health

Salad - The Right Way + Oil Free Dressings

salad

I love a big hearty salad. Call me crazy but my body actually craves vegetables and leafy greens. I typically have one big popcorn sized salad a day with a variety of vegetables, a piece of fruit and some healthy fats. I never add any oil to my salad (more on that below) and tend to mix up my ingredients all the time so i don’t really have my go-to standard recipe. Most if not all salad dressings from the store contain added oils, sugars, and chemicals that are high in calories and unnecessary providing little no nutritional benefit. I always keep a jar of Seasoned Rice Vinegar on hand to dress my salad, This light vinegar enhances the flavor giving it just enough subtle sweetness. I highly recommend trying out Nakano brand. More oil-free salad dressings below. These are some of my top tips and recipes to feel satiated and make sure its tasty. Enjoy! xx

my top tips

Go big. We’re talking popcorn size bowl! If you are going to enjoy a salad as a full meal then it needs to be big enough to make you feel satiated or full. Plants and leafy greens are nutrient dense but not calorically dense so you can eat a lot of them without going over calorie intake while also getting in all your vitamins and minerals. I typically use 1 cucumber, 1 tomato, 1 head of lettuce (about 3-4 cups), 1/4-1/2 avocado depending on anything else I add in. This feels me up and keeps me energized until the next meal. I always try to add some healthy fats to help with digestion of all that fiber and also satiety.

salad

Eat a variety. Change up the vegetables you use and mix and match different kinds. Instead of just one type of lettuce try mixing other leafy greens and herbs to bulk it up. Add tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, sauerkraut, kimchi, avocado, cabbage, mango, orange slices, bell pepper, celery anything and everything you have.

Add healthy fats. Healthy fats are needed to aid in digestion and help with mineral absorption. Incorporating these can lessen symptoms of bloating if you are not used to eating a lot of vegetables in one meal. They will also help you feel fuller longer. Roasted almonds, chopped peanuts, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cashews, avocado, baked tofu, edamame, chickpeas, lentils, and tahini are some of my favorites.

salad

Used cooked & raw vegetables. Raw vegetables are great but I’ve found that certain ones are easier to digest when cooked. I love to steam broccoli, brussel sprouts and mushrooms with garlic salt. Roasting chopped sweet potatoes, purple potatoes or yams with salt & pepper also add a lot of bulk to a salad and taste delicious with a tahini or peanut butter dressing!

Add fruit. Papaya, oranges, mango and apples are my favorite when I want to add some sweetness. I usually just add one type of fruit to my salad that will pair with the dressing.

salad

A note on fats…

The best fats to consume for brain health include Omega 3, Omega 6, and polyunsaturated fats. These nutrients can be found in many plant based foods and in highest amounts in chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. These nuts and seeds are rich in antioxidants and contain unprocessed natural oils that have been linked to improving joint, nerve, and bone health as well as overall bodily functions. In nature, there is no oil in its natural state- only man made oils that have been pressed and stripped of nutrients including olive oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, canola oil, avocado oil, and palm oil. These fats contain zero nutritional benefits and are extremely high in calories (around 120 calories for 1 tablespoon). Oils contain no healthy carbohydrates, protein, or fat and are not considered a whole food.

In nature there are no “free” vegetable oils; all are obtained by man-made processing. These important nutrients are bound within the substances of plants and in this complex form are essential for good health. When these oils are processed free of their surrounding fibers, vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, they become medicines at best, and toxic at worst. Some of the common consequences of consuming these so-called “good fats,” even flaxseed and fish oil, are obesity, type-2 diabetes, bleeding, immune system depression and cancer.

When the oils are removed from their natural environments—for example, from the seeds of corn, soybeans, safflowers, or flax, or the fruit of an olive or avocado—they are no longer a food. Yes, they do supply concentrated calories—but the rest of the original nutrition found in the plant parts is absent. In this state, the free oils can display powerful pharmacological effects—some beneficial and some harmful. This would be analogous to removing vitamins and minerals from plants and making supplements. I don’t call supplements food, do you? However, the effects of concentrated, isolated oils are usually even more potent than those seen with supplements.
— Dr McDougall

oil free dressings

For any & every salad

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

salt & pepper

Lightly splash over the salad with salt and pepper. Toss and adjust to taste.

