Healthy Mediterranean Pizza

IMG_3457

Create healthy habits, not restrictions

Adopting a healthy lifestyle or trying to lose weight can be extremely frustrating, especially when the people around you are not on the same mission. When I used to “diet” in high school before school dances, I would practically shake with restraint watching my girlfriends guzzle down pizza and cookies after football games. I had such strict rules and restrictions, all I thought about were the foods that I couldn’t eat, and ended up binging like cray when I got my hands on them. I no longer allow myself to “diet” because I would concentrate on calories instead of health, and ended up gaining weight at the end of the day because I was setting myself up for failure. Now, I try to create as many healthy habits that I can, which overthrow all of my bad habits. It has helped me associate positivity with eating, which is extremely important for me because I used to be dependent on food emotionally. Since then, my mantra has been:

FOOD IS FUEL

So today I am sharing my healthy easy homemade pizza that I bake when I feel the urge for pizza. It may not be fabulously vegan or made of sprouted quinoa loaded with vegetables, but its extremely easy and hits the spot for me :) Delivery pizza like Dominos is loaded with chemically processed ingredients and has well over 800 calories, 530 of those calories are from fat with 59 grams of fat (36g saturated!). I use fresh organic ingredients, basil from my garden and whole wheat pizza dough from the market. Its such an easy and clean alternative that keeps your waistline slim and is a fun date-night activity for my boyfriend and I.

IMG_3443

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 8.07.40 PM

IMG_3459

Ingredients:

  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (I get mine at the grocery store bakery)
  • Flour
  • Organic pizza tomato sauce
  • Buffalo Mozzarella
  • 1 organic tomato
  • Basil

Lay out pizza dough to rise for an hour before. Preheat oven to 425 degrees WITH the pizza stone in it, or else it can crack. Place big sheet of parchment on table and cover with a lot of flour. Cover hands and dough in flour (have fun with it!) and start kneading dough out into a circle, squeezing out air bubbles, and roll with rolling pin to fit the pizza stone. Remove pizza stone with gloves and set on stand. Transfer dough to stone by sliding off of parchment (easiest with lots of flour). Spread pizza sauce over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch around the edge. I like to add a little bit of hot sauce to add a little pow. Slice mozzarella into thin circles and place around pizza on top of sauce. Place pizza and stone in oven on bottom rack. Bake for 7 minutes and then add thinly sliced tomatoes, basil leaves and if you’d like, a little pink himalayan salt. Place back in oven for 5 more minutes until edges are light brown. Remove and let cool for a little, then slice with pizza wheel. I like to slice them in squares because eating more pieces fills your up faster!

*Putting tomatoes in freezer for a little makes it so much easier to slice thin without it getting watery

IMG_7012

 *The key to this pizza is that I use a pizza stone, which is really inexpensive and makes the crust deliciously crispy and flavorful. I also bake my cookies on it! You can find pizza stones at target and some grocery stores, or find it online here for $16.99 at target.com

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 8.03.44 PM

 

Warm Coconut Kale Salad

First of all, I’m sorry for the lack of posts. I’m in the last finals of my college career and it’s so hard to find time to cook. My meals usually consist of apples. bananas, hard boiled eggs, quest bars and grocery store sushi… I can’t wait to get done with finals so I can start cooking and juicing for the summer!

I found a little time to post about my favorite brain food: Kale. This leafy green is a “must” during finals. It keeps me energized and full for long days in the library. Not only is it  off the charts with nutrients and vitamins but its so delicious and satisfying. Its also packed with antioxidants and cleanses your body of toxins (to flush out all this coffee I’m drinking), and is packed with fiber to keep you full without gaining weight! My favorite thing about kale is that its really chewy to satisfy my mouth and tummy since I don’t eat meat (I eat fish occasionally).

{One cup of Kale has ZERO calories, 36 calories and is high in vitamin C, vitamin K, beta carotene, magnesium and potassium}

Below is my absolute FAVORITE salad. I  like to heat this salad because it makes it a lot easier to chew and digest and satisfies me more since Kale can be intense alone. Make sure you don’t overcook it though because it can become soggy and lose nutrients. You can also choose to massage the kale with the coconut oil to soften the leaves.

