Thursday, November 17, 2011

Easy Vegan Black Bean Soup

Since watching the documentary Forks Over Knives a couple of months ago, I've been making more of an effort to make my diet more plant heavy. This week I got my first reward, I dropped down a dress size!

For most of my life I was at a healthy weight. Once I started seeing a neurologist for my migraines, I started packing on the weight as a side effect of the medications. I've been struggling since I went off the meds in 2006 to take the weight back off. I had gone down a dress size fairly quickly and kept that weight off, but then I hit a plateau and even though I was eating healthy and increasing my activity levels, I just wasn't losing any weight. Now I feel motivated to stay on this course of a plant heavy diet and see how many more improvements I make not just to my weight, but also other health issues.

Tonight's dinner turned out super yummy. It's extremely easy too.

4 cans refried black beans
1-2 cups of water (use what you need to make the soup a consistency you like, it may take more water)
1-2 Tbs minced garlic
1 diced onion
1 can Rotel
Espazote (this is an herb common in Mexican cooking and also used as a tea)
Olive Oil

In a pot, add oil, onion and garlic and cook on medium heat until onions are translucent. Add Rotel and beans. As the beans heat up and spread, add water and herbs to taste. I think I used about a teaspoon of each except the cayenne which was only 1/4 teaspoon. Add a squeeze of lime before serving. You may also serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homemade Sinus Rinse

I recently ran out of the NeilMed sinus rinse packets and was unable to find them in my local stores, so I set out to find a homemade alternative. The ingredients are simply a non-iodized salt, distilled or boiled and cooled water, and baking soda. It's so much cheaper to make at home and just as effective as the packets, I won't be buying the packets anymore.

If you've never tried a sinus rinse before and have nasal allergy problems, you'll want to try this. The first one or two times you do it it'll be weird, I won't lie. It's not painful, but it can be uncomfortable. Once you know what to expect though it's easy to do and so much more effective than any allergy medication.

1. In a clean glass or measuring cup, add 8 oz water and heat in the microwave in 10 second increments until body temperature. Any warmer and it may feel like you're burning your nostrils. Make sure to mix the water after each 10 second increment as the water on top is often hotter than the water on bottom.

2. In the sinus rinse bottle, add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (this helps keep the salt from burning), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and water. Gently shake to combine until dissolved.

3. Leaning over a sink, gently squeeze bottle into one nostril letting it exit through the other. Blow nose and repeat in opposing nostril.

There are all kinds of videos on YouTube showing you how to do it. Here's one that I particularly enjoy, showing you can do the sinus rinse with a water bottle with a squirt tip: