My Thoughts On Health + Diet + Exercise.

savvy sarah

Who Am I?

San Jose Native, blogger and aspiring public speaker for health and nutrition. I am a travel addict, healthy food fanatic, love to cook, lover of all things positive, sun chasing, perfectionist.

Quick Skinny Trick?

I don’t believe in dieting. I don’t diet nor do I count calories. I feel like both of those things are a crime. I think any weight loss should be a healthy process. It takes work, there is no easy way out and chances are if it’s easy it doesn’t last. I have been vegetarian by choice for about 5 years now and that has definitely transformed and played a role in my healthy lifestyle. I exercise about 4-5 times a week between running and circuit training. If you want results you have to put in the work.

Thoughts on working out/eating healthy?

I haven’t always been a workout fanatic. The key is simply starting. I remember when I could barely run 5 minutes on the treadmill. Day after day it was 10, 20, 30 minutes to have now completed my first half marathon earlier this year. Trust me when I say there are days that I am just tired or sore and don’t want to workout, but I know the reward in the end is truly fulfilling that I don’t want to miss it. All of my eating habits are things I genuinely enjoy and I think that is the key to success. Anything that is dreadful will never take priority.

If you are enjoying your workout you’ll do it more often. You’ll also do it happily and lets face it- there’s nothing that pepares you better for your day than positive energy.

Favorite Go To healthy food?

Easy question. I love fresh fruit, green smoothies from Whole Foods (THE BEST!) and raw veggies with hummus.

Motivation to stay in shape?

To feel good as well as look good. There once was a time that I was so uncomfortable with my weight and the way I looked and I will never go back to being lazy. It’s just as important if not more to take care of ourselves, get our mind in a state of gratitude and exercise/eat healthy as often as we can. There should be no excuses….Just Do it.

Favorite Natural Remedy?

Coconut oil.  It’s a great makeup remover, moisturizer and to put it simply a one stop shop.

Most important “being healthy” eating tip?

Try and stay away from foods with labels. You would be surprised how much less bloated and better you will feel immediately. Think this: Less processed, drink more water and eat local/organic.

Most important “being healthy” tip for exercise?

Set defined goals. Consistency. Make time. Get up and do it. No excuses. Baby steps are still steps that all add up.

Cheers. xo

Almond Butta!

If you are like most people, buying almond butter would be much easier than making. Who has the time, right? Wrong! I on the other hand am a little funny when it comes to buying new items at the grocery store. Mostly because I shop at Whole Foods- and it can be expensive to try new things and end up wasting them. Luckily, I just found out you can return anything if you don’t like it (probably a little late to the game). You just can’t eat it all and then try to bring it back. 😉 I recently bought an almond butter that I like called Justin’s. You can find it here. I have had homemade almond butter before and it beats any store bought anything (except this one). You can add the exact amount of sweet and salty that YOU like. Just don’t overdose. Almond butter is a great substitute to those who have a peanut allergy or simply love almonds. Raw nuts can lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, help w/ weight conrol, and are rich in antioxidants. Most traditional nut butters are full of sugar so make sure you are reading the labels. Here is a recipe I found and can’t wait to try. This almond butter can last up to six weeks- I would have to say that the 15-20 minutes it takes to make it  isn’t so bad after all. Give it a try…

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 teaspoon oil, such as almond, unrefined peanut, or extra virgin coconut
  • Seas Salt
  • 1 1/2 teasonpoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Put the almonds in a food processor or Vitamix and process for about 1 minute. Add the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the cinnamon. Continue to process for another 8-10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the food proecssor or Vitamix as needed. You will see a change in consistency from crumbs to big climps, to a large ball. Finally, as the oil is released from the almonds, the mixture will smooth itself out. If you want it even smooter add more oil.

When it’s as smooth as you’d like it, stir in the honey, add more salt to taste and transfer to glass jar. It will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

*This recipe is out of  The Sprouted Kitchen – One of my newest cookbooks I am in love with.

Quinoa w/ Butternut Squash and Kale

During the fall season, squash is everwhere to be seen AND it’s cheap. This recipe was made over Thanksgiving but  it can be used as a main dish (if vegetarian) or a great side dish if not. It’s full of kale, walnuts, quinoa, butternut squash. Kale is not only low calorie, but has zero fat and is rich in fiber (along with quinoa). You will feel full without the bloated feeling that most rice dishes can give you.

Give it a try!

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups quinoa (I like a mixture of red and white quinoa for color)
1 bay leaf
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ribs celery, diced
2 medium leeks,  washed and chopped 
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
3 ounces curly kale, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 – 2 teaspoons fresh sage or thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions:

Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions, substituting chicken or vegetable broth for the liquid called for in the instructions and adding the bay leaf to the pot with the liquid prior to cooking. Discard the bay leaf after cooking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and adjust rack to middle position.

Toss squash with coconut oil, whole cane sugar, and salt. Spread the pieces evenly in a baking dish and cover with foil. Roast for 15 minutes, remove foil and then roast for an additional 20 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium to large cast iron skillet or saute pan add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the celery and saute for 2 – 3 minutes, until slightly tender. Add the leeks and saute an additional 2 – 3 minutes, until the leeks and celery are tender and fragrant. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the chopped kale and saute over low heat just until the kale has wilted.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, vegetables from the saute pan, cranberries, fresh parsley and your choice of thyme or sage. Stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, top with 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, if desired.

2 Bean Vegan Chili

{2 Bean Vegan Chili}

What You’ll Need:

  • Carrots/White Onions/ Celery
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Can Diced Tomato (No salt added)
  • Zucchini
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin/Coriander/Salt/Pepper/Cayenne Pepper/Dried Oregano
  • Lime
  • Jalapeno/ Sliced and Diced
  • Black + Kidney Beans

Saute carrots, celery, onion w/ extra virgin olive oil (can use coconut oil as substitute.) Add water, zucchini, diced tomato, jalapeno, beans into pot.  Add salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and dried oregano (to taste). I added fresh cilantro into the pot as well. I am not big on measurments, but don’t go too crazy before the chili has had a chance to simmer-  the flavors will taste better after it is done cooking- and remember you can always add. After you add everything into a large pot let the chili simmer for about 15-20 min. Add fresh cilantro and lime for garnish. If desired you can always add cheese/meat. Let me tell you, it was delish w/o any dairy or meat product!

Enjoy!

Health Benefits

*CUMIN:  Cumin is extremely good for digestion and related problems. The very smell (aroma) of it, which comes from an aromatic organic compound called Cuminaldehyde, the main component of its essential oil, activates our salivary glands in our mouth (the mouth watering flavor), facilitating the primary digestion of the food.

*CORIANDER: The health benefits of coriander include treatment of swellings, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, Mouth ulcers, anemia, digestion, menstrual disorders, small pox, eye care, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, blood sugar disorders, etc.