Fall Squash
November 10, 2021

There are many different types of fall squash. Here are four of the most popular and some easy plant based recipes you can use to cook them.

Butternut Squash

This squash has a peak season from early fall to all of winter so you have plenty of time to cook some. It is high in vitamin A, potassium and fiber. A high nutrient profile makes it beneficial for digestion, blood pressure regulation and healthy skin. One cup of cooked butternut squash has only 82 calories but is surprisingly filling due to the high fiber content.

This squash can be roasted, made into a soup or even dessert. My favorite recipes is this one from Keeping the Peas. It turns roasted butternut squash into a full meal. Plus any dish that I can cover in spicy salsa is a favorite of mine.

https://www.keepingthepeas.com/vegan-stuffed-butternut-squash/

Acorn Squash

The acorn squash gets passed over but maybe you will reach for it first after hearing about it’s magical healing properties. Just kidding, but it is very healthy. This squash is packed with vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. This mineral is often lacking in our diets so no excuse to throw some acorn squash in the oven this week.

Acorn squash can be stuffed like the recipe above. I think the best way to cook is baking it for a healthy dessert option. This recipe below from Simply Recipes can be made plant based by substituting butter for a plant based butter or light flavored oil.

https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/classic_baked_acorn_squash/

Kabocha Squash

Ok, I know I am not supposed to play favorites but…..this is my favorite squash. The creamy texture of this one makes it versatile plus its packed with nutrients that have been shown to prevent diabetes, boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

I have two ways I like enjoying this squash. The first is to steam until it’s tender and then I serve it with rice and soy sauce. Mmmm so good! The second is a creamy vibrant soup like the recipe below from Drive Me Hungry.

https://drivemehungry.com/roasted-kabocha-squash-soup/#recipe

Spaghetti Squash

Probably the most popular of the fall squash. This squash gained it’s popularity as a healthy carb replacement in spaghetti dishes. With only 10 grams of carbohydrates per one cup of cooked squash it makes a great low carb option. It also has more fiber, vitamins and minerals than traditional pasta too.

A nice bowl of spaghetti squash with marinara is a quick, delicious and healthy meal. For a fun pasta twist with spaghetti squash try this recipe from Love and Lemons. I like to add extra lemon juice for a zesty meal.

https://www.loveandlemons.com/roasted-spaghetti-squash-w-chickpeas-kale/

I hope you feel inspired to try some new recipes and enjoy squash this fall season. Let me know your favorite squash recipes 🙂

November 18, 2020

Getting together with friends and family for delicious meals and memories can also bring us together to indulge or even over indulge in meals.

You may be thinking that you don’t often overeat and you want to be able to enjoy this special time of year. Overeating can cause harm to your health though from harmful extra body fat to even increased disease risk.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/overeating-effects

Here are some tips to help prevent overeating and to treat the discomfort of that stuffed belly when you do.

Eat More

Wait this article is supposed to be about eating less. Going to a party or dinner on an empty stomach can cause you to eat more than you usually would. In addition, when we are hungry we tend to gravitate towards more unhealthy options such as sweets. Eat meals throughout the day to keep your hunger balanced.

Stay Present

Getting lost in conversation is great but studies have found we eat a lot more food when we aren’t focused on the meal. Instead of chowing down mindlessly, take time to enjoy the food. For buffets and family style dinners take appropriate portions and save seconds for only your favorite dishes.

Vinegar Digestive Drink

Apple cider vinegar boasts a number of health benefits one of those being digestion improvement. An apple cider vinegar drink is best consumed before a meal to help with digestion. In case you ate more than planned though and would like to help soothe the belly you can try an apple cider vinegar drink to sip on. I like this recipe from Bon Appetit:

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/overeaters-tonic

Take a Walk

Walking after a meal, especially a large one, helps gets those digestive enzymes going. Or more accurately it helps you feel less full because the light movement is better than a nap on the sofa for digestion. Walking helps move the food from your stomach to your small intestines to decreases the feeling of fullness. As a benefit, if you suffer from reflux this simple habit can help alleviate symptoms.

