Living Walls.

I stumbled across a couple pictures the other day on the internet that made me start to do some research on the concept of 'living' walls or more commonly vertical gardening. The more research I did, the more the idea got bigger until finally, I'd found a 'living' house that was centered completely around the idea -- wind turbines for energy, water reservoir on the roof for water source and even solar panels for power. In the past I'd thought about making a house completely out of a couple large shipping containers and having a garden on the rooftop(s) but this has taken things to a whole new level for me. I guess I'll start small with the idea of just doing something in my future back yard or possibly in my kitchen :) Enjoy and let your mind wander guys!

So this is where my research began and I love the concept of a true 'salad bar'.
For those of you who are super handy DIYers -- this should be an easy one to
make. I'd maybe throw in a small section where I could fill it with ice and put
drinks/wine in it for entertaining purposes.
Gro2 GroWalls & GroRoof -- I found them on Facebook and this is one of their
concepts. They have a website and tons of information on how to get started or
have them install something for you that's already up and running. I like the idea
of filling up sections of your fence so you don't lose the space in your backyard.
How great would it be to have your own greens or herbs right there
in the kitchen ready to throw into whatever you're cooking?
Just another idea for a vertical garden concept.
Doesn't have much of a purpose other than to upcycle some old tea pots
and look pretty with some flowers, but I like the idea all the same.
So lastly, I wanted to post a link that shows off that house that I mentioned in the beginning. They're based out of LA, so I don't see them coming to Nashville to help me build my first house, but I like the idea and am wondering what I could get away with in East Nashville -- Eco Architecture. ENJOY!

What kinds of things are you growing in your vertical gardens at the moment?


So last night I had an amazing workout at the Y -- I went to my 2nd Sculpt class and followed it up by my 3rd Step class. The instructor, Rebecca, was the same one that did my Basic Step on Monday, so it was nice to see a familiar face. She absolutely killed me towards the end of Sculpting though. I can't feel my arms or legs now, so I'm probably gonna take it kinda easy today for my workout.

Was nice to come home to a hot shower and a nice hot meal too -- even if it was takeout (and the beau really wanted Chipotle instead)! I think I've mentioned before that Drifters (in East Nashville) has a great vegetarian menu surprisingly. Not something you would expect from a place that makes you think 'biker bar' when you drive past it. My go to favorite is the vegetarian burrito -- wild rice, black beans, pico-de-gallo, cheddar cheese and Morningstar vegetable protein. Also comes with salsa, sour cream and chips on the side. Was pretty amazing with a little hot sauce on it :) They also have a Tofu Diner, Tofu Sandwich, Soft Vegetarian Tacos, Quesadillas, a spicy Garden Veggie Burger, Black Bean Nachos for One, and a Fiesta Salad.  Here's a link to the rest of their online menu, it's worth checking them out: Drifters.

What's been your favorite quick and easy meal solution this week?

Stuffed Peppers.

So lately I've been scouring different vegetarian/vegan friendly websites for good recipe ideas since I find myself in a rut of eating the same thing day in and day out. Now, don't get me wrong, I love what I'm eating, but I definitely need some variety at home vs running and getting take out from the local spots! So today I'm sharing with you guys some 'Instagram Inspiration' -- stuffed peppers!

@clo_vision (garlic cous cous, mushrooms, jalapenos,
onions and tomatoes.)
@esco_behop (sprouts, snap peas, hummus, almonds)
@kevsblog (rice, broccoli, zucchini, red pepper, paprika,
red pepper, carrots, quinoa and radish)
@tifae (organic brown rice, onions, tomatoes, garlic,
spinach and cabbage with some spices)
Done drooling? What's your favorite stuffed pepper recipes?

Green Onions.

I stumbled across this on HomeSteadingSurvivalism's website and thought I'd pass this fun fact along. I've heard about this in the past, but have never thought to do it until just now :)

"The next time you have green onions, don't throw away the white ends. Simply submerge them in a glass of water and place them in a sunny window. Your onions will grow almost immediately and can be harvest almost indefinitely. We just use kitchen scissors to cut what we need for our meals and periodically empty out the water, rinse the roots and give them fresh water."

Photo Credit:
Also, if you can't seem to use them fast enough -- take and cut a bunch of these up into small pieces with some kitchen shears (can do with chives too) and then throw them into an empty water bottle and place in the freezer. Anytime you need them in a recipe, just take them out, open the lid and shake some into your dish!

