When you eat a plant based diet, people never tire of demanding you’re not getting enough protein. I have literally never had anyone ask me about my calcium intake.
I have a pretty hectic schedule that is constantly changing. One day I may be taking acting classes and running to Hot Yoga class, the next I’m auditioning for commercials and then babysitting the world’s cutest toddler. As much as I love cooking, I don’t always have time to micro-manage every single aspect of my daily diet. This means it’s so important to have a well-rounded diet that includes lots of Calcium rich foods.
One resource that I’ve found invaluable is CalciYum!, a vegetarian calcium based cookbook by David & Rachelle Bronfman. Marni gave me this book at my first consultation, and it has a ton of great recipes along with information about Calcium dense plant foods. This has helped me to consider Calcium in addition to protein when I’m choosing different ingredients for my meals. I love beans, tempeh, and tofu which are great sources of Calcium. Incorporating leafy greens into my everyday life has made a big difference. I put kale, spinach, and collards, into my soups, salads, stir-fries, and baking. You get countless benefits from consuming leafy greens, and there are so many to choose from and experiment with. The other high calcium food that I try to eat everyday is Almonds, I am a huge Almond lover. I like to have a little container of almonds with me or a Lara bar on hand as an emergency snack.
A great part of living in Toronto is the plethora of Vegetarian stores and restaurants at our fingertips. Last fall I was doing a class at Second City, and I would often have to rush to another audition, appointment or class, right after. Thankfully I could stop at Fresh on Spadina for a quick nutritious pick-me-up. Smoothies are an awesome way to get some extra Calcium into your diet! The Date Almond Smoothie and Tropic Thunder at Fresh are two of the most delicious beverages I’ve ever had. They both have Almond Butter, and the Date-Almond Smoothie can also have Almond milk in it, and you can add Kale to any juice or smoothie!
I also participated in my first cooking class with Marni this month called Grain Goodness. She showed us just how versatile vegetables and grains can really be. All of the dishes we made were so delicious, and I will definitely be recreating them all at home.What about you? Do you give much thought to the Calcium in your diet?
If you haven’t heard the exciting news, I have just signed a lease for a new commercial space – Toronto’s first plant based cooking studio – 510 Eglinton avenue to be exact!
As you can imagine this is a big undertaking. I am over flowing with pure positive emotion right now as I get the chance to do more of what I am doing while reaching more people. The best part is that this new “home” to my classes will help you to get inspired and create delicious, simple plant-based recipes and meals. The new studio will act as a place to connect with food first hand and the impact good nutrition has on your health.
My new cooking studio will also be a place to meet health-focused foodies, discover new tastes and truly explore the depths of what it means to be fully nourished!
It has taken me five years to reach this incredible milestone and I am honoured that nourishing people with delicious food and education has made a huge impact on the community in Toronto. I am looking forward to continue to do so on a much larger scale.
This not only means more of my amazing cultural and health focused cooking classes in the evenings, but daytime classes, weekend classes, and specialty workshops with local like-minded businesses will also be introduced. Additionally, the new cooking studio will be a venue for hosting private parties, events and other special gatherings. I will even be offering the studio to rent to those looking for a fully equipped space in which to teach classes and workshops.
In staying consistent with my philosophy, this new studio will be constructed from the ground up keeping your utmost health and comfort in mind. The studio will be green, sustainable, fresh while remaining cozy, intimate and inspiring. You will also be able to buy your favourite superfoods, appliances and eco products, from green cream to glass straws and so much more.
There are so many class packages and programs to take advantage of before the price of my offerings increases when we move to the new studio. Be sure to check out the many available options here.
I want to also sincerely thank Borden Communications, Sustainable TO, Blendtec, Navitas Naturals, Salad Master, and Urban Cultivator for being an integral part of this project. I am looking forward to working with the many companies and individuals that will also jump on board for sponsorship and support the creative and exciting development of this new cooking studio.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support!
I started working with Marni 2.5 weeks ago and since then I have been immersed in the wonderful world of a plant-based diets. The topic really interests me as I have always been interested in health and nutrition through the consumption and preparation of food. Since working for Marni my exposure to this lifestyle has increase immensely as I have had the opportunity to research the topic further, have read Marni’s eBooks and interacted with her clients who are also focused on a nutritious lifestyle.
