Lemons 'n Lyme

When life gives you lemons, use them to beat Lyme


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Vegan (No-Fake Cheese) Quesadilla (Gluten-Free)

You need to make this. You need to make this right now. After you finish reading this post and how to make it, go make it!

As a vegan, I don’t endorse eating fake animal products (like fake meats and fake cheeses) as they contain a lot of processed ingredients, soy, and nasty food colorings and preservatives. AKA just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy! But let’s be real, quesadillas are life. Having those delicious fillings in between a crunchy tortilla‚Ķ mmm mmm mmm. I was craving a quesadilla the other week but obviously didn’t want to eat a bunch of fake, health-less cheese. So I got creative. And I nailed it. Once again ūüėČ

Granted, this isn’t like your classic ooey-gooey quesadilla, but it’s a grand alternative for a vegan, healthy version.

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Vegan (No-Fake Cheese) Quesadilla 

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

2 brown rice tortillas (or gluten free tortilla of choice, not corn)

1 large sweet potato, baked

1 cup of canned or cooked black beans (rinsed and drained)

1/2 cup thinly sliced baby mushrooms

1/2-1 small onion, diced (depending on how much onion you like)

1 cup baby spinach

Spices of choice: salt, pepper, chili pepper (my personal suggestions)

*You can add jalape√Īos¬†for an extra kick

**You can also sprinkle a few tbs of nutritional yeast in your quesadilla (or add 1/4 cup to your sweet potato mash) for more of a cheesy flavor.

Directions:

Saute onion and mushrooms in a pan with 1 tablespoon of water until they begin to soften.

While onions and mushrooms are cooking, scoop the flesh out of your sweet potato and mash it in a bowl with spices of choice (I personally just like salt but if you want more of a kick, add 1/2-1 tsp ground red pepper). Don’t throw away the peel! It’s packed with nutrients. I like to use it as vehicle for getting other food into my mouth.

Mash your black beans in a separate bowl.

Lay out 1 tortilla on a cutting board and spread half the sweet potato over the tortilla. Layer half your mashed black beans on one half of the tortilla then add half your onion and mushroom mixture to the same half.

Lay spinach over half the tortilla and then fold tortilla in half (folding just sweet potato side over the layered side). Press down lightly.

Slide quesadilla into a frying pan over medium heat. Cover and let cook about 3-5 minutes, until pan side down begins to brown. Using a spatula, do your best to get under the tortilla and quickly flip it. Cook uncovered for another 3-5 minutes until both sides are browned.

While first quesadilla is cooking, prep your second tortilla. Cook the same way.

When quesadilla is done, slide it out of the pan onto your cutting board and cut into 2-4 pieces.

Serve with a side of guacamole or salsa (or both) and enjoy this vegan version of an all time favorite!

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I like my food with a view ūüėČ

 


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Pink Power Smoothie (Vegan/Paleo)

I’ve been really digging on papaya lately. Not only is it delicious if you have a perfectly ripe one (it took me a long time to learn what ripe is for papaya- when the outside gets soft and dark and it almost seems like it is going bad), but papaya is a health powerhouse! Papaya is packed with nutrients and is wonderful for your digestive system. It is anti-inflammatory and can ease pain, including¬†menstrual cramps.

I add papaya seeds in this smoothie, which, yes, you can consume. Papaya seeds are anti-parasitic, filled with digestive enzymes, and aid in liver health.

If you don’t have access to organic papaya, be sure to buy the Mexican papaya NOT Hawaiian! Hawaiian papayas are genetically-modified.

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Pink Power Smoothie (not only for the guys)

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1 tsp. maca powder

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

1/2 serving vanilla Sunwarrior raw vegan protein

About 1/2 teaspoon size thumb of fresh ginger root or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional, adds some spice as well as the health benefits of ginger)

10 papaya seeds

1 ripe banana

1 frozen banana

5 frozen strawberries

1 cup papaya (about 1/4 of a large)

*You can add 1 cup fresh spinach to get your greens in, as well (it just won’t be a pretty pink color ;))

Add all ingredients to your blender (I suggest a high speed blender like a Vitamix). I also suggest adding them in the order listed.

Blend for 1 minute or until everything is combined together. Add more water to reach desired consistency

Pour into a bowl or glass, top with your favorite toppings and ENJOY!

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I made a thicker version with less water so it was like ice cream

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Evening Routine: How to Prepare for Sleep

Hello, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Victoria and I am the Queen of Insomnia.

