Peanut butter!

Dietary leanings: Pescetarian! And trying to eat as seasonally as I can. But I crave peanut butter year-round.

Ingredient: Fresh ground peanut butter

Known health benefits: (from The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth) Peanuts rank about as high as strawberries in antioxidants. Also, researchers at Purdue University found that “including peanuts in the diet significantly increased magnesium, folate, copper, vitamin E, and arginine consumption, all of which play a role in the prevention of heart disease.” Peanuts are also high in niacin, a vitamin B important for keeping the digestive system, skin, and nerves healthy. Also, they’re great at keeping you feeling full with all those healthy fats!

My favorite way to eat this food: Smeared on apple slices, in smoothies, or in one of my raw oat concoctions.

Way #1: 1/4 cup of raw oats, 1/4 cup of almond milk, almost 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, 1 tsp (or more!) of raw honey, and between 1 and 2 tbsp of peanut butter. Stir it around until it’s mixed together pretty well and then eat (I usually lick the bowl, but that’s up to you).

Way #2: I’ve been eating this for breakfast lately. I make a strawberry/rhubarb compote that I eat instead of store-bought jams (basically I just cook a pint of strawberries (sliced) with 2 stalks of rhubarb (also sliced), add a little water to get it going (not much), a dash of cinnamon and cardamom, and maybe a tiny amount of maple syrup if it needs it). Then I take 1/4 cup of oats, 1/3-ish cup of the compote, and then a tbsp or 2 of peanut butter, add a bit of almond milk if it needs thinning out, mix that all up, and it’s like a pb&j without having to eat wheat!

Also my fiance makes an awesome spicy peanut (butter) sauce to put over roasted asparagus. Oh! And that one recipe you guys posted forever ago with the Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and maple syrup! Bomb!

P.S. Did I include enough exclamation points to get across how excited I am about peanut butter? Because I took some out.

30

My Meatless Obsession: Ch-ch-ch Chia

Despite last week’s clash over another meatless menu, we have no plans to give up on Meatless Mondays. Eating less meat is a proven boon for both health and the environment (not to mention your looks). But we do think it’s time to mix it up from the menus.

Introducing a new series: My Meatless Obsession. What plant-based food are you in love with these days? Is it almond milk, sunflower seeds, or the carrots showing up in your CSA? How do you fit this ingredient into your menu, and what are its health benefits?

Rebecca is kicking the series off with chia seeds, and Siobhan and Alexandra will get in the game too. Of course, we’d love to get your Meatless Obsession—just email nomoredirtylooks  at gmail dot com with OBSESSION in the title!

Dietary leanings: Vegan, gluten free, mostly raw

Ingredient: Chia seeds (yes, the things used to grow chia pets)

Known health benefits: Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (great for your heart and blood vessels, brain, skin, joints, etc.). They contain all the essential amino acids and are a good source of protein. The seeds are also an excellent source of fiber and calcium, plus other minerals. I’ve read about Aztec warriors and modern ultra-marathoners using chia for energy. I know when I eat chia for breakfast, it gives me enough energy for a vigorous run/hike/bike or a long morning of work.

My favorite way to eat it: So many ways!

I love multi-taskers in skin care, and in food too. Chia seeds can be incorporated into any meal, fitting nicely into many dishes. Sprinkle them on salad, cereal, or yogurt. Mix them into smoothies, dips (like tahini, hummus, guacamole) and dressings. They can be used in baking as well, though I never bake and haven’t tried it. One day I will try making my own raw energy bars in the dehydrator using chia.

Chia seeds add a pleasant, mild nutty crunch to a dish. If you want to keep the crunch then add them at the very last second, because these little guys will soak up 12 times their weight in water.  This is a very cool thing, though, because you can use them to thicken sauces and make “pudding.”  I use chia quite a bit, and here’s my current favorite “recipe”:

While my first cup of tea is brewing, I pour a couple of tablespoons of chia into a short glass. Then I add fresh orange juice and fresh almond milk in about equal proportions, a total of about one cup of liquid. I mix it up with a spoon to make sure all the seeds are covered. It needs about 15-20 minutes to thoroughly soak up the liquid, and if I stir a couple more times while I’m packing my lunch it keeps the seeds distributed uniformly throughout the liquid instead of clumping (if it clumps, just break up the clump and mix). I let it sit while I do yoga, which is way more than enough time for it to get quite thick. You can play with the proportion of seeds/liquid to get something like a bubble tea consistency, all way to a thick pudding. When I’m ready to eat, I mix in some ground flax and banana slices and eat it with a spoon. I’ll be using blueberries when the season hits! I love it for breakfast, but it’s a great energizing snack too.

