Recipes for National Blueberry Day

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July is National Blueberry Month and the 8th, National Blueberry Day. Summer provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy this seasonal fruit. Thankfully, however, frozen blueberries allow us to benefit from their goodness year around.

Wild blueberries, especially, offer amazing health benefits. Check out how they boost health and support wellness here. My dad introduced me to blueberries while I was still a toddler. He loved blueberry pie and cobbler. I’m grateful that I grew up appreciating this dark blue berry.

After embracing a plant based lifestyle, I discovered it’s not only simple to include blueberries in my diet, it is extremely desirable!

Check out these easy recipes for National Blueberry Day and enjoy summer’s bounty!

Recipes for National Blueberry Day title meme

Easy Ways to Include Blueberries

Before sharing links to recipes, consider these simple ways to add blueberries to your diet.

  • add fresh or frozen berries to smoothies and smoothie bowls
  • top pancakes or waffles with blueberries
  • use as a dessert topping, such as for vegan wacky cupcakes
  • mix fresh or frozen blueberries with other berries for a simple fruit bowl
  • my favorite, grab a handful of fresh blueberries to snack on
Recipes for National Blueberry Day pancakes
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – gluten free pancakes with organic maple syrup and fruit

Recipes for National Blueberry Day

Try any of these delicious blueberry recipes in today’s round up. They are all healthy versions of traditional favorites.

Gluten Free and Oil Free Blueberry Mini Bites

These snack sized blueberry muffins are perfect with afternoon tea or to pack along on a picnic. And they are gluten, oil, egg and refined sugar free as well, making them extra healthy.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day mini muffins
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – mini muffins

Raw Wild Blueberry Pie

This wonderful plant based recipe, from Life Changing Foods by Anthony William, is sugar and gluten free, with no baking required. Light, fruity and so satisfying, this pretty pie is perfect for holidays or special occasions.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day pie
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – raw pie

Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread

Do you enjoy banana bread? This one ups the yums by adding wild blueberries. This beautiful loaf is free from gluten, refined sugar, eggs and diary products. However it’s full of flavor. I love a slice of this bread with a cup of herbal tea.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day bread
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – blueberry banana bread

Blueberry Scones

I love scones. They perfectly complement a cup of hot tea. The challenge is finding a vegan recipe that is also gluten free. This recipe is the best one I’ve tried yet, although I’m always on the hunt for more scone recipes.

These blueberry scones are so easy to make, and they are gluten, dairy, refined sugar, egg and oil free. And the taste? They are wonderful and satisfy my desire for a tea time treat.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day scones
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – scones

Healthy Blueberry Crisp

I’m excited to try this recipe from the blog Erin Lives Whole. This blueberry crisp is vegan, gluten free and comes together in just ten minutes. Instead of a traditional crust for the topping, Erin combines oats with almond flour, walnuts, coconut oil and maple syrup.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day crisp
Blueberry crisp – photo from Erin Lives Whole blog.

Triple Layer Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

And one more luscious dessert from Erin Lives Whole. These cheesecake bars, using vegan cream cheese, granola and a chia blueberry jam, look amazing. I am excited to try them as well.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day cheesecake
Triple Layer Blueberry Cheesecake Bars – photo from Erin Lives Whole blog.

Favorite Blueberry Dessert

I love blueberries so much that any dessert featuring these berries is a winner with me. What I love even more are these healthier versions of blueberry desserts that don’t contain unwanted sugar, fat, eggs or dairy products.

I hope you’ll enjoy these special treats. And remember that the whole month of July is for celebrating the blueberry. I’d love to see what you create with these tasty berries.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day smoothie bowl
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – smoothie bowl

 

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Vegan Cowboy Beans

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Since embracing a plant based lifestyle, I’ve looked for a replacement for my mom’s famous Settler Baked Beans. That tasty dish contains bacon, ground beef and brown sugar, all ingredients that I now avoid.

While preparing a round up of vegan one pot meals, I came across this recipe for vegan cowboy beans by Contentedness Cooking. Check out the original recipe HERE.

I adapted the recipe slightly. That’s one of the pluses of this simple recipe, it is easy to create your own unique dish based on preferences and what you have on hand.

Vegan Cowboy Beans title meme

Vegan Cowboy Beans

I love that this recipe comes together in minutes, using canned beans and pantry staples. And all the ingredients go into one pot for easy prep, cooking and cleanup.

The original recipe called for homemade barbecue sauce. I’d love to make my own soon. However, to keep it simple and quick this evening, I picked up sugar free classic barbecue sauce at Natural Grocers. I also grabbed several cans of organic beans there too along with a can of organic tomato sauce.

Any canned beans are fine. Use what you have or get creative and mix things up. I chose great northern beans, black eyed peas and a blend of pinto, kidney and black beans.

Vegan Cowboy Beans ingredients
Ingredients for Vegan Cowboy Beans

Vegan Cowboy Beans Recipe

Vegan Cowboy Beans

This savory bean dish is full of flavor.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cups mixed beans, drained and cooked
  • 1/4 cup sugar free barbecue sauce
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large pan, saute onion and green bell pepper in olive oil. Cook until veggies soften, about five minutes.
  • Add beans, barbecue sauce and tomato sauce. Stir well. Add ground mustard and garlic powder.
  • Bring beans just to boil, over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings.
Keyword Cowboy Beans, Vegan

 

 

Vegan Cowboy Beans simmering
Vegan Cowboy Beans simmering.

Enjoying This Flavorful Dish

By the time I cleaned up my prep area and washed the few dishes I dirtied, the beans were done.

What a delicious and quick meal. And how versatile. The barbecue sauce I selected added a bit of a kick, which I loved. Substitute any style and flavor of barbecue sauce. And swap out the teaspoon of ground mustard for a tablespoon of prepared mustard, if desired. Or used minced garlic instead of garlic powder.

I enjoy including chopped green bell peppers. Use your favorite vegetables. Plus, any combination of beans may be used.

I enjoyed these vegan cowboy beans! They are perfect for a backyard cookout or to tote along to a family potluck dinner. If you intend to share with others, the recipe is easily doubled.

That’s what I’ll do when I cook up my next pot of cowboy beans!

Vegan Cowboy Beans ready to eat
Ready to eat!

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15 Two Minute Health Boosters

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Maintaining health is a lifestyle, built upon daily choices and practices. The thought of making changes to improve health and wellness can seem daunting. Some commitments, like working out at the gym or meal prepping on the weekend, requires a block of time.

These 15 two minute health boosters offer quick and easy ways to incorporate better practices into your life, without requiring a big time commitment.

15 Two Minute Health Boosters title meme

15 Two Minute Health Boosters

Try one…or three…of these quick health boosters throughout the day. They may not require much time however the cumulative effect is great.