I can stay up… all night… staring at the ceiling.

Although I take sleep medication (I know I know. Yes, I absolutely hate that I need it. Trust me, I need it), I still can manage to spend the night awake. But, over the past month I’ve not only developed a morning routine, but a night routine that helps to calm my mind and allow me to both fall asleep easier and stay asleep (hopefully I don’t curse it with this post).

It’s usually anxiety and a racing mind that prevent me from falling asleep and I’m slowly learning to calm those thoughts. The tips I provide below help with all aspects of the falling asleep process, though. Sleep is a huge issue for me, so the tips I provide aren’t lame “relax your mind, breath, think happy thoughts” tips. They are legitimate tips that have helped me and I think can, hopefully, help you, too!

Last week I shared my tips for STARTING your day and today¬†I’ll be sharing my tips for ENDING your day.

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1. Pick a Bedtime:¬†This is crucial. You need to pick a reasonable time for you to go to sleep. This is important because, not only is routine important (as we are learning), but picking a time allows you to determine when you need to start your wind-down process¬†each evening and lets your body know WHEN it needs to start winding down each evening. Pick a time that not only¬†works with your schedule but also is plausible given your life and personality. Don’t choose 9 pm if you are used to staying up until 2 am. You can get it to 9, but it won’t happen the next night. If your ultimate goal is to be asleep by 10 pm every night and you are used to being up until midnight, start by setting your goal at 11 or 11:30 pm, then slowly work back.

2. Begin Your Evening¬†Routine 30-60 minutes Before Bedtime:¬† You’ve got to get your body ready for sleep. You can’t be raging to metal music one minute then expect to fall asleep the next minute. 30-60 minutes before the bedtime you’ve chosen, begin preparing your body for sleep. If your mind knows that bedtime is approaching, it will begin to calm down. You have to give it time to prepare itself and your body for sleep.

3. Lithium:¬†Melatonin is a popular sleep supplement. But if you are anything like me, melatonin ain’t yo¬†thang. Okay, but seriously, melatonin KEEPS ME UP! I’ve found lithium to be a much better supplement for sleep and anxiety. I take a lithium supplement about an hour before sleep to calm my brain (anywhere from 2-5 pills).

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4. Download¬†f.lux:¬†By now you’ve already probably heard about how bad screen light (from your computer, phone, Tv, etc) is for you at night and how it interrupts your minds ability to relax for sleep. Let’s be honest, we live in a world dominated by screens. And we all feel the need to check our email/social media/texts right up until we physically can’t keep our eyes open anymore. But that interrupts your bodies ability to not keep your eyes open anymore. I’ve go the solution: f.lux. It’s an application that adjusts the light on your screen to match evening glow and lessen the disruption of screen time on sleep time. You’re welcome, now feel free to email¬†until the minute you pass out ;).

5. Choose Relaxing Activities:¬†I’m not going to tell you to read a book or meditate for an hour before going to bed. But I don’t advise you do high energy or demanding (physically or mentally) ¬†activities in that 30-60 minutes before bed. Watch a movie or favorite TV show, but I suggest choosing one that isn’t super action packed or scary (nothing that is going to raise your adrenaline levels). Reading is always a great option, as well. And if meditating is your thing, perfect! But I highly doubt your unable to sleep and reading this post if you spend an hour meditating before bed each night. Just create a routine and pick activities each evening that aid in relaxation and don’t awaken your body and mind.

6. Evening Yoga/Stretching:¬†I know you might be thinking, why would I want to be active before bed? Won’t that disrupt sleep? Not if you pick a stretching or yoga routine that is calming and designed to help you fall asleep. This has been a life changer in my ability to sleep! I notice a difference on the nights when I don’t do my yoga routine before bed (I have a harder time falling asleep, staying asleep, am in more pain, and wake up early but exhausted). I recently posted my evening yoga routine video on¬†YouTube and I highly recommend giving it a shot. Otherwise, I suggest¬†you pick a couple of deep, relaxing stretches to do. Hold them and breath into them rather then moving quickly between poses. I also suggest doing your yoga/stretching close to your bedtime. I usually do this yoga routine anywhere from 1-15 minutes before sleep.

 

I truly hope these tips help you. I don’t take this topic lightly, as insomnia is a huge problem for me, so I really believe these tips can help you.

What tips do you all have for helping with sleep? I’d love to hear them!


