My clients and students always ask me what is one thing they can do to improve their health. Or which one food is the most important for a healthy diet. My answer is always GREENS! If there is any place to start – it is with greens. Most people do not eat enough green veggies. So no matter what your diet currently consists of – whether you are an omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian (a little bit of this and a little bit of that), raw foodie – it doesn’t matter. Getting your greens in is the first step to optimal and long-lasting health.
Leafy green vegetables are one of nature’s richest sources of a full spectrum of nutrients. So look beyond spinach and broccoli and get familiar with things like kale, collards, swiss chard, arugula, bok choy.
Depending on what your taste buds are calling for, there are so many ways to get your green veggies in. The good news is that each green offers a very different unique taste and texture. Even if you have to sneak them into a smoothie for the fussy ones in the family, I promise you – there is always a way!
Whether you are following a vegan diet or just want to take your nutrition to the next level– greens should be an essential component to your day.
Choosing a leafy green such as kale:
- Helps to purify your blood, supports bone health and prevents the risk of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer
- Gives your body an extra dose of much needed calcium, magnesium, iron, antioxidants and fiber
- Compliments anything and everything on your plate and will boost the nutrients in any meal
- Is especially fantastic when it is just lightly steamed, sautéed or chopped up and marinated raw into a salad
- Makes a super healthy “chip” that is kid and adult friendly. Try this delicious zesty kale chip recipe!
These benefits apply to most greens so really, you can’t go wrong and the possibilities are endless.
It is very common to get overwhelmed when it comes to greens. My suggestion is to start basic. Pick one new green a week to “play” with until you have found a way for you and your family to enjoy it. The number one complaint is that greens are too bitter. Well, yes collards and kale can be bitter – especially if they are new to your palette. Once you find a way to get them into a meal – whether they are added to a smoothie, tomato sauce, chickpea stew, chunky vegetable soup, grain dish or simply dressed with olive oil and sea salt, there is no turning back. You will be hooked because you will suddenly start to feel better, have more energy and you may even lose weight. That doesn’t sound bad does it?
Experiment with natures emerald gems, have fun and make sure you get your greens in everyday. Just remember that a meal isn’t a meal unless there is something green on your plate! Try the Green Garden Veggie Pasta Salad recipe below. We’re making this recipe and many more green veggie-packed recipes at Simple Spring Creations on May 23rd and Green Goddess on June 10th.
Green Garden Veggie Pasta Salad
8-12 oz pasta (kaumt, spelt, Tinkyada brown rice or quinoa)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sliced red onion1-2 yellow summer squash or zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch chunks to equal 2 cups
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1-2 cups washed and chopped chard or kale
10-12 spears of asparagus chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced chives
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
How It’s Made:
1. In a large stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon of sea salt.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add squash, asparagus and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
3. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, place in a large, shallow serving bowl, and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauteed vegetables, chard and fresh herbs.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
My favourite way to welcome spring is to lighten up my eating habits. As the weather gets warmer, as more local vegetables become available and as I spend more time outside, I crave lighter, colder, more refreshing meals. Instead of the soups, stews and grains that warmed me in the winter, opt for more green leafy vegetables, salads, smoothies, raw soups and juices. This not only results in simpler meals to prepare but I also feel lighter, more rejuvenated and more energized!
Here are 5 key ways to lighten up your meals this spring:
- Start adding more salads to your diet. Whether for lunch or dinner, grab a big bowl and fill it up with fresh local greens. Salads help eliminate toxins, increase energy and provide a balance to your body. Learn how to naturally balance your body at Acid/Alkaline Balance on June 20th.
- Drink your dinner. This isn’t ideal all the time. But some nights when I get home and don’t feel like making a meal or eating a heavy dinner, I just pull out my blender and make a yummy blended cold soup (see the deliciously refreshing recipe below).
