Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What Is Kuzu Root?

What is it...

Kuzu Root is natural thickener, derived from the roots of the Pueraia Lobata plant and is very popular in Chinese & Japaneses cooking.

Unlike traditional thickeners, Kuzu doesn't separate after cooking.  Unlike Corn or Potato Starch, it is not highly processed or treated with a chemical bleaching process.  Kuzu binds more strongly than Arrowroot.


This stuff kinda looks like crack cocaine - I think, my only point of reference is Miami Vice.  Crush the rocks, um I mean Kuzu chunks before trying to measure... I poured mine into a bowl and took a potato masher to it - worked perfectly (not sure what Crockett would say about that...)


Is it healthy...

Kuzu has long been valued as health food for soothing the stomach and strengthening the intestines.

"Clinical studies, done in China, have shown that kuzu root preparations can reduce high blood pressure, relieve chronic migraines and ease aches in the shoulders and neck. The flavonoids in kuzu have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of blood clots, and protect against heart disease. As reported by Harvard medical researcher Wing-Ming Keung, kuzu can curb the desire for alcohol and help heal the organs damaged by alcoholism."

In his book, Macrobiotic Home Remedies, Michio Kushi recommends using kuzu in the following ways:
  • To relieve tiredness and restore vitality
  • To treat digestive and intestinal issues such as indigestion and colitis
  • For colds, which are often related to intestinal weakness
  • As a drink to relieve over acidity, bacterial infection and excess water in the case of diarrhea
  • To bring quick relief from abdominal pain and intestinal irritation

Nutrition:
Serving: 1 tbsp

Calories: 30
Fat: 0
Cholesterol: 0
Sodium: 0
Potassium: 0
Carbs: 8g
Sugar: 0
Protein: 0


What to do with it...

Use it just as you would Corn Starch or Flour - as a thickening agent for: sauces, soup, stew, custard, pudding, chilli, gravy, pie filling, desserts, etc.

Kuzu will have a clear finish (once heated), add a gloss to your dish and has no taste - so you won't even know it's there!

 For 1 cup of liquid, mix together 1 tbsp Kuzu to 2 tbsp cold liquid.

Store in a sealed jar, such as a half pint mason!


Where to get it...

This was a little tricky for me, but I finally found Eden Organic's Kuzu Root Starch on Vitacost.com for a mere $7.48 for 3.5 oz.  I suspect that any major healthy grocery chain such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe's would carry this as well in their baking department.  Amazon sells it as well.


Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/amazing-health-benefits-of-kuzu-root.html

Monday, July 30, 2012

Steroids & Weight Gain

Over the course of four weeks, I managed to pack on 7 pounds!

How could this be?!?!  

I eat a whole foods, plant-based, oil-free diet.  I avoid processed foods.  I recently added Kamikaze Tennis to my daily exercise routine (see below for definition).  I should be losing weight, not gaining!

Meanwhile, I noticed my boyfriend's newly emerging six-pack, while a flat tire parked itself on my stomach!

Since I control all the meals and my boyfriend was losing weight - I knew it couldn't be the food.  So, I took an assessment of what had occurred in my life over the past month, looking for changes that could attribute to the recent weight barrage.

And then it hit me, due to emergency dental surgery (you don't want to know) I relented against my better judgement and agreed to engage in a round of steroids in order to speed recovery time.

I hit the Internet to see if the steroids could have anything to do with this new irritation in my life.  And to my dismay, I am overwhelmingly not alone in my despair.  Apparently, Mr. Steroid has been packing on the pounds all over town - bastard!

Turns out weight gain is a very common side affect to doctor prescribed Corticosteroids (steroids) sold under the names: prednisone (sold under many brand names, such as Deltasone and Sterapred), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisolone (Prelone, Pediapred), dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol), and hydrocortisone (Acticort, Cortef).

While the gain is predominately water weight, this weight will stick around as long as the steroids are active in your body - 6 to 12 MONTHS!!!  

Holy Hell Batman!

Steroids also like to mess with your metabolism and how your body deposits fat - specifically targeting your abdomen (hmmmm) as well as face and back of neck (ick).  As if this couldn't get any worse, steroids also increase your appetite!  And this all contributes to the kind of weight that's really really hard to kick to the curb.

This news did not sit well with me, so I set out to find ways to reduce the duration of this "relationship."

Here's some suggestions to speed Mr. Wrong out of your life:
  1. Pump Iron - steroids break-down muscle, the muscle that burns fat in your sleep (thanks a lot!)
  2. Cut the Salt - helps with water retention
  3. Drink TONS of Water - flush Mr. Roid & excess Sodium out of your system
  4. Rigorous Exercise - resets the metabolism - Kamikaze Tennis anyone?
  5. Stick to your Healthy Diet - don't let a run away appetite derail you
  6. Don't Stress - mental stress can pack on the pounds too

I put these suggestions into practice ASAP and was able to drop 2 pounds within a week, 5 more to go!

Steroids while useful in some situations, have some pretty nasty side effects.  Discuss with your doctor if they are 1000% necessary, asking what good will come of them and what will happen if you don't take them.  Sometimes we get caught up in "standard operating procedure" and unless we question the system, we get lumped into the system.

Next time a doc offers me a date with Mr. Roid, I will just say, "Hell No!"

