Good Morning! Breakfast was originally designed to 'break the fast' - 12 hours without food. So as you start your morning, it's best to eat something that's gentle on the stomach. Ideally, starting your morning with a cup of hot water and lemon to cleanse, and then slowly take in your 'spiritual meal', as Ayurveda refers to it.
Last month, my boyfriend and I jumped in the car, en route to Florida to stop in some great spots along the way, visit with friends and family, and of course, to eat good food!
I like to offer my ‘Fave Food Find’ topic because once you know how to master the food label, you can discover, and really appreciate the quality ingredients that are packaged up!
SUPER REBBL HERBS Chai drink. I mean, to find ayurvedic herbs bottled together for an ojas building elixir is pretty amazing, if you ask me!!!! I found this in a juice bar in Santa Monica - The Main Squeeze. If you can get your hands on it, you'll be blessed with goodness!
Lesser Evil Buddha Bowl Foods Himalayan Pink Popcorn is what we eat when watching a movie (finally watching the Harry Potter movies;) Guilt free and mindful munchies in this bag, I tell ya! Found it at Roche Brothers in Dennis, but can also be found at Organic Market of Cape Cod or most likely at Whole Foods!
This Jonesbar was the perfect bar for my bag while driving home from New Jersey with my dad (who also loved it!)! I found these at my most recent restaurant rave, The Local Urban Kitchen, but I'm sure they'll be surfacing at most natural food markets soon, if not already, so keep your eyes peeled! It's much like a larabar, but bigger and bolder, and healthier! For more of my fave bars, check out this post.
So there you have it, you can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to eating mindfully with these wholesome, nourishing, nutritional + tasty snacks!
While homemade dressings are probably the best, a quick and easy substitute is either Amy's / Annie's (T.J.'s version) or Bragg's brand. They make the best products that include the highest grade quality ingredients, and are readily available at any local natural foods store and Whole Foods.
Pour them on salads and grain bowls to make your veggies sing!
Amy's Goddess is my fave ~ tahini creamy lovin at its finest, or the Shitake Sesame or Balsamic ~ YUM!
We've been loving the Bragg's Ginger Sesame on all our greens lately too!
As for breakfast, I am a sucker for this insatiable, gluten-free, decadent granola, Love Crunch. There are so many flavors, but my favorite is the raspberry chocolate combo with some almond milk. OMG. Sometimes we sprinkle a little on our smoothie too! SOOO GOOD! It may not be the healthiest because of its added raw cane sugar, but once a week (or twice) is fine I think! ;)
Or you could be a little healthier with this SuperFood Cereal, and trust all the ingredients in it:
Both are available at Natural Food Marts!
Get on it!
If you haven't had a chance to check out last week's post, you can read about the highlights of my trip to the Azores. If you did read it, you'll know that one of my favorite things about the trip was the food! Duh!
The post written prior to heading to the Azores talked about my newfound place of eating without fear, and how I can now enjoy celebrating food and nourishing my body with an ebb and flow. It's such a liberating place to be, and so you can only imagine just how much fun I had with my new mantra, 'when in Rome'!
The Azores consist of 9 islands off the coast of Portugal. They are known for their agriculture, dairy farming, livestock ranching and fishing, so you can bet that their food is as fresh and yummy as it comes!
I have slowly made my transition back into animal products after being a strict vegan, macrobiotic dieter, easing into fish, eggs, then chicken, meat, and being okay with the occasional sugar and flour products, but dairy was always my biggest place of resistance. I just couldn't bring myself to eat cheese or butter, until very recently. Once I realized a little bit of this and a little bit of that wouldn't hurt me, I softened to the idea of eating dairy again. All in moderation, only from a good source, and of the highest quality! ;)
Well, Azorean cheese and butter is probably the best of the best!!! I ate 'fresh cheese' (a soft blend of cow and goat) with homemade bread at every meal we sat down to, and felt great!
I indulged in sweet pastry treats (quiejadas de leite) that I stumbled upon in every cafe! They include 5 fresh, quality ingredients of flour, eggs, butter, sugar, milk. Nothing processed. So yummy and made with love!
The fish stew from Ondos Do Mar is AMAZING! Straight off the boat daily! Super nourishing and satisfying, made with potatoes and herbs. It doesn't get much better than that!
We had the BEST steak ever one night when our new friends brought us to the local fave spot of Galego in Ponta Delgada! They serve it with a fried egg on top and pimento pepper slices and roasted garlic. Mmmm! They also serve it with hand sliced french fries ~ not fried in nasty oils!
The sweet rice pudding we found in a mom and pops place is a local favorite in Furnas and was to die for! It's made out of milk, butter, sugar, rice, cinnamon and lemon. The chocolate mousse that we found on many dessert menus was also unbelievable! OMG! Made out of sugar, eggs, dark chocolate and butter. I mean...
The special thing about the area of Furnas, is that they are known for their natural hot springs (caldeiras). The restaurants cook their food in the ground in the caldeiras for about 8 hours. Basically like a clambake, but deep in the ground they throw in all sorts of meats and vegetables. It has a semi-sulfuric taste, but worth a try and definitely a local tradition!
