Chickpea Salad

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I love the versatility of chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. They are the foundation for hummus, make a delicious curry and pair well with many other veggies, such as sweet potatoes.

Over the next two weeks, I’m experiencing a cleanse. That means although I am already plant based, I’m focusing on consuming fruits and vegetables only. During the cleanse I’m avoiding grains, except for gluten free oats, fermented foods, sugar, salt and oils and eating very little fat. This allows my digestive system to reset and toxins, bacteria and viruses to flush out of my body.

Even with the limitations, it’s not difficult to enjoy hearty, highly nutritious meals. This chickpea salad, loaded with fresh veggies, is an excellent example.

Chickpea Salad title meme

Hearty Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a legume, cultivated originally in the Middle East. They’ve been around for more than 9,500 years. Chickpeas are used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. They are also a key ingredient in Indian foods such as curry. Today India produces 70% of the chickpea crop.

These legumes are a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, chickpeas offer a variety of health benefits including improving digestion, aiding in weight management and reducing the risk for diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad

I enjoy chopped salads, heavy on veggies and light on lettuce. And I appreciate chickpeas. This tasty recipe combines the two for a perfect light meal or as the main dish in a bigger one.

Craving some chickpeas today, I made this salad in a few minutes, with what I had on hand. And because I’m avoiding oils right now, I adapted a simple recipe for an oil free dressing that uses the liquid in the can of chickpeas.

You may use canned chickpeas for this recipe…which is what I did…or start with dry beans and cook your own. Save at least 1/4 cup of liquid, either way.

Chickpea Salad

This quick and easy salad combines hearty chickpeas with freshly chopped veggies.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and saving 1/4 cup liquid or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 medium red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 grape tomatoes, quartered

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup liquid from canned or cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • pinch black pepper

Instructions
 

Salad

  • Drain chickpeas, reserving 1/4 cup liquid for dressing
  • In a large bowl, combine chickpeas and remaining veggies. Stir gently to combine.

Dressing

  • In a small mason jar, combine liquid from chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, parsley and black pepper. Cap and shake jar well. Pour over chickpea salad and stir to coat veggies. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator. Makes approximately 4 servings.
Keyword Chickpeas, Salad

 

Chickpea Salad
Quick and easy chickpea salad

Tips for Making Chickpea Salad

This is a great recipe for using canned goods or, if cooking chickpeas for another recipe, cook extra for this salad.

I used the vegetables I had on hand, chopping them as I would for a typical chopped veggie salad. The peppers add color and powerful nutrients. I had a bag of mini orange, red and yellow peppers and used four of those in this recipe.

Feel free to include any other veggies of choice, including cabbage, red cabbage, zucchini, cucumber, carrots, olives or pepperoncini.

Chickpea or bean liquid is called aquafaba and useful for many other recipes. I saved ALL the liquid from my two cans of chickpeas so I could experiment with the aquafaba. Watch for recipes!

Fresh parsley may be substituted for dried, in the dressing.

Tahini is sunflower seed paste. It is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and makes a healthy salad dressing. Purchase online or in health conscious food stores. I used a small amount in the dressing, rather than oils.

Taste Test

The fun part of creating a new recipe is tasting it!

I made the recipe with the intent of enjoying it for lunch. And enjoy it I did. The taste is fresh, with all the veggies, while the chickpeas add a mild, nutty flavor and some density to the meal. This is one of those dishes that is sure to taste even better the next day, as the flavors all mingle.

I really liked the simple chickpea liquid, lemon juice, parsley and tahini dressing. It added just the right amount of flavor without overpowering the chickpeas and vegetables. When I’m back to consuming small amounts of sea salt, I’ll add a bit to the dressing. Otherwise, I won’t change a thing! Add sea salt and black pepper to taste to the salad and/or the dressing.

Eat this chickpea salad alone or add roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli for a larger meal.

Let me know if you try this satisfying meal!

Chickpea Salad fresh

More Chickpea Recipes

Looking for more chickpea recipes? Try these:

Curried Chickpeas

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Kale Bowl

Hummus

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Keys to Emotional Wellness

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October is Emotional Wellness Month. Emotional wellness refers to the ability to process our feelings in healthy, positive ways and manage everyday stresses. Because how we handle our emotional well being affects overall health.

Mental and emotional stress creates negative responses in the body such as high blood pressure, headaches, chronic illness and a weakened immune system.

Emotional Wellness Month, celebrated annually in October, serves as a reminder to take care of our emotions. Discover the following keys to emotional wellness, for a healthier state of being.

Keys to Emotional Wellness title meme

Be Who You Are

For emotional well being, it’s crucial to know who you are and live authentically as that person.

Sounds simple, right? However, many of us learn as children to please the adults in our lives…parents, grandparents, teachers…forgetting who we are as we grow older. We can lose that strong sense of self by the time we are adults, becoming habitual people pleasers.

However, we can’t please others at the expense of being who we are, otherwise we live a lie. It’s essential to spend the time doing the inner work required to reconnect with who we really are.

Remember the things you loved as a child. Try different things to see what you enjoy and what feels in alignment with your heart and soul. Journal and free write. See this post from my other blog, Creating a Strong Sense of Self, for more help. And this one, Finding Your Big Why, to learn more about your purpose in life.

Keys to Emotional Wellness be you
Keys to Emotional Wellness – be who you are

Be Aware of Emotions

It’s helpful to check in with how you are feeling, emotionally, every day. How do you relate to your emotions? Do you tend to “stuff” them away? Do they overwhelm you and erupt inappropriately?

Learning to feel and express emotions in healthy ways keeps them from escalating to an out of control level. Some experts recommend a technique called scaling emotions.

How strong are your emotions? Rate them on a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being low and 10 high. The idea is that by practicing awareness with emotions, you can keep them in the 2 – 5 range. Checking in allows us to intentionally bring emotions back into balance.

For example, if anger suddenly escalates to an 8, your awareness allows you to take deep breaths, pause or question feelings to bring the level down.

And it helps to keep an emotional journal to track…and name…feelings. Knowing what you are feeling helps you to talk about them more openly.

Keys to Emotional Wellness emotions
Keys to Emotional Wellness – be aware of emotions

Pay Attention to Physical Health

The two are connected, emotional and physical health. And the state of one affects the other. Increasing your physical health level positively improves emotional health.

Eat highly nutritious foods, including an abundance of fruits and veggies. Drink water. Get enough sleep. Stay active doing things you enjoy such as gardening, dancing, biking, walking or playing with grandkids. Exercise reduces stress hormones while boosting endorphins, the feel good ones.

Limit alcohol and do not smoke.

Learn to manage stress. Slow down and take a break. Practice deep breathing, yoga or meditation. Learn to relax tense muscles.