Sigh...
The Hoff


Kamikaze Tennis - Tennis practiced by those who do not know how to actually play tennis, in which all balls are fair game, nothing is out of bounds, one bounce rule does not apply, scoring is non-existent & trash talking is extremely high.  Burns 2,000 calories per hour (individual results may vary).

Sources: http://www.hss.edu/conditions_steroid-side-effects-how-to-reduce-corticosteroid-side-effects.asp
http://voices.yahoo.com/how-lose-weight-after-steroid-use-6227498.html?cat=5

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hoff's Bulk Green Smoothie

Hoff's Bulk Green Smoothie
Yields: About 64 oz
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free
RawTill4 Compliant
 

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups Spinach
  • 2 cups Mixed Frozen Berries (strawberries, raspberries, black berries, etc.)
  • 1 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 2 packets Stevia
  • 2 tbsp Whole Flax Seed
  • 1 tbsp Spirulina
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • Water

Directions:
  1. Place Spinach in Blender
  2. Top with Berries
  3. Add Flax Seed, Spirulina, Cinnamon & Sea Salt
  4. Add enough water to cover the top of the fruit
  5. Blend for about 1-2 minutes

My2Cents: A Vitamix is the only blender that I have found that can grind through those little berry seeds.  Try experimenting with different fruit and veggie combinations, the 5 Magic Veggies for Smoothies is a great place to start!  This recipe makes enough to last two people, three days, which is about as long as you want to keep your smoothie around before the nutritional value is depleted.  Yes, you could make it fresh everyday, but that's a pain.  Instead, I store my smoothies in re-purposed Snapple bottles.  Then each morning when dashing off to work, I can just grab my smoothie and go!  If Stevia is not your thing, try 2 pitted Dates or straight up Sugar.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hoff's Mmmmm Chocolate Shake!

Super simple to make, ready in minutes!


Hoff's Mmmmm Chocolate Shake!
Serves: 2
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free
 

Ingredients:

Blend-in Ideas (add at the very last few seconds of blending):

 Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix
  2. Using a tamper to push the bananas into the blades should not be necessary, but keep it handy just in case
  3. Blend until smooth about 10-15 seconds
  4. Serve immediately



Warning: This is so insanely good, you might be craving it daily. Healthy Hoff is not responsible for the over consumption of bananas.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Event: Dr. McDougall's House Call

Dr. John McDougall to conduct a live online Q&A session regarding transitioning to a plant-based diet.

"A physician and nutrition expert who teaches better health through vegan cuisine, Dr. John McDougall has been studying, writing and “speaking out” about the effects of nutrition on disease for over 36 years. He believes that people should look, feel great and enjoy optimal health for a lifetime. Unfortunately, many people compromise their health unknowingly through poor dietary habits."

Get your questions answered live!

When: Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Who: Dr. John McDougall with Host Lani Muelrath
Where: Your PC or by phone
Time: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. Eastern
Cost: Free!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Is Couscous?

What is it...


The literal translation of Couscous means to "pound small."

It is very popular in Moroccan & Middle Eastern cooking.

Couscous despite its teeny tiny size is actually considered pasta and not rice.  It is made from semolina flour, so it is not gluten-free.  When cooked, Couscous becomes light and fluffy.

Pronounced as kuskus, it's just very fun to say!


Nutrition...

In a 1 cup Whole-Wheat serving you will find:
  • 180 calories
  • 1g fat
  • 0 cholesterol
  • 8mg sodium
  • 3g fiber
  • 0 sugar
  • 6g protein


Benefits...

Good source of Fiber, Protein, Potassium & Selenium.  "Selenium is a trace mineral that the body needs in small quantities. It behaves in the body as an antioxidant, protecting healthy cells from the mutating effects of metabolic toxins that change the DNA and structural composition, leading to disease and premature aging." - Livestrong.com

What to do with it...

Couscous can be used in the same way you would rice.  It can be a side dish or mixed into Soup, Chili, Stew, etc.  It can be used as a base for a Salad or Risotto.  It can be served both hot and cold, sweet or savory.

Couscous is neutral in flavor, so seasoning or pairing it with vegetables would bring the best out of it.

How to cook it...

If you're in a hurry, Couscous is your best friend!  The Couscous we get in America has typically been pre-steamed and dried in order to expedite it's cooking time.

The ratio is 1 1/2 cups of Water (broth) to 1 cup of Couscous.  1 cup dry Couscous will yield 2 1/2 cups cooked Couscous.

Couscous is typically steamed, not boiled.  Allow Water to come to a boil, stir in Couscous, cover, remove from heat, allow to stand for 5-10 minutes until all Water is absorbed, fluff with a fork & serve.

Couscous can be added to any hot liquid if allowed to sit before consuming.  I keep a container of Couscous at work and when I have soup for lunch, add a few spoonfuls to thicken and give the soup a fiber punch!

Types of Couscous...

Like pasta and rice, Couscous can be found either in re-fined white or whole wheat form.  Always opt for the whole-wheat form to reap the whole grain benefits.

Moroccan Couscous is the commonly found smaller grain version.

Israeli Couscous is a larger sized Couscous, about the size of a pearl.  It has a slightly chewier texture than its traditional counterpart.  It is big, soft and a fun addition to the same boring meal.  It has the same cooking time as whole-wheat couscous, 10 minutes.

