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Let’s Talk About Juice!

April 15, 2014 by Carolina

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I’ll admit it: Though I had an incredible time in Colombia being a vegetarian there was hard — I didn’t eat well. Most of the times we ate out my choices were limited to rice, beans, plantains, french fries or arepas, in other words carb central. As a result I came back to tighter jeans & knew I wanted to reset my system & feed it whole, delicious things. Enter juicing! Last summer I tried the Blueprint Cleanse for three days & really enjoyed it, it gave me a nice jump start, however, it’s an expensive cleanse. This time around I opted for making the juices myself, following the Blueprint Cleanse framework for the juices.

I mentioned my three day juicing detox to a friend who asked me a ton of questions about juicing in general. I have gotten some questions from readers of The Peas before so I wanted to share what I shared with my friend. Below is everything you need to know before juicing:

Enter Lightly. The day before you start a juicing cleanse you should eat light, starting to prepare your body for the cleanse. I like to eat a lot of veggies, greens & fruits as well as cut out beans & grains.

 

Clean Produce. Since all your body is getting during a juice cleanse is produce make sure you buy the best you can. If you can’t afford organic consider filling your sink up with water & vinegar & letting produce soak for 15 minutes or so & then rinsing them out. This will help remove any of the pesticides on the top layer of the fruits/vegetables.

Prep. It’s a lot easier to juice every day if you do some of the legwork beforehand. Most people stop juicing when they don’t have stuff on-hand to juice, so make sure you peel & cut your vegetables so they’re ready & waiting for you when you’re ready to juice.

3-Day Rule. Although juice is best when consumed fresh most juices will keep for three days when stored in a sealed glass container. For this cleanse I pre-made my juices & stored them in mason jars, that way all I had to do every meal was pick one up from the fridge & enjoy!

H2O. Just because you’re having liquid all day doesn’t mean you don’t need your water, you should always strive for at least half of your body weight in ounces (ex: you weigh 200 pounds you have 100 oz of water).

Weight Loss. You will lose weight during a juice cleanse but it’s really easy to gain it all back if you don’t ease yourself back into food. Don’t throw all your hard work away by eating french fries the day after you finish a cleanse. Make sure the day after is similar to the day before you started juicing, eating mostly veggies & fruits.

Juicing can be challenging but if you know ahead of time what you’re getting into it’s totally doable. In addition to restarting your body, juicing helps clear up your skin, improve sleep & give you a boost of energy. Let me know if you’re planning to juice, I’d love to answer any questions you may have. Stay tuned for some of the juice recipes I’ve used this week!

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Mushrooms & Kale Egg White Omelette.

April 10, 2014 by Carolina

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Want to know what’s the one item I always get when I go grocery shopping? Kale, I love kale. I love it in salads, as chips, in soups, smoothies & this omelette. This delicious mushrooms & kale egg white omelette is ready in minutes, it’s filling, easy to make & oh so delicious. Next time you’re craving breakfast for dinner pull up this recipe, it always hits the spot!

Ingredients (makes 1 large omelette)

2 tablespoons organic butter, separated

1 cup baby portabello mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup white onion, chopped

Pinch of salt & pepper

1 cup kale, shredded by hand

9 tablespoons egg whites

1/4 teaspoon Adobo Goya 

In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat & let it melt completely. Place mushrooms, onions, pinch of salt & pepper in the skillet & cook until mushrooms are tender (about 4 minutes). Add the shredded kale & cook for an additional 2 minutes until kale is vibrant green & soft. Remove mushrooms & kale from skillet & set aside.

In the same skillet heat remaining tablespoon of butter, add the egg whites & sprinkle with Adobo Goya. Once the egg whites turn white use a spatula to fill in any holes, making sure egg whites cover the entire skillet. As egg whites cook make sure to use the spatula around the edges to prevent sticking. Once the egg whites are almost fully cooked (about 2 – 3 minutes) add the mushrooms, onions & kale to one side of the pan & fold omelette in half. Cook for one minute, slide onto a plate & enjoy!