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Vegan, Tomato-Free “Sloppy Joes” (Gluten-Free)

I hope you all have been enjoying the March Restart! This weeks pose is Eagle Pose. I provide plenty of variations in the YouTube video and it’s a great pose to improve balance, strength, and lymphatic system flow. Be sure it give it a shot and let me know how it goes! Remember, post a picture of yourself doing the pose and tag me @lemonsnlyme and #LNLMarchRestart. I want to see you all getting moving and healing!

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Remember last weeks recipe when I told you I hate tomatoes? Yeah, so I wanted to re-create Sloppy Joes WIHOUT tomatoes. Oh, and of course, make them vegan! Well, let me tell you, I nailed it. I think so, anyway. Whether you want to call these Sloppy joes or not, they’re the general idea and they taste damn delicious.

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I’ve had a hard time finding gluten-free and vegan bread and rolls. This brand is pretty good but unfortunately the store was out of the normal size rolls, so I had to use the mini rolls for this photo shoot. I figured you all wouldn’t mind. Plus, they’re cute :).

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These are the brand of rolls I use

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Vegan, Tomato-Free “Sloppy Joes”

Serves 4 (or 3 Victorias)

Ingredients

1 cup red lentils

1 small onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons red chili powder

1 tablespoon mustard powder

1 tablespoon celery salt

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbs. coconut aminos

1/2 cup sweet potato puree

Rinse your lentils and place in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until water is absorbed and lentils are cooked.

While lentils are cooking, chop up all of your veggies.

Halfway into the lentils cooking, sauté your onion and pepper in a sauce pan with a little water to keep them from sticking.

Once lentils are done and veggies are soft, mix veggies into the pot with the lentils. Leave heat on low. Add in all the remaining spices and ingredients. Mix well.

Serve in buns or over oven-baked fries (like chili). Enjoy!

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Morning Routine: How to Start Your Day on the Right Foot

Let’s face it, everyday is not going to be perfect. Or even okay for that matter. Some days are really going to S-U-C-K! And when you have a chronic illness, a lot of¬†days can feel like the end of the world.

This year I’ve been working hard to create a morning routine that either 1) puts me in a good mood, 2) gets me going in the morning, 3) relieves some of the tension I woke up with, or 4) makes me feel like I did something for the day if all I can do is get up, drink some water, and crawl back into bed.

I always thought “morning routines” were pointless. Changing little habits in the morning isn’t going to suddenly turn my life around! But, it could‚Ķ Wait, hear me out! I have found that creating a morning routine, and not just any morning routine, has helped me cope with my health issues a little better (at least on some days) and work to change my overall mindset. So, today I’m going to share my tips on how to start YOUR day on a better note.

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1. Breathing:¬†It’s not as simple as you think. I don’t just mean breath. I mean take 1-5 minutes to do some specific breathing. I always thought breathing was dumb. It never did what it was “supposed” to do. Deep breathing to calm my mind? HA. Focus on my breath to ease anxiety? ¬†You’ve got to be kidding me, my anxiety is bigger then my breath! But I’ve found that breathing TAKES PRACTICE. At the start of the year I told myself I would practice breathing every morning for the month of January whether I felt like it was helping or not. As I did it more (practiced), I learned how to focus on my breath better and found that it actually could lessen my anxiety sometimes. I’ve found breathing first thing in the morning is a way to try and ground myself before I even step out of my bed.

I have a few different breathing options for you to try. The first is just to lay or sit comfortably in your bed and take some deep breaths, trying to bring your focus to your inhales and exhales instead of having your mind wander. I mean literally, focus on your inhales and exhales by telling your mind inhale (and notice what that feels like as you inhale) and the same as you exhale.

Option two is my favorite- 4/7/8 breathing. You inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. I really enjoy this because it forces me to focus on my breathing (I have to count the inhales and exhales). I like to do anywhere from 3-10 rounds but I suggest a minimum of 3 rounds. Start with 1 if that’s all you can mentally handle.

The third technique can be combined with either of the first 2. Place one hand on your heart and one anywhere else you feel is in pain or needs love (I usually do my heart and gut). As you breath focus on those areas and send the energy of your breath there.

Now, I have to give some credit to my therapist for introducing me to these breathing methods!

If you feel up to it, you can take this time to set an intention for your day as well as verbally embrace your bodies strength in fighting whatever health issues you may have. It’s important to take a moment out of your day to remind your body that you are proud of the work it is doing (whether you truly feel that way or not. Fake it till you make it!).

