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August 2012

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Reason #97 why you can’t lose weight…because let’s face it, there are potentially quite a few things contributing to the fact that you can’t lose weight. It’s supposed to be easy, right? Burn more calories than you consume and you “should”, in theory, lose weight. But what if you don’t? Well, there’s a myriad of reasons why this could be happening. Without a full blood panel, it’s impossible for me to tell you exactly why that is, since it could be related to thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, etc.). However, something you may or may not have heard of as being a culprit is called homeostasis.

Human homeostasis is derived from the Greek, homeo or “same”, and stasis or “stable” and means remaining stable or remaining the same. In other words, your body is going to attempt to maintain stability within its internal environment when dealing with external changes. This is most often discussed in terms of survival, whereas the liver, the kidneys and the brain help maintain homeostasis by metabolizing toxic substances, regulating blood water levels and excreting wastes. Another example occurs as our body regulates temperature in an effort to maintain an internal temperature around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. We sweat to cool off when we are hot and we shiver to produce heat when we are cold.

However, homeostasis also plays a role in terms of weight loss. As your body starts to change, it will also try to “hold on” to what it’s known for so long. For example, if you have been 30 lbs. overweight for the last say…10 years and you are beginning to lose that weight, your body will fight to get back to that 30 lb. overweight “place” because that’s what it’s known for so long. This is just one more reason why to truly lose weight and keep it off for good, you have to make lasting lifestyle changes, not temporary fixes. Short-term, lose weight quick diets will only hurt you in the end, messing with your mental state as well as your hormones and metabolism.

We all know that there are a bizillion (yes, a “bizillion”) reasons why it’s difficult to lose weight. However, the more responsible, knowledgable and committed you are as you embark on your weight loss journey, the more successful you will be. There will be roadblocks, obstacles, plateaus and the like, but be aware, be smart and be persistent and you will minimize this homeostasis issue.

Peace, love and responsible weight loss,

Melissa Villamizar, CPT

This recipe is raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan.

Nothing makes me happier than delicious dessert food that I can eat and know I’m also doing something good for my body. And I have to brag for a second, because I didn’t actually make these, my wonderful husband did! The recipe had been laying on the kitchen counter for a while, so knowing that I’ve been wanting to try them he surprised me by making them for me! So thank you Juan and thank you to The Urban Poser for this recipe—it’s delicious!

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: ~12 2″ round cake balls
  • Prep Time: ~10 minutes
  • Cook Time: None, it’s a raw dish
  • Chill Time: ~30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots, peeled (~ ½ pound)
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled and cored
  • 1¼ cup dried shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped raisins
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger (or fresh grated to taste)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 3 Tbsp raw nut butter (almond, pecan, walnut, cashew)
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Raw cocoa nibs for decoration
  • ¼ cup unrefined organic coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey (omit for Vegan option)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 7 Tbsp raw cocoa (+ another ½ Tbsp to make a drizzle)

Preparation

  1. Finely grate carrots and apple by hand or with a food processor. Press out as much juice as possible using a fine sieve or strainer.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients from the first section of ingrdients (except cocoa nibs) to the carrot/apple pulp and mix well.
  3. Roll the dough into balls (~1 Tbsp worth of dough).
  4. Chill cake balls in freezer for ~30 minutes and prepare the chocolate.
  5. Start with room temperature (liquid) coconut oil (it’s liquid point is around 76°F). In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil, vanilla, honey and cocoa. Whisk together until the chocolate is well combined, no lumps. Depending on the size of your cake balls and the amount you end up with in the end, you may need to double the dipping chocolate recipe.
  6. Using a wood skewer or dipping fork, dip the frozen cake balls into the chocolate. Let some of the chocolate drip off  than allow the chocolate to harden while you hold the stick (it will harden pretty fast), sprinkle a few cocoa nibs or nuts on the top of the cake ball before the top hardens. Note: if you don’t  take the time to let some of the chocolate drip off you may not have enough chocolate to finish all the cake balls. They still taste great with a thick coating, but you will have to make extra chocolate sauce. It takes some practice to make your chocolate go far. If practice isn’t your thing just make extra chocolate sauce. Also, to minimize cracking, leave some space at the bottom of the cake ball without chocolate. If a crack does happen, it is easy to cover it up when you drizzle the chocolate over it later.
  7. For the chocolate drizzle, make the same chocolate recipe as above, but add ½-1 Tbsp more of raw cocoa to increase thickness. Using a spoon or a ‘candy making’ squeeze bottle, drizzle the chocolate in thin lines over the cake ball.
  8. For best results, store cake balls in freezer and remove ~5 min prior to serving. They should be fine for up to ~15 min before starting to soften too much. At that point, the coconut oil will become liquid (at around 76 degrees) and the chocolate will begin to melt. I actually stored these in the refrigerator because I preferred them a bit softer. They were a bit messy, but I also really like messes. 🙂
 Thank you again to The Urban Poser for this recipe, I highly recommend it!

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan. Oh and very delicious!

