Easy Vegetarian Street Tacos

Sometimes you want to have a nice dinner but just don’t have the time or energy to work hard for it.  Trust me, I understand this well.  Especially when it comes to vegetarian dishes, sometimes it can be a lot of effort to throw something nice together.

So today I want to share with you guys my recipe for easy vegetarian tofu street tacos.  Because I love myself an authentic street taco every once in awhile, but it’s hard to find a good vegetarian taco on those Taco Tuesdays (at least I am from).

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Ingredients 

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Wheat street taco shells
  • Coleslaw vegetable greens
  • sour cream
  • Hot Sauce (your favorite type)
  1. Press tofu to release all the water
  2. Cut Tofu into log 1/2 inch wide strips
  3. Lightly season tofu to taste using cumin, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bake Tofu in oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or use an air fryer to cook tofu at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp
  5. In microwave, heat up a small amount of sour cream for 20 to 30 seconds to thin it slightly out.
  6. Mix in a small amount of your favorite hot sauce (or alternatively you can mix in some salsa).  I personally like to use tapatio.
  7. Assemble tacos by placing a small amount of coleslaw greens on top of shell, adding tofu next, and then drizzling a small amount of sour cream mix on top.

This is a really simple taco recipe but it is certainly very delicious!  It’s a great alternative to going out and trying to find an authentic street taco.

What’s your favorite taco recipe?  Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Kat

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Three Years of Kat Classics!

It’s hard to believe that another year of weekly posts has come and gone!  What a wild ride to think we’ve been at this now for three years straight and are still going strong!  Thank you to my readers who loyally view my content and keep me going each week to research new and exciting things.

This year brought on new ideas and new topics.  A lot of those topics were actually brought on from my own life experiences this year instead of just from random questions from my friends and family.  It was really cool to get to share with you guys a little bit about myself in that way.

But this year, like every anniversary I want to share with you some of my favorite posts from this year.


What do I drink when working out? This was a new endeavor for me, learning what kind of drinks are best during different parts of working out.  I really enjoyed learning about this one.

How often should I go to the Doctor? This one came up because I hadn’t gone to the doctor for a really long time and found myself there.  It made me question how often we should be going to the doctor and what we should be having checked out each time.

Marching for Science Although this wasn’t a big educational post, this event was something really important for me and something I was extremely proud of for taking part in.  It’s important for our society, and all societies, and spreading awareness for the importance of science is a global need.

Do you really need to detox?  Since detoxing is all the rage, I wanted to tackle the important question of whether of not it is really necessary.

The new age of period protection.  Since there are so many different period products out there now I wanted to cover some of the up coming ecofriendly period protection methods.

When should I take my vitamins?  The age old question.  Does it matter when I take my vitamins?  Actually, it does and I tackled those questions here! It’s actually made me reconsider when I take my multivitamin depending on what my body needs most during that particular time!

Beach Body Start Up.  Our first collaborative blog!  My friend Sara talks about her journey starting with beach body and how it was going for her.

Palm Oil: What is it and what it means.  I love bringing awareness for environmental causes, so writing about palm oil was really important for me.  It’s an issue that surrounds us all and is actually something that we can actively fight against!

Why do I crave chocolate when I’m on my period?  The question we all ask.  I tackle the topic of cravings during that time of the month and talk about why we always seem to want sweet or salty things when we’re menstruating.

Vegetarian Meatball Recipe.  My all time favorite recipe in the entire world.  Enough said.


Those are just some of the highlights from the last year.  There were so many good moments this last year with this blog.  I can’t wait to see what we come up with this year!

What kind of things do you want to see from Kat Classics as we enter our fourth year of regular posts?  Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Kat

Trying to Fade My Freckles Trial 1

So, I have this freckle.  That being said, I have A LOT of freckles.  All over my face and they’ve been there for my entire life, especially in summer.  But recently, I’ve noticed this really dark, annoying freckle at the very corner of my left eye.  It’s nothing bad.  Yes, it’s appeared just this past year, but it’s not elevated or misshapen, so I am not really showing any symptoms of it being potentially skin cancer.