Juice Fruits and Vegetables

Toss fresh produce into a juicer and enjoy a nutrient rich drink that’s easy on the digestive system. Possibilities are endless. Try oranges and pineapples with beets. Or kale, celery and apples. For more ideas and benefits, check out my experience with a week of juicing.

Say Health Affirmations Aloud

An affirmation is a statement that confirms a truth, even if that truth is not realized yet. Speaking affirmations aloud is a powerful way to shift thoughts about health, for as the saying goes, “The body achieves what the mind believes.”

What truths and beliefs are you feeding your body?

Shift thoughts of “I’m not healthy” or “I’m always tired” to “I am enjoying health and wellness” and “I am full of energy”. “I am” are life changing words. Mindfully consider what words you use after them.

Try these affirmations:

  • I am healthy
  • My body vibrates with wellness
  • I am strong and able to fight off disease
  • I am healing

If this concept seems strange to you, start with this simple affirmation: “I am grateful”. Gradually add what you are grateful for, in your health and body. For example, “I am grateful for my legs on this hike”. Or “I am grateful for a restful night’s sleep”

Drink a Glass of Water

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. We know how important adequate hydration is. Pause and drink a tall glass of water. Check out these signs of dehydration and foods that help as well.

15 Two Minute Health Boosters drink water
15 two minute health boosters – drink water

Short Bursts of Cardio for 30 Seconds

Studies show that four to six sets of all out cardio is as effective as a longer workout session. When I say “all out”, I mean vigorous bursts of activity. Try 30 seconds of intense dancing, running, jumping jacks, rapidly climbing stairs or squats. Work at least four sets of intense cardio into your day.

Focus on Posture

It’s so easy during the day to ignore posture. As a result, we tend to accumulate stress in our shoulders, neck, face and scalp. Taking two minutes to mindfully shift posture helps to relieve stress and realign the neck and spine.

Raise head and center it over the body. Square shoulders, allowing them to drop into place naturally. Open the  chest area. Relax the muscles in the upper body while breathing deeply. At the end of two minutes, tip head back and open arms wide in a gesture of gratitude.

Downward Dog Yoga Pose

One of yoga’s most recognized poses, downward dog, or downward facing dog, stretches the entire body, reduces back pain, elongates the shoulders, decreases anxiety and increases circulation. Strike that pose and hold for two minutes.

15 Two Minute Health Boosters downward dog
15 two minute health boosters – downward dog

Eat a Piece of Fruit

Instead of a sugary treat or high fat snack, grab a piece of fruit. An apple is especially beneficial. Not only is it nutritious, it promotes weight loss, lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes, promotes good gut bacteria and even helps prevent cancer.

Breathe Deeply

When challenges pile up during the day, pause for two minutes and simply breathe. Close your eyes and relax tense muscles. Take a deep breath in through the nose, expanding lungs and rib cage. Hold for a few seconds, then release breath slowly through the mouth. Repeat, focusing on breathing in and out.

Pausing to breathe deeply improves blood flow, lessens pain, increases energy levels, relaxes the body and calms inflammation.

Include Chia Seeds

This superfood is packed with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. Adding chia seeds to meals is an easy way to increase nutrients in the diet and boost heart and digestive health.

Try sprinkling them on smoothie bowls, oatmeal or fresh fruit. Substitute chia seeds for eggs in baking. Add a spoonful to smoothies and muffins or create fun chia puddings.

15 Two Minute Health Boosters chia seeds
15 two minute health boosters – chia seeds

Stand and Stretch

Sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to health. Chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are more likely to develop. Weight gain is common as are higher risks for depression and anxiety.

If you must sit for hours, take two minute breaks to stand and stretch. The simple acts of standing and stretching reduce strain on the spine and neck, ease cramped, tight muscles and improve posture. Taking a break from sitting improves blood circulation, muscle strength and flexibility. Keep stretches slow and smooth, especially if you’ve been sitting for a long time.

For optimal health benefits, stand, stretch and move around every 30 minutes.

Drink a Cup of Herbal Tea

I’m a big believer in the benefits of herbs. “There’s an herb for that!” I say, when people tell me about their health issues. Plants truly are medicine, offering healing for a wide range of of health disorders.

Check out some of my posts about the benefits of herbs and then brew a cup of tea and enjoy.

Meditate

Two minutes may not sound like enough time to meditate. And for sure, there are amazing benefits from longer meditation sessions. However, a couple of minutes of meditation restores the body and quiets a chattering mind.

Brief, mindful, daily meditation sessions, over a month, reduce stress, ease anxiety, relax muscles, support emotions and create a more compassionate and positive outlook on life.

Sit comfortably with both feet flat on the floor. Rest hands in lap. Close your eyes and take a deep cleansing breath. Focus on breathing slowly and remaining relaxed. If thoughts pop into the mind allow them to pass on through without focusing on them.

After two minutes take another deep breath, open eyes and stretch.

15 Two Minute Health Boosters meditate
15 two minute health boosters – meditate

Try a New Experience

Trying new things, or doing routine things in new ways, stimulates the brain and creates new pathways. Additionally, new experiences open up opportunities, help us discover more about ourselves and even move us beyond fear. And, the fun factor kicks in, making life more interesting and satisfying.

Try simple things like eating with your non-dominant hand, standing on one leg while brushing your teeth, or driving down a street you’ve never traveled on before. Walk in a new park. Choose a shirt that’s different from your typical style. Try something that scares you, just a little, like speaking up at a meeting.

Sun Gazing

Spend two minutes sitting in sunlight, sun gazing. Close eyes, tip head back toward the sun and sit quietly. Do not open eyes and stare directly into the sun.

Sun gazing improves mood, creates feelings of happiness, increases energy and sharpens mental focus. It also boosts the production of melatonin and serotonin. Plus the sunlight creates vitamin D within the body, which strengthens bones.

Walk Barefoot Outside

Get outside for a couple of minutes, walking around your yard or garden. For the best health benefits, take off your shoes and walk barefoot in the grass. This practice, called earthing or grounding, allows the transfer of free electrons from the earth, through the feet, to all parts of the body.

These electrons are powerful antioxidants, beneficial for decreasing levels of inflammation throughout the body by neutralizing free radicals and lowering the potential for disorders such as heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. Grounding thins the blood, lowers blood pressure and make cells less likely to stick together and form clots.

Because free radicals are a major cause of aging as well, keeping the body balanced with electrons from the earth reduces the destructive signs of aging such as wrinkling of the skin and the breakdown of DNA.

15 Two Minute Health Boosters earthing
15 two minute health boosters – earthing

Small Steps Toward Better Health

These small steps toward better health and wellness deliver big returns when practiced regularly. Have fun with these strategies. Mix up your routines. Play.

Better health is built upon the foundation of daily, consistent choices. Choose better health for YOU. Take two minutes to embrace health, and make a long term difference.