- Change the ratios on your plate. This is the easiest way to lighten up while sparing your body extra calories. For example, instead of taking an extra serving of grain, add more veggies, either steamed or fresh. Learn how to give your body a spring cleanse with Marni’s best-selling eBook Cleansing with Superfoods.
- Use vegetables in place of grains. In the spring, it’s fun finding veggie alternatives to whole grains. For example, grind up cauliflower instead of rice or use kelp and Zucchini noodles for basic dishes or pasta recipes. Top this up with our fave Green Goddess Salad Dressing – we will be making this recipe and more Green recipes at Green Goddess on June 10th!
- Make juice. This is the easiest way to start lightening up in the spring. Making a tall glass of vegetable juice is an easy way to load up on nutrients instead of calories. You can learn how to make Super Alkaline Juices at Raw Essentials on June 3rd.
With the days lengthening, reach for foods like green vegetables that will hydrate and refresh you. To start, try this refreshing
Green Avocado Cucumber Soup.
What’s in it:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
2 large ripe avocados
½ cup spinach or kale
2 green onions, roughly chopped
2 apples (crisp and tart apples like granny smith)
2-1/2 cups coconut milk or coconut water
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Parsley for garnish
Optional additions: garlic, ginger, cayenne, dill
How it’s made:
- In a blender, process all ingredients until smooth. Chill until ready to serve and garnish with fresh herbs.
This article was originally written for Chatelaine.
Calcium is a very important subject for me so I was to learn that this month is calcium month! A hysterectomy, shortly after my second child was born pushed me into menopause at the age of 35. Along with this came an increased risk of osteoporosis, making bone health an important consideration in my diet. Like everyone else, I had grown up believing that eating my 2-3 servings of dairy a day was the healthy way to go. I never questioned the absurdity of consuming another species’ breast milk. Through my research and my experiences with Marni to date, I have learned that dairy actually impedes my goal of strong bones by contributing to an acidic body. When this happens the body will try to reinstate an alkaline state by leaching calcium from the bones.
So, where is a girl to get her calcium? I start several days a week with a hearty dose of calcium from a smoothie made with banana, organic berries, calcium rich kale and fortified almond milk. This is a favourite of my daughter’s as well. Trust me, you can not taste the kale. Adding some ground flax seed ups the calcium even more.
While there is a long list of veg-friendly calcium sources out there, two personal favourites are edamame and sesame seeds. Edamame pods are a popular snack in our household; steamed and tossed with a bit of EVOO, salt and pepper. I also add shelled edamame to quinoa dishes, pastas, and salads. Most things I cook are finished off with a healthy sprinkle of sesame seeds as well, adding flavour, texture, and giving the food a nice presentation.
I was happy to see these two ingredients front and centre at Marni’s Amazing Asian cooking class earlier this month. My two favourite recipes were the Nappa Cabbage Salad, and the Arame Soba Noodle Salad. I recreated both of these dishes at an Asian-themed pot luck this past weekend to great reviews. One of my reasons for wanting to win the Fully Nourished Lifestyle prize was to be an example to those around me. I find people can be pretty sceptical of vegan cooking, so it is very heartening to bring healthy vegan fare and have it be as well received as the meat and sugar-laden foods around them. Thanks Marni!
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?
By participating in Marni’s Fully Nourished Lifestyle Program, Kristy is committing to putting her health first. This year she has decided to not eat something simply because it’s available or cheap or chocolate-flavored. With Marni’s help and support she would like to become more mindful of what she’s eating and how it affects her body. Kristy has had her initial consultation with Marni and has started implementing some healthier habits, specifically incorporating healthier snacks in her diet. Below she shares her favourite easy to make snacks for at home and on the go.
Snacks are the greatest, little bursts of delicious energy throughout the day. Unfortunately snacks are a really easy way to slide out of your healthy eating ways, a few cookies here, a bag of chips there. Now as a huge fan of snacking, my latest goal has been to upgrade the quality of my snacks. As an actress/writer/jack of many trades, my schedule is constantly changing. It’s hard to know what food options will be available to me in between auditions,work,meetings, etc, so Marni suggested I make a habit of always toting “just-in-case” snacks with me.