That being said, having a freckle right in the line of my eye makeup is really annoying, and I am entirely too self conscious about it being there.  I’m completely afraid that my putting liquid liner or mascara on that I’m drawing more attention to it than I’m not (not that anyone has ever said anything about it to me ever).

So because I’m vain, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  There are a ton of articles online claiming that you can fade your freckles on your own at home with home remedies, so I decided I was going to give it a try.  Worst case scenario, I end up at the doctors to evaluate the freckle when all is said and done.

But because I’m the blogger that I am, I wanted to give this a try and report back to you guys so that way you don’t have to try it for yourself.   You’ll thank me later.


The Method I used:

I looked up online a few different methods to fading freckles.  Some included rubbing onion on your skin for a half hour, while others included concocting different pastes out of materials you probably have in your kitchen.  The most popular method for fading freckles is to use lemon juice on the freckles and let it sit for fifteen minutes twice a day.  This is supposed to work within 14 days to fade freckles.

I also concocted my own paste using baking soda (which is supposed to dissolve moles), castor oil (which darkens skin pigmentation, hopefully around the area and is great for repairing skin), and honey (which also helps to fade freckles).  However, I only ended up using this method a couple of times, and mainly just stuck with the lemon juice method.


Disclaimers:

First of all, lemon juice, or anything citrus, on your face is going to leave your face extremely photosensitive.  This means that you are going to be very easily burned on these areas.  So you have to be extremely careful when going into the sun.  USE SUN PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES either in the form of sunscreen or a BB or CC cream with SPF. Also make sure that you are properly hydrating your skin after each use of the lemon juice (This is something that I think I did not do very well).

I also had to be very careful with where I was applying the lemon juice since this was so close to my eye.  I always had eye flush right next to me just in case I ever got lemon juice into my eye.

Please note you guys, that the remedies I am using to try to fade my freckle are ones that I have read about online on multiple sites, but are not doctor approved.  If freckles darken, grow, or become raised, you should seek medical assistance.  Your doctor can tell you if it’s a concern or if you need some other method to fade your freckles.


The test:

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Day 0

Day 0:  This was the day I decided I just could not handle this freckle anymore.  I out of nowhere seemed suddenly very aware of it, which made me question if that meant it had gotten darker or larger.  I looked back into old pictures of myself, and could only find this freckle in pictures from a few months back, but it is also in a very difficult place to see in pictures, so it was difficult to determine for sure.  Either way, I decided to begin trying to lighten it for myself.

Day 1: This is when I started my treatments. Mid morning I applied a cotton swab soaked in lemon juice (just from a bottle, though I hear fresh lemon juice is better) to the freckle, making sure to have a tissue underneath to catch any drips and drizzles so they wouldn’t get in my eye.  I reapplied a couple of times in a fifteen minute span and then rinsed the area with warm water.  Finally, I applied a moisturizer with aloe vera in it to the area.

I later in the day applied my baking soda salve to the site and allowed it to site for 15 minutes before taking off and rinsing with water.   I only did this method this one day, mostly because it was a “mid day” method and I thought maybe that was a little too much.

Before bed, I did a second lemon juice application, same as before.

By the end, the area felt a little raw and sensitive but I wouldn’t call it a burning sensation.  There was a small amount of irritation.

Spot still looks the same after day 1.

Day 3:  It hurts when applying; I’m not going to lie.  The spot may be a little lighter, but overall no change.

Day 4: Tonight I had a slight scare when I went to take a shower and noticed that my freckle looked slightly odd.  There was a gross crust on top of it and it looked a little misshapen which had me really freaked out.  However, after washing it and lightly exfoliating the area with a mint walnut scrub (my all time favorite drug store scrub), the freckle looked completely normal.

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Day 4: you can see that it’s crusty with dead skin overlaying it.

Tonight was also the first night that I felt like maybe this process wasn’t going to be completely in vain.  While the freckle is still currently darker than all the other freckles on my face, I do feel like it might actually be a half shade or so lighter now, so maybe this will actually work and the half hour of pain a day will be worth it.

