body image and pregnancy, prenatal nutrition, prenatal blog, maternity blog, healthy pregnancy, narcissism and infertility

Narcissism and Infertility

body image and pregnancy, prenatal nutrition, prenatal blog, maternity blog, healthy pregnancy, narcissism and infertilityDisclaimer: I've never been diagnosed with either Narcissistic Personality  Disorder nor infertility. This post is about my experience with some aspects of both conditions and how I overcame them.

There is a particularly entertaining study on the psychological profile of women with infertility you can read here but with only 60 individuals isolated in one country, it isn't very exhaustive.

Up until age 35 I swore by the plan that I wouldn’t be having biological children in this lifetime.

In my early 20s I had the black hole of med school and a plastic and reconstructive surgery residency on my mind. I figured I would be in my mid-thirties before I could, or would, even focus any attention on matters of that nature. By 25, after working for a successful Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and gaining a behind the scenes view of what my life could turn out like, I opted for another path that led me first into the fashion world then onto the competitive fitness stage.

Over the course of about 6 years, specific life choices resulted in the recurrent loss of my period often up to 6 or 7 months at a time. Frankly, in the mind state I was in at the time, I rejoiced in that loss, as I was obsessed with body image and appearance.  I didn't look into correcting the issue, and rejected doctors' suggestions for hormonal therapy or a decrease in exercise intensity.

As I learned how to manipulate my diet and training to bring body fat to less than 10%, a feeling of empowerment came over me. I reveled in this ability to control external outcomes, and I withdrew myself from all things that didn’t serve my goal. With every win on the fitness stage came more validation and I think it was around that time that I subconsciously began making excuses as to why I’d never birth my own child.

The irony of it all is that I think pregnancy and fetal development is so fascinating. I can’t recall the year but I have a distinct memory, from my childhood, of stumbling upon a collector’s copy of Life magazine showcasing the images of human embryonic growth photographed by Lennart Nilsson. I was awestruck. Years later, I would get an A in my chick embyrology lab where I’d incubate and study a fertilized chicken egg…just saying.

So, in hindsight, it’s not surprising that my excuses for not wanting a biological child were deflected to notions about the state of the world and never about vanity. In conversation, I always capped off my defense with a statement about supporting motherhood and my openness to adopt.

I was so deluded by success, control and perfection that I wasn’t even aware of my own act!

Health problems from 30-31 became a turning point for me and I had to make a difficult decision. I left the world of competitive bodybuilding and took a break from the traditional gym. I felt a huge void after having dedicated so many years to aesthetics and winning, and so came a healing of mind, body, and spirit that ultimately opened the space for this pregnancy to happen!

I had to first correct a pretty severe hormonal imbalance and that synchronistically led to balancing my dual energies – both masculine and feminine. I turned to more nurturing outlets to fill the void in my days like blogging, self-reflection, attending weekly Marianne Williamson seminars and spiritually centered Agape Sundays, meditation classes, and outdoor training sessions with friends I gained from setting up a meetup group. I went on an emotional healing journey to Bali where I did daily yoga, ate a vegan diet, and participated in ecstatic dance. I opened myself to, for me, new forms of expression that helped define my voice and also work through issues that were stifling me.

When the relationship with my now-husband began, we agreed on having a faith-based relationship and that came with a great deal of surrender. As a companion, I’ve had to look more critically at things I’m reactive to and the decision to have kids a kid(let me not go too far here) is honestly a huge breakthrough for me. I can’t say I’m free from all racket and that body image issues doesn’t plague me. I can however happily proclaim that they don’t control me!

Here's to the first of many posts about this wild time of life (that doesn't respond well to control)!


gluten free pancakes, dairy free, vegetarian, summer white

NYC Vegan & Protein Powder Zucchini Pancakes

protein pancakes, vegetable pancakes, dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, soma fitness, soma nutrition, summer white, nutritionist

It's tough being a vegetarian foodie, while getting fit for wedding, and living in New York! Maybe you can't imagine it being so, but the options really are endless. For me, moving to a new city is like adapting to a new culture and although I have certain limitations I'm gleefully open to exploration (and frankly, the same brand of my favorites in La, like sweetgreen, are just not up to par here in NYC and I need a new best of list).

Vegetarian fare is not always healthy; it's often smothered in marinades and loaded with starch.  I want to eat all the lentil burgers, cashew cream pastas, and black bean quinoa taco bowls but I was steady packing on the pounds and so my first weeks go-to, By Chloe, is now a fling of the past. Now don't get me wrong, this plant-based fast food joint is deliciously satisfying but I must abstain from gluten, processed vegan cheeses, and refined high fructose sugars (agave sauces) lest I ruin my vision of a bloat free belly on my big day.