Lebanese Couscous is larger than Israeli Couscous, about the size of a small pea.  This type requires long and slow cooking.

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Outdoor Yoga in Cleveland!



What's better than Yoga? Yoga in nature of course!

Check out Pink Lotus Yoga, for this very unique experience.

These outdoor classes are fun, free-spirited yoga for students at all levels.

Bring mat, water, towel or blanket, and dress in layers. Sunscreen and sunglasses are highly recommended, though locations offer a sun/shade mix.

Parents who wish to bring children must have prior instructor approval.

Cost: There is no fee for these classes, but a donation is requested.

2012 Schedule:
  • Saturdays: May 12-July 28 & August 11-25
    •  9:00-10:00 a.m. - Rocky River Park
  • Sundays: May 20-July 22
    • 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Rocky River Park
  • Tuesdays: May 22-July 24
    • 7:15-8:15 p.m. - Lakewood Park
  • Fridays: May 18-July 27 & August 10-31
    • 6:00-7:00 p.m. - Lakewood Park

Rainsite: At the studio: 18103 Detroit Avenue; Lakewood, OH 44107

Classes remain as donation when moved indoors.
Note: There is no rainsite for the Saturday morning outdoor class!

Updates provided close to class time on website, on Facebook, and on Twitter when classes will be held at rainsite, or if it is necessary to cancel class.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Event: Healthy Hoff Speaks: 10 Mystery Foods Of A Vegan!

That's me!
Hey everybody!

I'm super excited to announce that I have been invited back to be a guest speaker for the No Oil Vegan, Dr. Esselstyn's & Rip's E2 Diet NE Ohio Meetup Group (that is a mouthful!) at their monthly Vegan, No Oil Dinner at Sushi Rock!

This event is open to all Healthy Hoff followers as well!

I will be talking about the 10 Mystery Foods of a Vegan!

I'd love to tell you what they are, but that will ruin the intrigue and well you need to show your Vegan membership card to find out what they are - hey I didn't make the rules!

During this talk, you will learn:
  • What they are
  • What makes them healthy
  • How to incorporate into your diet
  • Where to buy them


Dinner will consist of:
  • Watermelon Gazpacho
  • Mixed Berry Salad with VNO Citrus Dressing
  • Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Jalapeno Cilantro
  • VNO Cucumber Rolls w/Broccoli Carrot & Mirin
  • VNO Veggie Brown Rice Rolls
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes
(VNO =  Vegan, No-Oil)

More importantly, everything will be buffet style, all-you-can-eat, vegan and no-oil - just how I like it!

When: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Where: Sushi Rock: 2101 Richmond Rd # G1, Beachwood, OH
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Cost: $18*
RSVP: You can RSVP through me, just send an email to TheHoff@healthyhoff.com and I'll make sure you get in!


*Payment to be made directly to Sushi Rock at the time of event.

Limited to 45 attendees.  This event is filling up fast, so don't procrastinate!

Any questions?  Send them my way: TheHoff@HealthyHoff.com

Hope to see you there!
The Hoff

Monday, July 23, 2012

Greens, Beans & Couscous

Tonight I was feeling the pressure to get my fridge cleared out as tomorrow is CSA day!

I had a ton of Greens courtesy of the previous week's CSA haul, that were quite limp due to the fridge pulling the water out of them.

In the morning, I chopped all the Greens into bite size pieces (Bok Choy, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Napa Cabbage & Kale -  I think this CSA is in cahoots with Esselstyn).  Yes, it was a lot, but I know from experience that after steaming all these Greens, they would shrink to next to nothing.  In a very large bowl, I soaked everything in cold water and allowed to sit until I came home from work.  By the time I got home, the bowl was overflowing with Greens that literally had sprung back to life.  This little trick will work with just about any veggie that has gone limp & it only takes about 20 minutes to do so.

When I came home, I rinsed & shook the water from the Greens, put them in a large stock pot, topped with sliced Onion, drizzled in a little Bragg Liquid Aminos, pinch of Sea Salt - put the lid on, set to medium-high and let that steam until the rest of my meal was done.

Meanwhile, I got some Israeli Couscous cooking.  If you're unfamiliar with this type of Couscous, I encourage you to try it.  It's much larger than traditional Couscous - about the size of a small pearl.  It's big, soft and just fun to eat!  I was lucky enough to find a whole wheat version in the ethnic aisle of Giant Eagle.

To the Couscous, I added chopped Carrot, a can of Chickpeas (rinsed & drained), some Cumin & Sea Salt and allowed that to all cook together.

Once the Couscous was finished, I mixed in the Greens & some fresh Lime Juice and had a nice little one bowl meal.

So next time you have veggies going south, don't be afraid to throw everything together, you might just surprise yourself as to what you create!

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Extending Berry Life

The only bad thing about berries is how quickly they turn on you.

I was raised to never, ever wash berries unless you were prepared to eat them ASAP!  Avoiding this sage advice would surely result in a moldy, mushy mess within a day.

Recently, however, I came across some advice that went against this ancient wisdom with one little twist - adding vinegar to the water.

Here's the deal...

As soon as you get your precious berries home, soak them in 10 parts Water to 1 part Vinegar (white or apple cider).  I don't like to measure so I just coat the bottom of a bowl with Vinegar and then fill the rest with Water.  Soak just a few minutes then: drain, rinse, dry & store in fridge.

