9 ways to Enjoy Kale!

Kale is the boss! Hands down out of all of the super healthy greens, kale takes the crown. It’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet; it’s loaded with powerful antioxidants; it’s an EXCELLENT source of Vitamin C; it can help lower cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease; it’s packed with Vitamin K; and it’s full of minerals that MOST people don’t get enough of…

Yeah, Kale is the bomb. Nutrients in green leafy vegetables, like kale, have so many great health benefits yet, nearly 90% of Americans don’t eat the MINIMUM recommended daily amount of ANY vegetables (daily recommended amount is 3 cups of raw, cooked, blended, or juiced vegetables).

So, in case you fall into that 90% (no judgement here), I have included 9 super easy ways you can add (one of MY favorite vegetables) to your daily routine.

  1. Kale Smoothie – Start your day with a green smoothie, blended greens, or a good ol’ green juice. Smoothies and blended greens are loaded with fiber (get’s things moving) and are best for daily intake and long-term health maintenance.

Here’s a kale smoothie that I enjoy:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped kale leaves — stems removed
  •  3/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk — I love oat milk
  • 1 frozen medium banana — cut into chunks
  •  1/4 cup Cocoyo living coconut yogurt — probiotics rock!
  •  1/4 cup frozen pineapple pieces
  •  2 tablespoons peanut butter — creamy or crunchy
  •  1 to 3 teaspoons agave or maple syrup — to taste (feel free to omit because we found that the bananas and pineapple is sweet enough…but do you boo!)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients (kale, almond milk, banana, yogurt, pineapple, peanut butter, and honey) in a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth. Add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Enjoy immediately.

2. Kale Salad – I love a good kale salad with a variety of other dark leafy greens. Make your kale salad with the curly variety (or whatever kale you like), add some avocado (mash it into your greens to replace the dressing or slice it to place on top…MmmmMmmm), quinoa, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, maybe some sun-dried tomato… You’ve got yourself a nutrient packed salad!

3. Snack it Up: Kale Chips! These are my absolute favorite go-to snack. They are super easy to make and you can dress them up or down any way that you like. You can pop them in the oven (not too long or they will burn… no one wants burnt chips do they?!?!?!) or in the dehydrator (my favorite way). You can sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper, do a cashew/tahini sauce then bake/dehydrate, you can even do different flavor profiles (Chipotle, Curry, Greek, so many options)! Click here for a super easy recipe!

4. Sauté it Baby – Chop up some onion and garlic. Cook it up then add that kale (in bit sized pieces) and a little water. Top that pan with a lid and let the kale wilt a little (keep it green, you don’t want to lose too many nutrients). After about 5-7 minutes, you’ve got some sauteed kale. Sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. BAM! You’ve got a lovely side dish or snack.

5. Soup Time – You can make vegetable soup, but what’s vegetable soup without some greens? Chop up some kale leave and add them to any soup or stew you make. Treat these babies just as you would fresh cilantro, parsley, or basil…Add them near the end of cooking. Increase those nutrients in your dish!

6. Get Saucy – Kale pesto on pasta… or as a spread…or on fresh bread! Kale pesto is truly a treat. It goes a little beyond the traditional pesto recipe by adding in the nutrient dense properties of kale. Click here for a simple kale pesto recipe.

7. Wrap it up – Good ol’ Dino kale (Lacinato Kale…the dark green kind with the “bumps” on the leaves) is a great choice when making wraps. The leaves are flat so you can add other veggies, dips, or sauces to make a delicious snack!

8. Hold the Lettuce Please – No shade against lettuce, but have you ever tried kale on a sandwich? It just slaps a little different. Not to mention the nutritional benefits added to that sammie! Whew!

9. Burger time – Not quite like #8. I mean making a burger using kale as an ingredient. As a plant-based chef, I have gotten pretty inventive/creative in the kitchen. Burgers are always a crowd pleaser and adding kale kicks it up a notch. Check out this link for our Super Garlicky Kale Burger…It’s so delicious, but I’m sure it will keep the vampires away.

There you have it! Nine simple and easy ways to eat one of the most nutrient dense veggies on the planet: KALE (yeah)! Go ahead get more kale in your life. Your body and palate will love you for it!

Have a great week!

