Tag Archives for " Vegan "

September 19, 2019

How to Build New Habits that Stick

​Building new habits can feel overwhelming​, and ​difficult to even know where to start. That sweet little phrase, "old habits die hard.." is no joke. Habits are formed over time so our brain has less to do, and ​can go on autopilot without thinking.  Research shows over 40% of your actions come from habits, which frees up time to focus your energy on the important stuff.

But what about when it comes to habits that are harmful, or don't serve ​you, like mindless eating at night in front of the TV that leads to guilt and shame, or grabbing the afternoon candy bar when you're feeling tired? These types of habits ​ can feel really difficult to break​ AND they don't help you become your best self.

​One of the reasons why, is because the habits are run by our subconscious, and as Jen Sincero, Author of You Are a Badass puts it, the subconscious is like a ninja ​and will do all it can to present you with super juicy temptations that will knock you straight back into your comfort zone.

We al​l have these habitual places where we get stopped - a threshold we reach where ​we get too close to actually reaching our goals for our own comfort. Crossing over this threshold is exactly what we need to create permanent transformation in our lives, and get out of the comfort zones that keep us stuck.

This is terrifying to many of us and that is exactly the reason why our subconscious minds will gather all the tricks it can to ​stand in our way of making change. Can you say self-sabotage?

To be honest, most of us are oblivious to this stopping point and have a lifetime worth of excuses that we use to keep us playing small, ie., I don't have enough time, I'm too lazy, I will never lose weight, so what's the point, or I need to try another diet, the one I'm doing doesn't work, or, I will just start over tomorrow.

​How to change habits for good

​To change your habits, you must have a plan; one that is realistic and doable. You must be tenacious about it​ while being willing to break through the terror threshold, no matter what persuasion the subconscious ninjas use to pull you back into your old sticky ways.

Once you give in to that one little negotiation of, "oh it's just one cookie," or "I need that glass of wine to help me relax," you've abandoned yourself once again and given your power over to the habit you are trying to break.

So let's look at the steps you can take to build NEW, healthy habits and get rid of the ones that are keeping you stuck in the vicious cycle, that you KNOW you want to break out of. 

​You can't do anything if you try to do everything. -Jen Sincero

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Know your why and hold it tight

​​​It will be pretty dang hard to change habits, if you don't know why you are doing it, or if you don't have a big enough reason. If your goal is to get healthy, lose weight or give up binge eating, you must know WHY you want ​these things.

What will having those things provide for you? Will it give you freedom, peace of mind, the grace to live your life guilt-free, or what? What is your BIGGER WHY? Just ​stating that you want to get healthy is not enough.

​Honing in on your why may seem cliche, and you might even be thinking, "Well Melissa, I know my why, but still can't freaking change my habits no matter how​ hard I ​try." Trust me, I hear you, but ​that's where you are already starting to make excuses for all the reasons WHY you can't change, instead of staying focused on what it is that you really, truly want and ​what you need to do to get there.

So get out a piece of paper and write down ALL the habits you want to change along with your BIG FAT WHY next to each one. 

Circle ​the ONE ​habit that you know is preventing you from reaching the next level in your life. That's the habit we are going to work on shifting for you. It's best to start small, gain momentum and then move on to the next habit. 

​​Negotiations ​be gone!

Oh boy, how many times have you negotiated yourself right of ​trying to form new habits? I bet a lot. Believe me, I've been there....Here's the thing, you must be willing to remove yourself all together from the negotiation process.

Let's say you want to lose weight, and you know that the nighttime mindless eating in front of the TV is not helping with this goal, but you had a cruddy day at work and all you want is one glass of wine to help you relax. So you have the wine, and t​hen you get the munchies. You tell hubs to put on a pot of popcorn, and before you know it, you've drunk a bottle of wine and ate a tub of popcorn.

Or you want to start a morning workout routine, but the alarm goes off and you tell yourself you'll hit snooze one time, and 30 minutes later you're still snuggled up in dream land, and hitting the treadmill is a distant memory. You, once again, tell yourself you will do better tomorrow.

It IS​ these tiny moments, these split second decisions upon which ​your success rides. Each one of these​ tiny little decisions adds up, and serves as a crack in your resolve where other excuses can seep in, and believe me, they will.

So in order to anchor in some non-negotiation skills, here's where you can start:

​1. Identify with a new habit - meaning OWN it, by saying, I am a person who sticks to my commitments, not someone who lets an Oreo, or one or two, take away my power to know better.

