My husband and I were always fairly in shape, so being health conscious was never a priority for us. In the last 4 years our weight has increased, and I’ve become aware that our bodies are no longer the same as they were 10 years ago. I keep saying how I want to work out and eat healthier but never do anything about it. I recently watched a movie on Netflix called Forks over Knives, and was truly inspired to change the way I eat. The movie explains that diseases and weight can be controlled and reversed, by eliminating animal-based and processed foods.
To me completely rejecting those foods would be impossible! I LOVE FOOD toooo much. But I do know that too much of anything is not too good. Life is great as long as it’s done in moderation. The key is finding a balance. Should we eat to live or live to eat? I say do both!
For the last two weeks my family and I have incorporated a plant-based diet to our lives. During the week we only eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and beans. On the weekends we treat ourselves and eat dairy, fish, meat and poultry. Since I started I lost 8 pounds. I feel amazing, and I’m having fun trying new foods and recipes.
Going completely vegan would be to extreme for me. I believe in enjoying life and its pleasures. But being sick is definitely not pleasurable, so this is a great balance for me; during the week I’m extremely healthy and on the weekend/special events I treat myself (without going overboard).
One of the biggest challenges of this diet is feeding my kids. I try to come up with one dish the whole family will eat. This dish was a huge hit for my self and family. I advise cutting the veggies very small so the kids wont notice them.
I found this Marinara sauce at Costco, its delicious. (The kosher symbol is hidden on the cap)
Quinoa Pasta with Vegetable Marinara
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red/yellow peppers
- 1 zucchini Julienne
- 1-2 portabella mushrooms chopped (optional)
- 1 cup brocoli slaw
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil or 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- black pepper to taste
- 1 box Quinoa pasta
- cilantro and or basil finely chopped (optional)
- fresh mozzarella (optional)
- Heat coconut oil in a sauce pan, and saute onions until translucent about 3 min.
- Add peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and broccoli, saute for 3-5 minutes
- Once vegetables are cooked, pour marinara sauce into vegetable mixture and cool for 2-3 more minutes.
- Cook pasta according to the box’s instructions.
- Mix sauce into pasta.
- Garnish with cilantro, basil and mozzarella.
Health Benefits of Quinoa:
1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and may help you to lose weight (it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense,” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food).
3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron; it aids in neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, enzyme activity and energy metabolism.
4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.
5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.
7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.