Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble

 

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July is National Blueberry Month. These superfood berries are at their peak of ripeness as summer gets underway.

In honor of the month, I created a new…and super simple…healthy blueberry treat. Using items I keep on hand…that you probably do too…this dessert came together in a few minutes, while supper simmered on the stove.

Try this easy vegan blueberry crumble for your next get together, tea time or for a simple after supper dessert.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble title meme

Benefits of Blueberries

I love these delicious berries. And, it turns out, they love me too.

Although domestic blueberries are beneficial as well, it’s the wild blueberry that brings the most health benefits.

They contain extremely high levels of antioxidants, delivering healing to any damaged part of the body. Wild blueberries effectively eradicate heavy metals and other toxins from the body. Plus they are a powerful brain food and amazing at restoring the liver.

Wild blueberries can help prevent any type of cancer and they are so restorative that they are beneficial for any symptom, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. (Info from Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William)

I keep a bag of frozen wild blueberries in the freezer, to add to morning smoothies or vegan treats such as scones.

If you don’t have wild blueberries, use fresh or frozen domesticated blueberries, which are those typically found in the produce or freezer sections of the grocery store.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble wild berries
Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble – wild blueberries mixed with gluten free flour

Ingredients for Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble

For this simple treat I used frozen wild blueberries, gluten free flour, vegan butter, coconut sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. These are all ingredients that I keep on hand.

Besides the ingredients, you just need a couple of mixing bowls and an 8X8 baking dish.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble baked

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble

This easy dessert is vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen wild or regular blueberries
  • 2 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup plant based butter
  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • coconut oil for baking dish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub coconut oil in 8x8 baking dish.
  • If using frozen blueberries, measure 4 cups into a colander and let thaw slightly.
  • Melt plant based butter. Combine oats, coconut sugar, butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Transfer blueberries into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of gluten free flour and mix gently.
  • Place blueberries into prepared 8x8 baking dish. Top with oat crumble.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Makes 6 servings.
Keyword Blueberry Crumble, Vegan

 

Tips for Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble

If using frozen blueberries, wild or regular, allow them to thaw slightly in a colander.

Any gluten free flour is fine. I used a 1:1 gluten free flour, meaning one cup of the gluten free flour equals one cup of regular flour. You may also use almond or oat flour. And if you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, use whatever flour you have on hand.

I also use plant based butter. There are several good brands available, in regular grocery stores or health conscious stores. The coconut sugar is darker than refined sugar and tastes more like brown sugar, but less sweet.

You can add chopped nuts to the crumble topping, if desired.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble ready to bake
Easy vegan blueberry crumble ready to bake.
Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble baked
Easy vegan blueberry crumble fresh from the oven.

The Taste Test

As supper finished up, the kitchen filled with the wonderful aroma of baking blueberry crumble. I let it cool for a short time, and then tried it with a cup of hot peppermint tea.

This blueberry crumble is a winner with me! It’s rich with juicy blueberries and I love the slightly crunchy oat topping. The crumble isn’t overly sweet, which is perfect for me. And I can prepare this treat quickly, whenever I want something a bit more than plain fruit.

Are you a fan of blueberries? I hope you’ll enjoy this easy crumble.

And try something from this round up of blueberry recipes. Share your favorite way of enjoying blueberries in the comments below!

Ready to eat blueberry crumble
Yummy blueberry crumble!

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Ten Benefits of Meditation

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Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and body by focusing on breath as it flows in and out of the body. Focusing on breath, or a visual image held in the mind, helps keep the practitioner anchored in the present moment.

Learning meditation is easy. However, it takes time and patience to learn to still the mind and not allow thoughts to pull attention away. The practice is worth learning, for physical, mental and spiritual health.

Learn a simple meditation below. Then check out ten benefits of meditation.

