Be Healthy · Uncategorized

Sugar, the NOT so Silent Killer

Now, I am not going to say that I don’t eat any sugar whatsoever, because I do. My goal is to eventually eliminate all added sugar from my daily life (except maybe special occasions very sporadically), but I have to say… it is very hard! Why is it so hard you ask? Well because it is so addictive! There are strong physical and emotional reasons as to why we love eating sugary foods so much, but reducing the amount of sugar we consume on a daily basis is extremely important. Sugar has sooooooo many ugly side effects that we should really consider not eating sugar part of our daily self-care routine.

On top of sugar contributing to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, here are other very visible effects of a sugar-packed diet:

  • Tooth decay (not very attractive)
  • Body inflammation
  • Contributes to lack of collagen on skin (that means more wrinkles!)
  • Breakouts
  • Worsens acne and skin allergic reactions

Personal victory, but still ways to go

I quit sodas as well as sugar and creamer in my coffee 10 months ago and I can say that it really has made a difference in my life. I don’t crave sugar-packed drinks, enjoy water more, my skin feels more hydrated since I drink more water now, I get more energy from my cup of coffee since I don’t get the crash from the sugar, and my body doesn’t feel bloated. Eliminating just those things has made my life so much better that I really want to continue and eliminate or minimize sugary and processed foods from my daily life. These changes are not easy to make, but they are possible and totally worth it. Join me and share your progress on the blog!

Any suggestions on how to quit sugar for good?

Stay true – Chantal

Be Healthy · Uncategorized

Meatless Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Miracles do happen! I have been cooking a bit more lately, trying to improve my kitchen skills and oh my… I have to say that I’ve had many fails. A few months ago I tried making this same dish and it went completely south ☹ but today I totally redeemed myself!! Some of you will make fun of me, but I honestly didn’t know there was such thing as a “spaghetti squash”! I thought the dish was called “spaghetti squash” because the squash was made into little spaghetti like strings with a fork, but I was completely mistaken! I bought something called butternut squash and the end result was a mashed potato looking paste. The consistency was kind of gross and nobody ate it… it ended up being a take-out kind of day.

Proof of the atrocity committed during the first try… Such a sad day!

My bestie’s husband was kind enough to make fun of my mistake and point out that I used the wrong type of squash :/ … thank you Gus, I got the right one this time!

Ingredients (serves 4-5 people):

  • 2 spaghetti squash
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 2 cups of diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 small piece of onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cube of vegan chicken flavor bouillon (if desired)
  • Plant based ground meat (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Instructions:

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Spray all halves with the cooking spray and bake them at 350° for 30 minutes or until soft. Once this is done, grab a fork and scrape the strands.

For the sauce: blend the tomatoes, the clove of garlic, the small piece of onion, a cube of bouillon, and a bit of salt.

Sautee the diced onions with olive oil and the ground meat, then add the carrots, mushrooms and celery. Add the sauce and cook for a good five minutes with medium heat while constantly stirring; add salt and pepper to taste. Cover it up and let simmer until the tomato sauce has a bit of a deeper red color and has thickened a bit.

Serve the spaghetti squash and top it off with the sauce mix. Enjoy!

I am no chef, but I truly loved this dish and hope you do as well. I avoided using canned tomato paste or sauce, but I did end up using the plant-based meat to trick my daughter into eating it since she eats meat lol and the bouillon for a bit of extra flavor. I don’t believe those are necessary, so if you want something 100% natural skip those and voila!

Do you have any other recipes with spaghetti squash for me to try? Would love to see them!

Stay true – Chantal

Be Healthy · Uncategorized

Plantain Dream Dinner Pie

OMG! I had to share this with you because this dish turned out to be super good. Now, If you know me, you know that I am a total disgrace when it comes to cooking. My daughter hates my cooking, my mother is ashamed because I didn’t inherit her Mexican culinary skills, and because I almost need to make you sign a waiver before you have a taste of my food.

There are very few dishes that I can actually make and they tend to be very basic, but lately I have been trying to practice more, determined to get to a decent cooking level. Well, one of my dear (cooking challenged) friends shared a simple recipe with me and I added a little twist to make it my own. This thing was so good that both my daughter and mother decided to try it, and not only that, they even had seconds and asked for me to pack them some for lunch! Now that I feel like a chef goddess, I want to share my simple recipe with you.

