Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The TCS New York City Marathon and Two Delicious Smoothies

The New York City Marathon has finally been ticked off my to-do list. My love affair with this particular race started when I first moved to the city for graduate school. At the time, I was only running sporadically – anyone who has ever entered into a graduate program for history can attest to the fact that there isn’t much time left for anything else. However, I began stalking the race. I read about it, watched it, cheered for it, I dreamed about it while sleeping, and daydreamed about it - particularly on my countless runs through Central Park. So when the opportunity finally presented itself for me to partake in the greatest marathon in the world, I jumped at the chance.

Unfortunately, 2014 was a tough year for me. It started with a surgery on the back of my knee to remove a bone spur. While preparing for a half ironman, I started having intense pain in my hip. As it turns out, I had a small tear in the cartilage of my left hip. By the time my hip was ready for running, there was only 7 weeks until the New York Marathon.

Despite everything, including record strength winds, I was feeling good when I finally toed the line on race day. The cannon went off. I felt the boom deep down in my stomach and I finally started to realize what I was undertaking.    

For anyone who has ever run in New York, the marathon is a special experience. For me, it was particularly emotional as this city is my home. The thousands of spectators cheering were amazing (it was great hearing countless people scream “Go Vegan!” as I ran by – my little form of activism!) The race went well, although looking back, I should have run the first half a little more conservatively. Either way, I’m proud of the accomplishment and grateful for my body. I am now taking an extended break from endurance training during which I will focus on new and exciting happenings in my life. I also want to thank everyone. The love and support I received was overwhelming.

During my training, I developed two different smoothies, both of which are not only nutrient dense, but also delicious. While I used these to help fuel my workouts and to recover from my long runs, they also make a great start to any morning, and I've also made the the Chocolate Cinn-a-bun smoothie for dessert on occasion as well!


The Long Run Red Beet Smoothie:
1 medium beet (raw or roasted)
1 handful raw pecans (1/6 cup) (for a nut free version, add more oats)
½ cup spinach
1 ripe pear
¼ cup old fashioned oats
1 tbsp flax seed
1 medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp cacao powder
½ tsp maca powder
1 cup plant-milk or water
1 handful of ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Top with shredded coconut and cacao nibs

Chocolate Cinn-a-bun Smoothie:
1 large frozen banana
¼ cup old fashioned oats
1 tbsp almond butter or 1 handful raw almonds
2 medjool dates
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth. 

I hope you all have a very happy and plant-based Thanksgiving. 

As always the information presented in this blog is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered as specific medical, nutritional, lifestyle, or other health-related advice.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Plant POWER: by Nava Atlas Giveaway and Chickpea and Kale Sandwhich Spread

Perhaps one of the best known vegetarian and vegan cookbook authors, Nava Atlas, released the stunning new cookbook, Plant POWER. Containing more than 150 new and inspiring recipes, Plant POWER is much more than your average vegan cookbook. It’s a primer and guide for regaining your health and vitality from the food at the end of your fork. The subtitle, Transform your Kitchen, Plate, and Life, sets high standards for what follows, and remarkably, this book delivers all it promises. 

As some long-time readers will recall, I reviewed and loved Ms. Atlas’s last cookbook, Wild About Greens and I’m happy to report that Plant POWER supersedes it's predecessor. From the moment it arrived, I knew I was holding something special. In fact, it has become my go-to recommended book for anyone interested in learning more about plant-based diets or healthy cooking.

Besides the 150 + recipes, Nava Atlas has dedicated nearly half of the book to introducing readers to different aspects of plant-based diets. This section touches on the health, environmental and animal rights reasons for eating a plant-based diet, as well as includes tips on how to live a plant powered life. The book includes over 70 stunning and full color photos (my only complaint about Wild About Greens) and most recipes include variations so you can easily make the recipe fit any preferred eating style (I was particularly impress to see she included substitutions for recipes with oil).

I often say that eating a healthy, whole food vegan diet is becoming easier than ever. Plant POWER practically takes the challenge out of meal-planning and I can say with conviction that there is something for everyone contained within these pages.

The recipes focus on simple and healthy foods made with real, fresh, and easy to find ingredients. Most are prepped, cooked, and ready to be served in thirty minutes. Because of all of these successes, I guarantee that Plant POWER will not be spending too much time on my bookshelf, as I will be referencing it frequently for inspiration and new tips.

Chickpea and Kale Sandwich Spread (From Nava Atlas’ Plant POWER)

I served the spread open-faced style with chopped purple cabbage and tomatoes on top of toasted, sprouted bread. It was absolutely delicious, and only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.

Serves 3 to 4

2 medium kale leaves, rinsed well (or a handful of baby spinach or arugula)
1 medium carrot, cut into chunks
2 cups cooked or 1 can of chickpeas (drained)2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise or tahini (I did tahini)
2 teaspoons mustard
1-2 scallons, green parts only (optional)
¼ cup fresh parsley or 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh dill
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Green Sprouts (optional)


Combine the kale and carrot in a food processor or multi-speed high powered blender and pulse until finely chopped.

Add the remaining ingredients and pulse again until the chickpeas are evenly chopped and everything is nicely blended – don’t overprocess.

Serve as is, or cover and refrigerate until needed.


Now for the part you have been waiting for. I am happy to announce Nava Atlas has agreed to send a copy of her new book to one lucky reader! Here are the rules. First, the winner needs to live in the United States (sorry international readers, no disrespect). Second, you must be a subscriber to BYOL. There are a few ways to win. First, leave a comment on this blog post about why you think this book will be useful. You can also like BYOL on Facebook, or follow BYOL on Twitter. You can get points by liking and following Nava Atlas on Facebook or Twitter as well. Finally, share this on your social media by tagging both BYOL and Nava Atlas in your post. The contest will end on Friday, November 28th at 12:00 a.m. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
As always the information presented in this blog is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered as specific medical, nutritional, lifestyle, or other health-related advice.