Enjoy all on its own or with your favorite side like avocado or fresh fruits. Buen provecho!

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The Perfect Weight?

April 9, 2014 by Carolina

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Is there really such a thing? When I first started my weight loss journey I thought there was — I was dead set on reaching a certain number. All of my time at the gym, monitoring my food intake & changing my patterns all revolved around this number I somehow had placed on a pedestal…thinking this way is dangerous. A couple of months ago we saw a living example of this with Rachel Frederickson at the Biggest Loser Finale. Ending the finale at 105 pounds crowned her the most controversial winner in Biggest Loser history  – Is this what happens when we become obsessed with the scale? I recently read an article stating now, two months after the finale, Rachel has gained twenty pounds & has reached her “happy weight” which got me thinking, is there such thing as the perfect weight?

In my opinion there is no such thing as the perfect weight. What we weight shouldn’t matter. Hear me out…I know there are things like BMI that place you in “overweight” categories even if you look like a perfectly healthy individual. This happens because these measurements take only numbers into account, completely neglecting important factors like muscle mass (muscle weighs more than fat), body composition, etc. Living your life believing you should weight a certain number simply because you’ve been conditioned to doesn’t make it right. It took me many years to learn this lesson, & after finally realizing I’m more than a number, I’m happier. Here’s what I think my “happy weight” is now…

My happy weight is fitting into my clothes comfortably. After I reached a certain size I stopped obsessing over the numbers & just focus on how my jeans are fitting. If they’re too tight I work a little harder, if they’re loose I indulge a little more. It’s a much more simple approach that still keeps me accountable to take care of my body & be mindful of how I treat it. I’m a Latina woman who is curvy, I will never come close to weighing 105lbs & that’s perfectly okay! Goals are great motivators but they should not never be unreasonable. They shouldn’t be enslaving, they should be liberating & push us to a better version of ourselves. 

Today & every day, I encourage you to not get bogged down by the impossible standards of beauty our society holds us to. You’re much more than any picture of a skinny model or the latest commercial on TV can even begin to describe. Believe me, it’s true!

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Let’s Travel: Colombia.

April 3, 2014 by Carolina

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I’m back! After keeping it a secret from a big part of my family I made it to Colombia, my home, with my immediate family — it was a beautiful thing. I’ve always felt proud to be Colombian, not only because the people there are some of the nicest you’ll ever meet, but because the country is absolutely breath taking. From pristine beaches, to castles, historic churches, impressive mountain ranges & rivers, Colombia truly does have something for everyone. Below are a few snap shots from my travels…

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The Coffee Region

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La Ermita, Cali’s Oldest Church

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The Pance River, Outskirts of Cali

Beautiful right? If you’re looking for a great country to visit at reasonable prices check out Colombia, it will not disappoint. In addition to gorgeous scenery Colombia offers incredible food & a vast array of fruits & vegetables. Win, win!

 

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Beautiful Kitchen Renovations

March 31, 2014 by Katie

We’re currently renting, but have recently started looking into buying. There are so many amazing things about living in the bay area, but the housing prices are out of control. We know that if we do buy here, it will be a definite fixer upper. I spend way too much time looking at houses online and drooling over people’s kitchens.

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This is another amazing Ikea kitchen. I appreciate what she’s doing with the small space.

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I actually want to move into this house, or at least have her help us with a renovation.

 

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This renovation is impressive (if you know where the original photo came from, let us know)

And totally unrelated, check out these fun diy concrete planters. They are perfect for herbs in the kitchen.

After spending a lot of time looking at kitchens, I’ve discovered that I am partial to the look white cabinets. However, we’ve had white cabinets in rentals twice (including our current kitchen) and I don’t think they’re all that practical.

What is your experience with cabinets? Do you like white? Or prefer a wood grain?

 

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Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

March 28, 2014 by Katie

Carolina is in Colombia. Every time a friend goes on a trip, it gives me serious wanderlust! While I’d rather be globetrotting, I am really happy it’s the weekend.