Honey Mustard

4 tbsps seasoned rice vinegar

1/4 cup dijon mustard

2 tbsps agave nectar

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend or whisk together in a small bowl. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Balsamic vinaigrette

1 cup of balsamic vinegar
4 tbsps of nutritional yeast
3 tbsps soy sauce, coconut aminos or tamari
3 tbsps maple syrup
1 tbsp of dijon mustard
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing

15 oz silken tofu, drained
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp celery seed
3/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp fine black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp maple syrup *start with 1 tbsp and add to taste

Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Caesar salad dressing

2 tbsps almond meal
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tbsps dijon mustard
3 tbsps nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbsps lemon juice

2 tbsps soy sauce
1/4 cup water

 Combine almond meal, garlic, mustard and nutritional yeast to make a paste, Whisk in the remaining ingredients.

Italian Salad Dressing

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 1/2 tbsps vegetable broth or juice pepperoncinis

1 tsp dijon mustard

salt and pepper

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

pinch of sugar

Whisk everything together and drizzle over the salad.

Creamy Avocado Dressing

2 avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp lime zest
1 cucumber
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder

Blend all ingredients together until smooth, adjusting water to get desired consistency. Refrigerate unused portions. Makes 3+ cups.

Plant Based Lifestyle Intro + Tips // How To Get Started

papaya

What is a plant based Lifestyle

A plant based lifestyle is a diet focused around consuming 90-100% of complete whole foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. The idea is to eat plant over processed meaning you fuel up on whole foods before reaching for anything in a box, jar, can, or bag.

Benefits of a plant based lifestyle

Everyone’s body is different and will therefore respond differently but the majority of the population experience:

  • increased mental clarity

  • muscle tone

  • hormonal balance

  • improved athletic performance

  • clear skin, whiter eyes, shinier hair

  • healthy weightloss of excess fat

  • lowering of bad cholesterol levels

  • increased energy / no longer needing coffee or caffeine stimulants

  • lower risk of heart disease

  • lower risk of cancer

Important things to keep in mind

This is different than any other diet out there. A diet focused around whole plant-based foods is an entire lifestyle. Plant foods respond differently in the body because of the thermal energy response to your metabolism meaning it is not necessary to count calories or restrict whatsoever. In short, plant foods create more work for your body to break them down and are delivered throughout to nourish on a cellular level. These actions cause an increase in metabolism meaning the entire process is burning more calories while digesting. This is a simple reason why most people experience weight loss and have an easier time maintaining a sustainable healthy weight while healing from the inside out.

  • Always eat enough. It is crucial to eat enough to experience all the nutritional benefits of this lifestyle and to ‘hit’ your dietary requirements. It is actually easier to hit all nutritional needs while eating a plant based diet than it is compared to a meat-eaters diet.

  • Drink tons of water. Hydration is super important for digestion and cleaning out your system. Make sure to drink 2.5+ liters (around 85 ounces) of clean filtered water daily.

  • Move your body, exercise, and get outside every day. Like I said this is a lifestyle. Moving your body helps with digestion and with the energy increase you experience, you won’t want to lay on the couch or take a nap after each meal. Exercise is related to improved heart health, cognitive function, weight loss, increased metabolism, and clear skin.

  • Rest and relaxation is also very important. This is a mindful approach to diet and nutrition and listening to your body when it needs some time to chill out is key.

  • Take a vitamin b12 supplement. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, pescatarian, no matter the diet, everyone should be taking vitamin b12. B12 is important because it helps maintain nerve cells, make healthy red blood cells, helps metabolism convert food to energy, and is needed to make genetic material (DNA) in all cells. B12 is actually made from bacteria, not animals, but with all the toxins, pesticides, and chemicals in our soil it actually kills off this vitamin which is why it is crucial for everyone to take a supplement.