In addition to this, my husband Chris and I made a goal to not eat out at all for the month of January, so this has meant a lot more planning and prepping than we’re used to. We’ve been prepping a ton of veggies, beans and grains on the weekend to use in wraps,salads and stir frys throughout the week. It’s so awesome to open the fridge and have a variety of prepped healthy options at your disposal. This has made meals so simple, and I’ve had a little more time to experiment with some healthier snack alternatives. Here are some of the snack foods I’m obsessing over this month.
1. Kale Chips
Chris and I are big Kale lovers, so last week I pulled out our dehydrator to test out a no-bake Kale Chip recipe. These were one of the greatest snacks I’ve ever had, and such an awesome alternative to potato chips. It only takes a few minutes to prep, then throw in the dehydrator overnight. We’ve baked Kale chips before, but I much prefer dehydrating them. As Chris stated upon tasting them “These are amazing! Make them every day”! This will definitely stay in the regular snack rotation and I’m looking forward to experimenting with new flavors and seasonings.
2. Carrots & Dip
Hummus,Salsa,Black Bean Dip. The combinations are endless. Something about the miniature size of these little orange morsels make them seem so appropriate as an in-between-meal go to. They’re easy to transport, healthy and refreshing. It’s fun to mix in sliced cucumber, celery, and other veggies but the carrots are definitely easiest with basically no prep time required.
3. Trail Mix & Lara Bars
This has been a standard of mine for a long time, but I’m trying to make more of an effort to always have some kind of nuts on me for a quick energy boost. The Coconut Lara bar feels like such a decant treat and only has a few, natural ingredients!
4. Homemade Popcorn
Coconut Oil. Popcorn Kernels. Sea Salt. Three simple ingredients, five minutes and you have a delicious treat without any of the nasty chemicals from Microwave or Movie Theatre popcorn for a fraction of the price. Chris and I make this every time we have a movie night or feel like a little treat. This is replacing me grabbing a bagel or other white-flour comfort food I’m constantly drawn to, it has that same filling effect.
I look forward to sharing this journey, and I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite snacks? Have you found healthy alternatives to some old favorites?
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?
It’s that time of year again when seeing the sun come out from behind the clouds makes me want to be outside. I want to play, and I want to get fit!
The question that’s always asked of me though, especially because I’m active and vegan, is how I have enough energy to get through my days and my workouts? Well, I simply say that I have the perfect solution: plant-based foods. Not only are they filled with the most highly nutritious and bio-available vitamins and minerals, but they taste great too.
Plant based foods provide all of the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) essential in maintaining optimal energy. Since working out causes physical stress, it creates acidity in the body. In order to regain a state of alkalinity, it’s essential to neutralize the body by consuming a plant-based diet filled with neutralizing plant-based foods.
My top sources of energy foods:
- Hemp Seeds – contains omega 3 fats and provides long sustaining energy. I love to put them on salads, in smoothies and cereal.
- Chia seeds – are loaded with fiber and expand when soaked. Chia makes the most delicious morning porridge. Amazing for before my workouts.
- Kale - is a green leafy powerhouse veggie. It is loaded with magnesium and is alkaline forming. Chopped up in a raw salad or steamed on the side of quinoa, kale completes any plate.
- Sea vegetables – storing a wide range of trace minerals and nutrients, sea vegetables provide natural sodium to the diet. My favourite sea vegetable is arame or nori – they give me mental clarity and focus.
- Tempeh – one of the highest sources of plant protein, is fermented, and is easy to digest. I love marinating tempeh with cider vinegar, lemon juice and coconut oil for a boost to my salads and wraps.
