you can get a foot long sub loaded with meat and cheese and all the veggies you want for $5.  I had to settle for a salad with iceburg lettuce, spinach, tomato, cucumber, and black olives, and red wine vinegar.   I didn’t want pickles or pickled peppers or green peppers or onion on it.  Fresh onions make my stomach unhappy.  I simply don’t like green peppers.  And I wasn’t feeling pickles on my salad.  Fear also struck, because salads never keep me full for long, even when they have chicken and cheese and boiled egg on them.  I fortunately realized I had black beans at the office, since I had brought my own lunch, and added them to my sad little salad when I got back.  I was thrilled to find that I stayed full until time to leave!  Hooray for making lunch with others work!
PS: Subway, please add more variety to your veggies for those of us trying to eat healthier!  Mushrooms, multi colored peppers, lettuce variety, nuts, seeds, beans, maybe even sprouts!  You’re in every little town, but shops like you that do offer better variety aren’t in every little town, like mine.  You talk a big game about health and weight loss; back it up with healthier offerings!  Maybe even some whole grain bread.

The next “first” was shopping for groceries as a vegan.  It was so exciting! We have been shopping almost exclusively at Aldi for months because it saves so much money. They also have started having more and more organic options, which we really appreciate.   Our only problem is the limited variety available, including their fresh produce.   So we got to shop at Wegmans for the first time in a long while!  After shopping at Aldi for so long, I was overwhelmed with the variety, but in a very pleasant way!  The most difficult part was still making budget-friendly choices when there were so many options we don’t normally have. 

My husband kept picking up the larger packages of produce because they were cheaper in the long run, but I knew part of it would go to waste.  I tried to explain to him that just because it was cheaper per piece, that didn’t mean we should spend more now to buy it. We dont have more money to spend now.  Maybe next week we’ll be making more money.  That line of thinking goes against how we’re both used to thinking, but we managed to reign in the spending for this week and ended up with quite a lovely haul.  Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, pears, tomatoes, cucumber,  carrots, brussels sprouts, rice noodles, quinoa, spring roll wrappers, frozen peas, frozen green beans, frozen corn, frozen broccoli.   It was all so beautiful!

When I got home I made some oven-roasted radishes, loosely following the recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon that I’d found on Pinterest.  I added some basil just for kicks.  They turned out ok, but it turns out I’m picky about the use of lemon in some dishes.  Next time I’ll omit the lemon and jazz up the seasoning a bit.  I also think the radishes I used were poor quality. It seemed that each bite had a different flavor, some more unpleasant than I prefer.

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While the oven was warm (and warming my frigid kitchen!), I decided to roast some chickpeas.  They were fantastic!  I’ll maybe make more tonight and actually measure spices so I can post my recipe.

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So after having a satisfying little meal, I chopped up my first (of many to come) little veggie lunchbox.  Complete with carrot sticks, cucumber slices, quartered brussels sprouts, and cherry tomatoes,  I hope to enjoy it for lunch today with a pear!  I’ve not had raw brussels sprouts before, but I imagine they’ll be pretty good.

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So after an important firsty day, I’m feeling very confident!  I can eat fast food, with others!  I can shop for real food while remaining budget-conscious!  I learned a new way to eat the unfamiliar-to-me radish!  I have a go to snack when I want a little crunch, with chickpeas!  I can make up nice little veggie lunch boxes to bring to work for lunch or a snack!  So many options!

Great success!

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I feel well on my way to succeeding at this whole vegan thing.  I have now successfully made rice and beans, and they both even taste good!

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I’m not sure why rice and beans were the big things holding me back.  I guess I was concerned that I’d feel hungry all the time if I couldn’t make “filler” for my dishes.  A big part of it, too, is that my husband is between jobs right now and only working 12 hours per week. This severely limits the grocery budget.

Everything we buy right now is a “How many times will this item feed us and leave us satisfied?” debate.  Snack foods are out. Hearty whole grain cereals are in (though occasionally hubby sneaks something amazing like chocolate peanut butter puffs), along with lots of potatoes, canned tuna, pb&j… I had been taking frozen burritos to work for lunch for weeks months, just because they were so cheap.  I had lunch for a week for under $3.  So when it came time to eat healthier, I knew I had to stick to the same money-saving principles… which meant probably dried beans and rice as a portion of many meals.

Last year, we had purchased a Community Supported Agriculture share, which was bringing us a box fresh vegetables from April through December.   We had paid all at once and didnt have to spend another dime on produce for the rest of the year. Now that the CSA season is over, we’re left having to buy our produce from the grocery store, which is not exactly in our budget.  The good news is I can spend the $3 from my burritos on cabbage and mushrooms!  Haha

Back to my point… I can make beans and rice!  Last night I added some dried cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, lime juice, and chilli powder along with a cup of mixed rice, beans, and rinsed and drained canned diced tomatoes for supper.  Not too shabby!  I also baked some potatoes and had a small potato with coconut oil and garlic salt.  Not my typical potato with cheese, butter, and bacon, but still pretty good!