By the way, remember to check your smile after eating chia seeds. They gravitate to the spaces between your front teeth. And if you eat them away from home be sure to carry floss or toothpicks! Are you a chia fan?

Image via LA Times

9

My MM: Chloe’s Meatless Monday Menu

Meet today’s vegan chef, Chloe: She loves carrots (sometimes pickled), and her vegan diet skews largely Japanese-Korean. I don’t know about you, but after reading this, I’m definitely inspired to eat something super-healthy with chopsticks today. Like many asian-leaning and vegan diets, Chloe’s seems to feature a fair amount of soy though. Which soy camp do you fit into?

Name: Chloe

Hometown: San Francisco

My Dietary Leanings: Vegan, very fruity, and Japanese and Korean oriented. Eat like a queen in the morning, a princess midday, and a pauper in the evening. Oh, and I love all things and anything green tea♥

My Favourite Vegetable: Carrots

This morning I ate…

Because breakfast is so important, I have three parts of a meal of which I rotate two at a time each day. A large cup of matcha green tea always begins it, of course! Today I had two slices of sprouted wheat toast, one topped with half of an avocado and the other topped with Rawtella and a sliced banana (berries taste lovely as well with the cacao). There is also something I do where I fill a bowl with chopped strawberries alone or with other fruit (today it was blueberries) and then pour organic unsweetened soymilk on top of it, so that it’s a sort of cereal without the cereal because I don’t like cereal. It’s lovely! Sometimes I substitute it with plain or vanilla soy or coconut yogurt with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and kiwis instead. Another cup of green tea and then I am off to go on the day’s ventures (school)!

Then for lunch it was…

A bowl of miso soup made with kombu seaweed stock and tofu. I also made inarizushi, which is rice stuffed in tofu pockets, as well as futomaki, which had yellow picked radish, cucumber, avocado, carrots, a thin layer of tofu, portobello mushrooms, and spinach, with pickled ginger, daikon, and Japanese greens on the side. Croquettes with tofu, bellpepper, and potatoes are also yummy with it. Instead of eggs to dip, you can use soy milk or rice milk or silken tofu, the panko still sticks very well. I snack on blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries or pop chips sometimes.

Finally I had…

A small tofu scramble with minced onion, garlic, bellpepper, potatoes, kale, carrots, tomatoes, pretty much every vegetable I could find in the fridge over rice, you can eat it with quinoa too. I only use extra virgin olive oil for cooking. I usually don’t eat dinner because I never eat after five p.m. unless I go out with friends or family. Breakfast and lunch keep me full all day…

Last but not least, dessert…

That doesn’t stop me from eating sweets instead, so bad! After seeing a recipe for vegan matcha green tea banana ice cream I am in love. With another cup of matcha green tea to end the day as well.

Yum! Chloe, would you mind posting the recipe for the ice cream in the comments? Thanks! Reminder to all: Don’t forget to send in your MM menus!

It all started when Alicia Silverstone told Woody Harrelson she wanted to take a bath with his kids.

Wait, what? When Alicia announced this to a roomful of writers at a recent event in LA, I nearly spat up my vegan cappuccino. But as the story unfolded, it made a little more sense. Alicia, who is friends with clean-boy Harrelson, had his kids over at the house and wanted to give them a bath. Harrelson, however, said no way. He didn’t want his kids splashing around in toxic bubble bath, and believe it or not, Alicia hasn’t always been a clean girl. Consider this her a-ha moment—and we’re super glad she had one.

Why? Because the longtime animal right activist and environmentalist is now championing clean beauty. Could we have asked for a better poster girl?