- Coconut water and coconut oil – coconut water replenishes the body with much needed electrolytes. So when I am working out, this is my go to beverage. Coconut oil – is loaded with medium chain fats, so they are a quick source of energy and nourishment before and after activity.
- Quinoa - contains all of the essential amino acids which are crucial building blocks for protein. Protein builds muscle, so it is important to consume protein especially after a workout.
- Goji berries – are a natural source of antioxidants, protein and fiber. They are perfect in a trail mix before a workout or great tossed in a smoothie after a workout.
- Cacao – one of nature’s richest sources of magnesium. Gives me a natural boost of energy. Cacao gives me the perfect excuse to have chocolate for breakfast. Tossed in a smoothie or cereal it adds the perfect crunch and kick!
- Honey – loaded with enzymes, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties honey is soothing and easy to take down. It is a natural source of sugar and calories so it makes a perfect addition to my pre workout snack and it also gives me that extra boost of energy.
These are the foods that I reach to when I want to get moving, and I highly suggest them to anyone who hasn’t tried them yet. I know my body’s going to use them well and efficiently, and give me that boost of energy without causing me to crash and burn out. They are sustaining, nourishing, and versatile enough that I can consume them daily in multiple ways without ever getting bored of them.
To learn more ways to fuel your workouts, join us for our Fit and Fabulous cooking class on May 21st where we will be making homemade energy bars, happy hemp loaves and liquid nutrition smoothies that will help take your body and fitness goals to the next level!
When your mum used to say to you “Eat all your veggies!” it was for a good reason. Vegetables are a must that should be included your diet to keep you feeling healthy and fabulous. Not only are vegetables rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins, but for those wanting to look as good as they feel, vegetables are low in calories, excellent energy sources, and help maintain a healthy weight.
That’s why it pains me when I often hear that people throw out the stems, tops and skins of their fruits and veggies. You may not realize it, but they usually carry more nutrients than the fruit or vegetable themselves. If you’re going out of your way already to buy beautiful, fresh, or even local and organic produce, then why waste the most nutritious parts? Unless you are composting – you’re getting rid of essential nutrients that could be benefiting you.
Most stems, skins, and even leafy tops to fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber and nutrients. Since the stem is the component that’s rooted in the soil, it contains more substantial vitamins and nutrients. For vegetables such as kale, collards, parsley and swiss chard – don’t get rid of those precious stems!
Then there’s the tops. This is for vegetables like beets, carrots, or any other vegetable that sprouts a leaf or anything green. This is indicating that the vegetable is full of vibrancy and nutrients, so don’t just cut them off and toss them into the garbage. They’re very useful and can be a great contribution to your diet.
The skin of most fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, potatoes, squashes and even kiwi, contain antioxidants, fiber and other health promoting properties.
What can you do with your leftover stems, tops, and skins?
Depending on the type of fruit or vegetable – whether it’s a leafy green or root veggie – there are different uses for them.
Uses and benefits for your stems, tops, and skins
- Stems make a great the base to a stir-fry. Add in broccoli and swiss chard stems at the beginning along with your onions and celery. That way they can soften and absorb lots of flavour.
- Stems make are great for the base for a soup stock (collard stems, kale stems, parsley stems). Let them infuse in your water for an hour or so and then remove. They will leach all of their nutrients into your soup stock.
- The skins from citrus fruits contain bioflavonoids, which are amazing antioxidants. Use the zest of an orange into a cookie, muffin or yogurt.
- Put the stems and skins of any fruit and vegetable through your juicer. From collards, kale, broccoli and chard to carrots, beets and apples.
- Bake your potatoes and squash with the skins on. Potatoes skins have potassium, iron, and vitamin C.
- Use the tops of beets and stems of swiss chard to make a wonderful and colourful side dish. Beetroot tops are loaded with calcium, magnesium and iron.
Garlicky Green Stem Sautee
3 cloves of garlic
2 large bunches of whole beet root tops and swiss chard
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
How you make it!
