The Veggie Lifestyle

The bliss that one feels when biting into delicious vegetarian snacks is one that can never be forgotten. The Bliss company, located in Brooklyn, New York, produces healthy and wholesome dried fruit snacks, however the word "dried" does everything but describe the juicy goodness that lies in every bite. As the slogan states they are, "The Moistest Dried Fruit You'll Ever Taste!Lifestyle: photograph " As I sit writing this review, I can't help but pop these little nuggets of natural goodness into my mouth, eating the dried plums than dried figs than dried apricots and repeat. I tested them on my family members and they couldn't believe how delicious they were after being dried, packaged and shipped.

Bliss truly has a way with fruit. Founder Susan Leone has a passion for healthy and tasty snacking that she is dedicated to providing to her customers. The dried fruits are preservative-free, all natural, Non-GMO, Vegan and Kosher! Not to mention each dried fruit has its own health benefits: figs are high in fiber, calcium and iron, plums are high in fiber, Vitamin A and antioxidants, and apricots are high in fiber, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. With only two pure ingredients- fruit and water- and no added sugar these treats are safe for your kids, your family, your friends and yourself! These beautifully packaged pouches are great if you are making gift baskets as well.

Snacks

If you're craving a mid-morning, mid-day or late night, low-cal snack that will give you a boost and satisfy your sweet tooth, purchase your bags of Bliss Fruits.

Food pyramids have been around since the 50′s and 60′s, but since 1916, the U.S. has mapped out Nutrition Guidelines for all to follow.Veggie sample From the basic 5 groups named in 1916 (milk & meat, vegetables & fruits, cereals, fats & fat food, and sugars & sugary foods) to the "Basic Four" in 1956 (milk & milk products, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dried beans & nuts, fruits & vegetables, and grains) to the ultimate "Food Guide Pyramid" established in 1992, the guide to eating in America has been fluctuating and so have Americans' health. These "Guidelines" have been written to help balance our daily food intake with the promise of great health. But what has it really been doing for us? I know what it has been doing for me.

Ever since I had been introduced to the food pyramid in grade school, I thought it was supposed to be my nutrition bible and then I went home for dinner and said "forget this." It felt so out of the ordinary and when I had to sit down to a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and bread two nights a week it felt impossible to follow. It wasn't until high school that I thought I understood the pyramid and was able to flex my diet to fit the mold. I did this for a few years. Eventually, I became a vegetarian and things were forced to change.

Now I was really confused- how could I become a vegetarian and not eat anything out of the meat, poultry OR dairy part of the pyramid? Would my pyramid become unbalanced and collapse? Or was there a way I could still "stay balanced" and eat what I needed daily to support my lifestyle?

What I began to realize is that this pyramid wasn't for me. The idea of following this set serving size lifestyle was not for me and may not be for everyone else either.

Instead of following a graphic, I followed what my body was telling me. Listening to your body can provide you with priceless nutrition advice and the ultimate internal food guide. If I crave certain things I know I must be lacking in another area or if I had a really strenuous workout, I'm going to eat that extra serving of grains and/or protein as long as my body is telling me that's what I need.

The "beloved" USDA

The USDA can create any food guide they want for Americans, but last time I checked, not everyone has the same lifestyle, culture and dietary needs. It's up to us to step back and see which works best. Even mapping out calorie intake depending on age and lifestyle and the differences in food serving sizes left me confused. I needed a mix of guides to follow not just one and I needed one that worked for my body.

I began researching various other "pyramids" and I came up with the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid based off of the diets of the Southern Italians, Cretans and Greeks. One that sounded so perfect for me. I thought: how wonderful it would be to live and eat like my ancestors! Following a pyramid that included daily fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, as well as olive oil and even moderate consumption of wine was extremely enticing! The pyramid included weekly and monthly intakes of meat and poultry, but that had no affect on me. I thought for sure this was the pyramid for me…until I saw the Vegetarian Food Pyramid and the Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid and The Healthy Eating Pyramid. All of which I could relate to and wanted to incorporate in my daily lifestyle. Now I was really confused…

…until I realized that I would follow them all because in following them all I would follow what my body feels like eating on any given day. I would stick to my vegetarian choices, Mediterranean influences, and health-supportive and organic lifestyle because it works for me.