This morning I had some dry oatmeal with a little honey and almond milk – ate it like cereal.  I had done this in the past with a bunch of sugar instead of honey.  I’ll admit I didn’t like the honey.  I think I still have some raw sugar in the pantry. If not, I may eat it unsweetened the next time.

The point is I’m making it work.  We’re hopeful that my husband will have a job soon (he has a couple of interviews coming up)! I’ll be able to get much more variety in my diet.  And as I go, I’m sure I’ll find more things at the grocery store that are healthy, inexpensive replacements for things we already purchase… replacements that we will both like!

Do you have some inexpensive yummy vegan ideas? Feel free to share them below!

Breakdown of a Smoothie – Health benefits of it all

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So today I made my very first attempt ever at making a smoothie.  While I found a few things I should have changed, I did do some research while I drank it about the benefits of each component I put in.  So I’d like to share some of my findings, but not my recipe.  Believe me, you’d understand why.  Flavor:  good.  Consistency:  bad.  Anyhow, on to my findings…

Strawberries

  • best fruit source of vitamin C
  • contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers
  •  help with cardiovascular health and help prevent cardiovascular disease
  • can decrease risk of Type II Diabetes
  • phytonutrients ellagic acid and ellagitannins have been shown to prevent breast, cervical, colon, and esophageal cancer  (wow, right?!)
  • improve cognitive abilities and motor skills

Pears

  •  anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers
  • lower the risk of Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease
  • cinnamic acids lower risk of cancer, particularly stomach and esophageal
  • low acid and easy to digest
  • low allergy risk to those that may be sensitive to some fruits

Raw Honey

  • anti-viral
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-fungal
  • antioxidant
  • builds up the immune system
  • lessens allergies
  • stabilizes blood pressure
  • helps balance blood sugar levels
  • promotes good bacteria growth in intestines
  • soothes and heals skin injuries
  • calms and aids in sleep
  • cough suppressant, and can help with upper respiratory infections, asthma, etc
  • tastes amazing!

Almond Milk

  • low calories
  • glow glycemic, better for diabetics/preventing diabetes
  • high calcium, vitamin d, vitamin a, vitamin b
  • great alternative for those that have a dairy allergy

Plain Lowfat Organic Yogurt

  • boosts immunity
  • lowers bad cholesterol
  • increases loss of fat
  • helps prevent and heal arthritis
  • helps prevent ulcers
  • lowers risk of colorectal cancer
  • can freshen breath and reduce plaque

Oatmeal

  • lowers cholesterol
  • antioxidants
  • lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
  • boosts immune system
  • stabilizes blood sugar
  • lowers risk of Type II Diabetes
  • fiber helps prevent breast cancer
  • lowers risk of childhood asthma

Bee Pollen

  • reduces allergies (this is so true for me!)
  • reduces digestive issues
  • prevents anemia
  • helps with arthritis
  • helps with skin conditions like acne (my dry skin has improved!)
  • aids with depression (also true for me!)
  • boosts energy level (true!)
  • prevents/reduces hemorrhoids
  • boosts immune system

Ice… well, I won’t bother with explaining the benefits of frozen water.  🙂

There you have it.  Lots of info on what I had for breakfast/lunch.  It’s really intriguing to sit down and look at why you should eat what you eat.  Real food has so many healing properties, I find it ridiculous that all of these fake, packaged, frozen, fast food meals are pushed on us… but that’s a discussion for another day.

I hope you enjoyed learning as much about my breakfast as I did!  For more detailed information, please visit my sources:  http://www.whfoods.comhttp://www.draxe.com/the-many-health-benefits-of-raw-honey/http://www.naturalnews.com/035493_raw_honey_health_benefits_antibacterial.htmlhttp://www.3fatchicks.com/6-health-benefits-of-almond-milk/http://www.naturalnews.com/027165_pollen_bee_health.htmlhttp://www.benefits-of-honey.com/bee-pollen-health-benefits.html

 

Today’s Menu: Red Pepper Hummus with Bell Peppers

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I’ve been looking into the health benefits of what I’m eating while I eat it lately.  I’ve been astounded at what I’ve learned!  I’ll share in a minute what I’ve learned about hummus (chickpeas, really).  First I have to share how great this hummus tastes!  I found it at Aldi last week.  It’s their Grandessa brand Red Pepper Hummus.  This will find its way into my shopping cart every time I’m there from now on!

Now for the wonders of the chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, in hummus:

  1. full of protein
  2. high fiber content helps lower cholesterol and prevent colon problems including colon cancer
  3. studies show that people that regularly eat chickpeas feel more satisfied and eat less
  4. help control blood sugar and insulin secretion
  5. contain antioxidants including concentrated amounts of phytonutrients
  6. full of manganese

(much information found from whfoods.org)

I’ll get into health benefits of bell peppers next time 🙂