It's believed that the vinegar will kill any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the berry that could cause it to rot quicker.

While the berries this season have been too good for me to keep them in the house long enough to test this theory, I can tell you that they won't taste like vinegar.  Reports say that raspberries will last a week or more and strawberries will last almost two weeks before turning on you.

And when you are ready to chow down, try mixing the berries with a little water and Vanilla Sugar or just go straight for the chocolate!

Berry On!
The Hoff

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Farm Kings Premiering September 2012!

I contemplated simply publishing this photo, because really, do you need any other reason to watch this new show coming to GAC (Great American Country) this September?

I've already seen the first episode and I'm hooked - DVR is set to go when Farm Kings officially airs!

These are the King brothers (10 kids total)!  No really, their last name is King and they own & operate Freedom Farms in Pennsylvania.  They also own & operate Boldy's Homemade Goodies and The Market @ New Ken.

Come September, they will be staring in their own TV reality show depicting their lives running a family farm, bakery and market.  Their goal - to make farming cool again.  I'd say they are off to a stellar start!

And the main message of the show - support your local farmers!

Check em' out for yourself!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Jamming & Canning!

Today, I attempted two things for the first time - making jam and canning.

I was a little nervous to say the least.  Do I know how to make jam?  No, not really.  Do I know how to can?  No, not really.

But, I watched a TV show all about it!

Armed with my detailed notes, I hit the kitchen and to my surprise & delight, making jam and canning is easy and rather gratifying.  In fact, I think I accomplished both in about an hour.

Since, I did not know if canning was something I was going to be into, I did not buy any canning equipment (which is readily available at any large grocery store & even Walmart).  Instead, I did what any self-respecting cook would do, I Macgyvered it.

For the record, you need 4 cups of Berries to make the jam, I started out with 4 cups of fresh Blueberries and after blending it, had 2 cups. So I added an additional 4 cups of frozen Blueberries, to get to the 4 cups required for this recipe.  Don't be afraid to improvise.

Canning Equipment:

Blueberry Jam Ingredients:
  • 6 cups Blueberries (yields 4 cups blended)
  • 7 cups Sugar
  • 1 pack of Pectin 

Jam Directions:
  1. Using a food processor or Vitamix, pulse/blend Berries
  2. If using a Berry with seeds, using a spatula, push blended Berries through a wire sieve to remove seeds
  3. Add Berries to large pot and slowly stir in Sugar until it is fully dissolved
  4. On high heat, bring to a rapid boil
  5. Quickly stir in Pectin & bring back to rapid boil, stir for 1 minute, remove from heat
  6. Told you it was easy!

Canning Directions:
  1. Put the glass canning jars in the pot with the strainer, fill with water & bring to a low boil, turn down & cook for 5 minutes
  2. In the medium pot, add lids & rings, fill with water & bring to a low boil, turn down & cook for 5 minutes
  3. Using the rubber tongs, remove jars and set on cutting board
  4. Keep water cooking in pot with strainer
  5. Using the funnel & your helper, fill each jar with jam - it will take about 2 to 3 ladles to fill each jar, leaving a slight gap at the top about 1/4"
  6. Clean any jam residue from lip of jars using a wet paper towel
  7. Using a butter knife, poke around jam to remove any air bubbles (air is your enemy)
  8. Remove lids & rings from hot water as needed to ensure they stay warm, put on just fingertip tight
  9. Return jars to the pot with the strainer and boil for 5 minutes
  10. Remove jars from water, keep on counter to cool until all lids pop (about 12 to 24 hours)
You know when your lids are sealed because they will not give in when pressed upon.

You now have your very own freshly made jam that you can enjoy for the coming months!

Cheap, easy, what more could you want?

Go Canning!
The Hoff

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cooking Corn on the Cob

Corn on the Cob rocks - when cooked properly...

Here's two easy methods for doing so:
  1. Stove Top - Remove husks, place corn in large pot of water & bring to boil, place lid on pot, turn off heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes
  2. Grill - Remove husks, lay directly on the grill rack, flipping when Corn is charred to your liking
And for those of you who prefer not to gnaw your corn off the cob, check out the Corn Stripper, a handy dandy gadget that removes the corn kernels for you!

Need a little help husking your cobs?  Check out this cool trick!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Doc: What Are Dreams?

Dreams fascinate us.  Are they nonsense or a window into our unconscious mind?

What Are Dreams is a doc that attempts to explain just that.

Diving into REM Sleep, Non-REM Sleep & the five stages of sleep, this doc reveals the true purpose behind our dreams.

Dreams can and have changed the world, resulting in:

  • 2 Nobel Peace Prizes
  • Numerous books, movies, & pieces of art
  • Medical breakthroughs
  • and more...
Even nightmares serve a purpose.

An enlightening doc definitely worth watching to discover just what your dreams are trying to tell you...

Check out the preview!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Teeccino!

Awhile ago, I gave up coffee.  Partly because it didn't do much for me, manly because it's very acidic.  But, I still enjoyed my weekend morning ritual of reading in bed, while sipping a warm, tasty beverage.

That's when I discovered the wonderful world of Teeccino!


What is it...

Teeccino is an caffeine-free herbal coffee.  It tastes and looks just like coffee.  It's primarily made from herbs, grains, fruits and nuts that are roasted and ground to get that coffee-like appeal.

