Is Breast Milk Vegan?

December 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

I just couldn’t resist this post. I can’t tell you how many people asked me when I had my baby if I was going to nurse – because “breast milk isn’t vegan, right?” You may laugh – but so many people have asked me this question that I think it offers an opportunity to talk about veganism and why we choose the lifestyle we do.

Now, I’m not writing this post to advocate a vegan lifestyle or diet for nursing mothers. There’s a lot of controversy over vegan diets in regards to nursing mothers. Luckily there is more and more research showing the positive benefits of a vegan diet. When it comes to nursing – only the mother and father can make the decision of what is best for their baby. In my own experience, I have found reassurance in watching my own diet, sometimes supplementing as I saw fit, and getting regular blood work to ensure I’m not experiencing any vitamin deficiencies. The fact that my baby is highly alert, gaining good weight, rarely sick (despite being in daycare full-time), fine at every checkup, and overall just very happy gives me comfort that she is getting all the nutrients she needs.

Now let’s take a step back. Vegan is defined as “a person who does not eat or use animal products”. 

First off, let’s be clear – it is very difficult to avoid all animal products and live a 100% vegan life. Animal suffering unfortunately is lurking around many corners. For example, you may be surprised to realize that many sugars are not vegan. So veganism is rooted in the act of trying to avoid animal products as much as possible because of the unjust suffering they represent. “Trying to” are the key words here. If you read more about prominent vegans, their message is clear that choosing vegan as much as possible is key. It is not about being perfect – it is about reducing unjust suffering as much as possible.

Now that we have that sorted – let’s take a look at breast milk. Because I’m willingly offering my breast to my baby and not subjecting animals to inhumane treatment in the process, breast milk is indeed vegan.

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21 Day Junk Food Detox Recap and Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

September 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

creamy vegan cualiflower soup from Cooking con Sal

Well, I did it. I survived my 21 day detox – mostly…

Two weeks in I fell really ill. I am not sure if my body was just doing a MAJOR detox or if I came in contact with some horrible virus, but the past week in a nutshell has sucked. It started with an awful sore throat which progressed into a full blown cold/flu. As my doc said, “you look like crap.” I’m not one to jump to meds but I had a lot going on at work and laying around in bed for a week wasn’t ideal – but alas, as I am exclusively nursing and couldn’t take any meds, I had to suck it up and deal. After three nights of absolutely no sleep and just when I thought I wasn’t going to make it, I started to come around. I’m not sure if it was the netti pot, loads of Vitamin C, double daily good belly shots, endless soup, or all the raw garlic, ginger, and citrus I was eating – but I finally started to come out of it and was able to return to work. Then before I knew it, I was back where I started Thursday night – I couldn’t swallow, had no voice, and was literally almost in tears I was in so much pain. I just kept pounding the lemons, ginger, garlic, parsley, coconut oil, etc. and something worked. I was able to sleep through the night and literally all of Friday and now, finally after a restful weekend, I’m on the mend. 

Whether this was part of the detox or just coincidence who knows. I really would hate to think I did this to myself! I also share this because feeling lousy and eating clean are hard to do together! When you feel bad – eating clean is the absolute last thing you want to do. But, it is the most important time and you should try and heal your body with food. 

So, what did I get out of my detox? Well for starters, I definitely felt the void of pasta, crackers, chocolate, and all sorts of processed junk I’m hooked on. I eat pretty well – but even the “healthy” processed stuff is still junk when you think about it. Sure, my spicy sweet potato chips are healthier than the traditional potato chips – but they’re still potato chips! We get into such a “but this is healthier than that” routine that we forget we’re eating junk to begin with! So in that regard – literally detoxing off this stuff was good. 

I experimented a lot more than usual. I made amazing nut bars, spiced sweet potato chips, homemade tomato sauce, and tons of fresh detoxifying blender soups – all satisfying, nourishing, and healthy! I really think if I reached for a canned salsa or tomato sauce I’d be surprised at the sugar and salt in it. Getting a clean start is a good thing. 

I dropped weight immediately. Immediately as in the first few days. Everyone kept commenting on how amazing I looked. I couldn’t believe that after just a few days I had lost some of my belly flab already – but I had. Also, my weight dropped to a record low – I don’t even remember the last time I weighed what I do today. We’re talking grad school years! Who knows if it’s the detox, the virus, or what. We’ll see if it sticks.

