Veggie Fajita’s From the Crockpot!

Our homelife is in a state of transition right now.  My husband, who honestly does most of the cooking, just accepted a new job that requires him to work later than we are used to.  This means I’ve got to get into the kitchen more often.  That’d be all well and good, except I don’t always have the time!  Quite simply there just aren’t always enough minutes in between the kid’s evening activities to COOK a real meal!  But I refuse to give up our family meals and healthy dishes.  So I’ve decided to become better acquainted with our crockpot, which has sat largely unused since we gave up meat.

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Last night I tried veggie fajitas.  I got the idea from a blog called The Pieper Life but the general idea is very simple. Chop up your veggies, add your spices, spray the pot with a little oil and cook on low for 4 hours.  The results were fantastic!  Yes, even my children enjoyed our dinner.  It worked perfectly too as I was able to walk in from one activity, dish out the food to eat up, toss everything in the dishwasher and race off to the next activity.  Plus I have leftovers for lunch later in the week.

So I’m on the hunt for plant-based crockpot recipes!  Anyone have any links to share with me?

 

9 Easy Substitutes That Will Make Your Meals Healthier and/or Plant Strong!

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Easy substitutes that save you money as well as being healthier.

  • For tacos try TVP (textured vegetable protein) or chick peas
  • Switch eggs to ripe mashed banana or applesauce for baked goods
  • In place of lettuce use kale and/or spinach (did you know kale and spinach have more vitamins and protein per calorie than does beef!)
  • If you’re not ready to take the plunge for drinking non-dairy milk try starting with it on cereal and in cooking (it comes in small containers and has a long shelf life)
  • Switch chicken broth to vegetable broth
  • For a healthier pasta dish swap regular pasta for spaghetti squash – Gluten free and super yummy
  • Swap a beef burger or a steak for an extra large portobello mushroom cap
  • Skip the oil/butter/cooking spray on your pans.  In the oven you can use parchment paper, on the stove toss a few mushrooms or vegetable stock in the pan instead.
  • Add beans and/or quinoa as a side dish to really boost that protein intake

Do you have any suggestions for making meals healthier?  Please share them with me in the comments!

No More Dairy Equals No More Pain!

egg and milk choices

Toward the end of last year I was dealing with a problem. I was developing chronic pain in my neck. I woke up daily with what was becoming pretty severe pain running down my neck and into my back. Turning my head was becoming increasingly difficult. I was beginning to dread simple things like backing my van down my driveway. I couldn’t decide what to do about it! Warm compresses helped some, sometimes. Would a better pillow help at all? Did I need a chiropractor or some other kind of doctor? What to do what to do? I procrastinated because I am just not a fan of the doctor’s office! Who is right? Besides, maybe it’s not treatable! You don’t know how many people I know who live with chronic pain every day of their lives. It seems those that do not suffer are few and far between. I figured my day for pain might finally have come. Some days were better than others. I counted my blessings on the good days.

We began our new way of eating in early February. One morning toward the end of the month I woke up and realized I was free of pain. Later in the day it dawned on me…I actually hadn’t experienced any pain at all for several days! Now almost three months later the pain has yet to return!

Since then I’ve read countless articles, blog posts, and websites that proclaim that eliminating dairy can virtually cure you of chronic joint pain and arthritis. A very quick Google search of “dairy and pain” will give you more information than you can process. Simply put, and I’m far from an expert and if I have it wrong I’m SURE someone will correct me, dairy raises the acidic level of your body which can then cause joint inflammation and pain. WHO KNEW! I’ve read articles detailing how children and adults who were absolutely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis were cured when they eliminated all dairy from their diets. Praise God! Now if I’m even slightly tempted to indulge in something containing dairy I just remind myself of the pain I was suffering and all of sudden I’m not so tempted any more.

Do you suffer in pain? What would happen if you eliminated dairy from your diet for 40 days? If anyone takes me up on this challenge I’d love to hear about it.

How did this Veganish thing start anyway?

That’s what everyone keeps asking me. Let me tell you most definitely if you told me not even four months ago that I’d one day be a Vegan I’d have laughed in your face! How ludicrous. Ok, I could just about see being vegetarian but VEGAN? Come on! Give up milk, cheese, and eggs. We NEED those for calcium and protein… right? right? Not to mention I LOVED those foods. Meat I could see as I’ve never been very much of a meat eater. Ask my mother. I was terrified of choking on it as a child so I’d chew it and chew and chew it. Then I’d just stuff it in my cheek like a chipmunk and continue on eating the rest of my dinner. She’d find me hours later chewing again. Gross I know!

This is how it all went down. I watched the documentary Food Inc. on Netflix several months ago. This documentary dives head first into many issues with America’s diet and food system like factory farming. It is a powerful video and got me thinking. But at the time I wasn’t the chef in my household so it didn’t seem my place to ask for such sweeping changes in our diet. So I sort of put it on the back burner.

Then in early February I came across another documentary (I’m a documentary junky can you tell?) titled Fat! Sick! and Nearly Dead! This video went even further into the pitfalls of the American diet as it chronicled the life of Joe Cross. Joe Cross was fat, sick, and nearly dead so he decided to indulge in a 60 day juice fast so that he might cure himself of all sorts of ailments. Joe Cross seemed to remind me of my husband. Though he wasn’t nearly as bad off as Joe Cross, he was on a similar path packing on the pounds year by year. I asked Todd, my husband to watch it with me. The next day he was asking for a Juicer for his upcoming birthday. Before we knew it, a juice for breakfast and another for lunch and the pounds were melting away.

The next thing I did was watch the movie Forks Over Knives (I told you I’m a documentary junkie). This movie REALLY describes the terrible impact of the Standard American Diet (SAD) has on people, our environment, and animals. I shared the facts with Todd who eventually watched the movie himself. It wasn’t long before we both agreed we could not in good conscious consume anything from an animal again. It was for the good of our health, our children’s health, God’s creatures, and the environment.

To just put it all out there, as a Christian who deeply believes God puts different callings into my life, do believe God put me up to this and like other things He has put me up to in my life. I just couldn’t ignore it. But that’s between me and Him.

This isn’t exactly easy to talk about. This is the right choice for our family. I never want to make anyone feel like I’m preaching or that I’m in anyway putting them down. Your choices are none of my business. I do believe what we eat is having a horrible impact on our health and our world but I’m not mad you for making choices that are different from mine.  I truly believe we are all doing the best we can with what we have. I’m mad at the factory farms and the media marketing machine that’s brain washed us into believing myths and outright lies. That’s just my opinion. You are entitled to yours and I welcome you to it. I’ll continue to share with you what I’ve learned via this blog bit by bit over the coming months. Please do watch those movies I linked to, they are all on Netflix, and form your own opinion.

So far my husband has lost at least 40lbs and counting. I have lost 8lbs myself and I don’t need to loose another ounce. We’ve noticed other fantastic health benefits as well that I’ll share another time. I’ll even tell you how I got my kids to switch, though I’m not insanely strict with them for sure. I’ll share our favorite recipes, our favorite cookbooks, our favorite blogs, and other useful tidbits.

Thanks for reading and thank you to those who have already encouraged us along the way.

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One of my favorite recipes from Happy Herbivore, Pineapple Teriyaki Chickpeas. YUM!

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