Friday, December 17, 2010

Genetically Modified Foods Scare Me

Why does our food have to be so horror movie like?
I just read this article on GMOs at PlanetGreen. Enviropigs? Are you kidding me? Soon there won't be anything left to eat that is not some kind of science project.
I'll take my apples nicely and naturally browned, thank-you very much.

Here is a page with downloadable guides with tips for avoiding GMOs and lists of brands that are GMO-free.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vegetarian Chili Takes Top Prize in Contest

Now, this is isn't exactly breaking news or anything. The chili contest happened way back in the summer. I had heard some rumours about it, but hadn't actually seen an article or anything until now, and even better, there is a link to the winning recipe in the article! The only non-vegan ingredient is 1/2 cup of cheese. I am going to try it with some Daiya vegan cheese and a little nutritional yeast instead and see how it turns out. It looks like a really yummy recipe - Indian style vegetarian chili.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Website with (Healthy!) Holiday Recipes

The blog is called Keeper of the Home. I am impressed enough with it that I am considering ordering both of her books.

The post that was passed along to me today is titled Real Food Recipe Roundup: 398 Wholesome Recipes. This is not a vegan blogger or post, but there is definitely some vegan recipes involved and some great information on healthy and natural eating. I have only scratched the surface of this blog post. Immediately I found the link to How to Make Your Own (Unrefined) Powdered Sugar and cannot believe how easy it is. Whoo-hoo!

I still need to make non-vegan meals for my non-vegan family, so I am sure I will also find a few things to make for my family that I will not partake in myself.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update: What I Brought for Thanksgiving Dinner

Do you remember way back in this post, when I told you what I was thinking of making to bring a long to my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner? I ended up making the Pumpkin Pie Brownies.

They were good enough, but I had to substitute some items to make it gluten free as my mil has celiac disease, and I think it could have been much tastier made as it was meant to be made.

I also took along Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Grapefuit (125 Best Vegan Recipes). The first time I made this I wasn't sure I liked the taste combo, but after a couple bites, I was hooked and it is one of my favorites to make now.

In order to make this, you need to start by making a batch of Pickled Pink Onion Relish (125 Best Vegan Recipes). It is super simple to make and I add the leftovers to salads, veggie dogs and wraps for about a week afterwards.

Pickled Pink Onion Relish (125 Best Vegan Recipes)

makes about 1 1/2 cups

6 c water
1 tsp salt
1 red onion, cut in half from stem to root then crosswise and thinly sliced
1/2 c seasoned rice vinegar

1. In a pot over high heat, bring water and salt to a boil. Add onion and return to a boil. Drain and immediately transfer to a nonreactive container. Add vinegar and toss to coat evenly.

Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled and deep pink.

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit (125 Best Vegan Recipes)

Makes 4-6 servings


2 c water
1 tsp salt
1 c quinoa, washed, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp granulated natural cane sugar or other dry sweetener
1/2 tsp salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 red grapefruit, peeled, sectioned and each section cut into thirds
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/3 c Pickled Pink Onion Relish (see recipe above)


1. In a pot, bring water and salt to a boil over high heat. Add quinoa, stirring to prevent lumps from forming, and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until it reaches room temperature. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together mint, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk in oil. Add grapefruit pieces, avocado and onion relish and toss lightly to coat. Spoon over quinoa, letting dressing drizzle down through the salad. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Old Farm Market outside Duncan, B.C., Canada

I know we've already had Halloween and Thanksgiving, but I don't want to miss sharing these things. I'm sorry I am late.

Back in October, hubby and I attended a conference in Victoria, B.C., Canada. In grade 9, I went to a boarding school in Duncan, B.C., which is about an hour north of Victoria. I had been hoping to get back and see my old stompin' grounds someday and we were so close, so before we headed home, hubby made sure we had time to go up and see my old school. We couldn't get a hold of someone to officially set up a visit, so we just showed up and hoped we could walk around a little. Well, goodness me, we happened to pull in on Sunday afternoon about 10 minutes before they started an open house event! We were the first ones there so we were honored to receive a full tour of the facilities from the current head girl. It was pretty awesome to not only re-visit my past, but also to be able to share a piece of such a memorable part of my life with my husband.

After we left, I was hoping to find a vegetarian style place to eat, but considering almost everything seemed to be closed on a Sunday out there, I think we were lucky to find anything to explore at all. We did end up finding this great market just outside Duncan right off the highway. It was just so quaint and full of country charm. I would love to be a "regular" at a place like this. I hope that those Duncan shoppers don't take The Old Farm Market for granted. We picked up some snacks for the ride back to Victoria to hold us off until we found a restaurant to eat at.

There was an absolutely huge pile of pumpkins outside. I found it funny that there was a sign saying, "No Climbing Pumpkin Pile. Thanks, Management".

I thought, "Who would climb on a pumpkin pile?!?" Well, I guess I must be totally naive, maybe because I am the mother of only girls, but 1 minute later we hopped into our rental car and what did I see as we were pulling out? Two boys climbing up the pumpkin pile!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meeting Brendan Brazier, author of Thrive

Do you remember this summer when I was a part of the Vega Smoothie – Where Will Your Smoothie Take You Photo Contest? I won lots of Vega Smoothie. It was a life saver on some of the trips I have taken this year where not so much vegan food, or not so much healthy food was available.

The creator of this smoothie product is Brendan Brazier, but he is also a vegan, a triathlete (superstahhh!), and author. I was so excited to find out he was going to be visiting my local Planet Organic store to give a talk this past Thanksgiving weekend (Canada’s Thanksgiving is in October by the way). After cancelling Thanksgiving plans to be there, I almost didn’t get in to the talk, because I had thought that there was no reserving seats (but there was). There was a lengthy wait-list, but I got there early, and stubbornly insisted on waiting just outside the door instead of wondering around until the start when they would find out if there were no-shows. I got in, but got standing room at the back of the tiny room. The downer part was that the room was quite hot and crowded and so there was a portion in the middle of the talk where I thought I was pretty close to passing out, but I made it through. There were also a couple people in chairs that were complaining that they were claustrophobic and that the people standing were making them uncomfortable. That got a few people upset on both sides.

However, the important part – the talk from Brendan Brazier, was great and I also got a picture with him and a signed copy of his book. His talk was mostly a summary of his book, which was fine with me, as I hadn’t read the expanded version of the book yet, just the tiny version that was out when he first published the book. The part that was really interesting for me was the question period. People asked about so many different types of things that it was like skimming ten different books in half an hour – more than enough information if you are not so interested in the topic, but just enough to whet the appetite if something is brought up that you didn’t know about before. Someone brought something up about Chinese beliefs and food either heating or cooling your body. There is a desirable “temperature” to be at to keep your body balanced. Don’t know anything about that topic – so forgive me if I massacred the description, but I definitely plan on learning more and sharing about that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Coming Up...

Wow! Has it really bee almost 2 months since posting?

I can’t imagine having any more crazy stuff happen to me (none of it is food or vegan related), so I should be able to post with some regularity now? I have so many posts saved up. I have material at least until Christmas. (smile) For simplicity sake, I will not post my “events” in chronological order, but just post whatever back-logged post is easiest to do for each particular day. I have been to Victoria, B.C., Canada and to Shanghai and Beijing in China and also San Francisco in the last few months, so I have lots of vegan adventures to share. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chicken Nuggets are made with pink goo- fact or fiction?

Probably most of you by now have seen the picture of pick goo coming out of a silver machine claiming to be what chicken nuggets are made of.

(pause) to avoid writing this post without feeling nauseous?...not sure if it can be done.

Anyway, actual Chicken McNuggets are actually made with white meat just so you know.
I came across this lovely post concerning what is true and what is not about the "pink goo claim". I love how they ended with a video from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show - I highly recommend watching it (and other clips availabel from that show on YouTube.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pies to make this weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving

I am hoping to make and take some dishes to Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws. They still don’t know I am eating vegan, so the trick is to bring enough food with me that maybe they won’t notice I’m not eating any of theirs? I haven’t figured out any other dishes yet, but I have the following two pies in mind:

Pumpkin Pie Brownies (This one is by Isa Chandra Moskowitz – loooove her!)

Nutritious Vegan Apple Pie

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Vegan Anniversary to Me

Life has gotten away from me. The past few months have been the "busy season" for my business. As time wore on, you may have noticed that I blogged less and less, but I also went from regularly trying new recipes, learning new things, and making most foods at home, to becoming stagnant in my vegan knowledge base and becoming a very frequent visitor to the deli at my local Planet Organic store. I did mostly stick to vegan foods, and I definitely did not have any meat, but more often than I can keep track of while not at home I partook in the sampling of baking that I am sure couldn't have been vegan.

It is my five month anniversary today of the beginning of my vegan journey. I have learned so much and I am pretty confident that I will be eating this way for as far as I can forsee in the future. I am excited to continue on and experience all the learning and growing that lies ahead for me on this road.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

American Dietetic Association Position on Vegetarianism

I picked up a copy of a 2010 issue of Vegetarian Journal, which is published in Baltimore, Maryland. This issue had enough vegan content to satisfy me. I am constantly being pleasantly surprised that the "vegetarian" magazines I pick up are often have more vegan friendly content than just being primarily vegetarian. My favorite section of this magazine is called Scientific Update: A review of recent scientific papers related to vegetarianism, as I never get tired of hearing about all the health benefits and good reasons to be vegan. One of the pieces talked about The American Dietetic Associations 2009 position on vegetarian diets. There was a link to the complete position paper at the bottom of the piece but It didn't seem to work, so I am just going to pass on the quote that they published, as it is pretty good on it's own. "...appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatments of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy,lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes."

What an excellent position! However, take note of the words "appropriately planned" and "well-planned" - so important that they had to mention it twice. A lazy vegan diet lacking in nutrients is not healthy and eating that way not only won't give you any health benefits, but if you are vegan because of moral issue, you are certainly not doing anything for "the cause" for the general public to see such a sickly representative.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vega Shake and Go Smoothie Photo Contest Update

I thought I would let you all know that I won a prize in that photo contest I told you about in this previous post. My photo had enough votes to take 12th place and win me a year supply of Vega Shake and Go Smoothie. Hoorah!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vegan Groceries Revisited

Something has been bugging me. I blogged yesterday about a website that listed some (mostly) processed foods that were vegan.

When you visit the homepage, you are greeted with a perky little write-up that begins with the following sentence. “Being vegan doesn't mean you have to eat wheatgrass and alfalfa sprouts.” My thought as I read this was, “Why wouldn’t you want to eat wheatgrass and alfalfa sprouts?” I am not saying I would want to eat these things all day every day, but they are two very healthy choices that would be a great addition to a healthy diet. I personally didn’t think a sandwich was quite complete without alfalfa sprouts long before I was vegan or had a relatively healthy diet.

Am I alone, or in the minority, of wanting foods that are as natural as possible, that are not made with chemicals, that are going to be the best for my body and let my body perform and function at its most optimal level? Yeppers, I am the first to admit that I sometimes many times want something that I absolutely know is not good for me. I will search the house on occasion to find that bag of chips or sugary something that someone else missed. I am, however, not going to put those kinds of things on my grocery lists or aspire to incorporate them into my diet on purpose. When I do indulge in those things I feel like I have let my body down and many times eating foods like that zaps some of my energy and happiness too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Vegan Grocery Hunt

I found a pretty neat website ( I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan!” ) that lists foods that are vegan from an assortment of categories. It is nice, especially for beginning vegans, to have a place to look and find familiar foods that you know are going to not have animal products in them. It is also good for not-so-beginner vegans to just know a list of convenience foods that can be purchased when you are in a hurry (or for non-vegan husbands to pick up on their way home who do not know healthy food lingo). I post the link for those reasons. However, most of the foods are processed gunk, likely using or containing a really gross amount of chemicals, so please take the list with a grain of salt and make sure you don’t eat these foods too often.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Are you a Healthy Vegan/Vegetarian?

First of all, hello. I have been away a while. I went to Texas on a mission trip with my oldest daughter to do some construction work for some families in need. This is also the busy time of year with my business. I should have some frequent posting going on now though.

I have read quite a few articles in the last months about people who become vegan, but don't know how to do it healthily. In these cases, being vegan is possibly worse for one's body than actually eating meat/dairy/eggs, as likely those foods were replaced with processed junk and a billion chemicals.

This article is from a lady who is not a vegetarian, but she sure has some good things to say about nutrition and how a healthy, balanced diet, eating natural foods helped her body recover from a heartbreaking diagnosis.

She also has a blog called Saving Naturally about eating and living healthy on a budget.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Vegan Feast

Last night, my husband and oldest daughter made dinner together. My sweet daughter did ask me if she should make her dish with vegan cheese so I could eat it (a cauliflower/broccoli bake- can you imagine? maybe it would work with Daiya Cheese (???), but certainly not the regular non-melty kind!). In the end, there was actually nothing in the meal that I could eat, but I didn't have to cook. I decided to take a run to Planet Organic, our local health/organic store for some selections from the deli. I was not really having the best day, so I decided to splurge and pick anything and everything that looked good. I ended up spending $32, but I have enough for probably 3 meals and I had a lot of fun doing it. I could have had just as much variety for a lot less money if I had just paid a little bit of attention to prices. I also should have taken a picture of my plate last night as it was insanely full of everything (and I ate it all). Hopefully, the picture of all my (slightly depleted) containers will do just as well.

Here is a list of what exactly I got for those who are interested (clockwise starting with top left):
Roasted Veggie Salad, Southwestern Basmati Rice, Tofu Sesame Snacks, Emerald Sesame Kale, Sweet Potato Salad, and finally Vegan Chocolate Cake.

I feel so lucky to even have some place I can go to get foods like these. Imagine how much work it would be to give myself the same experience at home? I am hoping when I finally get out to one of my local Vegetarian/Vegan group potlucks, it might be a somewhat similar experience (minus the work and the cost).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Time to Vote!

I just voted in the 2010 VeggieAwards. What?! You want to vote too? Of course you do. You can do that here.

I know you don't need any incentives, but the people at VegNews are actually giving away prizes to voters too -Grand prize of a global getaway and first prize is a year supply of Daiya cheese. I am so anxious to try some o' that cheese.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This Month's Mishaps

I did very well this month. There are only two mishaps to report.

1.) Who would have thought so much candy has animal products in it?!? I ate Wine Gums on three different occasions over a two week period before I remembered to check the label and found out they had gelatin in them. Oops.

2.) This one was of my own choosing. The kids were making smores out at the lake. On one occasion I decided to take one milk chocolate covered graham cracker and eat it.

All in all, I would call this a very successful month.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vega Smoothie Photo Contest

I don't know if there is anyone out there reading this blog, but if you are I would love some help with a photo contest I entered. It is one of those where the photos with the most votes win. I have my eye on the blender prize, which means I need to come in somewhere between 2nd and 11th. Voting goes until August 15th, 2010 and each email address can vote once every 24 hours.

If you would like to help me out by casting a vote for my photo, you can go to the Where Will Your Smoothie Take You contest page and this link will take you straight to my photo. Thanks and smilies to all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Local Veg Resources

It was my anniversary the other day. My lovely husband, who by the way is not a vegetarian, nor does he even agree with the idea of it, gifted me with a gift certificate to a local vegetarian restaurant. He researched it and came up with the idea himself. I'm not sure that I even knew about this particular restaurant. The restaurant is called Padmanadi and it is in Edmonton, Alberta.

I am very excited to try it out and while checking out the restaurant's website, I got even more excited when I found a link to a local vegatarian/vegan group that I also had not come across before. It looked like there was quite a bit going on, like monthly vegatarian pot-lucks, so I emailed and asked about volunteering. They emailed back quite quickly and sounded very excited to have me join in, so I will let you know how that goes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home-made Individual Pizzas

These can be a little messy to eat, but they are one of my favorite yum-factor meals. This is also one of those things you can make at the end of the week when you have lots of odds and ends veggies. The pizza in the picture below was made without vegan cheese (and tasted just fine), but I think I enjoy it just a touch more with the vegan cheese on the top. The pizza below has a crazy assortment of veggies. Let's see if i can remember them all. There are pineapple, mushrooms, green onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers, red bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives,an assortment of beans, parsley, and kale. There might be a couple more.

To make the pizza, you just cut up an assortment of veggies, grab a pita and spread some tomato sauce on it. Layer up your pizza with whatever you want. With this pizza, I drizzled a little more tomato sauce on the top because I didn't have the vegan cheese, but normally I would sprinkle some vegan cheese on the top. This is a very casual meal for me, so I don't really bother to remember a set temperature on the oven or cooking time, but this time I put it in at about 285 degrees and left it in for about 20 minutes.

Fresh Fruit Salsa

Here is a picture of my fresh fruit salsa. It is one of my favorite things to make because it is easy to remember what goes in it and quantities are not really that important. You take one mango, about 1/4 of a pineapple, juice of half a lime, about a quarter of a red onion and either some parsley or cilantro (probably about a quarter cup), and you have got yourself a salsa.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dogs and Vegetables

This is only slightly off-topic. It is about food after all. I am calling this a vegetarian success story, even if it isn't a human story. Read here about Bramble, a vegetarian dog who is entering his 28th year of life, and in the running for the world's oldest dog. Unbelievable.

You can also read here about what Alicia Silverstone feeds her vegetarian dogs.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tea Tip (for Two?)

I have yet to try this, but thought it sounded like a good idea. The tip is to add a bit of cold water to your white or green tea (just enough to cover the leaves in your cup) before you add hot water. This is supposed to give a better tasting cup of tea and prevents the leaves from being "shocked".

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I always find it very interesting when life (or situations) intersect in unexpected ways. I am currently reading two books, one food related and one that I thought was not. The food related book is entitled Twinkie Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined) and Manipulated into What America Eats(Steve Ettlinger). The other book, Sleeping Naked is Green(Vanessa Farquharson) is a journal of sorts where the author tries to change something in her life to a way a little more "green" every day for a year. There is an entry describing her frustration in deciding whether to buy local pesticide laden produce, or non-local organic produce.

As best-selling food author Michael Pollan has pointed out numerous times, our collective knowledge about what to eat has fallen by the wayside, leaving us with food pyramids, dieticians, fat camps, and entire books devoted to deconstructing the Twinkie...

One expects the Michael Pollan reference, as I am not sure that I have read anything about food without his name popping up, but the Twinkie book reference was definitely unexpected. Does anyone else get as terribly amused with these kind of coincidences as I do?

Friday, July 2, 2010

That's so SAD

I find it really sad funny that the acronym for Standard American Diet is SAD.

Successful, Healthy Me

When I read the book that started me eating vegan food, The Kind Diet, I read about people who experienced amazing health changes in their lives. I also posted a couple of days ago with links to some more "success stories". I was reading a blog with another such story just yesterday. Underneath the story, one of the comments posted was from a lady who was a little sad that she didn't seem to have experienced any major health changes once switching to a vegan diet. I gathered from the nature of her post that she also didn't have any health challenges before changing her diet. When one already seems healthy, a switch in diet maybe won't do anything profound, but it is possible that you might miss what does happen because it is small or maybe you weren't paying enough attention to that kind of thing. I find that a lot of time, the bad things are much more noticeable than the good. You are likely going to remember the day you threw up and felt like you were going to die as opposed to the day you just felt really great.