Moving forward I’m definitely going to do my best to stick with this and eat as many whole foods as possible. It’s hardest when eating out so I’m not going to go crazy or anything – but where I can I’m going to choose whole foods. I’m also going to try and stop buying packaged stuff for home. No more pastas, pasta sauces, crackers, chocolate bars, etc. We’ll see how long I last 😉

Now for this soup. Friday night I was feeling really lousy and needed a super quick, easy, comforting, soup. Afterall, who wants to cook when you’re sick! This creamy cauliflower soup hit the spot and was ridiculously easy to make. Plus you would never know that it is not laden with butter and cream because it is so decadently creamy!  Enjoy 🙂 

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup 
Serves 4 bowls 

Ingredients 

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut up
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube (I use this one

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chopped cauliflower with coconut oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional). Roast for 20-30 minutes until tender and edges are slightly browned. 
  2. Add roasted cauliflower, water, and bouillon cube to blender. Blend on highest setting for about 5-7 minutes until soup is thick and steamy. If you want a thinner soup, add more water 1/2 cup at a time and another bouillon cube.

10 Days of No Processed Junk!

September 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

spaghetti squash with homemade tomato sauce from Cooking con Sal

Today marks 10 days on my Junk Food Detox – 10 days without processed crap. No cartons, boxes, jars, etc. except for my few exceptions discussed here. So far so good. I do have to admit I’ve felt hungry but that is subsiding. It isn’t that I’m actually hungry – it is just that I’m craving things. I was at Panera today and almost went nuts on the pastry bar. But I resisted the indulgence and right now I’m preparing these to fix my sweet tooth.

I meant to provide a daily recap but haven’t been keeping very good track. You can follow along on Twitter @VSDieguez as I’ve been posting most of my daily recaps there.

Here are some of the goodies I’ve been enjoying the past few days:

  • lots of smoothies
  • chocolate avocado pudding
  • salads overflowing with veggies and dressed with balsamic vinegar and oil
  • pears, apples, kiwi, raspberries, blueberries, carrot, celery, nuts and seeds for snacks
  • homemade baked sweet potato chips and fries
  • spaghetti squash with homemade marinara
  • lots of homemade soups including a raw tomato and vegetable soup, roasted tomato soup, and black bean soup

Eating out continues to be the challenge but I’m trying to make the best choices possible.

Here’s to my almost half way mark! Follow along at #21daysofclean.

Junk Food Detox: Days 3 & 4 Recap

August 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

Dandelion Communitea's Hempy Hummus

Well, I’ve been on a bit of a slow spiral downward. Today was ROUGH. I’m not gonna lie. I felt increasingly hungry as the day went on – I ate breakfast late which I think may have had a downhill effect. But, bottom line, today is the successful completion of Day 4 on my Junk Food Detox!

Yesterday was just ok. I had to eat lunch out – that is really becoming a pain! But at least I was able to go to one of my fav’s Dandelion and get organic wholesome food. Here’s a recap of what I ate:

  • Breakfast – coffee with coconut cream & kiwi, raspberries, walnuts
  • Lunch – Hempy hummus with celery & carrot (no chips!), side salad w/ balsamic (no sugar)
  • Afternoon snack – finally finished off that quinoa from Monday
  • Dinner – sauteed zucchini & mushroom with ginger, jalapeno, garlic
  • Evening – detox tea & kiwi

sauteed zucchini and mushrooms with ginger and garlic

As I said today was just plain hard. I really should have gone to the grocery store last night but I just didn’t have the energy – must go tomorrow! I had to grab breakfast on the way to work today so I stopped at Panera and got the oatmeal with blueberries and pecans and no sugar. I’m not sure if this classifies as “not processed” but I figured it was as wholesome as it was gonna get. At least today I skipped the coffee creamer. The day just slowly wore on and I got more and more hungry and was ravished by dinner. Again, no energy for the grocery store so I threw together a salad. Here’s what today’s rundown looked like:

  • Breakfast – Panera oatmeal with blueberries and pecans (no cinnamon sugar) and black coffee
  • Lunch – leftover sauteed veggies from last night’s dinner
  • Afternoon snack – smoothie (blueberries, cacao, maca, chia, almonds, almond milk ice – NO sugar and boy did I miss it!)
  • Dinner – Baby kale salad with corn, peppers, avocado, and citrus vinaigrette (lemon, lime, olive oil)
  • Evening snack – pistachios & raspberries, detox tea

baby kale salad with citrus vinaigrette

I have to say if I had a bag of potato chips right now – they would be GONE. So here I am sipping on tea and reminding myself this is just a hurdle and to keep going. Tomorrow is day 5!

Want to learn more about my #21daysofclean?

Junk Food Detox: Day 2 Recap

August 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

clean eating detox

Here’s a quick rundown on what I ate yesterday. I got stuck eating lunch out – I’m realizing that is really going to be the tough part in all of this. We were debating on whether or not to leave town for Labor Day and in the end I decided it was going to just be way too hard to eat well out of town, so we’re staying put. Now THAT’s dedication! I know I need to kick the creamer in my coffee as it is just added sugar… but I’ll save that for another day.

