Caffeine: From Friend to Foe

Hi Everyone!  I have a special treat for you today: a guest post from my mom!  For those of you who have been around the blog a while, you probably have seen a few of my mom's comments, or heard tales of her amazing Nutritarian cooking.  Unfortunately, she isn't dropping in to share a recipe.  It's even better... she is writing today about how she went from a chronic dieter with an IV of diet cola, to a happy Nutritarian, free of caffeine addiction.  Hope you enjoy!

Caffeine Friend or Foe?

Greetings dear readers of Amy’s Blog!  First of all, I would like to thank each and every one of you for following along on my incredible daughter’s journey through the blogging world.  She is amazing, but I think you already know that.

Amy has asked me to tell my story about caffeine addiction and how I have now come to be caffeine-free.

My story starts with a can.  Yes, a can.  For you see, as a young person I thought coffee was the most revolting thing on the face of the earth.  Of course, in my mind, that was where caffeine came from, coffee – not a can where diet coke or pepsi lived. 

During my young adult life, I was always dieting, or I was pregnant, that was about the gist of it.  Gosh, that makes it sound like I have a million children, but truthfully, there are only three.  My husband and I got married at 19, and I was a mother by 22, so between and after kids this dieting thing has really been my whole life.  I was never hugely overweight, but I was never where I wanted to be, so Weight Watchers became my place of belonging once a week for years and years.  Sometimes I wonder if I just went to meetings to have a break, as I was a stay at home mom.
Me in 2005, on a Caribbean cruise with a bottomless soda package.  The packages cost around $30 back then for a week, and I always got my money's worth.  I have a kitchen drawer full of these cups from the multiple cruises and soda packages I had over the years.  Now, on cruises, I enjoy the free unsweetened iced tea and lemon water, as well as a few fun alcoholic drinks.
During these years, because I was dieting, my best friend became that can of diet pepsi or coke.  I really wasn't a brand snob; it could be whatever was on sale that week at the grocery store.  I put away so many cans and bottles of diet, that I wish I would have bought stock in the companies, as I am sure I single-handedly raised profits by a large margin.
Me again on the same cruise in 2005, soaking up the sun on deck with my best friend, Cindy.  
We are both notoriously clinging tight to our diet cokes!
My best friend, Cindy, and I were equally addicted to this substance, so much so that when all the information came out about its link to cancer, we were so hooked that we would joke that we would just someday be side-by-side having chemo.  It is truly sad what a powerful addiction this caffeine is. While it is not necessarily the caffeine in the diet soda’s that is the cancer causing agent, it is the caffeine that is the addiction element.

As I got older, I learned of all the wonderful things we now had to add to coffee that made it an extremely luscious concoction.  Cream, sugar, flavorings, and chocolate!  It was not revolting as I had remember.  I thought it was wonderful!  I started having flavored coffees along with all of the diet colas I was drinking daily.  It is a wonder I managed to sleep at all!

Then, three years ago, I watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on a whim.  Something about it moved me.  I knew there was a reason I came upon it that day.  I showed it to my husband, who had been suffering with an autoimmune kidney disease for ten years prior to that.  He had been put on all sorts of drugs, naturopathic remedies, and even reflexology, but we never looked that closely into nutrition.  We decided he needed to try juicing.  I knew it would be impossible for him to do this alone, so we were off on this journey together.
Don't we clean up well?  Although a little sun-baked, we are as happy as can be and excited for a formal dinner on our cruise in the Caribbean.  This was just 2 1/2 years after juicing and switching to Eat to Live without any caffeine.  At this point we had both lost a bit of weight and were earning our energy and health back through proper nutrition!
For me, the first day of juicing went okay.... UNTIL the lack of caffeine made me so sick I thought the world had come to an end.  I had a migraine that beat all others I have had in the past (I was a frequent sufferer of migraines).  I felt so ill that I threw up, taking refuge in my bed for the rest of the day.  It was as if I had the flu.  In the end, I was very lucky it seems, as some people have more than a day of this horrible detoxing stage.  The next day I was shaky, but the other symptoms started to subside.  

