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Umeboshi Plums, the Saltiest Hangover Cure

10 May

Interested in the saltiest, tartest, most unpleasant tasting hangover cure?

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the umeboshi plum.

Japanese ume fruit

First of all, what are they?

Umeboshi are Japanese pickled ume fruits that resemble apricots more than plums. They’re packed with sea salt and shiso leaves before being pressed.

So, how are the medicinal?

Umeboshi are alkalizing to the blood because of their high citric acid content. Your blood likes to be slightly alkaline because acidic blood allows fungi and bacteria to thrive.

Hold up! – wouldn’t citric acid make your blood more acidic? In the case of citric fruits, they’re actually alkalizing because, after digestion, they leave minerals behind that help remove hydrogen ions and decrease your blood’s acidity.

These little pickled buggers are perfect to help sway the vote of alkaline vs. acidic.

They’re good for:

  • Diarrhea
  • Digestion
  • Nausea prevention

And, as the post title states, they’re also known to help hangovers and sugar binges. In The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstone talked about first trying one when extremely hungover and claims to have felt great eating just half a fruit.

My hangover cure test is pending, but I did eat one after a sugar binge. Who knows if it was a placebo effect (what ever happened to the band Placebo, by the way?), but I did feel better about an hour after popping one.

However, here’s my BIG FAT WORD OF WARNING: umeboshi plums are quite possibly the most unpleasant thing I have ever tasted.

I forgot Alicia’s “extremely sour” warning when my mom and I each tried one. Honestly, I only got half of one down before coughing and spitting out the rest. Our reactions were priceless.

If you feel like taking your own umeboshi hangover test, it turns out the most common way of ingesting umeboshi is in tiny quantities with rice, or soaking one in hot water and then drinking the liquid and eating the plum together. And have a chaser ready.

Vegan Recipes At Your Fingertips

23 Feb

Haven’t been feeling great this past week. My dry tickle cough episodes annoy subway passengers almost as much as they do me.

When you’re battling a cold, all you want to eat is comfort food.

Thankfully, I rediscovered the blog Oh She Glows recently. I haven’t enjoyed cooking until now, so I hadn’t tried the recipes, but MAN are they good!

She has a tonne, and so many are healthy variations of classic meals, requested by readers. She tries and alters the recipes until they’re delicious and blog worthy and provides lots of pictures along the way. Bonus: the majority of recipes are vegan!

Here’s what I’ve tried in the last week:

I won’t post the recipes themselves out of respect for Angela.

I can’t wait to try more and more of her creations. She’s rocking my world right now, and I had to fill you in. Go check out Oh She Glows now!

Delicious Tomato, Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup Recipe

21 Feb

Last weekend, my friend made this soup. It was really, really, really good.

It’s hard to go wrong with kale and sweet potato, and the peanut butter makes this recipe a rich and creamy treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion , diced
  • 1 celery stalk , diced
  • 1 garlic clove , minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 2 cups chopped fresh kale or collard greens
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Steps

  1. In large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Fry your onion, celery, garlic, ginger, salt, coriander and cayenne, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, sweet potatoes and vegetable stock and bring to boil. Whisk in peanut butter. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

I’d recommend using organic celery and kale (they’re on the 2011 highest-in-pesticides list), organic veggie stock and organic peanut butter.

I wish I could show you a photo…maybe I’ll post one when I make the soup myself. Man it’s good. My mouth is watering thinking about it.

From McDonald’s to No Meat: My Quasi Vegetarian Journey

19 Feb

Hey everyone,

What a difference a month can bring.

One month ago, I rarely made more than a handful of lunch and dinners a week, choosing to eat out regularly. (Even the healthiest dishes at restaurants can be loaded with fats and sugars and poorly prepared). My friend Jenna, a holistic nutritionist, had been inspiring a bunch of us to think more about what we consume, so I borrowed and read two books:

They both explain why eating a plant-based diet (that means no animal products or dairy) can improve your health, skin, hair and weight and decrease your chances for developing a long list of diseases. The Kind Diet also offers a ton of really tasty-sounding recipes.