Warm Coconut Kale Salad

10039_10202140233881810_2093569115_n

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups kale (ripped off bite size pieces)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • Himalayan salt
  • (optional hard boiled egg)

Directions

  1. Heat coconut oil on LOW in large pan
  2. Add Kale that is torn into small pieces  for about 5 minutes (you still want it crispy not soggy)
  3. Season with a little salt
  4. Squeeze a little lemon
  5. Remove from heat
  6. Add avocado and chia seeds

The Real “Orange Juice”

C A R R O T S

Carrots are well-known for their help with EYE health, also giving you those healthy appealing white eyes, did you also know that carrots are incredible for your SKIN and HAIR too? They have a lot of beta-carotene (aka vitamin A). Vitamin A is what we need for shiny & moisturized hair as well as a healthy scalp (essential to hair growth). Carrots also help repair skin damage and give you a beautiful healthy glow. For more nutritional information on carrots, see my carrot ginger soup.

Below are my two favorite “orange  juice” recipes:

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 6.22.24 PM

Liquid Sunshine Ingredients:

  • Juice of 2 Oranges
  •  3 large carrots
  • 1 Apple (Pink Lady)
  • 1/2 peeled raw Sweet Potato
  • Juice of 1 lemon

 

rabbit juice

Rabbit Juice Ingredients:

  • 5 large Carrots
  • 2 Apples (I like using Pink Lady Apples for this)
  • 1 inch ginger (peeled)
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Lemon zest
  • 2 celery sticks

My Favorite Salads

 

1782023_10202155496383363_2058055110_n

Tempeh Berry Salad

{Strawberries, Blueberries, Cucumbers, Avocados, Chia Seeds, Romaine and Grilled Miso Tempeh}

1146549_10201051467423329_650799246_n

Goji Goddess Salad

{Goji berries, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, avocado, hemp seeds on kale}

1185142_10201023935215041_875701646_n

Rainbow Kale Salad

{Roasted red and orange beets, cherries, quinoa, shredded carrots, tomatoes, avocado, slivered almonds, romaine and Swiss chard}

IMG_2039

Raspberry Avocado Salad

With cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, and chia seeds over mixed greens

Red Juice: Beet Apple Carrot Ginger Juice with Grapefruit

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.06.56 AM

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple (I like Pink Ladies in my juice)
  • 1/2 red beet, washed and peeled
  • 5 big carrots
  • 1 Grapefruit
  • 1/3 peeled Ginger Root
  • Lemon juice

Beets

Beets are incredible for beautifying and detoxifying your body with incredible anti-aging benefits.

Skin: Beets stimulate cell production/repair, protecting your skin from premature aging & wrinkles. The antioxidants in beets fight aging signs, keeping your skin firm and youthful. & because beets thin bile, they improve liver function and increase detoxification which helps with weight loss & gives you those appealing white eyes and glowing skin. (but be careful to only juice at least half a beet per day as it is very very strong and can be too hard on your body and make you feel sick)

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.07.45 AM

Light Avocado Dressing

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 7.36.20 PM

Blend Ingredients:

  • 1 large Avocado
  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Grapeseed oil
  • Salt
  • Splash of hot sauce

IMG_2376

IMG_2360

Rainbow Bowls

601589_10201269130984782_1811888887_n

Strawberries, cucumbers, avocado, sliced almonds, lemon zest Quinoa, pistachios and lemon tahini dressing on a bed of spinach.

1173610_10201167457683013_1938939279_n

Mango, cucumbers, avocado, sunflower seeds, farro, chopped almonds, and blueberries on a bed of spinach.

1393766_10201452394166247_102856785_n

Kale and spinach salad with avocado and chia seeds, cannelini beans, chopped cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, grated carrot with pumpkin seeds, chopped summer squash all wrapped around garlic hummus.

1782091_10202166918828917_1338810869_nSpinach, roasted cinnamon dusted sweet potatoes, hard-boiled egg, almonds, avocado, cucumbers, and garlic hummus.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 7.35.25 PM

Romaine, hard-boiled egg, avocado, grilled shrimp, black eyed peas, chopped veggie bacon, and barbecue sauce.

Trip to California

A couple weeks ago I flew back to my hometown in Malibu with my boyfriend. It was so much fun and the weather was amazing.  We went paddleboarding everyday, surfing, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling… We had bonfire’s and BBQ’d almost every night, which is my absolute favorite thing. I love the smell of coals and gasoline on a warm summer night.

 My other favorite thing about going home is the endless smoothie cafes and Acai bowls that the south hasn’t caught onto yet. I took every chance I could to document all the healthy California meals I had. Remember, just because your on vacation doesn’t mean you cant have delicious AND healthy meals. I even had the chance to cook for my family and make everyone smoothies :)

IMG_3994

All the veggies we bbq’d! This night we cooked zucchini, asparagus, corn, pineapple, sweet potatoes and fresh swordfish.

IMG_3698

Ryan and I went on a hike one morning along the cliffs, it was so beautiful, I couldn’t resist trying a scorpion I haven’t done since highschool.

