The past five days I was in Bogata,Columbia. Bogata the second highest capital in the world, lying at approximately 8,646 feet (2620 meters) above sea level. At higher elevations it is more difficult to get the amount of oxygen from the air that your body has become accustomed to (from living at lower elevations) Less oxygen in the blood means less oxygen getting int your cells , it made me feel dizzy, fatigued and bloated. It took a few days for my body to adjust. Yes, it influenced my mood.. at one point I felt so cranky. I was laying on the bed in my hotel room and didn’t know what to do with myself. It was too early to go to sleep and I was too tired to do anything. Even though I felt heavy headed and I had no energy I decided to go to the gym anyway. I had the feeling that would do me good. When I arrived at the gym I was happy to find a spinning bicycle , riding a bicycle felt like a better option than running. Soon after I started peddling my body warmed up, my mind cleared up; I could think straight again and positive thoughts entered. I felt so good afterwards, the difference was day and night. I felt like myself again, happy and energetic.
Often times we come up with a lot of excuses why we can not go exercise. But has there ever been a time that you feel less good about yourself or less happy when you finish exercising? No right?! Why then not just do it, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Don’t let your mind trick you!
Interestingly enough we seem to take better care of ourselves when we feel good than when we don’t. But don’t we need to take a bit more care of ourselves when we are not feeling great?
Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome”
Vegan Thanks giving recipes:
I was really excited when Slenderbread magazine asked me to develop recipes for a Vegan Thanksgiving. Even though I’m not vegan, the vegan cuisine certainly inspires me to eat cleaner and to be more creative.
Brussels sprouts and quinoa both deserve a spot in the “superfood” category, they are insanely good for us but they need a little help to make my taste buds dance. With only a few ingredients I turned the Brussels sprouts into candy tasting veggies and I cooked the quinoa in fresh carrot juice to give it a festive color and a sweet flavor.
But what to make for the main course? I called my fellow model blogger and vegan friend Emily Nolan (mykindoflife.com)to ask if she could help me with that. She didn’t have to think long, spicy chili; her husbands favorite!
What makes this recipe different than most chili recipes is that the soup includes cacao powder and coffee; most people love both and are somewhat addictive, so how could anyone turn down a bowl.
Sweet Brussel Sprouts (4 servings)
Trim the stem ends and remove the outer layer of the sprout. Rinse the sprouts with water and cut them in half.
Boil an inch water in a pot into which your steamer basket fits. Steam the Brussels sprouts for 10 min.
Heat up a frying pan with 2 tbsp olive oil. When hot transfer Brussels sprouts to frying pan, try to lay the sprouts on the flat side first. Keep an eye on them, they’ll get nice and brown quickly. Turn them over and stir for another minute. When they are almost ready poor in the maple syrup and toss the sprouts until evenly coated.
Place the sprouts on a dish and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on them. Mix in the cranberries and hazelnuts and enjoy this Sweet Brussels Sprouts dish!
Carrot Ginger Quinoa (Serves 4)
Heat up a medium size saucepan, add oil and unions and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes)
Stir in the carrot juice, ginger, and quinoa. Bring to a boil and when it boils let it simmer (reduce heat to medium-low) until all liquid is absorbed (15-20 min).
Let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Spicy Vegetarian Chili
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic (my husband likes mucho garlic) and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, tomato paste and tortillas and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 4 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the coffee (I use decaf if I’m going to be eating this at night) and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, cacao powder, beans and 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. About 10 minutes before the chili is done cooking, stir in the grated cauliflower. Cook the chili for 10 minutes with the cauliflower in it and then remove it from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt. Add some water if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and add scallions and sour cream.
If you’re feeling cheesy, serve it how my husband likes it and add a handful of Daiya cheese to the top of a piping hot soup bowl. Mix the cheese into the bowl until it gets gooey and stringy (this is important because this particular cheese tastes exceptionally good when it’s melted) and serve with a side of homemade cornbread or crunchy tortilla chips.
You can also make this soup into an amazing dip by adding less water and mixing the entire bag of Daiya cheese into the pot of soup to cook down. This makes for a fantastic chili queso recipe.
Emily and I wish you the most tasty and fun Thanksgiving ever!