The first weeks in NYC I was hotel-bound and craving a home-cooked meal. I desperately despise undercooked eggs, and a few mornings went south when 45 minutes of waiting for room service produced runny egg white omelettes.  I needed an escape! So I set out to find an approachable option (where I could show up in sweats) that calmed my fears of getting salmonella poisoning. Enter Blossom.  This casual vegan restaurant in Chelsea was actually built in a historic townhouse. Both needs met! And although I thoroughly enjoyed the tofu scramble 'country breakfast' with apple sage seitan sausage, my dining companion gave less than stellar reviews on his soy ham Blossom Benedict.   I was quickly reminded that neither gluten nor fake meat, in general, serve me well...and seitan, the wheat meat, is just that.

Next up was Dirt Candy - a self proclaimed vegetable-forward restaurant that accommodates not only vegans & vegetarians, but also those with allergies and dietary restrictions, seemingly right up my alley. I went for brunch and was pleased with my selection of the zucchini pancakes with squash blossom butter, even though I rejected the maple syrup.  After scanning the menu, I settled on it being a few months before my next visit. Food here was heavily fried and, although not big on fake meat and vegan cheeses (they serve real dairy), not really in line with my current goals.

So what's a girl to do?? I continue my quest for additions to the Soma Fit List and I've definitely found a few. But with watching my waist line comes the necessity to know what's in my food, as well as tracking my caloric intake, so off to the kitchen I go to recreate and custom tailor the dishes that have moved me. I cook another day.

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zucchini pancakes, gluten free pancakes

zucchini pancakes, gluten free, dairy free, summer white, nutritionist, nyc meal delivery

gluten free pancakes, dairy free, vegetarian, summer white

PROTEIN POWDER ZUCCHINI PANCAKES

(SERVES 4)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour
1/4 tsp Now Foods xanthan gum
1/2 cup organic oat flour (I blended rolled oats into flour)
1/2 cup Sun Warrior classic vanilla
2 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp Wholesome organics stevia powder
2 eggs (I used Vital farms pasture raised)
3/4 cup Califia unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp raw honey, melted
1 tbsp Bai Congo apple pear (can sub with apple cider vinegar)
1 1/4 cups shredded zucchini

Instructions

Grate zucchini with a medium sized grater. Wrap in paper towel and press to remove liquid, and set aside. Mix first seven ingredients (the dry stuff) in a medium sized bowl. In a separate medium sized bowl whisk the next 5 ingredients (the wet stuff), then once thoroughly combined add in the zucchini.  Whisk together wet and dry ingredients and let stand for 10 minutes.

Preheat an un-greased, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spoon out 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto the hot and gently smooth out into a round shape. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until bubbles begin forming on the top. Flip then cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, adjusting temperature as needed so the pancakes don't burn.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 pancake Calories: 101 Fat: 1.8 g Saturated fat: 0.3 g Carbohydrates: 16.2 g Fiber: 2.4 g Sugar: 2.7 g  Protein: 6.5 g  Sodium: 217 mg Potassium: 52.5 mg

 


blueberry muffins, mixed berry muffins, gluten free muffins, dairy-free muffins, mug muffins, protein muffins, morning meal, meal prep, soma nutrition, soma fitness

Gluten-free Dairy-free Berry Muffins

blueberry muffins, mixed berry muffins, gluten free muffins, dairy-free muffins, mug muffins, protein muffins, morning meal, meal prep, soma nutrition, soma fitness

These muffins are my dream come true!!!!

I used to get so jealous of folks that posted photos of those 2 minute mug muffins.  They looked so light, fluffy, moist and quick!  A few years ago I didn't eat eggs, switched from whey to vegan plant based protein powders, and I've never touched milk, so those recipes were out for me.

Here is a bit of science - rice based vegan protein powders, like the Sun Warrior Classic that I love, generally lack casein or lecithin and therefore don't easily form emulsions with liquids. You'll notice that plant based protein powders are often quite clumpy and require high speed blenders and a little almond butter or nut milk for that smooth mouth feel.  Some plant based proteins have xanthan gum as the emulsifying agent, which helps when baking flourless treats, but you'll need applesauce, banana, chia seeds, ground flax meal, eggs, agar, or starch to help further emulsify the batter, and give support and fluff, for the best textures.

I've worked tirelessly on perfecting my own morning muffin recipe, and I knew I had to keep them protein-packed, low-sugar, and gluten-free.  They needed to be as delicious as Trader Joe's Bran muffins, but on the level of Questbar's Blueberry Muffin macronutrient ratio. I know, my taste and dietary preferences are insufferable!