coconut

How to get started

If there was one thing I wish everyone would try it would be this lifestyle. It has truly transformed my life from the inside out. This way of eating is more than a diet, it’s a higher consciousness that guides you to so many opportunities and helps you evolve into your higher self. A spiritual, emotional, and physical change takes place within once you eliminate ‘dead’ toxic foods from your life. Everything in the universe is made up of energy- humans, animals, food, plants, cellphones, houses, everything. That is why it is so important to feed yourself life and not death. Fueling up on plants and high vibrational foods promotes positivity, joyful mood, nourishes our bodies on a cellular level- healing illness and disease, and so much more. This lifestyle has changed my life and I would love for it to heal you too which is why I am extremely passionate about educating and teaching others about it. Below I created an easy to follow ebook to help guide you through the transition. Enjoy xx If you have any questions or just want to chat you can reach out to me on Instagram :) @thekindcoconut

SIX SIMPLE STEPS

Step 1: Do your research. Watch documentaries, read scientific articles (not random blogs), and listen to podcasts. Some of my favorite resources Plant Proof Podcast, Cowspiracy, What The Health, Gut Health MD, as well as Pinterest for all kinds of recipe inspiration.

Step 2: Clean out the pantry. Throw out anything that has animal products, dairy, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, low fat, low sugar, low carb, fruit flavored, artificially flavored, etc. Or anything that has ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

Step 3: Make a list and go to the grocery store. You can download my plant based grocery list here and print it out or screenshot on your phone for easy use. Shop local, shop in season only, and buy in bulk. I am blessed to live in an area where I can have everything I need just by driving down the road. I am surrounded by wholesale bulk stores, farmers markets, grocery stores, health food stores and since I live in the US we get a lot of our produce imported so if I want guacamole in the winter- I can have it. I understand this isn’t everyones situation. However, if you are shopping for in season produce it will be much cheaper than imported produce because it’s widely available at the moment. If you are shopping local you are not only supporting your community but also eliminating the middle man, keeping cost down, and getting quality eco-friendly produce. Most grocery stores have bulk sections. I buy all my nuts, seeds, rice, legumes, quinoa, oats, nutritional yeast and other seasonings, flours, and coconut or natural sugars from the bulk section.

Step 4: Swap all dairy products for plant based alternatives such as almond milk, coconut yogurt, non-dairy cream cheese (my favorite brand is Kite Hill), vegan butter (I use Smart Balance), etc. You would be surprised how many plant based alternatives are available nowadays. Since most of these products are considered processed make sure to check the labels for high fructose corn syrup, carrageenan, added refined sugars, flavors, and colors. If these products are not available where you live- check out my guide for tutorials on making tons from scratch!

Step 5: Decrease meat intake to just one meal a day then maybe a few times a week and eventually eliminating meat altogether. To keep it easy try some of my favorite one pot meals here. You don’t have to be a master chef to be vegan you just have to know how to substitute alternatives.

Step 6: Eliminate all animal products from your diet. Swap meat and chicken for tempeh and tofu. Eggs for tofu, flax meal, chickpeas, chia seeds, or garbanzo bean flour. Incorporate milk alternatives for drinking, cereal, coffee, yogurts, ice creams, cream cheese, and sour cream. Check out some recipes here.


SAMPLE MEAL PLAN OF WHAT I EAT IN A DAY

oats

Breakfast - I always start my morning with 32 oz of filtered water. Sometimes I will add lemon or a drop of apple cider vinegar to get my system going. Breakfast is usually a big bowl of oatmeal, smoothies, or a tofu scramble. In the summer I will occasionally have a ‘mono meal’ which is just choosing one fruit and eating until you are full. Watermelon is my favorite in the summer. When I know I have an early morning or have to travel the next day I will prepare some overnight oats the day before.

Lunch - Mid day meals are almost always different. I eat whatever I’m in the food for and whatever I have prepared in the fridge. Some days I’ll make a big salad with baked tofu or chickpeas or if I want something warm I will make a quick curry with rice or stir fry with some noodles.

Dinner - Dinner is similar to lunch but usually higher in protein. Big salad, veggie or bean burgers, curry, stir fry, baked tofu, or soup. During the hotter months it may even be a big smoothie bowl.

Snacks - I love to snack! Protein balls, carrots and hummus, fruit, rice cakes, apples and peanut butter, nuts and seeds are all my favorites.