Whether or not you celebrate Valentine's Day, most of us are probably good with an excuse to enjoy some chocolate.
If you are not big into cooking, but love to eat and to eat well, then check out these two super eAZy recipes! Both are paleo, raw vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free!
PALEO CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
I like to make the whole thing once and then eat the truffles over the next few weeks. I find them so satisfying that I can easily eat just two at a time and stop.
1 Cup raw cacao powder, plus 1/4 cup for rolling
1 Cup medjool dates, pitted. Do NOT buy already pitted dates
3/4 Cup coconut nectar
1/2 Cup coconut manna (not oil) by Nutiva®
1/2 Vanilla bean
1/2 Teaspoons sea salt
Place vanilla bean in food processor or Vitamix® with 1 cup cacao and blend until the bean is chopped. Add the rest of ingredients except coconut nectar and process until chocolate mass if formed. Slowly add coconut nectar and process to mix well.
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate or freeze for 30 minutes.
When cooled, roll a small amount of the mixture into a ball in your hand, then brush with the reserved cacao powder so the truffle is not sticky outside. Makes 14-15 servings of 1-ounce truffles.
PALEO RAW VEGAN BROWNIE
This is a rich and good-for-you brownie that is high in essential fatty acids - Omega-3, protein and fiber. I like to think of this recipe as almost-a-health food!
2 Cups raw walnuts
1.5 Cups medjool dates, pitted by hand. Do NOT buy already pitted dates
1 Cup raw cacao powder
1/4 Teaspoon sea salt
Process in food processor with an S-blade for 2-3 minutes until well-blended. Place the dough in a small pan and push down with your hands. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick. Cut in squares and enjoy.
As my friends know, I am a big fan of sparkling wines, particularly Prosecco. As I was enjoying a delicious glass of bubbly the other day, I had two revelations:
1. Champagne/Sparkling wine is an actual gift FROM GOD!
2. I discovered a way to not get drunk and still enjoy having a yummy effervescent drink.
Here is why/how:
1. I believe that the closest people to God are people who commune with God the most, they listen, the meditate, they pray. In particular monks are known to devote their entire lives to solitude and to serving God. In the end of the 17th century, a monk named Dom Perignon is said to have established the principles of modern champagne (the legend actually says he made it by making a "mistake"). Ha! I don't believe in accidents or mistakes and choose to imagine that it was his daily communion with God that led him to create this magical drink.
Personally, when I drink sparkling wines I feel happy and bubbly myself. I guess it's true - you are what you eat (or drink)! And I choose to believe that God communicated the secret of bubbly to us through the now famous monk and I am forever grateful and honored to include in my weekly diet :)
2. I realize that often times we drink because we feel happy or feel sad. Like Napoleon said: "In victory, you deserve Champagne; in defeat, you need it." The challenge with drinking is that sometimes we have too much and then we regret it the next day. I for one, have had a lot of yummy drinks on Tuesday night this week and didn't go to bed until 2am! Sure, it was lots of fun, but the next day was pretty rough.
This got me thinking - WHY did I drink so much? Sure it was fun and I was having a grand time, but why did I overdo it? What I realized was that I over indulged because I wasn't having enough fun on regular basis on the days before Tuesday. I felt like a I was on a pendulum - to compensate for lack of fun, I overdid it in one night.
Reflecting back on other days when I would drink in moderation, I saw that I only needed a half a coupe or just one flute of bubbles when I made sure to have fun on regular basis before going out.
So with that, I want to inspire you to look at how you spend your days and if you have enough fun on daily. Because if you are under-playing your fun, you may find yourself over-eating, over-partying or over-drinking to compensate. And fun can be just the simple joys of life - buying yourself flowers and smelling them, enjoying how they look, playing with your pet, chatting with your best friends, taking a bath, etc.
I hope you bring more joy and fun into your life today and every day and that if you do choose to drink alcohol, you choose the best kind that lights you up and you savor it without over-doing.
I am so happy to share these three eAZy recipes that were featured on ABC7 Facebook Live and are airing on the channel on Tuesday, December 11th.
