Get Healthy with Valentina! Smoothies, Quinoa Salad, Chia Pudding

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This post is part of a series of monthly posts by Valentina M. Read her story below and follow her on Instagram @thefitmexican9 and on PumpUp @thefitmexican. 

We should always live a healthier lifestyle because nowadays there are so many factors contributing to health degeneration. This includes pollution, chemicals in our food or beverages , etc. The problem is that most people (myself included) start to take action only after they fall sick, or are in the process of losing their health.   I urge you, before you face a health problem or if you are facing it right now, start taking care of you and love yourself.

I faced the need for surgery on my left knee and afterwards the doctors realized it was a bad diagnosis and the real problem was a herniated disc. After surgery I didn’t start a healthier life and began to have many other health problems so when I went to the doctor he told me I needed to start living healthier or everything will be worse. It took me many starts and frustrations before I learned how to live a healthier lifestyle. Today, I am much healthier and fitter. I eat healthily most of the time (with regular indulgences) and I’m able to stick to a meal plan if I want, and avoid junk food most of the time. I know how hard can that be, but it is not impossible.

My advice for you is be creative and explore new foods, explore fruits, seeds, vegetables,nuts. There are foods that many people don’t eat on a regular basis or have never tried some of these. Explore the power you will feel by eating the right things. Start today! Get healthy with me! There are so many healthy and easy recipes you can start doing right now!

chocolate peanut butter smoothie recipe

Chocolate PB Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter 
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana, pre-sliced
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ice as needed

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice according to desired thickness. Decorate the top with some unsweetened coconut flakes, chia seeds or fresh berries or nuts if you wish.

pineapple energy smoothie pumpupapp

Pineapple Energy Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ripe pineapple
  • 1 large knob of ginger (about 2-4 inches)
  • 1 cup coconut milk or coconut water
  • Lemon juice (1 lemon squeezed)
  • ½ cup Raspberries

Directions

Blend all ingredients for 20-30 seconds and enjoy! Decorate the top with some unsweetened coconut flakes, chia seeds or fresh berries or nuts if you wish.

mango coconut chia pudding recipe pumpupapp

Mango Coconut Chia-pudding

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh ripe champagne mango, diced
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut
  • honey to make it sweeter (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large container Mix and close the container. Refrigerate overnight or at least 5-6 hours. Decorate with more fruits and coconut flakes.

 quinoa tofu salad recipe pumpupapp

Quinoa Tofu Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (see Tip)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 6- or 8-ounce package smoked tofu diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ Avocado
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Directions

1.Bring water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa, tofu, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, parsley and mint; toss well to combine.

With Love,

Valentina

Follow Valentina on PumpUp @TheHealthyMexican 

Cheap and Tasty Vegan Pho Soup

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This post is part of Zoë’s September Recipe Round-Up. Check out her PumpUp recipes here, follow her blog, and follow her on PumpUp @zoedesborough. 

For this recipe, you will need

  • Thumb of ginger, grated or minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, preferably minced
  • 3 green onions (spring onions), finely chopped
  • Mushrooms (the more the merrier!), roughly chopped (Mix it up! Cremini, Portobello, Enoki, King, Oyster, etc.)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 5 cups of low sodium gluten-free veggie/chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • Vermicelli rice noodles, follow instructions on packaging
  • Bok Choy (I use spinach because my grocery store rarely carries Bok Choy) leafy parts, shredded

To garnish

  • Bean sprouts (known to carry E.coli and other gross things, wash them carefully, and since I’m super paranoid, I steam mine in the microwave for 2 minutes before serving them)
  • Coriander
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha
  • Gluten Free Soya Sauce

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Freezer-Friendly Vindaloo

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This post is part of Zoë Desborough’s September Recipe RoundUp. Follow her on PumpUp (@zoedesborough), check out her blog, and the rest of her recipes

I love making this recipe (and a few other Indian recipes) since it makes such a big batch, super flavorful, and easy and quick options for those days you just don’t have time to cook. It is one of the hottest dishes you can order in a traditional Indian restaurant, so beware! This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cookbook. I highly recommend investing in his cookbooks! And if you don’t want to purchase them, go check out his website!

It’s definitely not a recipe you can whip up in 30 minutes, but it is an absolute crowd pleaser!

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These Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins Will Give You Life

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This post is part of Zoë Desborough’s September Recipe Roundup. Follow Zoë’s blog, her PumpUp account (@zoedesborough), and check out the rest of her recipes here

So around this time last year, I was looking for some form of gluten free fall dessert I could make for myself that wasn’t so horrible.