Fill Up on the Light Stuff

I know the best part about the holidays is all the delicious comfort foods like pumpkin pie, gravy, mashed potatoes, cookies and now I am drooling. I am not saying you shouldn’t eat these foods but try to limit the quantity you eat. Filling up on lighter foods will help prevent overeating and you will feel better after the meal having consumed less of these heavy foods.

Plant Based Diet

Speaking of light stuff, a plant based diet encourages the consumption of whole foods. It is a diet that comprises 80% or more calories come from plant sources. This will result in better food choices and hopefully less digestion issues over the holidays.

If you want to know more about how a plant based diet can help check out our services at Macaroni and Peas:

https://macaroniandpeas.com/services/

November 18, 2020

Getting together with friends and family for delicious meals and memories can also bring us together to indulge or even over indulge in meals.

You may be thinking that you don’t often overeat and you want to be able to enjoy this special time of year. Overeating can cause harm to your health though from harmful extra body fat to even increased disease risk.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/overeating-effects

Here are some tips to help prevent overeating and to treat the discomfort of that stuffed belly when you do.

Eat More

Wait this article is supposed to be about eating less. Going to a party or dinner on an empty stomach can cause you to eat more than you usually would. In addition, when we are hungry we tend to gravitate towards more unhealthy options such as sweets. Eat meals throughout the day to keep your hunger balanced.

Stay Present

Getting lost in conversation is great but studies have found we eat a lot more food when we aren’t focused on the meal. Instead of chowing down mindlessly, take time to enjoy the food. For buffets and family style dinners take appropriate portions and save seconds for only your favorite dishes.

Vinegar Digestive Drink

Apple cider vinegar boasts a number of health benefits one of those being digestion improvement. An apple cider vinegar drink is best consumed before a meal to help with digestion. In case you ate more than planned though and would like to help soothe the belly you can try an apple cider vinegar drink to sip on. I like this recipe from Bon Appetit:

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/overeaters-tonic

Take a Walk

Walking after a meal, especially a large one, helps gets those digestive enzymes going. Or more accurately it helps you feel less full because the light movement is better than a nap on the sofa for digestion. Walking helps move the food from your stomach to your small intestines to decreases the feeling of fullness. As a benefit, if you suffer from reflux this simple habit can help alleviate symptoms.

Fill Up on the Light Stuff

I know the best part about the holidays is all the delicious comfort foods like pumpkin pie, gravy, mashed potatoes, cookies and now I am drooling. I am not saying you shouldn’t eat these foods but try to limit the quantity you eat. Filling up on lighter foods will help prevent overeating and you will feel better after the meal having consumed less of these heavy foods.

Plant Based Diet

Speaking of light stuff, a plant based diet encourages the consumption of whole foods. It is a diet that comprises 80% or more calories come from plant sources. This will result in better food choices and hopefully less digestion issues over the holidays.

If you want to know more about how a plant based diet can help check out our services at Macaroni and Peas:

https://macaroniandpeas.com/services/

Vegan Chili
November 10, 2020

Fall is the season of comfort food and no better way to celebrate the change of seasons than some delicious soup. Is it soup? Chili? Gumbo? I love using okra to thicken my chili. It adds an underrated vegetable to the mix that is not only healthy but gives this soup a thicker texture. I think it may be named gumbo after this addition but either way you have to try making this easy one pot meal.

The first step is to sauté this group. It is one onion, one carrot, 4 cloves garlic and 1 rib celery. I sauté my veggies in water instead of oil for a healthier option.

The flavor! These are the spices I add after everything is soft from the saute. It is one vegetable bouillon cube, 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp basil and 1 tsp oregano. You can of course take some shortcuts here and use a packet of pre-mixed chili seasonings.

