The Gift Of Time

Very often we want results right now and feel discouraged when we aren’t seeing progress with our goals. We feel like we don’t have time to change or to do the things we love. This year, give yourself the gift of time. You don’t have to be or do everything all at once!


At our church, members of the congregation are asked to speak on various topics, and a week or so ago, my husband and I were asked to speak. My topic was “giving,” so all of last week I prepared to speak on this thing that is on a lot of people’s minds this time of year. I love the opportunity to focus in on a specific topic and learn all I can about it and then share what I have learned with others. It’s a great opportunity, and today, I want to share with you what I thought about with giving in relation to time and nutrition/wellness goals.

Be Realistic with Time

As you start thinking about your New Years Resolutions and Fitness goals (if you make them), please please please do yourself a favor and be realistic with time. Not giving yourself enough time or opportunity for growth and change will lead to discouragement and feelings of “failure” when you haven’t hit your time frame. Some things, like losing weight, for example (since that seems to be a common goal at the New Year) take time. In fact, I would suggest that you get rid of the “lose weight” goal completely and instead choose lifestyle goals like eating more vegetables, planning healthy meals, taking the stairs at work, getting more physical activity, etc for example (made specific to your needs, of course). If you do have specific weight loss goals, consider talking to a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who can help you be realistic with amount of weight to lose and the time frame. The RDN will also be a good coach and will help you lose the weight healthfully (no juice cleanses or starvation diets!)

When we are realistic with the time we have and how long something will take to do, we are happier and more motivated to keep trying. So give yourself the gift of time, and be realistic about it!

Time Flies, But There Usually is Still Time to Spare

We tend to be busy, especially at this time of year, and time seems to get away from us. I would like to argue that even though time seems to get away from us and fly away, usually there are a few minutes that we can still spare to do the things we need and want to do like spending time with loved ones. In my experience, when we try to focus on the things that matter most and don’t get caught up in all the things we think we should be doing, things seem to balance out. On another note, sometimes we think we have failed so often that there is no way we’ll ever change, so we might as well give up. That’s not true!!!! There is always another chance, another day. Allow yourself to keep trying. There is still time. Give yourself the gift of realizing there is still time.

You Can Control Your Time

Time management has always been something I’ve struggled with, especially after having my daughter. I feel like I don’t want to waste any of it, but then I get tired or overwhelmed and end up wasting some time on stupid things that don’t really matter in the scheme of things. The thing that helps me with this is to slow down. You control your time. Spend it on the things that matter most to you. I love what the Foodie Dietitian, Kara Lydon, says about why she stopped working on the weekends and used her time for something else. Her post really inspired me to prioritize how much time I spend doing different activities/duties. Give yourself the gift of recognizing that you control your time; time does not control you.

The Gift of Time is One of the Best Gifts We Can Give

I know I always appreciate when someone takes time out of their schedule to see how I’m doing or to spend it with me. Time is such a precious commodity, and when we choose to give our time to another person, it really is one of the best things we can do. I have never regretted using my time to help someone in need (even if that person in need is sometimes myself! It’s okay and totally appropriate and necessary to give time to yourself.) Give yourself the gift of giving some of your time to another person.

I saw a good quote online (I don’t know the author) that said, “Time flies, but good thing you’re the pilot.”

Here’s to giving yourself and others the gift of time in the New Year!

So tell me:

-Do you make New Years Resolutions?

-How do you manage your time when there seems like too much to do?

Chicken Recipe of the day

in High School my Spanish teacher would organize a big fiesta with the French language classes every year, and we would reenact the Battle of Puebla. It was fun to be in the Spanish classes because we obviously were happy about the results of Cinco de Mayo. After we put the French students in their place (historically speaking, of course), we’d have a potluck, dancing, pinatas, and games. It was always a lot of fun, and I looked forward to it every year.

Now that I can’t look forward to reenacting battles with my classmates, I look forward to the food I can make. I have been drooling over some of the recipes I’ve seen this week all in prep for Cinco de Mayo. I may be eating Mexican food all month long, which is not a problem for this chica! Me gusta la comida Mexicana! (How’s that Señora G? Do I still got it with my language skills? ? )

So pull out your slow cooker, and let’s get cooking! Not sure how to use your slow cooker?

First I have to give a shout out to my sister, Laura, for creating this beauty. She studies health and wellness at Brigham Young University, and she is a great cook! She told me about this creation, and when I asked her if I could blog about it, she said yes! So thanks, Laura! She also created these blueberry banana bites I posted about back in 2014.

