Tag Archives: Allison Quinones

Member Spotlight: Allison Quinones

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Allison & her husband at Lake Shasta Dam in California

Roots:
I am originally from Goessel, Kansas (which is 45 minutes north of Wichita). It’s a small farming community that has about 500 people within the town, but most people choose to live in the country. My grandpa and uncles own a dairy farm and harvest numerous crops. I grew up drinking raw unpasteurized milk – it tastes delicious! I have lived in Austin for 6 years and now call it home.

Family Life:
I am married to my husband, Albino. Our professional and personal lives are basically a mirror of each other.

Work Life:
I am a school social worker! I work for Communities In Schools Of Central Texas and run a program at Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy (all-girls middle school). My program serves at-risk students who might have barriers to education, therefore being at risk for becoming a drop out. I do individual and group counseling, broker services with community partners and supervise other staff and interns! I love my job. My husband is also a social worker for Communities In Schools, and he works with young men at Eastside Memorial High School. I also teach Les Mills RPM spin class at the Southwest YMCA two times a week. My husband, Albino, and I co-teach, and we really enjoy the community that exists there.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Joining iGnite helped shift the view of my former engrained method of working out, which wasn’t serving me anymore. The biggest thing I learned was that I could still get results through a shorter, yet intense workout. I trained for triathlons for years and was set in a habit of over-exercising. iGnite helped redefine exercise for me and allowed me to get out of my comfort zone, thus helping me to find overall balance in my life.

The best advice I’ve been given…
The most prominent piece of advice that comes to mind is that, “One of the most common sources of stress is the belief that I am in control of my life rather than know that God is in control of literally EVERYTHING.” I think this quote basically covers all avenues for what causes stress, our human worldly desire to be in control and now allowing God to take that on for us. He always knows best.

Something people may not know about me…
I live within the Austin City Limits but on 7 acres of land with 2 horses! Best Craigslist find ever. It reminds me of home.

My guilty pleasure…
I get a kick out of the videos of people dressed up in dinosaur or shark costumes, usually doing very silly things to very terrible music. For some reason they make me laugh really hard!


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10 Healthy Eating Recipe Sites to Kick off the New Year

The holidays are over, and it is New Year’s resolution time. Since most resolutions include eating healthy, the iGnite Leaders have created a great guide to help in this — their favorite go-to healthy recipe sites.  Eating better in the new year will be much easier with these creative recipes to keep you interested. We suggest subscribing to a few of these blogs in order to get daily inspiration and motivation. Here are our top 10 favorites:

  1. Skinnytaste.com  Provides delicious, healthy, low fat, family-friendly recipes. You can sign up to get new recipes sent to you several times a week. Check out the Top 25 Most Popular Skinnytaste Recipes of 2015 to get you going. 
  2. The Defined Dish Two Dallas-based sisters give you the dish about food, fitness and other happy and healthy lifestyle tips. Along with great recipes, the site includes workouts, fitness styling, music playlists and more.
  3. Plant-Based Pulse iGnite member Allison Quinones created this blog as resource for those trying to find a healthier lifestyle by providing delicious plant-based recipes. She strives to make all recipes as close to refined sugar and oil-free as possible. She is a wonderful resource and  periodically shares her recipes such as Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit on the iGnite blog.
  4. Connoisseurus Veg  This blog is written by a vegetarian who has a passion for cooking and sharing her favorite recipes.  Try the herb crusted whole roasted cauliflower – delicious!  
  5. AmyChaplin.com Amy Chaplin, author of “At Home in My Whole Kitchen,” inspires people to seek out local and organic vegetables, stock their pantries with nutrient rich whole food ingredients and to cook at home. Find beautiful, healthy recipes on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
  6. Elana’s Pantry A go-to website for easy, healthy, grain-free Paleo recipes.  Elana Amsterdam is the author of the New York Times Best Selling cookbook “Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry.”  Her site even includes pizza, donuts, and other treats made the healthy way! 
  7. Greatist Daily Greatist covers all things healthy and makes it easy to navigate throughout their site — categorized by quick breakfasts, make-ahead meals, detox recipes and more.  Get their daily email with Greatist’s top health tips, workout ideas and delicious recipes.
  8. Oh She Glows One of the most popular vegan recipe blogs around featuring over 500 healthy recipes by Angela Liddon. Her goal is to inspire you to embrace more plant-based foods in your diet without feeling deprived. Most recipes are gluten-free and many are allergy-friendly. 
  9. Against All Grain  Paleo recipes to make you feel great created by Danielle Walker. She is the author and photographer of the New York Times Best Selling cookbook “Against all Grain.”  Use her Costco Paleo Shopping List as a great resource. 
  10. Naturally Ella Created by Erin Alderson, the blog focuses on seasonal vegetarian recipes that are pantry-inspired. Her goal is to keep the recipes simple, fresh, and exciting for the entire family. Her tex-mex inspired recipes are definite crowd-pleasers.