Did you know some people make chili with no beans? What?!! I know, it’s crazy. These were the beans I had on hand. It is one can of kidney beans and one can of cannellini. I also sometimes use pinto, navy and black beans. They are all good.

These are the final veggies. This batch of chili has one package of okra, it was probably about 2 cups sliced and 1 cup of frozen corn. I also added 2 Tbl of tomato paste to give it a little oomf.

That’s it, so simple! Everything cooked together in one pot and it was so healthy and delicious. The full recipe is below. Comment to let me know if you made it or what you like in your chili.

Okra Chili

Plant Based Chili with Okra

  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 rib celery (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups okra (sliced)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • water
  1. Place a one inch layer of water at the bottom of a large pot

  2. Add garlic, carrot, celery and onion to water

  3. Sauté on medium high until everything is soft, about 5 minutes

  4. Add spices and beans to the pot with enough water to cover everything

  5. Bring to boil and cook for 10 minutes

  6. Add the okra, corn and tomato paste

  7. Boil for another 10 minutes and add water as needed or preferred

    *More water will make a “soupier” chili

  8. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes

  9. Serve with your favorite chili toppings

Make sure to check out our products and services https://macaroniandpeas.com/services/

November 3, 2020

Bloating, pain, heartburn, just a few signs of bacteria out of balance. Learn how to increase your health by improving the microbiome of your gut in just 7 easy steps.

The bacteria that reside within us are responsible for a variety of our health. We need to have a balance of “good bacteria” and “bad bacteria” to oversimplify it. A microbiome in balance helps to digest our food, increase immune response, lowers heart disease risk, brain health and so much more.

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/ss/slideshow-how-gut-health-affects-whole-body

So you understand the importance of keeping your bacteria balance in check but you may be wondering HOW. I have 7 helpful tips listed below to get started.

1. Fermented Foods

Get friendly with Korean food because they have figured out the tastiest way to eat their gut loving fermented food, Kimchi. Maybe kimchi isn’t your thing but there are so many other fermented foods to try:

sauerkraut, slow pickled vegetables, tempeh and miso.

Fermented foods increase the numbers of “good bacteria” in your gut to help crowd out the bad guys. You can start by enjoying just a single serving of your favorite each day.

2. Increase your Fiber

Remember this, fiber is your friend. The importance of fiber is closely tied with your gut microbiome. Fiber not only increases the amount of “good bacteria”, it increases the variety of bacteria.

Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber a day. But just a heads up if you aren’t used to eating a diet rich in fiber the side effects can be some mild discomfort such as gas and bloating. To ease this, slowly increase your daily fiber intake.

3. Whole Grains

Yes, we just mentioned fiber but to make it more specific let’s talk about those insoluble fibers. Luckily these can be found in my favorite food group, carbohydrates.

I don’t mean sugar, white flour, white pasta, or any other junk food. I am talking about potatoes, oats, brown rice, whole wheat and any other food with complex carbohydrates.

The insoluble fibers found in these foods work as a prebiotic or a food for the probiotics that are in your system. We hear so much about probiotics and introducing more through dietary sources but let’s not forget that they need food to survive in us as well.

4. Probiotics

On the subject of probiotics you can increase your gut bacteria by eating them directly. Many people take probiotic supplements and there is a large variety to choose from on the market.

If you are looking for a better way to take your probiotic pill each day then try some homemade coconut yogurt. As easy as 2 ingredients and three steps, in as short as a couple days you will have your own plant based yogurt.

I like this Coconut Yogurt Recipe from Minimalist Baker https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-2-ingredient-coconut-yogurt/

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Everything on the list so far has been about adding good things to your diet. You should also consider the foods in your diet that you can remove to improve gut health.

Found in diet soda, baked goods, packaged sauces, canned foods, candy, jams and jellies. This sneaky ingredient makes its way into more than you imagined.

Artificial sweetener consumption has been found to cause gut problems. Try making the swap to better sweet sources such as honey, agave and maple syrup. Eating whole foods will also help eliminate consumption of artificial sweeteners found in packaged products.