Ten Benefits of Meditation title meme

How to Meditate

Follow these simple steps, to begin a meditation practice:

  • Sit comfortably in a chair, with both feet flat on the floor. Find a quiet place or play meditation music in the background.
  • Close your eyes and relax your body. Note whether muscles are tense, beginning at your feet and working your way up the body to the top of the head. Intentionally relax any tight or tense muscles.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply, paying attention to your breath as it comes into the body and goes out.
  • When your mind wanders…and it will…gently bring attention back to your breath. You’ll learn to allow thoughts to pass on by, in your mind, without focusing on them. Come back to your breath as many times as necessary, without criticizing yourself.
  • When you feel ready, take several deep breaths and then open your eyes. Slowly move arms and legs and note how you feel.

That’s a basic meditation. After you become accustomed to meditating, you can try moving to different locations or staying in a meditative state longer.

Ten Benefits of Meditation

For many years spiritual communities recognized the benefits meditation. However, recently scientists agree that meditation does in fact contribute to greater health and wellbeing.

Here are ten benefits of meditation.

Reduces Stress

Meditation relaxes the body, creating the opposite of the “fight or flight” response we have to stress. Our breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism slows, contributing to a deeper sense of peace and relaxation.

Plus meditation helps to clear away the accumulation of information that we are exposed to daily, quieting the mind and allowing tense muscles to unknot.

Provides Emotional Balance

Meditation trains us to notice and observe our emotions, rather than attempting to change them. We learn to let emotions go…just as we do our thoughts. Any feelings or emotions that surface during meditation are acknowledged and then released.

Ten Benefits of Meditation walking
Ten Benefits of Meditation – try a walking meditation, focusing on slow steps

Increases Focus

Researchers at Harvard suggest that our minds are “lost in thought” 47% of the time. And when our thoughts are drifting, they are replaying the past or worrying about the future.

Meditation trains the mind to stay in the present moment, rather than wandering. There’s scientific evidence that meditation actually causes distinct changes in brain function, improving focus and concentration.

Eases Pain

When stressed, the body releases the stress hormone cortisol that contributes to inflammation and increases discomfort in joints and muscles.

Meditation helps the brain release natural pain relievers called endorphins. Tight, tense muscles and tendons relax, easing discomfort. With continued practice, meditation can increase pain tolerance, lower hypertension and deepen respirations. It shifts the focus away from pain, and what the mind focuses on, expands. Focus on pain and it increases. Focus on relaxing the body and breathing and muscles respond by loosening.

Ten Benefits of Meditation corner
Ten Benefits of Meditation – create a meditation corner in your garden or backyard

Soothes Anxiety

Anxiety happens when we experience too much stress. We feel always on edge, and always on alert to danger. Meditation helps us to become aware of the stressors creating anxiety and release them. We also realize that while we may not be able to change situations, we can change how we respond to them.

Meditation allows the mind to acknowledge the anxiety, without focusing on it. We note those feelings and simply allow them to exist without amplifying them with our attention.

Increases Creativity

Meditation opens the mind to new ideas and possibilities. We don’t have to try to be more creative. Creativity comes naturally as the mind and body releases stress and anxiety and regulates emotions.

And because meditation improves focus it’s easier to recognize fresh ideas and develop them. Mindful activities such as coloring or gardening provide meditative experiences that allow creativity to flourish.

Ten Benefits of Meditation gardening
Ten Benefits of Meditation – increased creativity

Reduces Depression

A regular meditation practice helps the brain better manage stress and anxiety. Both of these can trigger depression. Depression contributes to higher risks for heart disease and illnesses. It can also affect daily life and cognitive function, especially memory.

Meditation helps ease depression by altering the way we react to stressors. It trains the brains to focus and to return to that focus when negative thinking or emotions intrude.

Meditation also changes regions of the brain specifically linked to depression. The medial prefrontal cortex…or “me center”…processes information about self. This is where we dwell on the past or worry about the future. And the amygdala is the “fear center”. This is where the fight or flight response is centered. When it’s triggered, the brain releases the stress hormone cortisol.

These two regions of the brain work off of each other, to create depression. Meditation helps to break the connection between these two regions and calm the brain.

Boosts Memory

Ten minutes of meditation a day improves concentration and focus while boosting the ability to keep information active in the mind. This function is known as “working memory”.

