Sunday, November 27, 2011

Clean eating week, day 3.

So you can't expect everything to always be peachy. 

Tal works night shifts, and I know that in the grand scheme of things, its not so bad, BUT, nevertheless we're finding it pretty hard. Anyways, I always really look forward to Saturdays because I see tal from the morning all through the night... But sometimes when you have high expectations... They flop.

So we hit up some hardware stores, came home and then tal slept for 4 1/2 hours. I don't blame him, he totally needed the sleep, but I had my heart set on a dinner date at the naam (a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in kits)... Oh well! :P you roll with whatever comes your way! Tonight Tal is getting a lot of sleep, so maybe we can do something tomorrow! (perhaps get a Christmas tree!)

On the food front, everything was pretty darn'd tasty! You can tell my bodies detoxifying though, I'm like a walking pimple...ew... It is nice to know that the toxins are making their way out though! 

A few new things... I bought flax seed oil today, which is super high in omega3 and omega6.  I'm supposed to take 1-2 tsp a day... But it smelt gross so I mixed it in with something I probably shouldn't have... A blueberry, coconut icecream milkshake! Yes, I had sugar, but I made it three days without it, and I can always start fresh tomorrow!

Thats another thing I wanted to talk about, I really like eating vegan and vegetarian dishes, in fact I rarely cook meat for Tal and I, and when comparing vegetarian to vegan dishes, there's no doubt that vegan is healthier... That being said I'm pretty flexible. I may have a soft spot for cows and pigs, and I may have cried when I saw a little pig on tv the other day, but the main reason I like to cook vegan is for the health... But if you invite me over for turkey dinner, I'm down. I figure that eating really healthy food thats good for the environment, and good for us is great, but putting people in an awkward situation by not being able to eat their food... Sucks. (any vegan/vegetarians reading this, I realize I have been officially shunned... :P)

Oh well. Moderation, respect, and the freedom to change my mind!

For dinner we had the most delicious sweet potato and lentil stew, with corn bread, and sauted spinach! I'm blogging from bed and I don't have the recipe with me, so I'll do the recipe tomorrow. Tal and I both voted this meal a 10/10!

Anyways, I'm thinking of doing a pantry list post for anyone interested in going organic, experimenting with some vegan dishes or just wants healthier ingredients in their cupboards! I'm thinking a picture dictionary style with each item and their health benefits! (the silliest things get me excited!)

Alright, off to bed to read!
Have a peaceful day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Clean eating week, day 2.

Even though I've been a little under the weather today, I've had a lot of fun!
For a long time I've ignored what I know is right, and it really feels right to live in harmony with myself and the knowledge I've learnt. For example, we all know about the great pacific garbage patch, but do we take better care, and watch what we buy and throw out? Some people are really good at balancing their busy lives and manage to take the time and effort to be conscious of the, environment, the welfare of the humans that inhabit it, and their own bodies... I for own am not one of those people. I'd love to be, but usually I tend to move like waves in and out of hobbies and interests and back again. But I really always feel there's room for another chance!

I rewatched a documentary called No Impact Man (its on netflix if you have it) and although living without any environmental impact is too large a commitment to carry out in the long run, there was a lot that inspired me. I was really inspired to cut back my consumerism. Sometimes I get lazy and just want to get back on the shop-and-throw-away train. I really only want to buy things I need, and try to get them used first. I was also inspired by the simplicity of life when you really get back to the basics. If you don't have the money to go out, you stay home and enjoy family and friends etc. I'd like to live a simpler life in that regard. I'd really recommend watching it if you're feeling like you need a little inspiration.

Food wise today, it was very delicious! I always get this idea that when I cook healthy I'm not going to like the dish, and then most of the time I'm surprised by absolutely amazing food! Plus, there's nothing like knowing that every ingredient in the meal your eating is good and nourishing for you!

For breakfast I had a doctored up bowl of instant oatmeal.  I about a half a cup of organic quick cooking oats and mixed it with a tbsp or so of chopped walnuts and raisins, two tsp of maple syrup, and a few shakes of cinnamon.  I stirred it until everything was coated and then I poured boiling water on top just until everything was under the water and let it cook for a few seconds! It was really tasty! A good way to get more fruit would be to chop up apple in to tiny bites and add that too :)

At dinner we has a really healthy tostada. The recipe is from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silver Stone, and holy smokes it was delicious!

You'll need:
2 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
2 tsp of olive oil
3 pinches of salt
1/2 cup of onion cut into half moons
1 carrot julienned
1 celery stalk cut thin
1/4 cup of corn kernels
1 small cucumbers julienned
1 avocado pitted and cubed
1 tsp chopped arugula
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 tsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp sunflower seeds

First heat the oil up in a pan and add the onion along with a pinch of salt. Let that cook for 2 minutes or so.  Then add the carrots, celery, and corn, along with two pinches of salt. Give that a stir and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes. Heat the tortillas up in a low heated oven, or if you like a crispier tostada, crank up the heat a little but watch it closely!