6. Polyphenols

Wine lovers can celebrate this one. The compounds found in some fruits and vegetables called polyphenols can help to treat digestive issues. They have a prebiotic like effect enhancing the growth of “good bacteria” while inhibiting the “bad bacteria”.

Tea, dark chocolate and red wine are the most popular sources of polyphenols. The list of foods that contain high levels of the nutrient includes most fruits and vegetables, spices, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds.

7. Plant Based Diet

Want to improve your gut health? A plant based diet is the easiest answer. Eating a whole foods plant based diet helps incorporate all these tips into one solution.

You will be eating fiber rich foods high in polyphenols and getting your gut microbiome back in check effortlessly. Plus it is delicious way to have an overall healthy diet.

For more information on how to start a plant based diet check out our services https://macaroniandpeas.com/services/

November 3, 2020

Bloating, pain, heartburn, just a few signs of bacteria out of balance. Learn how to increase your health by improving the microbiome of your gut in just 7 easy steps.

The bacteria that reside within us are responsible for a variety of our health. We need to have a balance of “good bacteria” and “bad bacteria” to oversimplify it. A microbiome in balance helps to digest our food, increase immune response, lowers heart disease risk, brain health and so much more.

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/ss/slideshow-how-gut-health-affects-whole-body

So you understand the importance of keeping your bacteria balance in check but you may be wondering HOW. I have 7 helpful tips listed below to get started.

1. Fermented Foods

Get friendly with Korean food because they have figured out the tastiest way to eat their gut loving fermented food, Kimchi. Maybe kimchi isn’t your thing but there are so many other fermented foods to try:

sauerkraut, slow pickled vegetables, tempeh and miso.

Fermented foods increase the numbers of “good bacteria” in your gut to help crowd out the bad guys. You can start by enjoying just a single serving of your favorite each day.

2. Increase your Fiber

Remember this, fiber is your friend. The importance of fiber is closely tied with your gut microbiome. Fiber not only increases the amount of “good bacteria”, it increases the variety of bacteria.

Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber a day. But just a heads up if you aren’t used to eating a diet rich in fiber the side effects can be some mild discomfort such as gas and bloating. To ease this, slowly increase your daily fiber intake.

3. Whole Grains

Yes, we just mentioned fiber but to make it more specific let’s talk about those insoluble fibers. Luckily these can be found in my favorite food group, carbohydrates.

I don’t mean sugar, white flour, white pasta, or any other junk food. I am talking about potatoes, oats, brown rice, whole wheat and any other food with complex carbohydrates.

The insoluble fibers found in these foods work as a prebiotic or a food for the probiotics that are in your system. We hear so much about probiotics and introducing more through dietary sources but let’s not forget that they need food to survive in us as well.

4. Probiotics

On the subject of probiotics you can increase your gut bacteria by eating them directly. Many people take probiotic supplements and there is a large variety to choose from on the market.

If you are looking for a better way to take your probiotic pill each day then try some homemade coconut yogurt. As easy as 2 ingredients and three steps, in as short as a couple days you will have your own plant based yogurt.

I like this Coconut Yogurt Recipe from Minimalist Baker https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-2-ingredient-coconut-yogurt/

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Everything on the list so far has been about adding good things to your diet. You should also consider the foods in your diet that you can remove to improve gut health.

Found in diet soda, baked goods, packaged sauces, canned foods, candy, jams and jellies. This sneaky ingredient makes its way into more than you imagined.

Artificial sweetener consumption has been found to cause gut problems. Try making the swap to better sweet sources such as honey, agave and maple syrup. Eating whole foods will also help eliminate consumption of artificial sweeteners found in packaged products.

6. Polyphenols

Wine lovers can celebrate this one. The compounds found in some fruits and vegetables called polyphenols can help to treat digestive issues. They have a prebiotic like effect enhancing the growth of “good bacteria” while inhibiting the “bad bacteria”.