My first thought when I read the comment was, "oh, me neither". Now that I have had a day to process that thought, I feel a little differently. This morning I went for a run for the first time in two years. I often will start running every year around June, do it 5-10 times and then quit until the next June. I have had asthma since I was 12 years old. I have always needed an inhaler every time I exercise (and when I am exposed to allergens and sometimes in cold weather, but otherwise I don't need it very often). Today I didn't need my inhaler. I have always developed an extremely red and flushed face every time I exercise. I returned from my run to day to find that I was slightly pink in some very minor areas of my face, and otherwise I looked completely normal! The first time I go out running for the year, I can usually only make it once around the track and then I walk once around, and I continue alternating walking and running for about 8 times around the track in total. The second time I go running I can make it 2 times around and then one walking, making it about 9 times around the track. However, I have always felt like my legs were going to fall off and like I might get nauseous if I didn't stop. I really had to push myself to keep going. Today I did two and a half times around the track with then a half track of walking (x2). I never once felt like I had to push myself. I did not feel nauseous at all the entire time. I can't imagine how good it might feel the second time out! I definitely could have gone longer but I didn't have the time.

While I was running, I was thinking about all these things and I realized a few more. For about the past year or so, I have been waking up in the middle of the night coughing uncontrollably and gasping for air. It is really awful and scary. I asked a couple doctors about it and they thought it was acid creeping up to my lungs from my stomach while I was lying down (basically glorified heartburn). It was probably happening about 3-5 times a month. I have been eating almost entirely vegan for 6 weeks (?) and this has not happened once. I also realized that I have not used my inhaler once since I changed my diet.

I am feeling like I have a success story afterall. Yay me.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thrive (with a plant-based diet)

Planet Organic is our local organic food store. I was shopping there a couple weeks ago and they had samples available of Vega Shake and Go Smoothie, created by Brendan Brazier. One serving is supposed to be 2 tbsp, and all you need to do is add some water, shake, and drink. That little serving has 3g of dietary fibre, 11g protein, 4% of your daily calcium, 30% of your daily iron, 2500 mg of omega 3-6-9 and 1 billion probiotic cultures. Nice.

I have been adding it to my blender smoothies instead of mixing it with water. it takes some of the pressure off to come up with foods to eat that will give me all that this smoothie does.

Brendan Brazier is a heavy-duty marathon runner and developed his vega drinks over a period of about 15 years while trying to reach peak body performance as an athlete, while maintaining a plant-based diet.

I am currently reading his book, Thrive, which I first heard about in Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet. I am really intrigued by the fact that Brendan began eating a plant based diet at the age of 15. My main thoughts at age 15 involved boys, more boys, a few more boys, maybe some alcohol, and scattered with thoughts of music. I long to have been a deep and mature teen who knew where they were going and had their priorities straight. I cannot even imagine being in that frame of mind back then, and so I am always interested in stories of people who accomplish things at young ages.

I am only about a third of the way through Thrive, but I loved this analogy of coffee drinkers so much that I must share it here.

I view coffee drinking as a form of credit, similar to shopping with a credit card. You get energy now that you don't actually have, then you pay for it later. When the 'bill' comes it might keep you down for a few days (unless you drink more coffee to put off the inevitable - kind of like paying off one credit card with another). You'll most likely pay a high interest rate as well, needing more time to recover than if energy were not 'borrowed'.(Thrive, Brendan Brazier, page 29)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Eyes of Nye- Genetically Modified Foods

I forgot to mention that my girls and I watched this DVD the other day. I thought Bill Nye did a good job of trying to be as non-biased as possible while still showing his obvious concern about the practice of gentically modified foods. The practice of private companies being able to patent and "own" food is much more alarming to me than the genetically modified foods themselves. I am a little scared of what boundaries could be pushed through the creation of genetically modified foods, but there definitely have been some benefits for mankind. However, we are still guinea pigs when it comes to genetically modified foods. What if we find out that one of these creations is bad for us or the survival of the earth and then it is too late to go back to what we had before?

I can't find the link for this DVD on amazon, but I borrowed it from the library, so maybe you can find it there too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Craving sweets?

Many of the articles and books I have been reading about vegetarian/veganism have talked about "detox" and craving the foods you are trying eliminate. I haven't experienced any of this, which has really been surprising for me as in the past I ate a lot of food just for the action of putting food in my mouth and had absolutely no willpower if anyone left sweets or similar things around the house. I have been a very good girl.

I replicated the table below(taken from the June 2009 issue of Natural Solutions Magazine), which has a healthy solution for each of the common craving foods. I know it has meat on it, but there is at least one vegan solution in every category.

Sorry about the weird space between this and the table- can't figure out why that happened. If anyone knows, please send me a note.

If You Crave:What you Really Need is:Eat the Healthy Source Instead:





Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, chicken

Fresh fruits

Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts

Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous veggies, kale, cabbage

Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach



Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruit

Salty foods


Raw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt

Soda and carbonated drinks


Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Goin' On a Blog Hunt...

...caught a good one. FatFree Vegan Kitchen has some great recipes and some great pictures for all those visual people out there like me. She only posts a couple times a month, but her posts look like they are probably worth the wait. My mouth is watering for more than a couple of the recipes I just looked at.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Who's a Veghead?

Here is a list from happycow of celebrities (past and present) that are vegetarian or vegan.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vegetarian Times Magazine

I received a copy of the April edition of Vegetarian Times magazine from a friend.
There is an article is in this issue that I really appreciated called "Chop, Chop!Learn how to slice, dice, mince and chiffonade like a pro". I had never even heard the term chiffonade before, but now I know how to do it! I feel so "food smart".(grin)

On the last page, there is an interview with Daryl Hannah. She has a vlog you can find here. I watched a couple of the food related episodes last night. I really liked the one from week 3(vegan junkfood). It looks like a really funky place to eat.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Daily Doses

After my doctor visit yesterday, I spent some time last night looking up daily food requirements and how to achieve them. Protein requirements are pretty hard to judge from one calculation, but the method I like best is to multiply 0.4 x your weight in lbs to get your recommended daily protein requirement.

I am 130 lbs, so I should need about 52g. Some other important daily requirements are 1000-1200 mg calcium, 15 mg iron, 2 mcg B12, 1.3mg riboflavin, 5-10 mcg vitamin D, and 12 mcg zinc. All of these numbers were taken from The Vegan Sourcebook and apply to women only. Men are slightly higher in all numbers (except iron is lower- 10mg). I figured out that as long as I make sure to eat a cup of nuts and seeds and a cup of beans every day, I will have my iron and protein mostly covered. Almonds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkins seeds and some walnuts thrown in to cover some omega 3, are pretty much the "super seeds" as far as I can gather from the amount and variety of "good stuff" that they carry (especially those sesame seeds with their amazing calcium content).

It looks like I should also make sure that I continue to have my daily cereal with my milk substitute of choice - for me this is Ryza brown rice milk - as that milk just has all sorts of good stuff in it that I might not get much of elsewhere. It also looks like eating Bran Flakes or Raisin Bran as my cereal will give me good doses of B12, vitamin D, zinc and iron, but I have yet to actually look at the nutrition labels for these cereals and confirm this.

One problem that I might have is getting all the calcium I need. My Ryza milk will give me about 300mg per cup, which is very good. I usually have a pretty big bowl of cereal in the morning so it is possible that I might be getting 2 cups of milk, but I need to remember to measure so that I know for sure because the difference between 300 and 600 mg is too big to just let go. My one cup of beans per day should add 70-100 mg to my total. If almonds and sesame seeds are part of my cup of nuts/seeds, I should get about 150mg from that. This still leaves me with a short fall. Blackstrap molasses has 187 mg per tablespoon (and also is a good source of iron). I am going to see about adding this wherever possible to my daily foods (some ideas, but don't know if they will all work/are all appropriate: smoothies, desserts, stirfrys?, beans). Raisins and oranges have a small amount of calcium (56 mg for an orange, 2/3 cup raisins have 53 mg), so we will try adding those in as regular snacks.
I'm off to eat some nuts and an orange.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Doctor's Orders

I went to the doctor today for my very first physical. I come from a small town and I don't think anyone really did that sort of thing, but my hubby is a city boy and he has been very concerned that I have one done. My doctor said that my last bloodwork ( a couple years ago) showed fairly low iron levels. I have only been eating mostly vegan for a month, so it will be very interesting just to see how my levels are different from back then to now. I am also getting bloodwork done again in about 3 months so that I can get the diabetes and cholesterol tests as well (which you need to fast for 12 hours for), so it will also be interesting to see which things change between now and three months from now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Not What I Thought

...describes this blog. Less than a month ago I created this blog because I was becoming so excited about learning about food that I thought I might have enough to share to start a new blog based just on food. I was right about that part. What I didn't know was that I would be eating mostly vegan and committed to sticking to that just a few weeks later. So, it looks like this will be a vegetarian blog pretty much from the beginning.

I have not had meat in over a month now. Yay me! I have also mostly been free of dairy and eggs and have cut my processed sugar down by miles (and my processed foods in general). I am just starting out on this journey. Many people I have talked to say that it is ok to ease into it, and that you shouldn't expect yourself to change all eating habits overnight. For any other newbies out there, I thought I would share all the "mishaps" I have had in the last month.

Two days into my "eating experiment", my mom came to visit. At this point, I was not in very deep and so it was easy just to eat all my moms "usuals" and my old "faves". I didn't even keep track in my head of all the things I ate that weekend as it wasn't extremely important to me at that point. I have no idea if I was a fairly good girl or if I went totally wrong.

Within a week of my mom being here, my hubby went to the trouble of picking out something really nice and cooking dinner. I had a piece of fish that night. I didn't want to let him down. He is having a lot of trouble with my new way of eating and I am trying to make it affect him as little as possible.

I LOVE ice cream. Milk and other dairy products were surprising easy to give up for me, but ice cream has always been my thing. In the past month, I have had two McFlurries (one was that weekend my mom was here), I ate a Dairy Queen ice cream sandwich, and I had two licks of my daughter's coconut ice cream from the Marble Slab Creamery. The problem seems to mostly be with ice cream stops outside the home. As long as we are home, I can mostly resist by grabbing one of my fruit popsicles out of our freezer. I really need to try some dairy free ice cream, but it is so darn expensive. I also recently saw a vegan ice cream book, and I am definitely going to be looking into that.

Tonight. Tonight was a big problem, but it actually didn't turn out as bad as I thought. I ate dinner tonight at my in-laws for the first time since I started eating differently. I brought along a Chickpea Salad and a Carrot and Daikon Salad and some Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread cookies (my mil has celiac disease). I was really worried about comments that would come up if they didn't see any meat on my plate. I have never eaten much meat, so I have actually regularly been subject to sarcastic, "What, are you vegatarian now or something?" comments. Now that I actually am a vegetarian, it was not unrealistic to think that this might happen again, but I was dreading having to change my reply to them.

Of course, I couldn't ask anyone what was in the side dishes without pointing out my new dietary issues, so I just tried to judge as well as I could. I likely will never ask what is in things when I go there, as I want to not have my choices affect them even more than I want this for my husband. I took a small amount of mashed potatoes, even though I am sure they make them with milk and butter. I took a pasta salad that looked pretty safe, but first bite told me there was a little bit of cheese hiding in there (and I left the rest). I accepted a small tart that must have had some dairy in it. However, even though I was almost scared enough to take a little bit of steak (and then think about trying to slip it to one of the dogs, or hiding it under my corn cob) I managed to keep the meat totally off my plate. If anyone noticed, they didn't comment on it.

I will post the next month's "mishaps" around the middle of July and we can see if I have improved. Most likely, just me promising to post my mishaps will greatly improve my chances of a cleaner slate.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

VegNews Magazine

The other day I finally had the opportunity to visit a local shop here called Earth's General Store. I was there for a quick browse to see the selection of items that they carried. I ended up walking out with the most recent issue of VegNews from their selection of magazines. The magazine has the subtitle of "VegetarianNEWSFOODPLANETTRAVELBUZZ". There were a few vegetarian magazines to choose from and I ended up picking this one because it had the most vegan references on the cover. I was delightfully surprised to begin to read and find that the focus of the magazine is actually more on vegan eating (and living) than vegetarianism. While devouring the magazine, I made an entire page of notes with websites to visit, books to read, little thoughts, and some products I may look into. I am sure you will see posts on a lot of these things as I work through my notes in the coming week or so.

It looks as though VegNews offers regular organized vegan/vegetarian group trips. Although the current trip is sold out, it looks fascinating. It is a 12-day trip to the state of Rajasthan, India and includes, among other things, a visit to an all-vegetarian village, daily yoga classes, and a vegan cooking class.

My two favorite parts of this issue were an article discussing race, class and equality in veganism in America and an article with a selection of some of the best recipes from VegWeb, a vegetarian website with more than 15,000 recipes submitted by users.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Food, Inc.

I just finished watching this DVD. It was pretty powerful. I am a visual person, which is probably why an hour after finishing this DVD, I still feel nauseous. Funnily enough, I don't believe that the disturbing images that pop up throughout the documentary are what made me feel so sick. I think that the thought that big companies can get so powerful that they can control government, laws, and people is what really make me sick. The thought that "Mr.Average-Joe" can be doing what he does to make a living, possibly doing what his father did and his father before him, and that some big corporation can come along and squash him, put him out of business, ruin his life, destroy him, and there is basically nothing he can do about it. He can fight until his money runs out and then roll over, or he can choose to roll over sooner and escape with something to rebuild his life with. The absolute helplessness portrayed by some of these farmers (the ones that were actually brave enough to talk on camera) was so heartwrenching.

The main message of this documentary was that each one of us has the power to change these kinds of things. With every dollar we spend on food and every bite we put in our mouths, we are voting for the kind of food we want to see. I have been making some big changes in my life, but this video has inspired me to take a weekly trip to the farmer's market and learn about foods in season and try to put as much of my "vote" as I can in these types of foods.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Now I'm cooking!

In the last few days I have made quite a number of recipes. One day I made this amazing Coconut Peanut Sauce/Dressing. I loved that it was so versatile. You could put it cold on a salad, or you could use it warm on noodles or rice or meat or likely a number of things I haven't thought of. I had some Capellini noodles with the sauce on it and then a salad with some on as a dressing for lunch. I will post this particular recipe at the bottom of this post.

The next day, I made hummus and a fresh fruit salsa in the morning. In the evening I made quinoa with wild mushrooms and mixed squashes. I was absolutely pleased as punch with myself. I have never been as interested in cooking as I am right now. All of recipes I am making are vegan, and the one thing I have been surprised with is that so far I have yet to hit on a recipe that is time consuming or hard. I haven't been looking for recipes with these qualities, it just happens. I don't know if most vegan recipes are just like this or I have been lucking out.

In my meat-eating days, there were so many times when I felt the need to choose a new recipe from a magazine or book to make for my family. There were many times when I couldn't locate a certain ingredient, or it took hours to prepare the meal, or when I finished it wasn't what I expected it to be.

The other thing I was thinking is that because most regular cookbooks use every ingredient under the sun and the vegan cookbooks often have similar ingredients in their recipes (or at least a narrower range) that it might feel easier to cook vegan. You don't have to buy that spice that you have never heard of before and then have the almost full bottle sit in your cupboard forever more if you decide not to make that recipe again. Some of the vegan ingredients might not be familiar to someone who does not usually cook this way, but once you get to know them they seem to pop up everywhere from recipe to recipe. I might be naive about this and not have experienced enough yet to know better, but so far this has been a bonus in my world.

Coconut-Peanut Sauce or Salad Dressing (from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas)

One 8 oz jar Thai peanut satay sauce
1/2 cup light coconut milk
juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon red or green Thai chile paste
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup, agave nectar or maple syrup

1.Combine the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk together until completely combined. Use at room temperature as a dressing.
2. If you would like to use this as a warm sauce, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan, whisk together, and heat gently until warm.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Kind Diet

My favorite part of this book was a section where Alicia talks about the ways you can get your nutrients from a vegan diet. I am still not sure that this is the way I will be going, but it was a real eye-opener for me to read that you can get every single nutrient that your body needs from a plant-based diet (including calcium, omega 3s, and iron).

Today I found a wikipedia entry on vegetarianism that has a lot of the same information.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Newer Leaf

There I was, happily browsing through a chapter of a book here and there on healthier eating, gleaning a few tidbits as I went, but was unable to put very many into practice because of my busy-ness. Although, being busy hasn't changed, something has. A while back I watched a small bit of an Oprah show that had Alicia Silverstone on it promoting her new book. I just acquired it about 2 weeks ago.

I had been trying to "shock" myself with other books, tv and other that would slap me with info about the terrible things that are happening to our food and what is happening to our bodies because of what we are eating. I was hoping if I had some strong emotion from something I read or watched, I would have enough strength to take the time needed to change my habits and learn some new tricks. So far, nothing had clicked. However, what Alicia said in this book seemed to click with me. I could relate to some of her experiences and I think that was a big part of it. She talked about how she had gone off the pill and suffered from terrible acne because of it. Eliminating dairy completely cleared this up for her. I am currently on my second attempt at discontinuing the birth control pill. I developed horrible acne the first time and finally gave up after 8 months when I realized my face was becoming scarred from the acne. When I discovered this book, I had been off the pill for 2 months and my acne was just starting to flare up. I am definitely a dairy girl and had never thought of giving up dairy, but I decided to do an "experiment" and eliminate as much as I could and see if it made any difference. I was completely surprised at how relatively easy it was to toss the dairy out of my diet. I think it would be much harder if I didn't live in a larger centre where there are amazing stores that have a good number of substitutes for almost anything dairy you can think of.
I have now been mostly dairy free for about ten days. It is really hard to make a judgement at this point, but already the acne seems to have improved. There has been no new blemishes and the part of my forehead that was looking "bumpy" seems to have smoothed out.
The big secret is that, like Alicia, I have also been living mostly vegan for those ten days as well. It has been quite a bit of fun scouting out my local organic supermarket for things that I have read about over the past year and taking a little extra time in the care and feeding of myself. I don't know if this is a permanent thing, but so far it feels good and hasn't been terribly hard.
I mentioned yesterday about how I don't cook and don't know much about cooking. Sometimes I can't follow a recipe because I don't know what a term that is used means (ie. blanch, braise, mince, poach - although nowadays you can just look these things up on the internet!). I was a little afraid to take things out of my diet too quickly without knowing how to feed myself properly without those things. I have been very pleased with myself so far. Yesterday I took all the veggies that were in the fridge, chopped them up and plopped them into a pan with some olive oil and sauteed them. I had asparagus, carrots, jalapenos, pea pods, green onions, and daikon ( a new veggie that I had just bought for the first time because of being mentioned in The Kind Diet). I scooped them onto a whole wheat wrap and it was really yummy.
Today, my husband wanted to go to the grocery store on the way home. I saw some pineapple at a good price and decided to make a fresh fruit salsa even though I have never made one before and I am not even sure that I have ever even tasted one! I am completely unsure where the inspiration or the knowledge for this came from, but I did it and it was not bad. I chopped up pineapple, mango, red onion and a bit of jalapeno and parsley. I added a little lime juice when my husband pulled up a fruit salsa recipe with an app on his new iPad and we saw that it had some lime juice in it. Otherwise the recipe was very similar to what I was doing - I still want to know how on earth I knew how to do this.
I am planning on making my veggie wrap again tonight, but with the addition of some new veggies that I picked up at the grocery store and some black beans that I soaked overnight and cooked today, which is another new thing for me.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A New Leaf

The History: I eat awful stuff. I don't really cook. I run a business and homeschool 3 kids and do quite a lot of other things. Although I never knew much about cooking or food, over the years I have gone from bad to worse. These days almost everything comes out of a box, and if it can't be ready in 15 minutes or less, it probably isn't happening. I started looking into healthier food probably about a year ago. My hubby bought a bread maker for me for my birthday this spring that still sits unopened. We have done small things. I started buying ancient grain bread as opposed to our local grocery store brand of 60% whole wheat. I found quinoa and ancient grains at Costco and started eating that quite a bit, although noone else in my family will eat it except my teenage daughter (unlike Mikey, she eats anything). I am drinking more water. In the last couple weeks though, things have taken a dramatic turn. I will tell you about that tomorrow, and we will see where my "wannabe foodie" journey will lead me from here.