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Heart Health!

8 Mar

The time has come when I can finally make some time for a new post! Although spring break will be over before I feel like it has started, I have had a little time to take a break from my crazy schedule and unwind & relax a bit. I have missed having time to not only blog, but look at other blogs, get great food ideas, and try out some new recipes.

February was Heart Disease Awareness Month. With Student Dietetic Association, we did a “heart health” nutrition booth at the gym, I also recently shadowed a RD who works with a pediatric cardiologist, & I just watched the documentary “Forks over Knives”. So…heart health has been on my mind a bunch these past couple weeks. Some quick heart health facts….

  • Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Both alpha linolenic acid (n-3) and alpha linoleic acid (n-6) are essential for good health and brain function with the proper ratio of about 1:2 or 1:3 (O-3:O-6). Yet most Americans get more like 1: 15-25. Too much of omega-6 has been shown to actually compete with omega-3 in your body, lowering you ability to take in n-3 and properly convert that n-3 to DHA (which is essential for physiological & brain development-that our bodies can’t make on our own). Too much omega-6 if pro inflammatory= heart disease! Inflammation is the main cause of so many diseases we encounter, but especially heart disease.
  • So why do Americans eat so much omega-6!? Omega-6 is found in all vegetable oils, some grains, and meats. Soybean oil is the #1 provider of omega-6 because almost all processed, take-out, and prepared foods at restaurants are loaded with vegetable oils (especially for cooking).
  • Focus on getting as much omega-3 as possible every day. The best sources are flax seed (make sure you grind it and don’t heat it up!) & Walnuts. I try to eat these two everyday. Salmon is very high as well…if you eat fish (make sure it is wild though)
  • Omega-3 reduces inflammation, prevent blood clotting, increases your body’s response to insulin, lowers the amount of lipids in your blood, and so so much more.

A Quick Heart Healthy idea:

Healthy Heart Breakfast or Snack Bowl

1-2 Tbs  of ground flax seed

1-2 Tbs of ground chia seed

(1:3 ratio of chia/flax to water/milk for a thick egg-like consistency. So use ~6 Tbs or so of liquid. About 1/4 + 1/8 cup roughly)

unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup chopped apple

1-2 large dates chopped

1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon (I would do a full tsp)

1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg

Add-ins:  chopped walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, extra vanilla, scoop of dark cocoa powder, cashews, dark cocoa nibs, frozen organic berries, sliced banana. Or sprinkle some lacuma powder, maca powder, or another whole food supplement.

–> The options are endless!

Combine ground flax and chia with almond milk, let it rest a couple of minute. Add more or less almond milk to get the right consistency. Then stir in the remaining ingredients! You can make this thicker by added slightly less almond milk. This is perfect to make in a tupperware to take on the go. You can even add in “raw” rolled oats if you want!


I highly recommend watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, it is a very informative movie that gives a ton of information on the research and scientific evidence between the obvious results and conclusions that a plant-based vegan diet is a direct cause of lowering/eliminating heart disease. It observes different cultures and countries throughout the world, comparing groups of people who ate plant diets vs. meat and dairy diets. The casein in animal products (regardless of it being low/non-fat or organic products) is the key component in triggering diseases and cancer. I love how the research given in these studies is very clear, especially in trends over time concerning groups of people or individual’s diets and cancer specifically. Netflix it!


Raw Sunflower Burgers (from Choosing Raw)

1 cup sunflower seeds (not pre-soaked)
2-3 tbsp tamari, nama shoyu, or braggs liquid aminos
2 cups greens or green juice pulp (kale, parsley, celery, romaine, cucumber, broccoli) I used fresh spinach-because I didn’t have the pulp)
1/4 cup ground flax meal
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano + some other herb you like. I added some rosmarry

Grind Sunflower seeds in food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients. Form into 3-5 burger patties. Place on parchment paper on the dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 4 hours at 115 degrees then flip and dehydrate for another 4 hours.

New Dehydrator I got for Christmas!!









