Pizza With Purpose

Pizza 2

Pizza is a staple of the SAD (Standard American Diet).

Ask a kid what their favorite food is and most likely you will hear them tell you pizza.

In a place like New York, ask a person on their street their favorite kind and you will hear answers like Sicilian, White, Pepperoni, Hawaiian, Buffalo Chicken or good ol’ Margarita.

If only pizza loved us as much as we do in return….

Most pizza that we consume is made of processed, inflammation inducing flour and mucus building cheese.

Gluten and dairy are two highly inflammatory foods that take a toll on our blood sugar and immune system. As you may know, majority of people are allergic or have sensitivities to one or both of these items!

To me, that is a big red flag signaling us to not consume it.

But I want you to know that there are still fun ways to enjoy pizza (and a little bit of gluten if you have no sensitivities or allergies) It is also so much more fun to make it on your own!

What you need:

  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (can be found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores or in the frozen aisle in Whole Foods)
  • Sauce of choice–this can be traditional tomato or you could use olive oil and garlic (my favorite)
  • Toppings of choice–Endless opportunities: Spinach, Mushrooms, Kale, Broccolini, more Garlic, Veggie Sausage, Organic Cage Free Turkey Sausage, Peppers or Onions.
  • Optional: Cheese (choose from Organic Goat or Mozzarella. Vegetarian/Non-Dairy Options: Daiya, Nutritional Yeast or Cashew Cheese)
  • Gluten Free Dough Option: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough (super easy to make)

What to do:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Let your dough sit out until room temperature (If making Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free, follow directions on package). If it is not room temperature it will not stretch out the way you would like it too. 
  • Shape the dough onto a baking pan or pizza sheet. This can either be traditional round, oblong, rectangle…go crazy.
  • Next prep your toppings: If you’re using veggies saute them lightly in a pan with coconut oil, season as you prefer. Do the same with the veggie sausage or turkey sausage. Tip: If using olive oil and garlic as your “sauce” roast about 8 garlic cloves in the oven on a baking sheet while it is preheating. Once golden brown place the garlic on your uncooked dough then drizzle with more olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Now the fun part…add your toppings! There are no rules with pizza so add them in any order you would like. Get the kids involved and let them take the wheel. If you want to keep it traditional it usually it goes (as we know 😉 ): Sauce, veggies, cheese (optional).
  • Place your pizza pie in the oven and let cook until the edges are golden brown (about 15 minutes)

Serve with a side of greens and you have a wholesome and delicious meal that everyone will enjoy.

With Love and Pizza Pie,

Your Maven

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A Wellness Maven Thanksgiving


{Photo: Pinterest}

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

It’s a great moment to reflect on how fortunate we are and to spend much needed quality time with family or friends.

For some, this holiday (and the ones that quickly follow) can be a pretty stressful time. Days seems to be moving faster than we can keep up with and we are often confronted with the people and situations that challenge us the most.

Thanksgiving specifically includes those “old time favorite” foods that make you feel all warm and cozy, but when they aren’t consumed moderately can have negative affects on our bodies and our minds.

This holiday seems to encourage the act of over-indulging to the point of discomfort—when originally it was made for us to gather, savor what we have and speak what we are most grateful for in our lives.

It is a day to say thank you and give to others.

For the past couple of years I have been bringing my own “Wellness Maven friendly” dishes to offer my friends and family.

This year will be no different and I wanted to share them with you!

This years Wellness Maven offering:

  1. Butternut Squash Pasta– This dish was created by my dear friend at My Edible Sunshine. The butternut squash will make it the perfect dish to compliment the season and holiday. Plus, its vegan and can be made gluten free with brown rice pasta! You can find the recipe here.
  2. Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stuffing with Veggie Sausage– Who doesn’t love stuffing? My boyfriend even buys the Stovetop boxes just to whip up a batch when he feels like it (Not Wellness Maven Approved ;-)). The problem is it is usually made with white bread (fully processed, lacking nutrients, and loaded with preservatives) and not veg-friendly. That’s where this stuffing comes in. I found this recipe from Style and Grace on Pinterest and I plan on added some high quality vegetarian sausage to the mix to hopefully entice the meat eaters at my table to try it.
  3. Vegan Banana Bread Pudding- As a lover of all things dessert and chocolate, I have to make sure that I have something to satisfy that sweet tooth without being full of harmful ingredients that set off imbalance in my body. This cold weather has me craving warm and toasty desserts, so why not banana bread pudding? Again, I found this on Pinterest (a girls best friend) It’s by West Philly Vegan and will work as my foundation, but I will probably replace the bread with Ezekiel, the brown sugar for coconut sugar and will make sure the chocolate chips are extra dark.