This recipe only needs two ingredients: chicken breasts and salsa verde! Combine them in your slow cooker, cook on high for 3 hours, and then shred the chicken before serving. It’s that simple!

Salsa verde is made from tomatillos (a good source of vitamin C), hot green chiles, onion, and various spices. This slow cooker recipe is perfect as is or topped on a salad. If you are looking for a festive meal that is light yet filling, this is it!

When I made this, I couldn’t stop eating the chicken while I got my salad put together. It is so good! The chicken is moist and flavorful, and when you put it on a salad, you don’t need dressing–the salsa verde on the chicken is enough!

ostella bistro

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken
Serves 4
A tasty and festive meal that is only 2 ingredients!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 5 min
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 c (or one jar) salsa verde (You can use homemade salsa verde if you prefer)
Place chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker
Pour salsa verde over chicken
Cook on high for 3 hours (or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F)
Shred chicken, and serve
For Salsa Verde Chicken Salad
Layer cilantro lime rice, black beans, salsa verde chicken, and avocado on top of green leaf lettuce or chopped romaine. Serve with fresh pico de gallo and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

Healthy Protein snacks

protein powder is a fantastic addition to your diet. But did you know that you can also use protein powder to cook and bake with? You can pimp classic recipes with protein powder and easily increase your daily protein intake. Which, as a result supports healthy metabolism and help muscles recover after your workouts.

Today we asked Personal Training Liverpool Street for there favourite protein snacks.

Below are 8 easy and tasty treats which use protein powder-

1 – Protein Pancakes – There are so many different types of protein pancakes, but these are perfect for lazy weekends!

2 – Peanut Butter Protein Chocolates – little chocolate treated packed with peanut butter and protein!

2 – Protein Pizza – A great way to make that Friday night pizza a little healthier for you!

3 – Chocolate and Peanut Protein Flapjack – Oooey, gooey chocolaty flapjack that packed full of protein!

4 – Coconut Protein Balls – A great pre or post workout snack!

5 – Banana Nutella Protein Muffins – Add some protein to your muffins!

6 – Protein Strawberry Delight – The perfect evening snack

7 – Strawberry Protein Bars – As good as a shop bought bar!

8 – No Bake Vanilla Protein Cake – Little ingredients, easy to make but a protein packed treat!

If you fancy baking or making any of the above, head to the women’s fitness section on My Protein to find all the protein powder you need at very reasonable prices.

Couple of sites i recommend for some good protein recipes


ok Hot in a Tank Top: Four Easy Arm Exercises and 10 Minutes a Day is All it Takes

sculpted armsTank-top season scares the hell out of us.

Winter whiteness and chicken wings just don’t go with that cute little sundress. But you don’t always have time to squeeze in a yoga class after a 10-hour work day, now do you?

Big Guns

My girlfriend, Stefanie, requested easy arm workouts that are accessible from home. The truth is, with ten minutes of arm sculpting a day, your arms will become lean, strong and flab-free. These are four workouts I do almost every day to prevent the dreaded jiggle. My trainer Chris was kind enough to take these pictures while keeping a close eye on my form.

sculpted armsPress-Ups

Take 3 or 5-pound weights (if weights aren’t available, canned food works well), come down by the sides and then press up into an “O” shape. Do three sets of 25 reps.

sculpted armsTriceps Dips

Bring the palms of the hands on an elevated surface (a chair works). Come down to 90 degrees with the elbows and press back up. Try to hold it for two seconds when down. Do three sets of 20 reps.

sculpted armsResistance Band Pulls

Wrap a resistance band around a pole. Bring the arms to 90 degrees and then pull straight. Do three sets of 20 reps.

sculpted armsStraight Arm Pull Backs

Place the resistance band around the feet. Hinge from the waist and bend in the knees. Pull straight back, pinching through the scapula. Make sure arms are straight when pulling back. Do three sets of 20 reps.

Take ten minutes out of your day, and change the shape of your arms. No excuses, bitches.

Special Thanks To the Right Path Fitness for there expert advice and tips.

Exercise Pains

Being human can suck sometimes.

Translation? We’re hard-wired to feel pain. And you can’t always pop a pill, get a massage or down five cocktails to stop it.