15 Two Minute Health Boosters sun gazing
15 two minute health boosters – sun gazing

 


 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40

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Thank you to Trent Peek for This guest post for national Men’s Health week, The Ugly Truth about men approaching 40. Check out his info at the end of the post.

They say age is a number, but it seems that when you are in your 40s that number seems to speed up faster than we want.

When we are in our teens, we all think that we are invincible. 

Our 20s seem to be a blur as the mental power struggle begins as we have the mentality of a teenager, but the responsibilities of an adult

We make mistakes, but we chalk them up to life experiences. 

By the time our 30s approach, the invincibility starts to wear off as we begin to understand that our bodies are not what they used to be.

It’s when the 40s hit that we understand that if we don’t take control of ourselves now, the bad choices we make could affect us years later.

That’s where I am right now, in my late forties. My metabolism is slowing down and the days are speeding past me faster than I can run. 

I started to ask myself if age is a number, why do I feel on certain days that I am 100 years old?

This post is for men who are approaching the age of 40 and what they should expect once they reach this age. Call it an owner’s manual on how to stay healthy and look good for years to come.

By the end of this post, I hope that men regardless of age will have a better understanding of how to win at life going forward.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 title meme

 

What Men Should Expect at Age 40

When I hit 40, I knew something wasn’t right. 

I’d groan in the mornings as I tried to get out of bed. I was making more trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night than I wanted to. Plus, I was starting to forget where I put my car keys on a daily basis.

When men hit their 40s, there are a lot of physical changes that happen that are out of our control.

A lot of these changes happen to the entire body and unfortunately, that is just part of growing older. 

But, a lot of these changes that occur once men hit 40 are controllable, if you are aware of them and stay on top of them.

As men get older, the changes to our bodies are unexpected and sometimes shocking at first. 

We start to see grey hair beginning to show, our energy levels begin to decline, we start to develop a bit of a dad bod that wasn’t there in our thirties, and we start to shrink in height. 

And let’s not talk about the decline in sexual function that is a secret that we only want to talk to our doctors about. Why do you think Viagra makes a ton of money?

The unfortunate thing about growing older is there are no owner’s manuals to read up on to stay two steps ahead of the game. 

But, understanding the body changes that many men will face as we begin to grow older, makes life easier to face.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 pain
The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 – aches and pains

Body Changes That Men Will Face In Their 40s

Prostate

While I was trying to figure out why I was constantly walking up multiple times during the night to pee, I start to realize that my prostate was not what it was like in my 20s or 30s. 

I was right, as I found out that once men hit 25 years old, our prostates slowly begin to grow which eventually creates pressure on the urethra. 

How could this happen? Chalk this up to hormone imbalances. 

The result of our prostates growing can result in frequent urination, difficulty urinating, and problems with the flow of the stream as well. 

The good news is that if men begin to experience situations like this, the good old doctor can subscribe treatment or suggest surgery to elevate these problems.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40
The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 – improve energy with exercise

Energy

There is a thing in our bodies called Mitochondria which is the cell’s energy source. 

Mitochondria are important to our cells because without them our bodies are not able to create energy from the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins we eat. 

This is the reason why as men get older our energy levels begin to drop, and we enjoy watching golf on our couch at home rather than actually playing golf. 

So how can men slow this process down? Simple, start exercising! Cardio and strength training can be your best friend if you wish to maintain the energy you once had in your 20s. 

Cardio is fantastic for maintaining good heart health, and I would suggest HIIT training as it can elevate the heart rate fast and keep you healthy in less than 20-30 minutes a day. 

As for strength training, this is great for maintaining muscle and as a result makes men less fragile than we want to be.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 bald is beautiful
Bald is Beautiful

Hair Loss

I have bad news for you; your hair will start to go. I lost mine in my late teens, so I have come to terms with the fact that I never had a hairstylist in my contact phone list to call every month.

The term alopecia, which is male pattern baldness, starts to hit men in the 30s or 40s. 

Why? Because of the decline in testosterone in our bodies. 

Plus, our genes come into play here as well, as in my case. How can you deal with it? Simple accept it and move on, or talk to your doctor about possible treatments. 

There are some FDA approved treatments out there like Minoxidil which helps promote hair growth, and all you need to do is talk to your doctor. 

My suggestion, buy a hair trimmer and shave it off. The comb-over is so 1970s, and if you look at Jason Statham or the Rock, they can pull it off, so why can’t you! 

Heck, you will be hitting the gym for HIIT training and strength training to maintain your energy, so why not try to look like them?

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 intimacy
The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 – sexual dysfunction

 Sexual Dysfunction 

They say it in the damn Viagra commercial that it’s a secret that we can only talk to our doctors about, and it’s true. 

When men hit their 40s we notice something isn’t right, and our 20s are long gone. Sucks right? Well, not exactly because there are ways to help slow this problem from happening. 

The key to maintaining sexual health is to increase testosterone in the body. 

The simple solution to this is to hit a supplement store and have a daily routine in the morning of taking these pills. 

What supplements should you take? When I was at the local health food store I was told the key to maintaining testosterone levels is to take vitamin D, zinc, and D-aspartic acid. 

Why these supplements? Because they help promote serum testosterone levels. 

While I am not a doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV, and I can’t give a medical option on whether this combination works or not, your body needs these vitamins in your body anyway, so why not just take them. 

Who knows, they might add some lead to your pencil. (Sorry for using that term, I like that saying.)

If you are worried about your testosterone levels, go see a doctor, as they can prescribe testosterone injections for you if they feel that it will help your body function better.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 yoga
Yoga helps strengthen the immune system.

Immune System

The sad thing about getting older is our immune system starts to decline. Those aches and pains that we begin to feel in the mornings are because of inflammation. Inflammation doesn’t just hit the muscles and bones, it hits our organs as well. 

Sucks right? But, a lot of our body’s inflammation is due to stress levels. Plus, with the way the world is today, I am surprised that a lot of 40-year-olds don’t look 80 right now.

So how can you avoid this? I always go back to my favorite tip from someone in their 90s, who looked like they were in their 70s: “It’s all about diet and exercise”. I agree with this statement. 

I’ve already mentioned how important exercise is to our bodies, but following a great nutritional diet and taking supplements like zinc, vitamin E, and probiotics maintain a healthy immune system.

Also, do some yoga! I always thought yoga was not for me at all until I was forced to go to a class. Being told to relax made a huge difference in my stress levels. 

Again, I am not a doctor, but I want to play one on TV if I have the chance.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 healthy foods
Eat Healthy Foods

What Should a 40-year-old Man Eat?

I have mentioned there are some great supplements that you can take to help maintain a working body for men in their 40s, but why not eat them instead? Who doesn’t love food? 

So, what type of foods should men eat in their 40s to maintain a healthy body? Here is a list of great nutritional options for you that will help your body for years to come and please your belly!

Omega-3s

Salmon: Omega-3 fats help in reducing the risk of heart disease, and heart disease is one of the leading causes of early death for men over the age of 40. 

By supplementing your diet with salmon, not only are you eating a lean protein, but providing the essential Omega-3s your heart needs to function. 

My suggestion is to add at least one serving of salmon a week, and then supplement the rest of the week with a good Omega-3 supplement.

Zinc

Red Meat: If you are not a vegan, red meat like steak is a great source of zinc which is a key mineral your body needs for the immune system. 

Don’t overdue your meals with red meat throughout the week, and on your off days add some other sources of zinc into your diet like green vegetables, nuts, and mushrooms. 

Veggies

Vegetables: I have been looking lately into changing my diet lifestyle and getting away from eating red meat. Even though I love a good steak, it’s not particularly popular in the vegan household I live in right now. 

So what vegetables have I been focusing on lately? Well, I have incorporated a lot of green vegetables like kale, mustard greens, and chard into my diet for the added zinc. 

But, I have been adding red peppers and tomatoes into my diet for the high content of vitamin C they bring to the diet, as well as the lycopene which is an antioxidant that helps reduce cell damage.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium/Vitamin D Products: My go to for my daily intake of calcium and vitamin D is milk. 

Calcium and vitamin D are very important in any person’s diet to promote bone density which helps us avoid being a fragile piece of glass in our 80s. 

If you are looking for other alternatives to milk for your calcium/vitamin D intake, there are some great tasting choices available like oat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk.

Multi-vitamin

Side Note: Take a multi-vitamin daily! 

Your body needs it because of the amount of artificial garbage we tend to eat while on the go. Our bodies need help in getting these minerals and vitamins into our bodies to function. 

A multi-vitamin is extremely important.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 fashion
The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 – fashion

 

What Men Should Stop Wearing ASAP

I know we all are trying to reclaim the fountain of youth as we get older, however fashion is not the way to do it. I have seen men in their 40s who are trying to pull off fashion styles that even 20 year olds wouldn’t try. 

What types of clothing am I talking about? Here are the following clothing items that men in their 40s need to stop wearing now!!!

Sports jerseys and hoodies – Everyone likes to show his/her team pride when heading off to a game in a sports jersey of choice, but they don’t exactly work outside a stadium. 

As for hoodies, unless you are coming back from the gym after a great HIIT and strength-building workout, they don’t work well in an office environment. 

Hightop sneakers – Please don’t wear these unless you are called up to the NBA to play with Lebron James and the Lakers. High-ups are for teens who can’t afford a belt and are always pulling up their pants. 

Focus on casual sneakers if you are out and about as they go with pretty much everything, and don’t make you look like you are trying hard to stay young.

Skinny jeans – For the love of God! Stop wearing skinny jeans! Unless you are on top of your game in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and have skinny legs. When it comes to jeans, wear something comfortable that look good on you. 

When in doubt, go into a clothing store and say these words “I am 40, I have no fashion sense and I am looking for a pair of jeans!” You will get the help you truly need.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 cool dude
Be fashionable, dude

 

Conclusion

I know that hitting 40 years old is tough, and I get that age is just a number, but there are ways to avoid getting old.

By following a proper diet, seeing a doctor regularly, and dressing the part, the years following will only get better. At least that’s what I keep telling myself every morning.

The information in this post has not been evaluated by any medical body. Information is provided for educational purposes. You should consult your doctor before acting on any content on this post.

Trent Peek

About the author, Trent Peek – There are things that could be said about me, and there are some that can’t. Wannabe screenwriter, director, actor, and full-time coffee drinker. A man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery. I was born intelligent, but education ruined me. 

Check out Trent’s blog, Peek At This.

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Herbal Iced Teas for Summer

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June 10 is National Iced Tea day. It’s the perfect time to cool off with a refreshing icy drink as temperatures soar.

Most people think of iced tea, sweetened or unsweetened, as the traditional drink made from black tea. I drank the unsweetened version for years. After adopting the practice of afternoon tea, and realizing that my body reacted to traditional teas, I switched to herbal teas.

Herbs make flavorful teas, served hot or cold. And they offer health benefits as well.

Try one of these amazing herbal iced teas for summer.

Herbal Iced Teas for Summer title meme 2

History of Iced Tea

Iced tea is primarily a drink served in the US. Ask for iced tea in England or Scotland and they wonder why you’d ruin a good cup of tea!

South Carolina first grew and produced tea commercially. Tea plants arrived in the late 1700s when French botanist Andre Michaux imported them for Charleston planters.

By the 1800s American cookbooks offered recipes for cold tea in the form of green tea punches. Added liquor often flavored those punches. At the 1893 Chicago World Fair iced green tea and lemonade sold briskly.

By the early 1900s less expensive black tea replaced green tea as the preferred choice for iced tea drinks. The 1904 St. Louis World Fair helped popularize iced tea. Due to the hot summer weather, fair goers sought out cold drinks. Richard Blechynden, India Tea Commissioner, offered free iced tea when he realized no one wanted hot tea. After the fair, he continued to promote iced tea as a desirable summer drink.

Today we drink iced tea year around in the US, with sweet tea common in the southern states.

Herbal Iced Teas for Summer hibiscus
Herbal Iced Teas for Summer – hibiscus and lemon

Herbal Iced Teas for Summer

Try one of these herbal iced teas, for a burst of flavor and a boost of nutrients.

Hibiscus and Lemon

This tart and tasty combination of dried hibiscus and fresh lemon juice refreshes on a hot summer day. It’s one of my favorite herbal iced teas.

4 cups of water, divided

2 teaspoons dried hibiscus or 1 hibiscus tea bag

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 tablespoons raw organic honey

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add dried hibiscus and cover. Allow to steep for 10 – 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator.

In a small bowl combine remaining water, lemon juice and honey, whisking until honey dissolves. Chill lemon water while hibiscus tea cools. Combine cold liquids to create hibiscus lemon tea. Garnish with lemon slices.

Lemon Balm with Wild Blueberries

Lemon balm grows easily in the garden or a container. It’s delicately flavored leaves create a delicious tea. Combine lemon balm tea with berries for a colorful and nutritious drink.

1/2 cup fresh lemon balm leaves or 3 teaspoons dried herb or 1 tea bag

2 cups water, boiling

1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed

Add lemon balm to cup and pour in boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator until cold.

Place thawed blueberries in bottom of large glass. Pour lemon balm tea over berries, add ice and sweeten with organic honey if desired.

Herbal Iced Teas for Summer lemon balm and blueberries
Herbal Iced Teas for Summer – lemon balm and wild blueberries

Thyme and Raspberries

This tasty combo is high in antioxidants and helps destroy viruses. Thyme is another herb easily grown in the garden.