Feel free to customize the recipes according to your personal preferences and tastes. Let me know how you like these!
eAZy GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
10 oz of sliced crimini mushrooms
3 cups greens beans, trimmed
1 package gluten-free crispy onions by 365
2/3 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
2/3 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon butter-flavored coconut oil by Nutiva
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Soak cashews overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat oven at 400 degrees.
Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in melted coconut oil. Add seasoning.
Rinse soaked cashews and blend in a blender with water and 1/2 of the sautéed mushrooms and onions to make condensed mushroom soup. IMPORTANT: Reserve one half of the mushroom mixture for the casserole.
Steam green beans for 5 minutes and place in a oven-safe dish. Pour the mushroom soup over the beans, then add the rest of sautéed mushrooms. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the crispy onions, then top with Daiya cheese.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!
1 loaf of Udi's Millet-Chia bread
3 tablespoons butter-flavored coconut oil
2 onions, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 cups veggie broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the bread in toaster and let cook, then cut into small cubes.
Saute onions and celery for about 8 minutes with coconut oil, then mix with cut up bread and herbs in a baking dish. Pour veggie broth over and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for another 5 minutes.
DECADENT CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh raspberries for decoration.
Preparation: Blend first 5 ingredients in a Vitamix (or other high-power blender) Garnish with raspberries and enjoy!
A little Naughty, But
Mostly Nice Holiday Drinks
One of the things I often hear from clients is that they don’t want to give up their wine or other alcoholic beverages. I am a big believer in balance and sometimes that may mean having a drink, especially when you are celebrating the holidays with your family and friends. To get the most value out of your alcoholic beverages, take a look at my tips and recipes for healthier versions of classic favorites.
BEST DRINKS TO HAVE AT A PARTY:
Organic/Sustainable White Wine or Rose – one 5oz glass contains 120 calories. I love Alie Rose by Fresconbaldi. This winery is committed to sustainable agriculture and environmental preservation, which is crucial right now at the time of global warming. I will cheer to that! https://en.frescobaldi.com/wines/alie/
Organic/Sustainable Red Wine – red wine has the highest level of antioxidants and resveratrol, which has shown to have some heart-healthy benefits. One 5oz glass contains only 100 calories. Try Avignonesi brand – the owner that created this organic winery is committed to only use sustainable and bio-dynamic practices. These wines are available at Total Wine and More. https://avignonesi.it/en
Champagne/Sparking Wine/Prosecco – each glass is usually 4 oz and has 80-90 calories. Try Bisol Jeio Prosecco Brut – it has 11% of alcohol and about 2 grams of sugar per glass. http://www.jeio.it
Pineapple Vodka Cocktail – Craving a mixed Vodka drink? Mix healthy green juices with vodka for a balanced mixed drink.
3 ounces pineapple-based green juice like BluePrint Pineapple Apple Mint, available at Whole Foods Market.
1 ounce Vodka
Fresh wedges of pineapple
Mix ingredients in a glass with ice. Decorate with a wedge of pineapple.
Vegan Egg Nog – When you are in the mood for an old-fashioned egg not, try this cholesterol-free recipe that will give you all the flavor as well as extra protein and fiber that a traditional drink won’t.
Blend all ingredients until smooth in a high-speed blender. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago UN issued a report saying that we have about 12 years to avoid a catastrophic breakdown in our environment. It sounds extremely scary and I hope that this wakes people are to the fact that each and one of us can reverse this if we make small changes in our lifestyles.
And if you ever complain about crazy weather changes and turbulence in the air, then it is time to do something about it.
With that, I want to share a few simple ways YOU can help make it a better world for us and for the future generations.
1. Reduce meat consumption
This is definitely the #1 Way we can change our environment because conventional farming is not just cruel to the animals and our bodies but also to our planet. If you skip eating meat just ONE day a week, you will have an enormous effect. Check out Beyond Meat Bratwurst or The Impossible Burger - they will blow your mind! Absolutely amazing products that will make you forget about conventional meat.