Now, she’s got a super-clean line to show for it. It’s called Alicia Silverstone for Juice Beauty and it so far has five products: There’s a lipstick, a cleanser, a moisturizer, a blushy-highlighter, and a pressed powder. They’re all vegan, of course, and they feel more like mainstream products—something Alicia says she wanted to get just so. The ingredient lists are through-and-through clean, and mostly organic.

Alicia is hardcore about ingredients—she told me she actually read a very early version of our book (!!) that we’d printed at Kinkos or something and sent to her—but she’s not the kind of dirty-clean girl who’s going to stop washing her hair, or say, test-drive the oil cleanse method. “I don’t like cream cleansers,” she says. “I just don’t feel clean! I like a gel or something that’s a little soapy feeling, without being stripping.”

“It was a no-brainer to align with Juice,” she tells me. “I never had to be like, Are you sure you want to use the shea butter?! You don’t have to worry about the ingredients when it’s all fruit juice and avocado.” As for how the partnership worked, she says, “They’d send me 10 different moisturizer textures and I’d send them notes on each.” Alicia admits she was super picky about scents, but her particular taste has paid off. “I promise this is the best-smelling cleanser out there!”

As for the moisturizer, she says she wanted something super light. “Nothing sticky and filmy—I wanted something that penetrated the skin but that was super nourishing.”

Here’s our take: The lipstick and powder are great, but not for every skin tone (stunning on her, and anyone in that color range). The highlighter is universal and produces dewy awesomeness. And the cleanser? She’s not lying: It smells incredible. Overall we’re pretty thrilled that Alicia and Juice have created something that’s at once so clean but that will also appeal to a more mainstream market. Juice has always had a knack for that.

Our time is limited, so before letting her go, I make sure to ask Alicia one of our favorite questions (which we’ll be asking you guys, too!):

When do you feel most beautiful?

Her response: “When I eat well, I feel so grounded and so connected—when I changed the way I eat my heart opened. I feel beautiful because of that.”

I tell her that we always post about Meatless Monday on the site, and that I’ll remind readers about her vegan cookbook The Kind Diet—who’s read it?—and she laughs.

“I wish it was meat-only Mondays.” The way her skin glows, she has me considering it.

So, what do you think about Alicia for Juice? Have you tried the line? Will you?

P.S. For more from Alicia, you can always visit her blog The Kind Life, where she regularly posts recipes. Happy MM!

8

My MM: Kari’s Meatless Monday Menu

Oh man, Kari! Not only is this gal a vegan but she’s also a personal trainer who packs in swimming, metabolic training, and Muay Thai kickboxing in one day. How’s that for some Monday morning inspiration? Her menu sounds both super healthy and super delicious—especially that shake (and the chocolate covered coconut). Anyone else make a great morning shake they want to share?

Name: Kari

Hometown: Mystic, CT

My dietary leanings: I’ve been vegan for about 4 and a half years

My favorite vegetable: Sweet potatoes!

This morning I ate…

The usual for me – a shake with half water, half rice milk, a frozen banana, a spoonful each of peanut butter, milled flaxseeds, wheat germ, and cacao nibs,  a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, and a scoop of SunWarrior WarriorBlend chocolate protein powder (so smooth and tasty – if you’re hunting for a delicious, non-chalky plant protein powder, I highly recommend it!). I’m a personal trainer and am on the go quite a bit, so I like to load up with protein and carbs in the morning. I was ravenous after my morning metabolic training session and swimming session, so I had some walnuts, a pear, and a slice of sprouted 7-grain bread (yup, plain – just wanted some carbs!).

Then for lunch it was…

A spinach salad with pineapple chunks, red pepper slices, curried maple cashews,  and balsamic vinegar (recipe from For the Love of Salad cookbook), followed by a baked sweet potato with a bit of Earth Balance, salt, and pepper.

Finally for dinner I had…

An apple and a handful of brazil and pili nuts before heading out for muay thai kickboxing. After that, I didn’t feel much like cooking, so I made a sunflower-butter open-faced sandwich with strawberry-rhubarb jam made by my grandma.

Last but not least, dessert…

I had a few pieces (okay, maybe more like 8 to 10) of dark-chocolate-covered coconut that just came in the mail from nuts.com.

Pretty heirloom sweet potatoes via