Monday, February 13, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What I Eat In A Week: Winter Edition



The number one question I get asked is, "What do I eat?"  I realize that most people are just looking for inspiration to get them started on their vegan way or ways to spice up what they are already doing.  So I’m going to give you a glimpse of what I eat in a typical week.   But first, a little background…

I tend to change what I eat through the various seasons.  It's currently winter and I'm eating warming, comfort foods.  These meals are heavier then what I would eat in the summer. 

I also tend to eat the same things daily for breakfast and lunch throughout the work week.  It does not get boring and I actually find myself craving certain meals at specific times, so give it a try.  Keeping it simple is key to keeping it healthy.

My cooking technique of choice at the moment is pressure cooking with the help of the Instant Pot.  In fact I use it so much, that I bought two and I’m only cooking for two!  I commonly find myself steaming vegetables in one and cooking rice in the other in order to get dinner on the table quickly.

While I gave some measurements to give perspective, I don't measure anything.   

One last thing, what I don’t have listed is what I typical drink and that is about 8 to 10 cups of water daily.

Ok, now I’m ready…


This is what I eat Monday - Friday up until dinner:


Breakfast: 
I know it sounds weird to have soup for breakfast, but I tend to crave savory things in the morning.  Having a sugary breakfast or breakfast specific foods is an American thing and not something commonly shared around the world.  Look to other cultures for new breakfast ideas.


Mid-Morning Snack
  • Hoff’s Apple Sauce (recipe coming soon)

Lunch
I like to make a big batch of soup on Sundays, using, you guessed it, the Instant Pot!  Check out my Healthy Hoff website for more soup recipes.

Mid-Afternoon Snack
  • Baked New Jersey or Japanese Sweet Potato
If you haven’t had one of these, seek them out!  You’ll never want a regular sweet potato again.  While you can steam or pressure cook them, it’s best to bake to release the potatoes natural sugars.

Now dinner, I don’t like to have the same thing every day – it may work for some people, but not me.  However, that doesn’t mean I want to spend a lot of time making it, so all of these meals come together in under 30 minutes.

Monday Dinner
  • 1 handful shredded Romaine topped with Chick Peas and dressed with w/Hoff's 1 to 5 Dressing
  • Spaghetti
  • Green Beans
A handful of lettuce is standard restaurant measurement for a side salad – I know this because, I went to culinary school.  :)

After Dinner Snack

Tuesday Dinner
After Dinner Snack

Wednesday Dinner
After Dinner Snack
  • Chai Tea

Thursday Dinner
After Dinner Snack

Friday Dinner
After Dinner Snack


Now on the weekends, I mix things up at little bit:


Saturday Breakfast

Saturday Lunch
  • Spaghetti leftovers

Saturday Dinner

Sunday Breakfast
Sunday Lunch
  • Fried Rice leftovers

Sunday Dinner


That's what I ate in one week!  I hope it helped or inspired your vegan journey and remember the key to keeping it healthy, is keeping it simple.

Beating MS!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hoff's Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup

Hoff's Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup 
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free


Ingredients:
  • 4 cups Veggie Broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper (jarred)
  • 1 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in a Vitamix & blend on high for 6 minutes
  2. Serve!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I'm Having An Attack Right Now - What Can I Do?

I recently found myself in this very predicament.  After seven years of remission, I suddenly found myself in a full-blown attack.  I didn't want to be a passive victim in this attack, I wanted to fight!  But, I couldn't find any resources offering advice for what to do during an active attack.

So, I began by digging into all the research that I had done in the past.  I started actively engaging the various tools in my arsenal that I have collected over the years.

I have compiled a list of all the things I could think of to do while recovering.  I did all of these things daily.  Yes, it's a long list and a lot to do, but as far as I was concerned, my job at that moment was recovery and that meant putting the work in to get there.  

Meditation

I meditated daily for 10 - 30 minutes.  I utilized various apps, hit YouTube or simply listened to Zen-like music.  I also practiced something that I like to call "active listening."  This is where I go outside and just listen to the various sounds around me - the birds, leaves rustling, car doors slamming, etc. - by challenging myself to hear all the different sounds, it keeps my mind from wondering.

Visualization

For a few minutes, I would visualize doing all the things that my body couldn't do - walk, run, drive, etc. Picturing clear, vivid images is a great way to communicate to your brain and is a technique used by athletes. Research has found that when your mind enters the state of deep relaxation brought on by visualization and other mind-body practices, it becomes primed for suggestion. This works because the brain can't tell the difference between a real and imagined experience, so when you visualize whatever it is that you want to do, to the body feels that it is really happening.

Mantra

Throughout the day, I would repeat mantras, quietly to myself - some that I have made up, others that I have borrowed.  A mantra is a statement or slogan repeated frequently - typically, it is used in meditation.  A few mantras that resonate with me include, "My cells are healing my body, every second of every day" and "All is well, all has always been well, all will always be well" and "This too shall pass."

