Quick and Easy Garlicky Hummus

You worked out today. And you worked out hard. Especially if you’re strength training you need to give your muscles the protein fuel they need to repair themselves after your workout. Often, those who resistance train find themselves with an increased appetite due to the steady afterburn from this type of exercise. So what kind of snacks can you have to both satisfy that hunger and help rebuild those muscles?

How ’bout some hummus! Chickpeas aka garbanzo beans are a protein powerhouse. Plus, as a legume they’re packed with fiber, too. Making it at home is not only far easier on the wallet but also saves you from the nasty sodium benzoate and other preservatives in the packaged stuff. It’s easy peasy, I promise.

Add in some whole grain toasts or flax seed crackers and you’ve got yourself a balanced vegan snack that’s both fulfilling and functional. Check out this garlicky good recipe idea from Melissa’s Menu. Yummy! What add-ins do you like to include in your hummus?

Melissa's Menu

Yesterday, the hubby and I went to a local garlic festival which left me craving delicious, healthy garlic dishes. While we were there we purchased three different types of garlic. German, Vietnamese, and Purple Czech. This afternoon when I was in the mood for a snack I decided to put some of our new purchases to good use.

First quarter one small onion and peel two heads of garlic. Yes, two heads. I used Purple Czech which has a mild flavor. Depending on the type of garlic you have on hand, this amount may need to be adjusted.

The garlic and onion go into the food processor. If you do not have a food processor this could easily be done in a blender.

Rinse and strain one sixteen ounce can of chick peas, reserving the liquid.

The chickpeas join the garlic and onion in the food processor.

Season with salt, pepper…

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Get Alkaline – Not Just For Batteries

Your pH, alkaline or not, is important to vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike. At least it should be. The latest buzz ingredients such as flax seeds, coconut oil, and wheat grass are beginning to bring alkaline vegan foods to the forefront.

Your pH should hover a little over neutral. Just about everything bad we do to our bodies and put in our bodies are acid producing. Processed foods, meat, fish, alcohol, cheese, white flour, and stress are all contributors. Alkaline promoting activities include getting adequate rest, eating a heavily plant based diet, and including alkaline producing foods in your diet each day. Dark leafy greens are alkaline champions so get em in daily even if you need to put em in a shake or smoothie to get the job done.

An acidic body will let you know things are not right. Your system is not clean and your enzymes are not balanced and not only will you not feel your best you are likely to get colds much more often as a result. Gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, frequent headaches, constipation, and even acne are all signs of an imbalance. Left unchecked, an acidic body is ripe for all sorts of negative conditions ranging from acidosis and candida to cancer.

Lemons, limes, and oranges, although an acidic pH, are alkaline-forming foods. Why? They do not require that the body produce a lot of acid to break them down. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is though to be this way as well. Although some foods may seem counterintuitive, as a general rule whole unprocessed foods leaning heavily on plants and dark leafy greens will keep you close to the neutral zone.

An easy and tasty alkaline snack to add to your bag include organic seaweed snacks and the green superfood bars like those from Amazing Grass. Make some small changes today and you’ll start feeling big changes tomorrow. What are your favorite alkalizing snacks?









Thanks go to Kittikun Atsawintarangkul for Image ID: 10025464

Quinoa – Tiny Little Super Seed







Quinoa is a nutrient packed vegan superfood. Not a grain, although it cooks and performs like one, it is actually a seed. Quick cooking on the stovetop or in a rice or pressure cooker, quinoa can stand in for rice in myriad dishes. For the vegan or plant-based diet fitness crowd, quinoa is a complete protein making it an ideal choice for muscle support.

In addition to being a complete protein, other plusses of quinoa include high fiber content and magnesium. The more natural unadulterated fiber you can pack into your diet the better. If you’re not used to high fiber foods yet then add them in little by little each day over a few weeks until you are. Not only does it help heart health, digestion, and (ahem) regularity, it helps you feel full longer. And that is always a good thing!

Quinoa tastes deliciously mild and slightly nutty. There is a subtle crunch combined with satisfying softness making for a toothsome addition to your repertoire. Use it anywhere you would use rice such as with a stir fry or with beans. One of my fave ways to enjoy quinoa is for breakfast! Toss on a little fresh fruit and some non-dairy creamer and presto you’ve got a super healthy start to your day.

