food

Healing Through Raw Foods

I don’t yet, but I will soon start sounding like a broken record. And some of you might think, well just do it then already. If that’s you, or will become you, then please unsubscribe, click off, and block me—just kidding, the last one is not an option on WordPress yet, haha.

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I am drinking a green smoothie instead of a wrap I brought home from a birthday party last night (too much really yummy but not so healthy food was catered and the hosts were gracious enough to let us pack some to take home). The wrap was my lunch plan. But I am drinking the smoothie instead because I feel an inkling a calling to give raw foods a real try, to let raw foods heal my mind, my body and my soul.

I have had this inkling for nearly a decade and like so many other inklings I haven’t taken it seriously. But why not? I am worth the little bit of struggle increasing the amount of raw foods in my diet entails. I am worth the five minutes it takes to wash the juicer, to prep the smoothie ingredients, to water seeds for sprouts, etc. I am worth it. It’s just a decision… Partly because in the last month I have found my faith again and I know that it’s my divine birthright to be worth it and partly because I have waited much longer than a decade for the day I would become worth it and it hasn’t happened. I still often fall into the ever-tempting thoughts telling me I am not worth it; the same ones on repeat for a very long time.

So I am claiming my worth instead of waiting, and my weapon of choice? A green smoothie. A green smoothie with bananas, 30+ grams of complementary proteins (non-gmo pea and organic hemp from Bulk Barn) and baby spinach and a little maca powder. It is so glorious.

I want to really give raw foods a shot. Not 100%, not in a an extreme way, but I’d like a major percentage of my foods to be all raw, and always healthy even when not raw. I cannot recall a time in my life when I was either fed or then chose to eat a proper, healthy diet. My diet lacked in essential nutrients and fibre as a child, enough to cause me health issues, and later when I took the reins in adulthood, I didn’t make improvements. I think it’s easier to tell ourselves that things are okay as they are.

So I guess my calling to healthy food is in part a prayer to give back everything I took and was taken through years of physiological neglect through improper diet, a bout of bulimia, improper exercise, and alcohol and RX abuse.

I feel vulnerable sharing this… But at the same time, I think we need a lot more “sharing” in this world, just fewer lies and pretences. I think we don’t share nearly enough.

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A Salad Every Day

I’d like to eat a salad every single day. This was one of my new year’s resolutions, and on the eve of April 1st, I can assure you that I did not keep it. But it didn’t come out of nowhere. It wasn’t just another one of those new year’s pipe dreams because there had been a time when I had eaten a salad every single day, and I’d reaped some great benefits.

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I’d felt lighter, I’d lost some excess weight (felt more confident in my skin), my skin had developed an inexplicable glow and it made me happy, you could literally see it in my face (anyway I could), and the little cellulite I had disappeared.

So when I told myself, on the eve of the new year, that I want to eat a salad every single day of 2018, I knew exactly why. I knew what it would do for me. But along the way I had such little faith that I couldn’t keep it up.

It’s incredibly humbling, mind you; I didn’t have enough faith that this thing I already knew would do me so much good, that I didn’t mind doing (I like salads!) would be “worth it.” Worth what you say? I still can’t put my finger on that one. I suppose the preparation.

Anyway, here I am and thinking I want to restart my resolution. I ate a salad for dinner tonight. It was a big salad, albeit fat-free and low in calories, but it was so big that I have a big of a tummy ache. But instead of feeling upset, I am asking myself, what if I ate a salad every day forever? What is stopping me, exactly?

No, I’m not talking about those single unfortunate days that might come my way when it isn’t possible to eat a salad. I know those days will come. But I don’t imagine there will be more than a handful of those in my life… I can’t think of a single day in my life right now that eating a salad would have been impossible.

Yes, I am THAT blessed; I have no memory of a time when I wouldn’t have been able to make or buy a healthy, nourishing salad for myself. And I am so grateful for it, in my mind. But has that gratitude seeped into my heart? Am I showing it through my actions? I don’t think I am.

But I want to. I promise that I want to. I’d even like to be that person that turns 80 and say, my secret is that I’ve been eating a salad every single day since I turned 27. That’s 8395 salads (thanks, phone calculator). It’s not even that many, honestly! I eat 4–5 times a day. I’m active, I get hungry, I eat small meals. Can’t one of those meals be a simple salad? Sure, it can.

So, that’s my goal. And will you join me? Will you join me in eating a single meal every day that builds our health and nourishes our tissues and stops free radicals in their tracks? Will you join me in putting your diet where your mouth is and truly show that you love yourself?

Anyway, like I said I had a big salad for dinner tonight, and I’m eating another one again tomorrow. Join me.

Indian Recipe Tryout 2/15

Hi, everyone! I got an early start on making the 15 recipes I’d like to try in March. If you click the link and read the post, you’ll see the full list and that all of them are vegan recipes from Vegan Richa’s blog.

The recicpes I tried yesterday were the mango lassi and the palak tofu paneer.

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The first recipe I made was the mango lassi. It’s a yogurt and mango drink, and it was really good; very similar to a mango smoothie. The recipe included the option of adding some cardamom, but I couldn’t find any in the pantry!