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In the last week, I’ve seen a few people ask about go-to dinner recipes on a local mom’s group and on Facebook. Before becoming a parent, I tended to opt for healthy food that was hopefully relatively quick and easy. But, with a toddler, it’s changed to quick food, that is hopefully pretty healthy. Here are a few of our go-to recipes during the week:

Roasted veggies on a pizza stone with quinoa and goat cheese
Paninis with veggies or fruit (we are loving sour dough bread lately for toasted sandwiches)
Eggs, like this tasty broccoli and cheddar quiche
Homemade Pizza
P
asta with Marinara and garlic bread

Someone said that they created 3 weeks of meals, and they just rotate the weeks. So, basically every third Monday they eat the same thing. I love that this gives you some variety, but makes meal planning (and grocery shopping!) a lot easier.

What are your go-to recipes during the week?

photo credit: jcohen97

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Lets Travel: Where to Next?

March 18, 2014 by Carolina

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My career is a graduate student is coming to a close, if all goes well I’ll be graduating this May. As many of you know, Katie & I love to travel so it’s only natural that I’m already thinking of where to go to celebrate the completion of my thesis & Masters degree. The world is huge & I want to visit as much as I can of it! Katie is currently planning a trip for her upcoming birthday and I too am looking for a place to visit this year after I’m no longer a student….So let’s entertain our wanderlust this morning, pack your bags & come with me to the top 5 places I’m considering going to next.

Burma

1. Burma

Finally opened to tourists after years of being a closed country, Burma, in Myanmar, is known for its beautiful temples. I’ve spent the last couple of years studying Buddhism and would love to see the Golden Rock with my own eyes. Doesn’t this place look incredible? In addition to beautiful sites Burma promises delicious food — they had me at hello!

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2. Salar de Uyuni

The world’s largest salt repository, in Bolivia, is also known as the world’s largest mirror. The water is red, everything around it is made of salt & it’s a site for sore eyes. This is looks like the perfect place to visit for those of us who love the outdoors.

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3. Machu Pichu 

I’m pretty sure everyone has this place on their bucket list, am I right? I dream of walking the mountains the Incas did, enjoying the beautiful town of Cusco at the foothills. I recently read Machu Pichu will most likely close to the public in a few years due to erosion. I have to get out there before this happens!

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4. Iceland 

I want to know what it feels like to be in the Blue Lagoon. And to have light skies when it’s 2 a.m. And to see the aurora borealis. To hike beautiful mountains. Iceland has so much to offer!

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5. Santorini

I’ve never been to Greece which needs to be remedied because I love philosophy. Several of the world’s great philosophers came from Greece, oh how incredible it would be to see their homeland. To visit places like the acropolis, see the gorgeous Aegean Sea, culminating at the seashores of beautiful Santorini. Sign me up!

So help me decide, where should I go? And who’s ready to go on vacation? Here’s to always keeping our sense of adventure alive & seeing all the gorgeous things the world has to offer!

Image Sources: TravelBurma, Salar de Uyuni, Machu Pichu, Iceland, Santorini 

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FitBit: Small Steps, Big Impact.

March 12, 2014 by Carolina

fitbit

Last week was my birthday & I decided to give myself a present: I got a FitBit. I’ve been on the market for an activity tracker & after polling several of my friends who have FitBits, Jawbones, Polars, Fuel Bands I decided to go with the FitBit. Initially, what sold me on the FitBit was its look, it’s sleek, matches anything & is really light weight. As I researched the different trackers currently available I started to compare features, I was really impressed with FitBit’s sleep tracking capabilities. FitBit can actually tell you how soundly you sleep each night, how amazing is that? Through some sort of magical way (I have no idea how they do this but it’s super cool) the FitBit can read when you’re sleeping, when you’re restless & when you’re awake throughout the night. Since sleep affects everything & is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle this feature sold me. 