When you get your sweat on, shit can hurt. Do you ignore it? Battle through? Listen? Stop? Here are five common symptoms you might come across while working out. And no, pain doesn’t always mean it’s time to crap out. Listen to your body, and consider the following:

1. Headache. Dome hurts? A sharp headache that starts in the middle of spin class typically means one of three things: you’re moving toxins out of your kidneys (like that jumbo-sized margarita you killed last night), you’re holding stress in your neck or your dumb ass isn’t hydrated enough. If you’re doing cardio, take a sip of water, then lightly fold forward over your standing legs. Let your head and neck dangle, and breathe. Drink more water after the workout (always hydrate before), and leave the headaches at the office.

2. Nausea. Worst. Feeling. Ever. But it probably does not mean you’re with child. Nope, bile is being released from the liver to the small intestine — meaning, uh, you’re getting rid of the toxic crap inside. Woohoo. Slow down the pace a bit and breathe deeply with your lips closed. Try to focus the breath on your belly. Keep going like this and the lose-your-lunch feeling will pass.

3. Cramp. Not like, your period. Cramps usually mean a lack of electrolytes, potassium and hydration. When you feel one coming on, slow down, lift your arms up alongside your ears and breathe 10 very deep breaths in and out of your nose. Visually imagine the breath going to the center of the cramp. After your sweat sesh, make sure you eat a banana — and try half a banana every day for a few days to recharge your body with the nutrients it was asking for.

4. Back pain. So many people come to me with lower back pain that started after doing something dumb during a workout. If this has happened to you, make sure you learn proper technique, whether it’s in yoga class or at the boxing gym. As a rule of thumb, when you are in a spin or cardio class, try to bend forward using your abs, not using your lower back. In essence, suck your abdomen up and in, and then reach forward. When you are bending backward (hello, bridge pose), take the back bend completely out of your lower back – we’re almost all too mobile there anyway. Focus instead on finding a back bend in your upper thoracic and lumbar spines.

5. Mental wimp out. Can’t do it no more? This is the most intense sensation you can get when you’re exerting your body, but remember that hard physical exercise comes from the power of your brain. Your mind is stronger than your body, but your body knows it can trick your brain into thinking you should stop. Truth is, you may not be feeling any true pain at all. So what do you do? Learn the difference between true pain and sensation. WTF does that mean? Pain is usually shooting, sharp and hot (like, oh shit, I just broke my arm). Sensation is more like a feeling of fatigue or pushing beyond what you normally are comfortable with. If you pay attention, you’ll eventually learn the difference.


This is not a medical diagnosis its just our opinion of some possible potential causes, we always recommend seeking medical advice from an expert if you suffer from any of the symptons in this article.


Vegans know their sweets.

After all, you learn a thing or two trying to make dairy-free desserts that don’t taste like crap. Courtesy of Angela Liddon, this recipe puts boxed brownies to shame.

What You Need

1 1/2 tablespoons ground flax + 3 tablespoons water, whisked
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 cup whole almonds, ground into a flour/meal & sifted (or substitute 1 1/2 cups almond flour)
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch may work)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Earth Balance (coconut oil also works, but I didn’t like the flavor as much)
1 cup organic cane sugar (or just use white sugar)
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate, divided
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Related: Blueberry Banana Bundt Cake

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment and grease all sides. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water and set aside.

In a blender or processor, process almonds into a meal/flour. Sift out large pieces. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, arrowroot, cocoa, salt, baking soda).

In a large microwave-safe bowl, add 1/2 cup chocolate and Earth Balance and melt in microwave for about 30-45 seconds, until melted. Stir well and add in flax egg, sugar, vanilla and milk. Whisk. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir well. The mixture will be very dry, but not to worry, keep mixing! Now fold in the walnuts and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate.

Scoop thick batter into prepared pan and place a piece of parchment on top. Spread with hands or a pastry roller until smooth and even.

Bake for 35-37 minutes and allow brownies to cool in pan for about 1.5 hours. DO NOT REMOVE BROWNIES (uh-oh, I’m screaming!) until completely cool or they will crumble. You were warned! After an hour or so, separate edge of brownie from pan with a butter knife and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely. I like to leave my brownies out overnight (uncovered) and cut them in the morning.

Store in an air-tight container. Will stay fresh for up to 3 days.

Do Vegans get enough protein

You know it’s coming.

You’re at the company barbeque, and the prick who works four cubicles down makes his way over to you with his plate of dripping hamburger.

“Don’t you miss this?” he asks, as your nose registers the scent of ground pig lips, ears and assholes. You step away tentatively and imagine kneeing him in the crotch. You shake your head and mumble something about how you have to go. But before you make your escape, he manages to force out between a mouthful of flesh, “How do you get your protein, anyway?”