Keys to Emotional Wellness physical health
Keys to Emotional Wellness – physical health…eat highly nutritious food

Connect With Others

We need positive connections with others. In the last two years, we’ve had to learn different ways to stay connected to others, as we navigate a pandemic. Many experienced…and continue to experience…a sense of isolation and disconnect from others.

  • schedule regular calls, zoom meetings or facetime calls with family and friends
  • text or message friends with recommendations such as podcasts to listen to, videos to watch or books to read
  • stay in touch with friends and family through social media
  • play online games with others
  • watch tv shows with others, while connected via the internet or on the phone
  • walk together outdoors
  • if you feel comfortable, meet with family and friends for lunch dates, museum visits, zoo trips and other fun excursions
  • say hi to people while out and smile
  • consider adopting a pet for companionship
Keys to Emotional Wellness connect
Keys to Emotional Wellness – stay connected to others

Stay Positive

Focus on the good in your life, expressing gratitude for small and large blessings. Collect affirmations to read each day or write your own. Accept the past and let it go, without blaming yourself. Forgive yourself.

Pay attention to what you think about. Actions follow thoughts. Dwelling on negative thoughts leads to negative actions. Shifting thoughts results in a change in actions as well.

Emotional Health

Creating emotional health doesn’t mean you feel happy all the time. It means you are more aware of your emotions and the impact they have on your overall health. When you feel anger, stress or anxiety, you manage those feelings.

Emotional health allows you to cope well with life’s challenges without getting out of balance. You gain fresh perspectives and recover more quickly from setbacks. Emotional wellness helps you feel good about who you are and fosters healthy relationships.

I hope these keys to emotional wellness help you create a state of well being that supports the amazing life you desire to live.

Keys to Emotional Wellness positive thoughts

Helpful books from Amazon:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The purpose of this health campaign is to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into the cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

In the US, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Although rare, men can get breast cancer too. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, behind skin cancers.

In the prevention of breast cancer, as with many other kinds of cancer, lifestyle habits and diet have a positive impact. This post offers foods to eat and avoid to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer title meme

Leta Moore

Although I don’t have personal experience with breast cancer, my mother in law, Leta Moore, survived breast cancer twice. I observed the impact the disease had on her. And I am grateful that she triumphed, joining the millions of other breast cancer survivors in the US. This dear woman ultimately passed away from Alzheimer’s in 1999.

Leta’s birthday is in October. So the month brings her to mind along with the brave battles she fought against breast cancer and dementia.

This post is in her honor. She would love knowing the benefits lifestyle can bring in reducing the risk for this disease.

Foods to Eat to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

The following foods and drinks can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Foods Rich in Fiber

Foods such as whole grains and legumes provide fiber. Studies suggest that fiber helps to protect against breast cancer.

Excess estrogen can be a factor in the development of breast cancer. Eating enough fiber helps eliminate estrogen, along with other toxins, from the body. Fiber binds to estrogen in the digestive tract, preventing the absorption of too much of the hormone.

Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes provide antioxidants in the form of beta carotene and vitamins C and E.

Antioxidants help prevent many diseases, including breast cancer, by reducing free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause damage to cells and can contribute to the development of cancer. Antioxidants track down and neutralize free radicals. Brightly colored fruits and veggies, such as tomatoes, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, berries and citrus fruits are high in antioxidants. Nuts, seeds and beans deliver disease fighting antioxidants as well.

Fruits and Vegetables

A plant based diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 28%. Fruits and veggies contain flavonoids and carotenoids that interfere with the growth of cancer cells and vitamins and minerals that help protect against the disease as well.

Include the following in your diet as often as possible:

  • onions and garlic
  • dark leafy greens such as spinach, arugula and kale
  • cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower
  • asparagus
  • celery
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • radishes
  • beans and lentils
  • citrus fruits such as oranges, limes and lemons
  • berries such as strawberries and blueberries
  • grapes
  • peaches
  • apples
  • pears
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer pear
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – eat pears

Healthy Fats

Obesity contributes to the development of cancers, including breast cancer. However consuming healthy fats in moderation is beneficial.

The polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, seeds, nuts and avocados lower the risk for breast cancer. These omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body, which is a contributing factor for breast cancer.

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices contain plant compounds that help to protect against breast cancer. These compounds include antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamins. Add the following herbs and spices to your daily diet:

  • oregano
  • turmeric with curcumin
  • ginger
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • parsley
  • burdock root
  • chaga mushroom
  • nettle leaf
  • curry

Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. The body easily absorbs this compound that helps keep inflammation down in the body and fights free radicals. This drink, which may be served hot or cold, strengthens the immune system as well.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer green tea
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – drink green tea

Foods to Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Avoid the following foods and drinks, as they increase the risk of cancer, including breast cancer.

Alcohol

Studies identified a link between drinking alcohol and an increased risk for breast cancer. Alcohol can increase estrogen levels in the body and cause damage to cell DNA. Three alcoholic drinks a week increase the risk of breast cancer by 15%. The risk continues to rise by 10%, with each additional drink a day.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are common in processed foods and studies link it with a higher risk of breast cancer. These unhealthy fats are found in fried foods, some crackers, donuts and packaged cookies, pastries and snacks.

Refined Sugar

A diet rich in added refined sugar contributes to the formation of cancerous tumors in the breasts. These tumors are more likely to metastasize as well. Sugar also increases inflammation in the body, another leading cause of cancer, and boosts enzymes connected to the growth and spread of cancer.

Also avoid sugary drinks such as sodas and energy drinks.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer sugar
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – avoid refined sugar

Red Meat

Studies also found a link between red meat and breast cancer. Red meats include beef, pork, veal and lamb. Plus, cooking meats at a high temperature releases toxins that contribute to cancer.

Processed Foods

Processed foods such as lunch meats, bacon and ham are high in fat, sodium and preservatives. These substances all increase the risk of breast cancer.

Fast Foods

Fast foods, which are often fried and high in fat and sodium, bring an increased risk for breast cancer along with heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Fast food
Avoid fast foods

Keeping Those Breasts Healthy

Eating healthy foods and avoiding those that contribute to disease go a long way toward lowering the risk for breast cancer. Other lifestyle factors that help include drinking plenty of water, getting enough exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not sitting for long periods of time and avoiding smoking.

Visit the National Breast Cancer Organization HERE for more information and tips to keep you…and your breasts…healthy.

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon

Breast Cancer Awareness Items from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

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We can blame all kinds of circumstances on a poor night’s sleep: staying up too late, stress, worry, bed partner snoring. too hot, too cold or electronics. However, there is a common contributor to a restless night that many people overlook: the foods they eat before trying to fall asleep.

What you eat in the evening can directly affect how well you sleep. If trouble falling asleep and staying asleep plagues you, take a look at these best and worst foods to eat before bed.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed title meme

Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

Let’s start with the worst foods to eat before retiring for the night.