~ Chef Kay 🌱😘

The Role of Diet and Essential Nutrients during COVID-19

Hi everyone! There’s been quite the buzz lately about supplements and medications revolving around COVID-19. No one is really publicizing (on main stream media) about the holistic ways we can keep our immune systems boosted during this time. I know what you may be thinking, “Here we go… more herbs, tonics, and tinctures… yadda yadda yadda.” Well, I thought about it, but I wanted to be more practical in my approach and tell you about foods we can keep in our homes to keep ourselves healthy (or at least in better health) during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclaimer: I do not have the cure all be all. You cannot change your immune system overnight. Healthy habits are just that…habits! You have to take time to build and practice strengthening/maintaining your immune system on a regular basis. The tips here are a suggestion from an educational standpoint.

You may recall, back in March, that I wrote a nice little blog post mentioning “5 ways to build your immune system.” Here we are in April still running around in utter confusion and more scared than ever (anxiety through the roof) about how to stay healthy during this time. Here’s a question I have for you: What are the three things a human cannot live without?

Any guesses?!

No, it’s not your cell phone or getting your nails done… It’s Air, Water, and Food. A human being cannot survive without those three things for an extended period of time (please do not try to experiment with this concept… do your research). The body begins to break down on a cellular level and can result in death. That’s pretty serious. There is much to talk about regarding air, water, and food. Air and water will be another blog for another day (there’s much to talk about), however, I want to focus on my area of expertise which is food and its health benefits.

So, if food is important, according to a number of scientific studies, then why aren’t people more “concerned” about the foods they consume?

Wait! I know…I know… How dare I come in between you and your food? Know that I would never do that. My job here is to keep you and your families educated and informed with information that will enhance your life, especially when it comes to food. So here’s the latest and greatest in helpful information to keep your bodies’ immune system boosted while staying home in quarantine.

Boost your immunity by choosing:

  • Zinc-rich foods: Helps regulate and improve functioning of the immune system. Foods that are rich in zinc include leafy green vegetables, legumes, sprouted seeds and beans, nuts, seeds, and oats.
  • Iron-rich foods: These are essential for good metabolism, healthy blood flow, and therefore oxygenation of the body. Iron helps improve muscle and brain function. Try eating dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, lentils (we love these), artichokes, dark chocolate, sesame seeds, or chickpeas (you can even combine many of these in a well-balanced plant-based dish).
  • Eat probiotic-rich foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, or pickles. These foods help the body’s digestive system and promotes a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Sunshine (when you can) for that Vitamin D!
  • Magnesium-rich foods: These foods are essential for hundred of reactions in your body, such as repairing and regenerating cells and providing energy. Don’t let yourself become deficient! Magnesium is found in chlorophyll (found in green plants), so eat LOTS OF GREENS!!! Avocados, chard, spinach, figs, bananas, black beans, and pumpkin seeds are some of the foods you can keep in your pantry.

Staying at home and keeping your sanity during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone. This stress and increased anxiety can cause people to abandon their healthy eating intentions and go into binge snacking. I’m here to let you know that you CAN continue to make good food choices and boost your immunity in the process. Remember that here at Plant-Based Eatz, we love each and every one of you. Here’s to your health.

Healthy Inside. Healthy Outside.

-Chef Kay

Coping with Disruption

Handling stressors and anxiety during COVID-19 quarantine.

How’s everyone doing out there? I’m sure watching the news and scanning social media posts isn’t making it any “easier” to deal with being quarantined. COVID-19 is creating anxiety almost everywhere you look. I’ve noticed that amidst all of the reports that we are being fed (whether traditional or social media) levels of anxiety and panic are at a high.

Stress and anxiety can have an overwhelming effect on the body. It can cause panic attacks, headaches, irritability, depression, increased blood pressure, upset stomach, loss of libido, muscle aches and other pains. How can we cope? Imagine what your life would be like if you could reduce your anxiety… Imagine cultivating an environment where “calm” is the norm while being mindful of the events happening around you. It can be done. This week on PB Eatz’s Medicinal Monday post, we will talk about coping with uncertainty during a time of high stress and anxiety.

**Disclaimer: No one here at Plant-Based Eatz is denying nor avoiding the issues. We understand that they are very real and should be taken seriously.**

COVID-19: The reality is unavoidable

People are losing their s***. Folks are irritable, schools and businesses are closed until further notice, grocery stores are limiting the number of customers shopping, many people are in complete isolation, and no one has a clue about what will happen next. Yeah, it’s some scary stuff. Not only is health a concern for the physical body, but the health of our economy.