It was all my withdrawal from caffeine.  I had survived, and after realizing that it is crazy to be drinking something that would cause the body to react in this way when denied it, I gave it all up and never looked back.  At first, I missed the habit of it, but after a while, knowing that I was really taking care of my body for the first time, it has become a distant memory.  I don't want it at all.

After a few days of juicing, my husband and I started to follow Dr. Fuhrman’s eating plan and it wasn't long before my husband’s kidney disease was also a distant memory.  Ten years of his existing on many kinds of horrible medicines was gone just by putting wonderful nutritious whole plant foods into our bodies.
My husband and I visiting Antigua this year (2014).  Without caffeine, I find that I have more energy to go on adventurous cruise excursions and still have energy at the end of the day for the onboard formal dinners and nightly entertainment.  Can you tell we LOVE cruising?!
During these last three years, we learn and grow every day regarding this way of eating.  No more dieting for me; our time is now spent enjoying the health that eating whole foods gives us.  Caffeine, which used to be my best friend, is now the foe, and I celebrate the fact that I did it!  I got off a socially-acceptable addictive drug that held tight to me most of my adult life.  Was it easy?  No!  Was it worth it?  YES!

To anyone wishing to get this addiction out of their life, I wish you luck and love.



Pinterest - September Favorites

I can't believe the weekend went by so quickly!  I started a post about Pinterest on Friday, and was so busy going to community events for my husband's work, going to Seattle for the Mariner's second to last game of the year, and watching football and prepping my food for the week on Sunday, that I never ended up posting it.

I thought instead, I would do a wrap up of my favorite Pins this last month.  If you would like to follow me on Pinterest, find me here.

Check out this delicious summer vegetable harvest soup from my sister-in-law's blog, Rouge Rustique.  This recipe can be converted to Nutritiarian-friendly by water sauteing instead of using oil, and adding whole wheat pasta or beans instead of regular pasta.  I love that her recipe uses green beans.  I have been on a green bean kick lately, since I have been finding green beans for $1.50 per pound at the farmer's market. (source)

espresso holiday glow. Oh my God
I love this color of nail polish.  It is just perfect for fall.  I can picture wearing this while prepping a delicious Nutritarian Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house this year.  I can't wait for some home cooking! (source unknown)

Baked Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Pecan and Cranberry Stuffing | Serious Eats : Recipes
Speaking of Thanksgiving... don't these wild rice stuffed acorn squashes look divine!?  Maybe I can talk my mom into making a few of these for dinner this year. (source)

I love this fall saying.  Too bad I'm not a fan of needlepoint. (source unknown)
Make drawer dividers with covered cereal boxes (",)
I love this drawer organizing hack from I Heart Organizing. (source)

DIY:: Repurpose old candle jars to cute toiletry containers!
I love this repurposing of glass candle jars.  I have kept one so far and have been using it for the cotton rounds I use to put my eye makeup remover.  (source)
 Have a great rest of your Monday!

Health and Happiness,



Savory Smokey Oats - Recipe from "The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook"

Generally, our Sundays during football season are always spent in sweatpants, watching football and our Fantasy Football scores, while Kevin anxiously waits for his homemade pizza, and I spend time prepping meals for myself for the week.  This generally consists of cooking a large pot of grains like brown rice, wheat berries, barley, millet, quinoa, etc.  I also make sure I have enough beans to eat throughout the week, whether this be planning to eat quick-cooking legumes like lentils or black eyed peas, having stocks of canned beans, or cooking a crockpot full of a certain bean.

This Sunday, I made quinoa and cooked a crockpot of garbanzo beans for the week.  The nice thing about these two staples is that I know Kevin will happily eat both of them, with different add-ins than me of course!

I also decided to pre-make a breakfast/any-meal-of-the-day dish from Ann and Jane Esselstyn's new cookbook The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook called Savory Smokey Oats.  I recently got this book on my Kindle after listening to Chef AJ's telecast with the two Esselstyn ladies discussing the recipes featured in the cookbook.