Best part of all, it's organic, completely GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) free and it's ingredients are Fair Trade sourced - happy dance!


Is it healthy?

Teeccino rocks, because unlike coffee, it's not acidic (a coffee bean contains over 100 different acids)!  Think you're good because you drink decaf?  Not so fast, decaf has even more acidity, lets not even get into all the chemicals used to get that caffeine out of there.  To be at our best, we want our bodies to be in an alkaline state, but we get acidic by eating more acidic foods than alkaline foods.  The body will leach minerals from our bones and teeth, just to get back to a balanced state.  Got acid reflux?  You're too acidic, cool it down!  Even worse, a chronic state of acidity leads to chronic illness, not cool.

Teeccino also supports good cardiovascular health with two heart-healthy nutrients: potassium, an electrolyte mineral and soluble fiber.  Not to mention all the antioxidant properties coming off the carob, dates, figs, barley, cocoa and almonds stomping down the free radicals having a party in our bodies at our expense!

As it has no caffeine, Teeccino is safe for moms-to-be and insomniacs to chug away.  Instead of relying on the caffeine to keep you going, you'll get a natural energy boost from all the nutrients in this stuff.

Teeccino can help with digestive issues as it contains the prebiotic, inulin.  Inulin is a soluble fiber from chicory root that supports a healthy population of beneficial digestive flora, essential for good digestive health and health in general.  In fact, each cup of Teeccino contains 650 mg of inulin - nice!

Teeccino is also gluten-free - hooray!

All that in one 20 calorie cup - how do they do it?!?


What to do with it...

Teeccino brews just like coffee.  So, you use it just like coffee.  Add ice for iced coffee, just like Starbucks.

If you're going through caffeine withdrawal, it's best to mix Teeccino in with your normal coffee, brew it together.  Keep increasing the Teeccino to coffee ratio and within about three weeks, you should be a normal, functioning human being again!

Teeccino comes in a variety of yummy flavors: Pumpkin Spice, Chocolat√©, Chai, Vanilla Nut, Hazelnut, Java, Mocha, Almond Amaretto, Chocolate Mint - that's not even all of them, try to get bored, I dare you.


I take it just like I used to take my coffee: 1 spoonful of Molasses, 2 spoonfuls of Agave & enough Vanilla Almond Milk to make it light and creamy - mmmm, heaven...


Where to get it...

I get my supply through Vitacost.com, although Amazon does sell it as well.  Or try a sampler pack directly from Teeccino.

Even Dr. Oz is a fan - check out this video of him singing the praises of Teeccino!

Good to the last drop!
The Hoff

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hoff's Summer Lovin' Grilled Veggies

Summer is here!  So it's officially time to break out the grill!  But what's a Vegan Girl to do?  Grill veggies of course!


Hoff's Summer Lovin' Grilled Veggies
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

Ingredients:
  • 2 ears of Corn
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Yellow Squash
  • 2 Portabella Mushroom Caps
  • 1 large Onion
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 2 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 pinch Sea Salt

Directions:
  1. Cut Vegetables into pieces large enough that they won't fall through the grill rack, except grill Mushroom Caps whole
  2. Lay all Vegetables directly onto grill rack, turning until desired char is achieved
  3. Meanwhile, bring Water to boil, adding Rice, Nutritional Yeast & Sea Salt, turn down to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes
  4. Once Vegetables are grilled, chop into small pieces, removing corn from the husk, stir into Rice & Serve

Hoff Thoughts: Grilled Vegetables are typically swimming in oil, but I have found that this step unnecessary.  By eliminating the oil, you will find that the sweetness of the Vegetables come to the forefront & eliminate all the fat too!  To avoid sticking, make sure Vegetables are properly charred before flipping.  If they don't lift easily, they are not ready to flip - leave them be. Another option is to coat with BBQ sauce, Marinades or Balsamic Vinegar.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hoff's Not Yo Cheese Sauce

Hoff's Not Yo Cheese Sauce
Yields: 4 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Salsa
  • 6 oz Firm Tofu
  • 1 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tbsp Corn Starch/Kuzu Root

Directions:
  1. Dump Salsa, Tofu, Nutritional Yeast & Corn Starch into Vitamix
  2. Blend for 3 minutes or until bubbling

My2Cents: I am a wimp and prefer my salsa mild, but you need to go with your gut on this one and kick it up to the proper heat setting to soothe your soul... You can definitely make this using a traditional blender, but it won't heat up the sauce for you - so blend and then heat separately.  Make this with some Semi-Homemade Tortilla Chips and you'll be the hit at the party!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Luna Burger: Artisan Veggie Burgers

Who are they...

Luna Burger located in Columbus, Ohio was started by Megan and Barbie Luna. Their vision is to offer all-natural, meatless, veggie burgers with a conscience.

What makes them special is that they have partnered up with a variety of Ohio Suppliers in order to source the best, organic & sustainable ingredients possible all while supporting Ohio local farmers!

In addition to making a mean burger, Luna works to minimize environmental impact through composting, recycling, and conscientious use of resources and seasonally-preserved ingredients.

What's in it...

As a person who suffers from food allergies, I love that they openly post their nutritional/ingredients for each hand-crafted burger!  Not only does Luna use only minimal, real, whole-foods in these burgers, there is no oil!!!