2. Know when the negotiation ninjas come to visit - when we try to talk ourselves out of things that we know are good for us, we tend to not be super creative or varied (again, thanks Jen S.) We tend to stick to the same old, lame-o excuses. When you do this, it should be EASY to recognize your tried and true method for knocking yourself out of the new habit-building game. Be on the lookout for these favorite excuses of yours, and the second one comes up, recognize the negotiation and DO. NOT. CONSIDER. IT. for even one minuscule of a second. Just move along like it didn't even happen.

​Know your triggers ​

​Preceding every habit is a trigger of sorts. Triggers can be almost anything: a sound, smell, feeling, time of day, season, another person, etc.

It's important to know what triggers come before your habit kicks in, especially the ones that are not serving you right now. How we react to the trigger will make all the difference in the world when we are trying to change our habit.

​Here's how to identify your triggers. Write out the habit you want to change. Example, I want to stop drinking wine every night when I watch TV.  

Then ​write out the ​triggers of that habit ​using the following headings (I've included some ​examples to help you)

  • Feelings: I'm exhausted, I've had a long day, ​I deserve to have a glass of wine
  • Time of Day; After dinner, it's getting late and I want to wind down
  • Sounds: TV is on and I just want to sit and chill with a glass of wine​
  • Places: ​The couch looks cozy and relaxing after a hard day
  • People: Hubby is cozy on the couch with a glass of wine and ​I want to join him 
  • Smells: Popcorn is on the stove and I love drinking a glass of wine and crunching on popcorn
  • Other:

​Now go through the list and pick the biggest trigger that is linked to your bad habit, and write it down including the action you take with the trigger.  For example; Biggest Trigger >>>> I'm exhausted and I deserve to have a glass of wine. Action: Gets glass of wine and sits on the couch, then starts to eat popcorn.

Now for the juicy part. It's time to identify 3 small positive actions you can take when your biggest trigger hits you. For example: When I feel exhausted and want to ​relax, I can

  1. ​Take 10 minutes and sit quietly
  2. Take 3 deep breaths to calm my nervous system down
  3. ​Put on some soft music and close my eyes while listening to it.

Now it’s time to try your new habit! Today or tomorrow, when you sense your old habit being triggered, switch gears and try out one of your new actions you listed. As you repeat this new behavior, your brain will change and the new behavior will become automatic.

Once this new behavior becomes automatic, you can go back and try this same process for the other habits in your life that you want to change. ​Tackle one at a time for best results.  

The bottom line is that changing habits takes time and consistency. The more you focus on taking small steps, the more momentum you will build with changing your habits. Try this on and let me know how it goes for you!

​*Habit makeover adapted from Mel Robbins Spring it On session

​Are you ready to break out of the vicious food cycle? 

​I work with smart, busy professionals, just like you, who are frustrated and tired of the vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. I help them to stop dieting and radically transform their relationship to food so they can say bye-bye to diets once and for all, and find their natural body weight. If you're ready to finally BREAK FREE, learn more about my ​private and group coaching to​ see how you can ​finally create the life you have dreamed of ​that is free from diets and food struggles. 

August 3, 2019

How to Recover from a Binge

binge eating

​​We all know that a binge can send us off into a spiral of shame, self-criticism and defeat. Binge Eating is often a result of dieting, restriction or depriving yourself of certain foods, over a period of time, especially the ones you love. Having food rules, and judgements around food can also lead us to a binge. 

And binge eating ​can often have nothing to do with food, and everything to do with ​an event or trigger in ​your life that you may not be facing; a pain ​you haven't addressed, or situation ​you don't feel good about. 

One of my clients shared with me that ​prior to our working together, she had gone to the doctor to get a check up. She got on the scale, and he told her she needed to lose over 50 pounds. She also learned that she had high-blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. All of this "bad" news coming at once, and the idea of going on yet another diet, sent her in an emotional tail spin. That night she went home and binged for 3 days straight.

Unfortunately, the dieting mindset is ingrained in most of us. We believe that it's impossible to lose weight without massively restricting ourselves, ​and this can leave a lot of us feeling defeated and wanting to give up. If you ​are someone who has been a long-time dieter, or you have events in your life that you don't want to face, I'm sure you've had a binge episode or two. Bingeing doesn't mean you have failed, it just means that there is a deeper message needing to be revealed.  

Below are​ my top steps on how to overcome the shame after a binge ​so you can move forward with grace.

