fitspa

Post-run recovery dinner & drink: Spiralized Zucchini & Cucumber with Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto topped with fresh mint and basil, Vega Recovery Performance Protein Chilled Chocolate Shake

When I workout or run in the evening, the last thing I want to do is negate all my efforts by eating something that’s loaded in complex carbs and fats that I just don’t need sitting heavy in me right before bed. But I want to get the nutrients I need to revitalize me after a good sweat session. That is why I am head over heels with my new Spiralizer, raw pesto packed with fresh kale, basil, mint, and nutrient & protein packed Spirulina and Nutritional Yeast. With the warmer weather here, I’m craving light, crisp, fresh food. All I need is 1 zucchini and 1 cucumber and my homemade pesto, and I’ve got a delicious dinner at my fingertips, no cooking required. 

I understand that raw pasta may not be for everyone, especially if you expect spiralized zucchini to taste exactly like spaghetti. Thinking of this dish as a light and summery way to satisfy a pasta craving may help the raw pasta love flow. I like topping it off with fresh basil and mint leaves and if I have them on hand, raw pumpkin seeds sprinked on top to compliment the pesto. 

Recipe:

Pesto Pasta with Spiralized Zucchini and Cucumber
Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2-3/4 cup of vegan pumpkin seed pesto (recipe in my previous post, here)
  • 1 medium zucchini, spiralized into thin noodles
  • 1 medium cucumber, spiralized into thin noodles
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds

1.  Make one batch of vegan pesto. 
2.  Spiralize cucumber first - drain the excess water from the cucumber out of the spiralizer. Instead of tossing it, I pour it into a shot glass and sip it. Mmmm refreshing!
3.  Spiralize zucchini.
4. Toss in the pesto. Top with fresh mint and basil leaves, and sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds on top for an added crunch. 

Enjoy!

Stuff I love

I’ll be posting new “Stuff I Love” weekly, stay tuned. 

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Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar - Being rich in natural minerals, vitamins and enzymes makes apple cider vinegar a great addition to any detox. The unique acids in apple cider vinegar can bind to toxins and help the body eliminate them more effectively. It’s important to buy an apple cider vinegar that is organic and unfiltered so that all of its nutritional value is intact. The Bragg’s brand is great. The hazy looking stuff that settles to the bottom is called “the mother” and it is the most nutritious part of the apple cider vinegar for its therapeutic benefits. Apple cider vinegar can also help to stimulate circulation and aid detoxification in the liver by breaking up mucus throughout the body and cleansing the lymph nodes to allow for better lymph circulation. A healthy lymphatic system can remove toxins from the cells in the body while improving immune system response.  I add 1-2 tablespoons of Bragg’s ACV to hot water, adding organic maple syrup or raw honey, fresh squeezed lemon, and a few dashes of cayenne pepper, and drink a big warm mug of it anytime I’m feeling a cold come on, or when I have a full blown rotten bug, I’ll be drinking a few cups a day until symptoms completely subside. I no longer take cold medicines – bye bye Mucinex and Sudafed. This stuff works like a miracle to break up mucus, fight inflammation, clear sinuses and respiratory blocks, I promise you that. I also drink this as a detox tea to help digestion and rid toxins out of my body. ACV possesses antimicrobial and antiseptic properties - it works wonders!

Bragg’s Amino Acid - Bragg Liquid Aminos is a healthy alternative to Soy and Tamari sauce. No table salt or preservatives are added. Amino Acids are the building blocks of all our organs and tissues. They are also the building blocks from which different food proteins are constructed. When we eat a protein food, such as meat or soybeans, the natural hydrochloric acid in the stomach digests the protein, releasing the Amino Acids. They are the link between the food we eat and assimilation for our body tissue. Lack of adequate Amino Acids may make it impossible for the vitamins and minerals to perform their specific duties. Bragg’s Amino Acid tastes just like soy sauce, but it is not made from GMO soy, unlike the stuff you’ll get from your local sushi joint. But just like regular soy sauce, it’s high in sodium so don’t douse your food in it!

Organic Raw Maca Powder - Used to increase stamina, boost libido, and combat fatigue, maca root has long been regarded as a highly adaptogenic food. Navitas Naturals Raw Maca Powder is the raw and natural form of this special root – gently dried and ground to preserve it’s vitality and nutritional structure. With an earthy taste that is slightly nutty with a hint of butterscotch, maca is easily blended into superfood smoothies, chocolates, or mixed into flour for dessert recipes. I add maca powder to my smoothies when I need an extra kick. At a cooking demo led by my ayurvedic nutritionist & yoga instructor Donnalynn Civello, we had delicious cacao-chip cookies made with maca powder – absolutely heavenly (and feeling pretty revved up afterwards!)