1/3 cup of fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried herb or 1 tea bag

2 cups water, boiling

1/4 cup fresh raspberries or frozen raspberries, thawed

Combine thyme and boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator until cold. Pour thyme tea into a large glass. Add 1/4 cup raspberries and ice. Sweeten tea with organic honey if desired.

Herbal Iced Teas for Summer thyme with raspberries
Herbal Iced Teas for Summer – thyme with raspberries

White Clover

Foraging for wild foods provides fun ingredients for iced teas. Sweet violets, honeysuckle, purslane, cleavers, dandelion and white clover grows in yards and fields. Gather these wild herbs from areas free from pesticides and create a tasty iced tea.

3/4 cup white clover blossoms

2 cups boiling water

Combine clover blossoms and boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator until cold. Add ice and sweeten with organic honey if desired.

Herbal Iced Teas for Summer white clover
Herbal Iced Teas for Summer – white clover

Create Your Own Herbal Blends

The above basic tea recipes are extremely adaptable. Combine mint leaves with cucumber slices, fresh ginger with lemon slices, bee balm with lime juice and fresh strawberries, hibiscus with orange juice, or lemon balm with strawberries.

Herbs and fruits or veggies go well together. However, combine two or more herbs, or foraged wild foods with herbs.

The possibilities truly are endless and that’s perfect for the long, warm summer months ahead.

Herbal Iced Teas for Summer lemon balm and strawberries
Herbal iced teas for summer – lemon balm and strawberries

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Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake

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This Saturday, June 6, is one of those unique holidays. National Applesauce Cake Day offers the opportunity to bake a homey, comforting treat.

Applesauce cake is extremely easy to create, using a few basic pantry items. The recipe adapts well to adding extras such as nuts, raisins and grated apples and tastes great with or without icing.

I accepted the invitation to bake a cake, that this holiday presents. Or, perhaps the correct word is challenge.

Rather than baking a regular cake, mine are vegan, due to my choice to live a plant based lifestyle. And not just vegan…my cakes are gluten free as well. And not just vegan and gluten free…I prefer not to use refined sugar either.

Could I meet all those challenges and create a delicious cake?

Check out this vegan and gluten free applesauce cake. And oh yes, it is refined sugar free as well.

Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake title meme

Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake

This fragrant and flavorful cake is adapted from a recipe from the blog, Veggie Balance. Check out the original recipe HERE. It’s helpful for me to start with a gluten free recipe, and adapt it to meet my other diet restrictions.

For this particular recipe I eliminated eggs and refined sugar, swapping them out for flax eggs and organic, unrefined coconut sugar. For the gluten free flour, I chose a 1-1 blend, meaning 1 cup of gluten free flour equals 1 cup of regular flour.

You can find gluten free flours in a special section in most supermarkets. I picked up a bag at Natural Grocers.

Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake ingredients
Vegan and gluten free applesauce cake – cup4cup gf flour and wholesome organic coconut sugar

Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake Recipe

Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake

This moist and delicious cake is vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp aluminum free baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp melted plant based butter Or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 flax eggs (1 tbsp + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8X8 inch pan with olive oil or coconut oil. Make flax eggs by combining 3 tbsp ground flax seeds with 9 tbsp water. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, sea salt and coconut sugar. Whisk to blend.
  • Make a well in dry mixture. Add melted butter, olive oil, applesauce and flax eggs. Stir with spoon or spatula until combined.
  • Pour batter (it will be thick) into prepared pan. Bake 30 - 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Makes 9 servings.
  • Serve plain, with fresh fruit or with icing of choice.
Keyword applesauce cake, vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free
Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake batter
Batter ready to push into the prepared pan
Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake baked
Cake fresh from the oven. The rosy glow created by the setting sun coming through the kitchen window.

Enjoy This Cake

This vegan and gluten free applesauce cake smelled amazing as it baked. The spices produce a fragrant, cozy scent and an equally wonderful flavor.

I served slices of applesauce cake with fresh strawberries and blueberries. Sugar free whipped coconut topping is another excellent choice.

Whether you serve this luscious cake Saturday for National Applesauce Day or pop it into the oven for a gathering of family or friends, you’ll enjoy the simplicity of this recipe and the wholesome ingredients.

I savored mine this evening, with a cup of hot peppermint tea.

Vegan and Gluten Free Applesauce Cake plated

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Soda’s Negative Impact on the Body

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Normally I stress the positive impact of good health practices, rather than focus on negatives. However, I feel so strongly about this topic that I’m willing to depart from that practice.

I stopped drinking soda, in my case diet soda, more than a dozen years ago. Before that time, I was known as the woman who always had a diet soda with her. Always. If it wasn’t a 20 ounce bottle, it was a 32 ounce happy hour drink from Sonic.

One reason for carrying a soda with me was thirst. I felt parched all the time. Little did I know that my diet soda addiction contributed to my thirst rather than satisfying it.

I stopped drinking diet soda for several health reasons, including constant indigestion, joint pain and dehydration. That decision became the first step toward better health.

Soda’s negative impact on the body is huge and far reaching. Don’t believe me? Check out these 18 reasons to stop drinking soda now.

Sodas Negative Impact on the Body title meme

Soda Facts

Almost half the adult populations, 49%, drink at least one soda a day. A 12 ounce can contains at least 39 grams of sugar. That’s equal to nine and a half teaspoons of sugar, in ONE can. A 20 ounce bottle of soda packs in 65 grams of sugar, or 13 teaspoons. And those happy hour drinks that offer 32 ounces of soda for a great price contain a whopping 91 grams of sugar, which is the same as 21.6 teaspoons.

Imagine stirring that much sugar into a glass of iced tea. The thought literally churns my stomach.

And diet soda is no better, health wise. Diet soda drinkers up their risk for weight gain, increased belly fat and certain types of cancer. Plus it’s not only the sugar that’s detrimental to health. Additives, preservatives and artificial coloring and flavors contribute to increased risks for diseases and disorders, such as the following.

Sodas Negative Impact on the Body sugar
Soda’s negative impact on the body – sugar

Diabetes

Both diet soda and the regular stuff are linked to an increase in type 2 diabetes. Drinking soda creates a sugar spike that forces the body to convert that sugar into fat. And that fat gets stored in the liver.

In just six months, the fat deposits in the liver can increase by 150%, greatly raising the risk for diabetes.

Additionally, diet soda actually increases sugar cravings, contributing to the chances of developing diabetes.

Obesity

One of the greatest risks from consuming soda is obesity. A 20 ounce bottle of soda provides 150 empty calories that do nothing to stave off hunger. Consuming a bottle of soda with every meal for 30 days can add three or more pounds a month and more than 36 pounds in a year.

