Looking for a fast, easy and healthy dish for your next soiree? Try out this new Thanksgiving fave in our house: Asian Black Rice Salad! The subtle heat of the hot sesame oil along with the crunch of the veggies and antioxidant-rich black rice make this dish a healthy and memorable addition to any table.
Asian Black Rice Salad Ingredients:
2 cups cooked black rice
1/2 cup napa cabbage, chopped (substitute chopped kale, if desired)
1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped (substitute chopped yellow or white onion, if desired)
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/8 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbl soy sauce or gluten free Tamari
2 Tbl roasted sesame seeds
1-2 Tbl sriracha
1 Tbl hot sesame oil
1 tsp garlic powder
Combine the rice and veggies in a large mixing bowl
Whisk the sesame oils, rice vinegar, Tamari, and garlic powder
Pour dressing over the rice and veggies and stir so you’re coating the rice
Transfer the dressed rice and veggies to your desired serving dish
It’s Hemp History Week, which, perhaps to the chagrin of some, is notactually a week dedicated to gettin’ your ganja on! Instead, it’s a week devoted to spreading the word on the nutritional and environmental punch powerfully packed into this wee seed.
In terms of health benefits, hemp is one of the few sources of vegetable protein that contain ALL essential amino acids, which are critical for not only physical, but mental health, as well. Certainly something of which to take note, my vegan friends! Amino acids are the compounds in proteins that are critical for regenerating cells and building and strengthening your muscles, including your brain. These protein sub-units keep your noggin in peak performance by not only helping to combat stress, but also by helping to strengthen your memory.
Hemp also contains those super sexy fats that always make the headlines: Omega-3 & Omega-6.
Omega-3’s and -6’s are known to reduce inflammation and cholesterol and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease and even Cancer. Additionally, the benefits to mental health are my favorite part of these fatty acids. From memory loss to depression to ADHD (Attention Dialed to a Higher Dimension), many mental hiccups can be treated or prevented to a certain degree with Omega-3 & Omega-6.
And get a load of this: Hemp is not only a source of nutrition for your body, but beneficial to the environment, as well. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, one acre of hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees, and fewer caustic and toxic chemicals are used to make paper from hemp than are used to make paper from trees, resulting in less pollution! Additionally, one acre of hemp produces twice as much fiber as an acre cotton, yet without requiring nearly as many pesticides, and it has even been shown to purify soil and repel weeds. Sounds like a must-have on any farm, commercial and otherwise!
But, where do I find these hemp products and what do I with them, you ask? Well, here we go!
Many hemp products, like the milk & seeds, can be found at your local grocery store or Whole Foods. For instance, my favorite, Living Harvest Tempt’s Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp milk can be found in the natural food section at the local Kroger (which I love in my smoothie or on cereal, as it tastes subtly earthy, like soy). For more of the boutique hemp products, such as raw hemp butter, Amazon.com is your go-to. Like you would with any cooking oil, use hemp oil to sauté veggies or make salad dressing, and for a little texture fun, add the seeds to your smoothie, your granola, or on top of any salad, as the seeds don’t have a pungent taste. Two tablespoons contains 6 grams of fat (including 882 milligrams of ALA), 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein, so they’ll round out any meal or snack, from a nutritional standpoint, very nicely.
For more information on hemp, check out these sites and share your thoughts with us below, as always!
‘Tis the season for spring breaks, weekend getaways & music festivals, and you know what that means? Road Trips!
But, for all their allure and adventure, they can also throw a wrench in our healthy habits. How easy it is to fall off the wagon when we are tempted to grab Fritos and Coca-Cola for “lunch” at the BP when stopping for gas, or chugging a Red Bull to stay alert for the five hour drive ahead.
We know we really should be making better choices, like walking away from the pre-packaged honey bun beckoning us in all its cellophaned glory, but we are ramped up from the anticipation of reaching our final destination, and we just want to get there already! We have adopted the vacation mindset and a spirit of urgency and indulgence! Besides, could there really be healthier choices lurking just off the interstate?
Indeed, you hungry traveler, there are!
Here are some secrets to help keep you on track no matter where the road takes you:
If you know you’ll be hungry before you’ll need a pit stop, pack healthy snacks & drinks from home. If your adventure includes lots of sightseeing or rushing from party to party, bring enough to last for the trip, if space allows.