I use a whopping 4 scoop serving of Sun Warrior classic vanilla, for a substantial serving of protein, for every 7 large muffins. The rice based powder acts as my flour substitute, and I just use gluten-free oat bran to balance out the carbs and fiber. A pinch of Himalayan pink crystal salt provides strength to the dough, but also a nice dose of minerals.  I've tried this recipe with a combo of gluten-free Hain brand baking powder and baking soda, but I find the baking soda alters the taste of the muffin so I've omitted it altogether.

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I had run out of olive oil, and was too lazy to go downstairs (there is literally a Whole Foods a few hundred meters away) to buy more, so I melted a bit of Earth Balance plant based spread in its place. I love the purity and richness of extra virgin olive oil, but the Earth Balance provided a buttery taste that I had to share. Unsweetened almond milk, 1 whole egg from Vital Farms pasture raised hens, and unsweetened apple sauce (to help replace the missing oil and sugar from this recipe) round out the list of wet ingredients. Make sure to whisk the egg well into the other wet ingredients so each muffin is uniform in texture. I added the softened earth balance after mixing the wet and cold ingredients, as I know coconut oil can tend to firm up in cold temperatures and the egg and almond milk had just come out of the fridge.

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I always have frozen organic berries on hand, for smoothies, and compotes. When I use them in my baked recipes, I rinse them with warm water in a strainer and will either let them air dry (blueberries) or thaw out in warm water (larger berries like strawberries and blackberries) while I'm mixing up the batter.  Once the wet and dry have been mixed thoroughly I add the berries, stir, and ready the liners in the muffin tin.

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I like my muffins large and in charge, and since these lack flour a little batter does not go a long way. I fill my muffin liner nearly to the top so they cook up slightly and form muffin tops!  I let these cook at 350 for 25 minutes or more to really firm up.  I have never tried the toothpick test on these muffins, but I do make sure the top doesn't have any moist or soft spots.  Let them cool for about 5-10 minutes and they are good to go. I use a spoon and scrape the muffin liner clean because even the crumbs are too tasty to throw away!

 

mixed berry muffins, blackberry muffins, protein muffins, gluten free muffins, sun warrior recipes, soma fitness, soma nutrition

Gluten-free Mixed Berry Muffins
serves 2

4 SCOOPS SUN WARRIOR
1 cup gluten free OAT BRAN
1 tsp baking powder
5 packets (or teaspoons) organic stevia powder
1/8 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 whole egg
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
2 tsp softened Earth Balance butter
1/2 cup blackberries (organic frozen, run under water/strain/dry)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Put first 5 ingredients in medium bowl, mix well. Whisk egg, milk, and applesauce in a small bowl. Add dry to wet ingredients, and mix well. Melt butter and add to batter. Mix berries and butter into batter. Place muffin liners in muffin tin, and using a spoon fill with batter until about 1/8" from top rim. Place in middle rack of oven and bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool and enjoy!

 


vegan recipe, sunflower seed pesto, kale sunflower seed pesto, spaghetti squash, plant based meal, nut free pesto, nut-free, nightshade free, gluten free , soma fitness, soma nutrition

Spaghetti Squash with Sunflower Seed Pesto

 

vegan recipe, sunflower seed pesto, kale sunflower seed pesto, spaghetti squash, plant based meal, nut free pesto, nut-free, nightshade free, gluten free , soma fitness, soma nutrition
Last week was Snowmageddon 2017 with Winter storm Stella making its way to New York City, where I currently reside. We were told to expect between 2 to 4 feet of snow in a 24 hour period, in a blizzard that would be noted in NYC history. A state of emergency was declared, flights were grounded, and many workers were told to stay home.

So on Monday evening around 10:30 pm, in preparing to hunker down for a few days, Jake and I decided to hit our neighborhood Whole Foods. When we walked in, it was like a scene from Supermarket Sweep (i'm a true child of the 90s)! The store would be closing in 30 minutes, but crazed shoppers were running to and fro grabbing what was left of the produce, prepared foods, frozen goods, and canned items. I was shocked to find only 5 single broccoli crowns, 6 mangled carrots, 3 wilted onions, 2 spaghetti squash, 2 yellow bell peppers, 2 heads of red cabbage, and a handful of triple washed spring mix cartons.  I took nearly all, save the spring mix.