Some foods are definitely better than others, for inducing and protecting sleep. And some foods provide too much energy or burden the digestive system. The following foods are the worst to eat before bed.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes and other acidic foods can create problems for those with acid reflux. The burning pain and discomfort in the esophagus when lying down keeps sleep at bay.

Enjoy tomatoes earlier in the day and balance their acidic nature with non-acidic foods.

Cheese

Strong or aged cheese, along with other preserved foods, contain high levels of the amino acid tyramine, which makes us feel more alert. Tyramine causes the adrenal glands to release the “fight or flight” hormone that stays in the body for several hours, hampering the ability to quickly fall asleep.

Additionally, cheese has a higher fat content which slows the digestive system and directs blood flow to the stomach. This causes the body to shift energy to digesting food rather than sleeping.

Spicy Foods

Go easy on the curry, hot sauces and chili peppers in the evening. These foods can trigger acid reflux as well, keeping you awake at night. Plus some spicy foods contain capsaicin, a chemical that elevates the body’s core temperature, disrupting sleep and making you feel alert rather than sleepy.

Chocolate

The high level of caffeine in chocolate, especially darker chocolates, not only keeps you wide eyed, it also affect REM sleep. REM, or rapid eye movement, occurs more frequently with caffeine in the body, making you feel groggy the next morning.

Also avoid drinks with caffeine in them before bed, such as coffee, tea and energy drinks.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed chocolate
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – chocolate

Ice Cream

Some people enjoy a bowl of ice cream before bed, or a bowl of cereal. For the best night’s sleep, avoid both.

These foods are high in sugar and too much of the sweet stuff affects your ability to stay asleep. Sugar creates a spike in blood sugar levels. Then the crash occurs, while you sleep. The adrenal glands perceive that crash as an emergency, which cause them to increase cortisol levels and wake the body from sleep.

Plus, if you have a dairy intolerance, ice cream (and cheese) can cause inflammation and bloating, making it even more difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep. (Click HERE for symptoms of dairy intolerance.)

Chips

Potato and other kinds of chips dehydrate the body due to the high salt levels. The body responds by retaining water, causing thirst, which may wake you or create restlessness. The next morning the body feels tired and fatigued.

And researchers found that greasy foods, like chips, contribute to nightmares. Those bad dreams may wake you, heart pounding in fear. With adrenaline pumping through the body, it can take hours to go back to sleep.

High Protein

Foods high in protein make it difficult to fall asleep. Those heavier foods sit in the stomach and make you feel overly full. Plus they require more energy to digest, causing the body to focus on the stomach rather than falling asleep.

Wine

Wine is often consumed for its relaxing effect, however, it can hinder sleep.

While you may fall asleep initially, after a glass or two of wine, it keeps the body from full REM sleep, which is where deep rest and dreams occur. You are also more likely to wake frequently during the night, after drinking wine. And it can lead to snoring as it relaxes muscles. Snoring disturbs your sleep and others’ rest also.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed wine
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – wine

Best Foods to Eat Before Bed

And now for the best foods to eat, to encourage a great night’s sleep.

Cherries

Tart cherries act as a natural sleep aid, thanks to their high melatonin content. Melatonin is a hormone that lets the body know it’s time to sleep. Tart cherry juice works just as well as a cup of fresh cherries.

Kiwi

Besides being rich in antioxidants, carotenoids and vitamins C and E, kiwi contains serotonin. This sleep hormone contributes to healthy REM sleep. Low levels of serotonin may cause insomnia.

Kiwi also provides folate, which helps prevent insomnia as well.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas do not have the caffeine that keeps the body stimulated and awake. Plus herbal teas such as lemon balm, passionflower and chamomile offer sedative effects that reduce anxiety and soothe the body toward rest.

Walnuts

These healthy nuts not only boost brain and heart health, they promote a good night’s sleep also.

Walnuts are an excellent source of melatonin. Plus they provide ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s converted to DHA in the body. DHA increases serotonin levels, which helps the body relax into sleep.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed walnuts
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – walnuts

Spinach

This power food is a great source of tryptophan, and also rich in folate, magnesium and vitamins B6 and C, all key factors in creating serotonin and melatonin.

Spinach also contains glutamine, an amino acid that stimulates the body to release cellular toxins that can create sleeplessness.

Bananas

High in potassium and magnesium, bananas help muscles relax, which allows the body to fall asleep.

The magnesium in bananas affect quality of sleep as well, by extending the amount of time spent sleeping. Bananas contain tryptophan too, that the body uses to create serotonin and melatonin.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin B6, which boosts melatonin and prepares the body for sleep. Eating a sweet potato in the evening helps you feel relaxed and sleepy.

Peanut Butter

This food is another one that contains tryptophan, which promotes the creation of serotonin and melatonin. Make sure it is low sugar or better yet, sugar free. For a great evening snack, pair peanut butter with sliced bananas or apples.

Bonus food: apples are excellent sources of potassium and vitamin B6, both helpful for promoting sleep. Plus the vitamin C in apples lowers blood pressure, manages blood sugar levels and improves breathing, all of which contribute to a good night’s sleep.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed peanut butter
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – peanut butter

How is Your Sleep?

How are you sleeping? If falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up refreshed are problematic for you, pay attention to what you eat before bed.

Knowing which foods negatively affect sleep…and which ones promote it…allows you to make healthy choices for night time snacking. As a result, you may find yourself falling asleep faster and sleep longer.

Did one of your favorite foods fall into the best or worst food categories? Awareness helps you make a difference!

Good night's sleep

 

Pick up these herbal teas from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I love a good pasta salad! On the first day of fall, with cooler temps ushering in the season, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a new one.

This Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad makes a great meal or side dish. The recipe fills a large bowl so you can save the leftovers for the next day.

This vegan dish is rich in flavor, with lots of veggies to create a variety of tastes and textures and pops of color. And, it comes together quickly.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad title meme

What’s In This Pasta Dish?

I adapted this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish and what I love about it is how adaptable it is.

Because I’m gluten free, the first change I made was to switch to gluten free pasta. I used brown rice rotini. If you are not gluten sensitive, use regular pasta. Not sure if gluten is affecting you? Check out the symptoms of gluten intolerance HERE.

In addition to the pasta, the dish includes crunchy green bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. And to give it that Mediterranean flavor, toss in marinated artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoncini. I also added shredded plant based mozzarella cheese, for creaminess.

