Mock Orange Julius – A healthy alternative

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So no one can deny the amazingly satisfying flavor of an Orange Julius. The frothy, creamy, magical combination of orange, vanilla and their very top secret ingredients (rumored to be eggs). However the 270 calories per 16 oz serving NO THANKS.  I decided to tweek a few things here and there and make my very own dairy free and SUGAR FREE version of one of my favorite sweet treats.  The best part about this Mock Orange Julius (besides the flavor)  is the calorie count! One 16oz serving is  about 120 calories! and the good kind at that. 🙂

Mock Orange Julius

Makes about 32 oz 240 calories , 2 Servings, 120 Calories per serving

  • A blender
  • 1 frozen banana (chopped)
  • 1 cup of orange juice or One large peeled,seeded, and sliced orange (frozen)
  • 1 cup of Vanilla Almond Milk

1. chop up your banana in to about 1/2 inch chunks (This makes it easier to blend once frozen) and freeze.

Peel your orange and slice into 1/4 slices. Be sure to cut your orange against the direction of the sections, this makes it easier to seed your orange. After your orange is peeled, sliced and seeded place in freezer and freeze.

* If you are using Orange Juice skip using the whole orange.

( I prep sliced fruit of my choice such a bananas and oranges and store them in freezer bags to use at my convenience. this will lessen the amount of prep time for your smoothies. )

TIP: A friend of mine gave me a tip on freezing fruit which has really helped me out! Place your fruit on a pan and “flash freeze” before placing in freezer bags. This helps prevent getting a big frozen clump of fruit. 

2. Once you have your frozen ingredients ready, combine, bananas, orange(s), 1 cup of almond milk Vanilla, and ice if desired. Blend on high until the consistency is frothy and smooth.

* If you are using orange juice I recommend using ice in your smoothie.

3. Enjoy your incredibly simple and amazing smoothie 🙂

Have a little fun with this. Sometimes I add strawberries, grapes, or mango to mix it up. You can play with the variations and come up with your own fun and tasty version of the Mock Orange Julius 🙂

 

Day Dreamin’

Does it ever seem like there just isn’t enough time in the day? I know it does to me. I have a constant flow of ideas, dreams, and goals going through my head everyday; yet I go to bed every night saying ‘tomorrow I’m going to start working on them.” I lie in bed dreaming about all the things I’m going to accomplish, getting myself excited about all the possibilities. When I wake up in the morning my motivation has dwindled. I wake up early as planned, but hit the snooze for another hour. Then when I get up late I’m mad at myself for the lack of self discipline. All the ideas I had the night before that I was so eager to start on are now causing me stress. I attempt to start on a project,  but my focus is torn away by other things I want / need to do. I bounce from cleaning to project to reading to web surfing to facebook to lessons for home school; never accomplishing anything. This is a daily pattern for me. I have prayed that God would help me in this. Help me to get organized, to stick with something and finish it. Like I said ideas flow from me like a river but my self discipline and ambition resemble a barren desert. I’ve read self help books and I’ve reached out to others for help and advice, all of which have given me tons of ideas of how to remedy this issue; yet those ideas get logged onto the to do tomorrow list.

Put God at the beginning of your day. Pray to him each morning and be faithful in your devotions. If you do this he will ease your mind. You will feel peace rather than chaos, patience rather than stress. If you put God first everything else will fit into your life.

-A dear friend and wise woman

I am going to challenge myself to take each day as it comes.  I am going to take the wonderful advice I have received over the years and put it to action. But most of all I am going to learn to put God first. I have faith that I will conquer this demon once and for all. I’ve decided to make a list of my ideas. Instead of trying to accomplish all of them at once and ending up with a million unfinished projects I will focus on one from the list until it is complete.  One day at a time one thing at a time.

Today’s prayer
Thank you lord for providing so many wonderful opportunities in my life. Thank you for blessing me with wise and caring friends and family. Help me to manage this life you have given me the way you desire. Teach me to have faith in myself and others and more importantly you. I know I am guilty of taking everything into my own hands and putting you on the back burner. My life is chaotic and unmanageable without you. I will take time each morning to bond with you,  to pray and to hear you guide my heart. Teach me to keep my eyes and heart fixed on you and my feet steady. In Jesus name.