Now is the fun part! Put a tortilla on each plate and layer half the rice, then half the beans, half of the vegetable mixture from the frying pan, and then the cucumber, avocado, herbs, and sunflower seeds on top! Its absolutely delicious on its own but it can be topped with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt if you eat dairy, or a tofu cream made out of tofu, lemon juice, and veganaise.

Now is the best thing I ate all day! I've been trying to cut out sugar this week, and I'm really going through withdrawal.  Tonight I was so tempted to make up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and then I remembered a recipe I had read in a book a long time ago.  It was for raw chocolate mousse, and it was entirely vegan, and yet had the decadence of a yummy chocolate dessert! You have to try this, you won't believe it!

You'll need:
3 avocados peeled and pitted
1/2 cup pure organic maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Just under a cup of cocoa
Berries (any for the top)
Mint leaves (I didn't have any, but they would have been delicious!)

Its really simple, blend up everything but the berries and mint leaves in a food processor until smooth and then serve either in bowls, or fancy martini glasses topped with 3-5 berries and a couple of mint leaves. Please, don't judge this recipe until you try it, you'll be amazed! Yum.

So now that the dishes are done, well mostly done, and I've eaten all I need today, I'm going to sit back, crochet a slipper and watch old episodes of SNL :)

I think tomorrow we're decorating for Christmas!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

brown rice waffle with vegetable melange.

Today was really exciting on loads of levels!  It was the first day of our clean eating week, I bought a cart full of organic groceries and it was only marginally more expensive, and I went to a hormone seminar on estrogen and how it affects our bodies!

It was awesome.

The meal we ate tonight was really interesting, it's essentially a savory waffle with veggies on top, but it was so tasty and filling we both rated it pretty high.  Tal rated it 7/10 and I rated it 10/10.  This meal is SUPER healthy for you, and with the addition of beans it would be a complete meal with grains, veggies, and protein!  It looked so small when I was serving it, so I mentioned to Tal that there was left over soup in the fridge if it wasn't enough, but both of us were stuffed when we were finished!  I struggled to eat the last bite. So even though it's small, don't be deceived, it will fill your stomach!

So here's how to make it:

For the waffles you'll need:
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon miso paste mixed with 3 tbsp water
1 cup of water

For the vegetable mix you'll need:
sesame oil
1 cup onion chopped in half moons
1 cup beans or other protein
1 cup carrots
1 tsp low sodium all natural soy sauce
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tsp dark sesame oil

So here's what you do!  You stir together all of the waffle ingredients and scoop them by 1/2 cup fulls onto a preheated and oiled waffle iron. Simple.

While the waffles are cooking heat up some sesame oil (about a tsp).  Once the oil is heated, saute the onion for two minutes.  Next add the beans or protein of your choice and saute for one minute.  Place the carrots on top of the onion mixture and add 3 tbsp of water to the pan.  Cover and let simmer for 7 minutes.  Add more water if this gets too dry.  Then add the broccoli and the soy sauce and simmer for 3 minutes longer.  Once the vegetables are cooked, remove from heat, stir, and add the the sesame oil.

Serve a waffle and heap of vegetables on top for each plate!  Voila!

You should definitely try it... regardless of how weird it seems to make a waffle out of rice!


Clean week. Day 1.

(I am currently working on the contented woman blog which I will post sometime next week... But in the meantime)

I think its time to 'clean house' when it comes to my digestive system.  I have been less than pleasant to it the past 6 months, and its starting to show (not only in stored fat but in heartburn, increased headaches, and many other issues).  This is why I came up with 7 days of clean dinners that Tal and I will TRY to stick to!

I hope that through this and the combination of omitting sugar that we go through a mild detox, and come out of it feeling refreshed and determined to not fill our bodies with junk again!

Today is day one! I'm trying to keep breakfasts simple, some sugar free organic oatmeal with peanut butter,miso soup,or leftovers from the night before. I'm going to make enough at dinner time that both Tal and I are able to take left overs for lunch as well!

Tonight I am making "rice waffle with vegetable melange" which is found in "the kind diet."  It sounds interesting! Its a brown rice waffle (or pancake in our case because we don't have a waffle iron!) topped with a miso steamed mix of veggies!

I'll pictures/recipe tomorrow morning :)


Why sugar sucks (and why its so hard to stop eating it!)

Nutrition is something that really interests me, no matter how healthy, or not healthy I've been eating, if I hear an interesting fact, or tip, I'm always inspired to 'clean house' and get back into whats really good and nourishing for my body.  Knowledge of sound nutrition is so vitally important because believe it or not, what we eat REALLY affects us! Food doesn't just taste good or bad, or make you thin or fat, it can make your body the healthy machine it was meant to be or a chemical store room being pumped with more prescribed chemicals to help you make it through the day. Research has proven that a healthy plant based diet rich in whole grains can actually reverse diabetes, cancer, and obviously obesity! Why are we searching for cures, when a remedy has already been proven! Well, there are two basic reasons, one doctors are paid to promote pharmaceutical companies, and what I think hits the closest to home... Its hard to change our diets.

