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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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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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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Detox Day Food Plan

So I’ve had weird digestive issues for the past 2 months: nausea whenever I eat, and an inability to digest anything in general (if you catch my drift). After missing a lot of family hangouts and school I got a bit sick of it; I have IBS but since I went vegan and continued my routine of having Metamucil crackers every day before eating, I had literally no IBS symptoms for 7 months. I thought I had found my holy grail.

Regardless, I was getting a bit sick of feeling sick, and after seeing a ton of doctors, no one seemed to know what was going on. I got put on Tecta to control the amount of acid in my stomach (which might have gone up recently due to stress), which helped a little bit but did not eliminate the problem. I called Telehealth Ontario and spoke with one of the lovely nurses there. He suggested that I might have a bug that was caught in my bowels or intestines for 2 months, and that it might not have had the chance to get out of my system since I have been eating. He suggested not to eat until I had been nausea-free for 8 hours.

So a few days ago, I did that – no food. After the 8 hours, I had a banana, and then went to bed. No nausea!

I spent my fasting day reading Gillian McKeith’s book ‘You Are What You Eat’, and taking some notes on it. I decided I was going to do her meal plan for the detox day, which basically involved lots of tea:

10.20AM: Squeeze fresh lemon into warm water. Took Tecta pill.
10.57AM: 2 teaspoons of flaxseeds in water, drink only the water (this was soaked the night before)
11.20AM: Room temperature pint of blueberries
02.10-02.45PM: Yoga
03.10PM: Fruit juice: 3 apples 1 pear, w/ milk thistle pill
04.15PM: Lunch. Quinoa w/ Italian spice w 1/2 cucumber. Tasted bland.
05.33PM: Feeling dizzy. Took 1 vitamin c, 1 multivitamin, digestive enzyme. Camomile tea
06.20PM: Veggie detox juice (6 carrots, 2 celery, 1 apple). Took 2x acidophilus pills
07.00PM: Feeling totally fine, no weird gastrointestinal symptoms at all. Only thing is I feel full & hungry at the same time – maybe bc all of the fluids?
08.00PM: Camomile tea
08.30PM: Sunflower seeds
09.00PM: Miso soup
10-10.30PM: Light walk
10.30PM: 4 kiwi fruit
11.45PM: Digestive enzyme, milk thistle, vit c, multivitamin, peppermint tea
12.25PM: Salad + sprouts with very little balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Tasted awful. (I don’t usually have salad!)
01.45AM: Stomach cramps. Had a bottle of water. After drinking water cramps stop at 2.17AM

Overall successful – no symptoms at all! That could have been because of the fast the day before, but I don’t think it hurt me to generally stick with healthy foods. I was really not a fan of the salad and sprouts, but hopefully I will find a recipe that makes these foods interesting & tasty for me, because I know I should include them in my diet.

Yesterday I returned to my regular diet, and felt fine! I’ll post yesterday’s meal plan later. 🙂

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