Raw Honey – Unfortunately, most of the honey eaten today has been heavily processed. Like most foods that have been chemically refined, many of the healthful benefits have been reduced or eliminated. Commercial honey is often treated with an excessive heating process that can destroy some of the critical natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. That honey bear from CVS or the grocery store – I will bet your bottom dollar that honey is not real honey and contains zero nutritional benefit – just adds sugary sweet taste to your tea. Raw Honey is a miracle for allergies and respiratory ailments. Raw honey contains bits and pieces of pollen and honey, and as an immune system booster, it is quite powerful - especially if you are using raw honey to treat allergies, get honey that was raised closest to where you live, the closer the better since it will have more of exactly what you’ll need. As mentioned above with Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar – I now steer clear of traditional over-the-counter cold meds. Some tea and raw honey does the trick, naturally. Raw honey is the concentrated nectar of flowers that comes straight from the extractor; it is the only unheated, pure, unpasteurized, unprocessed honey. An alkaline-forming food, this type of honey contains ingredients similar to those found in fruits, which become alkaline in the digestive system. It doesn’t ferment in the stomach and it can be used to counteract acid indigestion. When mixed with ginger andlemon juices, it also relieves nausea and supplies energy.

Spirulina – Sprirulina supports brain and eye health, cardiovascular health, maintain healthy thyroid function, and boosts immunity and energy levels. Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica thrives in ponds fed with 100% fresh potable water from Hawaiian aquifers and pure, deep ocean water drawn from 2000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Read my “Green Smoothie” blog post to see why I drink a detox Green Smoothie with kale and almond milk every morning.

Nutritional Yeast – Nutritional Yeast is called the “vegetarians’ protein” as it is a rich source of protein and contains a number of other nutrients. Read my “Creamy Vegan Mac N’ Cheese” blog post – nutritional yeast gives my dairy-free Mac N’ Cheese a cheesy taste with huge nutritional boost of B vitamins and oh so much more. It helps give you glowing skin. Yes - It’s a lovely thing.

Coconut Oil – I cook and bake mostly everything with Coconut Oil – especially when I lightly sautee veggies. Coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat, while increasing muscle. The good fat in coconut oil also aids in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It also works wonders as a moisturizer for all skin types, especially dry skin – I lather it on my hands before bed and I love the way I smell like I’m in Hawai’i as I drift off to sleep. Also makes an amazing luxurious eye cream. 

Cheater Cheater Jim's Steakout Sub Eater

I worked out a lot yesterday, including sailing in high winds and lighting, walking the dogs, and half of INSANITY Max Interval Circuit. Then I went out on the town and had one glass of wine and two vodka clubs. I danced and had fun until four in the morning. We ended up at Jim’s Steakout and I ended up splitting an 8” sub with one of my friends. However, I don’t feel guilty at all today.

I feel more guilty about screwing up my sleep schedule and sleeping in way too late. But I got up, took the dogs for a quick walk and then went for a 30 minute run around the park. At first I felt tired and sluggish. I started thinking that maybe I’d just power walk around the park instead of run but then something happened. The run started to get easier so I just kept going. The first half of the park is uphill so that was tough but when I rounded the corner to do the slight downhill part, I was booking past people. I kept thinking as I passed each person, “I’m working a little harder than this person. My results will show. Results show.” It worked. I finished the whole run and now I feel great. I probably burned that whole sub off in one run. Plus, since I slept in so late, it was more like my breakfast. I just need to be a little light on calories today.

For some reason, I’ve been hungry lately. I’ve been eating all of my calories and even going a little over, I’m eating nutritious clean food, I’m doing everything right, but I’m still hungry. Oh, and I’m doing awesome with the water. Maybe it’s just my body freaking out about the weight loss and the increase in activity. I’m not sure. I just need to push through and figure out a way not to go over on my calories every day so I can at least see that 1-2 pound loss on the scale every week. 

I want so badly to stick around home today and plant my veggie garden but my book club is going to see Water for Elephants so I have to go. If it was a rainy day or later tonight, it would be better but this is the only time everyone can get together for the whole month of June. Blargh. I’m going to go shower now, get pretty, and run a couple errands. I’ve decided to get rid of my scale that’s never right and buy the Biggest Loser scale we used for my work competition.