Ending a chapter in my life//Entering a new one.

Hello and goodbye.

Unfortunately I feel as though I must say good bye to you all on Happier Healthier Jeffie. But…only because I have started a new blog on blogspot! It’s been fun wordpress, but you can be a bit complicated and I love how blogspot is already powered by google. The tone of this blog is pretty much the same but a little more active and alive than this one was. I hope you all can join me here: http://www.jessieadriana.blogspot.com

Love,

Jessica

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Learn to Love Strength Training.

this is my serious face.

As you all know, I’m a girl and I get a little saddened when I see fellow ladies constantly exercising and dieting without seeing any results. Is it because they’re not taking pills, extreme dieting, or not exercising enough? NO. The solution to looking more toned, maintaining a healthy weight, and feeling stronger is developed through strength training. Yes, strength training is an intense activity that ladies tend to avoid but if it were easy wouldn’t we all look like celebrities? (Not that we should strive for that… but you guys know what I mean!) I’m not going to sugar coat this by saying it’s a piece of cake; strength training is something you gotta learn to love! My fascination with strength training did not happen overnight in fact, I’m pretty sure I hated it and didn’t think I could benefit from it. So, I went through a phase of doing yoga every single day. I did get definition, muscle tone in places that I never thought possible, and felt more connected but, I became bored and wanted to try a new challenge. My first encounter with lifting weights started really small and within a few months I constructed a routine for myself. I’m learning that lifting weights as little as twice a week has increased my strength, posture, and confidence tremendously! Oh, ya.

Amazing Benefits from Strength Training:

  • You will increase your metabolic rate. Strength training increases your metabolic rate by increasing the calories you burn through the day.  So, when your body burns calories the more fat you’re going to burn. In other words you shouldn’t deprive yourselves from eating holiday cookies! Hehe 😉
  • You will burn calories at a resting heart rate. A pound of muscle burns about a dozen calories a day while a pound of fat only burns 5 calories. Muscle tissue growth helps you burn more calories and will increase your metabolic rate all day long! So this means you’ll still be burning while you’re: sleeping, watching television, or sitting at your desk.
  • You will develop stronger bones, improve your posture, and prevent injury. Muscle growth plays a huge role in increasing bone density which reduces the risk of osteoporosis which is common in women. It also helps protect your joints from injuries and holds & lifts your body better allowing you to appear taller and feel more confident.

3 Things you won’t get from Pumpin’ Iron:

  • Bulk! Ladies we just don’t have the hormonal makeup for this to be possible! The only way you’ll look like a pile of bulk is if you take steroids… It frustrates me when girls refuse to lift weights for this reason! Though you will gain is strength, lean muscle mass, and stamina; which is awesome!
  • Death Injures! Injuries only occur when you’re posture is improper or if you overwork your muscles.  With that said the burning sensation experience you’ll feel in your muscles won’t injure nor kill you! The muscles are simply producing lactic acid which challenges them and makes them stronger. I don’t know about you but that feeling is like hitting the jackpot!
  • Depression. Strength training is a great way to release stress and anxiety. Just ask anyone else who consistently trains their muscles and as a sufferer of anxiety, I can honestly say my stress has decreased immensely!

I hope this helped clarify any misconception of strength training; just remember that you should never forgo your other workout routines. Cardio is essential for increasing cardiovascular health, increasing energy, and strengthening your lungs. Try adding strength training as a supplement to your usual workout routines and be prepared for some maximum results! Stay tuned for more fitness inspired posts and obviously a recipe 😉

-Jeffie

False Alarms and Sweet & Sour Shrimp

Some people shrug off minor illnesses such as headaches and fevers without the urge of rushing to the computer and clicking WebMD from their favorites. Unless of course… you’re me the Self Proclaimed Worrier or as my mother likes to call me the “hypochondriac.” It’s not so much that I’m afraid of becoming ill, it’s more along the lines of not knowing how or why I got sick that drives me bananas. Let’s rewind to Monday night when, I had been experiencing a really weird pain in my leg which caused me to limp. Tuesday the pain was still there and I could barely walk, and on Wednesday the sharp pain was still there but this time it was only present at night. Needless to say, the whole week went by and my left leg went through a sequence of different pains! It started with my lower back and ended on my knee. I refused to go to see my doctor because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just “overreacting” which, I tend to do. I decided to wait it out and I rarely wait things out! But when Sunday morning came along, I decided to go to the Emergency Room. Which was surprisingly empty! After a million questions they came to the conclusion that it was just a minor muscle injury from wearing heels and standing at work for long periods only exacerbated the pain more. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this but, it all makes sense because the previous Saturday I had been walking for three hours heels. Anyway I spent my Sunday watching movies and wearing an icy-hot pack on my leg; injuries suck, eh?

On a much higher note, my sister and I made pineapple sweet and sour shrimp last night. It was incredible! (if we do say so ourselves)

Sweet and Sour Shrimp (feel free to use tofu, seitan, or any protein you wish)

sweet and sour sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce/tamari
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

Mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Cooking the shrimp:

  • 16 ounces peeled raw shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Heat sesame oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook shrimp until it is pink on both sides. Add sweet and sour mixture into pan with shrimp; allow the sauce to thicken for about 3 minutes. Place shrimp mixture in a bowl.

Putting it altogether:

  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienne cut
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cans of pineapple chunks

Heat safflower oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, ginger, and pineapple to pan; saute for 2 minutes. Add shrimp mixture; heat through and serve over fragrant rice! Perhaps coconut rice? 🙂

Happy First Day of December :)

It’s December and that makes me so happy because I love Christmas.