Tea, dark chocolate and red wine are the most popular sources of polyphenols. The list of foods that contain high levels of the nutrient includes most fruits and vegetables, spices, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds.

7. Plant Based Diet

Want to improve your gut health? A plant based diet is the easiest answer. Eating a whole foods plant based diet helps incorporate all these tips into one solution.

You will be eating fiber rich foods high in polyphenols and getting your gut microbiome back in check effortlessly. Plus it is delicious way to have an overall healthy diet.

For more information on how to start a plant based diet check out our services https://macaroniandpeas.com/services/

October 26, 2020

This bread is made entirely from scratch, even the pumpkin is fresh. Enjoy as much of this guilt-free vegan pumpkin bread because it is loaded with healthy ingredients. It is the perfect fall snack or dessert.

This bread was so moist and delicious. It makes the perfect fall treat.

I wanted to make a pumpkin bread that has fresh pumpkin instead of the canned stuff. The extra steps to cut and steam the pumpkin is worth having more nutrients and avoiding canned products.

Plus if you steam some extra pumpkin then you can add it to other meals throughout the next couple days. Steamed pumpkin can go in hummus, soup, curry and even as a pasta sauce. Let me know if you would like to see some recipes I make with steamed pumpkin.

I started with this chunk of pumpkin. I knew I needed a cup of steamed pumpkin so I asked my husband, Chris, how many cups he guessed the whole chunk was 2 cups. Luckily he was right. I cut up half the pumpkin and began boiling it until soft.

The next few steps were as easy as mixing the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients and combining them into this beautifully colorful batter.

The only thing I will do differently next time is try using 1/4 cup applesauce in place of the banana. The bread had an overwhelming banana bread flavor. It was delicious but I would like to try and see if I can get more pumpkin flavor next time.

Let me know if you make this pumpkin bread and what you think!

Comment below 🙂

Pumpkin Bread

A healthy vegan pumpkin bread made from scratch

  • 1 cup pumpkin (steamed + blended)
  • 1/3 cup plant milk
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Steam or boil fresh pumpkin.

  2. Add the pumpkin to food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

  3. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

  4. Mix wet ingredients then add to dry ingredients. *Make sure not to over mix

  5. Lightly grease a baking pan. Add batter.

  6. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

  7. Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

*You can substitute applesauce for the banana. The banana was a strong flavor so I will try this next time.

 

October 7, 2020
Let’s start with an introduction. Hello, my name is Shana. I am 33 years old. I am from California but currently live in Singapore with my husband.

My Diet Journey

I started thinking about what I was eating at a young age. I decided at 10 years old that I would be vegetarian, even though I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. I only thought that it was an ethical thing to do for the animals.

When I got older I was less interested in eating healthy and not really following any specific diet. I ate some meat, dairy, fast food. A little bit of everything.

My sister gave me a book to read when I was 21 and it changed my path forever.

I really started to think about the choices I made and the food on my plate. So I started eating a plant based diet.

I don’t use the term VEGAN.

This is because I always ate a little seafood, I definitely snuck some dairy in my diet occasionally and I wasn’t hunting ingredient lists for anything from an animal.

I LOVE sushi!!

I still follow the 90% rule.

90% of the time I consume nothing from an animal and I feel like it helps keep my life a little flexible but my body healthy. Health is my focus and I think it is important to find what motivates you to maintain a plant based diet.

The healthiest foundation of a diet is focusing on whole foods. This means real ingredients that are found in nature.

Benefits of a plant based diet

When I switched to a plant based diet I noticed so many personal benefits. This feeling makes me so excited to share it with others because it could be your solution to chronic health conditions.

A plant based diet increases fiber intake which means better gut health, improved digestion and a reduction in the risk of various cancers. My digestive health has improved so much since following a plant based diet.

Plants are rich in phytonutrients. Colorful fruits and vegetables are designed by nature to provide you with invisible but powerful qualities. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake means you are powering your body with the ability to fight invaders. Many people claim their whole foods plant based diet helps them avoid more common colds and flus.