Let me digress for a minute. I absolutely hate spring mix. I find that blend to consistently have slimy baby leaves that were likely too small to sell with their adult counterparts.  When I order a salad from a restaurant that serves spring mix, I'm literally sitting for 20 minutes inspecting and picking rotten leaves from my salad.  It drives Jake nuts, but me so even more! I can't stand it, and to make a point I place all the stinky little leaves on a napkin and disingenuously smile at the server when they ask how I'm enjoying my salad.

So anyway, I'm back at Whole Foods walking though the canned food aisle and I see a sad and limp bunch of kale; I grab it nervously like a $20 bill I find in a gutter, keeping it hidden from any other spring mix hater!  I then head straight to the vegan cold food section and feel a sense of relief rush over me.  There sat several packages of organic tempeh, tofu, miso paste, kimchi, sauerkraut, and all the other undesirable items that make my little plant based heart smile.  I knew in that moment that I'd be ok, America doesn't like fermented or vegan yet and I'd eat like a queen another day!

Most of the lines to the cash registers were at least 50 people long. This Whole Foods has a pretty organized way of zooming people through the check out, but the lines were daunting and the store was short on staff as it was officially closed for the evening.  Back near the bulk food section, hidden in the back of the store, the juice bar had decided to open its register to help with those inundated at the front. This line was about 20 people long, and much more doable.  Jake was ready to throw in the towel but we persevered.  While we waited near the nuts, seeds, and grains, I flipped through old photos and inspiration hit me.

 

A few years ago, we attended a wedding in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I had been some years before, staying with the same couple I'd be celebrating, when I worked for their company SocialShopper.com. Familiar with the lively Gastown area Jake and I wanted to see their new restaurant scene, before the weekend's festivities began.  My favorite happened to be Chill Winston that was serving up some mean spaghetti squash with what I remember to be a sunflower seed pesto.  I've only ever made pesto with pine nuts and walnuts, and that's what I planned to do last week, but alas Whole Foods was out of both options, and sunflower seeds were the last remaining option that night. So here we have it folks.  

basil, herbs, detox, seasoning, cutting basil

food hacks, grain-free, gluten-free, noodles, spaghetti noodles, kitchen hack, baked squash
Spaghetti Squash with Sunflower Seed Pesto
(serves 4 as main dish, or up to 8 as side dish)

Ingredients:
1 whole spaghetti squash, cutting crosswise into 1" round slices
8 tsp Himalayan crystal salt

Sunflower Seed Pesto
1 cup fresh basil, washed and chopped
2 cups organic kale, washed, stem removed, and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp juice from fresh squeezed lime
1-2 tbsp water

Directions:
Preheat over to 400 degrees F.  Cut ends off squash. Cut squash crosswise in 1" rings. Scoop out seeds and discard. Place squash on baking sheet covered with aluminum or parchment paper and sprinkle each ring with salt on both sides. Let sit 15 minutes. Wipe away salt and bake for 30- 40 minutes (I like my squash to have a few burnt pieces for added taste).  Let cool while making the pesto. 

Place first 4 ingredients into blender or food processor, then pulse until well combined. Add oil and lime juice, and blend on low, scraping down the sides as necessary. If pesto is very chunky, add water slowly teaspoon by teaspoon until it has desired consistency. Season with salt, to taste and serve with spaghetti squash.

For any remaining pesto, save in an airtight container with a teaspoon or more of olive oil drizzled on top to preserve.

*The cut of the squash was inspired by squash guru, Beth, over at http://eatwithinyourmeans.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash/


plant based, vegan, vegetarian, dieting, fat loss, food pressure

Dealing with Social Food Pressure

plant based, vegan, vegetarian, dieting, fat loss, food pressure

"Are you still eating just air for a diet?"

"C'mon, stop being boring, live a little!"

"No, yuck, I don't want to try that cardboard!"

"Man, sucks to be you!"

 

This is just a sample of the phrases directed my way when the topic of food comes up in social environments. Reading them has little impact...but in those moments I have, at times, found myself with a range of feelings from humiliation to dissonance, assurance to affirmation.

The journey of self-discovery has been long and unpredictable, and friends and family have had to get used to many layers of me.  I've realized that I cannot take these statements personal. My choices can be confusing to others, and being steadfast in them will get me through the convoluted questioning and criticism I'll likely always get.

In the Beginning

My parents neither pushed nor restricted my diet, as a child; I was a self-determined and self-professed vegetarian for most of my years. Mom was happy to oblige in the kitchen with home-cooked plant-based meals and, as I can recall, my choice was rarely a subject of discussion. My individualism was tolerated, but I was definitely labeled picky!