- Fold green leaves in half lengthwise and cut away the leaf from the inner ribs or stem.
- Chop up the stems into small pieces and set aside.
- Pile about 5-6 leaves on top of one another, and roll into a tight roll
- Starting at the top and cutting across the leaves, slice the leaves into needle thin strips.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.
- Add the stems, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add in the green leaves and cook until they are bright green, and are just short of their wilting point.
Spring is finally here! With the trees and flowers inspiring a fresh, new change of environment, you may be considering giving your body a fresh, new change as well. Cleansing your body is one of the great natural “makeovers” you can do to feel good both inside and out. Approaching a cleanse in a healthy way can help you reestablish a baseline and allow your cells and organs to function at their optimum potential. Cleansing also allows you introduce “healthy”, organic and fresh foods in your diet – giving your digestive system a break and purifying your blood.
Contrary to mainstream belief, cleansing isn’t about depriving your body of food. Instead, it’s a chance to re-train your tongue to acquire the delicious taste for whole foods in their natural state. It’s safe to do a one or two-day juice fast (if you feel up to it) but it’s not necessary. Focus more on eating fresh whole foods as the basis of all your meals. Eating more salads, drinking more smoothies and drinking lots of fresh water throughout the day will leave you feeling pure and energized. At the very least start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon juice to get the process going – this is the easiest and best thing you can do to start your cleanse.
Why Should You Cleanse?
- To help the body as it neutralizes and eliminates toxins though the major organs such as our colon, liver, kidney, lungs, lymph and skin – our bodies do it everyday! But if our self-cleansing system is overloaded by our unhealthy lifestyles and exposure to environmental toxins, it becomes difficult to do it’s own.
- There are many factors that contribute to toxicity in the body – (processed, packaged foods, the environment/pollution/ chemicals in the home –shampoo, makeup, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, detergent etc…). If you give your body a little break from these “toxins”, I can attest to the feeling of feeling much better than not cleansing.
- We have limited control over the environment that we are exposed to – however, we have total control over the food we eat and the products we use on our body and in our homes. So make new, fresh, and healthy choices with what you’re eating!
- We are over chemicalized, through our diet (animal protein, saturated fat, caffeine, alcohol and sugar) and through the environment. Even if your diet is good, a cleanse can restore your immune system and protect against environmental toxins that pave the way for disease bearing bacteria, viruses and parasites.
What you can do (for maximum results):
- Eliminate: bleached and refined flours
Choose: whole grains or gluten free grains
- Eliminate: Refined sugars (high fructose corn syrup)
Choose: natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup
- Eliminate: Table salt
Choose sea salt instead
- Eliminate: Trans fats and refined oils (processed corn, canola, sunflower)
Choose: olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil and coconut oil
- Eliminate or Reduce: Meats treated with hormones or antibiotics, farmed fish
Choose: organic and wild varieties and keep to a minimum
- Eliminate: Foods sprayed with pesticides and herbicides
Choose: local and organic varieties
- Eliminate: Conventional Dairy products
Choose: organic varieties, goats and sheep’s milk or eliminate and use alternatives like hemp, rice and almond milk
- Avoid: Genetically modified foods and oils (make sure it is labeled, such as “non- GMO”)
- Avoid: Additives and preservatives (nitrates, sulfites, flavorings and colourings) Read your food labels!
- Avoid: Fast foods, fried foods
- Avoid: Sodas, juices with added sugar
- Avoid: Coffee, cigarettes and alcohol
The bottom line is to eat whole foods, fresh foods, lots of green leafy vegetables, salads, smoothies, whole and sprouted grains, nuts seeds and other healthy oils. These foods should make up the bulk of your diet. Fill in the gaps with herbal tea, fresh lemon water and you’re on your way to superior health!
To find out more about how to transition your diet and learn how to eat whole foods join my Raw Rejuvenation Retreat in Collingwood Ontario this May 2012. There are a few spots left for some lucky participants and early bird rates are currently available! You can also see me on my last Rejuvenation retreat to get a taste.