Now, I don't have heart disease, nor do I plan on getting heart disease in the future, but after hearing them discuss some of the delicious recipes, I just couldn't resist!  Plus, my work graciously just sent me a $25 gift card to thank me for my efforts in organizing our office Health Fair last month, so in a way I was able to get the cookbook for free!
So far, I have made it through reading the introduction, breakfasts, lunches, soups, and spreads/toppings.  I still need to make my way through the appetizers/sides, salads, salad dressings, dinners and desserts (I can't wait!).

I have really enjoyed all of the personality and family-feel they have put into the cookbook.  You can really tell that these are the recipes these ladies have in their arsenal of regular meals for their families.  I just hate cookbooks that don't have that practicality and familiarity in them.

I also really like the versatility of all of their recipes, especially the hummus.  They encourage you to use their no-oil, no-tahini hummus in and on anything and everything.  I plan on making some of this hummus this week with my cooked garbanzo beans for the week.

Now on to the Savory Smokey Oats!  This recipe caught my eye because I LOVE oats, but have always associated them with sweeter tastes and breakfast time.  This recipe breaks the oat mold for sure!  This Sunday, I was in the mood for a savory breakfast, but didn't want to spend the time chopping and cooking potatoes and veggies, so I went with the savory oats.

Due to copyright issues, I obviously won't be posting the recipe, but I will provide a link to the recipe and let you know how I tweaked it a bit.

Savory Smokey Oats
Time: 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking
Servings: 4 servings (double recipe)
Authors: Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn
Recipe Link: Google Books

Amy's Notes:
I followed the recipe exactly as directed, but doubled the recipe.  I steamed chopped kale on the side to add at the end of the recipe.  Near the end of cooking, I thought the steel-cut oats seamed a bit soupy, so I added 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (1/4 cup for single batch), and cooked for an additional 5 minutes.  This allowed it to thicken up perfectly and come together like I imagined from the picture.
I served my oats with a bit of black pepper and my favorite Louisiana hot sauce.  With the hot sauce, it became the perfect savory breakfast dish.  The flavors blend together nicely, and I can just imagine that this is going to taste great reheated the next day!
So far, I would give this cookbook a thumbs up, especially when it comes to recipes with no-oil and VERY minimal to no added sodium and sweeteners.  All of the recipes are very approachable and seem to be adaptable to different family tastes.  Even if you don't have heart disease, this cookbook should be on your shelf to help you prevent heart disease in the most delicious way!

If you would like to purchase this cookbook AND support Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen, by clicking this link you will be directed to Amazon and a little bit of the book sale will go to me for advertising.

Health and Happiness,



Vegetable-Packed Tomato Sauce

Once every month or so I like to make spaghetti for me and Kevin.  It is a nice meal that will feed both of us rather than me making two separate dinners, and I can sneak in a bunch of veggies without Kevin knowing the difference!  Another nice thing about spaghetti night in a veggie-meat divided house is that I can make us noodles we both prefer.  I would rather have zucchini noodles, while Kevin likes more traditional pasta.
Since my parents visited the last weekend, my mom gave me a HUGE zucchini from her garden.  What the heck was I going to do with that much zucchini?!  Spaghetti and marinara of course!  When my parents visited, we also went to the cute little Farmer's Market in downtown Puyallup.  One vendor was selling homemade pasta, so I bought Kevin two "nests" of semolina fettuccine and chipotle adobo fettuccine.

Pasta?  CHECK!

Marinara sauce...

Vegetable-Packed Tomato Sauce
Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6 servings
    Vegetables to saute:
        1 small yellow onion, diced (1/2 large onion)
        1 lb fresh tomatoes, diced
        1 carrot, peeled and diced
        1 celery stalk, diced
        1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
        1/4 cup zucchini, diced
        2 to 4 cloves garlic, pressed
    Sauce base and spices:
        1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
        1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes
        1 cup vegetable stock
        1 tsp parsley
        1 tsp oregano
        1 tsp basil
        1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

1.)  Prepare all of the vegetables to saute.  In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute all of the veggies until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes start to breakup, about 10 minutes.