Here’s an example: On a recent trip to Charleston (5 1/2 hours), I brought along two liters of water, baby carrots, a small tub of hummus and a medium-sixed (reusable) plastic container full of chopped romaine
lettuce leaves and leftover fresh basil rolls & sushi from dinner the night before. It was not only easy to eat in the car, but it kept me from binging on french fries or potato chips when I finally did stop. Since I had the water, I didn’t need to buy anything on the road either and could much more easily walk past the soda fridge or my old childhood favorite, the make-your-own-concoction fountain drink machine! (What is it about those whacky flavors that just spelled F-U-N!? …ah, memories. <sigh>)
Another easy-peasy hint along these lines: Fill snack size ziplock bags or a small container with your usual go-to’s, like veggie or apple slices, pretzels, hummus or nut butter, trail mix, lean meats or smoked fish, or whatever your heart desires. You can even make some lettuce wraps or sandwiches!
Scout out the healthy(ish) options in Convenience Stores
Worst case scenario, you (your kids, your S.O., your travel mates, your dog) have eaten all your finely prepared snacks, and popping into a grocery store to refuel with carrot sticks and hummus just isn’t a viable option. Don’t fret! In most gas stations, sunflower seeds and a variety of nuts are easily found, and some stop-n-go’s even have apples and bananas at the checkout. If the fresh fruit looks a little iffy, try to find some dried apricots or other trail mix with dried fruit, if you’re hankering for some sweet with your salty. As always, check the ingredient list for any additives or unrecognizable ingredients (i.e. sugar additives or you can’t pronounce them) before buying.
For even better luck with a wider array of choices, try to choose a gas station in a more populated/commercialized area, particularly a Pilot if you can find one. Added bonus with Pilot: they are usually well-lit, the bathrooms are clean, and the gas competitively priced!
Steer Clear of Sugar and Soft Drinks Ah, yes, sugar. Candy and sweets, though appealing and a throwback to our childhood jaunts in the family station wagon (Circus Peanuts, anyone?), will mess with your blood sugar, leaving you drowsyand craving more sugar later in your trip – both of which are quite inconvenient for the traveler on a mission to her final destination! Instead, count on your seeds and nuts to keep your blood sugar stable with their protein/fat content, and rely more heavily on water than on sugary, caffeine-laden colas to keep your thirst at bay. If you’re craving the carbonation, get a bottle of club soda. For those who travel with your own Stevia, put a few drops (or one of the individual packets) into the bottle, and you’ve just made your own all natural, refreshing soda without any of the guilt or garbage!
Let’s be honest, though, sometimes, we just need a jolt, and when the energy slump really hits you, particularly if you’re driving through the night, you really do have to have a pick-me-up. Pick up a coffee or hot tea with the least amount of additives.
Wherever your travels take you, Ramble On, Rosebuds, and enjoy your adventures!
As I was preparing for my super exciting trek to the north, it dawned on me!
With minimal breaks during day-long meetings, as well as a full day exploring the wonder of NYC on the docket before the weekend trotting hither tither and yon with my busy Connecticut Mommy Poppins, I might need snacks!
Eek! Hating to run the risk of no-GF friendly snacks, I had to plan ahead.
As much as I love my GO RAW Flax Snax and Live Granola bars, I really wanted to try to make my own tasty travel trail mix. (Saving me a trip to Whole Foods AND a bit o’ moola, too!)
Enter Yummy Bubby Trail Mix – named after Mommy Poppins’ younger son who I would be seeing this trip.
I whipped up the mix the night before we headed off by using various ingredients that were on-hand and put it in snack size Ziploc bags for grab-n-go, purse-sized snacks. Pre-packaged power foods!
Here’s the basic recipe:
– 1/4 c. roasted & salted sunflower seeds
– 1 Tbl. raw goji berries and/or other dried berries
– 1-2 Tbl. dried cranberries
– 1/2 Tbl. raw cacao nibs
If your diet allows for it, mix in some other delights, like almonds, raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts or bits of granola. Have fun and be creative!
Yummy Bubby turned out to be simply delectable and certainly came in handy when my blood sugar dipped throughout the busy weekend! There was also the added bonus of having a satisfied spirit (& belly) in knowing that I had created my own little convenient GF travel snack and didn’t have to worry! One Caveat when creating your own Yummy Bubby mix:
Keep a low-GI ratio, which just means stay mindful that your super-charged nuts and seeds aren’t outnumbered by dried fruits, granola, etc. in your concoction.