Ingredients:

  • Plantains (they can be green for a more savory taste or brown for a sweeter dish) – I used 6 for a 9.5’’ pie plate
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup of yellow corn
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese (or as much as you want)
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Instructions:

If you are using green plantains, boil them until soft; brown plantains are already very soft, so no boiling is needed. Spray the baking dish with cooking oil. Mash the plantains to create a soft paste and create a “crust” layer covering the baking dish. Once you have a thick layer of plantain paste, top it with lots of cheese and corn. Cover the filling ingredients with a layer of plantain, sprinkle a bit of salt, and spray some cooking oil on top.

Bake the pie at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the plantain pie is spongy but solid and somewhat brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Yum!!!!!! So easy even I can do it!

Stay true – Chantal

Be Healthy · Uncategorized

Smoothie Time!

Strawberry Smoothie

Anyone who doesn’t like smoothies is just not to be trusted… they are insane! The creativity of flavor combinations, the colors, the smells, the taste, what’s not to love?! Well… if you are one of those people that buy them out on the street, maybe the price. It can get pretty costly to enjoy store bought smoothie on a regular basis, and don’t get me wrong… I will drink the crap out of a Smoothie King or Jamba Juice delicious blend, but between my smoothie obsession and my coffee obsession, I am at a loss 😦 A great alternative if you are trying to eat healthy, get your veggies and fruits in is to do your own juices and smoothies at home. You can even save yourself some work and do meal prep over the weekend by putting together all of your combinations in separate containers to have them all ready to blend. I will share with you a couple of my fave combinations hoping you will give them a try. Feel free to send me your favorite recipe so I can try that too!

The top pic has a basic strawberry, oats, honey, cinnamon, and almond milk smoothie… absolutely delicious and filling. Feel free to replace the almond milk for soy, nonfat milk or any other milk variation.

Mamey Smoothie

This next smoothie is made with an incredible delicious orange fruit called Mamey. I can never find the fresh fruit in a local market but some places carry the frozen pulp and it is AMAZING!!!! just blend some of the fruit pulp with oats, cinnamon, honey, milk and… Voila! It is heaven in your mouth!!

If you are more of a juice person or prefer water based smoothies, just grab your favorite vegetables and fruits and go crazy! Here are a couple of my basic blends:

Both of the above blends include spinach and carrots but one has pineapple and oranges that will be blended with water while the other has strawberries and will be blended with orange juice… SO DELICIOUS!!!!!!! Sometimes I add some ginger, beets, mixed berries, or guavas, but the options are endless! I just got hungry writing about this.

It is so hard have a balanced and healthy diet, especially when you are always on the go, so smoothies really do become your best friend when you get into the habit of pre-packing your blends. I actually keep a personal blender at work to be able to make my smoothies there as well… hey, whatever works right?

Stay True – Chantal

Be Beautiful · Be Healthy · Be Well · Uncategorized

3 Ways to Use Avocado

Y’all – if you’re not using avocado for literally EVERY use in your life.. you’re missing out! I won’t take total credit for these “recipes” (Chantal is the resident beauty expert here), but I got to be the guinea pig and L-O-V-E-D all of this.

In case you didn’t know, you can use avocado in your meals (duh), for your face, and for your hair. Avocado is rich in healthy fatty acids, and can be extremely moisturizing externally. It also has potassium, letithin, and more minerals that nourish your body inside and out.

Avocado Toast

Ingredients:
Toast
Avocado
Corn
Cilantro
Greek Yogurt
Cotija Cheese
Salt/Pepper (optional)

 

Avocado Hair Mask

Ingredients:
1 1/2- 1 3/4 Avocado
2-3 tbsp Honey
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil 

(Adjust ingredients based on how long your hair is)

 Put on your hair for 20-30 minutes to hydrate! Then wash your hair as normal.

Avocado Face Mask

Ingredients:
1/4 Avocado
1-2 tbsp plain yogurt
1-2 tbsp honey

Place a THICK layer all over your face and leave on for 20-30 minutes! Once it’s dry, wash off and feel the difference!

Hopefully you try out these recipes to get all the benefits out of avocados. Have a great weekend!  

Be Healthy

Drunken Apples

If you have a sweet tooth just like I do, you are going to love this healthier, lower calorie dessert.

Ingredients:

Your favorite apples 
Finely chopped nuts (I chose almonds, pecans, and pine nuts) 
Raisins 
Red or white wine 
Cinnamon 
Honey or agave nectar

Preheat the oven at 350°. Slice apples in half and cut out a hole in the center to use it as a pocket. Stuff the center of each apple with a mix of nuts and raisins. Place the apples on a cookie sheet. Fill the center of the apples with the wine. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the apple. Drizzle them with the honey or agave nectar. Cover the apples with aluminum foil and bake them for about 25 minutes or until soft. Enjoy them while warm. Yum!

Add your own spin to the dessert and share your master piece with us!

Stay true – Chantal