7 Dimensions of Wellness

7 Dimensions of Wellness
7 Dimensions of Wellness

Monday, July 13, 2015

Meatless Monday | Stuffed Peppers

So… I had a few of these hanging out in the kitchen so I decided to stuff them:

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Veggie Stuffed Pepper Recipe

 

1 cup uncooked long grain white or brown rice

1 cup water

4 bell peppers

2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 medium onion

2 carrot sticks diced 

1 can of crushed tomatoes

I also put about a half inch of water in the pan so the peppers wouldn’t stick.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook chopped onion and carrots until soften. Remove from heat and set aside. 

2. Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)

3. In a bowl, mix the cooked rice, onion, carrots, 1 can tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.

4. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Serve hot and enjoy!

What’s your favorite way to use Sweet Peppers?

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Going Vegan is more than a "diet challenge".

Is Beyonce really about that vegan life? The answer to this question continues to be debated after she recently teamed up with Marco Borges to "announce" her support for taking the 22-day vegan challenge on Good Morning America.  She credits the plant-based diet for her flawless skin and after baby figure.
" I am not naturally the thinnest woman... I have curves, I'm proud of my curves. I have struggled since a young age with diets. Finding something that actually keeps the weight off...has been difficult for me."  ~ Beyonce

The public response to her announcement ranges from apathy to anger to awe, all for valid reasons. While many continue to call her out on what they perceive as hypocrisy, revisiting recent images of her scarfing down hamburgers, the Hollywood elite and many loyal fans believe that Beyonce's presence and platform will allow her to reach new audiences with her message of plant-based eating. That's a good thing right?

Choosing a dietary lifestyle is a personal choice that should be made after considering your heath needs and risk factors.


What scares me most about this "diet challenge" is the over-simplistic fad-like nature of the message. Eat nothing but plants for 22 days, lose 8 pounds and your life will change forever! But forever turns out to be a few weeks and then we are back to our natural habits.

After struggling with my own weight along with other health issues, my doctor insisted that I get off the standard American diet (which she calls SAD) if I wanted to feel better and avoid a hysterectomy. Blood test results showed food allergies to wheat, gluten, dairy and other foods. I was also advised to avoid meat with hormones and soy based foods since soy is an artificial estrogen that can cause or aggravate hormonal imbalances and lead to weigh gain along with reproductive issues in men and women.

That was hard news for a foodie like me who was raised by a southern mother who flavored our green beans with bacon grease. But I was tired of the pain and non-stop weight gain so I made the commitment to not only change my dietary habits, but the habits I taught my children (who all have the same food allergies). As the primary cook in our home, I understood that making long lasting dietary changes meant changing how I shopped and prepared food for everyone. It's been over 3 years since I made that commitment to change and I'd call my progress to date a success. Am I perfect? No. I still have my piece of cake and I will enjoy and nice steak every now and then. But the changes I made were enough to stop the weight gain and avoid surgery.
Choosing a dietary lifestyle is a personal choice that should be made after considering your health needs and risk factors, family life, food access, financial ability and level of commitment. Those who choose to go vegan and forgo not only the consumption of meat but the use of all animal based products, usually do so for reasons that reach beyond the issue of weight-loss.

Producing and consuming meat and animal products is an ethical and environmental issue for many vegans and non-vegans. We often hear of animal rights activists who see meat as murder. But we don't hear enough about other equally valid environmental concerns.

Farms use a great deal of water raising animals while water shortages for humans continue to grow around the globe. Farming also requires a lot of grain to feed the animals. Forests in developing parts of the world continue to be cut down to make room for growing corn, soybeans and other animal feed instead of crops for human consumption. Long story short, animals eat and drink 16 times more than their own weight in meat causing water and food shortages around the globe that primarily impact the poor. I'd like to see Beyonce use her platform to address that. We can not honestly begin to promote healthier plant-based diets without at least mentioning the systematic barriers like food deserts, particularly in urban communities, that keep people from being able to successfully add more fruits and vegetables to their normal diets.