Having a gluten intolerance by itself, it’s manageable honestly. It’s not that hard to avoid nowadays. But add in life-threatening egg and nut allergies. It’s like a pyramid, either you remove two and you’re still stuck with one, or you try to make up for one, and you have two you can’t handle. It’s a pain in the ass, especially when it comes to baking. You can easily remove gluten from your baking recipes, but you’re going to have to double up on binding agents (enter eggs), or use a different type of flour (enter almond flour). You see what I mean? There are plenty of substitutes for each of these allergens, but all of them combined in a recipe usually calls for disaster… I just have a memory of trying to make chocolate brownies once with rice flour and using a potato flour egg substitute… it looked like a pan of soil. Seriously.

Ok, so that was a depressing intro, but don’t fear! All that sadness had to be put out there so I could cheer you up! I have for you a gluten free, nut free and egg free donut/muffin recipe! Now, the original recipe intended for you to make donut holes, but depending on the type of flour you use, your batter may or may not have enough consistency to be shaped into a ball. So we’re going to go with muffins!

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5 Ingredient substitution tips every allergy-conscious cook needs

This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp (@zoedesborough) and on her blog

Zoë’s blog features recipes that are all egg, nut and gluten free.

Before I get into my recipes, I wanted to take this chance to give you guys a few of my food tips when it comes to substituting ingredients in recipes and what you can do to make your life easier.

Gluten Free Flours: A comparison

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If you need to find gluten free flour, check the ingredients out. I have been surprised too many times by additives and sweeteners that aren’t necessary

  • Personally, I avoid Robin Hood’s gluten free flour… It’s sweetened with beet sugar, and I swear I can taste the beets., regardless of what I add to the mix
  • Quinoa flour is great if you’ll be baking breads, or want something with a whole-wheat taste… Otherwise, I don’t suggest baking with it, since it is quite bitter and overpowering.  I do have a recipe for quinoa muffins on my blog (Pumpkin Chai Muffins) where it works well.
  • Rice flour is good, but you need to make sure that you have ingredients that will keep it from crumbling (especially if you’re not using eggs)… I only use it if I’m making carrot cake/muffins, zucchini chocolate cake, or my surprise recipe below…
  • Mixed flours are great. My two favourite are Bob’s Red Mill (THEY EVEN HAVE A PIZZA CRUST MIX…and it’s awesome) and Metro’s (brand of Canadian superstore) in-house brand, Irresistible, GF flour mix. Price wise, I go with the Irresistible since its 1kg for about 8$ instead of the pricy BRM for a small amount (I do treat myself from time to time when I can get my hands on it)  
  • Oat flour… make your own! Buy bulk old fashion oats (less processed) and blend them in your food processor or blender until you get a flour texture.

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Dislike Running? You Won’t Anymore! (We Promise)

Guest blog by Siya Natseva. Follow Siya on her blog, PumpUp (@cinnamonontop), and Instagram (@cinnamonontop8).

An active runner? A beginner? A runner-to-be? A runner-to-never-be? Regardless of how you describe yourself, I’m sure we agree that running has an unfairly bad reputation. It’s often reduced to a treadmill in a confined space. In our minds, running is the definition of ‘boring’! One foot in front of the other, to eternity and back. But running shouldn’t be mundane. Let’s see how…

(Photo : omghowgirl)

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Spotlight Series: Demo Hoti

Mark Twain was quoted saying that “Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great,” and PumpUp member Hoti is, put simply, a great person. Hailing from Switzerland, Hoti’s incredibly active lifestyle led him to naturally gain around 50 lbs of muscle. His enthusiasm for motivating others on PumpUp has swept the community since he joined in June. You can read all about him on this week’s blog down below!

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We commend PumpUp’s @naomimorris for her FANTASTIC progress so far! 
She hopped on the #gaintrain last year and says, “I promised myself I’ll never go back to the way I was before and am SO proud of how far I’ve come. If I can do it SO CAN YOU!”. Double tap to keep @naomimorrris pumped up!!! You rock! You win our #transformationtuesday spotlight :)
Thank you everybody for submitting your photos! We are constantly stunned and thrilled to watch you achieve your goals! You can do anything :) High-res

We commend PumpUp’s @naomimorris for her FANTASTIC progress so far!

She hopped on the #gaintrain last year and says, “I promised myself I’ll never go back to the way I was before and am SO proud of how far I’ve come. If I can do it SO CAN YOU!”. Double tap to keep @naomimorrris pumped up!!! You rock! You win our #transformationtuesday spotlight :)

Thank you everybody for submitting your photos! We are constantly stunned and thrilled to watch you achieve your goals! You can do anything :)