Candy, pizza, and fast food, were demonized in my household. However, those foods were in abundance in classrooms, academic meetings, and at all celebrations — my sports teams winning games, birthday parties, and holidays.  Social pressure to engage in the festivities came not only from my peers, but from adults as well; so to protect myself from being ostracized by an entire community I indulged, and also began lying to my parents about the things I consumed when out of the house.

Choices Catch Up

I lived a very disharmonious way for many years: at home, cooking and preparing my own food, and when with others excessive food ordering and substance debauchery.  Being raised by a mother that packs your lunch everyday for school, cooks dinner and tucks you into bed, I felt extreme guilt for my social behaviors.  I continued to lie about my lifestyle when speaking with my family; yet I'd find ways to rationalize the issue, because ultimately I liked feeling accepted by my peers.

I've shared my story many times so I won't get into the details now, but all that dissonance caught up and I knew I had to take steps to overcome it.

Pure Aesthetics

When I entered the world of fitness competitions, my life was lonely and isolating at first. I knew I couldn't eat and live the way my peer group was, if I wanted to see dramatic changes in my body and have a shot at a trophy. So I rarely hung out with friends. I quit my job, because it did not support my healthy choices, and opted for another in sales and marketing. I became a homebody, and very neurotic about cooking my own meals... but boy did I look great!

Many people attacked me, saying I was becoming an extreme dieter, a fitness fanatic, and obsessive about health. I didn't know how to respond, so I often lashed out.  I hung out with more and more people in the fitness community, but I began seeing how out of balance I had become. I had cut so much out of my life, to look my best! Winning competitions was my only goal, and a lot of that came with winning the acceptance of those in the fitness community.

Long-lasting Empowerment

It all came crashing down after back to back health scares. At one time I had to give up the gym and competing entirely, because my gut was so severely damaged.  I lost so much weight, and desperately needed to heal so I hired a team to help get my body back. Through a thyroid and adrenal diet coach, a naturopath, and an integrative medical doctor I learned about the foods, supplements, water, therapies, meditations, affirmations, and mindset I'd need for total body wellness. However, I was back to my old isolation strategy.  It became clear to me that I lacked the skills for communicating my needs and my motivations for change with people around me!

Rather than inviting people into my experience and giving people opportunities to relate to me, I was always on to the next. On to the next set of people that could help me achieve some new goal. Always looking for happiness in circumstances rather than in my core values, and that's probably because those values were not defined well. After getting flip-flopped from here to hell with my health, I have discovered that wellness is a core value of mine, and that has been a huge breakthrough for my power over social pressures!

I'm back to being a picky eater, and that means either preparing most of my meals the way I have to enjoy them for my health or asking for modifications/substitutions at a restaurant so I'm not only satisfied but also supported by their menu. I've spoken to all my friends and family about my health and my dietary needs, and they are on board! People have gone above and beyond to honor my lifestyle at get togethers, when picking restaurant to eat at as a group, and even when buying gifts.

I'm sure my abstinence from drinking or eating something that doesn't serve me well can be annoying at times, but they'll live and so will I. I just try not to take comments personal, and when I do I rely mantras, meditations, and affirmations to restore my peace and regain my clarity.  If you are going through a challenging time with a lifestyle transformation or health overhaul, feel free to shoot me an email at swhite@somafitness.com!

 


how to soak oatmeal for better digestion

Probiotic Overnight Oats

why soak oatmeal

Does your recent blood work show that you are low in iron, zinc, calcium or magnesium?
Perhaps you're not absorbing these minerals because of gut damage or it might just be the vegetables, beans and whole grains in your diet!

Phytic acid, or phytate, is found in all plant seeds and is like a storage bin for phosphorus; which, allows for normal growth and maturity of the seed into a plant as well as photosynthesis and respiration in adult plants. Phytic acid, itself, can bind many minerals making it a very unique substance.  In humans, via plant based consumption, physic acid can be protective against kidney stones and heavy metal toxicity; but, it can be quite damaging to the absorption of  minerals in the gut, zapping the body of important digestive enzymes and nutrients.
If you are a lover of oats, nuts, seeds, and plants, in general, there are a few things you can do to improve digestibility and lessen the effects of phytate's powerful nutrient binding and anti-absorption!
1. Soak in warm water for 12 hours or more
2. Sprout seeds or buy the sprouted versions of seeds, beans, and whole grain based foods ex. Wildwood Sprouted tofu & Ezekiel sprouted grain bread
3. Ferment beans by soaking 24 hours in a warm place, slow cooking, then adding 1 tbsp of a bacterial culture like kefir, lactic acid fermented brine from store bought sauerkraut, or another store bought starter culture to 1 cup of beans and let sit in a warm place for few days. Use these step by step directions from Cultures for Health, for proper food safety!
After developing digestive disorders and bacterial imbalances from many years of acidic (dairy as a youth and whey/chicken bodybuilder diet as an adult), inflammatory and grain heavy diets, I cut all meat, most grains and beans from my diet. It took me nearly a year to heal my gut from severe Ulcerative Colitis, and several years of slowly reintroducing foods back in and repopulating my gut with friendly bacteria, but now I'm able to consume organic fermented tempeh and gluten free soaked overnight oatmeal dishes just fine. Spending a year in and out of hospitals changes you, and I no longer sacrifice my health for highly marketed junk foods/drinks/candy. I will always eat a diet for optimized digestion, so you can rely on my recipes if you are interested in doing the same! Of course I eat out locally and enjoy discovering healthy restaurants when traveling, but I choose to cook on my own and control what I consume 90% of the time.
This recipe is for a better soaked overnight oatmeal, utilizing spring water, probiotic coconut yogurt, and fermented water kefir. If you are a fan of muesli, apple pie, berry pie, or oatmeal cookies, then you will absolutely love this recipe!
 how to soak oatmeal for better digestion

PROBIOTIC OVERNIGHT OATS

Ingredients:
1/3 cup gluten free organic rolled oats ( do not use quick oats)
1/3 cup spring or purified water (do not use tap)
1 heaping tablespoon Anitas Coconut Milk yogurt (or full fat greek yogurt)
2 tablespoons Kevita Lime Mint Coconut Probiotic Drink (can use other water kefir like Tonix)
1 packet organic Stevia (i used Wholesome organics)
1 tbsp raw unsweetened cacao nibs
2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
2 sprouted walnuts, crushed into smaller pieces
6 frozen organic blackberries
2 frozen organic strawberries

Directions:
Heat the water in a small saucepan on medium low heat until a lively simmer occurs, do not boil! Let cool for 1 minute and add to heat safe glass or ceramic bowl with the oats. Let sit on counter for  20-30 min, and then add coconut yogurt and water kefir. Cover with plastic and place in refrigerator overnight for a minimum of 12 hours. In the morning, sprinkle stevia to the probiotic oat mix and stir to combine. Then, top with cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, and crushed walnuts. Place frozen berries in saucepan with 1 tbsp purified water, and 1/2 tsp stevia and heat on low; stirring or agitating pan occasionally, until juices have released and berries soften, about 5 minutes. Place on oats with spoon, one at a time to prevent juice from splashing onto clothes. Enjoy!
Option* If you want more liquid to oats, add a drizzle of unsweetened vanilla almond milk in the morning.

plant based taco, vegan mean, meat alternative, taco tuesday, vegan recipes, vegan meat

Plant Based Ground Meat - use for burritos, tacos, burgers, etc

plant based taco, vegan mean, meat alternative, taco tuesday, vegan recipes, vegan meat
Plant Based Breakfast Burrito

 

 

 

 

Having ulcerative colitis, ibs, acid reflux, low stomach acid, and gastroenteritis, is no vacation to Disneyland!  For years and years I struggled with chronic digestive issues, and at times I felt hopeless.

Through food allergy testing, elimination diets, and a series of visits to the good old GI doc, I had found that a major cause of my distress came from eating meat. That definitely came as a shock to me, and transitioning to a vegetarian diet was challenging. Throughout my competitive career in the National Physique Committee and International Federation of Bodybuilders I grew to love chicken and turkey, and I created recipe on recipe to enjoy. The biggest challenge, however, was not being able to get down in my beloved Taco Tuesday rituals!!

If you're from the West Coast, I'm sure you can attest to the fact that Taco Tuesday is like a weekly holiday! All you can eat tacos, chips and salsa, and that side of guacamole just bring a feeling of joy that is unparalleled! So whats a vegetarian to do when she just wants some dang tacos?!

The flavor in this recipe was inspired by an old favorite packet of taco seasoning you can get at nearly any conventional grocery store, from way back in the day when I didn't know what maltodextrin was, ate white potatoes regularly, had no opinions on fillers like whey and corn starch in my food, and thought that pre-packaged condiments were more convenient than homemade alternatives. So please enjoy this recipe, and the evolution of the healthy, plant based taco!

Ingredients:
makes 1 serving of 2 tacos

2 gluten-free tortillas, (I use Rudi's spinach tortillas)
2 oz avocado, peeled and smashed
2 tbsp kalamata olive tapenade
2 tbsp Hope sriracha hummus
4 large leaves Dino kale, stem removed and chopped
4 stalks asparagus, cut root to tip
For the tempeh
1/2 block organic tempeh, chopped (I use Lightlife)
1 tbsp organic smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder (omit if following low-fodmap diet)
1 tsp garlic powder (omit if following low-fodmap diet)
Himalayan salt and ground peppercorn to taste

Directions:

Cut 1 block tempeh in half, and place one half to the side. Using a chef's knife or Santoku knife, chop one half of the tempeh 14 times vertically and 14 times horizontally. Then, holding knife from bolster to tip, begin mincing the chopped tempeh until it resembles fine crumbles. Alternatively you can use a food processor for this.  Heat a non stick pan over medium heat, and add minced tempeh. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until light golden brown. Lower heat to simmer and add 2 tablespoons purified water, paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic powder (if using), salt and pepper. Continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes or until desired moisture remains. Remove from pan and let cool. Meanwhile, sauté dino kale and asparagus for 7-8 minutes or until tender. It may be necessary to add 1 tbsp of water half way through cooking.  Take a gluten free tortilla and heat over low flame, flipping often, 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 the tempeh mix and arrange in a line, then 1/2 the sautéed kale and asparagus mix, then smear 1 tbsp sriracha hummus, 1 tbsp olive tapenade, and 1 oz smashed avocado. Top with a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy!


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Body shred finale and on to Milwaukee

Youtube new video for my Bodyshred, weight loss and tone up, grand finale: click here

This post is a few days late, but it's important I share it nonetheless. I decided to end my body shred challenge at day 8.  My weight clocked in at 127.8, nearly 5 lbs down from the official start date of the challenge (132 lbs) and close to 9 lbs down from the day after my final birthday celebration on June 20th (136 lbs) -  I had cleaned up my diet a bit and lost most of the inflammation and water retention that came from the few days of festivities, so that 4 lb loss I didn't count.

I know the formulas for weight loss, body shaping, muscle development, dropping subcutaneous water for aesthetic goals, etc., like the back of my hand; but, when I employ the concepts from myself, that doesn't exempt me from the difficulty.  I was reminded of my strengths and weaknesses, of body and mind, while on this challenge. They say it takes a minimum of 3 weeks to make something a habit, and my personal dedication to a disciplined high protein, plant based lifestyle is unwavering.  My excitement for physical activity and discomfort however, not so stellar.

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Egg white tofu scramble with gluten-free toast

I have mastered both bulk and fresh-made food prep, I always carry my Sun Warrior powder during travel both local and long distance, I have fresh produce aplenty in my fridge, and I know every salad bar/healthy restaurant in any town (I use the yelp app as my aid, and I'm writing this post as I sit in a Madison, Wisconsin cafe called Lazy Jane's that has gluten free bread, organic egg whites, seitan and tofu for vegans, and has non-dairy alternative like almond milk for their drinks).

Purified alkaline water is refreshed in my 5 gallon jug each week, and nearly every gas station carries Fiji for when I'm on the road...I very rarely drink tap water (have you seen the LADWP drinking water quality report? If not, click here ) because neither I nor most establishments have sufficient water filters for optimal health.  I use and carry stevia in my purse for my sweetener (my affinity for sweets and desserts will never die, so I either make my own, just say no, or choose to eat sugar-laden conventional treats for those rare days out of the year where socially I'd feel bad for not going with the flow), and I only drink alcohol on very special occasions (and yes, I still love the taste of a good cocktail or glass of wine so self control has its issues along with its rewards).

Each morning I woke, I followed my priming routine (I got that reference from a Tony Robbins interview, and it stuck with me): use bathroom, take weight, gratitude and protection meditation as my water slowly heats for my matcha latte, put on exercise clothes, then check emails.  The next step would be to head down to the gym and get my cardio on, but that probably only happened 3 of the 8 days.  My body became sore and lethargic, I dreaded the sweat that would ruin my hair, I anticipated gym boredom, and I would justify procrastination with all the other things I needed to do; so, I'd end up squeezing cardio in and rushing around before other work obligations.

For the first time in years, I didn't lift weights while being in the gym. For some reason, I only had room in my mind for the cardio, tabata, and/or plyometrics.  I set my goal at 15-20 minutes of high intensity interval training each day, but I also incorporated functional warm ups and active cool downs for a total training time of 35-45 minutes.  Delaying my arrival to the gym usually meant I didn't have time to do anything other than the cardio, and that's a problem for my long term goals.  What I decided to do was get a caffeine-free BCAA pre-workout powder with beta alanine, from MRM, that gives me a little flush.  I add a scoop of Ajipure non-gmo BCAA powder to bring the total intake to around 10 g of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, and I take it right after my matcha.  The mildly uncomfortable tingling it brings, gives me a reminder to head down to the gym asap. Since the challenge, although I'm away from home, I've managed to wake early and successfully workout prior to meal 1, with the help of my Ajipure/MRM blend BCAA, and have plenty of time in my day after. It's been great!!