Using ingredients such as apples, ginger, brown rice, sunflower seeds, maple syrup - Luna offers 6 unique flavors.  From The Classic to the Peanut Cilantro, Luna Burger has the burger to satisfy your craving.

How much...

Each frozen burger comes sold as a pack of 2 for $4.50.  That's a bargain!

Where to get them...

Luna Burger can be found at various retail locations (including Whole Foods) around Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Toledo, etc as well as some surrounding states. But, if none of those locations work for you, you can order online!

Check out the burger I put together using the Luna Garden Thyme flavor!

"One of our missions is to not just support the local economy but support local foods," said Barbie Luna, co-founder of Luna Burger. "Using locally grown ingredients is really important to us."


How can you not support that - try a Luna burger today!

Check'em Out!
The Hoff

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hoff's Mac & Cheese!

Hoff's Mac & Cheese!
Serves 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free
 

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups uncooked Pasta
  • 1 cup Unflavored Milk Alternative
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 3 swirls of Grey Poupon
  • Dash of Onion Powder
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp Corn Starch/Kuzu Root
  • 2 tbsp Water

Directions:
  1. Cook Pasta according to directions
  2. Meanwhile in a separate pan heat up Milk, stirring in Nutritional Yeast, Grey Poupon & Seasonings
  3. In a small jar combine Corn Starch & Water, add to sauce
  4. Stir constantly to prevent burning until desired thickness is reached, remove pan from burner until Pasta has cooked
  5. Drain Pasta, return to pot, mix in "Cheese Sauce"
  6. Enjoy!

My2Cents: I favor Almond Milk for this recipe, I prefer the thickness. Reserve a little Pasta water in case sauce is too thick and needs to be watered down.  Alternatively, you could substitute 1tbsp of Instant Mashed Potatoes for the Corn Starch - no need for water, just add directly to sauce.  This is no Velveeta Shells, but it will satisfy the Mac & Cheese craving.  Choose a traditional Macaroni pasta or another fun shape!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Event: Food For Life Seminar


Food for Life Seminar, The Power of Food for Optimal Health


This one day event is being put on by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Registration for this event includes:

When: August 10, 2012
Where: Friendship Heights of Washington, D.C.
Time: 8:30am - 5:00pm
Cost: $159
Registration: Open Now

Click here for accommodation and travel details.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Doc: The Science of Healing With Dr. Esther Sternberg

The Science of Healing With Dr. Esther Sternberg, takes a look into how stress and our emotions can lead to illness.  Currently 1/3 of Americans are in a state of extreme and chronic stress and that is taking a toll on our health.

"The Science of Healing follows Dr. Sternberg to a tiny village in Greece, where her personal experience of the power of place in healing inspired the research that led to this program"

This doc explains the fundamental concepts about healing, how reducing stress can strengthen the immune system, through:

  • Sight - looking at pleasing scenes/images
  • Aroma/Scent - pleasant smells lead to feelings of being refreshed, energized or relaxed
  • Exercise - the theuraputic effects of physical movement
  • Sound - music's ability to buffer stress and transport us to a dream world

"Dr. Sternberg is internationally recognized for her discoveries in brain-immune interactions and the effects of the brain's stress response on health and illness."

This doc is a good reminder to a step back, embrace what's important in life and take our health back!


Check out a sneak peak!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Event: Veganpalooza


Veganpalooza: 2012 Vegan World Summit



Listen to interviews with over 30 speakers on the topic of living vegan!  You will hear from some of the most informed, inspired, and valuable voices on the planet.

A few of the speakers:

Veganpalooza will reveal:
  • The truth — based on most current clinical research — on how to THRIVE on a vegan diet and avoid deficiencies.
  • How to inspire others towards a compassionate plant-based diet effectively and joyfully.
  • The BEST sources of healthy proteins, fats, and other nutrients (BEYOND beans and high-fat nuts).
  • Secrets to radiant beauty on the inside and outside.
  • Helpful tips to make sure you get enough vitamins, minerals, iron, B12, omega 3s, and water in your diet.
  • How to afford an organic vegan diet on ANY budget.
  • Liberating truths about soy, vitamin B12, GMOs, dairy, eggs, grass-fed, and organic.
  • Amazing insights into the inner lives of animals, and the hidden side of animal agriculture.
  • How to creatively contribute and be part of the huge coming surge of interest in healthy, plant-based eating.
  • Bringing psychological, emotional, and spiritual healing into your life and the lives of those you love.


When: July 11, 2012 - July 15, 2012
Where: Your PC!
Time: TBD
Cost: Free!
Registration: Click here


Monday, July 9, 2012

DIY Clarifying Shampoo

Why spend cash on clarifying shampoo when you can turn your current shampoo into one?

Easy to do!

Simply mix 1 tablespoon of Baking Powder into your regular shampoo.

And unlike commercial clarifiers, this method won't strip your hair.

Is there anything this stuff can't do?!?

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hoff's Zucchini Wrap

Hoff's Zucchini Wrap
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free



Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Cashews (chopped)
  • 1 Zucchini - sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 Onion (sliced into half moons)
  • 2 Whole Wheat Wraps
  • Hummus

Directions:
  1. Toast Cashews in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until browned & fragrant
  2. Cook Zucchini in non-stick frying pan until soft & both sides browned
  3. Caramelize Onions
  4. Spread Hummus on Wrap
  5. Layer Cashews, Zucchini, Onions & Greens down the center of the Wrap
  6. Roll Wrap & Enjoy!