Kale Slaw Salad
What’s in it:
1 bunch if kale (any variety), chopped into bite size piece with rib removed
1 head red cabbage, shredded2 carrots, shredded
1 beet shredded
2 tbsp hemp seeds
½ cup olive oil or hemp oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2-4 tablespoons raw unpasteurized honey
1 tsp sea salt
How It’s Made
1. Shred the cabbage, carrots, beets and fennel in a food processor with shredding blade or
use a mandolin or hand slice into thin strips.
2. In a mixing bowl, toss in all the raw vegetable ingredients (except the hemp seeds).
3. In a separate bowl mix together the vinaigrette.
4. Combine vinaigrette with raw veggies and toss together until the cabbage and kale are
5. Allow salad to marinate in fridge for a few minutes – or up to an hour, mixing in the hemp
seeds just before serving.
Marni’s Delicious Knowledge:
Full of colour, texture and flavour – this is a highly nutritious salad, especially when it is topped with
mung bean sprouts! PS… the longer it marinates the better it tastes!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Cleansing with Superfoods e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
It has taken me almost a week to collect my thoughts on the Oprah show from last week. If you missed it…find out more here. But just to give you some background on the show, Oprah and 378 of the Harpo staff went vegan for one week. Well it all sounds good in theory but when I thought about the show and broke it down, there is a lot that needs to be said. Of course I don’t have all the answers, so I encourage you to share as well.
To start out (my starter kit):
The new term “Vegan-ish” was coined on the show which I actually like – as long as it means fresh whole foods. However I am afraid that is not the message viewers got from this show. I know that most people after this show are thinking about attempting to “lean” into veganism to see how it works for them and their lifestyle – but if “vegan-ish” gets the reputation that experimenting with processed and packaged foods – then that is clearly the wrong message. Anyways, there is so much to share, and that is why it has taken me so long to post my thoughts.
I have decided to organize and summarize my thoughts in terms of what I liked and what I didn’t like . You will see my points emphasized and then in italics beside are my suggestions and thoughts on what could have been done!
What I didn’t like:
In the beginning of the show Oprah mentions how she has access to good free range eggs….great but what about America? Why couldn’t other suggestions be made of how those without access can get their hands on farm fresh organic eggs?
There was not much education on how + why one would choose to go vegan. It seemed like the staff was given the challenge, given a bag of groceries, fed vegan food for lunch – but did not have a full understanding of health + ethical implications of a vegan diet. Why couldn’t cooking classes, info sessions or workshops or cookbooks been given throughout the week to go into depth on the benefits + different topics, not to convert people to veganism but just to make them aware and enlighten them?
On that note, why were there grocery bags to take home filled with Junk Food – when they clearly mentioned on the show that a vegan diet can be junk based unless people make healthy choices. The staff weren’t left to make healthy choices, they were snacking on cereal, chips, cookies all week long, but that is okay because it was vegan…right?
It was pointed out, as it is always an area of interest that vegans do not have enough nutrients or get enough protein etc… Yes, this is absolutely the truth when eating a vegan junk food diet. This will of course create imbalances and cause people to become ill or malnourished. If people are shown how to eat a balanced, whole and fresh diet as a vegan, these imbalances are much less likely!
Because Kathy Freston is clearly not a nutritionist, the staff should have been told of some of the adjustments and changes they might experience during the week (gas, bloating, more bowel movements, lethargy, headaches) having this information beforehand might have helped the process. Also this may potentially help to increase the follow through rate of staying on a plant based diet for longer knowing that your body will change over the course of a few weeks and that it takes time for your body to adjust.