There is nothing wrong with using the pyramids as a reference.Veggie example Feed your body what it needs, though this may change on a daily basis, make sure you're fueling up on "healthy" items and sufficiently hydrating. If you're having trouble with this feel free to contact a health counselor, health professional or for other questions reach out to me! It takes time to listen and figure out what works for you, but when you do- it'll make such a difference in your daily life.

My Vegetable Barley Stew recipe is a fantastic dinner option on a cold, wintery night. Though we in Philadelphia haven't had much of a winter, there have been those nights where I wanted to curl up with a hot bowl of stew and the night finally came for me to do just that.

Each ingredient that I put into this stew from carrots to zucchini were strategically placed into my stew pot to make it colorful, hearty, and delicious of course. The broth is clear in color, but filled with nutrients and you can't go wrong with adding beans for an extra kick of protein and fiber. Make this your own and have fun. Click on the "recipes" tab above to see how you can make La Vegetarian's Vegetable Stew! Stew's the word this week! Enjoy the last few days of winter cuddled up with YOUR bowl of stew. Buon appetito!

My black-eyed pea salsa and polenta recipe is deliciously topped with shallot sour cream. It is a fantastic blend of both cuisines and is a great appetizer for any dinner party. I consider it my Mexican Bruschetta.

Enjoy the crunch of the vegetables, the zing of the dressing and the mild shallot sour cream. This textural paradise will leave your guests impressed and wanting more. So simple. So fun. and So delicious. Buon appetito!

Fennel seeds. Paprika. Ground meat. OK, maybe not real ground meat, but tempeh works. This traditional Italian vegan sausage sandwich is not only a healthy option but it is also a tasty delight! Who could resist the nutty texture of tempeh paired with fried veggies and a toasty bun? It's been what, seven years now since I've eaten an Italian sausage sandwich so I couldn't wait to take a bite!

Warning: tempeh has a very unique taste and texture and even I was afraid of it, but in moderation and use in creative recipes- this protein packed alternative is awesome. What is it exactly? Well, tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into patties. Normally, there are other things added to tempeh, for example, barley, spices, flax, etc. It is made of soy just in case you are allergic or watching your soy intake.

Some people love tempeh because they hate tofu or hate tempeh because they love tofu. They are basically opposites in terms of texture and color, so it is really up to you. If you can, I'd recommend buying both and preparing both using LaVegetariana's recipes and deciding which you like, you may find that you like both!

Cheers to that!


Thinking about going Veg? You should! Here's Why

Several people are skeptical about vegetarian diets. People are unsure about what foods to choose, what they can or cannot consume, and how to maintain optimal health while staying "veg." This uncertainty is understandable considering the choice to become a vegetarian is a huge lifestyle change. Whatever the reason for a person to decide to adopt this new way of eating, there are several benefits to being vegetarian. After reading an informative article on the Vegetarian Times website, these benefits became as prevalent as ever!

Becoming a vegetarian will reduce risks of disease greatly. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans. Joel Fuhrman, MD, and author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, states that vegetarians have a lower mortality rate from cardiovascular disease then non-vegetarians- pending certain dietary practices and genetic factors. Fat and cholesterol that comes from eating meat is not an issue and eating vegetables give you healthy antioxidants and fiber to help ward off disease. Eating veg also lowers your risk for different types of cancers.

A balanced vegetarian diet can also provide you with more energy to pull yourself out of bed and to the gym in the morning. Since vegetarians consume whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, they are getting more complex carbohydrates. These good carbs provide your body with fuel and energy to get you through the day.

The risk of food-borne illness also decreases with a vegetarian diet. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most frequent outbreaks of these illnesses come from meat, poultry, fish and seafood. Most of the toxic chemicals (95% to be exact) from pesticides on foods that Americans consume also come from these offenders according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Along with the benefits of a healthier body, you also increase your lifespan when you go vegetarian. Michael F. Roizen, MD, author of The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat, says that you can add up to 13 healthy years to your life! The article on www.vegetariantimes.com also mentions more reasons to go veg, you'll build stronger bones; reduce the symptoms of menopause, pollution and famine. You can save money and spare animals in the process as well. So if you're still considering going veg, give it a try, your body will thank you!

 

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