Through meditation the brain becomes more efficient, and neural networks become more refined, requiring fewer brain resources.

Ten Benefits of Meditation trail
A quiet, solitary walk through the woods has a meditative effect on the mind and body

Increases Compassion

A recent study suggests that mindfulness meditation helps us overcome the “bystander effect”, increasing compassionate behavior. The bystander effect happens when we witness someone needing help but do nothing to provide assistance.

Two possible explanations exist for increased compassion. Meditation gives people a greater awareness of their surroundings. And it enhances the ability to see perspectives from another person’s viewpoint. It’s also possible that meditation allows us to better process our emotions, freeing up resources to feel more empathy toward others.

Improves Productivity

How does meditation improve productivity? It reduces stress, which disrupts sleep, promotes depression and anxiety, and clouds thinking. Meditation controls the stress hormone cortisol, easing the effects of stress and boosting productivity.

Meditation also enhances creativity, a characteristic that keeps us moving forward on tasks and projects.

And meditation calms the mind, redirects attention and controls impulsive emotions. This increase focus and attention which helps boost productivity as well.

Creating a Meditation Practice

I began meditating about 15 years ago, initially to quiet my racing mind and to help me confront my fears. What I discovered, through a daily meditation practice, is that I also lowered pain by relaxing tight muscles, let go of negative thoughts, opened my creativity and increased my intuitive abilities.

Although I sometimes meditated for an hour or more, ten to 15 minutes is sufficient. I encourage a daily meditation practice for the greatest benefits.

In the beginning, I found it helpful also to meditate in the same place every time. My body and mind learned that when I sat in a particular chair, relaxation followed, allowing me to quickly enter a state of deep peace.

Meditation is a loving act of kindness toward the self. It’s a time free from judgment or criticism. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor or hold your hands a certain way. Simply relax the body, close the eyes (to prevent distractions) and focus on breathing. When you feel ready to end the session, do so.

Is meditation a part of your health and wellbeing? Share your thoughts below!

Meditate in nature
Moving water creates a soothing background noise for meditation

 

Meditation Helps 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.

 

Summer Picnic Vegan Style

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July is National Picnic Month. Midsummer is the perfect time for family picnics, a spontaneous meal for one outdoors or a romantic basket lunch laid out on a bright checkered cloth.

Since adopting a plant based lifestyle, I realized I’ve not enjoyed many picnics. Typically picnics include traditional fare such as fried chicken, sandwiches, chips, sugary snacks and staples such as potato or macaroni salad.

In honor of the month long celebration and my healthier lifestyle, here are ways to experience a summer picnic vegan style!

Summer Picnic Vegan Style title meme

Origins of the Picnic

The word picnic comes from the French word “piquenique”. The al fresco practice began in France, in the mid-18th century. Early picnics consisted of a loaf of bread, cheese, fruit and wine.

Today we carry along picnics for sporting events, family gatherings or weekend camping trips. Locations for picnics might include a shady, grassy area near a creek, a picnic table beneath a tree or a backyard patch of lawn.

Bring along simple finger foods, fresh fruits and salads, sandwiches and drinks. Enjoy sharing that meal with family and friends or grab a book and eat a beautiful meal on your own, while you read.

The American Bakers’ Association founded National Picnic Month in 1952.

Summer Picnic Vegan Style garden
My picnic spot…my backyard garden. I love how wildly beautiful it looks this time of year!

Summer Picnic Vegan Style

You can purchase ready made foods and pack them in a tote or basket. Bring along a chest filled with ice for foods that need to stay cool.

Last year, Greg and I toted in a simple, mostly purchased picnic lunch, to Tulsa’s Philbrook Gardens. We found a picnic table deep in the gardens and enjoyed a healthy meal.

Or you can make your own dishes and snacks to enjoy.

Try the following foods, for a perfect vegan picnic. Click links for recipes.

Hummus

Made from chickpeas, you can purchase hummus or easily make your own. Try this simple recipe. Serve veggies with hummus. Carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes or slices of zucchini or yellow squash are great choices. Or bring along vegan, gluten free crackers.