Could it be the music, the smells, the lights,  or the memories built with family? It’s all of those but I missed one important thing and that would be the cookies. For years my mom and I have been baking cookies for friends & family throughout December. It’s a tradition I look forward to every year and there’s always room for new additions to the cookie family. My vegan cookies have actually maneuvered their way into the tummies of my family and they don’t even know the difference. I don’t like to label my cookies as “vegan” or “healthy” because not everyone is that enthusiastic about those words. In their eyes it’s just a cookie; a very delicious cookie that just so happens to be dairy-free! (or as some might say, “accidentally vegan” )

Yesterday, I decided to try a new recipe; a recipe that’s based on one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe by Dreena Burton.

Double Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

I used cacao powder for these cookies but cocoa will work just fine! This recipe only makes about a dozen medium sized cookies so, feel free to double it up for the holidays!

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cacoa or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 heaping cup of chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F

In a bowl, sift in the flour, cacoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the oil until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the chocolate chips and pecans, and stir through until just well combined. Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little. Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden.

-Jeffie

Lazy Lentils

Today I had a huge hankering for lentil soup from my favorite Turkish restaurant Efe’s. Their lentil soup is thick, creamy, filling, and incredibly comforting! Everything I could ask for on such a gloomy day. So, I peeked into my cabinet and was lucky to find some red lentils. The difference between red lentils and brown is that they break as they cook which provides a mushier consistency. At least that’s how I differentiate the two! Lentils are also packed in protein and are high in fiber which leaves me satisfied.

Lazy Jeffie’s Turkish Lentils

They’re lazy because I literally threw the ingredients together within five minutes. So sometimes being lazy is a good thing, right? 😉

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, and paprika (or to taste!)
  • Pepper to taste

optional: garnish with fresh parsley and serve with warmed pita bread!

Directions:

Place lentils in a colander and rinse. Heat a medium sized pot on medium to high heat. Add 2 tsp of olive oil and stir in onions. Once the onions are translucent stir in the potatoes and spices; place washed lentils and broth into the pot. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes until the lentils are tender. Add pepper and salt to taste. Distribute 1 cup of soup into a blender or food processor and blend. Return blended soup to pot and heat through. Enjoy!

-Jeffie

a recipe for healthier, happier, hair!

My hair will never be naturally straight and my dad even refers to my frequent use of hair appliances as “burning my hair.” The truth is I don’t know where I would be without the help of my little hair rescuers. You know my flat iron and blow dryer; because let’s face it I can’t pull of an afro! Unfortunately the constant use of the two produce damage and with winter around the corner my hair automatically becomes dryer. Quadrupling my chances of getting split ends! But fear not, I’ve developed a fool proof recipe that’ll keep my hair healthier and happier this winter! Hope it helps you guys at home!

Step 1

pre-shampoo treatment:

Nutiva's my oil of choice 😉

I apply coconut oil onto the ends of my hair for optimal strengthening. I normally use about a teaspoon of melted coconut oil which is enough to moisturize my hair without it looking greasy. A little goes a long way… trust me! Then I leave coconut oil in my hair for twenty minutes, then rinse out, and proceed to shampooing. Olive oil also provides the same moisturizing/strengthening benefits but I prefer the smell of coconut in my hair, it reminds me of Piña Coladas in the Caribbean!

Step 2

shampooing:

Rusk's Organic Sensories Heal shampoo has no alcohol which leaves my hair feeling nice & soft.

I don’t know about you but I find my shampoo sessions to be quite relaxing if not therapeutic! My hair is extremely thick so, I only wash it twice a week and use enough shampoo to cover my whole scalp; because I don’t want to remove all the natural oils that keep my hair hydrated. To promote a healthier scalp make sure you massage your scalp thoroughly to reduce dryness and prevent dandruff. Another way prevent dryness is to use shampoos with natural ingredients and are alcohol-free.

Step 3

conditioning:

I love this brand because it smells just like oranges and restores & rebuilds damaged hair 🙂

If you’re like me and regularly blow dry/straighten your hair this last step is essential and it’s to deep condition your hair 1-2 times a week. What I do is apply a deep conditioner by starting with the ends of my hair and ending at my scalp, put a shower cap over my hair, and watch an episode of The Office. Once my program is finished, I rinse out the conditioner thoroughly and proceed to styling!

two of my favorite styling products:

Giovanni's Straightening Elixir works beautifully on thick hair! I use this when I'm blow drying my hair and have faster results. You can find Giovanni products at any Whole Foods Market.

Moroccan Oil is pretty pricey but a little goes along with this stuff! Plus it leaves your hair looking beautifully silky making it a good investment. (plus it smells amazing!! I don't know if you noticed but I like good fruity smelling hair.)

These are steps I’ve been living by for a year now and have not seen one split end since I’ve created this little recipe. Everyone’s hair is different so, I’m sure you follow your own system to achieve healthier hair! What’s your secret? 😉

thank you anonymous admirer

The weirdest/kindest thing happened yesterday. I got a cookbook in the mail and not just any cookbook but one specifically for people who suffer with Crohn’s disease and colitis!

It contains over 200 recipes and has helpful tips on going out to eat, checking food labels (above), and so on. I never ordered this book and there was no return address! Someone was kind enough to anonymously mail me this personal gift and I really appreciate whoever sent it!! 🙂