In case you want to try something different I also played with the idea of a lentil loaf, pumpkin muffins and raw stuffing.

Another way to fully enjoy Thanksgiving will be to create an intention. 

The night before or the morning of create an intention for how you want the holiday to go.

This could be as simple as:

  • Reminding yourself to breathe and stay calm when you feel the natural pressures of cooking for the entire family.
  • To practice the philosophy of “act to not react” when that certain family member pushes your buttons.
  • Or  to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal consciously and mindfully, savoring every bite in the attempt to eliminate that uncomfortable feeling of over indulgence.

Creating an intention can be a powerful practice for your everyday life. When you create and write down an intention you will be brought back to it several times throughout the day, especially during those times when you most need it.

Lastly, take a moment or two to write a gratitude list the morning of Thanksgiving.

Nothing embodies this holiday more than a gratitude list and it couldn’t be easier to do.

The morning of, write down the things you are grateful for in your life. It doesn’t have to be anything astronomical.

Your list can look something like this:

  • ‘I am grateful for this beautiful holiday’
  • ‘I am grateful for my family.’
  • ‘I am grateful for my morning cup of tea that helps me start my day with a warm and cozy feeling.’

Write down what makes you happy, even the little things. If you happen to write down something that challenges you or you don’t 100% believe, that’s okay.

Acknowledging it is the first step to seeing the positive side of it.

And everything in your life has one.

With Intentions and Love,

Your Maven

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Cinnamon Coconut Oatmeal

photo (7)

Do you eat breakfast?

Please tell me yes.

Breakfast is not only important but usually sets the tone for your entire day. Going to just have coffee, bagel or pastry? By doing this you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. Not only do those breakfast choices lack in the nutrients but will also spike your blood sugar. When your blood sugar spikes it eventually crashes leading to that 3 pm sugar craving that’s hard to resist.

By eating balanced meals full of the nutrients our body yearns for we keep our blood sugar in check and avoid those not so stellar moments of weakness.

Personally, I love a hearty breakfast. Whether it be chia pudding, a nice big green smoothie or vegan french toast, I’m usually game.

Although I love to have a something green in the morning, as the weather turns colder I usually need something with a bit more substance and warmth. That’s when I start to add oatmeal to my usual green drink routine.

This oatmeal has been getting me through these chilly mornings. Depending on what I have on hand I either make it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats or cooked quinoa.

To cook the quinoa:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and let simmer with a top on until all liquid has been absorbed.

Now for the fixins’:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut butter (not oil)
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp flaxmeal (optional)

While the quinoa is still hot mix in all the fixins’ until thick. Put in a bowl, mason jar or other travel container and top with more coconut flakes and cinnamon. You can also add any fruit you like. I usually top it off with some banana to stay with the tropical feel.

Don’t want to use quinoa? Just whip yourself up some plain oatmeal and add the same fixins’.

This is the perfect breakfast for this time of year. It’s warming not only in temperature but also because of the cinnamon. The cinnamon will also keep your blood sugar levels stable until lunch.

With Coconutty Love,

Your Maven

Recipe of the Week: Banana Peanut Butter Cacao Smoothie

Cacao Smoothie


This smoothie is the perfect snack in the afternoon. You know that time when it’s around 3:00 and you start to feel a little tired, you start to experience a craving for something sweet or a second cup of coffee, and you may be feeling a little down about being stuck indoors at work. Especially as spring and summer are coming into bloom.

If this is the case, this smoothie is for you. 

The best part is that it is very simple to make.

All you will need is:

-1 medium ripe banana

-1 cup almond milk

-2 tablespoons all natural creamy peanut butter

-1 tablespoon cacao powder

-3 ice cubes

Now what?

-Place everything into a blender and blend until smooth!

I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to make this at work when I need it most?

Of course this is probably not possible. So make it that morning, or the night before. If you choose to make it the night before simply put it in a trusted, air tight mason jar and store it in the freezer overnight. Take it out in the morning and allow it to defrost throughout the day to be ready for you to enjoy by 3.

If you make it in the morning just make sure that you keep it refrigerated.

Cacao is the superhero of this smoothie. It will give you that lift that you need. Not only is cacao full of antioxidants and promote cardiovascular health but it also has been proven to raise the level of serotonin in the brain, which acts as an anti-depressant. It also releases endorphins which helps create a sort of “runner’s high” and also releases Anandamide which is our brains “bliss chemical”. Bottom line is cacao makes you feel pretty damn good about yourself! Which is crucial during that afternoon lull.

Cacao is also full of essential minerals such as magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium.