Kathy Freston also took a family grocery shopping to “restock” their kitchen (after being unloaded of processed food) so that they can make “healthy meals” at home using faux meat substitues- the kids clearly demonstrated that they didn’t like the meal that was prepared. That is never a good sign, especially for national TV and people considering going vegan. How good can a ground up soy concoction taste as the basis of a meal – at least take this opportunity to show the family how to cook with fresh whole foods? Even using organic ground turkey would have been a better choice!
Just to reiterate…America was shown (even in a Whole Foods Market) that a vegan diet comes from a package or a freezer- America got to see the Tofurky and Earth Balance define the basis of a vegan diet! Eating truly vegan to me means eating plants, neither of those options are plants.. why wasn’t quinoa, beans, yams or a head of kale shown to viewers of the show?
The produce aisle was completely over looked in the store, not even mentioned. That is where people need to be shopping!
And lastly it infuriated me, that they showed Cargill is our “friendly neighborhood” meat slaughtering/meat packing plant. Okay, so it is clean and well managed, but the cows still eat genetically modified corn and other “grains” which are most likely just ground up sugars and potentially other meats. The cows were packed into a feedlot, sad, unhappy etc. They weren’t making any noise or moo-ing because they were tired, sluggish, overweight and mostly likely have just given up. (Okay I am going on here). But the fact that a meat plant was glorified – made me very angry. Why couldn’t they feature organic farmers like Joel Salatin or other places where America can be shown where naturally-happy raised animals are raised and that their innate diet should be weeds, grass and herbs?
What I did like:
That the Vegan movement was recognized and got the big OK from Oprah and was featured on TV. That is always exciting!
That so many staff made the commitment to go Veg for a week! I mean, what have they go to lose?
That Michael Pollan was on the show and made it clear that if you do eat meat- eat it fresh, local and organic. It’s the only way to go!
That a vegan diet can be high enough in protein as long as you choose whole foods like greens, beans legumes. This was mentioned on the show = 1 point, but not explained or showed = -2 points.
That it takes time to transition to plant based foods and no one can make these changes over night. This goes for anything. It is all about small steps and little changes. But as long as people understand the benefits, than anything can happen!
There is room for error – you don’t have to be 100% vegetarian or vegan. Just trust what is right for you and to be more aware. That is the message at the end of the day!
Oprah and her staff made mention and are going to embrace Meatless Mondays. This is a bold move for the Harpo staff to take on, it may just encourage more people around the world to take this on!
I understand that a bridge needs to be gaped in order for America to make some changes, but it is away from all packaged and processed foods that we need to emphasize. America is already eating the worst foods from a package but changing that over to “vegan” junk is not the way to go. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to introduce quinoa, brown rice or even and spelt flour. Even a can of Eden organic beans could have been used as an example if necessary. The whole concept and benefits of VEGETABLES I think was not emphasized enough in this show. This could open a whole new chapter of information for viewers.
Now don’t get me wrong, Kathy Freston definitely did present some great points, but this was a chance to truly show everyone watching the power of plant based foods – I just wish it was taken advantage of!
There needs to be a few more follow up episodes to see how people are doing or to bring more WHOLE FOOD HEALTH information to America.
More experts in the field should have a chance to be featured. (Like me?)
More tools and key information that makes it EASY for people to make this transition to whole foods is essential – a cooking class, informative workshops/info sessions, a trip to the farmers market or an organic farm or building a community garden and at the very least… showing people how to shop properly and effectively in a grocery store.
I truly hope that those of you who watched the episode and who read my blog know that it is so much simpler then it appears to make changes to eat more healthfully. It can be as simple as adding greens to your smoothie or an extra salad a day! Read my article about going veg here!
If you are thinking of trying plants out or leaning in to veggie foods or being “vegan-ish” then you may want to continue to read my blog and get your hands on a copy of my book Veggin’ Comfortably. This will be available online via my website next week!
I didn’t cover everything, so please share your thoughts on the show, express points that I missed or things that were relevant to you.
What you liked, didn’t like. I want to hear!
What would be included in your Vegan Starter Kit?