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The next, more intensive recipe I made was the palak tofu paneer. It required lots of spices and ingredients, and I was still surprised that I only needed four things from the shop: the spinach, red hot pepper, some ginger, and cashews.

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The recipe calls for a serrano chili pepper, and I couldn’t find that at the store. Instead I picked up some medium heat yellow and red chili peppers and used a red one.

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Palak paneer was my favourite Indian dish before I greatly limited my intake of dairy. I was looking forward to trying this recipe and finding it just as good, but I have to be honest that it wasn’t.

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It was just okay, in the end. I found the gravy definitely wasn’t enough. Two pressed cups of spinach and the ingredients mentioned for it weren’t enough for the 7 oz. of tofu. As well, the dish just wasn’t as flavourful as I had hoped/it should be and I ended up adding some lemon juice to my dinner to improve things. The lemon helped a lot.

On the bright side, I did find while eating leftovers today that the flavours seemed to have combined a lot better.

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I picked up this Henry of Pelham Riesling 2016 to go with the curry and it suited the dish beautifully. The wine has a lot of beautiful, delicate flavours and I was happy to find the curry didn’t mute any of them and went along with it perfectly. It was recommended to me by the LCBO associate.

She did mention that for a spicier curry, I would need a sweeter wine, but I assured her mine would be medium spicy.

 

Making Plant-Based Cheese, First Time

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Good evening, beautiful people! Thank you for visiting my blog, and choosing to spend a few minutes of your precious time with me. I really mean that, and I wish I could thank you in person because while this blog is about my personal journey with a hobby (which I would hope to undertake with or without a website) it’s so nice to connect with others.

Today I want to tell you about a cheese success story! I made vegan cheese for the very first time, and it was so easy. I wasn’t planning it, but it just occurred to me that I had an open bottle of wine in the fridge, some nice dried fruit, and all of the ingredients for a cheese recipe that I’d watched on Youtube weeks ago.

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So I went ahead with it. I used one of Anja’s recipes from Cooking With Plants. If you click the link, it will take you right to the video I followed.

I did make a few adjustments, and I think that’s why my cheese turned out a lot softer, but it was still great, and I look forward to trying again one day with the right ingredients and measurements. Namely, I used almond milk instead of soy and didn’t quite measure everything properly.

And if like me, you have agar flakes instead of powder, use a little more of the flakes. So the equivalency ratio is 3 to 1. Three parts agar flakes equals one part agar powder. Agar flakes tend to be much less expensive, maybe for this reason. I wish I’d looked this up before because actually I only used three tablespoons of flakes in place of two tablespoons of powder when, apparently, I should have used six!

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Anyway, absolutely no regrets! This was a creamy and delicious cheese. I added salt-free Italian spices, some paprika and garlic powder as well. One thing I’d do differently is add a little less salt. The recipe calls for salt and miso paste, and I found that it just turned into a little too much sodium for me. But that’s a personal preference, I suppose.

I ate the cheese with dried apricots and figs, Mary’s gluten-free crackers (which are good even on their own), alongside a medium Riesling. I’ll be honest, I haven’t the slightest idea which fruits go with which wines and cheeses, but I will exempt myself this time.

I did notice that with the strong flavours from the cheese and fruit, I really couldn’t taste this delicate, fruity and flowery flavours of this beautiful white wine, and that was a shame!

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Making and setting this vegan cheese took about one hour. It’s all very quick. If you’re toying with the idea of eliminating dairy from your diet, try one of Anja’s recipes out! They are not the only ones, either, so feel free to find others.

The dairy industry is cruel, and we’ve come to a time of abundance when we no longer need to abuse and use animals for our benefit. We don’t need to get preventable chronic illnesses. Imagine, we are so blessed in developing nations that most people die from preventable illnesses! Most people aren’t dying from hunger, from a horrible virus or disease; they are dying from the consequences of eating too much of the wrong foods, exercising too little, worrying too much, sleeping too little.

That’s great news because those things can be fixed.

I hope you’ll join me in trying this cheese and a plant-based lifestyle. Trying is all I do—I’m not perfect. And it’s all I would ask of anyone else.

 

Fifteen Indian Vegan Recipes I’d Like to Try in March

Hi, everyone! Thank you for visiting my blog. Today, I decided to come up with a challenge to cook a number of recipes in March. I compiled a list of 15 Indian recipes, though  I realize that’s a high and unrealistic number, considering how busy I am for the rest of March.

The list does also include French toast, decidedly not Indian, but I just couldn’t take it out. It looked too good! All of the recipes are from Vegan Richa, about whom you can learn in a recent post, and on her website you can also find high quality photos and detailed instructions for each of the recipes, in addition to a little bit of historical or cultural background about the dish, which I enjoy.

Here are my picks—each recipe is linked below:

Vegan Methi Malai Paneer Tofu

Indian Butter Tofu Paneer I’ve tried this one before.

Almond Fudge This sweet looks amazing and kind of looks like Persian halwa.