Tired of bloody carcass-lovers harassing you about how much protein you get? We are too.

Protein Myths

The real deal: Meat-eaters are freaking obsessed with protein, and it’s BS. “How do you get your protein?” seems to be their favorite question to ask. It doesn’t matter how you answer them – be prepared for skeptical looks and even more dumb questions.

Gym rats will tell you that you need one gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. Like most diet myths, that’s not actually true. Consuming that much protein is useless at best, and harmful at worst. In fact, medical research shows that getting more than 30 percent of your calories from protein can actually harm you and put major stress on your kidneys, the organs that rid your bod of toxins.

vegans Math Class

It has been proven over and over that humans don’t actually need that much protein to maintain a healthy weight – the actual amount is about .36 grams per pound of body weight.

Don’t let the math intimidate you. To put it in perspective, a 140-pound woman would need about 50 grams of protein per day, which is pretty easy to get, even as a vegan. To find out how much protein you actually need, just multiply your body weight by .36.

But, I Want Muscles

If you want to add more muscle, you can increase your intake to .5 times your body weight, and it’ll be more than enough. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors went for long stretches without meat, getting their protein from the plant world. They did fine. Want the proof? Humans are still alive today.

Vegans Packing in Your Protein

Did you know spinach has protein? Well, it does – a cup of cooked spinach has 13 grams. If you’re a 140-pound woman trying to get to 50 grams of protein a day, you’re already a quarter of the way there.

And there’s more than spinach – the vegan world is aplenty with protein, contrary to popular belief. A cup of soy milk has seven grams of protein, two tablespoons of peanut butter have eight grams and a cup of oatmeal has six grams. But don’t stop there – a cup of lentils has 18 grams and a cup of black beans has 16 grams!

Shake it Baby

If you’re an avid exerciser and want more protein in your diet, try some organic hemp protein, which can be mixed with a banana, one cup of spinach, a teaspoon of cacao powder, a handful of blueberries, some ice cubes and splash of soy milk for a sweet treat that packs a major protein punch. Also feel free to try out pea or soy proteins, which have been around for lactose-intolerant folks forever.

Veggie burgers? Thirteen grams per patty. A cup of tempeh has 41 grams. If you want more, check out this list from The Vegetarian Resource Group.

The bottom line? Don’t let meat-eating pricks bully you. It’s not that tough to get your protein, sweetie.

Raw Diet interview

It was only a decade ago that a raw foodie was considered the odd man out. From another planet, even. The idea of someone who didn’t mess with meat, sugar or a stove was a bit wacky to your average Joe.
Nowadays, we like to call those freaks of nature … cool.

HBD chatted with Guest Cook Ani on her rhyme and reason, the challenges of switching over and just how a veggie-based diet can help you feel and look like a million buckaroos. Give it to us raw, Ani.

What made you switch over to the raw diet?

I was raised on a raw food diet by a raw food dad. We had an organic garden when I was growing up. And, mom would make us green juices every morning with whatever was ripe in the garden that day.

When I got to college, I began to eat the less healthy SAD (standard American diet) style of white flour, sugar, cheese and deep fried foods. I had always been an athlete, but had stopped exercising when I got to college and instead began drinking and partying. In a few short months, I gained about 15 pounds and developed high cholesterol. When Mom saw me at the first Thanksgiving break during freshman year, she was shocked by how much weight I’d gained, and immediately put me back onto a vegan raw diet. I reintroduced exercise into my life, lost the excess weight and my cholesterol dropped back to normal levels.

I lived in San Francisco during the dot com era and discovered Juliano’s first raw food restaurant in the mid 90s. I fell in love with his food. It was so fresh, vibrant and beautiful. I didn’t need to sleep as much, it kept me from getting sick and I felt great.

This style of gourmet raw food is what I now call Raw 2.0. It was different from the raw foods I was raised on by my parents. That was what I now call Raw 1.0, which was about nutrients and function with no regard to flavors, textures or presentation. This new style of gourmet Raw 2.0 was guilt-free, healthy and delicious. I was hooked.

Biggest misconception …

That you have to deprive yourself to eat raw and healthy; that it’s hippie food that is not gourmet; that raw food is carrots and celery sticks. What’s your signature cuisine?

My love is for raw desserts. They are delicious, healthy for you and the planet, and guilt-free. Packed with free radical combating antioxidants, my raw desserts are made using FDA superfoods like nuts and fruit. Eating more of these raw desserts will boost your immune system, help you lose weight, and provide you with beautifying nutrients like vitamins A, B, C and E to build collagen while slowing down the aging process.