Keeping well for a number of days in the fridge, quinoa is a staple you can prep at the beginning of the week and always have a healthy and fulfilling option on hand. Organic and fair-trade quinoa is readily available and even in the more affordable bulk bins at many grocery stores. I especially like the multi-colored options from Alter Eco and they even have some yum looking recipes on their site. Let me know if you try any out!



Top Ten Essential Oils for Your First Aid Kit

Thanks go to ecomii blogs and Mindy Green for this awesome home remedy post all about my fave fair-trade essential oils!

You may be aware that essential oils (EOs) can be an effective remedy for a variety of common complaints that can be treated at home such as, insect bites, sunburn, strained muscles and rashes.

However you may not know that essential oils are also helpful for headaches, sore throat, fatigue, bruises and more.

Follow guidelines for diluting essential oils and their suggested uses and you will be amazed. All of these oils are meant for diluted and external use only.

Top Ten Essential Oils for Your First Aid Kit

EOs are effective due to their small molecular size and lipid solubility.

  1. Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) – astringent, tonic, varicose veins, sore throat.
  2. Chamomile, German (Matricaria chamomilla) – inflammation, bruises, sprains, tension, pain.
  3. Eucalyptus  (Eucalyptus globulus) – congestion, inflammation, colds, flu, viral skin eruptions.
  4. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – bee stings, insect bites, sunburn, headache, bruises, sprains, acne, rash, stress, insomnia, sore muscles.
  5. Lemon (Citrus limonum) – digestive tonic, sore throat, detoxification, lymphatic congestion.
  6. Marjoram (Oreganum majorana) – antispasmodic, sore muscles, insomnia, cramps.
  7. Orange (Citrus sinensis) – stomach problems, depression, acne, insomnia, headache.
  8. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officianalis) – headache, fatigue, hangover, constipation, muscle aches, increased circulation.
  9. Spearmint (Mentha spicata) – indigestion, headache, fatigue, fever, sinusitis, stings and bites.
  10. Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – athlete’s foot, burns, warts, acne, cold sores, flu, insect bites.


Combine the following formulas with two ounces of carrier oil. All the combinations are given in EO drops and suggested external application as massage, bath oil, inhalation or specific instruction, as given.

  • Anxiety: 7 lavender, 5 geranium, 4 lemon, 1 orange
  • Burns: 20 drops lavender in one ounce aloe vera juice or gel
  • Cough: 5 cypress, 5 eucalyptus, 3 lemon

(as an inhalation or 1 drop as a gargle)

  • Fatigue: 13 rosemary, 5 lemon, 2 spearmint
  • Bruising: 5 lavender, 5 chamomile, 3 geranium, 2 tea tree, 5 cypress
  • Insomnia: 15 Lavender, 5 orange, 5 marjoram
  • Stress: 5 chamomile, 10 lavender, 5 marjoram
  • Stings or Insect Bites: 10 tea tree, 10 lavender
  • Muscle Strain: 5 rosemary, 3 eucalyptus, 5 marjoram, 7 lavender

Mindy Green an author, consultant, speaker and nationally recognized authority on botanicals. Facebook Mindy

Top Ten Essential Oils for Your First Aid Kit – from ecomii blogs.

Is Caffeine Really The Devil?

It’s the devil! Avoid caffeine at all costs! Or maybe not? In moderation, a cup of coffee has it’s benefits. Vegans need not fret, there are even non-dairy cruelty-free creamer options. While taking your coffee black may be the best way to absorb all the benefits, having your coffee with some vegan non-daily creamer based on coconut milk, almond milk, or soy milk may really up the enjoyment.

Flavonols, catechins, antioxidants, energy, and more! Before a workout a cup of joe can help you perform longer, harder, faster, and with more accuracy. The reduction in fatigue from this energy boost can help you exercise harder, lift heavier, perform more reps, you get the idea. Whether you’re interested in burning more fat, building more muscle, or increasing your endurance it seems that some good organic fair-trade coffee can help you get more from your exercise.