Now, it is TOTALLY understandable to experience heightened anxiety during a time uncertainty. Depending on where you are geographically, it can be complete chaos for you. As I mentioned last week, you could use this opportunity to improve your physical health (eating well, getting sunlight, washing your hands, practicing social distancing), but you can also use this time as a chance to improve your mental health and anxiety.

Let’s Calm Down Together

Acceptance: We can only control what is in our control

This is a complete state of mind. The sooner we accept what we can and cannot control, we will see the anxiety dissipate. Has worrying ever changed anything? Accepting change (and how you deal with it) can improve your mental health.

Being Mindful: Choosing our focus and actions

Actively choose what you do and what you pay attention to. Instead of sitting in front of your television or staring at your mobile device all day, be active at home. Try meditation. Maybe some yoga. Doing more positive activities with loved ones or actively engaging in a new found hobby while focusing on the POSITIVE aspects, can help minimize worries about the unknown (the what-ifs/worst case scenarios). Be mindful even when you decide to make that run to the grocery store. The long lines and paranoia can cause high levels of stress… Don’t worry. Take a moment and breath deeply and be mindful that we are ALL in this together. It will take time.

Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet: Healthy Inside. Healthy Outside.

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water. Move more. Don’t stay sedentary getting your anxiety levels up. Stressing can do a number on your immune system. We want you healthy. That means your physical and mental health.

The truth is that we only have this moment to live in… Just this moment! We don’t know what will happen next or what lies ahead for the “coronavirus,” however, it is how we handle ourselves in this “unprecedented” time that will surely make or break us. I believe in you… I believe in us as a people on this planet. Keep believing and take time each day to enjoy it. WOOSAH!

I love each and every one of you. We here at Plant-Based Eatz want all of you to live your best life and stay healthy. -Kay

🥰

Staying Strong: 5 Tips to Build Your Immunity

We are in a very interesting time where we are more connected than ever as a people — we are all going through this pandemic together.

I want all of you to stay safe and (most importantly) healthy. The time to take care of yourself is more important than ever. For those that are not doing so well right now, I hope that there are systems and support in place to help you heal and recover. We will all get through this together.

Disclaimer: I do not have the cure all be all. You cannot change your immune system overnight. Healthy habits are just that…habits! You have to take time to build and practice strengthening/maintaining your immune system on a regular basis. The tips here are a suggestion from an educational standpoint.

Here are the 5 tips to build your immunity:

Consume a whole food, plant-based diet.

Many feel that eating a more plant-based diet is trendy, but in reality, these foods are the healthiest we can consume. Do you like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains? Then you’re on the right track. They are the building blocks for a STRONG immune system. Here’s a pro tip: Eat your dark leafy greens. Dark leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach Swiss Chard, Bok Choy, mustard greens, turnip greens (Oh my Goodness 🤤). All of these greens (there are so many more) are nutrient dense and have an abundance of health benefits. Make sure you’re also drinking 6-8 cups of water every single day (for all of you gallon drinkers, way to go)!

Get Moving.

I understand that we have been told to “stay inside,” but that doesn’t mean you can exercise/be active at home. Now is the time to be super creative. There are many apps and videos online that will help you stay (or get) on track with your fitness journey. Some of our favorites are yoga, dancing, body-weight exercises, and strength training (if you have weights or canned goods then you can do some strengthening exercises…stay tuned for another post on in-home workouts).

Sunshine = Vitamin D.

Social distancing is a must just as much as washing your hands; however, try to make it a point of going outside for at least 15/20 minutes a day. You can step out on your porch, balcony, rooftop, out in your yard to do some grounding! Fresh air and the warm sunlight on your face (arms, hands, legs) can work wonders on your immune system. You can also download the D Minder app to find ideal times to bask in the sunlight.

Laugh a little… or a lot.

One thing we always make sure we do in our home is laugh… I mean we laugh A LOT! Laughter and a positive mindset has a powerful effect on your immune system (just as negative thoughts and stress have on breaking down your immune system). Don’t worry…Be happy! Engage in activities or hobbies that you enjoy (let’s face it, now is the time to maybe pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read or take on a new hobby). Live and laugh with loved ones. Your immune system will thank you.

Find some quiet time…Try meditation.

We have literally gone from zero to one hundred in a matter of weeks when it comes to stress, anxiety, and flat out worry. This much emotional/physical “trauma” takes a major toll on your immune system and its defenses. Now is the best time to make a conscious decision to just…Breathe and relax. You can start by doing guided meditations for at least 10 minutes a day. Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer are great apps I have used and recommend ( I rotate through these regularly). Be sure to also get enough sleep… A well-rested body helps keep the immune system healthy.

