Top 10 Immune System Boosting Foods

I was going to post a recipe for some great Irish Whiskey Truffles in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day but thought you’d appreciate a list of foods that help strengthen your immune system more, given the state of the world as we know it. 

I’ll post the truffles recipe tomorrow.

In addition to washing your hands and staying home as much as you can, you can keep your body healthy by staying active and eating vibrant foods. In fact, one of the easiest ways to super-charge your immune system is to eat more fruit and vegetables. 

“…by equating veggies with food, our bodies may be using them as a signal to upkeep our immune system. Thus, “the old recommendation ‘eat your veggies’ has a strong molecular basis.” Dr. Michael Greger, The Broccoli Receptor: Our First Line of Defense

But not just any. Below are the top ten fruits and vegetables that will keep your immune system strong and can aid in increased immune function. There are plenty of other foods that do this, but these ten pack a big, nutritious punch.

Apples
These delicious fruits are loaded with antioxidants. But don’t forget the peel. It is loaded with them. Be sure to buy organic to avoid pesticides. Red Delicious is a winner here!

Broccoli
This vegetable is part of the cruciferous family and is an excellent source of phytochemicals, helping to fight the carcinogenic effects of pesticides and other toxins.

Brussels sprouts
Another cruciferous vegetable that neutralizes carcinogens.

Cabbage
Not only does this vegetable boost your immune system, but it also keeps breast cancer at bay (Dr. Jonny Bowden, from The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth).

Cauliflower
Another member of the cruciferous family and contain many of the same compounds that strengthen the immune system and fight cancer.

Photo by FOODISM360 on Unsplash

Collards
More phytochemicals here but also incredibly high in calcium.

Kale
This green is a powerhouse of nutrition. It isn’t just rich in phytochemicals, but it’s also loaded with calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. It can be a bit tough but the secret is to actually massage it with oil or lemon juice. Seriously. Add it to a big bowl after you wash and destem it (or use baby kale and avoid the need to destem), drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over top or add the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, and use your clean hands to massage the oil or juice into the kale. This will soften it up and make it easier to eat. Toss in some dried cranberries and pine nuts or roasted chickpeas and toasted pita chips and enjoy.

Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash

Mushrooms
Because mushrooms are fungus, they are able to absorb and eliminate toxins. They are high in antioxidants and act as a metabolic energy enhancer (Dr. Jonny Bowden, from The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth). That’s a bonus!

Photo by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash

Tomatoes
This veggie (technically, it’s a berry) is also loaded with antioxidants. Tomatoes have the best flavor if purchased “vine-ripened” or, even better, from your local farmer’s market when they’re in season. It’s pretty easy to grow them at home too and many varieties grow well in a pot.

If you’d like more information, below are links to the resources used in researching this list. As always, I recommend you do your own research and be sure to use reliable sources.

Resources

Using the Produce Aisle to Boost Immune Function:

Mushrooms and Immunity:

The Broccoli Receptor: Our First Line of Defense:

Boosting Immunity Through Diet:

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, 
by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.

AmandaLeeber.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Why Go Vegan?

Avo Toast

What is Veganism?

Let’s start from the beginning: exactly what is veganism? Given the increased popularity of a vegan diet, I’m sure you’ve heard about it more than once and may even have a friend, family member, or partner who is vegan or is considering a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Just for fun, here’s a list of celebrities who are vegan.

10 Vegan Celebrities in 2020

  1. Natalie Portman;
  2. Ellen Pompeo;
  3. Ellen Page;
  4. Beyonce;
  5. Venus Williams;
  6. Jason Mraz;
  7. Zac Efron;
  8. Bill Clinton;
  9. Liam Hemsworth; and
  10. Benedict Cumberbatch.

Each January, there’s even a movement in the UK –Veganuary– where you are encouraged to try a vegan diet for January and throughout the rest of the year. How cool is that? Here’s a link for more details: Veganuary.

The Vegan Society defines veganism as

“…a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

The term veganism was coined by Donald Watson in November 1944 and Wikipedia defines it as

“…the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.”

Okay, so we understand what veganism is, but I think there are still many people out there that don’t understand why people become vegan.

Reasons for a Vegan Diet

There are many reasons to follow a vegan diet and each one is a highly personal decision only you can make.

The Top 10 Most Common Reasons to Choose Vegan in 2020

  1. You’ll help animals;
  2. You’ll help the planet;
  3. You’ll lose weight (as long as you avoid processed vegan foods);
  4. You’ll gain energy;
  5. You’ll be healthier;
  6. Vegan food is delicious;
  7. Meat can be full of antibiotics and contaminants;
  8. You are supporting nonviolence;
  9. You’ll reduce your exposure to mercury found in seafood; and
  10. Your sense of smell and taste will improve.