There is nothing quite like the homemade bread from this island! The best part is that it's still made fresh daily and delivered to people's homes and hung on their door knobs every morning! I wouldn't be surprised if they still have a milkman making deliveries too! Such sweet european traditions still intact!
The wine is also absolutely perfect! Unfortunately, you can't find Portuguese wine here in the States, so it was such a treat to drink some of the best wine I've ever had! They love their wine and they drink it just as many europeans do ~ on their lunch breaks, and throughout their leisure days spent in good company with good food! I just love how they celebrate life everyday!!!!
We went to a couple tea factories where we sampled some of the best tea I've ever had! No additives, just pure tea leafs that taste so smooth ~ never bitter! The Azores are the home of Europe's oldest tea estate.
Our favorite dining experience was at Silva's Restaurant in Ribeira Grande where we ate limepds (shellfish-barnacles) sauteed grouper, fried mackeral and lots of bread, cheese, wine and puddings! We sat there for the entire lunch rush and had the best time people watching and seeing how everyone comes together to eat platters of fish and vegetables and drinks bottles of wine before heading back to their day. It's amazing.
I should probably mention just how breathtaking the view was at 4 Platanos! We sat there for a couple hours just hanging out drinking wine, eating bread and cheese, and the best chicken wings EVER!
I also made sure to eat their traditional portuguese soup (Caldo Verde) made of chorizo, kale, and potato at a local cafe. It was surprisingly really good!!!
So, when visiting the Azores, be sure to eat what they are known for ~ dairy, livestock, bananas, potatoes, fish galore and sweet treats! I know I did! For more inspiration on cultural cuisines, check out this post.
So, typically I don't eat very much RAW (uncooked) food because it's harder for me to digest, which I learned through my Macrobiotic studies. And, according to my Ayurvedic constitution of Pitta-Vata, I do best on warm, slightly heavy, slightly cooked foods. BUT, there is a time and place for RAW food and it is right now ~ in the heat of summer! During the summer months however, our digestive fire is at it's strongest, and raw foods are cooling to all that internal heat we're experiencing, so it's perfectly appropriate to consume some RAW salads during these months!
I've been super inspired by some creative concoctions of easy peasy salad ideas while eating at my local Sweetgreens here in Boston. I have to add a little of this and say no to a little of that, but I've made some fine substitutions and have been really happy with a little RAW salad in my life!
Take a look:
You can probably guess that I held off on the chicken and the parmesean crisp, but instead, I added sauteed tofu cubes and almond slices and it was TDF (to die for)!! Super easy to re-create at home, right?! (the pesto vinaigrette is a treat that I don't know how to make myself, but olive oil, lemon and salt, work just fine)
I also stumbled upon some prepared salad items at the Chatham Natural Foods Market on Cape Cod, and had to take the pics of these labels to try and concoct at home myself!
As long as you're a garlic lover like me, you will LOVE this!
Who doesn't love a little tabouleh in their life!?
After my salad at Sweetgreens, I wandered through the Boston Copley Farmer's Market and found my new FAVE RAW dessert vendor! Nussli 118 from Cambridge had the most amazing chocolate morsels to satisfy my sweet tooth! A Must try!!!
So there you have it, I'm eating lots of RAW food this summer and loving being inspired by all the creative varieties available! I hope you can get your hands on some yummy clean salads!
When the sweet tooth kicks in, I can always find satisfaction in a healthy alternative! I was in Whole Foods the other day and found myself craving chocolate! Not normally something I crave since I'm usually a cookie, or pie, or cake kind of gal, but every once in awhile I forget just how much I love chocolate! I've mentioned in my Bar Bliss post about this amazing company called, Not Your Sugar Mamas, but I've only tried one of their flavors until the other day. OMG this one hit the spot!!! It's the Chocolate Caramel Combo called, BE RICH with the beautiful golden packaging! The tagline, "See You In Heaven" is on point! Seriously, it's better than my childhood love for Caramello bars, and just so happens to be raw and vegan! Win/Win, I'll say!
Try it and you'll see! It's decadent! And so fun to unwrap!
Probably my all time fave lunch on the go! Thank God for this amazing company that makes healthy macrobiotic vegan prepared foods! I have found them in all the local natural food stores and Whole Foods here in the Massachusetts area. The company is based out of New York, so I'm assuming they're covering most of the northeast! Any and all of their goods are amazing, totally satisfying, and yummy for a meal on the run! Whenever I don't have time to prepare my lunch, these are my go-to's that I can count on for bringing to work! While they may not be gluten free, they are filled with nutrients and love so they are easily assimilated and digested!<3
As much as I love Whole Foods, I don't always love their hot food bar or salad bars, so I choose these instead! You can find them in the refrigerated prepared foods section. Make sure you get these for dessert! ;)
I'm really a cookie monster at heart, so you can imagine just how excited I get when I stumble across this amazing company's creations! I first found them at the Whole Foods in Hingham, but have since found them at Power Yoga Cape Cod and Life Alive in Cambridge as well!
I had a cookie fix as soon as I got out of the grocery store the other day and boy did it hit the spot!!!