Favorite cookbook?

Most of my favorite cookbooks are not vegan nor raw. I like to use them as reference when creating raw vegan recipes of my own. In creating a recipe, I first consider the final texture, the herbs, spices and flavors of the cooked version. One food science book I love is On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. It’s more of an encyclopedia than a cookbook, and includes everything about any food you can imagine.
One “cooked” vegan cookbook I love is Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen. Bryant is one of the rare vegan chefs who uses fresh, whole, seasonal ingredients, rather than processed non-foods.

What would you recommend to those who get sick when transitioning to the raw diet?

Do what works for you and your lifestyle. No need to go 100-percent overnight or at all. I believe everyone benefits from eating more whole, fresh, organic produce, no matter what your diet is. As one introduces more nutrient-rich foods, one will notice there’s less room for fillers and empty calories like white flour and sugar. Rather than depriving one’s self from eating specific foods, it’s about displacing less healthy foods for foods that offer more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and healthy building blocks for vibrant bodies.

If you’re feeling detox effects, then slow down the transition to raw. It’s said to take one month to detox each year of unhealthy foods out of our system. So it won’t happen overnight. Take it slowly.

I ask people to notice how they feel. People will feel lighter, more energetic, clearer and happier. As people realize how good they can feel, they want to do better and better each day. Our only competition is with ourselves, to do better than the day before. Health is a lifelong pursuit, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

For the business professional or mom, finding time to grocery shop can be a process in itself. Do you have any special tips or recommendations on being an efficient consumer when grocery shopping?

Shop at your local farmer’s market when in season. Buy what looks appealing to you. I like to buy tougher leaves like kales and chards. When I get home, I immediately wash it all, and make up a salad mix that’s ready to go for the next four to five days. When I make a dressing or sauce, I make double and triple batches to ensure I have extra leftovers on hand in the fridge. This makes it easy to put together a fast, easy snack, and to make another meal using leftovers for the office the next day.

Ani’s Signature Mango Cobbler Serves: 4

What to Buy: For the crust: 1 1/4 cup almonds 1 vanilla bean, scraped 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and packed 2 tablespoons coconut oil or Earth Balance

For the filling: 1 cups mango, pitted and diced 1/4 cup agave nectar

How to Make It:

To make the crust, place the almonds, vanilla and salt into a food processor or blender. Lightly process into small pieces. Add the dates and coconut butter, and process to mix well. Sprinkle half of the crust onto the bottom of a loaf pan. To make the filling, toss together the mango and agave nectar. Scoop onto crust. Top with the remaining crust.

Beat Summer Sweet Treats

Beat Summer Heat With This Sweet Treat

It’s been a hot one so far. It’s not even August and the temperatures are cooking. Sometimes it feels like keeping cool is a full time project on the scorching hot days, not to mention staying hydrated. However, thinking about keeping your body cool and hydrated during the summer months as if it’s your job can actually be crucial to your health. It’s not just about how comfortable you are in the heat; there are many impacts beyond discomfort that rising temperatures have on your body.

Our bodies have an amazing capacity to manage external temperature changes, but only to a certain degree. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat, as well as extreme cold, can overwork the hypothalamus (a tiny gland in your brain that regulates body temperature), leading to an internal temperature imbalance that your body really does not appreciate.
Your body has a fine tuned mechanism for temperature regulation for a good reason: it doesn’t like to be any cooler or warmer than it’s standard 98.6 degreees. When your hypothalamus is overworked and no longer able to maintain a balanced temperature, feelings of stress, nausea, muscle spasms, tension and confusion can arise. You get “sun sick,” as my mother called it after long days at the lake under the summer sun.
In addition to your internal temperature maintenance, hydration is the next big factor to think about in the heat. Heat, often accompanied by drier air and more sweating on your part quickly dehydrates the body. Especially if you’re exerting yourself in any way, regularly hydrating yourself can help prevent overheating as well as other sun sick symptoms.
When you think about hydration, it’s helpful to look at the bigger picture of how it impacts your entire body, rather than just quenching your thirst. Everything from the your tissues and joints, which use water as a protective cushioning and lubricating agent, to your metabolism and digestive system, need to be adequately hydrated to properly function. Even before you feel thirsty, many of the functions of you body can be compromised by a lack of hydration.

