The Scientific 7 Minute Workout

This column appears in the May 12 issue of The New York Times Magazine.
"Exercise science is a fine and intellectually fascinating thing. But sometimes you just want someone to lay out guidelines for how to put the newest fitness research into practice.
An article in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal does just that. In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.
“There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,” says Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and co-author of the new article.
Work by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and other institutions shows, for instance, that even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding.
Interval training, though, requires intervals; the extremely intense activity must be intermingled with brief periods of recovery. In the program outlined by Mr. Jordan and his colleagues, this recovery is provided in part by a 10-second rest between exercises. But even more, he says, it’s accomplished by alternating an exercise that emphasizes the large muscles in the upper body with those in the lower body. During the intermezzo, the unexercised muscles have a moment to, metaphorically, catch their breath, which makes the order of the exercises important.
The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done."

Article Here. 

Apple Butternut Squash Fall Soup!

I've posted this before in the fall... but it's that time again! Enjoy :)

Eggplant Bake

Below is another recipe from It is SO delicious, even when made vegan. I bought three eggplants and three jars of low salt, fat free pasta sauce and made this three days in a row for dinner :)

You Will Need Just Three Ingredients:

 marinara sauce
vegan cheese (optional!)

*Preheat oven to 400*

Step 1:
Slice eggplant into round pieces.
Step 2: 
Layer eggplant in a round pie pan. You can use any shape pan, just make sure the bottom is covered with the eggplant slices.

Step 3:
Shred cheese and sprinkle above eggplant. (I didn't want mine to be very cheesy so I only added about 1.5 oz for the whole recipe- about half of the block pictures). If you don't even want to add vegan cheese, just layer some onion, basil, spinach etc.

 Step 4:
Repeat step 1, followed by step 2. This is the point where you can add any extra ingredients like greens, spices, onions, etc. They aren't necessary.

Step 5:
The top layer should be eggplant. Pour a whole jar (4 cups- or as much that will fit) of tomato sauce over top.  Shift the pan around  to let some of the sauce sink to the bottom. 
Step 6:
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. 

Eggplant season is here! How do you like to cook this funny fruit?

Two Ingredient Cookies

This recipe is from my other blog, check it out!
+ I added chocolate chips to  the one above!!
Step 1:
 Preheat oven to 400*
Step 2:
Blend 1 cup dry oats in a blender to make oat flour.
Step 3:
Mash two ripe bananas and add to blender with oat powder. Blend (or stir in mixer or by hand) until batter forms.
Step 4:
At this point, stir in chocolate chips, nuts or raisins!!
Scoop out table spoon sized cookies onto a baking sheet. Should make 6 large or 10 smaller.
Step 5:
Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browning on the outside. Let them sit for 10 minutes before eating.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

I found this recipe today on pinterest and couldn't wait to try! Original recipe here.  I only made a few minor changes to make it vegan :)

You Will Need:
  • 1 whole head cauliflower
  • 2-3 tbs tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • taco seasoning
  • green onions (optional, garnish)
To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 400*
  2. Cut bottom part of cauliflower (with leaves and stem) off. Cauliflower should sit firmly without wobbling.
  3. In a separate bowl mix tahini, lemon juice and taco seasoning.
  4. Either dip the cauliflower head in the mix or spread it over evenly with  spoon (I did the latter).
  5. Top with green onions.
  6. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes. I roasted mine for about 36 minutes. 
  7. Remove from oven, let cool then slice! I dipped mine in left over taco mix sauce. 


Raw Vegan Butterbeer

Hello Harry Potter fans!! I'm new to your brood.  I watched all 8 movies in an (embarrassingly) short period of time and immediately became hooked. How can I bring a little bit of the magic world into my own healthy muggle world? 

Clearly through Butterbeer. Creamy, frothy, comforting and refreshing Butterbeer.  The recipe is easy and simple. It tastes like "less sickly butterscotch" just as J.K. Rowling described. Without further ado... wands up and blenders on!

You will need:
  • 6-8 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 cups sparkling water (mineral or soda, etc). 
To Make:
1. Blend dates and water until smooth.

2. Pour sparkling water into a large (huge) beer mug or glass.

3. Pour the date puree over top. Stir gently once or twice. 

4. Enjoy!

No magic involved...except for the magical taste, that is :)

Farmer's Veggie Soup

In a large crockpot simmer (slow cook):
1 head celery, chopped
3 cups shredded kale
1 can whole stewed tomatoes (or 6 fresh roma tomatoes)
2 large russet potatoes, chopped
2 bags baby carrots
1 white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 handfuls basil, julienned 
1 tablespoon organic veggie broth
water to the brim

Simmer for 8-12 hours. Keep in fridge for 1 week.

Youth Juice

My breakfast 'go to' lately, in light of my antioxidants for anti-aging kick!

1 cup wild blueberries or 1 cup mixed berries (always organic!)
1-2 cups orange juice
1-2 cups water
1 tbs flax meal
1-2 tbs raw, plant based, organic vanilla protein powder

The taste is a dream come true!!

Why I Thought A Plant Based Diet Wasn't For Me and How I Perfected My Digestion


For a while I was under the impression that my body was rejecting a plant based diet...I am so relieved that I have found the simple and natural solution to my digestive issues!!

Here's my story:
When I provide science based health information on this blog, it's usually because I've read an interesting article that resonates with something I've experienced in my own health journey. This time,the opposite has happened. I've had weird digestive issues that occur only on work day mornings, when I get up early, walk a mile, then sip on a big smoothie. I eat totally clean, eat moderate fats to aid absorption but for some reason, I didn't feel like my body was absorbing all of the nutrients it should. After reading a chapter about chewing in the book Gulp!, by Mary Roach, I decided to give it a try. I can't even tell you what a huge difference it's made. It literally took my IBS/leaky gut and turned it into normal, perfect digestion (to be clear and...blunt, we're talking brown, solid and easy with minimal "residue"...). 
Veggies are pretty hard to digest. When you eat large portions like I do the stomach and digestive system has a lot of work to do. Give it a head start by breaking them down into a smoothie like consistency with your teeth. Chew between 30-50 times... this allows to digestive system to focus more on absorption rather than emulsion. If the stomach is faced with the task of breaking down a pound of veggies and it doesn't have the resources (we only produce so much digestive enzymes and acids), it will literally dump the whole piece of food into the intestines. With a whole food, nutrients are much harder to absorb. Because of this it runs right through the system, cellulose (plant fiber) in tact, and comes out a lot looking a lot like it did when it came in. This causes bloating, gas, diarrhea and sometimes even constipation.
I never really had this problem with proteins and fats or fruit/veggie juices and smoothies. In fact, these always left my stomach flat and my digestion flawless. My salads and plant based meals mostly consist of carbohydrates and starches and this is where I was having issues. After two days of intense mastication and oral liquefaction of my food I was shocked by my amazing digestion. So shocked, that I had to Google this possible connection. Low and behold, I found thousands of results and one Q&A with Dr. Emily Kayne.
Chewing can put some stress on your jaw but it takes a ton of stress off of your digestive track. If your muscles are sore, throw some soups and smoothies into the mix.
The benefits of chewing your food far exceed digestion and include overall well-being. It allows us to eat more slowly, savor the meal and enjoy intricate flavors we would otherwise completely ignore. Chewing is a reminder to slow down and enjoy life and the great pleasure of eating. Thorough chewing is by far the best way to practice "stopping when you're full". Just try it. You'll be packing away leftovers like you've never done before.