What are some fun tips you have for 'recycling' your fruits/veggies?

Cancer Fighting Spices.

Garlic: contains the photochemical allicin and germanium which stimulate the production of cancer fighting enzymes. It is one of the most potent weapons against fighting cancer, especially colon cancer. It can also help lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. maintain blood pressure and help fight off the common cold. Here's a good site for reference: Disabled World

Ginger: is great as an appetite stimulant and reducing nausea symptoms from treatment, sickness or pregnancy (even hangovers)! It's also a huge help as an anti inflammatory and helps with osteoarthritis and when used topically, rheumatoid arthritis. This site's done their homework: WHFoods

Cinnamon: stimulates the the bodies circulatory system. It helps protect against Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, lowers blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Chinese medicine uses Cassia cinnamon for gas, colds, nausea, diarrhea and painful menstrual periods. Good read: Organic Authority

Tumeric: it contains curcuminoids that help with fighting inflammation. It helps fight and prevent several different kinds of cancer(s), Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. It's also a natural liver detoxifier and is used to help with depression, skin repair, weight loss and pain management. There is a risk to people with gallstone or bile obstructions and pregnant women should consult a doctor before taking. This site has a lot of different articles on tumeric: Natural Society

Cayenne Pepper: this one by far is one of my favorites and I try to either use it in my daily cooking or take a capsule before meals. Remember what we learned about red vegetables -- these peppers contain capsaicin, beta carotene and tons of other antioxidants. Not only does it help with cancer prevention, but also helps with weight loss and fighting off infections/viruses. This site covers all the bases: Global Healing Center

Here are a few more good website sources that refer to different foods and spices that can potentially help fight off cancer:  The Cancer Cure FoundationMeals to Heal and Lifescript.

How do you incorporate these spices into your everyday eating?


So this year, I was planning to plant a huge garden down at my FIL's house since they weren't going to do one this time. It was going to have all the goodies -- tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, corn, potatoes, peppers galore, get the point. They literally had a huge area for me to plant in and at the last minute, I decided that I was going to be entirely too busy to give it my all since I live about an hour away from them and commuting to take care of the garden was going to be a little much. Stinks too because this was before I started juicing and buying produce every other day :) Would've definitely come in handy! Well, they decided to plant one anyways and I've been feeling pretty bummy that I didn't even attempt to plant something on our tiny patio. So even though it's late in the season, I went to Target and got some little planters and some stuff and came home and voila! I have three containers going of various peppers that I enjoy cooking and canning with. I'm pretty stoked that they're already starting to sprout!

What's starting to produce in your own gardens right now?


So yesterday I decided to try a new class -- sculpting -- that I'd peeked in on a few days ago after I finished my cycling one. The few minutes I saw didn't look 'too intense' and I thought for sure that a beginner to working out like myself could keep up. I got there early and did a little stretching while I waited for others to show up and tell me what equipment I needed for the class. One of the first people there told me that it was going to be a sub and that she was pretty over the top, but that I should be fine. Seriously, the instructor came in and she was ripped and foreign -- and I knew I was doomed! Sure enough, after an hour of dumbbells, a 20 lb barbell, an exercise ball and a step, I wanted to die. But I'm glad that I hung in there. Even though I can't feel my arms and legs to save my life right now :)

What new classes or exercises have you been doing in your daily workouts?

Food Play.

So I stumbled across this restaurant called Pret -- it was open by two college friends in London back in 1986. Their goal was to make healthy sandwiches without all the extra additives/junk in them. I liked some of the pictures they've taken to promote themselves and wanted to share with you that it's OK to play with your food sometimes :) Just make sure you take a picture of it!!

What could you make with your food if you had enough time to be creative?


So there's a TON of controversy over the artificial sweetener Aspartame. The FDA/government wants us to believe that it's ok for us to consume and people in the natural health field/etc want us to know that it's a 'poison'. I personally have done quite a bit of research on both sides of the fence and have come to my own conclusions. I won't really get into what I believe entirely on this topic, but I do want to give you a few tools that will help you start your own search so that you can decide on your own. Just know that I try to avoid most additives and extra stuff that's put into the foods we eat now :)

But it is hard to avoid aspartame (ie Equal, NutraSweet, Canderel and several other newer names) since it's in over 6000 foods/beverages all over the world. This includes: breath mints, cereals, laxatives, juices, milk products, instant coffee, wine coolers, yogurt, diet soda/soft drinks, drink powders, sugar free gum, frozen desserts, teas, supplements and many more things.

