Have you ever changed your diet and felt amazing…only to go back to how you were eating and feeling before? It can be hard to stick with eating healthy, even if we feel the benefits. I often wonder why this is, and I’ve noticed that for me I’m a creature of habit and habits are hard to change, especially when you’ve been doing something or eating something for so long.
I mentioned in early August that I was taking a break from drinking coffee. I quit coffee cold turkey and was coffee-free for over 35 days until I decided to indulge in an iced coffee. For the next week, I was drinking about a cup of coffee in the AM. I also got on average about 4 hours of sleep each night that I had drank coffee in the morning. Although caffeine shouldn’t affect my sleep so much, it does and I came to the conclusion that I’ve become extremely sensitive to caffeine and (for me) it just isn’t worth it any more.
I’m happy I realized coffee was affecting me in a negative way instead of drinking even more coffee to make up for lack of sleep, which is something I used to do on a daily basis. I’m also happy to share what I learned during this self-realization coffee experiment: don’t beat yourself up! If you slip up on a health goal, diet, or exercise routine, etc., instead of berating yourself and feeling like poo, simply note the difference in how you physically, mentally, and emotionally feel when you’re doing something good for yourself vs. how you feel when you do something that doesn’t benefit your overall health. Then, decide which feelings you’d rather feel. In my case, if I kept drinking coffee, I’d probably feel energized for a few hours, but ultimately miss out on sleep and feel really tired at work, in class, and during my free time.
Being coffee-free also made me realize the importance of eating energizing foods. I pride myself on practicing what I preach, but sometimes quick convenience foods (like energy bars, sandwiches, microwave meals) are an easy option that I rely on. These foods are ok in a pinch, but real, wholesome, unprocessed foods provide so much more. I’ve decided to share a delicious, raw, vegan meal that I made recently. It took me about 10 minutes to make the entire meal and it’s packed with fiber, lycopene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and deliciousness.
Zucchini Noodles with Raw Vegan Tomato-“Cheez” Sauce
Ingredients (serves 1-2):
- 1 large zucchini
- 2 vine-ripe tomatoes (or use about 1-1.5 cups of ripe cherry tomatoes)
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. basil
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 5 kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
Directions: * you will need a food processor and a vegetable spiralizer (or buy spiralized zucchini at a supermarket)
- Spiralize the zucchini into spaghetti-shaped noodles and set in a bowl or plate
- Using a food processor, blend the tomatoes, spices, cashews, and olives together for about 3-5 minutes, or until a sauce consistency appears
- Top the noodles with the sauce and use whatever garnish appeals to you
- Enjoy, and take care of yourself!