And finally, Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad has an easy homemade dressing to finish it off.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad plated

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad full of veggies and flavor
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minces
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper optional
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • 16 ounces gluten free rotini may use regular rotini
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoncini may use sliced banana peppers
  • 1 cup shredded plant based mozzarella cheese optional
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Instructions
 

Dressing

  • In small mason jar, combine all dressing ingredients. Cap, shake well and store in refrigerator while prepping pasta salad. Dressing may be made the night before and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • In a large pot, bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil. Add rotini, stir and bring back to boiling. Lower heat and cook until tender.
  • While pasta cooks, dice green pepper and red onion, halve cherry tomatoes and chop fresh basil. Set ingredients aside in a small bowl.
  • Drain marinated artichoke hearts, black olives and pepperoncini. Set aside in another small bowl.
  • When pasta is tender, drain but do not rinse.
  • In a large bowl, add the plant based shredded mozzarella cheese, if using. Dump warm pasta on top of cheese. Add diced veggies and artichoke hearts, black olives and pepperoncini. Combine all ingredients, gently. Pour dressing over pasta salad. Stir to coat pasta. Serve warm. Or chill and serve cold. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes 6 - 8 servings.
Keyword Gluten Free, Mediterranean Pasta Salad, Pasta Salad

 

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ingredients
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ingredients

Helpful Tips

Tips for making this pasta salad.

Make dressing ahead of time, up to 24 hours prior, if desired. Add other seasonings if you want. I highly recommend Nina’s Olivar Almeria Gold Olive Oil, a superior quality oil from Spain. Link to order from Amazon at end of post. This full flavor olive oil is my absolute favorite!

There are a variety of gluten free pastas available, made from brown rice or chickpeas or vegetables.

You may use any color of fresh pepper. I chose a green bell pepper however red or yellow peppers work well too. And try a yellow onion or chopped green onions instead of the red onion, if desired. If fresh basil seems to strong for you, substitute fresh Italian parsley…or add both!

Swap kalamata olives for the black olives, banana peppers for the pepperoncini and plain artichoke hearts for marinated. Omit the red pepper, dried or flakes, if you don’t want any heat. I found 1/4 teaspoon just right, however I like a little spiciness.

And finally, omit the shredded plant based cheese, if desired. I felt it added creaminess to the pasta salad but it’s not really necessary.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

The Taste Test

I served up the pasta salad warm, immediately after gently combining all ingredients.

This Mediterranean salad was SO good, full of flavor in every delicious bite. I loved the combination of fresh, crunchy veggies with the softer artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoncini. I won’t change a thing, the next time I make it. And I will definitely make this pasta salad again.

The best part…I have leftovers in the fridge, for tomorrow’s lunch. I’ll see how the salad is cold. I expect it to taste just as good and maybe even better, with all the flavors mingling overnight.

Do you enjoy pasta salads? Do you prefer to eat them warm or cold?

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad plated
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ready to eat

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Vegan Eats in Charleston

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When I travel, I adhere to my health practices. If I didn’t, I’d quickly not feel well and that’s not the way I want to spend my travel time.

That means I continue to eat a plant based diet, wherever I am.

On my recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina, I scouted out the best places to get a plant based meal. Based on my location in the historic district downtown, I chose cafés and restaurants within walking distance from my accommodations.

These places serve healthy meals, some that aren’t vegan. All have plant based options though.

Check out these vegan eats in Charleston.

Vegan Eats in Charleston title meme

Eating Vegan in Charleston

My accommodations, Meeting Street Inn, provided a continental breakfast. Although they served a variety of breakfast items, most of them weren’t plant based. They did offer several low or no sugar cereals…but no plant based milk. And they did have packets of plain oatmeal. I had a small refrigerator in my room so one option was to stock it with plant based milk for the cereal. The other option, which I chose, was to purchase some vegan snacks to keep in my room, for a quick breakfast before heading out the door.

I opted to eat lunch and dinner out. Meeting Street Inn also offers an evening wine and nibbles. Other than fresh grapes, however, the rest of the nibbles are not vegan.

I had no problem finding cafés and restaurants to try, that offer vegan meals. Here are the ones I recommend.

Verde

Located at 347 King Street, Verde is a locally owned, operated and staffed health conscious café that features salads and wraps. The café is bright, clean and inviting.

Verde cares about making it easy for diners to experience the benefits of eating, going and being green. And they care about the environment, so their fresh salads and bowls come in compostable containers. They source ingredients locally to reduce their carbon footprint and they use bicycles for deliveries, whenever possible.

Plus Verde gives back to the community. They support their community by donating food and volunteering at local organizations.

Verde offers an assortment of salads and bowls, any of which can become a wrap.

I chose the Bowled Buddha, a yummy combo of roasted broccoli, chickpeas, pickled onions, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, kimchi and power seeds, served with turmeric vinaigrette on brown rice, quinoa and kale. For a drink I selected unsweetened iced tea.

This Buddha Bowl was so incredibly delicious and very filling. I took half of it back to my room at the inn and ate it for supper that night.

Vegan Eats in Charleston verde buddha bowl
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Verde’s Bowled Buddha

Beech

Located at 315 King Street, Beech takes the guesswork out of eating healthy. This café focuses on delivering a fresh, fast and healthy menu based on four pillars of a balanced diet: fruit, fish, rice and vegetables. You can, of course, leave out the fish, as I chose to do!

The Beech Team began as two brothers pursuing a dream of serving their community through healthy foods, served quickly. Beech is clean and cozy.

They offers cold pressed juices, smoothies, fresh fruit bowls featuring acai, and poké bowls.

The poké bowls, which originated in Hawaii, are basically sushi in a bowl. They feature cubed raw fish mixed with rice, veggies and toppings.

I built my own delicious poké bowl using brown rice, avocado, picked red onion, picked cucumber, seeds and crispy onion flakes with sriracha aioli. It was SO good. An unsweetened iced tea accompanied this meal as well.

Vegan Eats in Charleston beech poke bowl
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Beech build your own poké bowl

Basic Kitchen

Located at 82 Wentworth, just off the intersection of King and Wentworth, Basic Kitchen uses seasonal, local produce and the best ingredients to create nourishing and delicious meals.

They love diverse flavors and dishes from around the world. Basic Kitchen believes that the choices we make through food have a positive impact on our health, community and environment. They feature a fun, casual dining environment. On their menu are the words “Cleaner fuel…longer adventures.” I agree with them!

Basic Kitchen offers small plates such as sweet potato fries, cauli wings and pistachio beet dip, salads, bowls and big plates. Big plates include dishes such as pistachio pesto rigatoni and veggie burgers.

Keeping my bowl theme going, I chose a Curry Bowl with green Thai coconut curry, veggies, cilantro and Charleston Gold rice. I devoured it! No left overs and no room for their salted chocolate tahini tart. My waiter brought me a bottle of chilled water. I loved that extra touch!

Vegan Eats in Charleston basic kitchen
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Basic Kitchen green curry bowl

Brown Dog Deli

Admittedly, this café at 40 Broad Street is not one you’d think of for plant based food. However, checking their menu I found some vegan options.