Because of my interest in and recent exposure to plant-based diets, I’ve decided to take on veg.ca‘s Veggie Challenge as my first experimental step to practising a plant-based diet. I signed up last week and thought it was only a week long, until I received an email yesterday at the end of the first week giving me the option to extend the challenge by 3 more weeks. Since the first week wasn’t too challenging (yet!) I decided to take on the next 3 weeks as a full fledged vegetarian! I’m looking forward to the challenge and am lucky to have Marni by my side so that I can ask her questions that come up along the way. Upon reading her eBook, Weekday Meal Planning, Marni and I went through the grocery list that I made of key ingredients to stock my cupboard with, that are healthy but also all around nutritious. I have always enjoyed eating healthy, nutritious food but see this challenge as a stepping stone to build on my basic foundation and to know when to incorporate really nutritious foods in my diet that are strategically eaten when for example, I need to consume more magnesium or iron.
Thanks Marni and veg.ca for providing me with amazing resources and helping me begin this journey!
Stay tuned for my next update. I went Marni’s CalciYUM cooking class on Thursday night so I’ll have some great tips to share!
It seems like more and more lately we keep hearing about superfoods. The question is, do you know what a superfood is and what qualifies it as a superfood?
What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods are a category of foods found in nature; they are superior sources of essential, super-power nutrients, nutrients we can’t make ourselves. They are the most powerful foods on the planet, and are powerhouses for the transformation to a slender, healthier you. If you are what you eat, why not be super?
Where Can I Find Them?
Superfoods can be found everywhere. You are likely using many of them already everyday. Not all superfoods come from exotic places like Costa Rica and Thailand – but many are right here in North America and can be found at your local health food store, grocery store or farmer’s market.
Everyday foods such as kale, quinoa, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and raw honey are amazing superfoods to start with. If you want to get exotic – include superfoods such as nori seaweed, cacao, goji berries, maca, Maqui, and mesquite as well.
Superfoods Also Include:
- Raw foods – (food not heated above 48 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit),
- High enzyme foods - (foods that easily break themselves down are easier on our digestive system, such as mangoes, pineapple, papaya and avocados)
- Organic foods - (foods grown without pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals)
- Fresh, local foods (visit local farmers markets and taste the difference that local foods make!)
When Choosing Your Superfoods:
Look for foods with a variety of colour, texture, flavour and shapes. This makes your meals and snacks exciting! No one wants a boring meal that doesn’t taste good.
Focus on high nutrient-dense foods over low calories. Calories don’t determine how many vitamins, minerals, enzymes or overall nutrients are in a food item. Superfoods have concentrated nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and provide so much nutrition in every bite. It’s also important to get away from focusing on calories all the time. It can become obsessive and you may loose sight of actually consuming good quality food!
They make you happy! They help you to actually lose weight because you will be eating foods that satisfy and satiate, rather than make you crave other foods! Your cells become saturated with nutrition. Plus:
- They give you energy
- They help your body to detoxify
- They give you mental clarity
- They promote activity and weight loss
- They improve immunity
- They clear and brighten your skin
If you want a FREE spot in this class see details here!
Superfood Power Balls
What’s in it?
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup goji berries
2 tbsp cacao nibs or cocoa powder
1 tbsp raw honey or coconut nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp Sun Warrior Protein Powder (Use code MW007 when checking out at RAW ELEMENTS for 5% discount)
How it’s made!
Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you get a thick “doughy” consistency. Roll into bite size balls for quick power bites –perfect for your purse or a midday snack or after a workout.
What are your favourite Superfoods?
As explained in my previous blog, I tested out the new Vega One protein powder and sports hydrator drink. I also had my team give it a try to see how it affected their lifestyle. The fun part about this is that they all used Vega for different reasons. Read on to see how it turned out!
Stephanie – The Fitness Buff
When it comes to training and nutrition a rule that I live by is to train smart and fuel properly. Many people can get to the gym, follow through with their workout but not have the right combination of nutrients to provide their body with the fuel they need to repair, re-energize, and make gains towards their fitness goal.
The focus of my training is to build lean muscle and increase my strength. I’d mix 1 scoop with 350ml of water or rice milk and consume it within 30 minutes after my session. Not only did I notice a difference in my energy levels but my delayed onset muscle soreness was greatly decreased, I experienced less fatigue throughout the day and my workouts the following day always felt better and stronger.
Most recently I have started using the Electrolyte Hydrator. I mix the Hydrator in some water and drink it during my work out on the days that include more anaerobic work, such as sprints, intervals and plyometric training. I also pack it with me for long days at school or work and when I need a little more energy to keep me feeling refreshed.
I have seen huge gains since starting to supplement with Vega’s Sport Performance line and these three items have become a part of my daily training routine! Keep training and re-fuel the right way!
Sophia – Vegetarian Taking it to the Next Level
My non-vegetarian friends always ask me, “Where do you get your protein from if you don’t eat meat?”, and I’m sure vegetarians (and vegans alike) always sigh when they have to give a listed answer. Protein does not exist only in meat – it’s in many foods like grains, beans, nuts, soy or tofu, and yes, protein supplements like powders. And although this isn’t breaking news, you’d be surprised at how many people ask me this question!
I’m picky about what goes into my food and body – I like knowing that my protein shake (among other foods) is full of natural, plant based ingredients, vitamins, and nutrients. Which is why I was so happy to test out the new Vega One Vanilla protein powder. Because I am a petite girl and I tend to lose weight very easily, I like to incorporate high-protein based foods into every one of my meals in the day. I used Vega One Vanilla protein powder as a nutritious liquid meal rather than after the gym like Stephanie and Jordana. I combined 1 cup of hemp milk, ½ cup of sliced strawberries, and 1 tbsp of goji berries, flax seeds, chai seeds, cacao nibs, and coconut nectar (thanks Marni for this simply divine recipe!). I sipped that down with my glass straw and I was full and chock full of nutrients for the next 2 hours. I didn’t feel bloated, stuffed, or heavy like some other protein drinks with questionable ingredients had made me feel previously. It was a great tasting meal that left me full and satisfied knowing that I got both a healthy and generous serving of protein, all in one cup.
Jordana – Before and during a Workout
Chocolate Protein Powder
For breakfast I made myself a chocolate shake using the protein powder. My smoothie consisted of ½ a banana, blueberries, chia seeds, water, almond milk and protein powder. Not only was it delicious, but I was satisfied for hours and it lowered my cravings throughout the day. I’m very much the type who snacks out of boredom, however; I was so full from the shake that I didn’t have these cravings!
For the first time I did back to back fitness classes (2 hours in total) so I knew I needed something to refuel after the first workout. I’m pretty skeptical adding anything to my water, but I figured I would try for the sake of testing it out. After my first workout, I filled up another bottle of water and added the lemon lime hydrator. I’m surprised to say it tasted delicious and quenched my thirst, although on a daily basis I prefer the pure taste of plain water.
After assessing the day, the combination of a balanced breakfast and the electrolyte hydrator definitely contributed to a successful workout!
So there you have it. All my girls found the Vega drinks to accommodate their days pretty well based on their needs and uses. If this post has inspired you to incorporate more protein or fitness foods in your routine, then my Fit and Fabulous class is something you don’t want to miss out on!
Tell us why you want to use Vega and what you’d use it for and we’ll enter you in the contest for a chance to win free samples! At the end of the week, I’ll choose the best answer to be rewarded with the prize. Good luck Torontonians! Contest closes May 11th, 2012.
Note: (Winner must be in Canada)
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Purely Fit e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
I don’t know about you but I love to make lists, whether is for what I need to do during the week, what grocery’s I need to buy or what I need to make on a given night. They help to organize and sort things out or a list could simply mean ….presents!!! So why not take advantage and build your list up with amazing Eco & Food friendly items that will make for a happier and healthier new year!
With plentiful resources to choose from both organic, local, raw, fair trade and eco it’s important to support companies and products that do their very best to make products that not only benefit the you as the consumer, but the planet as a whole!
Your list doesn’t even have to be written down, save paper and make a word document or create a note online!
Gifts to Give
A Membership to Marni’s Fully Nourished Lifestyle Program
One or all of Marni’s informative Health ebooks!
Laptop lunch box – you don’t have to be a kid to have a lunchbox!
Mama Earth Membership – the gift of nourishment delivered to your door!
Stainless Steel Popsicle Tray – it may be cold outside, but there is no reason why you can’t make your own fruit based popsicles!
A glass sprouting jar – This is the cleanest and easiest way to make your own sprouts at home!
Sun Warrior Protein – use the coupon code MW007 to get 5% off your order!
Bamboo Utensils – for a soft touch on your pots and pans!
Organic Bathrobe – cozy, warm and clean!
Organic Cotton or Bamboo Sheets – for a soft comfort sleep every night!
Planet Dog treats- this is for your dog or the dog lover!
Incredible new Cookware – that is toxin free, energy efficient and totally amazing!
MW Signature Be Strawesome Straw – to sip the best smoothies with Sun Warrior protein, fruit and goji berries!
Goji berries, Cacao or Chia – to put into your smoothie, cereal, muffins or trail mix!
Two Girls Cooking Crackers – yummy snacks to munch on!
Chocosol Chocolate – local, organic and pedal powered chocolate!
T-Sheres – to essentially relax and rejuvenate your body!
Eco-Jot Pads – to write down notes, consciously!
Kleen Kanteen – for tea, smoothies, water with lemon!
A Tin of Nourish Tea – green tea, herbal tea, white tea – for an incredible drinking experience!
Nude Bee Honey – local, raw and organic honey!
A tin of Organic David’s Tea - opt for mulberry magic or something else warming and cozy!
Righteously Raw Chocolate Bar – delicious, raw, organic superfoods chocolate bar!
Giddy YoYo Chocolate - Organic chocolate goodness!
Do your best not to buy new packaging and wrapping paper this year. Try to use old gift bags, ribbons, paper and tissue. Or better yet, get creative by using newspapers, magazines, shoe boxes and other cloths or blankets. You can even pack your gift into a RuMe bag! I am sure you can come up with some ideas on your own. As the amount of waste and garbage that is generated from holiday gifts is ridiculous. I know it can be exciting to open a present, (trust me, I love it) but try and think outside of the “gift” box this year!
If you have more ideas to add to my GIFT GUIDE – please share below. I want to make this list as comprehensive as possible.
Thanks for your help!
When you are as immersed in the nutrition and wellness field as I am – it’s hard not to classify yourself as a junkie. Most of the time, it’s for personal pleasure and just plain old keeping up to date with the latest! But more often then not, things are loaded on my plate? (No pun intended). Meaning – because I am in this line of work, people naturally approach me and ask all kinds of questions. Which is great, keeps me on my toes – but sometimes I don’t have the time or all the answers. That is why it is important that people empower themselves and become their own junkies. Find out what’s real and what’s not.
Which is great to a certain extent. We are in at age in society where we have everything we need available at our fingertips. Almost everything can be found online, in a book, magazine or health food store. This can be confusing and overwhelming though, as there is SO MUCH information out there. I’ll admit, it is tough when you are sitting at home by yourself trying to sift through articles, books and web pages…so why not get off your butt and experience your health in real life!
If you have the opportunity to go to a venue where all like-minded individuals and experts in the field come together for a weekend to bring you all of their wellness services, products, specialty foods and more – then why not take advantage. What I am talking about here is the…
It is at Metro Toronto Convention Center (North Building) – there will be a plethora of goodies to choose form, a range of talks, lectures and workshops to attend – and you may just get to experience whole health at first hand in person.
So on November 26, 27 or 28th – come and make it out to the show. I will not have a booth at this show – but I will be there walking around, schmoozing and saying hi to all my like minded “nutrition junkie” friends!
Hope to see you there!
UPDATE: I HOPE YOU MADE IT OUT THIS WEEKEND!
If you didn’t, here is a brief description of what you missed and what you can look forward to the next time you attend. I came on Friday night and again on Sunday. One day is never enough, especially when I have so many people to say hello to and so many goodies to pick up. Some of my favourite people to visit and products to pick up are :
Natural Calm: My good friends Dale and Linda are the perfect team to represent this amazing product line. Natural powdered magnesium, relaxes your body, calm’s your nerves (literally) and makes for a nice elixir before bedtime. Having trouble sleeping and keeping your leg’s still? Then you need a daily dose of magnesium. I should also mention that you can only absorb the calcium in your body with enough magnesium. Dale and Linda are also the people who I went to Africa with in May. A large portion of their proceeds go towards Organics 4 Orphans – and incredible organization that supports communities in Kenya to eat more Greens!
The Fairy’s Tonic: Zoey is miss Kombucha herself. This is one of the tastiest fermented health promoting beverages you will ever drink. Just 1 oz, and your body and mind are buzzing. Sip before or after any meal throughout the day and your body will be very happy!
Vega: For incredible, raw, vegan, plant based supplements – Vega has it all. Bars, shakes, smoothies to go. You don’t need to think twice about getting healthy food in on the go. Vega’s products are so complete and well rounded, loaded with protein, fiber and slow burning carbs you will feel amazing all day long!
Raw Elements: My friends Dawn and Brent are behind this amazing company. They are my supplier for all good things raw from goji berries, probiotics to my favourite protein powder Sun Warrior. If you didn’t get any at the show, you can order online and use the coupon code MW007 to get 5% off your order.
Upaya Naturals: An incredible resource for all your raw supplements, foods and equipment. They are always up to date with the latest products. Even the incredible cashew ice cream I mentioned last week from Blue Mountain Organics.
Some new friends include:
Girlnola: Stephanie is just buzzing with energy. Her granola is packed with antioxidants and superfoods. She also makes yummy truffles that are delicious and make great little gifts especially for the holidays.
Nud Fud: With Julia you will get a collection of healthy, organic and even raw bars, chips and cereals. Loaded with whole foods like nuts, seeds, dried fruits and veggies.
Some other Fav’s
What do I mean by this – well we need to make a habit to eat in and not out!
We all get too comfortable and too reliant with meals on the go, on the run or just plain old out for dinner at a restaurant…with leftovers! Well it may seem like there is nothing wrong with this, but when it occurs more than three times every week, there is!
It is important to take your control back – get in your kitchen and dine in! How you ask – well you can start by cooking your own meals at home. For the record this doesn’t include ordering in! That is officially cheating. I am talking about home-made meals in the comfort of your own home. Cook, prepare, and create delicious healthy meals with your family. It will not only save you money, but save your health and maybe even time. If you cook a little extra you’ve got meals for the next day. Pack em’ in some glassware, a laptop lunch box, stainless steel containers – and they are ready to go. This also saves the morning headache of scrounging around for meals for the kids or the spouse.
You will not only feel better about yourself if you take this on, but you will also be avoiding takeout packaging. Not to mention sparing yourself from feeling lousy and bloated and paying more than necessary for a bowl of pasta. I am not saying to never dine out – we all have our favourite restaurants and pick up spots - I definitely have mine (check out Marni’s Faves). Just leave it to less than three times a week. This may be a challenge, but we all need to start somewhere. Start tonight by getting into your kitchen… and dine in!
Simple Steps to start the process:
- Go the to the grocery store/ health food store/farmer’s market and start shopping!
- Makeover your kitchen and fill them with organic/fresh and wholesome ingredients
- Take a Cooking Class
- Invite friends over and cook together
- Have a private cooking lesson in your home with your family
- Grow your own garden (season pending)
- Use reusable containers and glassware – even if you are picking up!
- Try to order less at restaurants to prevent the occurrence of leftovers and packaging
- When it comes to eating out – try to eat at local, sustainable, organic and vegetarian restaurants (see veg.ca)
Join the Take OUT With OUT Campaign and make a difference!
So the day has come and it is time to finalize the top posts of people’s FAVOURITE VEGETARIAN MEALS and find out who is going to come to one of my Cooking Classes for FREE! This contest was not only based on what the meal was, but why this meal was so special and what about this meal made you feel amazing!
I really had a tough time trying to pick…as they all sounded delicious (that is why I have picked 5 instead of 3).
There was a bit of an Indian/Ethiopian theme going on – it seemed that warming beany and grainy meals with veggies seem to hit home for a lot of my readers! There are also quite a few new recipes in these posts, so have a look through and get inspired to make something delicious.
Thank goodness I am leaving the tough part to you.
Each post is listed with a code name – that highlights each specific post.
Then YOU will leave a comment with the code name of your favourite one and why you liked it. (If your post is one listed, you can NOT comment at all! You will just have to wait with anticipation!)
I will tally all of the votes to see which one got the most…and the winner will be announced and contacted in the next couple of days!
Post # 1 : Chickpea Curry
My favourite veggie meal is Indian and it is channa masala (chickpea curry) over basmati pulao (basmati with spices/onions). It is so yummy and filling! The house smells fantastic when you are cooking these items. When you sit down to a plate of beautifully cooked basmati pulao and pour the channa masala on top of it, it is irresistible to me. I’m drooling just thinking about it! I was born in Canada but my family background is East Indian, so this dish brings me back to my heritage and the food I grew up with at home. The great thing is, this is simple to cook but it is so hearty that my non-vegetarian friends love it too. Now that I have thought about it so much, it will have to be dinner tonight!
Post # 2: Pineapple Pear
My favourite veggie meal is my morning Power-Packed Pineapple Pear Smoothie. This power house meal is packed to give me the boost I need to start my day on the right foot. I don’t do well with solid foods in the morning so this drink has the added ingredients to help digest it and support my body at the same time. I start with about a third of a cored organic pineapple. The aroma of the pineapple as I cut it into chunks makes my mouth water and my tummy grumble in anticipation (gets those digestive juices flowing), and it’s beautiful bright yellow colour is a nice ‘eye-opener’ for the morning, along with it’s high vitamin C and digestive and health supporting enzymes. I like using 2 Forella pears that have the yellow-red skin as they are firmer and still have a smooth texture and adds valuable soluble and insoluble (including the skin) fiber. To boost the fiber, protein and iron content I add 30grams of organic ground tigernuts (Egyptian tubers) which also give a nutty flavour. Then I add about 5 stalks of dandelion greens to support my liver and get my greens into my day first thing. Surprisingly and scrumptiously, the slight bitterness of the dandelion is complimented very well by the pineapple’s sweetness and acidity and adds a nice green colour to the drink (bitter tastes also help stimulate digestive juices). Then to add a bit more protein and probiotics which help digestion further along the tract, I add some coconut kefir about a quarter to a half of a cup. This adds some tartness to balance the sweetness and beautiful light coconut flavour to the pineapple. I power pack it off with 30grams of lecithin granules and 1 tsp of spirulina. The lecithin really adds to the smoothness of the smoothie and is great for the nervous system (stress) and lowering cholesterol. The spirulina intensifies the green colour of the smoothie, helps cleanse and build the blood and supports the body in so many ways.
Add about 4 cubes of ice to the blending near the end to chill it up and thin it out a bit, and then let it sit for a few minutes before consuming to allow the flavours to meld. This makes 2 generous helpings. This first meal of the day gives me a sense of great care and love being given to my body. Once you try it you’ll be hooked!
Post #3: Pesto Pasta
My favourite vegetarian meal is spinach pesto on whole wheat spaghettini. Why?
First of all – IT TASTES SO DARN GOOD. I love the punch of the pine nuts and garlic, it’s absolutely delicious.
Why else? Well, I’m by no means a raw foodist, but I know the importance of including raw foods in my diet. This meal is perfect for me because I still get to enjoy my warm, cooked pasta (providing me with healthy, whole grains), but the pesto itself is made from fresh, raw, iron-rich spinach and the antioxidants of the garlic (which this recipe includes LOTS of!).
Post # 4: Injera
My absolute favourite meal is actually one I had tonight: Ethiopian food!!
First of all, eating Ethiopian food is a communal experience. The food comes served on a large platter for sharing, which has a base of a sourdough flatbread called injera. Injera is made from teff flour, not only high in iron and fibre, but really delicious!
Each dish is served in a small dollop: spiced chickpeas, lentils or split peas, collard greens (mmm), potatoes with cabbage and carrots, and salad. You eat the entire meal with your fingers, enveloping each morsel of spiced legumes and veg with the injera. The smells of berbere (the spice mix they use to cook everything — how can you go wrong with chilis, onions and garlic?), frankincense, and strong coffee are all around and deeply satisfying.
Food always tastes better when you can eat with your hands.
Post #5: Dhal Stew
My favorite meal is a dhal stew that I have altered from an original family recipe. It was always a staple in my home growing up. Once I moved out on my own it was the first recipe I made from scratch. I felt so proud and comforted when I first made it on my own (especially when for the first little while I was eating a lot of processed foods).It also started me on the path of ‘loving to cook’! It consists of yellow dhal, tumeric, cumin seeds, garam masala, curry powder, onions, garlic, tomatoes, salt and hot pepper sauce…very simple but oh so good!! You can make it a soup consistency or what I do is add potatoes or plaintains or sweet potatoes and green peas and make it into a stew.
If you were at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair this past weekend and you saw my cooking demo, then you would know exactly what I am talking about. If not, I will tell you anyways. It is always so much fun to get up in front of people and teach them about how easy it can be to make whole foods apart of your everyday life! That was the goal at my demo, to educate people on how everyday eating can be simple and delicious which will ultimately lead towards a path of optimal happiness, health and healing!
I am going to provide you with a brief overview how you can Stock Your Cupboards Full of the Best Quality Ingredients!
Choose whole, fresh foods!
- Raw, living and sprouted foods
- Fresh organic vegetables and fruits
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts)
- High quality vegetarian protein (tofu, tempeh, beans, nuts, seeds and greens)
- Whole and gluten free grains (spelt, quinoa, millet, brown rice)
- High quality fats (fresh pressed oils: olive, coconut, sesame) nuts, seeds and avocado
Choose organic, bio-dynamic and local foods as much as possible
- Organic foods have few or no chemicals, they have more minerals, nutrients and energy
- They support local family farms, increase agricultural diversity, and reduce the need for transportation of imported foods (less pollution!)
- They taste better and promote eating food in season
Choose a variety of foods everyday
- Rotate your foods and get the most out of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds
- When planning your meals or creating recipes – get a balance of flavours whether it is sweet, sour, salty, bitter and astringent, pungent.
- Sweet: grains like rice, sweet fruit, carrots, beets, nuts, honey and other sweeteners
- Sour: lemons, tomatoes, grapes, plums, vinegar
- Salty: seaweed, celery, leafy greens, some cheeses (feta)
- Bitter: green leafy greens, endive, chicory, parsley, coriander, coffee
- Pungent: cayenne, chili peppers, ginger, garlic, leeks, radishes
- Astringent: beans, lentils, apples, pears, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes
For overall balance and diversity:
- Be sure to use different colours (taste the rainbow) textures (crunchy, soft, chewy, crispy), shapes (get creative when cutting fruits and veggies)
To go along with this I have some videos of the recipes I covered (along with the recipes of course!)
White Bean Dip with Dill
A delicious spread to enjoy with flatbread, crackers or served with crunchy raw veggies!
1 cup soaked or 1 can of navy beans
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp – ¼ cup tahini
1 bunch of fresh dill or basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
(Add water if a thinner consistency is desired)
- Cook soaked beans in large pot for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
- Place garlic, lemon juice, and half of the beans into blender or food processor and blend well.
- Add the remaining beans, tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until smooth (add water if necessary).
- Transfer spread to bowl and stir in the fresh herbs.
Citrus Cranberry Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
½ cups hazelnuts
½ cup cranberries
½ cup orange juice
¼ tsp ground fennel seeds or Chinese 5 spice powder
½ cup orange segments
1 cup of broccoli florets
Zest of one orange
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
- Rinse and drain quinoa. Add 2 cups of water and salt and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, until grains have burst and are tender but still chewy (about 12-15 minutes). Drain and set aside in medium bowl.
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Toast hazel nuts in oven until center are golden, about 5 -10 minutes. Let cool and rub in towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. (Or you can purchase organic dry roasted hazelnuts!)
- Soak Cranberries in orange juice for 5-10 minutes.
- Cut broccoli into small florets and blanch (place in boiling water for 1-2 minutes) and set aside.
- Add the soaked cranberries and the 5 spice to the warm rice. Toss with Vinaigrette.
- Just before serving, combine hazelnuts and cranberries and broccoli with quinoa. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with orange segments.
Chocolate Avocado Pudding
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 Medjool dates (soaked overnight or boiling water for 20-30 minutes)
1 tbsp of pure unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp almond butter or 1/2 cup raw almonds (soaked in water overnight for 8 hrs.)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ripe banana (optional) for extra flavour!
- Combine the ingredients in a blender and whirl on high until well blended into a thick creamy pudding.
- Divide the pudding into 2 servings