Day 5: No change from day 4. I’ve started using Micellar Water to clean it after because it’s right there on my make up table and it’s just a lot easier for me.

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Mid trial fading

Day 7: Today I was able to mostly cover up the freckle with just my normal foundation which was a small step but was kind of exciting!

Day 11: Fading well, but this evening I noticed it was very dry and flakey.  After exfoliating the area, there was a small cut underneath the freckle.   I didn’t want to put any lemon juice on this raw spot, suspecting it would be more painful than the normal process, so for the night and next morning, I opted into instead putting the baking soda, castor oil, and honey mixture on the spot for 10 to 15 minutes.  (I hadn’t used this method since the first day of my attempt to fade the freckle).

Day 13: I went back to the normal lemon juice routine and everything is proceeding as normal.

Day 17: End of Trial 1

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The bubbled shape in the freckle is from skin irritation, not the freckle itself, but this is why I decided that I was going to end the trial and give my skin a little bit of time to heal up

I’m not sure if I can say for sure if the freckle is any lighter or not.  I can still see it pretty well, but as you can see from the picture, the entire area around it is completely raw.  It hurts and it is no fun right now.  I did a deep exfoliation tonight and put some aloe vera moisturizer on it, but I left it alone after that.


Future Trials?

I plan to put away my attempts at fading at least long enough for the skin around the freckle to heal up and then maybe we’ll try a trial number 2.  That’s how determined I am to see if this is going to work, because part of me actually thinks it is going to work while another part of me thinks I am just wasting a half hour of my day every day doing this.

In trial 2 I may try to use fresh lemon juice from an actual lemon (instead of from a bottle) and I’ll make sure to clean it just with tap water opposed to Micellar Water since I’m not sure if the “deep cleansing” of the Micellar Water caused any negative effects.

So I’ll update you guys when my next trial comes along and let you know how that one goes.


Overall:

As far as I’m concerned about this method right now, I don’t really suggest using it to fade even your darkest of freckles.  At least not yet.  It’s painful and really, it’s not all that effective, despite what literally every website says.  Again, it might have been user error, but I’m not convinced.  I may have better luck trying in the future, but I also may just have to live with the fact that I have a dark freckle at the corner of my left eye.   At least it hasn’t grown or gotten darker in this time, so I am not very concerned about it being any form of skin cancer or anything to be concerned about.

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Overall progress of the freckle.  You’ll noticing it faded well in the beginning, but became very irritated by the end of the trial, making me wonder if it truly was even slightly effective.

I just don’t want you guys to hurt yourselves, cause yourselves pain, or waste your time, so I suggest holding off on rubbing lemon juice all over yourself.  Instead, embrace your freckles.  They make you who you are and you are beautiful no matter what.  And this is coming from someone who has lived with a lot of freckles her entire life.  So I’ve got your back.

Do you have freckles?  Do you hate them?  Have you ever tried to fade them?  Let me know your stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Kat

What do I drink when working out?

So this past week, I was “diagnoses” with a weird exercise syndrome where my body really doesn’t like when I try to work out.  It’s weird and it’s complicated, and I plan to write a full blog about it in the future, but that’s for a later date.  However, in the large packet of research my doctor gave me, I came across the suggestion that I should not be drinking hypertonic drinks when exercising with this syndrome.  And that got me wondering what exactly a hypertonic beverage was.  So I did a little bit of research on the topic, and like always, I wanted to share with you guys what I found out about hypertonic, hypotonic, and isotonic beverages.


Let’s talk about osmosis

To understand what hypertonic, hypotonic, and isotonic solutions are, we need to understand a little bit about osmosis and how it works.

Osmosis is a process in biological systems, especially cells, that moves WATER (not particles) from a low concentration of dissolved substances to a higher concentration of dissolved substance across a membrane in order to maintain homeostasis.