2.¬†Stretching/Yoga:¬†I recently posted my favorite morning¬†stretching routine to my YouTube channel. I encourage you to go check it out and give it a try. I’ve found that stretching in the morning gets my blood and lymphatic system moving, as well as my body and mind in general. Movement is SO important even for those healing from illness (a whole post on this to come). Completing even just a couple of minutes of stretching or yoga poses in the morning can be beneficial.

If you don’t know where to start I highly encourage you to give my routine a shot, even if you just do a couple minutes of it. The whole video is posted below! (Be sure to head over to YouTube to like and subscribe ūüėČ [shameless plug!])

 

3. Water/Lemon Water: Do I really have to go into detail about this one? How Many times have you heard it?! Really though, lemon water is great in the morning because it helps get your digestive system flowing, to detox and alkalize your body, and to hydrate your system after 7+ hours without water. So grab a glass of room temperature or warm water and squeeze some or all of a lemon into it. Even if you just drink a glass of plain water, Drink up!

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4. Wash Your Face:¬†I have to say, I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t wash their face in the morning, but if you don’t you better start! If you’re not a morning shower person, make sure to wash your face every AM. Not only does it get the sleepy’s out of your eyes but it cleans your skin from the debris your pillows collect (from your hair, clothes, skin, and animals, if you let them in the bed). I suggest warm water and your favorite toxin-free soup/face wash and then finishing off with a splash of cold water to really wake you up and tighten your pores after cleansing.

5. Get On With Your Day:¬†You’ve completed the first 4 tips? Great, now do your thing! Get ready, eat breakfast, go to work, or get back in bed for Netflix and a nap. Either way, I highly suggest creating a morning routine to both mentally and physically prepare for the day, especially if you are battling a chronic health condition. Creating not just any routine, but one specifically designed to support my mind and body in handling illness has been vital in my ability to mentally manage my current situation. And guess what? You may not complete your morning routine every morning or it may not help that day, but trust me when I say, in time it will make a difference (and you won’t necessarily notice it until one day you wake up and crave your routine because it really does help). FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT, PEOPLE!

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Pepper says, “Let’s do this!”

I hope you found these tips helpful and I’d love to hear what your morning routines look like, what you do to get your day started on the right foot, or what tips you use to help manage being sick! Sending love and healing ‚̧


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March Restart + Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bake (Vegan/Gluten Free)

On Monday I announced on my Instagram¬†that I’m hosting what I like to call March Restart. For me, March signifies the beginning of Spring so I wanted to do something this month through social media to help us all “restart” for the new, sunny season!

Every Monday I will be posting a yoga pose on my Instagram and a tutorial video on my YouTube¬†to encourage us all to get moving, as well as help our bodies detoxify and feel renewed for Spring. I urge you all to practice that pose for the week with me, every day working to gain depth in that pose. If you are on Instagram, take pictures of you in the pose, tag me @lemonsnlyme, and hashtag #LNLMarchRestart. Feel free to post this to my Facebook page instead (or in a comment or email me, I just want to see you all getting moving with me!). I’ll feature accounts at the end of the month! Every Wednesday I’ll post my usual recipe on my blog. And every Friday I will be posting a helpful life post on the blog.

So stay tuned and make sure you are following me on all of my social media outlets so you don’t miss a post, yoga pose, or helpful hint to put a little Spring in your step ;).

Now, I can’t leave you all without a recipe this week!

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This dish is simple but satisfying. The combo of ingredients blends perfectly for a full-flavored dish. I’m not a tomato fan but sun-dried tomatoes are D-LICIOUS, so if you are like me and hate tomatoes, give this dish a shot.

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Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bake

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash

1 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes (Do not buy the kind in oil, buy legitimately dried ones)

1 can chickpeas

6 big handfuls of baby romaine

1 tbs. oregano

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup vegetable broth

More salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes until beginning to brown (the cut side down should start browning and caramelizing).

Turn temperature down to 375 F.

Cool slightly and scoop squash out into a large bowl.

Drain your sundried tomatoes and cut into strips (bite-size pieces).

Add tomatoes and all remaining ingredients, except for vegetable broth, into the bowl of spaghetti squash. Mix well and transfer to a baking dish (9×5 or something around that size).

Bake for about 30 minutes, until top begins to brown. Remove from oven and pour broth evenly over the squash.

This dish can be served on it’s own as it is a full meal all in one! (My favorite: simple, easy, one dish meals!)

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