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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Here and There

The past few days have been really rough for me. I’ve been feeling really awful, and have been getting headaches, been lightheaded and dizzy, and my digestion has been out of whack – all of which has totally KO’d my yoga routine. Today I am going to try to go back on Metamucil, and see what happens. The year that I was on Metamucil was the best year of my life digestively, so maybe going back on it (while still experimenting with raw vegan foods) will be good for me. Who knows!

I’ve been a bit dejected after making a bunch of recipes that I really did not like. I am sure there was nothing wrong with the recipe, but I’m the pickiest eater ever, so who knows. I got a dehydrator (feeling a bit depressed about this & not sure if it was a good decision, and I refuse to take pictures of it until it helps me make something nice) and made some onion carrot bread, which turned out awful and made me sick for two days. It didn’t taste too bad, just a little strong on the onion for me, but after I ate it I almost died, it was awful, I felt like a lump! Then yesterday I tried to make my first nut pate, made from hemp seeds and walnuts, and it was disgusting. I tried to eat some of it with a spinach salad, and managed to eat a bit of it, but it made me feel like gagging so I gave it a rest. And then I overate on spinach and had a stomach ache and just felt heavy overall. Bummer.

So, this week despite feeling like total shit I have learned some things about myself.

1. Do not eat too big of a salad.

2. Eat salad at the END of the day, not for lunch.

3. I need grains in my diet! They make my belly happy!

4. Raw onions do not agree with me.

5. Raw tomatoes do not agree with me.

6. There is a such thing as a too sweet smoothie

7. Smoothies are a good way to start the day, as is fruit

The smoothie pictured above is my second green smoothie – and for me I think it is a bit too sweet, which I guess is bound to happen because it’s a recipe I just made up. I’ve popped it in the fridge and am going to try watering it down to enjoy at a later date, but right now it’s just not what I want. TOO SWEET. But here’s the recipe for all you out there with a big green sweet tooth:

1. 1 banana

2. 1 1/2 cups of almond milk

3. 1 avocado

4. 3 dates (mine were soaked overnight)

5. 2 handfuls of spinach

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Newbie Pancakes + Fridge/Pantry Makeover!

So, I didn’t end up buying the dehydrator today – I’m going to try to find some time to go tomorrow. Instead, I went on a serious grocery trip and overhauled my fridge & shelves! No more processed food, hello fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, pseudograins, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices (and tea)!

I looked so confused at the grocery store, squinting at all the racks of nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs, trying to figure out what was what. It is amazing that my whole life I have never known what a walnut actually looks like, until today when I bought them! It’s a really amazing feeling to start learning about real food rather than just accept whatever comes from a package. No top-secret ingredients with ten syllables!

Before I went grocery shopping, I made a list of the ingredients of 3 of the recipes in Brendan Brazier’s The Thrive Diet book. I decided to pick one smoothie, one pancake, and one burger! It took me like 2 hours to find everything, shopping for real food can be confusing when you don’t know what anything looks like.

Anywho, the recipe I decided to make tonight was for his Buckwheat pancakes! However, when I got home I realized I totally wasn’t able to find 2 of the things on the ingredient list: hemp flour, and barley flakes. So, I took those out and readjusted the amount of buckwheat flour, and they turned out amazingly anyway! I am still full and the sweet taste is still in my mouth. Yum!

Here are the ingredients:

1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 banana

2 cups water

Begin by mixing the banana and the water in a blender. Then mix the remainder of the ingredients in a bowl.

Once you have done this, slowly add it to the banana and water smoothie, bit by bit, and blending as you go.

Put a bit of coconut oil on a frying pan and put the heat on one of the lowest settings. Begin to drip the batter onto the frying pan. Wait until the pancake starts to bubble, and then flip. This should be about 3-5 minutes per side. My first attempt turned out super super ugly, as you can see below!

It looked so ugly I wanted to be sure it tasted good, so I put it on a plate and drizzled some raw agave nectar over it (my first time having this). OH MY GOD, SO DELICIOUS!

It was sooooo good! I felt really guilty eating it since it was sooo sweet with the agave nectar, I felt like I was eating some sort of candy bar or something. I can’t believe it’s 100% natural ingredients – real, whole foods! Yummy! I was a bit unsure since it isn’t raw, but it’s in Brendan’s book and I trust that guy. If it’s good enough for him to eat, it’s good enough for me to eat! Definitely not every day, though, and I think next time I’ll cut back on the agave nectar. But overall, a huge success! (PS: This makes 6 medium-sized pancakes!)