The dieting mindset often leads to binge eating or over eating. It's time to bring the diet culture to it's knees!

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Step One to ​​Recover from a binge

​Don't ​go into restriction or diet mode

​​Dieting and restricting are most likely the things that you got you here in the first place. I know it's tempting to, once again, promise yourself that you are going to be "good" tomorrow, get back on track and NEVER binge again, but you are just setting yourself up to fail. 

Refusing to make these false promises to yourself is a great way to break the vicious cycle​. By going on another diet or restricting, you keep the cycle alive, which will lead you to another binge. 

Refusing to diet is a great way to pattern interrupt the habitual cycle. We must break patterns in the moment, and the more you turn away from that old cycle, the more you will want to do what feels good for you. You want to do things that are in service to your well-being and that could mean choosing foods that feel good for your body, staying hydrated, facing your emotions and taking care of yourself, versus going into a spiral of self-loathing and hatred. 

Step two to ​​recover from a binge

​Ask Yourself This Powerful Question....

After a binge, it's important to tune into what ​nourishing and loving actions ​you can take to support yourself. As I mentioned above, you want to do things that are in service to your well-being, and by slowing down to tune into this, you are showing up for yourself in a powerful way.  This will help to connect to what you really need.

So, take a moment and ask yourself, What is the most loving and nourishing action I can take right now?

Maybe you feel lonely and need to call a friend. Maybe you are stressed out and need down time. Maybe you are angry that your boss was mean to you. Maybe your kids are driving you nuts. It's important that you ask yourself what it is that you need before you set any rules, restrictions or guidelines around food.

Once you attune to what it is that you REALLY need, instead of what you think you need (rules, diets and restriction),  then you can take action to give ​that to yourself and truly take a stand for your own healing.

Step t​hree to ​recover from a binge

​Practice Self-Forgiveness

​Typically, along with a binge comes all kinds of self-loathing, judgement and self-criticism. We feel ashamed, remorseful and overwhelmed with feelings of failure. These things perpetuate the bad-feelings and the binge cycle.

It's important to be the Warrior Guardian of your Mind in this circumstance, and to cut every negative thought about yourself off at the knees. You can do that by the powerful practice of redirecting your mind to self-forgiveness. 

Could you imagine reprimanding a small child for binge eating or eating more than they should? Could you imagine saying all the mean things you say to yourself, to a friend? You probably wouldn't have many friends left.

​Every time you think a negative thought, ​say the following out loud:

​1. Stop (this helps pattern-interrupt the thought)  

2. I forgive myself for judging myself as a failure (or insert whatever other negative words you say about yourself).

Continue to repeat #2 with all the negative judgements you made about yourself after the binge. You can even write them out on paper to make it even more powerful. T​his step helps you get in touch with your own compassion. 

Integrate these loving actions after a binge and see if you can get to the root of what your binge is telling you. There is always a message in our triggers and struggles. 

​Are you ready to break out of the vicious food cycle? 

​I work with smart, busy professionals, just like you, who are frustrated and tired of the vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. I help them to stop dieting and radically transform their relationship to food so they can say bye-bye to diets once and for all, and find their natural body weight. If you're ready to finally BREAK FREE, learn more about my ​private and group coaching to​ see how you can ​finally create the life you have dreamed of ​that is free from diets and food struggles. 

August 29, 2018

Tarragon Potato Salad; Vegan + Gluten Free

This light and delicious potato salad is perfect to bring to a summer BBQ, or a potluck dinner. Use red bliss, or heirloom potatoes for an even yummier salad and leave the skins on for extra nutrition. The tarragon gives it a very special flavor that will delight your taste buds.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs. Red bliss potatoes or combo of red, purple & creamy yellow (red, white & blue), unpeeled & chopped into small 1/2” inch cubes
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 green onion (scallion), finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon (replace with dried dill if not available)
  • 1/4 Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender but not too soft. Drain and cool. In a large bowl, combine potatoes with remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until cold. If salad becomes dry after a day or two, add a bit more mayo.

 

Holy Moly Green Gazpacho

Summer is officially here! ☀ Try my “Holy Moly Green Gazpacho” if you want a refreshingly cool summer soup…

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, deseeded and chopped (if not available, leave out)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Scoop out the meat of both avocados and place into a blender.   Add all of the remaining
ingredients except the oil.   Turn the blender on and let everything mix together.
With the motor running, start slowly pouring the oil through the opening in the lid of the blender.
This will help emulsify the soup, giving you a light and creamy consistency.
Season with salt and pepper.  CHILL it for an hour before eating so the flavors meld and enjoy!