Chef Wes Denney brings a far reaching experience to this unique deli. His diverse menu includes Asian influences and southern BBQ. Brown Dog Deli has a fun classic diner vibe.

The deli features salads, poké bowls, gourmet sandwiches, deli classics and a very nice assortment of vegan options including plant based burgers, non chicken “chicken”, veggie dogs and veggie wraps.

I barely made it to Brown Dog Deli before it closed, after visiting a museum late in the afternoon. So I ordered my meal to go. I chose the Black Bean Santa Fe Wrap. It contains a black bean burger, corn, mango salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, guacamole and cilantro.

As the sun sank, I enjoyed my wrap seated near the Pineapple Fountain, in Waterfront Park. The wrap was wonderful…and huge. I took half of it back to my room for later.

Vegan Eats in Charleston brown dog deli wrap
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Brown Dog Deli black bean wrap

Two Restaurants That I Missed

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the last two restaurants on my list: The Daily and Neon Tiger.

Both of these eateries are located on King, at 652 and 654 King, respectively. The Daily is primarily a breakfast and lunch café and I just ran out of days and times to get there. And on my last evening in Charleston, I intended to eat supper at Neon Tiger. However, strong thunderstorms rolled into area. Since I was on foot, I opted to stay in.

The Daily

The goal of The Daily is to create a place where people come to be refreshed and nourished. They source local and regional products. And they support sustainability and environmental stewardship.

They offer healthy juices, strong coffee, breakfast toasts made with their own freshly baked bread, plus pastries, smoothies, wine and snacks to go.

Neon Tiger

Neon Tiger is a cocktail bar featuring local, natural, organic and fresh libations and small plates. They are wholly vegan. On their website they say that they are fun whether you identify as vegan or not. “Come for the drinks, stay for the vibes and make up your own damn mind.” I love that!

Neon Tiger offers vegan appetizers, salads, main dishes such as roasted cauliflower over red beet hummus and chickpeas, bowls, pizzas, plant based burgers and sandwiches.

Next time I visit Charleston, I’ll make sure I visit The Daily and Neon Tiger first!

Vegan Eats in Charleston basic kitchen groovy
Feeling groovy in Basic Kitchen

Other Vegan Options

I’m sure there are other places to eat in Charleston, with vegan options. Near Meeting Street Inn I saw a Subway, where you can create your own chopped salad, and a Moe’s Southwest Grill, where you can build your own vegan bowl.

And at most restaurants, you can order plain a la carte veggies.

Overall, I found it easy to eat vegan in Charleston and even fairly simple to eat plant based in the airports as I traveled.

I’m grateful for healthy food that fueled me, making it possible for me to explore this gorgeous city on foot, energy high and body functioning well.

Have you visited Charleston? What restaurants are your favorites?

Vegan Eats in Charleston brown dog deli
The fun interior of Brown Dog Deli on Broad Street

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Travel With Your Health Practices

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a crossover post, also shared on my other blog, Cindy Goes Beyond. The topic fit both blogs well!

Often when we travel, we do so with a sense of joyful abandonment. No rules, no schedules, no work to slow us down. It’s exhilarating. However,  that freedom from our “regular” life sometimes includes ditching our established health routines too.

I discovered quickly that maintaining my health while traveling is essential to my wellbeing. If I eat poorly, or stop the supplements, I can quickly feel bad. And that’s not the way I want to spend my trip…feeling bad or experiencing pain.

I carry specific health related items with me when I travel. And I only travel with a carry on, so I’ve pared down what I take with me to the most important to keep my health and energy at optimal levels.

Check out how to travel with your health practices, using these tips that can see you through the days of travel.

Travel With Your Health Practices title meme

 

Travel With Your Health Practices

Create your own travel kit, personalized for your health needs.

First though, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:

Am I traveling solo? Who is traveling with me? Are children traveling with me too?

Here is a broad list of possible items to consider for a travel medical kit:

  • pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, tension relief
  • sleep aids, eye mask, melatonin gummies
  • CBD products
  • essential oils
  • herbal supplements, multi-vitamin, Voke Superfoods
  • prescription meds
  • over the counter meds – sinus meds, allergy meds, UTI meds, decongestant, eyedrops, cough drops, cough relief, menstrual cramp relief, salves
  • sunscreen, sunburn relief
  • insect repellent, bug bite ointment, anti-itch ointment
  • bandaids, bandages
  • antibacterial ointments
  • hand sanitizer
  • sanitizing wipes
  • face masks
  • tweezers, small scissors, nail clippers
  • digital thermometer, blood pressure cuff, blood glucose monitor
  • antacids, heartburn relief, diarrhea meds, motion sickness tabs, upset stomach meds
  • rubbing alcohol, Witch Hazel, peroxide
  • cotton balls, cotton swabs
  • soothing lotions – eczema cream, diaper rash lotion, rash relief
Travel With Your Health Practices voke
Travel With Your Health Practices – Voke Superfoods tablets are one of my essentials for international travel

Create a Travel Medical Kit That Meets Your Needs

Of course, you probably don’t need to pack all of the above items. Choose what is most important to maintain your health and the health of everyone traveling with you. Everyone’s needs are different.

I travel light. Currently, I don’t take any prescription meds. A friend of mine, however, travels with two suitcases. One carries her clothing and the other, all of her meds and supplements. That’s what works best for her.

Depending on suitcase space and your health needs, choose the items that are essential. I don’t group my essentials together in a separate bag or container. Instead, I tuck items among my clothes, into shoes and alongside toiletries. Whether I’m traveling through Italy for 12 days or spending a long weekend somewhere, my essential health items go with me.

My Travel Medical Kit

Here are the items that I consider essential for my health and wellbeing. These items accompany me on all trips.

Pain Relief

I carry travel sized ibuprofen and acetaminophen in my purse. I occasionally have severe headaches. Years ago, my dentist gave me a valuable tip. For moderate to severe pain, take a combination of three ibuprofen and two acetaminophen. The combo works like a pain pill for me, but without the drowsiness or side effects.

And I love the Hilma products. They provide natural relief, for tight muscles or tension headaches. And the indoor/outdoor relief is wonderful for natural sinus congestion and allergen relief. Click links above to order Hilma.

Travel With Your Health Practices hilma
Travel With Your Health Practices – Hilma Producrs

Supplements

  • Cat’s Claw
  • MSM
  • Magnesium
  • Comfort Guard
  • GLOW Complex

I take more supplements than these when at home. These though support joint and muscles health. After many years of chronic sciatica, I can still experience stiff, tight muscles in my legs, especially when walking for hours. The first four supplements listed above keep my legs working well and keep them comfortable. The Comfort Guard is THE best supplement for reducing pain and inflammation. I love the combination of turmeric, ginger and boswellia.

And GLOW Complex is an amazing plant based collagen builder that also supplies a host of essential vitamins and minerals including B12, which is so important to keep my energy up.

Order Comfort Guard and GLOW in the links at end of post.

Over the Counter

  • Witch Hazel (carried in a small TSA approved bottle)
  • bandaids
  • antibiotic cream
  • Prid (a soothing drawing salve)
  • sunscreen
  • cotton balls and cotton swabs

Witch Hazel makes an ideal soother for scrapes, insect bites and cuts. Plus I use it for a toner after washing my face.

Prid is a drawing salve that I don’t like to be without. It relieves bug bites, spider bites, boils and ingrown hairs.

Protection

I’m fully vaccinated. Otherwise I wouldn’t be traveling at all. I still take cloth masks wherever I go. And in addition to social distancing and washing my hands frequently, I use SkinShield2, a protective antibacterial skin barrier lotion. A small amount of lotion kills germs, viruses and bacteria on contact and protects my hands for hours. Click link above to order yours.

Travel With Your Health Practices sanitizer
Travel With Your Health Practices – protection

Miscellaneous

  • peppermint tea bags
  • Incrediwear knee sleeve

My favorite tea goes with me. I tuck a few tea bags in my purse and more in my carry on. Peppermints soothes the whole digestive system and boosts spirits and mood.

The Incrediwear knee sleeve is a “just in case” item. Occasionally I twist my left knee and it reacts immediately with pain, swelling and inflammation.

Incrediwear products work by increasing blood flow to the injured joint, to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also relieve pain and accelerate recovery. Rather than using compression, Incrediwear products incorporate semiconductor elements within the fabric that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat. Read more about this amazing sleeve HERE.

Continue Your Usual Health Practices

I think the most important items to “pack” on any trip are your usual health practices.

Do you follow a specific diet? Stay on it so you don’t throw off your body or create digestive disorders. I follow a plant based lifestyle wherever I go, with no issues.

Do you walk, do yoga, stretch, workout? As much as possible, continue these health practices as well. Traveling often involves sitting for hours in a car or airplane. Stretch periodically, do yoga in your seat, walk for a few minutes. Many hotels have an onsite gym for workouts. And walking or hiking is a great way to explore a city or spend time in nature.

Also follow sleep and waking patterns, when you can, to keep energy up. Definitely take prescribed meds. And always, stay hydrated by drinking enough water.

What health items and practices are essential for you? Share them in the comments!

Travel With Your Health Practices water
Travel With Your Health Practices – water container

 

Want to Know How I Pack a Carry On?

Check out this post on Cindy Goes Beyond, for my packing tips to travel light.

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Benefits of Walking Every Day

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Recently I set a goal: walk every day for the next 30 days. The motivation behind my goal? I have an upcoming trip to a new-to-me city in the US. My favorite way to get to know a city is to walk it and explore the streets, restaurants and shops.

I know my body. If I begin my explorations with miles of walking, without a warm up first, my legs protest greatly.

Walking every day before the trip conditions my legs…and my body…for the upcoming extra activity. I met my goal…32 days of walking daily so far.

It turns out there are additional benefits of walking every day, beyond getting ready for a adventure! Check out how the body responds, to walking every day for at least 30 days.

Benefits of Walking Every Day title meme

Not My First Walking Challenge

This isn’t my first walking challenge. It is, in fact, my third such challenge.

The first, attempted almost four years ago, began as a 30 Day Walking Challenge, in which I walked in a different location every day. I made it to Day 27…and then fell and badly twisted my left knee. Sadly, it took me eight months to fully recover from that fall.

The second 30 day walking challenge began in January of this year. I did great…walking in snow, rain and cold temperatures…until my area experienced a severe cold snap that lasted for days. Those freezing cold days ended my daily walks.

This time, I remained determined to walk daily in spite of hot temperatures, rain and muggy days of high humidity. Of course, like every one else, I DO walk every day in the course of my normal activities. The walking challenge, however, is an intentional “get dressed for a walk and get out the door” practice that I do every single day, no matter what.

I feel ready for my trip. More than that, I feel great.

Here are the benefits of walking every day and the changes that occur in the body.

“Walking is almost an insurance policy for aging well.”  Karisa Karmali

Benefits of Walking Every Day neighborhood
Benefits of walking every day – beautiful morning for a walk

Greater Longevity

Harvard researchers discovered that walking 4, 400 steps a day is enough to significantly lower the risk of death. Researchers tracked a group of women…average age 72 years old…for four years. They found the benefits leveled off at around 7,500 steps.

So, start small if necessary. Walk short distances and then gradually increase the number of steps. Wear a pedometer or smart bracelet to count your steps. Or carry your phone. Mine has a built in health app that is always recording my number of steps per day.

Lowers Depression

Walking daily is not only good for physical health, it’s beneficial for mental health as well. A daily walking practice helps relieve stress, which can contribute to depression. Plus the body releases the “feel good” hormone endorphins. And those endorphins help us feel more energized and happier for the rest of the day, long after we complete the walk.

Sharpens the Brain

Walking is one of the best ways to reduce the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Brisk walking even increases the size of the hippocampus in older adults. The hippocampus is where memories form. Adults also experience greater cognitive function.

Improves Heart Health

Walking daily improves the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Stronger, healthier heart and lungs reduces the risks of stroke and heart attack while managing hypertension and preventing type 2 diabetes.

Walking also improves circulation throughout the body. Muscles learn to efficiently use the extra oxygen delivered by improved circulation, which in turn increases blood flow even more in the body.

Increases Lung Volume

Walking increases blood flow, which increases the oxygen flow. It helps us breathe deeper and better, eliminating toxins and wastes from the body.

Benefits of Walking Every Day flowers
Benefits of walking every day – I walk in my neighborhood and enjoy the beauty all around me

Strengthens Bones and Muscles

After age 30, bones and muscles weaken and begin to break down. Walking daily helps slow the aging process of bones and muscles without stressing joints.

And postmenopausal women who walk every day have higher overall bone density than women who don’t.

Additionally, as we walk muscles tug on the bones, which stimulates the production of bone cells, keeping bones strong and healthy.

Better Sleep

As we walk, our body temperature rises and then falls after we finish. This rise and fall of temperature during the day helps us fall asleep faster at night.

Improves Eyesight

Surprisingly, walking daily benefits eye health as well by relieving eye pressure. This helps to fight glaucoma.

Aids Digestion

Thirty minutes of walking a day lowers the risk of colon cancer. It also improves digestion and helps prevent constipation by regulating bowel movements.

Walking benefits the pancreas by improving glucose tolerance.

Provides Pain Relief

Walking daily reduces pain, stiffness and inflammation in joints. The increased blood flow also improves flexibility in joints and the back.