My Story

I became a vegan because of reason number 5 above, to be healthier. Obviously, everyone wants to be as healthy as they can, but most of the time we just do the best we can and keep on doing our jobs, errands, chores…life happens and pretty soon you realize you aren’t as healthy as you thought. I realized this when I started getting older, and when I watched my husband’s and my own parents get diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, that might have been prevented by a healthier lifestyle.

My husband asked me to watch the documentary, Forks Over Knives, after another weekend spent over my parent’s house supporting my mom and step-dad through my step-dad’s pancreatic cancer. I watched it and that started my journey researching how I could let food be my medicine. Though my mom and step-dad weren’t interested in changing their lifestyles, by then, my step-dad could barely eat, I knew it was important for me and my husband to change. So I researched, studied, read, and watched all of the documentaries I could get ahold of and we began our vegan journey.

Below are some of the benefits of following a vegan diet but do your own research and do what is right for you on your journey in this life.

Vegan Lifestyle Benefits

It was startling to find out how many benefits there are to following a vegan lifestyle. Not just the top ten reasons listed earlier, but real, scientifically-backed health benefits. For me, that’s where it starts.

Let’s make it easy and give you another top 10 list, but this list doesn’t cover all of the benefits and should not be the only source on which to base your decision to change your diet. After the list, I’ll recommend the absolute BEST site for scientifically-backed information on the benefits of a vegan and whole-food, plant-based diet that you don’t want to miss.

Top 10 Health Benefits

  1. A vegan diet is a nutrient-rich powerhouse;
  2. You can reduce and reverse diabetes;
  3. You can reduce the risk of kidney disease;
  4. You can reduce your risk of several different cancers;
  5. You can reduce arthritic pain;
  6. You can reduce your risk of heart disease;
  7. You can reduce the risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases;
  8. You can improve your physical fitness levels and speed up recovery times;
  9. You can reduce your bad cholesterol levels; and
  10. You can decrease your blood pressure.

Other Resources

My absolute favorite online resource for scientifically-based research on a vegan and whole-food, plant-based lifestyle is…

Nutrition Facts

Others to get you started:

Forks Over Knives

Plant Strong

The China Study

Is Veganism Healthy

And some great vegan blogs listed in this article:

Top Vegan Blogs

Thank you for taking the time to check out what veganism is and what it has to offer. Stay tuned for more tips and information to help you improve your life, including a series of mini cookbooks I’m writing for vegans and the vegan-curious. Until then, eat your veggies 😉

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these Decadent Irish Whiskey Truffles

Irish Whiskey Truffles

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and for many of us that choose to celebrate at home, here’s a rich and delicious treat from my new cookbook, Best Holiday Dishes for the Vegans in Your Life, coming out this Spring:
Irish Whiskey Truffles.

These deeply satisfying chocolate truffles pack a flavorful punch with Irish Whiskey. Oh yeah, they’re vegan, gluten-free, and paleo friendly too. Bonus!

Even if you’re not vegan, trying out vegan recipes can provide a healthier alternatives to recipes that use dairy-rich ingredients. Both the cocoa and coconut cream in this recipe provide solid nutritional value and if you dust them with nuts, you’ll get a triple punch of nutrients while still enjoying a decadent treat.

This recipe is great because it’s adaptable. Don’t like whiskey, use a different liquor—raspberry or orange liquor are nice. Don’t like alcohol, leave it out and flavor it with pure vanilla, almond, or orange extract instead. Be sure to read the note at the bottom of the recipe to get the details.

Dust the truffles in cocoa powder to make them easier to handle. You can also dust them in coconut flakes, chopped nuts, or powdered sugar (make sure the powdered sugar is vegan).

