Couscous salad Mexican style

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Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes chopped or grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 avocado chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Bring the veggie broth to a boil.  Add the couscous and stir.  Then turn off the heat, remove from the heat and cover the pot.  Let it stand while chopping the produce.
  • Add all chopped produce to a large bowl.
  • Let the couscous cool and fluff with a fork.
  • add cooled couscous to the large bowl of chopped produce, then squeeze the lime juice over the top, stirring often.  Add the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip

  • best when served chilled.

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Produce is less expensive than I thought

We all know we should be eating more fruits and veggies, especially if we call ourselves Plant-Based, Vegan, or Vegetarian.  Is produce really as expensive as some people make it seem?  I just found out produce is pretty dang cheap.  Even though I buy some produce with my groceries every time I go to the store, I never really knew how much I was spending on produce alone.  Today I decided to go to the store for produce only to see what I could get for $15.

Less than $15 of produce
Less than $15 of produce

Here is what I got:

  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 lbs of broccoli
  • 3 lbs of zucchini squash
  • 4 avocados
  • 1 watermelon
  • 1.4 lbs of tomatoes on the vine
  • 1.18 lbs of gala apples (3)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 cobs of corn

Total:  $14.54

I have included a copy of the receipt and a picture of the produce.

Produce receipt
Produce receipt

We can all find high quality produce for a decent price, especially if we buy what is in season.  Here are a few ways to get produce for a great price:

  • If you live in AZ check out:  POWWOW. You can get 60 lbs of produce for $10
  • find your local farmers market at http://www.localharvest.org
  • shop the produce section at the grocery store and avoid the center isles of the store (shop the perimeter).
  • Buy produce that is in season.  Avoid buying the produce that is more expensive because it is not its season.  If you are not sure what is in season you could google it and find out.
  • create a grocery budget for yourself and stick to it.  If you want to spend less on food, you can!  Eat from your pantry and just buy a few produce items to “spice it up”.
  • Buy in bulk.  I like to buy huge bags of the grains and beans that my family eats the most:  Black beans, jasmine brown rice, oatmeal, and kidney beans.  I then put them in a bucket to keep the pests out and add oxygen absorber packets.  Now I can have rice and beans as taco “meat” and the produce will make a nice mexican dish like a taco salad or tacos, or nachos.

 

I can eat all week on just $15 because I already have bulk beans and rice, and other pantry items to make meals with.  Here are a few meals I could make this week with the produce I just bought:

  • rice & broccoli stir fry
  • taco salad
  • pasta primavera  (with zucchini)
  • couscous salad (couscous, cucumber, tomato, onion, lime juice)
  • salad
  • Corn on the cob with a veggie burger

Time for a new book to read…Proteinaholic

I bought this book awhile back, and have been wanting to dive in, but I never seem to make enough time to sit and read, more often I will check out an audiobook from the library and listen to it while multitasking.  I like to listen and run or cook.  I also listen while driving to and from work.  An audiobook is also great while doing chores or working in the garden.  Last time I read a book it was on vacation this summer and I read Finding Ultra.  I have heard lots of good things about Proteinaholic from podcasts I listen to.  I will provide a review after I finish reading it.  If you can’t wait for my review, feel free to check it out yourself.

Proteinaholic

Weight Plateau Breached

On May 26th I created a post titled Burn more fat.  Today is exactly one month and I am ready to report my results so far.  I am ecstatic to report that I lost 5.2 lbs using the “slow down” method of running with MAF heart rate training.  One of the reasons I am so ecstatic is that I had hit a plateau in my weight loss until changing to this MAF training with my Polar heart rate monitor.  I started noticing a difference in my face first, a coworker asked me one day if I had lost more weight, that my face looked thinner, and I was excited to say yes and tell her my MAF experience.  Then I went on vacation for two weeks and didn’t exercise as much and didn’t eat as well as usual, and I still lost weight.  I was very active on vacation though, my sister likes to be active too, which helps.  I drove to her house in UT ( an 11 hour drive) and stayed for a couple of weeks.  During my stay we ran a few times, hiked once, camped 4 nights, and went paddle boarding 2 days.  I usually run 3 to 4 days a week.

With all of this in mind I should see better results in another month.  It is really hot here in AZ though, so my training is suffering (especially since I am not a morning person).  The coolest it has been lately is 85 degrees and that is at 6am, by 8am it is 91 degrees.  Today I started my run at 9:45am and it was 94 degrees and overcast.  I ran for an hour.  By 10:45am it was 96 degrees.

As far as eating, I have been trying to avoid processed sugar and junk food.  I have been eating more higher fat plant foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados.  After reading Finding Ultra I decided my body would be ok with the higher fat foods since it is switching to burning more fat.  Rich Roll talked about eating avocado sandwiches, and I have been enjoying a few since then.  I eat more fruits and VeggEase and less pastas, grains and beans.

Review of Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

While I was on vacation, I set a couple of goals I wanted to accomplish:  first I wanted to try Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP)…done.  Love it!  Second:  I wanted to finish reading a book.  I happened to check out Finding Ultra after getting interested in improving my aerobic fat burning, so that became my goal book.  I had my trusty iPad with me and was able to read the book for free by using my library card and checking out the digital version with my Overdrive app and reading on my free Kindle app.  (I usually “read” more audio books because I listen to them while running, but this one was not available in audio form, so I actually read it).  I accomplished my second goal too, and I am glad I did because I learned a lot about being a plant-based endurance athlete.

finding ultra
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

Before reading this book I thought of ultra endurance as unhealthy!  How can running 100 miles be good for you?  I learned how amazing our bodies are and just how much they are capable of.  I once thought marathons were not healthy either.  I now am seriously planning to run my first marathon some day soon.  I ran my first half marathon this year (April 2016) and felt really good, I didn’t even hit any dreaded wall or have any bears jump on my back.  Rich Roll is about five years older than me, so I feel confident that I can complete a marathon safely in my old age.

Rich shared some very personal moments in his book about overcoming addiction and fatigue.  His stories inspired me to be a better me.  Like Rich, I too was an athlete at a young age.  His sport was swimming, mine was running.  He learned a love of swimming partially because he was good at it, just like me with running.  We both competed in college, he in swimming and I in running.  Our stories differ in my ways too, I was lucky to never have felt the grasp of addiction (well besides chocolate, does that count?). Another similarity I have to Rich is being reunited with my love of running after finding a plant-based lifestyle.  Once he started eating plants he found new energy and a desire to exercise.  I found this to be true for myself as well.

I loved hearing about how he is a family man and how he tried to balance his ultra training, work, and family time.  It can be a struggle trying to reach an important goal and not let other priorities slide.  His passion was apparent to his family and they supported him and encouraged him.  They helped encourage him when he thought he might be focusing too much on his ultra goal and letting work or family priorities slide.

This book may not be for everyone, but if you have any desire to be plant-based or to get in shape I highly recommend it.  You will experience some of his lowest lows and highest highes in the pages and hopefully it will awaken in you a desire to live life a little fuller, like it has done for me.