These were DELICIOUS! Raw burgers are so so worth the long wait. I put on top of a bed of romaine with red peppers, corn, green peppers, red onion, & some hemp seed pesto (also from Choosing Raw!) These flavors together were as far from bland as you can possibly get.


granola bars to-go

18 Sep

I have desperately appreciated having a nice granola bar I can take on my way out the door, that is not processed or packaged, but made with all real ingredients, by me. I just threw in a TON of ingredients, wrapped them up individually, and popped them in the freezer! Now I did not measure any of the ingredients, so I will do my best to guestimate how much of everything I used…

Almond-Everything-Granola Bars

2 cups rolled oats

1/3 ish a cup of raw almond butter

quinoa flakes

unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup chia seeds

couple Tablespoons ground flax

couple Tablespoons of hemp seed

2-3 Tbs coconut oil

A splash vanilla extract

1 VERY ripe banana

1/8 cup unsweetened vegan carob chips

1/8 cup chopped dates

cinnamon & nutmeg

+Anything else you would like

(You can use any type of nut butter, different kinds of dried fruits for sweetness, and other spices like ginger or pumpkin pie spice)

Combine and spread into a glass baking sheet lined with wax paper and chill in fridge. After they are firm, cut into squares and wrap individually in plastic wrap and keep them into the freezer-and they are ready to take on the go. They defrost great once they’ve been out  for a little. These are full of protein with such a huge variety of amino acids from 5 different types of seeds, almond butter, and quinoa flakes. When aiming to get a lot of protein variety is key, because if you constantly eat the same source of plant protein you will always lack those amino acids that other foods contain, so to eat true complete plant protein sources, you must eat a vast variety. Our body is constantly craving variety to acquire all our essential vitamins and minerals anyways!

Here’s to dad

20 Jun

I always make breakfast for my mom and dad on mothers/fathers day. Growing up my sisters and I would usually do french toast for my dad and eggs for my mom. Since my dad hasn’t had pancakes in a very long time (because of me) I made him some healthy but delicious vegan banana pancakes.  He loves bananas, and after the pancakes, banana bread my sister made for him, and banana ice cream, he was happy. They turned out to be delicious. Accompanied with fruit and coffee it was the perfect fathers day breakfast. He deserved it, love you dad!

Almond Oat Banana Pancakes 

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup coconut water

2 chia egg (2 tbs chia, 6 tbs warm water)

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbs agave

cinnamon & nutmeg

bananas, sliced

other fruit

First prepare chia egg, mix and let sit on counter for several minutes. You can buy oat and almond flour, but i just make it in the vitamix! Oats take less than 30 seconds to just grind the rolled oats (NOT quick) to a fine powder. Do the same for almonds. Almond flour and almond meal are practically the same thing. Combine wet ingredients separate and combine with dry ones, in bowl or vitamix. Let the batter sit a couple of minutes before making the pancakes. Pour on griddle and throw in banana slices, grill until golden brown. Drizzle with some extra agave if you want and fresh fruit! makes 4 or 5

















These pancakes are vegan, NOT raw. But they are soy, dairy, and gluten free!

He enjoyed them (:


Later Lauren and I took my dad kayaking on the Potomac…










The best fathers day dessert to end the day? Banana ice cream of course! with blueberries..


16 Jun

These freshly picked flowers were waiting for me by the door when I got home from work the other day. My neighbor Mary left them for me, right from her yard (: They are so so pretty and I love being able to look at fresh flowers everyday.

Fresh flowers come close to the joy of fresh cut vegetables, fruit, & herbs. Basil is probably my favorite herb. We grow it fresh every year, and my favorite thing to use it for is pesto! Raw pesto is just as good/better than “normal” pesto. The only difference is there is no cheese and it is not heated up. Raw pine nuts can be hard to find, so I used walnuts. I do love pine nuts, but in pesto walnuts are just as good. I like to use a lot of garlic and a lot of basil. I added some spinach to make it go further and also add that vitamin K.

* Nutritional yeast is a yeast fortified with B vitamins (especially b12) which is crucial for a vegan/raw diet. It has a cheesy flavor that many use over popcorn or other sauces. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the flavor, but it is an unbeatable source of all the B vitamin, so I rally try to incorporate it everyday. It’s great in pesto because the strength of the basil covers the flavor just enough so that is adds the slightest cheesy hint to the pesto without over powering.
















Fresh Basil Pesto

15-20 medium-large  fresh basil leaves

10 organic spinach leaves

1 cup raw walnuts (soaked for just 15 minutes)

3-4 garlic cloves (you may want to use 2-3)

*2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1/3 cup EVO oil

1-2 Tbs lemon juice

a little water to thin

Tbs flax oil

Combine all ingredients (except flax oil) in food processor/vitamix (no need to chop or grate anything, just throw it in whole). Add some extra water or more olive oil to get the right consistency. Once well combined, add flax oil and pulse just for a few second. Flax oil can NOT be heated hardly at all, because it oxidized easily, losing it’s high concentration of it’s Omega 3 fatty acids. The vitamix is so powerful it will heat food, and although it will not above 118 degrees- Just to be safe and conserve all the nutrients, I add it last.









I just piled on all the fresh vegetables I had over a bed of spinach, and enjoyed a vegetable platter with pesto! I had red and green peppers, carrot, cucumber, radishes, tomato & onion over spinach.
















The last fresh ingredient I enjoyed earlier that day was mango! I threw together a tropical chia pudding!









Tropical Chia

2 Tbs chia

4 Tbs almond milk

2 Tbs 100% mango juice (no sugar added)

couple drops of vanilla

fresh chopped mango

raw sunflower seeds

grated unsweetened coconut

squeeze of fresh lime

Combine chia with almond&mango juice & vanilla. Let sit for 20 minutes. (May want to add a little more liquid) top with the rest of the ingredients and anything else! It is a delicious tropical treat. Fresh mango is hard to beat.


6 Jun

My green smoothies have been exceptionally good these past couple of day. I’m not sure why, but they’ve been extra tasty. I never do the same exact smoothie, ever. I always change something up or try something new. Our bodies like variation, besides it would get so boring if I tasted the same exact smoothie every single morning. I never measure anything, I just throw in what I think is best.


It is really important to add two different proteins. I usually do a nut/seed milk and a different type of raw (soaked) nuts/seeds. You can’t skimp on the greens and green powder! Use at least 2 handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach, kale, collards, broccoli,-you can add anything you’d like! A little banana sweetens it up and makes it nice and creamy.


Typical Green Smoothie 

Nut/seed milk

organic carrot juice (costco sells a great double bottle pack)

Soaked raw nuts seeds (or a little raw nut butter)

1/2 banana

scoop of green powder (I use Trader Joes, but Whole Foods has a great one too)

1 1/2 – 2 servings of fresh or frozen organic fruit (couple of peaches, berries, etc..)

2 handfuls of fresh or frozen dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards, & any other veggie you want)

Ice (optional)


Chia seeds are sort of my new food obsession. I’ve been making chia pudding for lunch like everyday. They never cease to amaze me. Like I said in another post, they are packed with omega-3s and soluble fiber–they absorb 9x their weight in liquid. 2 oz has 600 mg of calcium! (milk has only 120) They are extremely filling! I made 3 Tbs and a little over 1 cup of almond milk, and I was beyond full. And it is really rare for me to actually feel full, because I always feel like I could eat! This amazing snack or meal is so easy and versatile.


The almond milk & chia seeds before

























The consistency is like a pudding, almost like a tapioca. The ratio of chia to water or nut milk is roughly  1:3. You can add more liquid if you like it more soupy, or more chia if you want a firm consistency.

Chia Pudding

3-4 Tbs Chia seeds

~1 cup of nut milk (or soy)

splash of vanilla

Stir together and let sit out on counter or in fridge for atleast 15 minutes (but as long as you like) to let gel up.

I did an almond-bluberry one… (don’t use too much sweetener, you don’t need much!)
















An apple cinnamon with nutmeg…
















Vanilla-berry with some added oats…


3 Jun

I’ve had chia seeds before, but never really consistently started using them until now. Chia seeds are crazy powerful little seeds full of antioxidants, omega-3, soluble fiber, protein, and several vitamins and minerals to name a few. The thing that is so unique about chia seeds is that they have huge absorptive properties because of the soluble fiber, absorbing whatever liquid/water they are put in. It’s known to be “the running seed” (so it’s a great pre-workout food) because it allows you to stay hydrated for so much longer giving you more energy. If you put a spoonful of raw chia in some water, it will literally form a gel. Fun fact: the The Aztecs would eat only a tsp of chia seeds before a 24 hour forced march.









I buy them at bulk at Whole Foods-they are much cheaper that way (:

Anyways, I decided to make some chia soy-yogurt this morning. I added used raw oats, flax oil for the added omega-3, and fresh berries












Chia-Soy Yogurt

1/2 cup plain unsweetened organic soy yogurt

1/2 cup raw oats

2-3 Tbs raw chia seeds

1 Tbs flax oil

1 tsp vanilla

Cinnamon & nutmeg

Fresh Strawberries

Combine and mix together to let the chia absorb the liquids. Chill in fridge for 5 min.

Stir and enjoy!









This is an excellent meal or snack that will keep you full and feeling energized.









I have recently been reading Crazy Love (thanks to my sister) and so far it has been amazing. I love Francis Chan, he has such a crazy passion for Christ. I can already tell this book will be one of my favorites. It takes me forever to read a book, so I’ m excited to actually have the time to thoroughly enjoy and finish this one!