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*Food photography by Allison Quinones of  Plant-Based Pulse

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Coconut Oil Bites

Pumpkin Spice Coconut Oil Balls

Pumpkin Spice Coconut Oil Balls

by Allison Quinones of Plant Based Pulse

by Allison Quinones of Plant Based Pulse

Yields: Approx. 35 T Sized Balls
Serving: 3 per day
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic unsulphured raw coconut butter (boughten or homemade)
  • 3/4 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 T organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 T  pumpkin pie spice
  • 15 drops stevia (or to taste)

Pumpkin Spice Coconut Oil BallsInstructions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Take the mixture and refrigerate for no more than 30 minutes to allow the dough to become more firm. Using a melon baller/cookie scoop, or your fingers, gently roll dough into tablespoon sized balls. Place on a plate cover in parchment paper and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until hard. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, will last about 3 weeks.

Why We Love Coconut Oil

One strategy to increase ATP (the energy currency for the body) for brain healing & preventing dementia is consuming coconut oil: 1 tbsp with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  MCT (medium chain triglycerides) found in coconut oil have many great benefits, including:

  • Improving the body’s use of insulin
  • Improving cholesterol by increasing HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Boosting thyroid function resulting in increased energy
  • Acting as an antioxidant and natural antibiotic
  • Improving overall health of skin and hair
  • Improves cognitive function

As one way to get your fill of coconut oil, I love the idea of using coconut oil to satiate sweet cravings. This is an especially good idea for those who might have a taste or texture aversion to coconut oil on its own (like my wife). Personally I create a chocolate version using raw cacao powder, coconut oil and stevia to satisfy my sweet cravings.

 

The Scoop on Coconut Butter

by Allison Quinones of Plant Based Pulse

by Allison Quinones of Plant Based Pulse

You may be asking yourself, “Why did she use coconut butter in addition to the oil, versus just oil?”  Coconut butter is made from ground raw coconut flakes or meat, that when processed at a high speed, pulls out the oils (just as nuts do into nut butter). When using coconut butter, you are not only getting the benefits of the oil, but also dietary fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Coconut butter provides a full flavor and creaminess that compliments the texture of the coconut oil.

Any brand of coconut butter will work as long as the only ingredient is raw organic coconut. If you own a high-speed processor or blender, it’s much cheaper to make it at home than purchase it (plus it is satisfying to make yourself!). I paid $3.28 for 3/4 lb., which yields at least 16 oz. coconut butter, versus boughten at no less than $10.00 per 16 oz.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Yummy Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit

breakfastquinoawithfruit

by Allison Quinones of Plant Based Pulse

by Allison Quinones of Plant-Based Pulse

Over the years, my breakfast has evolved from Kashi Cereal to plain old boring hot oatmeal with a tablespoon of brown sugar. As I became more health conscious, I started to be more mindful about what I put into my body first thing in the morning.

This recipe that I featured in the iGnite 10-Day Reboot blog features quinoa, but anyone making this recipe should keep in mind that ANY grain or complex carbohydrate can work in place of quinoa. I love quinoa because it is a complete protein, and as a plant-based vegan I take any complete proteins I can get. Not to mention, quinoa is great for my digestive system.

I have found that quinoa is cheapest at Sprouts, and I typically use whatever fruit is in season or whatever I have that is frozen. On the weekends I typically cook 1 cup of quinoa and divide that 5-6 ways equally throughout the week. If you were going to make one serving, I would cook only 1/4 cup of quinoa, which would come to about 1/2 – 3/4 cup cooked.

Keep in mind this is ALL customizable based on what you have on hand. When I’m feeling extra energetic in the kitchen, I prepare a week’s worth ahead of time in a jar and store it in the refrigerator. This recipe contains all the macronutrients but can be adjusted for anyone’s nutritional needs. I find that my protein powder and fruit give it the sweetness I prefer, but adding your own sweetener such as 1 tsp. of maple syrup would suffice as well.

Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit

Serves 1

Ingredients
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (or oats, buckwheat groats, farro, etc.)
1/2 cup thawed frozen blueberries
3-4 sliced strawberries
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup So Delicious Coconut Yogurt Plain Unsweetened (optional)
1 Tbs ground flax seed
1 Tbs ground sprouted chia seeds (or whole)
1 Tbs hemp seeds
1 Tbs plant-based vanilla protein powder (optional, I use Garden of Life)
1 tsp maca powder
Top with any of the following: nuts, granola, raw unsweetened coconut flakes, Tbs. coconut butter, Tbs. almond butter

Instructions
Combine all ingredients (except topping) in a bowl, mix until all the ingredients have been equally distributed. Enjoy cold. Will keep in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Note: I often rotate half of a sliced banana, half of a peach, cooked apples, dried mulberries, or mango as my fruit in this dish. If you eat dairy, try adding plain unsweetened Greek yogurt in place of the Coconut Yogurt.

