VEGAN IN THE CITY

Twenty-something. F. Toronto. Vegan exploring fitness, healthy eating & raw foods, on a busy schedule in a busy city ♥

Raw Food Class!

A lot has been going on since I last posted! I made raisins with my dehydrator, as well as some raw donut holes filled with jam! Tons of pictures to share, I just haven’t had time to upload them yet. They’re coming soon, I swear!

Yesterday I took a raw food cooking class with Nathalie Lussier at her home. Her and her boyfriend Robin were gracious, kind hosts! The class was really fun, and while some of it was just a helpful refresher on some raw information (for me anyway), I did learn a lot of new stuff. The main thing I walked away with was confidence that raw food is easy and delicious, which was important for me – I’ve always been a-okay with smoothies and juices, but it’s been the dinner, savory options that were overwhelming and confusing (I loathe salad). Nathalie’s class taught me that raw savory dinners are super easy to make, and far exceeded my expectations in yum and simplicity! I am the pickiest eater ever, and I liked everything. I brought some tupperware to take some of it home to enjoy later!

Here’s what we learned to make:

1. Green smoothie

2. Almond milk

3. Sprouts

4. Marinated mushrooms/green beans

5. Nut/veg salmon patee in collard green wrap

6. Zucchini pasta with pesto/tomato sauces

7. Brownies

Everything was yum! I had some of the pasta, mushrooms, and green beans for lunch, and brownies and some of her blueberry cake for dessert.

Nathalie’s explanation of food combining also was the simplest I have heard, and is as follows:

1. Fruit alone

2. Starch alone or with veg

3. Dried fruit/nuts/seeds alone or with veg

4. Banana/avocado can be combined with dried fruit/nuts/seeds

5. Apples/pears can be juiced with veg

6. Leafy greens can be combined with anything

7. Wait 2-3 hours between categories

I liked that Nathalie totally did away with the random and ever-confusing ‘protein’ category. I was always trying to figure out if chickpeas were starches or proteins, and that seriously stressed me out. I think her way of breaking it up is really easy to understand – there’s no confusion about what is what.

I bought a spiralier, zucchini, and mushrooms to make some of the dishes we learned, as soon as I run out of leftovers (which will be SOON!). Also bought a few books – Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo, Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food by Wendell Berry, and 12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food by Victoria Boutenko. I’m pretty excited – I love reading and I haven’t had as much time to do that lately as I would have liked; the internet is great but limited.

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Overwhelmed

The past few days I haven’t posted much because I’ve been in the throes of health forum oversaturation. The raw forums, the 811 forums, the LFRV forums, and then there’s the raw blogging community. The first few days focused on reading up in the blogs, and I felt amazing and full of energy! And then the days after that I devoted my time to reading the forums, where most of my days were not as good as the ones before, and today I had a flare-up for the first time all week. After some thought I think it might have been due to a B12 supplement I took in the morning without realizing that it had lactose in it. Hello! Lactose intolerant right here! Yes it is that severe!

Regardless – when I first started reading about raw, I was nothing but inspired. Blogs like Gena Hamshaw‘s in particular, since she was a fellow IBS sufferer who healed after changing her diet. And reading other blogs, all of which are on my blogroll, I was so excited about raw and bought all this stuff to make some awesome yummy food. I was feeling so full of energy and full of life! Then, I found the forums, where I read so many conflicting opinions that made my head spin. A lot of people were talking about 811 (80% of calories from carbs, 10 and 10 from protein and fats respectively), or LFRV (low fat raw vegan for those who don’t know). Some people survived on nothing but fruits. Some people were paleo. All had pictures, and they all looked great – healthy, strong, and full of energy. They all said their way of doing things was the best, and I read the arguments behind everything.

This got to be sooo stressful. I wasn’t sure and still am not sure who to believe anymore. Gena cured her IBS with what I consider to be gourmet raw, and a bunch of people on the forums cured their colitis/etc by eating fruits all day and then salad for dinner. What should I do? This question ran around in my mind for the past few days. Whose way was the best way? It got to be so stressful I almost didn’t want to try anything, and at a few points I convinced myself I would be able to live only on smoothies.

Smoothies are great and all, but I need to go back to why raw started interesting me in the first place. Digestion, and getting rid of my digestive issues! I’ve for the most part felt pretty good all week, except the past few days I have been really dizzy, lightheaded, and have gotten headaches. This from a girl who NEVER gets headaches, ever!

I also really love the supportive anything-goes non-dogmatic, laid back vibrant energy of the raw blog community. When I read the blogs I feel so revitalized and happy, optimistic and healthy. When I read the forums I just am the biggest worry wort ever, and get bogged down with theory. I think the theory I need to apply is of my body. What feels good? What digests well? What tastes good? I don’t want to deprive myself, I want to enjoy the amazing tastes of fresh whole foods.

I swear – my boyfriend’s mother is a dietician, and if she knew I was even considering doing the 811 mostly fruit thing she would be floored! I had mostly fruits today, and a small salad, and I’m feeling like shit. This can work for some people but at this point in time I don’t think it’s necessary for me! I think some part of me needs nuts or something. Expect one of Brendan Brazier’s raw nut pate recipes this week, I’m going to try one out!

But I have to ask – has anyone else gone through a similar crisis of ideologies? What has your experience been? Sorry for the long-winded post but I had a lot to get out, lol. I feel a lot lighter now.

Also, some giveaways are happening right now!

The amazing Averie is having one! Check out her blog if you haven’t, it’s amazing!

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Fresh Film! + Food Combining

Went to U of T tonight to watch a screening of a film called Fresh, about food production. It was really nice to be in a small room with maybe 15 people max, rather than a large movie theatre. I thought it was a better executed film than Food, Inc (whose book supplement was actually a more worthwhile contribution, IMO). I really enjoy learning about food production, and it has inspired me to seek out some locally grown food in Toronto – I also think it will be cheaper than certified organic, which is what I have been buying lately, and it sounds like fun to buy local in general. I have been checking out Local Food Plus, a Canadian local food directory. I’m going to try to find some food cooperatives in TO.

I’ve also been thinking about food combining and generally trying to decode it. I must be doing okay so far – my digestion has been totally regular/awesome so far.  It seems like the general rules are:

1. Eat fruit alone & on an empty stomach

2. Veggies can be eaten with anything (non-starchy)

3. Do not mix starch, protein, or nuts

Would chickpeas be considered a protein? I am SO bummed about the not mixing starches and protein thing, bummer! One of my favourite taste combinations. I am going to try to find some sort of recipe that fills the craving for that kind of taste combo. Also wondering how long the wait is between food groups – I’ve seen anywhere between 2-5 hours posted around the net. I like to snack and I don’t want to just have the same snack combination all day! I guess I’ll just have to try it out and see what works for my body.

Does the fruit by itself thing mean that having soy milk or almond milk in a smoothie is a bad idea? Is it safer to just mix smoothies with water? Kind of curious if anyone has any ideas about this, since I’m kind of trying to figure out what the specific rules are, it’s a bit foggy to me right now! I’ve been really stressing out about ‘getting it right’ and planning meals, and consequently losing some sleep. My thoughts go so fast I just can’t keep up. If anyone has any good links on food combining (explained simply, preferably for vegans or raw vegans), please link me!

Kris is having a giveaway! 🙂

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