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Hypo, Iso, and hyper tonic solutions. From: Pearson Biology

So when the fluid outside of a cell has a lower concentration of particles than the concentration of particles inside the cell, it is called HYPOTONIC.  Water will flow into the cell and the cell will swell.

When the fluid outside the cell has a higher concentration than the fluid inside the cell, it is HYPERTONIC and water will move out of the cell.  This will cause the cell to shrink.

Finally, ISOTONIC is when the fluid outside the cell has the same particle concentration as inside the cell.  Therefore, there is no movement.

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How Hypertonic, Isotonic, and Hypotonic Solutions affect the cells. Image from: KhanAcademy

This science works when it comes to replenishing and hydrating our bodies before and during physical activity.


Hypotonic Beverages

Hypotonic drinks contain a lower concentration of salt, sugar, and electrolytes than what is maintained inside the human body.  Therefore water from the drink goes into your cells and your cells will hydrate.  When consuming these drinks, hydration occurs poweradesimultaneously.  This is what makes these drinks ideal for replacing fluids lost in sweat.  These drinks are ideal for athletes who require extra fluid without the carbohydrates other drinks give.

Because of the hydration nature of these drinks, they are best consumed before an event while preparing for a rigorous race or a big game.

Water is a hypotonic solution, but watered down sports drink like Gatorade and PowerAde can also become hypotonic with enough water added.  Drinks like Gatorade G2 and PowerAde Zero are also hypotonic.


Isotonic Beverages

gateradeIsotonic drinks are the most popular sport drinks out there.  They contain a small concentration of salt, sugar, and electrolytes, similar to what is found in the human body (including around 8% of carbs from glucose).  Because of this, these drinks replace the fluids lost through sweating and supply a boost of carbohydrates to the body.  These drinks are ideal during and after a run to restore what has been lost, especially during middle and long distance running.

Drinks in the category include your normal type of sports drinks like Gatorade, PowerAde, and Accelerade.


Hypertonic Beverages

Hypertonic drinks, the ones I am not allowed to have, are a little less widespread than the other two categories.  These drinks contain a higher concentration of salts, sugars, and electrolytes than the human body, therefore will shrink the cells.

Now, shrinking cells does not sound like a very helpful way to benefit your body, so let me explain further.  These drinks are mostly consumed post workout to supplement a 3b811f82f4804cc54a2413fbd7568fffdaily carbohydrate intake (lost by exercising) and the particle concentration helps to top up muscle glycogen storage lost in exercise as well.

This drink is an energy supplement to be used during and after heavy and very intense workouts, like marathons, to help meet high energy demands.  It should also always be used with an isotonic beverage so that way you are also replacing the fluids you lost during exercise.  Hypertonic beverages should not be taken alone.

These drinks include PowerAde Energy, high carb and high energy endurance drinks, and fruit juices.


When you’re exercising it is important to always keep in mind your hydration level.  You should hydrate before you exercise in order to prepare your body for your workout.  You should hydrate during the event (another things my doctor suggested I do for my own condition), and you should hydrate and replenish after exercise to help with your recovery.

If you are exercising less than one hour or are doing light activity, water should be enough to keep you in balance.  Your electrolyte imbalance from losing sweat should even out after an hour or two post workout.  If you have a condition that makes you lose excess sweat or causes you to need more electrolytes, salt, or sugar, than drinking these beverages is only going to add to your hydration.

Also keep in mind that most sport drinks have multiple servings.  So whereas you hypotonic drinks are usually zero calories, the isotonic drinks can around 200 calories, but that is in 4 servings of the drink.  So make sure you are watching your serving suggestions.