Irish Whiskey Truffles

These delicious vegan truffles can be made with Irish Whiskey or another liquor that pairs well with chocolate (raspberry or orange would do nicely).
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Dessert, Easy, Fast, Freezer-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan
Servings: 24

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Full-Fat Coconut Cream in the can
  • 3 tbsps Pure Maple Syrup Light or Dark
  • 1 ounce Irish Whiskey or your favorite liquor
  • 1 cup Vegan Dark Chocolate you can use chocolate chips or a bar
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil softened
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder for dusting (or use finely chopped nuts or coconut flakes)

Instructions

  • Place the coconut cream, maple syrup, and whiskey in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the chocolate and coconut oil to a large bowl. Break up the chocolate into small chunks if using a bar
  • Remove the coconut cream mixture from heat and add it to the chocolate bowl, stirring continuously until smooth and very well blended. Refrigerate until cooled and thickened,about two hours (or overnight).
  • Using a spoon or cookie scoop (I use the scoop), form small balls of the mixture and roll in cocoa powder to finish. Be sure to tap off any excess cocoa powder to avoid getting it too thick. You’ll need to move fast, as these melt quickly. If you run into any issues, just put them back in the fridge until they’re cool again and then finish.
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to serve and store in the fridge. Best eaten within 3–5 days. These also freeze very well. Use within 3 months of freezing.

Notes

If you do not like alcohol, just delete it. In place of the alcohol, use 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Instead of vanilla, can also use 1/2 teaspoon of pure almond extract, 1/2 teaspoon of pure raspberry extract, or 1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract.

A Fast & Easy Breakfast

There are so many people who feel like they don’t have time for breakfast. I’m hoping this recipe will change your mind. In less than five minutes, you can create a healthy, delicious, and whole-food, plant-based breakfast wrap that can be modified based on the foods you have on hand, the season, and your preferences.

Wrap Ingredients

PB, Banana and Berry Wrap

A quick, easy and nutrititious breakfast wrap for on-the-go
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Breakfast, Easy, Fast, Wrap
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 Wrap Sprouted or Whole Grain is best
  • 1 tbsp Peanut Butter Natural is best or use your favorite nut butter
  • 1 tsp Chia Seeds Or use your favorite seeds
  • 1 medium Banana Organic, if possible
  • 1/4 cup Berries Your favorite fresh or frozen (thaw first)

Instructions

  • On your wrap, spread the peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter) and sprinkle with seeds.
  • Add the peeled banana. I leave mine uncut but you can cut yours if you prefer. Sprinkle with the thawed and drained berries and roll it up.
  • If you want it warm, just pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up. Wrap it in a paper towel and take it with you on the go. Don't be afraid to play with the ingredients until you get it just right for you. Enjoy!

A 5-Star Read Just In Time for the Holidays!

Behind the Painting

A Supernatural Suspense

On sale now on Amazon

30 years ago, a young girl took her own life, leaving behind only her paintings to remember her. When Lorelei purchases one of these paintings, she doesn’t expect it to stir up unfinished business from the past that will put her life in jeopardy.

From day one, disturbing things start to happen and they’re only getting worse. Working alongside her best friend, Lorelei is thrown into a world of the supernatural. When paranormal investigators dig up even more chaos, she seeks out the only person who may be able to help; a shamanic practitioner. She will reveal a truth so unexpected, it will change Lorelei forever.

Author, Amanda Leeber, delivers a fast-paced, haunting tale that may just have you considering new possibilities.

ORDER NOW

Book Recommendation: Permission Marketing

To all of my small business owner friends out there, including independent authors, let me make a book recommendation to you on marketing. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin.

This has to be one of the best marketing books I have read to date. Seth is meticulous in his explanations and provides multiple examples. He explains why permission marketing works.

My absolute favorite comparison of interruption marketing versus permission marketing is the marriage proposal example. It adds humor to an effective example that makes the differences so much more clear.

And he ends the book on a high note by providing you with ten steps to start permission marketing. If you’re going to read one marketing book this year, make it this one.

AmandaLeeber.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

New Year’s Giveaway Winner

Amber Ludwig!

Congratulations to the New Year’s Day Giveaway Winner, AMBER LUDWIG! And a HUGE thank you to all of my dear reader friends who entered.

Amber, you won a signed copy of my supernatural suspense, Behind the Painting, along with the following swag…

WHAT’S THE SWAG?

A hand-hammered Tibetan Singing Bowl Set, including:

  • 3.5″ meditation bowl;
  • A wooden striker; and
  • A hand sewn cushion.

This set was made in the Himalayan Foothills By Nepalese artisans to create an ambiance for emotional calming & healing (purchased from the OHM Store through Amazon.com) and is similar to what the shamanic practitioner, Autumn used during her healing session with Lorelei, in Behind the Painting.

Along with the Tibetan Singing Bowl Set, you’ll receive a hand-poured jasmine and sandalwood natural wax candle made in the United Kingdom (purchased from Mystix London through Amazon.com). These sacred scents were also used during the healing session with Autumn and Lorelei.

Both are yours to enjoy while reading a signed copy of my 5-STAR RATED book, Behind the Painting.