If you’re already doing some of these tips, you are on top of it. Way to go and keep doing what you are doing. You’re facing this pandemic with an already strong immune system. For those that are just seeing this for the first time, it’s ok, now is the BEST time to start some of these practices to promote long-term health. Remember, this is a first for many of us. We are all taken aback and have had to make some heavy changes, but we are all in this together.

I love each and every one of you. We here at Plant-Based Eatz want all of you to live your best life and stay healthy. -Kay🥰

Traveling Vegan

Happy February/Veganuary Veg-Heads!

I hope that all of you are living your best lives in 2019!

I know I am.  I spent the holidays in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia and ended up ringing in my “New Year” there.  It was a wonderful experience.  Well… almost completely wonderful.

For all of my plant-based eaters out there, have you ever felt like you were going to starve to death while traveling?  That is usually my experience every time I travel by plane.

It’s quite comical actually.  I have found myself accustomed to not being accommodated for in the airport and while in flight.  I get nasty looks when going through TSA because I pack plates of food in my carry on.  Not to mention that my checked luggage is usually filled with water, snacks, and food.  I spare no expense when it comes to my food.  After years of doing field training and learning how to pack food on-the-go, I would say that I’m quite proficient.  I’ve even been asked, “Why do you have all of this food in your bag?” I smile and kindly reply, “When you all start accommodating my dietary needs maybe I wouldn’t need to take my fridge with me.” There are no liquids in question and my food always checks out, so they let me through to catch my flight.

Domestic travel is one thing, but when you are on an international flight struggling to find food… S*** gets real, real fast!

That’s what happened to me on my last trip.  My amazing and exciting trip to Ethiopia…

Can you imagine traveling over 13 hours with hunger pangs?  I was worried and concerned, but I was rescued by a lovely flight attendant who graciously “created a meal” for me in flight.  Apparently, I did not have “vegan/vegetarian” annotated on my ticket and my options were fish, chicken, or veggie… Yes, veggie… with lots of cheese!  So, I kindly explained what the mix up was and she said, “I’ll have to come back.”  I waited for what seemed like an eternity (about 40 minutes), but I continued to be patient.  I mean, after all, I was on an international flight and the plane was PACKED!

The flight attendant finally came back with a meal that was clearly not on the “menu” and was pieced together with perfection.  I had vegetable potstickers, steamed vegetables, and a mushroom medley that was heavenly.  The flight attendant was apologetic and seemed disappointed that she could only come up with this meal, but I thought it was absolutely AMAZING!  It was by far, the best in-flight airplane travel food I’ve ever had!  I even had other passengers looking over to see what I had on my plate.  I enjoyed every

More Airline food. Wish I had taken a picture of the first meal… I crushed it, so here’s one from the flight back to the US.

bite and to be honest, I was set for the rest of the flight.

After that delicious meal, I really began to wonder why it was so difficult to just have a vegetable dish or even have a vegan option.  We’ve come so far with being mindful of those with allergies (they don’t serve peanuts anymore), but not really those with a dietary preference of being vegan.  So, I have been talking about it to some pretty important people and I believe that we’ll make a change really soon.  Just wait and see.  The life of traveling is about to change in a big way! Until then, keep packing those snacks and always read the regulations for foods/beverages when traveling.  As always, keep it Fresh!

Sea Moss: Amazing Health Benefits!

Hello plant lovers! I know I’ve been MIA for a bit, but it’s all been for a great cause.  So many amazing things are being planned (I’m so EXCITED) and I promise to keep you all in “the loop.”  I wanted to write to you all today because I recently had a terrible experience with headaches.  Many of you that know me, know that I DON’T GET SICK and I don’t have headaches.  This “experience” happened shortly after two vaccinations I received to travel abroad (more details coming soon on my exciting trip).  Side note, after all of the inoculations I have had (especially while being in the Marine Corps), I still had to get two more (even though one has a life time immunity…I’ve had it THREE times already)… Money making entity at its best! (Oh, there will be another blog about this!)  I am not a fan of vaccines and I’d be happy to share in another blog, but FYI… The struggle is real when it comes to vaccinations and being plant-based.  There are so many “animal” and chemical ingredients in a number of vaccines.  For more information on vaccinations and their ingredients, venture over to the CDC website.