Starting Down the Vegan Path

People from all cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds can successfully adopt a vegan lifestyle if they wish, but it does require some initial thinking and planning. I've not read Marco Borges book, but there are plenty of similar (and less expensive) resources. There are also online resources and an abundance of Pinterest boards dedicated exclusively to plant-based recipes and alternatives to animal products.

Meatless Mondays, a national non-profit initiative seeking to reduce the consumption of meat and increase the consumption of plant-based foods is a wonderful place to start for those interested in trying vegan recipes without the 22 day commitment. The Center of Wellness for Urban Women supports this initiative and is an official blogger for Meatless Mondays.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Men's Health Month: Hey Fellas, You matter!!




Monday, June 1, 2015

Meatless Monday | Garlicky Green Beans

Garlicky Green Beans | Indianapolis Food Blogger

Garlicky Haricot Verts (French Green Beans) one of my favorite Trader Joe’s Products is their frozen bag of green beans. It’s huge and cheap! I’ll be posting a love of Trader Joes post real soon. 

But on to the goods. 


Garlicky Green Beans

  
Boil large handful of frozen green beans for 2 mins, drop in ice water bath to stop cooking.

Sauté 1 teaspoon of garlic in a tablespoon of butter. 

Add green beans. 

Sauté for 4 mins (or more depending on your desired crunchy ness) season with Paprika, Pepper, pinch of salt)

Toss lightly to combine seasonings.

Serve hot and try not to eat them all in one sitting.

Monday, May 11, 2015

#MeatlessMonday: Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad

BLACK BEAN, CORN & AVOCADO SALAD | INDIANAPOLIS FOOD BLOGGER

There are many foods I love. Bacon. Bread. Black Beans. Sometimes, I even eat them all together… Judge not!  Today, I share Black Beans, Corn & Avocado Salad. Hearty, colorful, flavorful, this salad is easy to prepare and is sure to be a hit. Another one for my #AlmostVegan series. Check the recipe out below. 

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad
A quick, hearty, salad that is sure to please.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Large Avocado, pitted and chopped into chucks.
  2. 1 Medium Roma Tomato diced
  3. 1 Cup of Frozen Corn (thawed)
  4. 3/4 cup of Organic Black Beans
  5. The juice of 1 Lime
  6. Salt
  7. Pepper
  8. Cumin
Instructions
  1. Combine all Beans, Corn, Tomato, Avocado and stir gently to combine.
  2. Salt liberally, season with pepper & Cumin.
  3. Squeeze juice of fresh lime over ingredients
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Serve along side tortilla chips

Monday, April 13, 2015

#MeatlessMonday | Braised Cabbage & Johnny Cakes


BRAISED CABBAGE & JOHNNY CAKES 


I’m determined to turn my husband into a veggie lover. Growing up, we always had a green vegetable with dinner. If we didn’t something was wrong, very wrong. That said, I’m a lover of cabbage. The tasty veggie is a staple in my home, usually made with bacon and all its glory. This time, I’m sharing an #AlmostVegan recipe. Braised Cabbage & Johnny cakes. What are JohnnyCakes you ask? Cornbread cakes. Light, Fluffy, Buttery goodness.