I’ve gone vegetarian (not vegan) before when I was dating a vegetarian and totally hated it. I wasn’t in the right head space for it and felt very, very deprived. There’s one brand of faux-meat burgers I still can’t eat because I was so sick of the taste.

But I decided to try it again. Loosely. On my own terms. When I was ready.

And it’s been good.

I’ve eaten meat three times in the last 3.5 weeks, only because I was easing into it, and I didn’t want to inconvenience friends who already had a meat dish on the menu.

…and I don’t feel deprived at all. I’ve been looser on dairy since it’s in so much (had eggs and cheese a few times each as well), BUT I haven’t given up fish at all. Sushi is one thing I’m not ready to get rid of. And that’s okay. Baby steps.

So, what do I eat instead? Well, moderate amounts of everything else: beans, lentils, dark leafy greens, soy and miso, lots of veggies (esp. seasonal), fruit and whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, rice noodles and quinoa.

I also cut out coffee (my version of coffee was a grande caramel macchiato from Starbucks) and replaced it with decaffeinated green tea, or caffeinated if I needed a boost.

The results so far:

  • Increase in energy
  • Feeling lighter, happier
  • Dropped 1 dress size

Obviously I can’t see how this would affect my hair, but it’s been a bit tough on my skin so far. Some days, my face looks so dewy and great. But for the most part, I’m breaking out in places I never break out, like my cheeks and forehead.

Considering I also now use alternative natural soaps, moisturizers and deodorant and given how awful I was eating before, my only explanation for the acne is the release of toxins or detox. I’ll stick to the diet, and hopefully the acne will subside.

I’m excited to share this journey with you and would love to hear about any experiences you have trying to go veg or vegan!

Recipes and tips are always welcome.

Getting Your Willpower Back in Shape

24 Oct

Clearly it’s been awhile. I don’t know where my head’s been, guys. Ever since I wore my blonde wig out (weeks before I had the brown one cut, which was also weeks ago), my fitness routine has gone down the drain. Wearing it triggered a lot of emotions I wasn’t expecting to feel, and those emotions seem to have taken over and canceled out the motivation to be healthy. What’s up with that?

I’m an emotional eater, so I’ve been eating a lot – and a lot of junk, and barely working out. You can see the impact already on my body. It’s not that the new curves are unflattering, it’s that they’re there for unhealthy reasons. The changes to body, skin and sleeping habits are all a big fat reminder of how letting your emotions dictate your diet is dangerous.

And you know what? I’m sick of it.

It’s time to take back control, enjoy food that’s nutritious as well as delicious and learn the difference between hunger and emotion-triggered sugar cravings.

You know what that means. It’s time for a mini cleanse.

Hey, hey. If you’re rolling your eyes at how that sounds or are cringing with thoughts of the Master Cleanse, stop. We’re not talking extreme measures here. This week’s cleanse is about eating clean. It’s going to be just like the ReCleanse Challenge, except for no supplements. That means lots of veggies, fruits, protein, whole grains and (good) fat.

It’s also a time for a cupboard cleanse.  Here’s what I’m throwing out. There isn’t much to show since most of the bad foods consumed are take out.

Here are some other ideas for limiting emotional food buys:

  • Don’t carry any cash except for emergency money (cravings do not constitute an emergency).
  • Drink a tall glass of water before leave in the morning. It’ll actually do a good job of waking you up, and you won’t be as tempted to quench your thirst with a sweet Starbucks beverage.
  • Don’t cut out bad food all together. If you love burritos, you can still have them – when you make them at home. You’ll know exactly what’s going in them. (Heaven knows how much oil restaurants use.)
  • Wait it out. Cravings usually don’t last very long.

It’s on!