Tuesday – Day 2

  • Breakfast
    • Coffee with coconut milk creamer
    • Smoothie (mango, strawberry, blueberry, almond milk, OJ, chia seed, maca, water)
  • Morning snack
    • Kiwi, raspberries, walnuts
  • Lunch
    • Black bean soup (at Lime – not necessarily a “clean” meal but as clean as I could get!)
  • Afternoon snack
    • Pistachios
  • Dinner
    • Leftover black bean soup from lunch
    • Quinoa with avocado, mango and kale from Monday’s dinner
  • Evening snack
    • Pear

Join me on my 21 day junk food detox. Follow along here and on twitter #21daysofclean.

21 Day Junk Food Detox!

August 27, 2013 § 9 Comments

Quinoa with Avocado, Mango, and Kale from Cooking con Sal

I wasn’t sure what to call this little challenge I’ve come up with for myself.

21 days of clean eating? Yeah… except that I’m still allowing myself to have coffee 🙂 So this isn’t truly going to be all clean.

21 days of whole foods? Yeah… that’s getting closer. But as you’ll see I have a few small non-whole food items that are slipping through.

21 days of no junk food? Bingo!

I’m on a junk food detox – aka no processed crap.

Here’s to 21 days of eating lots of whole, local, organic, non-GMO food and:

  • No processed foods – nothing from a box or bag – nothing with an ingredient list
  • No gluten (been trying to eat gluten-free for about two months now so this isn’t totally new)
  • No soy (to the extent that I can avoid it!)
  • No dairy/meat (nothing new here)

Now, for full disclosure I do have a few exceptions to my 21 day detox:

  • coconut milk creamer – to go with the aforementioned coffee that I’m still drinking. After 5 months of never sleeping more than 4 hours at a time, this is no time to give up coffee!
  • almond milk – I do hope to try and make it myself during these 21 days but given that I’m so exhausted, that is unlikely to happen.

But other than the creamer and the milk I really hope to not eat anything from a package.

If you know me you’re probably saying, “but you already eat pretty clean, right?” Yes and no. I do love chips, and pasta, and ice cream (vegan of course), and the list goes on and on of many things that have a long ingredient list or are far from their whole food form. So I’m trying to get back to basics. Eating out is going to be tough – but we’ll see how it goes.

What do I hope to accomplish? I’m looking for more energy, a healthier plate at each meal, and as a bonus maybe to shed those last few post pregnancy pounds. But really more than anything, I just want to see if I can do it — and I believe I can!

Want to join me? Follow along with #21daysofclean (for the record, it sounded better than #21daysjunkfree!)

Monday – Day 1 Recap

  • Breakfast – Coffee w/ coconut milk creamer & coconut milk yogurt with walnuts, chia seeds, cinnamon (OK, I know the yogurt isn’t a whole food, but I was just getting started. Cut this mama some slack 😉 )
  • Morning snack – Smoothie (mango, strawberry, acai, maca, OJ, water)
  • Lunch – Lentil and kale soup (a big heaping bowl of it)
  • Afternoon snack – Broccoli with chili and garlic from Whole Foods (while this is a prepared item, it was all whole ingredients)
  • Dinner – Quinoa with avocado, mango and kale (pictured above) – yum yum yum, recipe will be posted soon!
  • Evening – Detox tea & citrus ginger cold shot (lemon, lime, ginger, cayenne, coconut oil, water to get rid of this nasty cold!)

Spicy Okra and Zucchini Saute

August 22, 2013 § 4 Comments

Spicy zucchini and okra saute from Cooking Con Sal

If you’re a tried and true okra fan or a newbie and scared of “the slime” – this recipe is for you. Personally, I’m a new okra fan. My doula got my hooked on okra in this amazing detox soup she makes. I had a fresh basket of okra but was in the mood for something other than soup which is how this saute came about.

Okra is great for your digestive system as it is loaded with fiber and contains natural laxatives. Also included in this saute is zucchini which is equally good for you.

Stewed zucchini and okra from Cooking con Sal

This recipe couldn’t be easier – plus it has all the great taste of pasta without the carbs thanks to the tomato sauce

. Simply saute the veggies and simmer in your desired pasta sauce – that’s it! I loved the okra and zucchini paired with a spicy sauce. But, if you’re not into spicy try it with a garlic roasted tomato sauce or tomato basil. I used this Lucini spicy tuscan sauce which was great. The pouch was just the perfect serving and I love that there is no sugar added! (I found this sauce at Fresh Market).

Spicy Okra and Zucchini Saute 

Ingredients

  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carton fresh okra (about 2 cups), trimmed and sliced
  • 4-5 mini peppers, sliced
  • 2 large zucchini or 4 small zucchini, chopped
  • tomato sauce of your choice

Directions

  1. Saute garlic and onion in oil over medium heat.
  2. Once translucent, add in the okra and peppers and cook about 5-7 minutes until okra browns a bit.
  3. Add zucchini and cook a few minutes more, stirring all vegetables together.
  4. Add sauce and reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer 10-15 minutes until zucchini is tender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

 

 

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