Brain Training

"Training your brain will increase the brain growth hormones your brain needs to repair damage, build new connections and grow more brain cells."  - The Wahls Protocol, Terry Wahls, M.D.

I trained my brain with the help of Lumosity; an online program consisting of games geared towards improving memory, attention, flexibility, speed of processing, and problem solving.  Scientists and game designers have combined talents to turn common cognitive and neuropsychological research tasks into fun, exciting games.  Its fun, its easy and only takes a few minutes each day and if I miss a day, I feel like I cheated my brain.

MS Library

Throughout the years, I have been collecting various books on MS or health & wellness to create my own personal MS reference library.  While I may reference them from time to time, I took this time to re-read many of them to dig out little nuggets of information I may have missed or forgotten.  Some of the books in my library include: Recovering from Multiple Sclerosis: Real Life Stories of Hope and Inspiration, The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book and The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine.


Walking

This particular attack severely limited my ability to walk, so once I was able to move around safely, I started walking for my daily exercise - just a few minutes at first until I was able to walk at least 30 minutes a day.  I employed my treadmill to do this, because I wasn't sure what my endurance was going to allow me to do.  I didn't want to get caught going one way and be unable to get back.  Now, that's not to say that the treadmill didn't scare me - it did!  But I took all the safety precautions and only walked when someone was home.

Sleep

I made sleep a priority.  I aimed for no less than 8 hours a night and took naps during the day when needed.  Since we do the majority of our healing while we sleep, I wanted to give my body all the time it needed to get things done.

Nutrient Dense Foods

I made sure to eat nutrient dense, whole foods on a daily basis.  This meant a lot of greens, seaweed, starches such as potatoes and rice as well as fresh vegetables and fruit.  I wanted to give my body the energy and the building blocks it needed in order to rebuild itself.  After all, we are what we eat, so that meant no processed foods - just optimum nutrition sources.

Healthy Fats

As a McDougaller I typically keep my fat intake low, even healthy fats.  But, since the myelin sheath, the substance that coats the nerves is comprised of fatty tissue; I increased my fat intake daily through either flax seed, Chia seeds, Brazil nuts (selenium) or avocados.


Next Steps...

Fast forward, as my attack was winding down, I still had some residual symptoms.  I sensed that my improvement had stalled.  I realized that I needed to build new neural pathways to compensate for the ones that were damaged from the attack - but how?

Learning or doing something new, that's how.  We create new neural pathways every time we experience something new and different.  The more we do and experience, the more we learn and grow.  You gotta love the brain!

So, I took up kickboxing, started attending yoga classes and enrolled in online courses on topics that interested me such as essential oils.  I also tried things for the first time, like walking my first 5k or going somewhere new like a local nature reserve.

Little by little, I got back to my pre-attack self!

Beating MS!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Don't Allow MS To Consume You...

I'd be lying if I said that I don't think about my MS every day.  When you have an incurable, unpredictable illness, it's hard not to.  But the key to Beating MS or any illness is not to allow it to consume your life.

When I was first diagnosed, I became obsessed with looking for a cure and learning as much about this disease as I could.  The researcher in me kicked in and I scoured the Internet, books, anything I could get my hands on.  But, after about six months of relentless digging, I completely burned out.  I didn't want to hear the word MS, let alone learn anymore about it.  I didn't even want to talk about my own MS.  I just shut down and ignored the whole situation.  A much-needed break at the time, but not a practice that was going to yield long-term success.

Eventually, my curiosity started to get the better of me and I once again felt the desire to expand my MS knowledge.  This time however, I took a step back and didn't allow my curiously to become an obsession.  Because I knew if I went down the same path as when I was diagnosed, that I would end up the same burned out, disinterested, yet still sick person as before.  But, I also knew that if I didn't keep learning and trying new things, that I would end up in a rut that would lead to stagnation in my recovery and overall wellness.

Now, I place limits on the amount of time & effort that I put into MS research and I make time for non-MS things - going to the movies, shopping, hanging out with friends & family, etc.  I work at having a life aside from being sick.  MS is only one part of what makes up who I am and I work to make sure it remains a very small part.

Beating MS!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hoff's Tofu Scramble II

Hoff's Tofu Scramble II
Yields: 4 servings 
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free


Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. block firm Tofu
  • 1 small Sweet/Red Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Red Pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cartoon Mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sliced Black Olives (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 cartoon fresh Spinach
  • 4 oz. Smoked Tempeh (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. Braggs
  • 1 tbsp. Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Salt

Directions:
  1. In a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, sautee Onions, Red Peppers & Mushrooms in Braggs until browned & softened
  2. Add Black Olives, Spinach, Tempeh & Seasonings
  3. Crumble in Tofu, add Mustard
  4. Toss everything together until thoroughly combined and heated through

Hoff Thoughts: The Black Salt will yield an "eggy" taste.  The Mustard will give the Tofu that yellow egg-like color.  Sub Turmeric for the Mustard if you prefer.