To complicate the whole situation, it’s also important to understand that plain water often does not do the trick. Learn more on why this is the case and how you can better equip your water to hydrate you here in my previous post on hydration.
Staying hydrated and helping maintaining your normal internal temperature go hand in hand and can have remarkable effects on the way you feel all summer long. A clearer head, a more energetic mind and body, stronger muscles, improved metabolism, efficient detoxification, clearer skin and better immune function can all be achieved when you take care of your body and stay hydrated in the heat.
Here’s a recipe that tackles both the cooling and the hydrating needs at once, and is quick and easy to put together on a hot summer day. Kids and adults alike will love this refreshing cooler that we’ve packed with hydrating foods like watermelon and organic coconut water, seasonal sweets like fresh, juicy peaches and refreshing zesty citrus. Plus, it’s freezable so you can throw any extra in small cups, pop in a popsicle stick and have homemade popsicles in just a few hours!
Beat the Heat Summer Cooler and Popsicle Mix
(Serves 4, or makes 6-8 popsicles)
▪ 3 cups fresh watermelon chunks
▪ 1 large fresh peach, pit removed and sliced
▪ 1 large banana, sliced
▪ 4 Tbsp Purity Organic Coconut Water Powder dissolved in 2 cups water
▪ Juice of 1-2 limes, depending on your taste preferences
▪ 1 cup ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a standing blender and puree until smooth. Enjoy immediately or freeze in popsicle molds for a refreshing icy treat!

Sprouted Lentils with Arugula and Summer Veggies

Superfood Salad: Sprouted Lentils with Arugula and Summer Veggies

This is our sixth summer superfood salad recipe, part of a series we will be featuring all summer long. Check out last week’s recipe for Seasonal Summer Tabbouleh and stay tuned every Tuesday for more recipes to help you make the best of summer’s fresh bounty and YogaEarth’s newest line of organic superfoods!
Salads are a perfect summertime meal but you can only eat so many bounty bowls of leafy greens before you’re taste buds start begging for change. In my house it’s always a challenge to keep the salads interesting, since they are a staple of almost every meal. That’s where versatile grains and legumes come in handy. Adding them to green salads not only adds flavor and texture, it adds substance, nutrients and protein to the meal without to much weight – I know for me keeping the meal light on hot days is a high priority.

To make it easy I start the week by preparing a big batch of a few of my favorites, including lentils and quinoa and then add them to whatever fresh veggies and fruits I have on hand. When using lentils it’s definitely worth the extra step to sprout them. Sprouting not only results in a delicious, crunchy and raw food, it adds missing amino acids to the legume, resulting in a complete protein.
To sprout them, rinse lentils in cool water and place in a large mason jar. Fill the jar with enough water to cover the lentils with at least 1-inch of water above them. Cover the lid of the jar with a cheesecloth and let sit for 8-12 hours. Drain and then rinse again with cool water. Turn the jar upside down in a mixing bowl, leaning it to one side so any remaining water can drain through the cheesecloth and air can circulate through the jar. Let sit for another 8-12 hours and rinse again. After this second rinsing process you should begin to see sprouts. If not, let sit for a few more hours until the lentils have sprouted. Rinse one final time and they are ready to use. You may chose to eat the sprouted lentils as is (they will be a bit crunchy but very delicious) or steam them for 2-3 minutes to soften.
The process of sprouting is a fun one because you get to watch Mother Nature at work as the seemingly lifeless seeds transform into live, growing plants. Sprouting also adds a host of amazing beneficial enzymes to the food, which are powerful digestive aids and important to maintaining gut flora and a healthy digestive tract!

This recipe is so appetizing, both to the palate and the eyes and really brings out the beautiful bounty of summer flavors. Using raw cashews to create a creamy vinaigrette eliminates the need for dairy or oil in the recipe and adds a delicious, nutty-sweetness to the dish. Enjoy this dish as a complete meal that’s light, delicious and easy to make and pack leftovers with you for a nourishing lunch!
Lentil, Arugula and Summer Veggies with Creamy Cashew Vinaigrette
▪ 2 cups sprouted green lentils (you may also use cooked if desired)
▪ 3 cups baby arugula
▪ 1 fennel bulb, sliced as thinly as possible
▪ 1 medium zucchini, diced
▪ 1/2 cup diced roasted red bell pepper
▪ 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
▪ ¼ cup raw cashews
▪ 3 Tbsp water
▪ 2 garlic cloves
▪ 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
▪ 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
▪ 1 tsp raw honey
▪ Salt and pepper to taste
Toss the lentils with the arugula, fennel, zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes in a large salad bowl.
In a Cuisineart or standing blender combine the cashews, water, balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding more water if necessary.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Enjoy immediately!