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I’ve been wearing the FitBit day & night for a few days now & so far I’m loving how much it’s motivating me. Everyday it tracks the number of steps I take, how many miles they add up to, how many minutes I’ve been active, how many calories I burn, how many pounds I have left to reach my goal weight (you pick your goal), my sleeping patterns, how many calories I’ve consumed, how many calories I have left for the day  & how many ounces of water I’ve consumed. I will admit, the FitBit has been keeping me honest, & pointing out certain areas I thought I was doing good at but actually need to improve (like water consumption & sleep). Seeing all the facts everyday is giving me the extra push I need to go out & be active, walk Rocco (my adorable pup) a little longer, take the long way around the office to compensate for sitting at a desk all day.

I love sharing good products with you when I find them & so far the FitBit is great. If you’re looking for a fitness tracker, & an extra push to meet your fitness goals or maintain a healthier lifestyle, consider FitBit. One small step today, big impact ahead!

Disclosure: I’m in no way associated with FitBit & did not receive compensation for this post. I just love the product. 

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Gluten Free Pasta Salad.

March 11, 2014 by Carolina

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A lot of people think going Gluten Free means giving up your favorite things, the same can be said of vegetarianism — but that’s far from the truth. Truth is you don’t have to give up what you love, you just have to find an alternative. Take pasta for example. I love pasta! Nowadays there are so many different gluten free pasta options at the store that are delicious, easy to make & taste just like the real deal. My favorite gluten free pasta so far is quinoa pasta, but that could be because I’m obsessed with all things quinoa. Rice noodles are another awesome option, especially for those of us who love Asian cuisine.

I had company come over a few days ago & wanted to make easy, delicious dishes to share with my guests. I had quinoa pasta in the pantry & all the ingredients I needed on-hand to make an easy, ready in no time gluten free pasta salad. Everyone loved it, it’s really light & tastes great hot or cold. Make this pasta salad & see for yourself, gluten free does not mean giving up your favorite things!

Ingredients (makes about 6 servings)

1 box gluten free corkscrew pasta

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped

2 cups artichoke hearts, drained & chopped

1 cup mozzarella pearls

1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons gluten free pesto

Salt & pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to packet instructions, drain, rinse & place in a large bowl. Add the pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mozzarella pearls, parsley, pesto, salt & pepper & toss until fully combined. That’s it — talk about easy! Buen provecho!

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Gluten Free Quick Guide.

February 25, 2014 by Carolina

Gluten-Free-Cart-Core-Club

I’ve officially been gluten free for over a month. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit, if that’s the case then I’ve hit my stride in the gluten free world! I’ve been learning a ton as I’ve eliminated gluten from my diet, discovering there are an array of foods you wouldn’t think contain gluten that actually do. The basic rule of thumb is to avoid wheat & grains like barley & rye. That means flour & whole wheat items, couscous & things of the sort are not gluten free friendly, they are what I’m calling my “foes”. On the other hand, there are an array of delicious items that are gluten free like quinoa (one of my faves) & rice – these are my “friends”. Below is a quick guide for any of you who may be curious about gluten free items, what to consume & what to avoid. Here we go!

Friends

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Beans
  • Seeds & nuts
  • Dairy
  • Corn & corn products (like cornmeal)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Flax
  • Amaranth (try this grain, it’s delicious)
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Rice
  • Gluten free flours like rice, almond, coconut, potato, chickpea

Foes

  • Wheat
  • Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
  • Rye
  • Bulgur

Avoid these items unless they are labeled gluten free: 

  • Beer
  • Breads/Croutons/Breadcrumbs/Panko
  • Oats
  • Cakes/Cupcakes/Pies
  • Cookies/Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Soy sauce (Tamari sauce is a great alternative)
  • Pre-made dressings (read the label, you’ll be surprised)

Just like vegetarianism, the key to living gluten free is to do your research, prepare & enjoy discovering new foods/ingredients to try. I’m really enjoying it thus far, feeling great. Are you gluten free? Or are you thinking about it? Would love to hear recommendations & tips! 

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