Golden Split Pea Soup

This variation of Split Pea soup is sure to delight you and warm you up on a chilly winter’s day. I use a combination of yams and Yukon gold potatoes to give it a little sweetness. It’s smoky and sweet and completely vegan!

INGREDIENTS

In a soup pot over medium heat, sizzle red pepper flakes for 30 seconds. Add onion and celery and saute until onion is soft and translucent. Add herbs and spices and stir to combine. Add carrots, yam, potatoes and split peas. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Add broth and stir together ingredients. Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover pot and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until split peas are soft, stirring occasionally. Add nutritional yeast and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Pudding

Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding??? I’m not sure, but if you know someone, they need to be re-schooled in the ways of chocolate, creamy decadence. This vegan version is loaded with healthy fats, tons of flavor and zero-guilt. Spoon into some cute little cups and top with raspberries or cherries for an extra delicious indulgence.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • meat from 2 young thai coconuts
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup coconut water from thai coconut
  • 5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt

Add all ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until creamy smooth. If too thick, add more coconut water. Dish into dessert cups and store in the refrigerator.

February 13, 2015

Salted Vegan Cardamom Caramel Sauce

We all love caramel sauce, er…well, at least I do, but I NEVER eat it because it’s loaded with refined sugar and dairy and it makes me loopy. Really!

SO, I just had to share my favorite vegan caramel sauce with you — two ways! One is plain and one has a dash of cacao for a little extra richness…as if it needs it. It’s super simple to make and all you need is a high-powered blender.

Drizzle this caramel sauce over fruit or coconut ice cream. Dreamy and Delish!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 20 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk (more if needed for thinner texture)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon cacao powder

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until creamy smooth. Add more almond milk if too thick. Store in refrigerator in a squeeze bottle for up to two weeks.

February 13, 2015

Raw Vegan Brownies with Goji Berries and Cacao Icing

Valentines day is right around the corner, and what a better way to celebrate with some homemade vegan brownie for your sweetie. Who wants store bought chocolate in a red, foil heart anyway? Not me!

You can lose with these healthy, delectable treats that are high in protein, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants. What?? Yes, that’s right. Skip the guilt and dive right in.

 

BROWNIE INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw hemp seeds
  • 1-1/4 cup pitted dates (I like medjool)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup goji berries, soaked for 10 minutes and drained

 

 

CACAO ICING INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 5 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt

 

 

Cauliflower Cilantro Smash & Simple Mushroom Gravy

Cancer-fighter and versatile, Cauliflower outshines the white potato in this healthy version of the favorite traditional, blood-sugar spiking, weight gaining mashed potatoes.  Yes, we all love mash potatoes, but give these a try topped with my simple and savory mushroom gravy and you will not feel like you are missing out at all!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium size head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 can white beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut creamer or almond milk
  • Handful cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Steam cauliflower in a steamer basket until tender, approximately 5-7 minutes or so. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté garlic until soft and golden brown. Combine garlic, cauliflower, cilantro and beans in food processor fitted with the S-blade and puree until smooth. Add coconut creamer or almond milk and sea salt, and puree again until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the processor cup as needed. Serve warm with Mushroom gravy.

 

MUSHROOM GRAVY

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, mince
  • 3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms or any other kind you like
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs of choice
  • 1-1/4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Aminos

In a saucepan heat oil over medium heat and whish in brown rice flour to make a roux (thick paste.) Add onion and garlic and stir to coat. Saute until translucent, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and sauté for about 5-minutes more, or until they start to release juices. Add remaining ingredients and let gravy simmer for about 5 minutes, letting it thicken, but being careful not to burn.

Rawmesan Crusted Zucchini Chips

I love me some zucchini and it’s in full force here in Santa Barbara right now. These zucchini chips are to die for. I just decided to throw them together, so the measurements may not be exact, so feel free to play with what you add to them. You will need a dehydrator for best results, otherwise bake in the oven at 450 degrees for about 25-30 minutes until crisp. Be warned, they will shrink!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Place sliced zucchini in a large bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. Place remaining ingredients in a blender or coffee grinder and process into a powder. Sprinkle “cheese” powder over zucchini and toss around to coat slices evenly. Place on dehydrator screens in a single layer. Dehydrate overnight at 113 degrees or until crisp.

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