2.)  Add to the saucepan all of the sauce base and spice ingredients.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.

3.)  Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until fragrant and well incorporated.

4.)  With an immersion blender, or in batches with a blender, blend the sauce to the desired consistency.

5.)  Serve hot over your favorite type of noodle (or not noodle).  Store leftovers in a closed container in the fridge for up to a week.  Or freeze in freezer-safe containers for next spaghetti night!

Amy's Notes:
When blending the sauce, you might want to keep it a little chunky, depending on your preferences and how well you cut up your veggies.  Since my husband is a bit anti-veggie, I like to blend it to a nice smooth consistency.

Along with the zucchini noodles, I wanted a bit of substance with some cooked red lentils.  Once cooked, they became a bit like meatballs, which was perfect.

Health and Happiness,



To Pressure Cook or not to Pressure Cook?

First off, I want to thank all of my readers... as well as those people who stop in every now and then to check out a recipe or two (and mom, I bet you look at my site most of all... love you!).  You have all helped me to slowly accumulate a little bit of revenue from advertisements on my blog.  The advertisements are generally located in the panel to the right, as well as at the bottom of every post.  For me, every time someone from my page clicks on one of these links, or if a post gets an excessive amount of traffic regardless of link-clicking, I get a couple of pennies from it.

These pennies have added up to the point where I will be getting a payment within the next month or so.  Of course, I like to dream and think well ahead of what I would like to use this money for.  I am rationalizing that since the money came from the blog, I should invest some of it into supplies for the blog.

My first thought was.... Vitamix!!!  The money could go towards one, but I would still need to invest some of my personal money into it, and with college loans and bills o be paid, we just can't do that right now.  Plus, I have a really nice KitchenAid blender that works great for what I need it for: smoothies, pureed soups, dressings, etc.  So what if it can't heat soups with excessive friction and make perfect almond butter?  (Side note, my parents have Vitamix and when they visited last weekend, I asked my mom to make some almond butter to bring to me.  She is an almond butter angel!)

My second thought was.... perhaps I could use a new camera for the blog.  I always look at other bloggers' pictures and admire their ability to decorate and light things just so.  Over the last year or so, I had been using my iPad camera because my Macbook had been out of commission.  I recently fixed the problem with my laptop, and remembered that I used to take decent pictures with my husband's camera and edit them with Photoshop on my Macbook.  I will probably go back to taking and editing pictures that way rather than spending money on a new camera that I don't need.

My next thought was... cookbooks!!! Tons and tons of cookbooks!  I have had quite a few cookbooks on my Amazon wish-list for a while, so maybe I can get a few of those.  I'll probably get a few cookbooks, but I feel like I want my money to go more towards something that will contribute to new and exciting recipes to share on the blog.  The best I can do with cookbooks is to reference where I got the recipe and show you guys pictures, but seriously, what a tease!

After listening to my first Chef AJ teleconference with Wendy from Healthy Girl's Kitchen last week, I remembered how Chef AJ highly recommends an electric pressure cooker for a plant-based diet.  I did some research and Instant Pot recently came out with their new model called the "Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker".  It seems really safe, contrary to many horror stories you may have heard about pressure cookers.  It also looks like it would be EXTREMELY convenient by cooking soups, stews, dried beans, whole grains, potatoes, and fresh veggies in a matter of minutes.

Another bonus of using a pressure cooker, besides the incredible speed, is that it uses very little energy to run.  I have my BS in Environmental Science, so the environmentalist in me loves that idea.  It is also very efficient in keeping heat from dissipating from the unit, so I won't have a hot kitchen like I do most nights.  Yet another great feature is that, by locking in the steam, and cooking vegetables quick and efficiently, the nutrients remain more available for consumption.  

Win-win-win, right?