IMG_3910

One night we went to Calamigos Ranch to eat at M Cafe. It was maybe the coolest restaurant I’ve ever been to. It was a huge ranch with campfires with rainbow umbrellas overhead, chandeliers hanging from the trees over pool tables and shuffle boards with white lights hanging from the trees. I had the seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Avocado, sesame seeds, wild greens and papaya with a mustard apple vinaigrette.

IMG_3967

Ryan and My dad playing in the kayaks and me trying yoga on the paddleboards – not as easy as it seems.

945979_10201014089248898_1230289834_n

I had one of the most delicious Rainbow Kale Salads from Howdy’s with roasted red and orange beets, cherries, quinoa, shredded carrots, tomatoes, avocado, slivered almonds, romaine and Swiss chard.

1185142_10201023935215041_875701646_n

A simple Acai Bowl at Coogies with granola, banana and strawberries and some fresh squeezed orange juice

1150959_10201023932374970_1920109507_n

Tropical Aloe Smoothie

1174589_10201023936935084_540914451_n

Tropical Aloe Vera Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen Pineapple
  • 1/2 cup Mango
  • 1 frozen Banana
  • 1 scoop Coconut Ice Cream (I use So Delicious)
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Almonds
  • Coconut Water (pour for desired consistency)
  • 1/2 cup Aloe Vera Juice

ALOE VERA JUICE

58e9f9ba46ead27f3850bb4fd2378fa4

Let’s take the spotlight off of the beloved Coconut Water for a minute and check out my new favorite healthy habit, Aloe Vera Juice! Did you ever rub the gel from Aloe leaves on your cuts when you were little? Well when taken orally, it is said to aid in weight loss, digestion, constipation, immune function, lubricates joints and hydrates skin, lowers blood sugar levels and even ‘eases general discomfort’ as a natural pain reliever. It benefits digestion and metabolism, and appears to offer colon cleansing benefits, detoxifying the body. It has also been found to soothe arthritis pain. I buy big bottles that I swig from about 2 gulps a day.  The first time I heard about it was my short experience with Herbalife, which recommends Aloe Juice for weight loss! The best kind, or so I’ve heard, is the gel that you dilute in water which you can find at health food stores and online.

IMG_3402

Forks Over Knives: “A Movie That Could Save Your Life”

I believe that one of the most dramatic and successful ways to change someones viewpoint on something is to show them the truth through a video. I’m not gonna lie, it’s discouragingly difficult to explain my reasons for adopting a plant based diet to someone in 5 minutes. I usually just say that I’ve read so many books and seen too many documentaries to know that it’s the healthiest & kindest way, or I just say “personal reasons” to avoid creating an unnecessary argument. I try so hard not to thrust my opinions onto people in a bible-banging way, but it’s so hard to hear time and time again, “I could never do that, it’s too hard”, or the most popular “I could never give up meat” and “I love cheese”… Well, so did I! I’d say a strong percentage of us enjoyed meat for a good part of their life, and truuust me, NO ONE hated cheese or Ben or Jerry. So instead of coming back with a long explanation as to why dairy isn’t for humans (which is more satisfying), I opt for a suggested documentary. I recently viewed these films in my free time, utterly absorbed and fascinated by the hard evidence and research and incredible people that are involved in the making….

First, Forks Over Knives by

Image

The film’s producers call it a movie that “examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.” Roger Ebert calls it “a movie that could save your life.” the power of diet and lifestyle to trump illness. When I first heard about this movie, I thought the title described a salad fork conquering a steak knife, but it turns out the imagery actually refers to diet (fork) and medicine (knife, or scalpel). Forks over knives. Food over medicine. Scientific accuracy recounted how they evaded death by ditching their pill-popping, fast-food-noshing, insulin-injecting lifestyles.Team Asparagus comprised of Dean Ornish, John McDougall, Neal Barnard, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Joel Fuhrman

In the film, evolutionary psychologist Dr. Doug Lisle, talks about an amazing concept called The Pleasure Trap—a motivational triad of “seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, and conserving energy” that all our years of evolution have hardwired us for. Because our modern, processed foods are so rich in calories and easy to access, they provide a high degree of dietary reward with almost no effort. Our bodies freakin’ love this. So much, in fact, that our brains say “eat eat eat!” in the presence of such foods and our natural hunger signals get overridden. That worked well in the wild, when periods of food abundance were interrupted with periods of famine. But these days, it just makes it easy to get fat. And the Pleasure Trap applies to much more than just food. Indeed, we’re biologically driven to seek the easy way out, to avoid pain, and to pursue things that make us feel good.