The caffeine in coffee can even help you feel better about your workout. When you feel good about your workout you’re more likely to exercise again, right? Anything that can help motivate you to continue your fitness regimen is a good thing in my book!


Image courtesy of Apple's Eyes Studio/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You’re A Vegetarian? But Where DO You Get Your Protein??!!

Where in the heck do vegetarians and vegans get their protein? Plants, silly! Thanks go to Kim Kash and the Beachbody newsletter team for this one. Thanks, Kim!

4 Great Vegetarian Sources of Protein

By Kim Kash

Maybe you’re trying to reduce or eliminate animal products from your diet. Maybe you’re just looking to add additional protein sources to your dinner plate. Or perhaps you’re simply interested in culinarily mixing it up a little. Whatever the reason, it’d probably benefit you to look into protein alternatives given, according to the USDA, the average adult American male ate 293 pounds of meat last year. The average woman ate 183 pounds. No one needs to eat that much of anything.

But before we begin, to call these ingredients “meat substitutes” isn’t really fair. It sets all these yummy foods up for failure. If you’re looking for something that tastes like steak, well, only steak tastes like steak. The same goes for fish. I’d say the same goes for chicken, but everything tastes like chicken. The mistake is in thinking that you can prepare tempeh or seitan or any other nonanimal protein and it will taste like meat. Instead, learn how to prepare these four great alternative protein sources, and enjoy the flavors and textures for their own sake.


TofuAs far back as 100 BC, the Chinese pressed soymilk curds into soft, white slabs of tofu. These days tofu is available in almost any grocery store, in consistencies ranging from soft to extra firm. Straight out of the package, it is squishy and pretty much tasteless. Its beauty lies in its ability to absorb flavors. It can be cubed and thrown into your stir-fry. It can be whirled into your smoothie to make it creamier. It can be sliced in slabs, marinated, and grilled. You can use it to make mock cheesecake, “creamy” sauces and dressings, cheese-like pasta fillings, and much more.

Tofu is the most ubiquitous and versatile of the meat analogues, and in addition to being a low-calorie, complete protein (raw tofu is approximately 20 calories per ounce), it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, iron, and copper (which helps red blood cells use that iron). Most tofu is also enriched with calcium during processing. It can help lower total cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, and its phytoestrogens (plant-derived estrogens) have been shown to ease menopausal symptoms.

But be careful—tofu becomes a problem in processed foods. Almost every “healthy” vegetarian frozen food or faux meat contains tofu or some other highly processed soy product. And that’s not good. Eating a healthy, balanced diet means not relying too heavily on any one specific food—and that includes tofu.

What’s the problem with eating soy all the time? 90% of the U.S. soybean crop is genetically modified. No studies have yet shown that genetically modified foods pose any health risks, but no genetically engineered food crops grew in this country before the 1980s. We join a large chorus of skeptics who question the wisdom of genetically modifying our food supply until more is understood about the human response to this kind of tinkering. Avoid this by only buying soy products that have been certified organic.

Another grey area surrounding soy is its relation with cancer. On one hand, researchers have found that eating lots of soy might help prevent breast and endometrial cancers in women and prostate cancer in men. However, some studies using animal subjects suggest that high amounts of phytoestrogens might actually promote breast cancer. While the scientific community works to find answers, we feel it’s OK to enjoy soy in your kitchen in moderation. Just not at every meal.


TempehTempeh is another soy product, but it is made from fermented, whole soybeans and is less processed than tofu. So you get all the benefits of soy—the protein, the trace minerals, the phytoestrogens—plus the probiotic boost that fermented foods offer.

After the beans are fermented, they are pressed into a firm, textured cake. Like tofu, tempeh is a versatile ingredient that absorbs other flavors like a sponge. But unlike tofu, tempeh has an earthy, nutty flavor that makes it delicious to eat on its own.

To enjoy, slice the cake into slabs and stir-fry it, marinate and grill it, use it in chili or jambalaya, or even use it to make burgers.


Seitan FajitaAlso known as mock duck, this vegetarian protein is made from wheat gluten, so if you’re not on a gluten-free diet, it’s perfect if you are allergic or are trying to cut down on soy products.