Easy weight management. Overall a plant based diet is not a weight loss program. You aren’t expected to see drastic immediate weight loss. It is one that promotes long term health and healthy eating habits. I have personally found that eating a whole foods plant based diet has helped me effortlessly maintain a healthy weight.

If you have any specific health concerns we can work together to form a plant based diet that helps suit your needs.

How Can I help you with your diet?

Although I am very passionate about a plant based diet I never made it a career for myself. I was a full time student and then I worked full time jobs.

I felt I was always balancing my busy life with what I loved most. Now I want to help other people reach their goals. No more excuses! Not having time to cook, meal plan or research healthy meals is no longer an excuse you need to make. I understand being busy and over so many years of staying healthy and working hard I learned tricks to make it easier. I can help! My philosophy is centered around easy to cook meals with simple ingredients.

As a certified nutritionist I can help people work around any specific health concerns or dietary needs they have to adjust for on their plant based journey.

A plant based diet promotes a healthy body, a healthy planet and animal compassion.

October 7, 2020
Let’s start with an introduction. Hello, my name is Shana. I am 33 years old. I am from California but currently live in Singapore with my husband.

My Diet Journey

I started thinking about what I was eating at a young age. I decided at 10 years old that I would be vegetarian, even though I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. I only thought that it was an ethical thing to do for the animals.

When I got older I was less interested in eating healthy and not really following any specific diet. I ate some meat, dairy, fast food. A little bit of everything.

My sister gave me a book to read when I was 21 and it changed my path forever.

I really started to think about the choices I made and the food on my plate. So I started eating a plant based diet.

I don’t use the term VEGAN.

This is because I always ate a little seafood, I definitely snuck some dairy in my diet occasionally and I wasn’t hunting ingredient lists for anything from an animal.

I LOVE sushi!!

I still follow the 90% rule.

90% of the time I consume nothing from an animal and I feel like it helps keep my life a little flexible but my body healthy. Health is my focus and I think it is important to find what motivates you to maintain a plant based diet.

The healthiest foundation of a diet is focusing on whole foods. This means real ingredients that are found in nature.

Benefits of a plant based diet

When I switched to a plant based diet I noticed so many personal benefits. This feeling makes me so excited to share it with others because it could be your solution to chronic health conditions.

A plant based diet increases fiber intake which means better gut health, improved digestion and a reduction in the risk of various cancers. My digestive health has improved so much since following a plant based diet.

Plants are rich in phytonutrients. Colorful fruits and vegetables are designed by nature to provide you with invisible but powerful qualities. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake means you are powering your body with the ability to fight invaders. Many people claim their whole foods plant based diet helps them avoid more common colds and flus.

Easy weight management. Overall a plant based diet is not a weight loss program. You aren’t expected to see drastic immediate weight loss. It is one that promotes long term health and healthy eating habits. I have personally found that eating a whole foods plant based diet has helped me effortlessly maintain a healthy weight.

If you have any specific health concerns we can work together to form a plant based diet that helps suit your needs.

How Can I help you with your diet?

Although I am very passionate about a plant based diet I never made it a career for myself. I was a full time student and then I worked full time jobs.

I felt I was always balancing my busy life with what I loved most. Now I want to help other people reach their goals. No more excuses! Not having time to cook, meal plan or research healthy meals is no longer an excuse you need to make. I understand being busy and over so many years of staying healthy and working hard I learned tricks to make it easier. I can help! My philosophy is centered around easy to cook meals with simple ingredients.

As a certified nutritionist I can help people work around any specific health concerns or dietary needs they have to adjust for on their plant based journey.

A plant based diet promotes a healthy body, a healthy planet and animal compassion.

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I offer health coaching and meal plans to fit your needs. I am passionate that a whole foods plant-based diet is one that encourages a healthy body, healthy planet, and animal compassion.

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