Inspiration for Additional Variations:

Examples of additional variations of the breakfast bowl Allison has enjoyed making

Additional variations of the breakfast bowl that Allison enjoys


Allison Quinones is the blogger behind Plant-Based Pulse. She lives with her husband in Austin, Texas, where together they cook, write and remake recipes, eat plant-based food, train, and compete in triathlons. Allison is passionate about health, wellness, and nutrition and writes her blog as a resource for those trying to find a healthier lifestyle.
Check out more of Allison’s wonderful recipes and blog here

10-Day Reboot: Allison’s Day 10

iGnite 10 Day Body Reboot

by Allison Quinones

by Allison Quinones

Day 10! I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Reboot and have loved this process of self-discovery.

Breakfast! My morning breakfast is always the same, flavored differently. Today it was cooked quinoa with almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, protein powder, ground flax, chia, and maca powder

Breakfast! My morning breakfast is always the same, flavored differently. Today it was cooked quinoa with almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, protein powder, ground flax, chia, and maca powder

Aspects of the Reboot I’ve found the most difficult:
Throughout the Reboot I committed to trying all of the elements listed in the guide. I’m happy to report that I’ve done them all, at least once! However, the most difficult has been taking time for Epsom salt baths, time outdoors, and a full 8 hours of sleep. To me, these three things all have one thing in common – they take TIME. Seeing how busy I am isn’t a groundbreaking realization, but I do know how nice it has been to actually take time for these things when I have been able to.

Turmeric Tonic tea at work meeting, although caffeine-free, my mind still believes it will help me feel more alert. I love turmeric for it's anti-inflammatory purposes

Turmeric Tonic tea at work meeting, although caffeine-free, my mind still believes it will help me feel more alert. I love turmeric for it’s anti-inflammatory purposes

Aspects of the Re-boot I’ve enjoyed the most:
Technology Turnoff and Breaking from Social Media are two things that I thought would be the most difficult. Not surprisingly, this has been SO refreshing. I’ve noticed my habits throughout the day when I go to switch on my phone and catch myself automatically going into social media. Going into Facebook or Instagram has become such a mindless activity for me, and I’ve been aware that I need to check myself on this for a while, but there was no real motivation to do so. I don’t miss seeing what the world of Facebook is doing, what new recipes or exercises are posted on Instagram, and I’ve found myself being less critical of myself through these two elements of the Reboot.

Lunch consisted of Butternut Squash Mac 'n "Cheese" with Brown Rice Macaroni, Roasted Broccoli and Kale. This is from Oh She Glows blog. This is a favorite fall recipe!

Lunch consisted of Butternut Squash Mac ‘n “Cheese” with Brown Rice Macaroni, Roasted Broccoli and Kale. This is from Oh She Glows blog. This is a favorite fall recipe!

A couple things I’ve learned about myself over the Reboot:
I’ve committed to staying away from social media, and it’s crazy how many times throughout my day I mindlessly turn on my phone and almost open Facebook or Instagram. I’ve enjoyed reading ‘Made to Crave’ which is a highly encouraging book on eating and body image. I’ve been putting off reading this for a while and I am so grateful for more time to read this book and focus on myself.

Secondly, I’ve noticed I CAN abstain from sugar and tortilla chips! My two weaknesses. I can do it in private at home and in public when there is a delicious bowl of guacamole, salsa, and cookies just waiting to be eaten up.

Afternoon snack of apples with cinnamon, drizzled in homemade coconut butter with a tablespoon of freshly ground peanut butter

Afternoon snack of apples with cinnamon, drizzled in homemade coconut butter with a tablespoon of freshly ground peanut butter

My personality is to be very self-disciplined, so eating clean and exercise haven’t been a challenge for me. I enjoy prepping ALL my meals for the week on the weekend, so it eliminates any desire to eat outside of what I’ve planned for. I teach RPM spin at the YMCA and have enjoyed several HIIT workouts, as well as a few swims and a yoga class. These two aspects of my self-discipline give my body and mind self-care to help me function the best I can throughout my day.

Evening treat, leftovers from weekend baby shower. My own recipe of Lemon Cashew "Cheesecake" with Blueberries and Mulberries. It's oil-free, refined sugar free (sweetened with Medjool dates), soy free, dairy-free, all plant-based!

Evening treat, leftovers from weekend baby shower. My own recipe of Lemon Cashew “Cheesecake” with Blueberries and Mulberries. It’s oil-free, refined sugar free (sweetened with Medjool dates), soy free, dairy-free, all plant-based!

Tips & tricks that have helped me:
Let people around you know what goals you’re working on. Your support system will then avoid innocently tempting you with a glass of wine or checking Facebook for a trivial reason.

Not pictured: My dinner on the run of Wild Rice Pilaf from Forks Over Knives.