Have you ever loved an old dog? I've loved a few in my day. They can be so sweet, and caring––though not towards the crazy young dogs :) My old dog, Bertucci will turn 15 this June. He's in better shape than some of my mom's younger dogs, and can easily out run me any day. Bertucci has been in my life since the day he was born. His mother was my Nana's beloved Border Collie, Precious. He's like a wise brother to me. He's my angel.
|Me & Bertucci in December 2013|
|My last selfie with Sisqo, Bertucci's brother. He died November 2012, and had a beautiful life. |
I miss him so much.
|Some of the ODH dogs. This looks like a photo taken at my mom's house!|
If you've been thinking about joining the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint, today is your day! Do it for your health, the animals, the planet, and for an old dog.
If you're already a Blueprint member, please consider donating directly to ODH!
Follow them on Facebook too! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Dog-Haven/84864916613
How do you stop being an emotional eater?
Well, there are a few ways you could do it, but the way that worked best for me was accepting that I am one, and choosing to eat the tastiest, prettiest, healthiest foods that make me happy.
It's difficult to imagine not being an emotional eater. It's a trait that I love within myself. Food lights me up––so much so that I've built a career around it. When I'm sad, frustrated, happy, excited, bored, or confused, food is there.
You know me, I'm not binging on boxes of Wheat Thins, Cheerios, cookies, or ice cream. I did that for most of my life and it caused an unhealthy emotional relationship to food.
I like healthy things that aren't inherently addictive, yet pack amazing flavor and are super satisfying. I love flavors, textures, smells, and the feeling of being nourished by yummy nutrients :)
Being an emotional eater doesn't mean something is wrong with you, as long as you're not causing yourself emotional or physical harm with the food. As a former junk food junkie, I can attest to the ability of healthy food to be as delicious, satiating, and joy inducing as any of the junk I used to eat. I went from devouring a box of Fig Newtons in one sitting to eating a couple of handfuls of dry figs with nuts a day. The latter is very very tasty, and causes me no guilt or physical pain. Its taste makes me happy, the nutrients make my body happy, and I will happily choose the healthier option any day.
I say all of this to introduce you to my new favorite dish, kale puttanesca with creamy vegan polenta. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most comforting, I would give this dish a 10! Oh yes I would. The polenta is creamy and cheesy (thanks to nutritional yeast). The puttanesca, boy oh boy! The puttanesca is salty, savory, herby, and full of texture. It's—of course—tomato heavy, which is perhaps one of the reasons I love it so much. My Nana always made the best rigatoni with turkey bolognese, and it kind of reminds me of that. And did I mention, it's totally healthy!
Even writing about this dish makes me happy!
As Julia Child said, "People who love to eat are always the best people." Amen to that :)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
24-oz can of diced tomatoes (I like the Whole Foods brand Fire Roasted Diced tomatoes)
⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
¼ cup capers
1 cup cooked chickpeas or cannellini beans
1 tsp dry sage
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp chili flakes
5 cups kale, chopped & loosely packed
3 tbsp tarragon, chopped
6 basil leaves, chopped
In a dutch oven, or heavy-bottomed pot, preheat your oil.
Add the garlic, and saute until slightly golden. Add the wine, and simmer for a minute. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, beans, sage, fennel, oregano, thyme, chili flakes, and kale. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let it cook. While the puttanesca cooks, you can work on the polenta. (Ingredients and instructions below.) Once the polenta is finished, add the fresh tarragon and basil to the puttanesca, season to taste, and serve hot.
3 cups water
scant teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup polenta
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
Bring 3 cups of water and sea salt to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir with a wooden spoon or whisk (my choice). If it pops, reduce the heat even more. Keep stirring the polenta until it begins to thicken up, about 20 minutes total. It's okay if you walk away for 30 seconds, but you'll want to keep an eye on it to prevent clumping, sticking, or burning.
When the polenta is the consistency of porridge, add the nutritional yeast and olive oil. Stir for another minute, then remove from heat and season to taste.
Serve the puttanesca over the creamy polenta. Garnish with fresh black pepper, and basil.
Want to improve your digestion? I can help!
I hate to go into details about the digestive issues that I suffered from. And for those of you who suffer from poor digestion and elimination I know I don't have to go into detail. You know what I'm talking about. Improper digestion and elimination can lead to embarrassment, pain, discomfort, depression, fatigue, weakened immune system, and some serious irritability.
From as early as I can remember something was wrong with my stomach. It hurt, it made noises, it cramped, it tossed and turned, it bloated, and what I put in had a hard time coming back out. I went to tons of doctors, and was told I had IBS, hiatal hernia, and weak gut flora. Despite the medications and probiotics, nothing seemed to work!
Then everything changed! I stopped eating dairy.
I became vegan about 3 years ago. I did it strictly for its ethical reasons. I had resigned myself to a life of being ruled by my gut. I didn't think there was anything else I could do to win the belly war.
When I became vegan the last animal products I had to give up were yogurt and the occasional slice of cheese pizza. I had started eating yogurt a few years earlier in my effort to fix my stomach. Everyone, especially in the media and in commercials, tells you that yogurt is the cure to digestive problems. Well, not mine. Just 2 weeks after becoming vegan my digestive and elimination problems had disappeared. I was shocked! Could this really be happening? Is this still really happening, even 3 years later? Yes, yes, yes!!
It feels so good to feel so good!
So, my first tip for improving digestion would be go vegan!
My other tips for improving & supporting digestion...
"Their suffering knows no borders and neither does our compassion. It’s as simple as that."––Christi Payne, co-founder of Compassion Without Borders
With no veterinary assistance available to treat these animals who clearly, like every living creature, deserved to live a life without suffering and fear, Christi and and her husband Juan decided to make a difference. In 2001 Compassion Without Borders (CWOB) was born.
Their mission statement? CWOB "provides a brighter future for animals in need on both sides of the border."
In Mexico CWOB provides dog rescue programs, free veterinary clinics (which include vaccinations and free spay & neuter), humane euthanasia, veterinary training, and Latino education outreach to "raise the status of companion animals" even in the poorest communities. They do similar programs with Latino communities in the US, which they say don't get enough meaningful attention from animal welfare services.
What CWOB does is so important to me. Having grown up with a lot of dogs (my mom has 6 now, and often babysits others), I feel a strong connection to them, as many of us do, but I also think being so close to my dogs has made me more compassionate towards all animals. None should have to suffer, and CWOB has done an amazing job at helping their communities give dogs better lives.
Today, Friday, I am donating 20% of net proceeds from the sales of the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint to CWOB. By signing up today, you can show your compassion for animals by adopting a vegan lifestyle and by contributing to this wonderful organization.
If you've been considering going vegan, and trying on a compassionate lifestyle, check out the Vegan Blueprint. I provide you with recipes, meal plans, cooking videos, audio lessons, and lots of support, so that this lifestyle/diet is easy, delicious, and fun.
If you're already vegan, but would like to recharge your diet, and make eating whole plant-based foods a priority, the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint can help you do just that!
Click here to read about their volunteer opportunities in California.
And don't miss their blog!