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

This quick and easy sandwich filling replaces tuna or egg salad. Simply mash a can…or two cups cooked…of chickpeas. I use a hand held potato masher. Add several tablespoons of vegan mayo or a small amount of hummus, 1/4 cup each of finely chopped red onions and celery and 1/2 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder. You can also include chopped green peppers or diced pickles and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Chill for an hour. Use to make sandwiches with gluten free bread. Or eat as a salad without bread.

Summer Picnic Vegan Style chickpea salad
Summer picnic vegan style – chickpea salad

Veggie Wraps

A great alternative to sandwiches, veggies wraps are easy to prepare and eat. Start with a gluten free tortilla, then add whatever veggies you have on hand: shredded carrots, arugula, spinach, kale, shredded red cabbage, julienne green, red, yellow or orange peppers, zucchini or mushrooms. Add veggies to tortilla, drizzle with favorite dressing, then roll tightly. Secure with a toothpick, if necessary.

Try one of these homemade healthy dressings.

Waldorf Salad

Tote along this vegan version of the classic Waldorf salad. A glass container with a tight fitting lid works perfectly. I love the crunch of apples and celery combined with walnuts and juicy grapes. Use vegan mayo as the dressing. Recipe here.

Summer Picnic Vegan Style waldorf
Summer picnic vegan style – vegan Waldorf salad

Potato Salad

It’s easy to create vegan potato salad. Peel, dice and cook 4 – 6 potatoes until tender. Drain. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, 1/4 cup diced yellow onions, 1/4 cup diced celery, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 cup vegan mayo and 2 teaspoons yellow mustard. Chill. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with ground paprika, if desired.

Cowboy Beans

A great alternative to baked beans, prepare a pot of vegan cowboy beans and tote along a small container full for the picnic. Recipe here.

Macaroni Salad

For my picnic, I prepared potato salad and macaroni salad at the same time.

Start with two cups of cooked gluten free macaroni. I used brown rice pasta. Add 1/4 cup diced red or yellow onions, 1/4 cup diced celery, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup vegan mayo and if desired, finely chopped pickles. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with ground paprika, if desired.

Vegan Macaroni Salad
Summer picnic vegan style – vegan macaroni salad

Vegan Desserts

Healthy treats make great accompaniments for your picnic.

These chocolate cookies contain only three ingredients.

Or, if you feel like a different dessert that tastes wonderful and looks gorgeous, try this rustic apple galette.

Fresh berries make a simple, nutritious end to the meal as well.

Rustic Apple Galette
Rustic Apple Galette

Other Vegan Picnic Foods

In addition, include any of the following:

  • cut up vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, radishes or small peppers
  • assortment of nuts and/or seeds
  • energy bites
  • homemade trail mix containing nuts, dried fruit and seeds
  • watermelon slices
  • fruit such as sliced apples, oranges, bananas, grapes or cherries
Summer Picnic Vegan Style
My summer picnic vegan style

My Picnic

I had this post scheduled to write, using recipes from previous posts along with the simple potato and macaroni salads.

Then inspiration struck.

For the month of July, I’m participating in a Yes Month. The purpose is to encourage participants to say YES more than they say NO. Sometimes no is our default response. We say it without thinking. Saying yes encourages us to go beyond comfort zones, stop putting off projects or tasks and accept invitations. Yeses allow for more spontaneity as well.

As I prepared to write this post, I decided to say yes to a summer picnic for myself, and enjoy it in my backyard garden.

What fun to make macaroni salad and chickpea salad for a sandwich and include cowboy beans already prepared in the fridge. I added chilled chunks of watermelon and a bowl of fresh Rainier cherries.

Popping on a wide brimmed hat, I carried my lunch into the garden and enjoyed a picnic for one. It was beautiful, sitting in the corner meditation area where I could see my wildly blooming garden.

Your Picnic

Where will you go this month, for a picnic? And what foods will you pack along, for your outdoor meal?

Share with me your favorite picnic staples!

My Picnic Lunch

 

Picnic finds 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.