There are a ton of everyday ailments and diseases that are being 'linked' to the consumption of Aspartame even though the FDA/government/big business will tell you that everything is ok. There are many people in the medical/health field that have started doing detox programs to get people off of products that include this ingredient and have noticed 100% 'recoveries' from their symptoms. Here's one of the big names that I've come across that focuses on this program: Janet Starr Hall.

Here are a few other sources that I've found that will help you start your research: and (the timeline for how it got approved by the FDA) and lastly,

Like I mentioned before, when it comes to your health, it's completely up to you. No one else can decide for you or your family. The best thing you can do is educate yourself and go from there. It's tough for me to just listen to the news and take what they say to be true, but that's a whole different topic that I won't get into haha. I mean, one day coffee is good for you, the next day it's linked to cancer. The same goes for studies on all kinds of things -- alcohol consumption, eggs, meat, dairy, etc. There's constantly conflicting reports on the news and you have to cut through the lies and figure it out for yourself.

Just my two cents :)

What are your thoughts on Aspartame?

Produce Stickers.

So I came across this picture on Instagram the other day and after researching some various sites, have found that this is 100% accurate. I always wondered what the stickers on produce meant. I always assumed it had something to do with what region it was grown in or perhaps a code that was given to the farm to label their stuff or even just a number to label that specific fruit/vegetable. Now I have this little cheat sheet to take to the grocery store or farmer's market with me. It's amazing how many things I thought I was buying organic just from someone telling me that they were or reading a sign that said it was. Not to mention, it's nice to know that things that are genetically modified have to be label so that the end consumer knows what they're getting themselves into. Unfortunately, so many people don't understand the dangers of GMO foods.

I also found this infographic on GMO foods that has some good information on it that I wanted to pass on. I love these things -- wish I was creative enough that I could figure out how to make one :) But until then, I'll source them out and post them for all to see and learn! Enjoy!

Click to make larger and more readable.

What have you been learning lately about the foods you eat or don't eat?


So the last color group is whites, tans and browns. And actually, I was mistaken when I said that bananas were in the 'yellow' group since most health sites classify them in this category instead.

Benefits: This group contains anthocyanins and anthoxanthins. They help with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce the risk of stomach cancer and help with over health of your heart.

Fruits: Bananas, Brown Pears, Dates, White Nectarines and White Peaches.

Vegetables: Leeks, Onions, Potatoes, Garlic, Ginger, Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Jerusalem Artichokes, Jicama, Kohlrabi, Parsnips, Shallots, Turnips, White Corn and White Fleshed Potatoes.

What are some of your favorite recipes from this color category?

The Y.

So it's official! I finally got up the nerve to sign up for the Y thanks to a few of my friends peer pressuring me over a long period of time. When I had my kiddo a year and a half ago, I told myself I was going to start working out to get rid of the baby weight. But after I healed from my C-section, I had so much on my hands that working out was the least of my desires. Flash forward to now. I've been so proud of myself for losing 15lbs thru juicing/diet changes and actually keeping it off that I find myself more willing to change my schedule around to work out on a daily/weekly basis. I still have 10lbs of fat to go and I'd love to switch that over to just pure muscle! I guess I should tell you that I've never actually been to a gym to workout though -- in fact, working out was always this taboo thing up until now. I always preferred the 'staying active' way of life -- volleyball, tennis, walking, etc. But since we moved to Tennessee a few years back, these aren't a part of my life anymore. So working out it is I guess :) Today I did my very first spin class ever and my butt is killing me!!

What are some of your favorite areas of the body to work out?

Blues and Purples.

So this one is the prettiest of the colors, but certainly one of the hardest for me to consume. I've never been a huge fruit person. Maybe it has something to do with the textures, I'm not really sure. You'd think it'd be my go to thing since I have quite the sweet tooth, but I've always preferred my veggies instead. Since I've started juicing and making a conscience effort to drink smoothies nowadays though, I'm getting more and more of this beauty!

Benefits: These two colors contain resveratrol, proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins. These help with digestion, ramping up your immune system, reducing tumor growth and your risk of some cancers, lowering LDL cholesterol levels, helping with inflammation.

Fruits: Blackberries, Blueberries, Plums, Purple Figs, Purple Grapes (and Raisins) and Prunes.