 

Did you know there was a difference in what you drink and when you drink it regarding sport drinks?  Is this new information to you?  What’s your favorite pre and post work out drink?  Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Kat

 

Sources and further reading:

Chambers, Rachel.  What Sports Drink Should I buy?  Beginning Nutrition Blog.  http://beginningnutrition.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-sports-drink-should-i-buy.html

Diabetes Co.  Sports Drinks.  Diabetes Co UK.  http://www.diabetes.co.uk/sports-drinks.html

KhanAcademy.  Osmosis and Tonicity.   KhanAcademy Online. https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/membranes-and-transport/diffusion-and-osmosis/a/osmosis

 

What’s up with Vitamin E?

vitamin EWhen you look at the back of your daily multivitamin bottle to see what exactly you’re putting into your body every morning, you come face to face with a long list of things.  Vitamin A-K, Potassium, Sodium, Biotin, and that’s just a handful of the things.  And unless you’re a nutrition specialist or you’ve done an extensive amount of research on each and every component that goes into a multivitamin, you probably only know what a handful of those components actually do.

So today I wanted to pick out one of the many things that you find in that multi-vitamin and break down what it is and why you need it in your diet!  Today, we’re going to tackle vitamin E, what it is, and what it does for you.


Let’s first talk about Free Radicals

Before we can fully understand the importance of what Vitamin E does for our bodies, we need to first understand what a free radical is.

Free radicals are molecules containing an unshared electron (which is the negative charge of a molecule).  Unshared electrons are very energetic and therefore react rapidly with oxygen (positively charged). When this happens, free radicals, or reactive oxygen species (ROS) are formed.  These ROS can damage cells and may contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

IVAO free radica

The formation of Free Radicals (photo from IVAO)

Free radicals can also enter the body through environmental factors including cigarette smoke, air pollution, and UV radiation (NIH).


So what is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that stops the production of ROS which are formed during fat oxidation.  Thus, Vitamin E protects the body tissues from damage caused by free radicals.

alpha-tocopherol

Alpha-tocopherol

There are 8 naturally occurring forms of vitamin E, but the body only uses alpha-tocopherol, which is a chain breaking antioxidant used to repair cells.  Within the liver, alpha-tocopherol, found in supplements or in food before consumption, is bound to alpha-tocopherol transfer protein and is integrated into lipoproteins that then help to transfer the alpha tocopherol into the blood so they can be delivered to the tissues for repairs.

Fats are often damaged by free radicals during a process called lipid peroxidation in which lipids, or the chemical term for fats, are modified in the body.   Fat soluble Vitamin E senses damage to the cells and stops the peroxyl radicals and therefore prevents the chain reaction of lipid peroxidation before it can be completed.   This maintains the integrity of cell membranes throughout the tissues in the body (Oregon State).


Other benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E also has other benefits for the body.

  • Keeps the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria
  • Helps in formation of red blood cells
  • Helps the body use Vitamin K
  • Helps to widen blood vessels and keeps blood from clotting inside (MedlinePlus)

How much Vitamin E should you get and where do you get it?

Vitamin E is found in many different types of food including vegetable oils (especially sunflower oils), nuts and seeds, green leaf vegetable (like spinach), fortified cereals, fruit juice, and even margarine.

It’s recommended that teens and adults fourteen years or older take 15 mg/day of Vitamin E.  Although research suggests that the average person doesn’t get enough Vitamin E in their diet, research also suggests that for the average person, the amount they are getting in their diet is still a safe amount (Medlineplus).


What happens if you get too much or too little Vitamin E?

Vitamin E deficiency is rare and actually usually only occurs in people with pre-existing health problems such as fat-malabsorption disorders (NIH).

Severe deficiency of vitamin E can cause hemolytic anemia, ataxia peripheral neuropathy, muscle weakness, and even damaged retinas (which is the most common) (Oregon State).

High levels of Vitamin E are hard to reach, but can increase risk for bleeding and having a child with birth defects (Medlineplus).


So although you more than likely aren’t at any risk of having a Vitamin E deficiency, there is definitely no harm in taking vitamin E in supplement form when you take your daily multivitamin.  With vitamin E in your system, you’re helping your body repair damages and keeping your immune system strong.

Did you know this about vitamin E before?  What other vitamins do you want me to research for you? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Kat


Sources and further reading:

Medline Plus.  Vitamin E. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002406.htm

NIH.  Vitamin E.  National Institutes of Health.  https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/#en1

Oregon State University.  Vitamin E.  Micronutrient Information Center.  http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-E