Extra Belly Fat

Linked with obesity is excess belly fat. Because the sugar in soda quickly converts to fat, and triggers the production of insulin in the process, the body accumulates fat in the belly.

Soda's Negative Impact on the Body belly fat
Soda’s negative impact on the body – extra belly fat

Kidney Stones

One of the most painful medical conditions, often compared to childbirth, kidney stones form when minerals accumulate in the kidneys. Soda drinkers increase their risk for these excruciating stones due to the excess consumption of sugar, phosphoric acid and chronic dehydration.

Fatty Liver

The excessive amount of sugar in soda is linked to a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The body is not able to process all that sugar. Instead it converts the sugar into fat that is stored in the liver. This leads to fatty liver, a serious disorder that increases the risk of early death.

Joint Pain

Not all joint pain is caused by drinking soda. However, those sugary drinks may be aggravating joint pain. Plus the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that women who regularly consume soda increase their risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Additionally, sugar “feeds” inflammation of all kinds in the body. Soda certainly contributes to ongoing inflammation and the pain that accompanies it.

Sodas Negative Impact on the Body joint pain
Soda’s negative impact on the body – joint pain

Cardiovascular Disease

Regularly drinking soda contributes to a greater risk for cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure, lesions and strokes.

Heart failure is linked to diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, all associated with consuming sugary drinks.

Strokes result from increased fat in the body which contributes to hardening of the arteries including those in the brain. Excess sugar is converted to fat.

Soda drinkers are at greater risk for heart attacks, even when controlling other factors such as smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise.

And an additive in citrusy sodas that maintains flavor and appearance, called brominated vegetable oil or BVO,  is linked to an increased risk for heart lesions in rats. BVO is used to create a longer shelf life for soda.

High Cholesterol

Eliminating soda from the diet contributes to a longer life by lowering cholesterol. That can of soda contains more sugar than the body needs in a whole day. High sugar levels are linked to high bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol.

Poor Gut Health

The good gut bacteria inhabiting the intestines affects digestive health and even mental stability. Gut health is vitally important to overall health and wellbeing.

Sugar in soda provides an excellent food source for the bad bacteria that lurks in the intestines as well, while starving good bacteria.

Diet soda is no better. Gut bacteria reacts negatively to the artificial sweeteners in soda and creates metabolic changes. Those changes increase the risk for obesity, memory impairment and digestive disorders.

Sodas Negative Impact on the Body - gut health
Soda’s negative impact on the body – gut health

Infertility

The brominated vegetable oil that extends shelf life has a negative impact on fertility. BVO is banned in Japan and Europe but not in the US. It is linked to early onset puberty and infertility. Avoiding soda can help increase the chances of conception, if infertility is an issue.

Central Nervous System Disorders

Excessive consumption of citrus sodas containing BVO increases the risk of bromism as well, a condition that affects the central nervous system. Bromism contributes to memory loss, muscle weakness, fatigue and mental health issues.

Migraines

Both regular soda and diet soda can trigger the onset of migraine headaches. In addition, the chronic dehydration caused by soda consumption increases the risk of these debilitating headaches.

Sodas Negative Impact on the Body migraines
Soda’s negative impact on the body – migraines

Bloating

Those bubbles that seem so satisfying in carbonated soda settle in the intestines. That gas build up creates uncomfortable bloating resulting in an extended abdomen and even pain.

Heartburn and Ulcers

The bloating that carbonated drinks cause can negatively affect the stomach, causing bloating there as well. This can result in a build up of acid that backs up into the esophagus, creating the condition known as heartburn. The caffeine in soda is acid producing also. All this stomach acid not only causes indigestion but can also increase the risk of digestive tract ulcers and cancers.

Dehydration

Dehydration while drinking a steady supply of sodas seems unusual. However, sugary drinks do nothing to quench thirst. The caffeine in soda has a diuretic effect, causing dehydration that becomes chronic when soft drinks are the primary source of liquids.

Chronic dehydration causes electrolyte imbalance, water retention, heart arrhythmia and a slower metabolic rate that contributes to weight gain.

Always thirsty? Drink more water, not soda.

Sodas Negative Impact on the Body dehydration
Soda’s negative impact on the body – dehydration

Accelerated Aging

Can drinking soda age you? Yes. Sodas are full of phosphates and sugar, which accelerate the aging process at a cellular level. And the preservatives and artificial sweeteners in diet soda increase the growth of cancerous cells.

Plus, dehydrating caffeine negatively affects the skin, creating puffiness under the eyes, dryness, wrinkles and fine lines.

Cola consumption is associated with a loss in bone density, making the body more susceptible to fractures and mobility issues as it ages.

Increased Risk for Cancer

Did you know that a soda addiction can lead to greater risks for certain cancers?

The caramel coloring found in colas and other drinks such as root beer, created from ammonia, causes cancer in mice. Even clear sodas increase the risks of cancers, such as colorectal cancer, due to sugar, preservatives and artificial flavors.

The chemical found in plastic bottles and even aluminum cans, known as BPA, is linked to reproductive issues including cancers.

And artificial sweeteners in diet soda contribute to an increased risk of lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, and bladder cancer.

The chemicals in sodas contribute to neurological disorders such as seizures. While artificial sweeteners can convert to formaldehyde in the body, leading to a higher risk for brain tumors.

Insomnia

A 20 ounce bottle of soda can contain up to 53 mg of caffeine, while the same size container of diet soda jumps to 70 mg. It can take a whole day or more for the body to metabolize that much caffeine. Drinking soda throughout the day may be contributing to sleepless nights, restless legs syndrome and chronic fatigue.

Sodas Negative Impact on the Body insomnia
Soda’s negative impact on the body – insomnia

Kicking the Soda Drinking Addiction

My intention, as a health advocate and blogger, is not to instill fear but encourage health and wellness. If you are serious about improving health, eliminating soda from your diet is a must.

I know how difficult it feels. It took me several tries before successfully kicking the addiction, and trust me, soda drinking is an addiction.

Here a few tips for stopping the soda drinking habit.

  • recognize that soda IS addictive
  • make the choice to stop, for your health
  • wean yourself away from soda slowly
  • start with replacing one soda a day with a glass of water
  • over the next 30 days, replace all sodas with water or unsweetened tea, preferably herbal teas
  • add fruits and veggies to water to boost taste and nutrients
  • carry a metal water bottle full of water everywhere you go
  • avoid foods/situations that create a craving for soda
  • reward yourself for kicking your addiction with a fun event or new outfit

You can do it…I know you can! From experience I know that you CANNOT go back to having “just one soda a day” or “one for a special occasion”. That’s the way back to addiction.

For your health and wellbeing, for increased vitality and energy and for your children and grandchildren and their health, stop drinking the soda. Get past the cravings…and the heartburn, insomnia and joint pain. You won’t regret it.