Where was I?  Right!  I reached out to a friend about natural cures for headaches and he mentioned Sea Moss!  (I also gave him the back story about those vaccinations too).  I’ve know about sea moss for a number of years now, but I’ve always hesitated to prepare it.  Can you imagine?  It’s a sea vegetable that if not rinsed and soaked well, can taste like the ocean and just be a bad experience overall. Well, I realized that I completely over thought the process and at the end of the day, it was a really cool experience… Preparing and using the sea moss.

So, what’s the scoop?

Seaweeds are recognized as a rich source of diverse bioactive compounds such as “sulfated polysaccharides.”  What the what?!?!  Basically these compounds have been reported to induce many health enhancing biological activities and are considered to be: antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral.  This sea vegetable is a power house of nutrients and minerals.

Health Benefits of Sea Moss (Irish Moss)

Immune Support

This powerful sea vegetable helps relieve and prevent symptoms of colds and flu.  Now is the time to get some sea moss for these long winter months ahead.  It’s a great source of potassium chloride which helps reduce mucous and phlegm.  Remember those “health enhancing biological activities” I mentioned before?  Sea moss acts as a natural antimicrobial and antiviral agent which helps rid the body of infections. Other benefits include (but not limited to):

  • Thyroid Support
  • Mental Health
  • Heavy Metal Detoxifying Agent
  • Skin Health
  • Digestive Support

After making Sea Moss gel today and adding it to my smoothie, I have to admit that my headache has been minimized.  I made enough to last me for the week.  I will be adding it to my smoothies, blending it with almond pulp, and whatever else I can think of.  I really want my body to go back to being happy and flushing out the effects from those vaccines (ugh).

I hope you’ll check out sea moss too! I can’t believe I’ve been missing out! Have a happy and healthy week!

 

 

Welcome to PBE

Welcome to the first post of my first official PBE blog!  We would like to use this space to share all things plant-based from recipes to ways of being eco-friendly.

Where it all started

The love for clean wholesome food has made us passionate about helping others become more healthy inside and healthy outside. I’m Kay Brown, from Columbia SC, but call Hampton VA my home.

As you may have guessed, I love all things plant-based when it comes to food and cooking.  I just started this blog, but my love for cooking started much earlier than this.  

Growing up, I was always in the kitchen with my grandparents learning how to cook.  I owe a lot to my grandparents for igniting my passion for cooking.  They cooked so many traditional Southern style dishes with fresh home-grown vegetables.  I was always allowed to help out in the kitchen. It was such a great learning experience and looking back I am grateful for what I was taught because it helped me build a positive relationship with food.

However, when I was 14 years old, I lost my grandfather to a massive heart attack and realized that lifestyle and food played a huge part in his death.  I began to look at food differently.  I wanted to be healthier and use food for good.  For years I tried I tried a number of diets and it wasn’t until 2010 that I decided to become vegan.

I was an active duty Marine, eight years in, and decided that food was the way to really boost my performance.  I was changing my career from enlisted to officer and knew that I needed to be physically ready to take on my new role as an officer of Marines.  I was a powerhouse being fueled off of greens and plant-based foods.  The feeling was incredible.  I was in the best shape of my life and for the first time (in my adult life) I felt ALIVE.  So I took it and ran with it (literally).  This decision turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.

I started a fitness company in 2014 with an emphasis on nutrition. I began to really experiment with food and my passion grew! After a few months of creating meals and training clients, I began to upload my food and fitnesspictures on Instagram. I started growing followers and I was getting feedback for workouts, recipes, and deliveries. Business was great!

I transitioned out of the Marine Corps in 2015.  Business was growing in fitness, but the food piece took a serious pivot.  My clients were more interested in meal preparation plans and doing in-home cooking lessons.  I hadn’t  thought about culinary training until my demand for food was high.  I attended the Rouxbe Culinary program and received my certificate in professional plant-based cooking. Now, it was a matter of capturing my food and delivering the mouth watering flavors to my clients.

In 2017, the company became Plant-Based Eatz™.  Ever since I uploaded the first food picture, I’ve been motivated to create more healthy, nutritious, and delicious dishes! That’s what brings me to this blog.  I want to share recipes and dishes with all of you.  The call-to-action from you all has been huge!  I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the love and support.

I am looking forward to updating and capturing food moments with you on this journey.  Thanks for reading!

Kay 🍉