I have Beyond Meat products in my freezer at all times, just in case I have a craving. Check out this Easy Chili Recipe and this Chickenless Chicken Pesto Pita Pockets
2. Shop local
By buying produce that's local, you are taking away the demand for foods that are coming from other countries, which requires planes, trains and automobiles (ok, maybe not trains, but you get the idea!). Transportation creates pollution and pollution destroys our planet. You will also get better-tasting fruits and veggies, since they are going to be ripening longer vs being picked green.
3. Choose Organic
By choosing organic produce you reduce pesticides and herbicides that are not just harmful to our bodies but to our environment. You can even buy organic on the budget by shopping at stores like Costco and Trader Joes, buying bulk when produce is in season or on sale and freezing fresh berries and cooked dinners in your freezer for later use.
These are the easiest way YOU can reverse climate changes. Check out my YouTube Channel for easy recipes and great meat substitutes. Your body and your planet will thank you!
I remember when my mom brought Coca Cola from America to Russia for my 8th birthday. I have never seen canned drinks before and it was so cool to open one, then feel the bite of soda water in the back of my throat. We had soda drinks in Russia, but they weren't nearly as good as Coke was. And we now know why - it has the perfect combination of sugar, salt and fizz to get us asking for more.
Unfortunately conventional sodas like Coke, Sprite, etc are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and chemicals that can weaken our immune systems, cause acne, add extra pounds, elevate blood pressure and even cause diabetes.
If you find yourself craving a bubbly soda, here are my top Z-Tips for choosing the best options:
MY TOP Z-TIPS FOR SODA DRINKERS:
1. My 2 favorite sodas by far are La Croix & SpinDrift and I can't get enough of their grapefruit flavors. They has no sugar added and are simply divine! Sometimes I go crazy and mix the two! If you are in Coca Cola, check out La Croix Cola Flavored sodas.
2. 365 Brand Italian Sparkling Water in Raspberry-Lemon flavor. I love that this water comes in big glass bottles, so it is healthier for you and it tastes incredible even though it has zero calories and no sweeteners. The only thing I don't love about it is that it goes flat quickly if you don't drink it all. I wish they sold it in smaller bottles so it had that fizzy bite.
3. Zevia is another brand that's not too shabby. They do have stevia in it to sweeten the flavor, but personally I prefer no sweetener at all.
4. If you don't want to give up your Coca Cola and still want to indulge in the original, then I suggest doing just that - go for the original version with real sugar and no high fructose corn syrup. You can even try "Mexican" coke - coke that's made in Mexico and actually has cleaner ingredients! Also, stick to small 8-oz portions and keep your intake to a minimum. Do indulge if you must, but don't make it a daily habit if you want your body to keep strong!
FUN FACT: Did you know that Diet Coke is excellent for cleaning toilets! Yes, I would rather put in the toilet that in my body. In my opinion, anything that has aspartame and other artificial sweeteners belongs in the garbage - your body is too precious to be fed chemicals!
Share with me what your favorite comfort drinks and foods are.
Hi everyone! So I am continuing to video my adventures as a Single and Hungry gal and here is a recap of my Saturday!
I decided to do a cleanse, tried a pole dance class and went to a play performed by people with autism and other disabilities.
The play I went had actors that couldn't even walk! Do you think that stopped them from doing something they enjoy? Nope, not at all. They went for it and they were great! But even if they weren't (for the sake of the argument only, cause they were great!), they still had a great time being a part of the evening.
If you are single and hungry, but afraid to go out and try something new, I want to encourage you to put your fears aside and just go for it!
This is your life, live it up! 💫🙏💖
I have been soul-searching for a quite a bit figuring out how to put my passion for delicious and healthy food and travel while helping people do the same. So.... I decided to take a solo trip to Vancouver and created this video.
If you are single and hungry for yummy food, travel and adventure, then this video is for you! Since my book is called Single & Hungry, A Realistic Guide To Food & Self-Love, I am using that name for these segments! Yey :))
I hope you enjoy this video about my solo travels to Vancouver and let me know what locations and foods you want me to cover.
Sending you lots of love, today and always!
Chef Alina Z
I get a lot of questions about easy ways to help you detox and also can assist in reducing cellulite. It this blog I want to share a trick that I use every single day in the morning.