No More Soda

Encourage water consumption with these finds:

 


 

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.

 

 

 

 

10 Easy One Pot Vegan Meals

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A one pot meal uses simple ingredients and just one pot or skillet to prepare a delicious lunch or dinner. Typically, the meal is ready to eat in under 30 minutes. And these 10 easy one pot vegan meals take this convenient concept one step further. They are all plant based.

When you need a quick and nutritious meal, try one of these. Whether you are vegan or not, I think you’ll find them an amazing option for a satisfying meatless meal.

10 Easy One Pot Vegan Meals

Round Up of 10 Easy One Pot Vegan Meals

I love the convenience of these easily prepared meals. Using a soup pot, dutch oven or skillet, a hot, nutritious dinner is on the table in short order. One pot means less mess in the kitchen and a speedy clean up too. Less time in the kitchen frees up more time to spend with family, play outside or enjoy some downtime in the evening.

Check out these recipes from Journey With Healthy Me and other awesome health conscious, foodie bloggers. Just click on the underlined titles to go to the recipes.

Vegan Pot Pie Soup

from Journey With Healthy Me

This yummy alternative to traditional pot pie brings all those homey flavors into a soup that’s dairy free. It’s comfort food without the distress that dairy products can bring.

10 Easy One Pot Vegan Meals pot pie soup
10 easy one pot vegan meals – pot pie soup

Creamy Tomato One Pot Pasta

from Food With Feeling

This dinner comes together in minutes using pantry staples. Swap out the fresh vegetables for frozen, if desired. And use gluten free pasta of your choice, if you are gluten sensitive.

Basic One Pan Pasta

from Feel Good Foodie

Martha Stewart perfected the one pan pasta recipes, back in 2013. Uncooked pasta is added to the pot, along with the other ingredients, and they all cook together. I’ve tried several of these recipes and they work! You don’t have to precook the pasta. This recipe is a basic version that’s easy to adapt. Add more veggies or herbs, if desired.

 

One Pan Pasta
10 easy one pot vegan meals – basic one pan pasta. Photo from Feel Good Foodie blog.

Creamy Vegan Caprese Pasta

from She Likes Food

This simple pasta dish uses fresh cherry tomatoes and basil. Use penne pasta, regular or gluten free. This recipe makes a great summer time meal.

Creamy Caprese Pasta
10 easy one pot vegan meals – creamy caprese pasta. Photo from She Likes Food blog.

Thai Peanut Zucchini Noodles

from Flavor the Moments

I love Thai food. This easy to prepare meal combines zucchini noodles with veggies in a Thai peanut sauce.  This light, summery meal does require a spiralizer, to turn zucchini into noodles. Pick up one below.

Vegan Thai Peanut Zucchini Noodles
10 easy one pot vegan meals – Thai peanut zucchini noodles. Photo from Flavor the Moments blog.

Creamy Spinach Pasta

from Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen

One pot, 10 simple ingredients, 10 minutes for this flavorful dish! The recipe calls for vegan cream cheese, or the recipe creator provides a DIY version that you can substitute. As with all the pasta dishes, you can use gluten free pasta if you want.

One Pot Creamy Spinach Pasta
10 easy one pot vegan meals – creamy spinach pasta. Photo from Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen blog.

Cowboy Beans

from Contentedness Cooking

I can’t wait to try this recipe! Really, I’ll be cooking these up this weekend. This hearty meal uses a homemade, sugar free BBQ sauce, recipe included, or you can substitute your favorite brand. Ready in just 15 minutes, Cowboy Beans are perfect to take to family gatherings.

Cowboy Beans
10 easy one pot vegan meals – cowboy beans. Photo from Contentedness Cooking blog.

Veggie Spring Rolls Fried Rice

from Vegan Richa

Do you love those spring rolls that come with Chinese food? Then you’ll love this gluten free, nut free recipe that’s ready to eat in 30 minutes. Use up that leftover rice in the fridge for this one.

Veggie Spring Rolls Fried Rice
10 easy one pot vegan meals – veggie spring rolls fried rice. Photo from Vegan Richa blog.

Chickpea, Cashew & Broccoli Skillet

from Make It Dairy Free

This delicious combination of chickpeas, broccoli and cashews in a savory garlic sauce is ready in 20 minutes. Use a skillet for the Chinese takeout inspired dish.

Chickpea, Cashew and Broccoli Skillet
10 easy one pot vegan meals – chickpea, cashew and broccoli skillet. Photo from Make It Dairy Free blog.

Aloo Matar Soup

from Journey With Healthy Me

And finally, this soup is inspired by the mildly spicy Indian dish, Aloo Matar. Potatoes, onions, garlic and peas combine in a rich tomato broth seasoned with garam masala and curry. I created this recipe during my 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday celebration.

I hope you’ll visit the other blogs and find more healthy and delicious recipes to try. Happy cooking…and enjoy spending less time in the kitchen!

10 Easy One Pot Vegan Meals aloo matar soup
10 easy one pot vegan meals – aloo matar soup

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International Hummus Day

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May 13 is International Hummus Day! Established in 2012, this unique holiday celebrates appreciation for this dairy free, gluten free, plant based treat.

Created by Ben Lang, International Hummus Day sets the intention that people from around the world come together to share a meal featuring this dish originally made from chickpeas. We may not be able to gather currently, however we can enjoy hummus from our homes and share favorite recipes with each other.

In fact, hummus is incredible easy to make, using a blender or food processor. And it requires very few ingredients. Check out the eight fun recipes below!

International Hummus Day title meme

Good for You Hummus

Although both Israel and Lebanon claim the origination of hummus, we do know the chickpea dish has been around since the 12th century. And for good reason.

Hummus, which means “chickpea” in Arabic, is not only yummy to eat, it is good for us too. Filled with protein, fiber, potassium, B6, folate, vitamin C, iron and antioxidants, hummus helps to curb hunger cravings, lowers cholesterol and can even reduce the risks of certain types of cancers.

Traditionally made with chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, lentils, black beans and avocados make amazing hummus as well.

Try one or all of these simple to prepare recipes.

Easy Classic Hummus

With a food processor, a few pantry staples combine to form this healthy and delicious snack or meal, served up with fresh veggies or gluten free crackers.

Check out the recipe for easy classic hummus from my blog site, and enjoy!

International Hummus Day classic
International Hummus Day – classic

Black Bean Hummus

This hummus recipe from Anthony William features black beans, avocado, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, garlic, cumin and coriander. It makes an excellent wholesome meal that provides tons of health benefits. Check out the recipe and benefits for Black Bean Hummus or visit the Medical Medium site.

