Thursday, 28 May 2009

If It's Good Enough for Apes ...


Did anyone see Tuesday's Oprah? There was a small bit on raw food. They called it the "evolutionary diet". The study that was based on a diet that's similar to apes, asked nine people to eat 11 pounds of raw fruit, veggies and nuts each day. The study's purpose was to see if this "evolutionary diet" could lower participants' blood pressure. Big surprise - of course their blood pressure lowered. They also lowered their cholesterol and lost 10 pounds.

The problem? I seriously question the real world validity of this experiment. Aside from how boring this must have been for participants, for 12 days they only ate whole fruits and veggies - no raw soups, sauces, dips or puddings, because an ape doesn't have access to a Vita-mix of course. But they also made participants live in the a zoo for the entire study!! They can't possibly expect people to live like apes to lower their blood pressure.

If they wanted to conduct a study like this, why didn't they look at a group of raw food vegans who live in a house, go to work, contribute to normal society and eat flavourful and interesting raw food? It sure as heck would have had more applicable results. I would definitely volunteer for a study like that.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Day of No Recipes

Unknowingly none of the recipes I made for this week's raw day are published on the internet :( You'll just have to buy the books to get these yummy recipes.

Breakfast: Very Blueberry Raw Smoothie (recipe from Ani Phyo's Ani's Raw Food Kitchen)

Another yummy breakfast smoothie from one of my favourite raw food books. The recipes in this book haven't failed me yet. Alas, this one isn't on Ani's website. I gobbled up this smoothie so fast I forgot to take a picture.

Lunch: Raw Egg-less "Egg" Salad (recipe from Matt Amsden's RAWvolution)
A very simple recipe with amazing results. This recipe is in the 'side dishes' section of Matt's book, but since I was the only one eating it, it was enough for my entire lunch.

Dinner: Thick 'n' Thin Sprouted Raw Chili (recipe from Matt Amsden's RAWvolution)
Mine didn't turn out as red as the photo in Matt's book, but it was very satisfying! I topped it with my homemade sprouts.

Dessert: Raw Cashew Coconut Pudding (recipe from Ani Phyo's Ani's Raw Food Kitchen)

The picture really doesn't do this dessert justice. The photo looks kind of boring, but the pudding is anything but. Ani also has a recipe for a raw chocolate sauce that you can drizzle on top.
Next week I'll try to make some food with share-able recipes.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Organic Tip #3: Buyer Beware of Sneaks

I've recently noticed a few companies are getting sneaky with their brand names. Some companies are using 'organic' in the name of a non-organic product. For instance, Nature's Baby Organics is a company that offers personal care products specifically targeted for kids and babies. Since the company's name is "Nature's Baby Organics" the term organic is on all their products. However, less than half of their products are actually certified organic!! That means this company is selling non-organic products with the term organic on it. At first glance all the products appear to be organic because of the size and style of font they have used for the 'organics' part of their name. Only after deeper inspection from a knowledgeable consumer, it is apparent that the product isn't in fact organic at all. Is this an inadvertent naming oversight or a deliberate ploy to lure consumers into believing their products are organic when they are most certainly not? I am quite confident that it is the latter. Companies like this are ruining the organic name for all the genuine organic companies out there. Once customers realize they have been tricked, they may become less trusting of all things labelled organic, whether genuine or not. Consumer misconceptions about organic processes and products already exist, and companies like this aren't making the term organic any easier for them to understand.

Please people, look for the term "certified organic" on non-food products. Products that are 95% or greater organic must bear the organic certifier's logo. Organic certifiers in Canada are: OCPP (also called Pro-cert Canada Inc.), Ecocert Canada, Quality Assurance International (QAI), Organic Crop Improvement Association Canada (OCIA), Centre for Systems Integration (CSI), Demeter Canada and QMI Organic. Luckily for Canadians new legislation was passed in February that will require all organic products traded across provincial or international borders to carry the Canada Organic (Biologique Canada en fran├žais) logo starting June 30, 2009. I will post something on this exciting new logo in June. Products that contain less than 95% organic ingredients cannot use the Canada Organic logo. Hopefully the use of the new logo will clear up some of the consumer confusion around organic, and expose companies like Nature's Baby for the shysters they are. Read your labels and ...


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Rawking Raw Recipes

I'll cut the chit-chat today & get right to the good part ... RAW FOOD!

Breakfast: Raw Mango Lassi (recipe from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen)
I love this raw twist on a traditional Indian lassi (which uses yogurt). I wish I could share this recipe with everyone, but Ani doesn't have it on her website, you'll have to get her book to enjoy this yummy drink.

Lunch: Raw Red Pepper Curry Soup

A blast from the past (my first raw food day). Check out the recipe for this raw soup in my previous post.

Dinner: Raw Zucchini "Pasta" with Raw Marinara Sauce

Exact same dinner from last week - had a zucchini to use up.

Dessert: Summer Strawberry Cobbler (recipe from Kristen's Raw)

My local market is bursting with strawberries right now. So why not make use of them?

The Crumble

  • 2 cups raw pecans or walnuts
  • 3/4 cup dried coconut, unsweetened & shredded
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup prunes, chopped

Strawberry Filling

  • 25 oz fresh strawberries, destemmed (or use frozen and thaw them)
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 8 soft dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons raw agave nectar

For the crumble place the nuts, coconut, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor, fitted with the S-blade, and process until coarsely ground. Add the currants and prunes, and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and holds together when gently pressed between two fingers. Set aside. For the filling take about 15-16 ounces (approximately two-thirds) of the strawberries, chop them and set aside in a large bowl. Then, place the rest of the strawberries along with the orange juice, dates, and agave in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into the bowl with the chopped strawberries and stir. Pour half of the crumble in the bottom of a dish and give it a firm but gentle press. Spread the strawberry filling on top. Sprinkle the remaining cobbler crumble on top of the strawberry filling, allowing some of the beautiful strawberry filling to show through. Serve at room temperature, or warm in a dehydrator for up to an hour at 130 degrees for extra deliciousness. This dessert will keep in the fridge (covered) for up to three days.

I made this cobbler last night and kept all the layers separately in the fridge. Tonight I assembled the cobbler and ate it chilled (since I don't have a dehydrator) as a yummy after yoga snack. It really hit the spot.




Friday, 15 May 2009

(Not So) Sensational Soy: Product Recall Info

According to a report released yesterday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) some Sensational Soy beverages have been contaminated with milk. The company has initiated a voluntary recall of the two affected products:
  • Sensational Soy Smooth Original 1.89 L - UPC: 0 68200 155364
  • Sensational Soy Classic Vanilla 1.89 L - UPC: 0 68200 15535 7

These products have been distributed in Ontario, Canada. Currently there aren't any reported illnesses associated with these products. However if the product is consumed by people with milk allergies, there could be series health consequences. So please take the necessary precautions with these beverages!

Personally, I am drastically reducing the amount of soymilk I'm consuming as I'm incorporating more raw foods into my lifestyle. I only bought Sensational Soy once. The taste prevented me from consuming it ever again. I acknowledge that mistakes are sometimes made, but the irresponsibility of this company really irks me. Nowhere on their website even mentions the contamination, let alone the dangers of consuming these products if you have a milk allergy. Their home page even boast how great their soymilk is for making lactose-free smoothies (HA!). Here's a product that definitely won't be making my favourite things list, even if they improve their taste. Stay safe this long weekend everyone ...

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Springtime in Canada

Igloos are melting, flowers are blooming and grass is becoming green again! It's springtime in Canada, and beauty is all around ... Spring is my second favourite season (nothing beats the colours of Fall). After the first warm day, everyone feels reborn after a long Winter hibernation, and anything seems possible. Here are a few of my photos from my corner of the world ...



No matter where you are in the world, or what your Springtime looks like, I hope you find some time this season to get out and play in nature.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Raw Tuesday Overview

If you're a newbie raw foodist, and you're thinking this lifestyle is too hard or too time consuming, I encourage you to keep going. The more I eat raw, the easier it gets! I don't have any of the fancy equipment. All of the recipes I post are made with only my knife and an old blender that is by no means high speed. I don't have a Vitamix, food processor, dehydrator, spiralizer or even a spice grinder. I do have a juice extractor, although I haven't used it for any of my raw days yet. Over the past few weeks I've discovered that eating raw has given me more energy and countless yummy recipes. The benefits were so great that I've extended my raw feast to breakfast 7 days a week now. I made so many delicious (& easy) raw smoothies that I just couldn't go back to soymilk and cereal. So now I eat a raw breakfast every morning. Here's my menu from today ...

Breakfast: Cashew Banana Mylk (recipe from Ani Phyo's Ani's Raw Food Kitchen)

I've searched all over the internet, and I can't find Ani's recipe posted anywhere, so I don't feel comfortable posting it here. You'll have to get Ani's book to savour this yummy recipe (it's worth it!). Check out a similar recipe for Ani's vanilla mylk.

Lunch: Phat Salad with Tangy Raw Dressing

This filling salad is loaded with fat - good fats that is. Walnuts are known for being rich in a fat called Omega-3, which has been shown to benefit brain development and heart functioning. Avocados are packed full of monounsaturated fat as well as vitamins K, C, B6 & E. You know what they say, an avocado a day keeps the doctor away :)
  • 3-4 handfuls of romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped coarsely
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped coarsely
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • handful of raw walnuts
For the dressing recipe, see last Tuesday's raw post.

Dinner: Raw Zucchini 'Fettuccine' with Marinara Sauce

  • 1 zucchini per person
  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Few sprigs of parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Bragg's (if you have it)

Combine everything (except the zucchini) in the blender. Use a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini lengthwise. Stack all the slices and cut in half (so it looks like long fettuccine noodles). Pour the marinara over the noodles.

Dessert: Raw Mango Cobbler (recipe from Ani Phyo via vegan.com)

CRUST
  • 3 cups pecans, dry
  • 1 vanilla bean OR 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (alcohol free)
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup pitted dates


SYRUP

  • ¾ cup pitted dates
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ vanilla bean OR ½ tablespoon alcohol-free extract
  • water, as needed


FILLING

  • 1 mango per person, peeled, seeded, sliced

To make the crust, process pecans, vanilla bean, and salt into a powder in your food processor. Add ¾ cup pitted dates and process until mixed well. Sprinkle half of the crust onto bottom of pie dish, and set aside. Don’t bother rinsing out your food processor after making the crust; the leftover crumbs will add in with the syrup ingredients. To make syrup, process ¾ cup dates, oil, vanilla bean, and water as needed to make a thick syrup. Set aside. To make filling, place sliced mango into a large mixing bowl. Toss with the syrup. Spoon onto cobbler crust. To serve, top with remaining half of the crust. Will keep for two days in the fridge.

Words cannot express how delicious this dessert is! You'll just have to make it and find out yourself. If you're like me and don't have a food processor, buy the pecans already ground. Make the crust in the blender on the lowest speed (so you don't liquefy it). The syrup is also easily made in the blender. Another raw food day, another full stomach.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Another Raw 24 hours


Breakfast: Berry Spinach Smoothie
  • handful of baby spinach
  • handful of strawberries
  • dash of cinnamon
  • water (if needed)

Everything goes into the blender.

CAUTION: This smoothie will look disgusting, but taste heavenly. If needed consume with eyes closed ;)

Lunch: Creamy Dreamy Raw Spinach Soup

  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • ½ cucumber, peeled
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • water

You know the drill - combine everything in the blender. Add water if necessary. This is probably the best soup I've made yet. Mine turned out very oniony - some people might want to use only half a green onion (or leave it out altogether).

Dinner: Apple Walnut Salad with Tangy Raw Dressing

SALAD -

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • small bunch of romaine leaves
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • handful of walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 2 inch piece of cucumber, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped

DRESSING -

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (cold pressed)
  • 1 tablespoon raw sweetener
Assemble all of the salad ingredients onto a plate. If you have some lemon juice leftover, drizzle it over the apple slices so they don't brown. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the salad and mix.

You've probably noticed that my dinner was pretty light today and there was no dessert. Well that's because I have my very first uncooking class tonight! I'm so very excited. Since we'll be eating what we're making, I decided to have a light dinner to make room for all the yummy creations. I'll be taking lots of notes and pictures so I can blog about it later. 'Til next time uncookers ...

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Make Your Own (Vegan) Chai Tea


I love chai tea, but I find the chai available commercially too artificial tasting. Once in a while (usually when there's people coming for dinner), I like to make up a large batch of this tea as a nice after dinner treat.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups almond milk (or soy or other nut "milk")
  • 4 black tea bags (or 4 tablespoons of loose tea leaves)
  • dash of ground cardamom
  • a few cloves
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch of saffron (optional)
  • vegan sweetener of your choice (sugar, agave, maple syrup, etc ...)
In a large pot, combine water, tea and all the spices. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Add the milk and allow to come to a boil again. Boil for another minute and then remove from heat. You can either add the sweetener now or have the tea drinkers add it individually to their tastes. Strain and pour into cups. If you have leftovers, store it in the fridge. The next day pour the chai into a glass with ice cubes and you have an iced chai tea.

You probably noticed how vague the quanities are. That was on purpose because 1) I never measure spices when cooking, and 2) if you're reading this blog, you're probably fairly versed in experimenting and adapting recipes anyhow.

CAUTION: After you make this tea, you won't want to drink store bought chai EVER again! :)

Friday, 1 May 2009

Yoga Asana of the Month (May)







I love yoga, and I'm spreading the word. If you're new to yoga, you may feel stiff, inflexible or even awkward at first. But after a few classes (or at home practice), most people see a noticeable increase in their flexibility which allows them to get into their yogic groove.

Regular practice can increase your strength and flexibility, decrease stress, improve circulation and much, much more. Thus I've decided to post one of my favourite yoga asanas (poses) on the first day of each month. To kick things off ... camel pose (ustrasana)! Enjoy the video.





Note: The above video is provided by YouTube. I have no control over the ads within this video. I am not affiliated with these advertisers, and do not endorse their products.

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