This type of pressure cooker also doubles as a slow cooker as needed.  But will that mean I get rid of my "vintage" slow cooker?  Of course not!  I'll keep that to cook some of Kevin's meat dishes in. :)

Here are some of the videos I've been watching to get a better idea of how a pressure cooker would work and what I could make with it:

The Veggie Queen's demonstration

Chef AJ's Red Lentil Chili

Chef AJ's Mushroom Chili

What are your experiences with Pressure Cookers?  Any advice that can help sway my decision?

Health and Happiness,



Oh Pinterest, You Procrastinating Vixen!

I have mentioned before that I LOVE Pinterest... about a million times I'm sure.  I find it a wonderful and "picturesque" way to keep track of recipes and ideas I see around the internet.

I just figured out how to add social media buttons to my blog! (Cue applause!) I'm pretty excited, as I am not especially talented with HTML, yet the buttons appeared and worked within a couple of tries!  Horray!  Now you can connect with Amy's Nutritarian by Facebook, Pinterest (obvs!), Twitter, Instagram, and E-mail with just one click!

Now on to my Pinterest favorite finds of the week:

Fall Signs Free Printables Collage
Oh yes!  It is just about fall!
I can smell it in the air... well almost,
if only this pesky 75+ weather would go away and let autumn commence!
This will be our my first fall since moving to western Washington.
 Let's hope that it lasts a bit longer than the one in Spokane does!
(image source)

Hehe!  Just a bit of healthy-eating humor for the start of your weekend!
(image source unknown)

Have I mentioned lately that I have been LOVING tea!?
I gave up coffee permanently about 6 months ago and haven't missed it much.  .
Now that fall is here, I thought I would be tempted to have a Pumpkin Spiced Latte...
that is until I saw this on Food Babe.
Every now and then I do have a Chai Tea from a coffee stand,
generally with half of the normal flavoring/sweetener,
but my new go-to teas are green, camomile, and white teas.
 have also recently been trying out Oolong and some Riboos teas.  Yum!
(image source)

Preppy style
I love this casual, yet polished look.
The cut on the top and accessories give it such a feminine feel,
while the color combos are perfect for those days that are starting to get chillier.
(image source)

Christmas tree on a boat
I'm not sure why this Christmas tree is on a boat, but it gets me excited to start planning for Christmas!
I already have two knitted presents done for my friends and family who are receiving knitted items.
Two down, only eight more to go!
(image source)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Health and Happiness,



Indian-Spiced Sauteed Vegetables

I hope everyone's week is going well.  I'm excited to bring you a new recipe today.  As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, I have already made this dish twice this week.  Once when my parents visited last weekend, and again on Monday to enjoy with my lunches for the week.

This recipe is VERY versatile!  It will work with just about any veggies you have on hand.  It would even taste great with some cooked potatoes added in.  I have been having it with some cooked basamati brown rice and homemade Indian saag with mung beans, which I made based on Wendy's recipe at Healthy Girl's Kitchen called Vegan Indian Saag (Spinach) Tofu.  Another way I enjoyed it this week was with brown rice, some chickpeas, and topped with some siracha sauce.  Like I said, very versatile!

The point of this recipe for me this week was to have some cooked (mostly green) veggies ready to eat, rather than digging out my pots and pans every evening.  I actually tasted this cold out of the fridge, and it was super yummy!

Indian-Spiced Sauteed Vegetables
Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2-4 servings

    Vegetables: (about 6 cups total)
        1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
        1 large yellow onion, chopped
        1 medium zucchini, chopped
        1 cup mushrooms, sliced
        2 cloves garlic, minced
        1 tsp ginger paste (or 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger)
        1 tsp cumin
        1 tsp coriander
        1/2 tsp turmeric
        1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, more to taste
        1/4 tsp cinnamon
        Fresh herbs

1.)  In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute the garlic and ginger paste with a little water, as needed.  Once fragrant and lightly browned, add in all of the vegetables.
2.)  Water saute the vegetables for 5-8 minutes, until soft and tender.
3.)  Sprinkle on the remaining spices and stir to incorporate.
4.)  Serve hot by itself, on a baked potato, with brown rice, over steamed spinach, with chickpeas, etc.  Or be crazy and eat it cold out of the fridge!