My Experience after Walking for 30 Days

You might remember that I experienced pain and inflammation in my legs for more than 20 years, due to chronic sciatica. Switching to a plant based lifestyle eliminated the sciatica, along with the pain and inflammation. However, I still struggle with muscle tightness…a result of years of chronic inflammation and perhaps some nerve damage.

Here’s what I notice, after walking every day for 30 days:

  • less muscle tightness in my legs, and not just when I’m walking. Overall much less tightness in general, even after standing for long periods of time or a day of greatly increased activity.
  • more flexibility in knee joints
  • reduced muscle tension throughout my body
  • more toned muscles
  • weight loss
  • greater stamina
  • greater endurance
  • fewer headaches
  • higher energy levels
  • improved breathing and lower resting heart rate
  • fall asleep quickly
  • increased flashes of creativity, deeper gratitude and bursts of big ideas
  • greater sense of wellbeing
  • high level of satisfaction
  • appreciation for my body and how it works

What’s Next

I’m excited to continue walking…up until my trip, while traveling and when I return home.

I’ve met my goal. So if I miss a day occasionally, I won’t beat myself up. However, I so appreciate the benefits that I’m experiencing that I WANT to continue walking daily.

Do you have a daily walking practice? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Benefits of Walking Every Day

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler

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August is National Peach Month, the perfect time to enjoy these fruits as they reach their delicious peak.

As I did last month, for National Blueberry Month, I wanted to create a simple, healthy dessert.

Check out last month’s Blueberry Crumble. And then enjoy Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler this month, with fresh peaches.

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler title meme

Benefits of Peaches

Peaches are a stone fruit…or drupe…that originated in China more than 8,000 years ago. With their fuzzy peels and yellow or white flesh, peaches are a summer favorite.

Peaches are rich in vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. This fruit provides vitamins A, C, E and K, niacin, potassium, copper and manganese. Plus they are packed with antioxidants that combat oxidative damage to cells and protect the body against aging and disease.

The health benefits from peaches include:

  • aids digestion
  • improves heart health
  • protects skin by helping it retain moisture
  • prevents cancer, especially breast cancer
  • reduces allergy symptoms
  • boosts immunity
  • removes toxins from body
  • lower blood sugar levels

Fresh peaches are higher in antioxidants than canned. For this recipe, use fresh peaches if possible. Or use frozen after allowing them to thaw.

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler peaches
Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler – sliced peaches and cinnamon

Ingredients for Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler

This simple dessert is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and oil free.

I used four fresh peaches, gluten free oats, oat flour, unsweetened applesauce, pure maple syrup and cinnamon.

Additionally, this recipe requires a couple of mixing bowls and an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler

This delicious dessert is vegan, gluten free and oil and sugar free.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 4 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray or coat lightly with coconut oil
  • In large bowl, combine oat flour, applesauce, maple syrup together. Add oats and mix well.
  • Press about 1/3 of mixture into bottom of baking pan, forming a crust.
  • In small bowl, mix peeled peach slices with cinnamon. Pour into baking dish.
  • Spoon remainder of oats mixture on top of peaches, spreading evenly over fruit.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, checking after 25. Crust should be lightly browned and peaches tender. Cool slightly then serve warm. Makes 8 servings.
Keyword Gluten Free, oil free, Peach Cobbler, sugar free, Vegan

Tips for Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler

This simple dessert cobbler is similar to a crisp, except it has a bottom crust. The texture of this crust resembles baked oatmeal making it ideal for breakfast as well.

Oats are naturally gluten free. However, they are typically processed in facilities with other products that contain gluten. Look for packages of oats that specify gluten free, if you have a gluten sensitivity, meaning they were prepped in a facility without contamination with other products. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats.

I use gluten free oat flour as well. Any flour, gluten free or regular, is fine for this recipe. Unsweetened applesauce is available in packages of half cup containers, making them easy to use for recipes.

Leave the peeling on the peaches, for more a more rustic peach cobbler.

Cover leftovers and store on the countertop or in the refrigerator.

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler
Ready to eat

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler Taste Test

I love baking with anything containing cinnamon. The aroma drifting out from the kitchen is tantalizing.

After allowing the peach cobbler to cool slightly, I enjoyed a bowl with a cup of hot peppermint tea. The cobbler is slightly tart and so yummy. While the maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness, this cobbler is not very sweet at all. If you want more sweetness, add a bit more maple syrup, or add coconut sugar to the sliced peaches.

This cobbler is the perfect way to use peaches during their time of abundance and also enjoy a healthy, low sugar treat.

Do you love peaches? What is your favorite way to enjoy them?

Bowl of Peach Cobbler
Bowl of vegan peach cobbler

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31 Wellness Ideas

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For National Wellness Month, celebrated each August, I’m sharing different posts highlighting what wellness really means.

Last week’s post, available HERE, shares the eight dimensions of wellness. They include: emotional, environmental, intellectual, financial, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.

Wellness encompasses the whole body plus it’s an active process of making healthy choices that support a fulfilling life. Because daily habits play an important role in wellness, I’m offering 31 wellness ideas. Include these wellness tips…one a day or multiple ideas a day…to build robust wellness in your life.

And even though August is Wellness Month, these tips can be practiced every day, of every month, year after year.

31 Wellness Ideas title meme

A Month of Ideas

My intention, for creating this post is to show how easy it is to incorporate wellness habits into your life. All eight wellness dimensions are included in these activities. Over time…a relative short time…daily habits build a healthy lifestyle.

Pick a starting date and try one of these ideas every day for the next 31 days.

Choose Wellness

The whole point of National Wellness Month is to encourage people to choose wellness. Show your intention of following through on your commitment to wellness by creating a simple declaration that states “I choose wellness” and then sign and date it. See my “wellfie” at the end of the post for my signed declaration.

DIY Beauty Treatment

Enjoy a DIY beauty treatment at home, using ingredients from your kitchen. Make this experience a pampering one. Try this easy DIY Natural Skin Serum or check out Pinterest for other ideas.

Go For a Walk

Walking has so many benefits. It’s a great way to increase physical wellness and also clears the mind, boosts mood and fosters creativity.

Meditate

Meditation quiets the mind and body by focusing on breath. And it not only eases stress and relaxes the body, it also balances emotions, boosts memory and increases productivity at work.

Spend Time in Nature

We know being outdoors is good for us…fresh air, vitamin D producing sunshine and peaceful nature…however some of the benefits are lesser known. Spending time in nature also sharpens focus, supports graceful aging, reduces inflammation, relieves stress, anxiety and depression and increases overall life satisfaction. Check out more reasons to get out into nature HERE.