Ingredients
  1. Green Cabbage
  2. 1 Cup Cajun Trinity (1/2 diced onion, 1 celery stalk, 1/2 green bell pepper)
  3. 2 Tablespoons butter
  4. Salt
  5. Red Pepper Flake
  6. 1 Cup Water
  7. 1/3 cup Liquid Smoke
  8. JohnnyCakes
  9. Ingredients
  10. 1 & 1/4 cups of cornmeal (I’ve used White and Yellow)
  11. 1 cup of flour
  12. 1/4 cup Sugar
  13. 1 cup of milk
  14. 1 large Egg (beaten)
  15. ½ stick butter + 2 Tablespoons
  16. 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  17. ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Melt Butter on Medium heat in large Dutch Oven
  2. Add Cajun Trinity and saute for 3 minutes
  3. Add Cabbage and stir to combine
  4. Add Water, Liquid Smoke, Salt & Pinch of Red Pepper Flake
  5. Stir to combine
  6. Cover and Cook on Medium Low heat for 1 hour
  7. To prepare Johnny Cakes
  8. Pre-heat Shallow skillet
  9. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter
  10. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, milk, beaten egg, baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  11. Mix well to combine.
  12. Just before frying, stir in melted butter.
  13. Batter will be lumpy.
  14. Pour batter into circles in heated pan
  15. Fry on on side, just until bubbling occurs
  16. Flip and fry for 2 minutes until golden brown
  17. Serve cabbage atop Johnny cake
  18. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stand Thus Like a Tree - On Living in Balance


I panic when my yoga instructor begins to guide our class through the Tree pose. I'm flexible. But I struggle with keeping my balance on the mat and in my day to day life.

"Stand thus like a tree on the ground. This is called "Vriksha-asana", say's the Yoga Sutra's.

I stand up straight and place my right foot on my left thigh. I let go and my body begins to sway before my hands can say "Namaste". Next comes the anxiety about swaying. Then the falling. Like many times before, I retreat into the resting position on my mat. But in my mind, I'm still falling.

***

Life can often feel like walking a tightrope, each of us trying to our best to keep our footing. I used to believe living in balance meant struggling to walk this tightrope without swaying. Now I understand that the more we struggle to remain in balance, the less we really are. 

Living in balance is not the ability to maintain a state of harmony that requires us to give every area of our lives equal portions of our time and energy. It's not the ability to juggle our careers, our families, our friends, our health, our faith, and our dreams without ever dropping a ball. Instead, like a tree in the wind, we sway, having the presence of mind to do whatever needs to be done at that moment to stay on the rope. Sometimes working, sometimes playing, sometimes resting, sometimes giving, sometimes receiving, sometimes loving others, and sometimes loving ourselves.

Like all lessons we fail to master, I return to yoga practice and the same challenge presents itself. 


"Stand thus like a tree on the ground". 

I stand up straight and place my right foot on my left thigh. I let go. I sway. But I don't fall.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Help, Please!



I admit it!  I have a difficult time asking for help. I view it as a deficiency on my part although we have all received help at some point in our lives. No one was born with infinite knowledge and resources. It had to be learned; given to us. Somewhere, at some point, someone gave us a helping hand.  On the flip side, I also don’t want to be a burden to anyone.  You know, people rolling their eyes or sighing when you walk in a room.  

However, I’ve been talking to some very wise people and doing a lot of soul searching.  I’m proud to announce that I’m experiencing a change of mind and heart.  There is no shame in asking for help.  I still have to fight feeling like a burden or failure, but those thoughts don’t equal reality.  Asking for help is OK!  A sign of wisdom AND maturity. 

This new revelation also diminished the Superwoman complex.  I wouldn’t mind being Wonder Woman with the fancy belt and invisible jet, but that’s another post.  Chronically speaking, I’ll even ask for help when experiencing a lupus flare.  Sometimes I need help running errands or moral support.  Many times I need the help to avoid having a flare in the first place!  My life coach called it proactive care and flare care. (catchy, huh?) 

Need examples? 

Proactive care:  Instead of climbing up the shelves at the grocery store, I’ll ask someone taller if they can get that box of cereal for me. 

Flare care:  Instead of trying to be “productive” at home when I’m having a flare (tripping, stumbling, dropping things and hurting myself in the process), I’ll call a friend for a lively chat.

Radical concepts!  In conclusitory*, think before you say “call me if you need anything,” because your phone may ring!

(*I know conclusitory isn’t a word, but it sounds good.)