With that in mind, lets get down to the dirty facts about two faced sugar. Sugar is really close to my heart, in fact I'd call myself a sugar addict, and I'd go as far as to compare sugar to crack! Don't worry I'll explain all this. Sugar is two faced, she's so sweet and tasty, but then she bitterly mucks up your body and keeps you coming back for more!

So whats so bad about her? Well, in a basic sense, there are whole foods which are created by God and found in nature, and then there are human processed foods. The whole foods each have unique combinations of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and beautifully our bodies can and know how to metabolize them perfectly! The processed foods, on the other hand, have bits and pieces of the original whole food removed which confuses our body, and stresses our health because we're trying to come up with the missing elements so we can metabolize them. This creates imbalance in our bodies, and imbalance always breeds more imbalance. Sugar is highly processed.

Nature created the coca leaf, which does not harm the body, and it was processed into highly addictive cocaine, the poppy flower, and poppy seeds that are great for you were created by nature, but then processed into heroin, and last but not least, sugar cane (whole, solid) is fine because it still has it's minerals and vitamins intact, but then there's the highly processed white sugar which rapes your health, and is so gosh darned addictive!

Specifically, sugar is linked to a lot of horrible things! Sugar takes our bodies and our bloods vital vitamins and minerals. When the sugar is digested our bodies give up these vitamins and minerals to help metabolize it, leaving us with extra fat and less vital nutrients. In fact food, real food is a nutrient because it nourishes our bodies, whereas scientifically sugar is often refered to as an antinutrient because it takes away from us! Sugar suppresses our immune systems, for example, if your diet consists of lots of sugary snacks (chocolate bars, Starbucks, baked goods etc.) it causes your blood sugar to go up, this, in turn, causes your body to create insulin to help it metabolize, but when it's done, extra insulin remains which causes an imbalance in your hormones, particularly related to your immune system! Phew! And if thats not bad enough, sugar takes on industrial toxins during the processing, which over works your liver, which also takes away from your immune system.

Eating sugar, like taking any other drug is a roller coaster. When you take in the sugar your blood sugar peaks, which at first makes you feel happy and excited, but then it causes headache and fatigue.  Then when your blood sugar crashes it causes moodiness/irritability, anxiety, dizziness, depression, and many other things (sound like withdrawal?). In Alicia Silverstone's book 'the kind diet' she says, "sugar consumption can leade to mood swings and behaviour that, over time, we misrecognize as our true selves. I can personally attest that life is much happier and more balanced off the (sugar) roller coaster." (The Kind Diet)

Sugar isn't looking so tasty any more is it? Well, I'm not done yet!

Sugar has been associated with cancer.  When the blood sugar goes through the roof, so does insulin, which results in too much insulin.  This excessive amount of insulin promotes the growth of certain types of cancer cells, particularly pertaining to breasts, ovaries, lung, colon, prostate, and stomach cancer.

This may seem redundant, but its so crucial that we know what sugar is doing to our bodies, especially when dealing with insulin resistance and diabetes. Up until awhile ago I didn't really understand sugar and how it related to diabetes, but I get it now, and I'll write it out as simply as possible. When you consume a diet high in sugar, it causes your blood sugar to be high, this causes your pancreas to release insulin to help the sugar get to certain cells where it turns it into fuel, but when the diet has too much sugar, your blood sugar is always high, which causes the insulin to stop working, so the sugar doesn't make it to the cells.  This is called insulin resistance. To make matters worse, if your blood sugar is high, and the insulin isn't working, then your cells don't get the sugar that turns into fuel, so... You CRAVE MORE SUGAR! This just reinforces the cycle, and over time your pancreas can stop working, then voila! Diabetes!

Now, I really want to stop taking sugar, but its so hard! And because I'm so infatuated with it, I'm blinded to what it does to me. Until your off it for about a month, you won't notice the visible affects it has to your body. Once you do go off it, however, you may notice these side affects if you slip up and eat a cupcake! You may get a headache, gain weight, feel tired and almost hung over, become depressed, moody, and of course, you'll crave more of it!

So what should we avoid (sugar comes in so many forms!) and what should we replace it with?  White/basic sugar is pretty obvious, but as well any ingredients ending with "ose" are to be avoided (dextrose, sucrose, maltose, fructose = all simple sugars!).  Please, Please, Please, avoid high fructose corn syrup! HFCS is just as addictive as sugar, is subsidized by government in some regions, has been genetically modified, has been linked to insulin resistance, and is a major contributor to our continents climbing obesity rate.  Its in nearly every processed food, but it really is poisonous to us! Evaporated cane juice may sound harmless, but really its only slightly less processed than sugar, and is just as addictive. Last but not least, honey, its just as addictive and quickly raises your blood sugar just like sugar. So now I've taken away everything... What will sweeten our food! Have no fear, there are a few alternatives. Now because sugar is actually quite rare in nature, I believe that it should be quite rare in our diets, but if you are craving something sweet try brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or agave nectar.  These will flow into your blood at a much more moderate pace, replacing the sugar roller coaster highs and lows!

So, I'll try again, starting over is wonderful!