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: ~2-4 servings (depending on whether you’re using it as a main dish or a side dish)
  • Prep Time: ~10 minutes
  • Cook Time: ~30 minutes
  • You could actually cook everything in one skillet if you would like

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cremini mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegan butter, split into two skillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 2½-3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups organic, fresh chopped spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chopped spinach

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. butter in each large skillet over medium heat (2 T total).
  2. Rinse, dry and chop mushrooms and add to the first skillet. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add rice to second skillet and cook, stirring continuously, coating the rice with butter, for 3 minutes.
  4. Add wine to rice and continue stirring until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 1 minute.
  5. Add broth to rice ½ cup at a time, stirring continuously until all the liquid has been absorbed. The mixture should get creamier as you stir.
  6. When rice is cooked al dente, turn off the heat and stir in spinach and combine the two skillets into one.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Risotto is a great source of complex carbohydrates. It will super charge your energy levels and will definitely fill you up! It’s also a great “comfort food” meal if you’re in the mood for something creamy and healthy! This is one of my favorite recipes. Enjoy!

So I totally have to echo Holly’s post. I really love her writing for Live Whole Be Free, we feed off of each other so well! No pun intended!

People always ask me “what I am.” Am I Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Raw, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free? The answer is yes, no, all of those, none of those and a combination. What I “am” doesn’t have a name. I eat clean, that is for certain, which means no (or limited) processed foods. I eat organic so that I can be sure my fuel (food) isn’t laced with chemicals, pesticides and other things that would modify it from its original state. But as far as everything else goes, I eat a rotation diet.

I eat fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, lots of lentils, beans, brown rice, nuts and seeds in order to meet my daily protein, fiber and carbohydrate requirements. Those are everyday staples for me. I eat organic, free-range/cage-free, hormone-free eggs a couple of times a week, not more. I eat wild-caught fish and on extremely rare occasion chicken as long as it’s organic and hormone/antibiotic-free. I try to stay away from corn and soy, but I don’t let it rule my life. I love sushi, so occasionally—I have sushi (enter soy sauce). I then make sure that a week or two goes by before I indulge in any type of soy again.

I try to stay away from gluten as much as possible, but again, I don’t let it rule my life. If I start to feel I’ve been indulging too frequently, I take a month and go entirely gluten-free. It’s like hitting “restart” on your computer.

How did this all start? Well, it didn’t all start at once and it was never planned. It just sort of happened. About a year and a half ago, I gave up red meat. At the time, I had no reason. I just didn’t have a taste for it anymore and I strongly felt that my body was trying to tell me something. It was after that when I started to do my  homework, reading books and watching documentaries. I’m proud of my body for being so smart. Do I think that eating meat is okay? Sure. It’s just not for me at this point in my life. However, I believe it needs to be grass-fed, hormone/antibiotic-free and the animal should be treated humanely.

About six or so months ago, I gave up dairy. I blame the documentaries. But, my stomach has been thanking me ever since. Now it’s very minimal dairy for me. I find that if I eliminate something from my diet entirely for too long, the next time I have it, I get sick. This is what the rotation diet is all about. It keeps things in your system to some extent so that your body doesn’t treat it like a foreign substance the next time you have it. So on rare occasion, I will have a very, very small amount of dairy… for instance, a tiny bit of cheese cooked into some eggs. I was actually quite shocked—growing up on milk I assumed eliminating dairy would be nearly impossible. On the flip side, it was one of the easiest things to eliminate. Again, my body’s pretty smart, it was definitely telling me something!

As far as corn goes—it’s genetically modified, near impossible to digest—I just try to stay away. I increase the amount of raw foods and carbohydrates I consume at least a few weeks prior to a big race/athletic event. Eating raw gives you TONS of energy, but is difficult to maintain.

So there it is, in a nutshell, of how I eat. At least that’s what it looks like today. Six months from now could be completely different. That is part of the joy of constantly learning and evolving as a person! How do you eat? I encourage you to experiment in order to find what works best for your body. Just be sure that whatever you do, you feed your body the nutrients it needs to function optimally!

Peace, love and whole eating,

Melissa

 

I decided to change the way I eat about five months ago and incorporate a mostly plant-based diet. After watching the movie Forks Over Knives (as well as other influential books and movies), I was not only inspired, but also a little shocked to discover such a different point of view when it comes to the “healthy” food I thought I had been eating all these years (i.e. low-fat dairy and lean meats).

Once I realized that I didn’t have to have all of my protein and nutrients come from animal-based products, I began my search for plant-based recipes and foods. It was exciting and fun for the first few months. I felt challenged to create new dishes and staple meals that incorporated all of the nutrients and ingredients needed to be a healthy Vegan.

However, a few weeks ago I hit a food slump. I love food and using fresh, simple ingredients in my cooking, and I realized that I was no longer cooking for love, I was cooking for fuel.

Being 100% Vegan takes a lot of dedication and time, especially if you try to avoid things like soy.  Then there are the really hard-core Vegans that don’t even use honey or oil (with the exception of coconut oil)! Anyway, it was starting to frustrate and exhaust me. The ingredients lists were getting longer and longer just to create a variety of meals that were not only delicious, but that also included the nutritional value I needed.

Then I read Melissa’s bio again and her words really hit home, “…the more “whole” I try to live, the less stressed and more “free” I feel.”

Bingo – that’s it! I’m striving to make good, well-informed decisions every day, starting with what I put into my body to spending time with family and friends, and that is what really matters when all is said and done. For me, that means incorporating a mostly plant-based diet, but also enjoying some of the simple, non-Vegan foods and flavors that I love so much. If and when I do stray from plant-based foods, I make sure that I am still eating responsibly and ethically – a smattering of fresh, creamy goat cheese from my neighborhood farm spread over a piece of warm, crusty whole wheat artisanal bread topped with the sweet, complex flavors of sliced purple, green and red heirloom tomatoes.

Now that’s a compromise I can live whole and be free with.