Ginger Turmeric Root Tea

Chickpea flour fudge To see if it’s better than the almond fudge. If you haven’t had chickpea flour desserts before, try this or some others. It’s something that’s used in dessert-making in parts of Iran, and it’s really flavourful when paired with sugar/sweetness and cardamom (which I don’t know if this recipe contains).

Cauliflower Kofta Curry

Hemp-Tofu in Rich Pasanda Sauce Okay, this one requires hemp-tofu, supposedly tofu made from hemp seeds. I’m never heard of it but I’ll make a trip over to Whole Foods, and if they don’t have it, the Big Carrot.

Vegan Banana French Toast  So I can listen to Banana Pancakes and eat them (close).

Naan (I’d like to make the garlic kind)

Baked Samosas  I may have signed up to make samosas for friends in the near future. I might as well practice. These ones are baked. I can’t imagine deep frying something at home and then finding the courage to also eat it!

Palak Tofu Paneer Palak paneer was my favourite Indian dish before I gave up dairy because of lactose intolerance. I still sometimes eat dairy (though I’d like to move towards a fully plant-based diet this year) but I need to take Lactaid to do so, and I guess I’ve just never had any on hand when ordering Indian food.

Carrot Halwa This is such a popular Indian dessert that I feel it should be in my Indian recipe try. I used to love it when I ate dairy, and I haven’t had it since, as I believe the traditional version contains either of cream or milk.

Vegan Mango Lassi The first and only time I had mango lassi, another hugely popular Indian recipe, was at an Indian restaurant with a friend. We couldn’t drink ours because I suspect the mango was too unripe and the whole thing tasted sour.

Gobi Broccoli Makhani

Vegan Mango Burfi

 

Vegetarian Pesto Omelette Lunch

Today I made an omelette for lunch. I’m still a novice, as I don’t usually cook with eggs, and as you’ll see at the end, I got distracted with the cleanup and left mine on the stove for too long.

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I wanted to make a mushroom and spinach omelette, but there were no mushrooms left, so I made do with spinach, tomato, and onion. 🙂

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I chopped and cut everything, like so.

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And then sauteed everything in less than a teaspoon of grapeseed oil.

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While the veggies sauteed on low heat, I cracked the eggs into a bowl.

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I added some of Club House’s Italiano Signature spice blend. I also really like their Montreal Steak seasoning blend, which you can get here, but I didn’t have any on hand. The Italian one is really good, too.

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It took about six minutes for my veggies to cook, but this really depends on preference, as well.

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It turns out spice blend isn’t the only thing missing from my kitchen; I was out of Daiya. I waited for the veggies to cool off a bit and added two dessert spoons (not quite teaspoons, so maybe 1/2 tablespoon-sized) of this Classico basil pesto to the veggies.

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Then I added a bit of pink salt to the whisked egg mixture, whisked again and preheated a new pan over medium heat with a teaspoon of butter.

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After a few minutes (preheating is supposedly important) I poured the eggs in.

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About a minute later, I added the veggies and covered the pan.

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Then I started cleaning, so I left the omelette in for too long. So when I tried to get the egg off the pan to fold it over, I had some difficulties. But I’d say it would take about two to three minutes for the top to set without the bottom sticking.

 

 

Healthy Easy Vegan Lunch: Tofu Avocado Toast With Stubb’s BBQ Marinade

Today was a study day, so I didn’t fuss or spend much time in the kitchen. I decided to make some easy healthy vegan food.

I wanted to make a quick but still healthy lunch, and something that would hold me over until dinner. Et voila: I made avocado toast.

Of course, there’s a very high chance you’re already sick of avocado toast (I mostly am; it’s a pretty lazy content idea, let’s be honest). BUT this is a twist on avocado toast! (Anyway, that’s what I’m telling myself.) Read on.

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I toasted two slices of Glutino’s gluten free toast, which is so easy to digest. This is especially important on days where I need all of my wits about me and have absolutely no time for that heavy food feeling.

On top of my two slices of toast, I mashed one whole small avocado and added some sauteed cubed extra firm sprouted organic tofu (the whole brick costs $2—it just sounds fancy) marinated for a few minutes (but leave it more longer if you have time) in Stubb’s Texas Steakhouse marinade.

Et finit! Qu’est-ce que c’est? Easy healthy vegan food.

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I haven’t seen this idea before, even though it’s so simple. The toast is good for carbs, the avocado for fats, and the tofu for protein. It’s especially important for plant-based diet adherents to make sure they ingest enough omega-3 fats and whole proteins (tofu* is one).

This meal is adjustable: you can make more or less of any of the ingredients without adding a significant amount of time, and with carrot or cucumber sticks, it would pass for a complete meal in my books.

Hope you try it!

*Disclaimer: I do limit my tofu intake to prevent any potential hormonal effects, whether with sex hormones (estrogen) or thyroid hormones.

p.s. Check out my easy vegan burrito lunch post.

For more easy healthy vegan food ideas, I personally love the vegan recipes on Budget Bytes. They are cheap and (relatively) easy recipes. My favourite of Beth’s recipes (the recipe developer and blogger behind Budget Bytes) is the Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup.