You want to know the secret…it’s coconut. A modern day Pad Thai with pure wholesome ingredients and natural condiments. I would have to say it’s been at at least 6 + years since I have eaten a traditional Pad Thai, loaded with low grade oil, fish/oyster sauce and sugar – those ingredients are long gone from my diet. So the time has come to re-create my own version.
Let’s talk about how Coconut plays a role in my version of a Pad Thai. A new line of favourites have made their way to the organic, raw, veggie market place. That is Coconut Secret’s Amino Acids, Vinegar and Nectar. (You can order them in Toronto HERE!) They are raw low glycemic, gluten free and highly nutritious, oh… and make your meals and recipes thrive with unique flavour. Each one has it’s own versatility and use. Coconut Aminos, can replace traditional soy sauce and even natural soy sauce like tamari. I do love tamari, but it is nice to replace it once in a while. Coconut vinegar can be used for salad dressings and sauces basically anywhere that balsamic, brown rice, apple cider vinegar or any acid would be used. Now the Nectar which has truly become one of my new favourite ingredients is amazing to naturally sweeten desserts, pancakes, sauces, dressings, stirred into yogurt or a smoothie. It is light and has a gooey texture that is slightly addicting. They can all be used individually, but I decided to use them all together in a tangy sweet and savoruy Pad Thai sauce, that is truly like no other! As you may or may not know Coconut it’s recognition as a super ingredient, as it it is loaded with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals to find out more benefits look here.
So that takes care of the sauce…but the base of my pad was none other than one of my other favourite ingredients, kelp noodles. These can be found at several health food stores or restaurants in your local area. They come in a package and need to be soaked to be enjoyed. I took them one step further and threw them into my wok to soak up flavour and soften even more into my delicious Thai sauce. I had only ever eaten them raw before this, and now, I might just reconsider when and where I use rice noodles over kelp noodles! They are extremely light and easy to digest, they have no calories (not that I care), very little flavour and will adapt to any recipe you choose to use them with. So your options are really limitless.
Then I loaded this dish with a combination of veggies that just seemed to work. Sweet potatoes taste good in anything so those went into the pan. There always has to be some green veggies with my meal – so broccoli and kale it was for this one. I am not big on tofu and use it probably once a month if that, but when I do, it’s got to be sprouted and organic – I take no risks when it comes to Soy and GMO’s. Wildwood has a great brand that I actually enjoy. To be honest, Ryan is the one who loves tofu – so the addition was really for him. I am more of a tempeh fan Then I topped everything off with some home sprouted mung beans, loaded with fiber, enzymes, protein and just bursting with crunch -to liven up each bite!
So there you have it. The secret is out. Now I encourage you to make this and report back to me!
Veggie Pad Thai
2 tbsp coconut vinegar
5 tbsp coconut aminos
4 tbsp coconut nectar
2 tbsp almond butter
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cups of yams, cut into thin chunks
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 bunch of kale, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 block of sprouted tofu, cut into cubes (can also use tempeh)
1/2 cup sprouted mung beans
1 package of kelp noodles, rinsed and soaked in water with 1 tbsp lemon juice or 1 package of brown rice noodles
1. In a small bowl, combine the coconut vinegar, aminos and nectar, almond butter and 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Set aside.
2. In a wok, satuey the tofu, garlic, ginger, scallions and yams in 2 tablespoon grapeseed oil for several minutes, stirring to prevent them from sticking.
3. When yams are soft, stir in the broccoli and allow to soften.
4. Pour the sauce and the kelp noodles into the wok, stir to combine and cover for a few minutes to meld together.
5. Add in the chopped kale and allow to wilt for a few minutes, while still remaining green.
6. Gently stir the noodles into the vegetables and sauce to combine. Remove from heat and serve.
Garnish with mung bean sprouts and chopped scallions.
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Veggin’ Comfortably e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
At the annual Canadian Organic Growers conference - which I attended yesterday there was a plethora of information – from how to grow as a farmer, to how to shop as a consumer. However the main theme of the day was the topic of GMO’s. If this is a new term to you – it means Genetically Modified Organisms. Doesn’t sound so appetizing does it? Since there are so many questions, concerns and comments around this area, I thought I would bring to you, my readers, some of latest and most currently research in the area and what you can do as a consumer!
Firstly – you should know that many GMO’S are currently found in most of the food that we eat. Sounds crazy…right? But they can be found among very few crops such as cotton, soy, corn and canola – and these few crops are the basis of most commercial and packaged food that is sold in the market. So a simple solution of course, is to just stop eating these foods and do I what I have been advising all along…eat whole foods!
But the problem with GMO’s goes much further than this. There are many claims, policies and science that goes into this whole field. This has all caused a substantial amount of controversy as to whether GMO’s really actually beneficial to us? The initial theory and “claim” was that they would help to save world hunger, give new variety of foods, improve rural livelihood, help facilities and the environment. Instead they have created more harm that proved to be beneficial. GMO’s have proved to be unsustainable as farmers have to use new seeds every year while destroying the land, they have also created numerous allergies, health problems and deadly conditions, contaminated large sources of our foods and crops that certain populations rely on- and this is just to name a few! So really the goals that may have been in mind, aren’t really accomplishing what they had set out. In fact Europe has already figured this out. In Germany GMO’s are not only rejected by consumers but farmers are liable if they are caught planting GMO crops. Unfortunately in North America – the trend is not the same. There are large companies behind this that will do anything they can to protect their “seeds” and make sure that “their seeds” are the only ones used by farmers in a majority of North America’s farmland. This is a sad truth but there is something you can do. You have a choice to make each time you buy food. There are resources available like the Non GMO project which has set out to help consumers find products that are free of GMO’s. It is important to know and learn what you can do as a consumer and what you can do for your health.
Okay I know, now comes the question of Organic!
I still constantly get asked, how do you know? What is the benefit of organic – is there a difference? Well the proof really is in the pudding. Just try it and see for yourself. It has taken me several years to get the point where I am at now – where I am pretty much 100% organic, local – with the exception of eating out sometimes and other such factors. I have to say that not only do I feel better physically but I know that I am not contaminating my body with pesticides, hormones, residues and GMO’s! I have made the choice not to put toxic foods into my body and have it affect my children one day or my health down the road. You too have this same choice to make. So choose wisely!
The other huge question around organic is the cost. “Organic food is sooo expensive!” The same point that I make to my clients and cooking class participants was also made yesterday.
The initial costs of buying organic – yes “seems” more expensive when you look at your bill and start to compare. But it is the bigger picture that needs to be looked at. First of all, most people consume and eat a lot of meat during the week. Well, meat is expensive – so cut down on that, have more vegetarian meals and you will be saving (plant based foods such as beans and grains go a long way in terms of $ value!) The nest point to mention is that most people also dine out during the week- this is the perfect opportunity to start to make your own healthy organic meals and Dine In! Then you will also be saving and it’s more fun! So in turn by making these small changes you will begin to afford organic and high quality foods – and there actually may not be more actual dollars spent but the value of your health will increase. Isn’t that what it is all about anyways…eating the best foods so that we can feel our very best? (then you will also save on health bills/prescriptions down the road etc..). Why else are we on this planet? Just think about this and it will start to make sense – even if it is not right now.
So just to reiterate you have a choice to make. What do you want to eat? how do you want to feel? where do you want your food coming from? – if you don’t know then start by saying NO to GMO!