Amy's Notes:

I forgot to mention, fresh herbs mix wonderfully into this dish.  I happened to have fresh basil on hand (thank you mom's garden!), so I roughly chopped up about 1/4 cup and added it to the veggies at the end of cooking.  Other fresh herbs that might go well besides basil are cilantro and mint... separately, of course! ;)

I absolutely love the color that the turmeric colors the veggies.  The spices hold up wonderfully on their own, and I have found that the veggies go well as a side as well as on top of some grains and beans.

This is a great side dish to make if you are having a homemade Indian dish for dinner.  Most main Indian dishes take some time and effort to make, so the fact that this vegetable saute can be chopped and cooked within 15 minutes is important!

Health and Happiness,



Move to Puyallup, WA

Like I mentioned in my "Confessions" post yesterday, Kevin and I moved to Puyallup, WA a little over a month ago.  We had been living in Spokane Valley, WA where I grew up.  This last spring, my husband finished his Masters in Secondary Education and had been looking for a permanent teaching position to start his career.  Little did we know, finding a teaching position as a new graduate without experience was not an easy feat.

July came and he had a few interviews here and there in the "middle-of-nowhere" central Washington, but nothing seemed promising.  Then, Kevin landed an interview with a new type of alternative high school that was opening on the west side of the state.  He was offered a job to start training the very next week!  We were ecstatic that he found something he was familiar with through his student teaching experiences, and for the same pay he would expect as a teacher in a traditional high school.

But what the heck was I going to do in Puyallup?!  As luck would have it, my company has several offices in the region, and the office closest to Puyallup in Tacoma (Fife) was looking for an Office Administrator.  This was a position I could easily move in to from being a Project Coordinator, but would involve less project work and more office responsibilities.  I talked to my supervisor and it was made official... I would be transferring to be able to start at the end of July!

The very next day after Kevin accepted the offer (Thursday), we made the drive across the state to Puyallup to start looking for an apartment that would be between our work locations and in a nice enough area.  On Friday, after a full LONG day of apartment hunting, we settled on a nice place between Puyallup, Summit/Waller, and Frederickson.  We drove back home that same day (Friday), woke the next morning to pack up our Spokane apartment (Saturday), then hauled everything across state on Sunday.

My wonderful WONDERFUL parents helped us the whole way with packing, hauling, and unpacking, as well as a few of Kevin's family meeting us at our new place to unpack.  I left Kevin in Puyallup to start work the next day, and drove back with my parents to Spokane to finish one more week of work in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene offices.  The week was spent working and cleaning the old apartment, along with seeing my adorable nephews who were visiting my parents that weekend.

That Thursday came and I was off to Puyallup to join Kevin and help him finish unpacking everything.  I quite literally told him: "Don't you touch my kitchen!  I get to decide where everything goes!"  Since moving, we have settled into our new place and new jobs.  We have had a wonderful time exploring the new area we live in.

Here are some of our adventures: 

The first weekend we were here, we went on an overnight camping trip near the south end of Mt. Rainier, which is only an hour drive away.  We went on a beautiful (but challenging) hike to see some waterfalls.  This was Kevin and my first time camping together, and I have a feeling it will become a fun summertime hobby for us in the future.

The next weekend we went to the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma.  From there we headed to Sequim to stay with Kevin's family and hike Storm King, which was even harder than the previous weekend's hike!  At the top we had a wonderful view of Lake Crescent!

We went hiking again the next weekend, this time to Mt. St. Helens with Kevin's parents, which was a 2.5 hour drive from where we live.  During the weekend, we got to explore some of Mt. St. Helens' lava caves and canyons.  We felt quite adventurous indeed!