Vegetables: Purple Asparagus, Purple Cabbage, Purple Carrots, Purple Cauliflower, Egg Plant, Purple Endive and Purple Fleshed Potatoes.

Have you ever seen purple asparagus or cauliflower?

Almost Rainbow.

So I just wanted to post a quick picture of a juice I made this weekend -- almost had the whole rainbow, but I forgot to pick up something blue at the market! Luckily I was able to double up on my purples and they have the same perks :) You'll have to wait till tomorrow to find out the benefits of this group! Remember guys, it's important to 'practice what you teach'! Enjoy your Father's Day guys!

What have you guys been juicing lately?

Friday Night Market.

So for those of you who didn't want to brave the weather last night or who have never attended a Night Market at the Nashville Farmer's Market, you are missing out! Last night was my first time and even though it was raining cats and dogs and parking was impossible because of it, it was a great time! I'm a twice a week visitor of the NFM, so I wasn't expecting it to be much different then what I already experience. But not only was I able to shop when it was much cooler outside and with my friends/family that can't normally go during the day with me -- but they had additional vendors there, served wine/beer and had the potential for food trucks and musicians (again, it was pouring). AND they had someone doing a canning workshop over at the Grow Local Kitchen area, which was right up my alley! Not to mention that when I go during the weekdays, everyone seems to be in their own little bubble and there isn't really a sense of community when you're walking around shopping, but the atmosphere last night was amazing. It was definitely a 'social' event that I will be attending for the rest of the summer :)

What's your favorite restaurant/vendor/part of the Nashville Farmer's Market?

Green Fruits & Veggies!

Ok, so we've crossed off reds, oranges and yellows -- now comes my favorite group, the greens! Before I started focusing on my new eating choices, I'd have to say that this was the biggest color category that I would consume in a week. Some of my weekly favorites: salads, guacamole, lightly steamed green beans and broccoli, edamame, peas, artichokes..I could go on for days!

Benefits: good source of phyto-nutrients such as chlorophyll, lutein and indoles. They're said to help reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, free radical damange, lower cancer risk, and improve your vision and immune system.

Fruits: Avocados, Green Apples, Green Grapes, Green Pears, Honeydew Melons, Kiwis and Limes.

Vegetables: Artichokes, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Spinach, Kale, Peas, Green Beans, Green Peppers, Jalapenos, Zucchini, Broccoli, Celery, Cucumbers, Green Cabbage, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard, Watercress, Green Onions, Leeks and Okra.

What's your favorite green things to put in your juicer?

Oranges + Yellows.

So to continue our little series on 'eating your colors' -- it's time for me to tell you the benefits of oranges and yellows. I use to not eat a lot in this category until I started juicing recently. Now I try to get a couple of these in a day, sometimes more. 

Benefits: good source of antioxidants such as Vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids, lycopene and potassium. These things help with -- fighting free radicals, alkaline balancing, lower LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce risk of prostrate cancer, promote collagen formation, help with healthy joints and bones. Some everyday ailments -- helps with cramps, boosts your immune system, increases your energy levels and helps improve your eye sight.

Vegetables: Carrots, Corn, Yellow/Orange Peppers, Pumpkins, Rutabagas, Yellow Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Yellow Beets, Butternut Squash, Yellow Potatoes, and Yellow Winter Squash.

Fruits: Lemons, Oranges, Apricots, Mangoes, Papayas, Peaches, Pineapple, Cantaloupe, Yellow Watermelon, Nectarines and Bananas. 

How do you plan to add more yellows and oranges to your diet this week?


Ok, so we've always heard growing up that we should 'eat our colors' everyday -- but how many people actually know why this is important and what each color can provide for your health? Personally, I didn't realize fruits and vegetables of the same color group have the same general benefits. So for the next week, I want you to look at what fruits and veggies you're eating and focus on what colors you might be missing in your diet and try to broaden your color wheel :)

Benefits: good source of phyto-nutrients such as lycopene and proanthocyanins, quercetin and hesperidin. These help in lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of certain cancers and tumor growth, and regulating your blood pressure. It's also believed that red fruits/vegetables help with inflammation and urinary tract infections among several other common every day issues. 

Red Fruits: Red Apples, Cherries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelon, Red Grapes, Tomatoes, Pomegranates, Red/Pink Grapefruit

Red Vegetables: Beets, Radishes, Radicchio, Red Onions, Red Potatoes, Rhubarb, Red Cabbage, Red Peppers

What's your favorite red fruit or vegetable?