How getting healthy made me fall in love with food

It seems like it should be an oxymoron to say my journey to a healthier life has made me fall in love with FOOD. I mean isn’t food the enemy? The calories! The fat! The less food the better! That is how the “old me” would have put it anyway. But really folks food has become my best friend, and I am thinner and healthier than ever. Ask me how. Go ahead ask me!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
― Virginia WoolfA Room of One’s Own

Ok so my journey to a healthier lifestyle has been a long one, and I am nowhere near certified, but over the years I have learned a thing or two about food and how it effects my body. It started about 2 years ago when I decided to do an 8 week fast from all sugar, processed food, bread, and pretty much every food you can think of that doesn’t grow out of the ground. I am not going to lie that fast was AWFUL. But through the 8 weeks of what I would describe as hell, my eyes were opened to how much food really had a hold of me. I mean it was pretty much second nature to stop at the fast food joint for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or all three! I had grown so accustom to having food hot and ready in less than 5 minutes that I had no clue how to prepare 3 meals a day from scratch. It was hard, like running a 5K on your hands kind of hard.

The challenge was learning to cook with things I had never even heard of. Kale, quinoa, chickpeas, Lentils, almond milk, coconut oil, whole wheat flour, just to name a few of the things I had never  tried before. Over time I became more and more fascinated with food. Experimenting with flavors, and textures, trying new recipes, and learning about the amazing things food is capable of doing. Granted my poor husband had to force his way through a few less than appetizing dinners during my experimentation stage. Learning something new always takes a little practice, or in my case a lot of practice.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child

Here I was for all these years with this idea that to be healthy, or skinny I had to avoid food. I had to eat as little as possible and when I did eat it would have to be lettuce and water, or raw vegetables eeeeeewwww. But now I know that it is not the food that is the enemy, it is the over processed imitation of food that we have became so dependent on that is the problem. We have forgotten about the amazing variety of tastes and flavors, aromas and textures out there. We have limited our selves to bleached flour and corn products loaded down with corn syrup and “enriched” with vitamins because they were all stripped away.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
― Hippocrates

I have been reawakened to a new passion for food, I eat and I eat well! It just took a little time to break away from the excuses and just do it. It is not much more expensive, and the time is only an issue if you make it an issue. We choose what we want to spend our money and time on. What is more important than keeping you and your family healthy by putting nothing but the best of the best in your bodies? Rethink your priorities and take a chance. Fall in love with food  and be a healthier you. 🙂

Already dropping inches

Over 4 weeks now and another notch in my belt. I unfortunately dont have a scale so im not sure I’ve lost weight, but I can tell I’ve lost inches. My pants are fitting loose and I had to buy a smaller belt because I got tired of poking new holes in my old one.  Less than 4 weeks to go! I’m not sure I could ever go back to the way I used to eat after this. I dont even want meat most of the time. it can just be tough when I dont feel like cooking. Or when I want a snack, not eating the refined food. But its amazing how I havnt had to count calories or nix carbs. I still eat my favorite foods, pasta, cheese, butter, you know all those “no no” foods and I still lost weight. Just by cutting my sugar intake dramatically, drinking plenty of water and eating whole natural foods minus meat. This it great.

2 weeks and still g0ing….mostly

Two weeks behind me and only 6 more to go. eek! I have to go ahead and start this off by clearing my conscience. I cheated. It wasn’t BAD but I did cheat. A couple times in fact. I am proud to say I still have not eaten any meat, but I caved on the sugar. The first cave was of course my weakness, coffee, my mom innocently bought me a Starbucks Frappuccino without knowing I was trying to fast from refined foods. I wasn’t strong enough to turn it down. The second cave was when I was volunteering at the Good Sheppard, I was making the desert trays (bad idea) and the strawberry shortcake just looked SOOOOOO good, I ate a slice….I am ashamed but I must admit it was really yummy. There, it’s out, I admitted my failure! I will say this though, I am not beating my self up over it. I still have done a pretty darn good job at keeping up with healthy, wholesome foods.

The last two weeks have been such a great learning experience for me. I have tried foods that I never had before. I cant believe I have went all this time without having an acorn squash! I ate one last night and it was amazing and sweet. (If you haven’t noticed already, I have an insatiable sweet tooth.) I love that I have found things other than chocolate and icecream to satisfy my cravings for tasty sweets. I tried fried bananas for the first time, AMAZING. I never would have guessed kale would be sooo yummy. I have acquired a taste for whole wheat pancakes and honey. I learned to make my own pasta sauce and tomato soup for the first time. I really believe this a start to an amazing change in my life. There are so many different foods out there that I always passed by before. I spent more time shopping for junk than in the produce section. Now I find myself eager to try new vegetables and fruits, to experiment with different flavors and textures. I love researching what vitamins are in every food, what role they play in my health. I am excited to see where this takes me in the years to come. If I can learn this much in 2 weeks imagine what 2, 5, even 10 years will bring!

When I started telling others of my vegetarian-organic fast, the number one response that I got out of people was “ Isn’t that expensive?”. The answer is, slightly. Really the cost difference is not much at all. There are some items that are a little more pricey than others, mostly the stuff you probably couldn’t make your self, such as organic peanut butter, whole wheat flour, farm raised dairy and eggs, those items are a bit more pricey. Here is my argument against that however ; If you are going to invest money into anything, what is more valuable than your body?  Why would you put cheap, harmful, empty food into your body to save a buck, but spend that extra cash to get a nice pair of jeans or a new TV? If you want to be around to enjoy life you should probably invest in your health. We spend so much time focusing on what makes us look good and not enough on what makes us feel good. Pretty much anyone would be willing to invest in having younger looking skin, shinier hair, a thinner figure, tanner skin, or nice clothes; But so little of us really consider investing in our bodies health. Eating to prevent illness chronic and acute, taking vitamins in from our food to improve brain function, energy, mood, organ function, and our outward appearance. So is it more expensive to eat healthier? Probably, But it is worth it. You will not regret spending a little extra cash to prolong your life and improve the quality of it. Trust me!

I am happy to see that my motivation to get healthy has started to rub off on others. They have noticed the subtle changes in me over the last 14 days. They are interested to hear about how your body can heal its self from so many issues we face today just by eating better! Not only is this a fun and exciting way to get healthy it is relatively easy! When I explain how its not like any other diet; There is no counting calories, measuring quantity, or buying fancy cereals and eating bland flavorless food it really makes others feel like they could do it.

Its all about eating what God put on this earth for us to eat. Not over processed versions of food, packed with chemicals and artificial flavors. If you look at the label and there is an ingredients list a mile long with all kinds of things you cant even understand, most likely your body wont understand it either.  The best part about it is, if you are a food lover like myself its perfect. I LOVE to eat, and I LOVE food, and guess what I don’t have to count calories and measure out portions because it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to become overweight by eating fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The only things you really do have to pay attention to would be over eating fatty dairy products like cheese and butter. Even then it would be hard to get fat on those items, you would really have to consume a large amount and be extremely inactive.That’s the beauty of this “diet” it is not a crash diet its really a move to change your lifestyle, your eating habits, it is making a deliberate move to better your health.

Meatless nachos, yum

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Its been nearly 2 weeks since I
started this vegetarian fast. Mostly its been pretty easy. Cutting back on refined foods has been a bit of a challenge. Especially the sugar! 
I have seriously been craving some junk food lately. I had to stand in front of the candy bar isle  for a while before deciding it wasn’t worth it. So today I wanted to eat something that was similar to junk food, how about some nachos!

I found some all natural tortilla chips at Sams Club

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I then topped them with mild Cheddar cheese and feta. I popped them in the oven at about 300°. While the cheese was melting  I sauteed together some soft tofu, mashed tomato polenta, and garlic.
Season with a bit of chili, salt, pepper, cumin, and a splash of vinegar.
By the time your done cooking the tofu mix, your cheese should be melted. Evenly top your chips with your tofu mix. Then add your pico de giao.( If you don’t know what pico de giao is its just diced tomatoes, onion, ciliantro, tossed in lime juice.)
I practically licked the plate clean  on this one its so good and filling!

Spiced apple cinnamon oatmeal

This is so yummy guys you have to try it. I spiced up my oatmeal with some tasty goodness. 
First peel and dice an apple of your choice. Toss your diced apple together with a couple table spoons of lemons juice. Add a bit of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well.
Next place your apples in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat, mixing to ensure even cooking. (You can add butter if you’d like)
Cook your oatmeal as directed on the package.  Once oatmeal is cooked completly add your apples to the oatmeal.  Mix in some raisins, add more cinnamon at this point if you’d like.  Sweeten with honey or molasses.  Top off with soy milk/coconut milk / cow milk to make it creamy. 
This is a must try. I had it again last night. I just made a big batch I put in a tub and refrigerated.  I can warm up when I want a filling snack or meal.
Enjoy 🙂

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