My2Cents: If your pan is large enough, caramelize the Onions in a corner, while leaving the rest of the pan open for the Zucchini slices.

      Friday, July 6, 2012

      Event: The Living and Eating Green Expo

      The Living and Eating Green Expo 
      (will be in conjunction with the Journey Expo Cleveland 2012)

      Two Expos for the price of one!

      When: September 7-9, 2012
      Where: Lakeland Community College, 7700 Clocktower Drive, Kirtland, OH 44094
      Cost: $12 (Friday) $8 (Saturday, Sunday)

      Friday, September 7
      Physician from the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD, from Forks Over Knives, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and who has been featured on Dr. Oz, and CNN as well. He is the headline top speaker for Friday evening, along with his beautiful wife, Ann Esselstyn!

      Also, there will be a Vegan Food Fest on Friday evening featuring many Vegetarian and Vegan friendly restaurants and caterers. The Vegan Food Fest will cost $12 for admission and gives the attendees samples of the delicious specialties for the cost of admission. The $12 will also get you into the main exhibit hall and the free mini–lectures for The Journey Expo.

      Saturday, September 8
      Headline speaker is John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, The Food Revolution, Reclaiming Our Health and Healthy at 100) and will be releasing his new book, Holy Cow with a book signing.

      Elizabeth Kucinich (Director of Public and Government Affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) speaking on “Eating Green - Eating Health - Eating Peace”, along with Rebecca Dingle, PCRM Food for Life instructor will be speaking and having a food demo class.

      Jane Esselstyn, RN is talking on Women Power, Sex and Food - Eating Plant-Strong Health Care Is Self Care.

      George Eisman, Registered Dietician will present "The Health and Eco Benefits of Whole Food Plant-Based Eating".

      Tom Rapini, environmentalist, will be talking on the impact of living green.

      Many vendors representing the various facets of living a healthy lifestyle such as; nutrition, eco living, and sustainability will be there to give you information and product.

      The Living and Eating Green Expo will also feature several mini-lectures to help spark some seeds to enhance your health and the health of the planet.

      Thursday, July 5, 2012

      An Aluminum-Free Deodorant That Works? I Found One!

      I have been searching for years for a natural deodorant that was free of aluminum.  I say years because I would get so frustrated and give up, only to try again some time later.  I have tried some of my favorite organic brands and they have all failed me.

      I'm happy to say that I have finally found an aluminum-free deodorant that can bring it!  And I was tres skeptical of this one.  So skeptical that I was going to hold off until the hottest day of summer before stamping The Healthy Hoff Seal of Approval on it!

      But recently, it passed the biggest test I can give it, a public speaking engagement.  You may have heard of it, Healthy Hoff Talks Sprouts!  I may appear all calm, cool and collective, but public speaking makes me nervous and when I'm nervous I sweat!  But this stuff kept me dry and confident - woo hoo!

      The winner is...

      I am happy to tell you that, Thai Deodorant Stone Crystal Deodorant Stone is the real deal!

      It's just crystallized natural mineral salts, no other ingredients - can't get more natural than that!  Mineral salts naturally kill odor causing bacteria.

      This deodorant is scent-free, so you won't smell like a daisy, but that makes it perfect for those with perfume allergies - me!  But, the best part for me is that it leaves no white stains on your clothes - since I'm usually in black, this is major!


      Applying...

      To use, get the stone wet and apply a few swipes - up & down, side to side.  It dries instantly and you're good to go for 24 hours or until your next shower.

      I had feared that my stone would simply melt away after a few uses, but after six months of use it appears to be the same size!  Some online reviews, state that one stone can last up to a year (we'll see). Since this retails from anywhere from $5 - $8, that's a bargain!

      Why an aluminum-free deodorant?


      For one, aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's.  It has also been linked to other brain disorders and is a possible risk factor in breast cancer.

      Aside from aluminum, there are other nasty chemicals lying in wait in your deodorant/antiperspirants:

      Parabans - possible risk factor in breast cancer
      Propylene Glycol - known neuro-toxin that can cause kidney and liver damage
      Talc - potential carcinogen
      Triclosan - potential carcinogen

      Why expose yourself unnecessarily?  It's not like you use deodorant once in a while, it's an every day event! Keep in mind that our skin absorbs up to 60% of what we put on it - do you really want all that stuff in you?

      Why put aluminum in deodorant/antiperspirants?

      Aluminum is a powerful astringent that closes pores and blocks the release of sweat and odors.  But if a product can deliver the same results without the use of aluminum, why not use it?

      Where to get it...

      I have seen the Thai Deodorant Stone at health food stores and "healthier" grocers, but I like to get mine at Vitacost or Amazon.

      Raise Your Hand If You're Sure!