Their 'chocolate' bars are better than any 'chocolate' I can remember!
And did I mention that they make a Chocolate Thin Mint Cookie ~ tastes just like the Girl Scouts Thin Mints but dare I say better!!?
What an inspiration and a blessing it is to have this company creating mindful sweets for us all to enjoy! Check out their website to soak it all in. I hope you find a treat for yourself soon! It's DIVINE! For more of my fave food finds, check out this post.
For the love of Mochi!! There are so many ways to eat it and all of them are super satisfying! Mochi is a sweet brown rice that's been steamed and pounded into a block. It's kept in the refrigerated aisle of your natural food store and is a Macrobiotic staple originating from Japan.
Here are my favorite ways to eat it:
As little cubed 'crutons' in soups made by frying it up with a little oil for a few minutes on each side til it puffs up like this:
Or as a savory breakfast eaten as a mochi roll up. I cut thin rectangle slivers and place in a steamer basket inside a cabbage leaf filled with grated carrots, pumpkin seeds and a few drops of tamari. It melts and becomes gooey and cheese like inside!:) *You can basically steam any vegetable with sliced mochi on top to make it like a 'melt'.
Try it and play around with your own concoctions! It's playful, yummy food and comes in lots of different flavors!
One of my all time FAVE raw, vegan desserts! Anytime I have a sweet tooth craving, these are sure to please! You can find them in your local Natural Foods store, or Whole Foods in the refrigerated section! The cheesy, creamy comfort comes from a blend of cashews, coconut butter, and dates. They do add agave, which should only be consumed in small amounts, but this treat isn't too sweet! It's just right!
And who doesn't love some good word of inspiration to eat your way towards?! (I'm surprised I didn't lick those last little crumbs up!)
And as always, I invite you to comment on your FAVE healthy food finds!
Dinner time is also known as the 'gentle meal' in Ayurveda, so getting all your nutrients in one pot, where it can be easily digested, is a no brainer!
Soups can take about 20min. to an hour to cook, depending on whether you're using grains or beans, so while taking the time to cook for yourself is an investment, it is always the best option! When time is of the essence, however, having some ready made, healthy option soups in the cupboard is a great way to plan ahead for when life gets a little cray cray!
Amy's is the BEST BRAND out there! I love all her products! When I go shopping, I always grab one or two soups to keep on hand. They're satisfying, low sodium, and use good quality, organic ingredients! You can find them at natural food markets and Whole Foods!
(Made in Asheville, NC, sold at Common Ground Cafe, Hyannis, MA. Probably my Favorite one!!) There are sooo many food bars out there nowadays because our fast paced society is relying on meal replacements to take on the run, rather than avoiding cooking for ourselves! Luckily, some mindful minds have put together some of the best ingredients around to make this packaged crazed world nutritious, and delicious!
I had gotten away from these packaged little goodies while on a strict Macrobiotic healing diet, but now I enjoy them every once in awhile. They're a fun snack and fit perfectly in your purse when you know you'll be out and about and don't want to wind up hungry! It's best to limit these bad boys to 1/2 x per week though--regardless of the quality, too much packaged goods leads to too much expansion and heat inside the body!
My love for scouting out the tastiest, healthiest options available has me celebrating all my DIVINE FINDS!!! I hope you too can stumble on these little gems soon!
The past few months I've found some really scrumptious, healthy (no sugar, high quality) unique, wrapped up treats and I share them with you! From raw to local and everything in between, I give you:
Hailing from my neighboring island of M.V. (Martha's Vineyard, MA), bought from Earthly Delights, Cape Cod. Try all the different flavors and varieties!
Found at Life Alive in Cambridge, MA.
Thank you God for all these treats! Enjoy the Bliss!
One of my most favorite things to do is...you guessed it! To EAT! Part of the fun is seeking out alternative, health conscious, heart centered spots everywhere I go! Here's a list of places in Boston that make my heart sing!!!!
Red Lentil in Watertown, MA is such a gem!!! It's the perfect place to go for a quality 'foodie' dining experience! Many healthy restaurants are too casual or basic, but this one goes above and beyond!
My two sisters and I went for a Friday Night on the town and had wonderful service, amazing apps, entrees and wine!
We highly recommend the Gobi Manchurian for an appetizer--a super yummy Indian cauliflower dish to share with the table.
Each of us tried something different and all raved about our orders! Beet-Potato Latkes, Butternut Squash Polenta, and the Nirvana Delight! (an ayurvedic based dish) We also had a couple orders from their Specials Board, so I'm sure whatever the daily creation, it is sure to please!
While the desserts looked divine, we opted for Fomu Vegan sundaes in Allston. O.M.G.....total heaven! Indulgence at it's finest, and I don't mind if I do!;)
Please be sure to mark this on your to-do list, you'll be glad you did!! And add to it by checking out other New England Healthy Veg Friendly Finds on my previous New England Road Trip post!! YUM-AZING!!!
I hope you get the chance to eat your way through Boston soon! Happy Eating, and stay tuned for other restaurant recommendations in a a city near you;)!