Ditch the guilt laden afternoon snacks and cups of coffee and switch to this smoothie instead. It takes 2 minutes to make and will make you feel better than any last minute pick me up can.


Daily Inspiration


“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” 
― Rumi

I really liked this quote today.

As a sensitive person I often fall victim to criticism or comparing myself to others. These past couple of months I have been able to get in touch with that on a deeper level and instead of being wounded or hurt by it, I learn from it and rise above it.

In every situation, especially the difficult ones, there is a lesson to be learned. Sometimes it can be really hard to see that lesson. That’s why I usually just straight up ask. I say “God, Universe, Spirit, What are you trying to tell me?” And usually the message comes out clearer. I know this sounds crazy, but I swear it really works.

This week those lessons have been coming out through my lectures at school. Tuesday I was feeling frazzled and stressed, while considering my mental health day Wednesday we discussed Existential Psychology in class and how important it is to have a balance between structure and freedom. My life with school and work revolves around structure, what my mind and soul needed was a little bit of freedom, so I took it.

Yesterday I was in an interesting mood AGAIN. And in my lecture, ran by the same amazing teacher, we discussed how neuroticism is manifested in our early developmental period. Usually I think to myself “Great, I am crazy” but he began to talk about the resilient people who come out of not so stellar situations. From just a few examples that he gave, I put myself in that category. It was a great reminder to appreciate myself, where I have come from, and to give myself some credit for all that I am doing. 

So although criticism and comparisons will come and go it’s important to remember that once they do come to look inside yourself and think about how you can grow from the experience. How can you handle this criticism better? But also better yet, how are you already great? 

Tuesday Inspiration

Aim True Challenge

Unless someone can look into the core of your heart

And see the degree of your passion

Or look into the depths of your soul

And see the extent of your will

Then they have no business telling you what you can or cannot achieve

Because while they may know the odds

They don’t know you

Nor do they know the power of your angels

Aim True Yoga Challenge

Aim True to your dreams and what lies in your heart. Always.

Please ‘Like’ my photo (the one above:) on Pinterest for Kathryn Budig’s Aim True Yoga Challenge!

Love. Happiness. And Health. Always.

A Day On My Plate


If you follow me on Instagram you know how much I like to take pretty pictures of my food. I don’t like to overwhelm people though, so I only post my favorites. So today I thought I would give you a run through of a typical workday for me.

Tuesdays I work in NYC from 8-4 then head straight home to make it to class in Westchester by 6:30. With all this running around I had to develop a system with foods that were easy to bring with me on the go.

Each morning I always start with a travel mug of warm water with lemon or green tea with lemon. This is so easy to make, helps continue the detoxing from the night before, and gets my digestion ready for bigger and better things. I drink this while I am on the train writing in my gratitude journal.

Since I am on the go and out the door by 6:45, I don’t have the time or the cahunas to wake my building up just to make my own juice. So I improvise. Although this isn’t organic, I swing by the Starbucks in Grand Central and pick up an Evolution Sweet Greens juice. I drink this once I get to work.

About a half hour after I have my juice I am ready for my oatmeal! I eat this almost every single morning and is so easy to throw together. Its 1/4 cup of oats (or homemade granola), covered in almond milk, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and strawberries or blueberries. By the time I get to work it is so thick because of the chia seeds and so delicious from all the flavors absorbing each other.

Although I don’t have a picture of it. Monday’s I have cabbage and brown rice. Sometimes I put a side of hummus with this or avocado or babaganoush. The rest of the days of the week I have a salad that consists of romaine, avocado, tomatoes, and apples with a side of salmon, tilapia, or 1/2 an acorn squash. No matter what though, I am always satisfied. If I have the craving for something sweet I have an apple with cinnamon or a Lara Bar or half of a vegan oatmeal cookie.

Dinner is usually something that I throw together very quickly. So it is often a salad with some kind of grain or a side of Ezekiel toast. The salad I made above was so delicious. It was greens, dandelion greens, sprouts, mushrooms, avocado, and I crumbled up Kale chips on top. All mixed together with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of balsamic. Delicious!

For dessert I will have the other half of the vegan oatmeal cookie or a small piece of dark chocolate.

Throughout the day I drink 64 oz of water. Which could also be accounted for by the water, green tea, and the juice.

So there you go! To eat healthy you CAN eat abundantly! Who knew?? Just because someone eats salads and vegetables doesn’t mean they don’t like to eat food. And we certainly don’t sacrifice flavor. Once you cut the processed food out of your diet you will start to notice that whole foods have so much more flavor then the factory made food you are used to.

Start a food journal to see your eating habits. Read over it after a week and it might shock you to see how much you eat out or order in. You could save a lot of money by eliminating this. Where can you incorporate more whole foods?