      Source: http://www.greenlivingeco.com/aluminum-in-deodorant/

      Tuesday, July 3, 2012

      Hoff's Mediterranean Mix

      Hoff's Mediterranean Mix
      Serves: 2
      meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free
       

      Ingredients:
      • 1 cup Orzo
      • 1 can Chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
      • 1 half Sweet Onion (cut into half moons)
      • 3 cups Greens (chopped)
      • 1/3 cup Pasta Cooking Water
      • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
      • Juice of 1 Lemon
      • 2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
      • 2 tbsp Mustard
      • 1 tbsp minced Ginger

      Directions:
      1. Bring large pot of Water to boil
      2. Add Orzo, Chickpeas & Onions & cook for 4 minutes
      3. Add Greens to top of water, cover & cook for an additional 4 minutes
      4. Meanwhile, mix together reserved Pasta Water, Nutritional Yeast, Lemon Juice, Braggs, Mustard & Ginger - set aside
      5. Drain cooking water, mix together Pasta & Sauce

      My2Cents: Experiment with different Greens: Bok Choy, Chard, Collards, Kale, Spinach etc.  The Lemon Juice will add brightness to the Greens, making them pop!  By adding the Onions to the cooking water, you save a step and a pan by not sauteing them, they will come out perfectly softened.

      Monday, July 2, 2012

      Event: 11th Annual Healthy Lifestyle Expo 2012


      11th Annual Healthy Lifestyle Expo 2012

      A weekend that will change your life!

      Weekend Activities:
      • Hear the latest information and research about health from our panel of experts
      • Learn how to incorporate healthy changes into your life
      • Interact with like-minded people with whom you can form a healthy support system
      • Taste delicious plant-powered meals, and learn how to make them yourself
      • Meet in person your favorite doctors, authors, and personalities
      • Purchase discounted items from the store which will help keep you on your healthy path
      • Cooking demonstations
      • Friday night gourmet, low fat vegan banquet
      • More to come...

      Scheduled Speakers:

      When: October 12-15, 2012
      Time: TBD
      Where: Warner Center Marriott Hotel: 21850 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills, California 91367
      Cost: $200
      Registration: https://secure2.vegsource.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=75

      Contact for more info!

      "Health is not luck. We have an innate ability to maintain good health if we establish the optimal environment for healing." - Joel Fuhrman, MD

      Watch an excerpt from the 2011 Expo!


      Sunday, July 1, 2012

      Stevia: a natural sugar alternative

      A few years ago, I discovered that I had developed a sugar intolerance.  As a result, I went on the hunt in search of an alternative to sugar.

      There was no way I was going to indulge in artificial sweeteners.

      Why...

      Besides artificial sweeteners being a man-made Frankenstein food, this is what one expert has to say on the matter...

      "Dr. Ginger Southall of the Hippocrates Health Institute emphatically states that the use of chemical sweeteners of any kind -aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet' N Low, saccharin, Canderel and even Splenda - is not advised." Southall further states, "Artificial sweeteners are potent nerve toxins and never should have been approved for human consumption.  They have the potential to damage your nervous system - your brain and nerves - leading to a variety of symptoms from migraine headaches to unexplained seizures, dizziness, depression and vision problems.  They are even linked to cancer, obesity and diabetes." - Crazy, Sexy, Diet

      For more information on man-made chemical sweeteners, check out DORway, a website dedicated to Aspartame & Aspartame Poisoning information.


      Fortunately, I stumbled upon an all-natural, plant-based sugar alternative called, Stevia.


      What is it...

      Stevia is derived from a South American herb and can be up to 25-30 times sweeter than sugar.  It comes from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant in the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild as a small shrub mostly in Paraguay and Brazil.

      It has zero carbs, zero calories and no glycemic index, which means it's safe for diabetics to use.

      Stevia comes in two forms - powder and in liquid form.


      Is it healthy?

      Stevia is a whole food, as it is created by grinding the dried Stevia leaves into powder.

      There are no known side effects to consuming Stevia.

      It aids in the digestive process.

      It is safe for diabetics to consume as it helps to regulate blood sugar levels.  "The Japanese have been using stevia for decades in the treatment of type 2 diabetics." - Mark's Daily Apple

      Some studies suggest it may aid in cavity prevention (you still have to brush & floss!). 

      All that being said, it's still a sweetener and should be used in moderation, just like sugar.  You're not consuming Stevia for health, you're consuming it to satisfy your sweet tooth (you can't fool me).


      Nutrition

      1 Packet (1/2 gram) of Stevia

      Calories: 0
      Total Fat: 0
      Cholesterol: 0mg
      Sodium: 0mg
      Protein: 0g


      Read your labels!

      Look for products in which Stevia is the only ingredient, although a fiber or inulin additive is acceptable, but unnecessary.

      SweetLeaf is a brand that I typically use.

      Or, instead of buying it, you can grow your own Stevia!


      What to do with it...

      Use Stevia just as you would regular sugar - to bake with, cook with, sweeten coffee, teas, smoothies etc.  The only thing you can't do with Stevia is caramelize it as you can sugar.


      Where to find it...

      Gaining in popularity, Stevia can be in found in the baking isle, next to the sugar of most major grocery chains as well as in the supplement isle of the same chains.  (Before it was approved by the FDA for use as sweetener in 2009, Stevia was sold as a supplement.)  It can also be found in Health & Natural Food Stores and online - Amazon or Vitacost.


      Keep It Sweet!
      The Hoff

      Sources: Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! by Kris Carr
      Mark's Daily Apple
      Stevia.com
      Stevia.net
      Thrive The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports & Life by Brendan Brazier