Another weekend we went to a Mariner's game in Seattle.  We were able to take the light rail from Tukwila to downtown Seattle, which was lots of fun.  Unfortunately, they lost that evening, but we did get to enjoy some fireworks set to Seattle Music, which was spectacular.

This last weekend, my parents visited on Friday night.  We had a delicious dinner at home of curried pumpkin soup and Indian spiced sauteed veggies (recipe to come), and went to the Puyallup Farmer's Market in the morning.  After they headed to the rest of their trip in Vancouver, Canada, we met some friends in Auburn for a mini beer festival called Hops and Crops.

I am so delighted to be busy with so many fun things, but I have to keep diligent on making healthy homemade meals.  Tomorrow I will be sharing with you a recipe I have already made twice this last week: Indian-Spiced Sauteed Veggies!

Health and Happiness,



Confessions Before Continuing

Hello to all of my readers!  Are any of you still there?  I realize it has been a long time since my last post (over a month), but a lot of changes have been happening in my life.  Over the last month I have been working through where I want this blog to go and if I even want to continue it.  I realized that what has been keeping me away, besides the hectic-ness of a move across state (more about that in another post), was guilt.

While I love creating recipes and sharing them with you, I feel that I have strayed from the true name of my blog: "Amy's NUTRITARIAN Kitchen".  Some of the recipes I have provided over the last few months or so are indeed vegan and even whole food based, but they miss the mark when it comes to eating for nutrient-density, a.k.a. a Nutritarian lifestyle.  Recipes like this one... and this one...  Not to say they aren't delicious and can be utilized for special occasions when you have reached your optimum weight, but they don't belong on a blog that is centered to help others (and me) focus on increasing their intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, etc.

Not only have the recipes I've been making for the blog not Nutritarian-perfect, my day-to-day eating and lifestyle was beginning to look more like the SAD (Standard American Diet) than a diet consisting of healthful, healing plant foods.  Here are my confessions I wanted to get out in the open so I/we can move past them.  Over the last few months....
  • I went days, weeks even,without having a big salad.
  • I allowed white flour and breads back into my diet.
  • I went for fried foods and oily/fatty dips when eating out at restaurants.
  • I had meat more than occasionally, and some of the worse kinds (deli meats, BBQ'd meats, sausages, fried chicken wings).
  • I indulged on sweets too often, usually eating too much, being unable to stop myself.
  • I spent too many nights on the couch, finding every excuse in the book not to exercise.
  • I allowed myself to have a social routine that involved drinking beer most nights of the week.
  • Too often, I opted to get some vegetarian unhealthy fast foods, rather than making healthy meals at home.

Now that I have all of my confessions out in the open, here is where the blog is headed...

I have spent hours and HOURS over the last 3-4 years researching nutrition and plant-based diets.  I have spent EVEN MORE HOURS in the kitchen making foods to fit what I have learned and what I want for my health.  While I am by no means and expert, I know my way around a Nutritarian diet. 

That being said and going along with my confessions above, I am not a "perfect bill of health".  I have have weight, self-esteem, anxiety, acne, and other minor health problems just like many of you do.  But I believe the important step I am taking now is that I truly want to fix what I can of those things.  

When I first found ETL in January 2011 and followed it to an absolute tee; I had goals to lose weight and nothing else.  What I found happened along with losing weight was a boost in self confidence, a calming of my stress and nerves, an improvement in my athleticism, and a reduction in my acne, among other things.  

Now that I have strayed from ETL over the years, I have found myself falling into un-wellness.  I have gained weight above when I first started ETL, and many of my negative health symptoms have come back.  This time around, losing weight is not my main goal.  My main goal is to gain control over my health for life.

As always, I am delighted to hear from my readers, and if you ever write with questions, I will be happy to give you advice or point you in the right direction of an answer you are looking for.  That being said, I am going to blog honestly about my experiences and successes and missteps.  I am going to share with you my progress as well as inspiration and recipes I find along the way.  I am not and will never be perfect, but I hope you continue to join me on this journey.

Health and Happiness,