31 Wellness Ideas nature
31 Wellness Ideas – spend time in nature

Night Out With Friends

Have a girls’ or guys’ night out, doing something fun. If COVID is keeping you home, do a virtual dinner together, connecting through ZOOM or Facetime. Or watch a movie simultaneously and discuss. Social interaction is important to wellness, perhaps now more than ever.

Pick Up Trash

In your neighborhood, along a stretch of beach or in a local park, take time to pick up trash. Wear gloves and carry a small trash bag that can be disposed of after clean up. And check out the plant based trash bags at the end of the post.

Eat Plant Based for a Day

Rather than a meatless Monday meal, try eating vegan for a whole day. No meat, dairy products or eggs allowed. It will not only give your digestive system a break and your health a boost, it’s good for the planet too.

Have a Smoothie for Breakfast

Start your “vegan for the day” with a fruit smoothie, or pick this activity for another day. Start with fresh bananas, then add frozen fruit of choice, filtered water and chia seeds. Blend in a high speed blender until thoroughly mixed.

Write Out 31 Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome negative thinking and self sabotage. They also help to create change. Write 31 affirmations that encourage you to live a healthier life. Begin each affirmation with “I am…” and write it in the present tense, not future tense. Example: “I am creating wellness in my life.”

Write affirmations on slips of paper and drop them into a jar. Draw one out each day for the next month. Or create your own flip calendar, using spiral bound index cards, adding an affirmation on each card.

31 Wellness Ideas affirmations
31 Wellness Ideas – examples of affirmations in a jar…and a DIY flip calendar. This one has favorite quotes.

Do Something New

Trying new experiences is good for the brain. Plus they help us move beyond comfort zones, conquer fears and ramp up creativity. The something new can be as simple as using the non-dominant hand to brush your teeth or as complex as climbing a mountain for the first time.

Read

Pick out a new book, either one you purchase, a library loan or an ebook downloaded on your tablet. Commit to reading a chapter a day. Ramp up the fun by reading a book in a new to you genre.

Watch a Documentary

Are you a movie fan? Try switching to a documentary instead. Watch one on a topic you like or mix things up and pick one you’d not typically watch. Amazon Prime is a great source of documentaries, of all kinds. Start your free membership by clicking HERE.

Netflix offers a broad selection of documentaries as well. I highly recommend My Octopus Teacher. You must have a Netflix subscription to watch.

Encouraging Texts

To boost your social wellness and encourage others, send positive, affirming texts to friends and family members. Doing something kind or helpful for others brings tremendous benefits for the giver as well.

Stretch the Body

Try a series of stretches first thing in the morning. Or move through yoga poses. If you aren’t familiar with yoga, look for step by step videos on YouTube.

Wellness Date

Go on an intentional wellness date with a significant other, family member or even on your own. Some ideas: healthy dinner date, walk in the neighborhood, massage, yoga class, meditate outdoors together or alone, financial class, concert in the park, business class, volunteer for a good cause or find a quiet place to sit and talk.

31 Wellness Ideas date
31 Wellness Ideas – wellness date

Wellness Pie Chart

Create a pie chart (see this post for an example) and divide it into eight sections. Label each section with a wellness dimension. Rate your level of wellness in each area, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high. Commit to working on the areas with a rating of 7 or below.

Journal

Write in your journal about each of the eight dimensions of wellness in your life. What can you do to improve wellness in each one?

Hot Bath

Light some candles in the bathroom, play soothing music and enjoy a long soak in the tub, with or without bubbles. Or, if you prefer a shower, take a long, hot shower and wash away stress. Use sugar scrubs scented with essential oils.

Declutter

Pick a room, a closet or a drawer and declutter it. Use the Marie Kondo practice of only keeping the items that bring you joy. Clutter clogs up energy, in a home and in the body. Decluttering allows energy to flow again.

Hydrate

Drink at least eight glasses of water during the day. Most people are chronically dehydrated. Find out if you are by checking these symptoms. If you prefer, add fresh, unsweetened fruit, lemon or lime juice or veggies such as cucumbers to your water.

31 Wellness Ideas hydrate
31 Wellness Ideas – drink eight glasses of water

Donate

Rather than tossing unwanted clothes or items, donate them to a shelter. It benefits the shelter and it keeps items out of landfills. Make sure items are in good repair and undamaged.

Toad&Co provides a Clean Out Kit, in partnership with ThredUp, for clothing cleared from your closet.

Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Moving out of your comfort zone brings growth and fresh opportunities and can help you feel more accomplished and happy in life.

What scares you a little bit? Speaking in public? Performing a song you wrote? Standing up for yourself? Pick one thing and do it.

Promote Sleep

Create a peaceful atmosphere in your room that is conducive to sleep. A dark, cool, quiet room is best for a good night’s sleep. What needs to shift in that environment, to help you sleep better?

Deep Breaths

Practice several minutes of slow, deep breathing to reduce stress, ease tension and reset the body. Close your eyes, inhale to a count of three, hold your breath for two seconds and then exhale to a count of six.

Create a Healthy Treat

Have fun in the kitchen, creating a healthy treat. It can be as simple as a sliced apple with dates and walnuts or something like this blueberry crumble. Let your inner chef shine through.

31 Wellness Ideas treat
31 Wellness Ideas – create a healthy treat

Create a Budget

Use a spreadsheet on the computer or an app to track income and expenditures.

After tracking income and outgo, set up budget categories for set expenses. Include a plan for paying off debt and saving for emergencies. And set aside an amount for fun or for a travel fund.

Love What You Do

Write out all the things you love about your current occupation, even if it’s not your dream job. Focusing on the positives rather than the negatives helps to shift attitudes about work and also opens possibilities for change.

Dream Job

Dream though, without creating negative feelings about your current job. What is your dream job? What does it look like and how does it make you feel? Write in great detail, in your journal, about your dream job. What action steps, no matter how small, can you take now to get you to that dream?

Gratitude

Write out ten…or more…gratitudes. These can connect to the day or they can be gratitudes in general. What are you grateful for?

Writing and expressing gratitude frequently can powerfully shift your life.

Take a Wellfie

Take a wellfie…a selfie holding your “I choose wellness” declaration. Post it on social media.

31 Wellness Ideas wellfie
31 Wellness Ideas – post a wellfie

Ways to Play

I believe that play is an important part of life.

So have fun with these ideas. Let them inspire wellness ideas of your own. And try these two ways of practicing wellness activities.

Schedule out the activities in your planner or monthly calendar. Write each on on a different day, in any order that pleases you. And then do the activity listed as you move through the month.

Or, write the activities on strips of paper, fold them and drop them into a jar. Randomly select one each day, for the next month, and do the activity you draw out. No backsies. This is one of my favorite games to play. I love how the perfect activity appears on the perfect day, even if I don’t at first think so.

I hope these 31 ideas help you create more health and wellness, in all areas of your life!

31 Wellness Ideas happy

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