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Reflections on Slight Change

Lately I have been starting my days with warm lemon water – the juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed, with some warm not quite boiled water. It’s been working out pretty well, and is supposed to gently awaken the digestive system. Apparently cold water is the worst thing to have in the morning, and can freeze up the stomach and intestines. This is a definite change from my routine a week ago (I used to start the morning with a cold Vitamin Water) and I am pretty sure my body likes this better!I also had the energy yesterday to do yoga twice! Once before dinner, and once before bed. Lately I’ve been doing yoga at home via Yoga Yak on Youtube, and yesterday I did the same session twice, which was this one. I’m looking for something a bit more challenging lately though, so if anyone has any suggestions for that please link me! I am finding since I have started cutting out processed food and including more whole fruits & veggies in my diet, I have more energy. I also have noticed that I feel full a lot longer, and I have to eat less to feel full. The only problem so far is that at night time I tend to feel hungry while I am trying to get to sleep, so I might start having miso soup as a night time snack, or a bit of sliced cucumber.

Today is also a big day – I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy a dehydrator. I want to get a 9-tray Excalibur, and there’s this great store I found, that the owner says he will deliver it to my house! Awesome! Now I just have to organize all of the recipes I want to make and pick one to try out first! I think getting a dehydrator will cause me to be a lot less overwhelmed about incorporating more raw foods into my diet. Fruits and veggies are obviously easy but that does get boring after a while, and it’ll be cool to have the tool to make some more interesting meals. If anyone has any great recipes that require a dehydrator, that are pretty easy, let me know!

Do you have a dehydrator? What was the first thing you made with it?

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Green Juice!

This is the second time I’ve made this green juice, and this time I decided to make it far less watered-down. The first time I made it my vegan diet was highly processed and the idea of making something green to drink was a bit weird, so I mixed it with enough water to fill like 5 water bottles – it was more of a light green lemonade flavour. Drinking it again now but more concentrated definitely resulted in a trip to the bathroom (with good digestion, yay!), so if you are like me and not very used to having concentrated green juice, have a bathroom handy (this juice inspires the bowels, lol)! Here’s the recipe, it made about 3/4 of what you see in the picture, and then I filled the pitcher with water. Slightly modified from something I saw on Natasha St Michael’s video blog series Raw Radiant Health:

Juice:

2 stalks of celery

1 bushel of kale

1 apple

1 2/3 cucumber

1-3 cups homemade lemonade

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My First Veggie Smoothie

This is what I made for lunch today! Chickpea salad + my first veggie smoothie! I am pretty excited about the smoothie, since it was my first smoothie ever with vegetables/greens in it – and it was my first time having an avocado! It was a little thick, so I had to consume it via spoon, but it was absolutely delicious! I was afraid it would taste too much like vegetation but the apple & lemon juice gave it a subtle sweetness that I really enjoyed.

And the texture was nice and soft and velvety. Mmm. I am definitely going to make this again! Here is the recipe, it is my slight alteration on one by Gillian McKeith:

1. Juice 12 baby carrots + 1 apple

2. Add juice to blender.

3. Blend with 10 basil leaves, 1 soft  avocado, and 3 tablespoons homemade lemonade

This dish was just me getting rid of some leftovers! I had the chickpeas from another meal. They are lightly fried with olive oil, oregano, and Italian herbs. Mix with live cress (those are the greens, I think they are called cress), and I also sprinkled some raw sprouts in there too. I had difficulty with just the sprouts and cress, but the flavour of the spices and chickpeas really made everything tastier for me. It was filling & delicious, and FAST – I am pretty sure it took only 15 minutes or so to make, between cleaning the juicer/blender/etc.

Anyhow, a bit of a recap – yesterday I ate pretty normally, and my digestion has been fine since. The only things I’ve been doing differently is taking into consideration some of the things I read in Gillian McKeith’s book – in particular, she suggests taking digestive enzymes & milk thistle capsules, & acidophilus. So I’ve been doing that since I’ve started the detox, and I have to say I don’t know if it’s because of that or the food, but I’m feeling great! Way better than usual, but my last 2 months have been hell, so who knows. She also discusses the idea of food combining, so I’ve tried to take that into consideration with what I’ve been eating and when. Is the idea bullshit? I have no clue, but I can’t wait to read more books by different authors to see what their thoughts are. I guess I’ll just wait and see how I feel. The other thing she suggests is drinking only before and after meals, not during – something I’ve heard before but have been reluctant to adopt, but I’ve been trying it out & so far so good!

In other news, Averie is having a giveaway – go check it out!

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