Like soy, seitan is high in protein and low in fat. It also resembles meat in both color and texture when it’s cooked. Like soy products, seitan takes on whatever flavor you add to it, so it’s perfect for marinating. In fact, you can buy seitan already marinated in barbecue or teriyaki sauce. Use it as a substitute in recipes that call for firm tofu or tempeh.


Quinoa, which is grain-like (and can be cooked like other grains), is actually a seed. It’s also gluten free. Eat it in the morning as a hot cereal, use it as the base for a tabbouleh or pilaf, enjoy it in your salad, or include ground quinoa as one of the grains in a homemade loaf of multigrain bread. You may even find pasta made from quinoa in your grocery store.

QuinoaQuinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s particularly well-stocked with the amino acid lysine, which helps with tissue growth and repair. Maybe that’s why quinoa was called “the gold of the Incas.” It is also a good source of folate, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium. And it’s delicious!


Related Articles
“The Big Cheat: 5 Reasons to Say NO to Steroids”
“Can You Build Muscle as a Vegan? (And 9 Other Questions About Going Meatless)”
“Muscles in a Tub: A Beachbody® Creatine FAQ”

Argan Oil Love – Pure Josie Maran Organic Moroccan Goodness

Pure, organic, cruelty-free, vegan, no animal testing, fragrance free, and fantastic for a million and one uses. Argan oil! Yes, I just shouted it like Josie Maran does. It’s ChicNGreen and the real pure organic stuff is only from Josie Maran.

Seriously, this stuff has changed my life. I use it to moisturize my hands, elbows, nails (it has made em strong and long), face (blemishes gone and fine lines diminished), hair, and toes. Argan oil just agrees with me in every way. Long a fan of the Oil Cleansing Method, I was not one to shy away from oils. Sure glad I found Josie Maran’s line. It won’t make you greasy at all – quite the opposite, it will balance your skin. A little goes a long way, too, so one bottle of argan oil will last you a good long time.

I can’t wait to try the rest of the line. To get started, pick up the cornerstone Pure Argan Oil. The Matchmaker Serum Foundation is a foolproof choice as it magically morphs to match your skin tone. There’s even a Daily Moisturizer with natural SPF 40! And it doesn’t make you ashy! As you can see, the line excites me just a bit. There are some great deals and split payment options on QVC.com from time to time and the full line is on show at Sephora.

In honor of their 5th birthday, Josie Maran Argan Oil Cosmetics is giving away some fabulous items from their line. Hope you win!

Check it out at: http://www.chicological.com/?b4580328

Nutella Vegan? Homemade Deliciousness!

Homemade Vegan Nutella.

So this past year I have had two life changing desserts. Naturally, one featured Nutella. Not vegan, you shout! Indeed. Sad but true. So thanks go to Fit&Fed Mary for this delicious and deliciously easy recipe!

über cüte AND cruelty free? Pürse me, please!


What’s not to love about handbags, right? How about ones that are animal friendly? And I don’t just mean cruelty free! Enter Bungalow 360!

The bags are super cute. There are tons of styles and prints to suit everyone from lovers of sea turtles and whales to those seeking a lucky elephant or two. Colorful, durable, and priced to let you snap up a few.

Plus, they care! The “Powered By Love” program has donated solar panels to a local animal rescue. Double bonus! Join them in their “No Animal Left Behind” effort to spread even more love.

So check em out at: http://www.bungalow360.com/ or @Bungalow360

Vegan Bodybuilding…NOT an Oxymoron!


I love oxymorons. From jumbo shrimp to airline food my unbiased opinion is that these are seriously funny. How’s that for a sentence full of gems?

Really though, it is not only possible to transform your body on a vegan diet it can bring you to levels you only dreamed possible. And you certainly don’t have to be a bodybuilder, either. Plant based diets give your body the fuel you need to perform without the extra fat, cholesterol, and other junk that slows you down.

How do I get enough protein, you ask? Easy! These common plant foods go beyond tofu and tempeh – try beans, broccoli, seitan, and quinoa. Another benefit? Dollars to donuts, they’re all far less expensive than animal proteins, too.

Check out the new Vegan Health and Fitness magazine for more here or on the shelves at Whole Foods:


VeganBodybuilding.org talks about this here:


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