My flight to Milwaukee was scheduled for July 2nd, and I needed to cook all the vegetables in my fridge on day 8.  I sautéed 3 whole spiralized zucchini with onions, black olives, and coconut oil; 2 packs of asparagus with olive oil and added truffle salt and black peppercorn; and 2 heads of broccoli with organic tofu then added cumin, salt and pepper.

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Spiralized zucchini

 

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My favorite way to eat asparagus!

 

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Airplane food - tofu broccoli

 

 

 

 

I ate everything but one serving of tofu broccoli for my flight on day 9.  My day of travel was great as I enjoyed a Sun Warrior chlorella smoothie prior to leaving my house. Then, I bought a banana at the airport, and noshed on it, my tofu, and a Fiji during the flight.  Once I arrived in Milwaukee, my boyfriend Jake took me to a restaurant called Beans and Barley, where I had a kale coconut smoothie and a roasted vegetable salad. Both were awesome. We then head to Whole Foods and I gathered some groceries for a Nobu inspired, fresh, locally-sourced organic peach ceviche.  For the main course, I made yummy tempeh tacos and used organic corn tortillas as the following morning brought nearly 3 hours of exercise at Milwaukee Power Yoga, then hiit treadmill intervals and a full resistance training routine for my shoulders and rear delts in the gym.


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Body Shred and Tone: Day 2

Youtube video click here

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Day 2 and my weight is down to 130.8, which is 1.2 lbs from where I started yesterday. I despise cardio. It's always been that way. So that will be the most challenging part of this week. Consistency with cardio.

My diet is so enjoyable, and important to note that about two months ago I did a candida diet and was completely sugar and fruit-free, so the one banana a day is heaven!  I like to mix things up on the regular.  Throughout the year I'll bulk to add muscle, eating upwards of 2500-2800 calories per day; i'll cut to get rid of flab; i'll cleanse to reset my body, etc...

The body is highly adaptable, so if your diet isn't changing frequently, your body will stay the same. Think of that concept going both directions.  Dropping calories gradually over a period of time, coupled with exercise will result in fat loss. Raising calories over a period of time, coupled with exercise will result in some sort of gains. If you are lifting heavy and keeping macro nutrient balanced for your goal, you'll gain muscle with very little fat. If you skip the exercise and eat an unbalanced high carb/ high fat diet, you'll more than likely gain fat. Now if you found a comfortable diet, that you just love and lose weight for a period of time but then begin to plateau, think about changing something in your diet!!

My weight will decrease at a steady rate over the next few days, but when it starts to level off I'll drop my carbs a bit. Pretty simple! If you'd like to jump on to my body shred challenge and need more instruction, shoot me an email at swhite@somafitness.com!

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One Week Body Shred and Tone

Youtube video blog click here!

Just because I'm a vegetarian and watch my sugar intake, doesn't mean I don't get a little fluff every now and then! I celebrated my birthday by noshing on artichoke parmesan salads, tempura'ed amazu ponzu tofu, and dry miso flaked avocados at Nobu Malibu... Ok, I had a few serrano spiced acai martinis as well. That was all on Thursday, June 18th, but then Saturday June 20th, I splurged again with a brunch at Cliff's Edge Cafe in Silverlake!  There I had an egg white omelette with morel mushroom cream and goat cheese, truffle fries, and a glass (or two) of prosecco.

body shred, body tone, tone up, fat loss, lose fluff, body blast, soma fitness, summer white, ifbb bikini pro, bikini diet, nutrition, weight loss secrets
Day 1 - 132 lbs

Oh the dining was divine, and I savored each morsel like it was my last, but there's no way I can eat, and drink, like that and not gain a little.  It's mostly water and a little inflammation in my gut, however I don't feel like myself and it's time to clean things up. I like to do these one to two week flushes every now and then, and it never ceases to amaze me how quick I can get relatively shredded by eating a whole, unprocessed, unrefined, low sugar, low sodium, high fiber, alkaline diet.

So I decided to do a video blog to share with the world my one week body shred, and also to hold me accountable.  I will be posting my daily videos on my youtube Soma Fitness channel, and I'd love your support! Besides, I'm practically giving away bikini pro shredding secrets! Click the link here to watch the videos!

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Day 1 - 132 lbs and a little fluffy for my liking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8yMOuBeUF8cMnq9hW8eEzQ