Let me introduce you to the Lymphatic Dry Skin Massage!
Did you know that your lymphatic fluid makes up about 75% of the total fluid in your body, while blood is only 25%. Think of your lymph system as your sewage that removes the waste on the cellular level.
As your body goes through deep detoxication inside your tissue every night while you sleep, you can help your lymphatic system move that waste out with dry skin brushing. This process can help stimulate your main lymph nodes that are located behind your knees, under your arms, in your neck and in your stomach.
The most important thing about dry skin brushing is the direction – moving from your toes, brush your legs upward towards your torso, stroking each area 3-5 times. After your legs, brush your arms - start from your fingers and move in the direction of you shoulders.
Lastly, brush your neck and shoulders, followed by your stomach, which should be brushed in a clock-wise direction. Don’t hurt yourself pressing too hard, but know that seeing you skin get more pink is a good sign – you are increasing fluid flow in your body!
The key here is to move the lymph in the direction of your kidneys that are responsible for regulating fluid. A common misconception is in moving the lymph in the direction of your heart. That is not correct because your heart is a pump for your blood, not your lymph. As the matter of fact, there is no pump for your lymph, that is why it is best to exercise your body daily, do light jumps and stimulate the lymph with dry skin brushing.
Here is how I incorporate dry skin brushing into my day. My usual morning routine is drinking about 24 oz of plain water or hot water, the do the lymph dry skin brushing followed by oil massage. Then I take a light shower, which I always finish with a cold-water rinse, and move on with my day. After the shower I drink coconut water with blue-green algae and then I usually have a superfood smoothie.
I just spoke with a friend that asked me about ways to boost his energy. I thought that other people may have similar concerts, so I decided to share my advice in this blog.
If you are feeling lethargic and as a result experience sugar and caffeine cravings, then this blog is for you.
My number ONE favorite way to boost energy and fight fatigue is algae supplements. There are three types of algaes that I like – Spirulina, Chlorella and Blue-Green Algae. The main difference is in taste and personally I am team Chlorella as it has the mildest taste.
Algae is known as the oldest type of food on our planet and it contains large amounts of nutrients including:
Algae is great for:
• Building and purifying blood
• Helps boost the immune system and help promote healthy eyesight, hair and skin.
• Powerful energy booster due to its incredibly high nutrient concentration.
• Anti-aging effects on skin, hair and organs
• Stimulates stem cell release and movement, helping to regenerate damaged body tissue.
• Very absorbable to the body. Around 97% of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in blue-green algae are easily absorbed into the system. Most vitamin supplements are only 5-25% absorbable.
• Powerful detox effects allow us to rest easier, as they body does not have to work so hard to cleanse while we sleep.
• Weight reduction. Helps to balance food cravings.
The only DON’T with the algae, is – DON’T overdo it. Too much of a good thing can be too much and we urge you experiment with it in moderation. Start with a ½ a teaspoon (or 2 tablets) of one kind and see how you feel. You can either take it alone, blend with a smoothie or mix with coconut water.
If you have any medical issues, please check with your doctor before starting a new food/supplement as it can alter existing conditions. Algae can be a very powerful detoxifier, so please listen to your body and reduce the dose if you feel you detox symptoms are too strong.
Here is a simple green smoothie recipe to get you started. You can make a batch of 2-3 portions and drink it during the day as meal replacements or as snacks. My favorite way is to have a smoothie in the morning to start the day strong.
GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE
1 Frozen Ripe Banana
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
½ Teaspoon Chlorella
½ Cup Fresh Spinach
½ Cup Water
Blend to a creamy consistency and enjoy!
One of the biggest challenges my clients face when they start working with me is discovering that deep inside them there is a voice that sabotages their successes. Somewhere deep inside there is a voice that keeps telling them that they are not good enough… Continue reading here.
One of my favorite Disney movies is Beauty and the Beast. Little girls from an early age are taught to look through the looks and love people for who they are. I think we all consciously try to do that. Except for one person. In my line of work I often see women who can't fall in love with themselves. Continue reading here.