Didn’t win? You can still grab yourself a copy of Behind the Painting. It is available on Amazon as an e-book or paperback. 

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Again, THANK YOU to everyone who participated. Wishing you and yours a fantastic New Year 2019!

AmandaLeeber.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Supernatural Suspense Book Giveaway **CLOSED**

Signed Copy of BEHIND THE PAINTING and GREAT Swag!

To all of my dear reader friends, starting at midnight tonight (Sunday, December 20) you can enter to win my latest GIVEAWAY to thank you for your amazing support! That means, I get the pleasure of giving away a signed copy of my debut novel, Behind the Painting, along with some awesome swag on New Year’s Day. YAY!

WHAT’S THE SWAG?

A hand-hammered Tibetan Singing Bowl Set, including:

  • 3.5″ meditation bowl;
  • A wooden striker; and
  • A hand sewn cushion.

This set was made in the Himalayan Foothills By Nepalese artisans to create an ambiance for emotional calming & healing (purchased from the OHM Store through Amazon.com) and is similar to what the shamanic practitioner, Autumn used during her healing session with Lorelei, in Behind the Painting.

Along with the Tibetan Singing Bowl Set, you’ll receive a hand-poured jasmine and sandalwood natural wax candle made in the United Kingdom (purchased from Mystix London through Amazon.com). These sacred scents were also used during the healing session with Autumn and Lorelei.

Both are yours to enjoy while reading a signed copy of my 5-STAR RATED book, Behind the Painting.

HOW DO I ENTER?

  • First, share this post on your Facebook (or other social media) page;
  • Second, click on the Rafflecopter box below and enter your details; and
  • Last, be sure to comment on this post with the word “DONE”.

You must complete all three steps to qualify to enter.

Please note, you must be a U.S. resident to participate and you must be willing to provide your address to me in order for me to send you your prize. Your address will remain confidential (I will NOT share it) and it will NOT be used for any purpose other than to send you your winnings. After all, I do have to mail them to you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can’t wait? Behind the Painting is available on Amazon as an e-book or paperback.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

ONE RANDOM WINNER will be chosen on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2019!

AmandaLeeber.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Book Recommendation: Mini Habits by Stephen Guise

Just in time for the new year and with it, resolutions, I decided to read Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise and I am AMAZED. Why? Read on, my friend.

Stephen explains why it can be difficult to change our habits and why motivation can leave us high-and-dry, like a bank account after paying all the bills. He also gives us real, workable solutions that are actually easy. Mini habits! You set yourself up with a habit so small, you cannot fail.


‘A mini habit is a very small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day; its “too small to fail” nature makes it weightless, deceptively powerful, and a superior habit-building strategy. ‘

–Mini Habits


He uses a great example of doing one push-up a day. I thought I’d give it a try. I decided to tweak his example and do one yoga pose a day instead of that push-up. I did and it worked. Since starting this mini habit, I’ve done more yoga this month than I’ve done all year and it always started with JUST ONE.

Why it worked for me? It allowed me to do something so small and easy, I couldn’t fail. And once I started, I usually did a bit (or even a lot) more! That was the key for me, just getting started, getting my butt on that mat. Once I was there, it was easy to turn that one pose into a beautiful yoga flow that my body needed on that particular day. I was delighted by the results. And I’m ready to take on more mini habits.

Going into 2019, I’m going to use mini habits to tackle improving my health without all of the added bullshit and disappointment from what always seems to be expensive gimmicks. Keep it simple sweetie is the take-away here.

This is the perfect book to start off your New Year and forget those resolutions. Start with a mini habit or two. (I’m going to tackle three.)

Oh, and another good thing…it’s a super-quick read. You can read it in one sitting and implement the recommendations immediately. BAM!

Check out the link here…

Amanda is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Book Recommendation: Fear Is Not My Enemy

I just finished Fear Is Not My Enemy but Emee Vida Estacio and WOW what a great book!

I absolutely loved it! I loved the way it was written–clear and concise. I loved the actionable steps. They clarified my focus. I loved:

  • The understandable definitions;
  • The relatable examples; and
  • The exercises that helped me to accept and work through my fears and move into and embrace my own courage.

And the bonus is the Facebook Group I joined for the added encouragement and support.

My favorite quote from the book:

“Remember, we are not passive recipients of our reality.

We are active players in our life.”

If you let it, this book can change your life. I highly recommend it to everyone. And for a limited time, it’s on sale for $0.99. You can’t beat that!

Amanda is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.