International Hummus Day black bean
International Hummus Day – black bean

Chipotle Hummus

Spicy Chipotle Hummus, from Hey Nutrition Lady, is oil free and made with tahini, garlic, and spicy chipotle peppers. It’s perfect served as a spread on sandwiches and wraps or with gluten free crackers.

Chipotle hummus
International Hummus Day – chipotle. Photo from Hey Nutrition Lady blog.

Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

This hummus is spicy as well, thanks to jalapeno peppers, with a kick of lime. Created by Food, Faith, Fitness, Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus does not use the traditional ingredient tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), making it perfect when you don’t have any on hand!

Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus
International Hummus Day – cilantro jalapeno hummus. Photo from Food Faith Fitness blog.

Everything Bagel Hummus

This simple, creamy hummus, from Choosing Chia, makes the perfect yummy snack. Everything Bagel Hummus features roasted garlic, sesame oil and onion powder for that everything bagel flavor.

Everything Bagel Hummus
International Hummus Day – everything bagel. Photo from Choosing Chia blog.

Dill Pickle Hummus

This fun hummus, created by Bree’s Vegan Life, is tangy with dill and it’s oil free also. Dill Pickle Hummus is a flavorful choice with pita chips, cucumber slices or veggie sticks.

Dill Pickle Hummus
International Hummus Day – dill pickle. Photo from Bree’s Vegan Life blog.

Lentil Hummus

I love protein packed lentils. They are so good for us. This Lentil Hummus, from Elephantastic Vegan, is super easy to make and oil free. It’s great served with veggie sticks or gluten free crackers.

Lentil Hummus
International Hummus Day – lentil. Photo from Elephantastic Vegan blog.

Avocado Hummus

Home. Made. Interest. offers this tasty combination of chickpeas and fresh avocados in Avocado Hummus. This wonderfully flavored dip makes a great lunch or afternoon snack, paired with veggies or non GMO tortilla chips.

Avocado Hummus
International Hummus Day – avocado. Photo from Home. Made. Interest. blog.

International Hummus Day

These recipes can help you get started, trying out a variety of hummus recipes. And of course, you can always purchase hummus at the grocery store. The hummus industry grew from $5 million in 2002, to $725 million annually in 2016. That’s an amazing jump and an indication that people love this healthy treat.

Which recipe do you want to try first? Please visit these wonderful websites and then let me know…what’s your favorite hummus? And if you have a hummus recipe to share, send it to me! I love passing on healthy plant based recipes.

International Hummus Day sesame seed
International Hummus Day – sesame seed

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Five Ways to Boost Respiratory Health

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With all that’s going on in the world, one thing we’ve learned is the importance of health. We can protect ourselves from respiratory viruses in two crucial ways, lessening the risk of getting sick: create a strong immune system and boost respiratory health.

Check out this post for ways to strengthen the immune system.

In this post, learn five ways to boost respiratory health.

Five Ways to Boost Respiratory Health title meme

What Happens in the Lungs

When a respiratory virus enters the body, it first attacks mucus membranes and then moves to the lungs. The body reacts, creating inflammation in the lungs to combat the invader. Inflammation makes it more difficult for the lungs to oxygenate blood and push carbon dioxide out, leaving the person gasping for air. Health can quickly deteriorate as infection sets in.

To give the body and lungs the best defense possible, against bacterial and viral invasions, adopt these strategies.

Don’t Smoke or Vape

Smoking and vaping brings a foreign substance into the lungs, irritating them and setting off inflammation. Ultimately, smoking destroys lung tissue, decreasing the amount of oxygen the blood carries throughout the body. Plus, smoking suppresses the immune system. Breathing second hand smoke is just as harmful to the lungs. Avoid it too.

Five Ways to Boost Respiratory Health no smoking
Five ways to boost respiratory health – no smoking

Exercise

Thirty minutes a day moving the body improves respiratory health. Exercising causes us to take deeper breaths which expand the lung’s air sacks. Walking, aerobics, dancing, swimming, biking and gardening all increase respiration. Additionally exercise decreases inflammation in the lungs and throughout the body.

Try these specific breathing exercises to further benefit the lungs.

Breathe in slowly through the nose, to a count of five. Hold breath for three seconds, then breathe out through the mouth, pushing all the air out of the lungs. Repeat several times.

Breathe in slowly through the mouth, filling the lungs. Then push the air out through pursed lips, like you are trying to blow up a balloon. Empty the lungs. Repeat several times.

Five Ways to Boost Respiratory Health yoga
Five ways to boost respiratory health – exercise such as yoga

Eat Foods High in Antioxidants

Foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants improve respiratory health. Add the following to your diet regularly:

  • red bell peppers
  • papaya
  • kiwi
  • leafy greens
  • cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts and broccoli
  • apples
  • pears
  • berries
  • walnuts
  • aromatic herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary and oregano
  • nettle leaf
  • sweet potatoes
  • raw organic honey
  • walnuts
  • cayenne pepper
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • garlic
Five Ways to Boost Respiratory Health berries
Five ways to boost respiratory health – berries

Reduce Excess Mucus

Mucus is an important part of the body’s defense against invaders. It helps to trap allergens, bacteria and viruses. However, when the body produces too much mucus, it becomes a breeding ground, ramping up the reproduction of bacteria and viruses. Plus excessive mucus clogs the nose and airways, restricting airflow.

To help eliminate excess mucus, reduce or eliminate dairy and wheat products. Both can increase mucus production. And increase spicy foods. They thin mucus, which makes it easier to cough out.

Try a saline spray or rinse in the nose, to thin mucus and wash away allergens.

Clear airways with the steam from a hot shower.

And stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water thins out mucus as well.

Five Ways to Boost Respiratory Health hydrate
Five ways to boost respiratory health – stay hydrated

Avoid Allergens and Pollutants

Allergens and pollutants clog the nose by increasing mucus production. Avoid being outside on days with a high pollen count or heavy air pollution.

Indoors control dust, wash bedding frequently and change filters on the air conditioner often.

And, eat a nutritious diet high in fruits and vegetables to avoid seasonal allergies, naturally. Such a diet strengthens the immune system which helps to alleviate allergy symptoms. Check out a list of inflammation reducing foods HERE.

Additionally, avoid the following foods, as they create inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system:

  • eggs
  • gluten
  • canola oil
  • GMO soy
  • GMO corn
  • dairy products
  • MSG
Five Ways to Boost Respiratory Health allergies
Five ways to boost respiratory health – avoid allergens

Journey Toward Health

The world continues to shift, daily. We have no control over many events occurring and situations unfolding. However, we can control what we eat, how much we move our bodies, how we care for ourselves and the perspectives we have.

A stronger, healthier body decreases the risk for illnesses and diseases and increases vitality and well being. No matter your age, it’s not too late to reclaim health and live a better life. Let’s journey toward health, together.

Five Ways to Boost Respiratory Health

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