It’s Official

Oh She Glows CookbookI am now the proud owner of, not one, but two vegan cookbooks and I just have to share.

The first one is a beautiful book called The Oh She Glows Cookbook and is full of delicious and elegant recipes like Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons or Grilled Portobello Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Kale-Hemp Pesto. The second one is called Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week and is chock-full of yummy, funky and seriously tasty-sounding recipes like Chimichuri-Pumpkin Bowl or Nirvana Enchilada Casserole.

Isa Does ItAs much as I am loving my mostly raw/live diet, every so often I just need something hot. So, even though the humidex is currently sitting at 32 degrees Celcious,  at the moment I have a quinoa, lentil and kale stew (from the Isa book) simmering yummily on the stove and smelling delicious. I am going to serve it with roasted sweet potatoes (from the Glow cookbook).

So now I figure it’s official and I am a card-carrying vegan.

Funny how I needed the cookbooks to really be able to say that! 🙂

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Better Together

My hubby has been away for almost a week and I am badly missing my partner-in-crime!

My diet has not shifted in the slightest with Simon’s absence. I am still juicing, making my smoothies, creating raw desserts and preparing raw meals. I am still eating gigantic salads at odd times of the day and plowing through my chaga tea.

Better TogetherWhat I am not doing is enjoying it all quite as much.

Simon’s absence has reminded me that maintaining a Radical diet is way more fun with a buddy. I love starting our day with a ginger shot and doing the crazy dance around the kitchen while it kicks in. I love creating our fresh juice together in the mornings, packing super foods into our smoothies, enjoying a cup of tea and a raw dessert in the afternoon and sharing whatever dinner creation makes its way out of our fridge at night.

And I love the feeling of wellness and transformation that we are sharing as it evolves in all its miraculousness.

It is always good to have the opportunity to appreciate the most special relationships in our lives as, ironically, they are the ones that can get overlooked.

And so, here is my conscious and intentional message to my husband, parenting partner, juicing partner, life partner and my love…’you rock, dude, and I LOVE sharing this journey with you!’ 🙂img_a1605112aa1

Who Knew?

Puzzle PieceFor the past fourteen weeks I have been eating ‘clean’;  mostly raw, all vegan, juicing every day, lots of super foods, super herbs, and tons of sprouts.

And, feeling like a million bucks, I might add.

And so, I wonder, why is my eczema still flaring? What is it that my body is still trying to tell me? Could it possibly be the natural process of detoxification? Or is there something else that I haven’t quite figured out?

Well, yesterday’s wellness fair just may have given me the next piece in the puzzle in my quest for audacious health!

And that piece is called…carrageenan.

Spring WaterI start my day with at least three glasses of spring water with a dash of Celtic sea salt, then a ginger shot with my hubby and a fresh green juice. I do not need any food. Around 11:00am when I am feeling hungry, I make myself a chocolate Sun Warrior smoothie which I pack with superfoods; maca, ashwaganda, hemp hearts, acai, bee pollen, coconut milk and organic coconut water.

This, apparently, is where I have been going wrong.

The organic coconut milk which I have been buying contains carrageenan. And after doing a fair amount of research last night, I have discovered that carrageenan is causing quite an uproar in the organic foods industry. It is used to thicken foods and to keep them from separating and, apparently, causes inflammation, among other things. And inflammation in the body has all kinds of negative health effects, including exacerbating eczema.

And, I would not have known about carrageenan had I not been in the right place at the right time yesterday watching my friend Loren give an amazing presentation on raw almond milk at the wellness fair!

Raw Almond MilkI continue to be in complete awe of the incredible food and health journey that I am walking day by day. It seems that just when I am ready for the next piece of information to take my health to the next level, there it is.

So…here is my solution to the coconut milk dilemma. On my way home from the wellness fair yesterday I stopped at Whole Foods and stocked up on raw organic almonds. I soaked them overnight and made a delicious, creamy and sweet raw almond milk this morning. And, incidentally, making nut milk happens to be yet another one of those things that I said I would never do because it is too much work. And it was one of the easiest raw food preparations I have encountered to date.

Go figure!

I am going to sneak in another batch just before I put the kids to bed so we have cold, fresh, and carrageenan-free milk for our smoothies tomorrow.

That’s my wildly Radical Act for today! Living on the edge, huh?!?! 🙂Living on the Edge

 

 

The Day of the Chaga

Once again, my foodie crush, David Wolfe, and my buddy, Loren, have inspired me to a whole new level of diet, health and über wellness!

David Wolfe Chaga BookI was at Loren’s Raw Shop this morning buying a tray of pea sprouts for my juicing. She asked me how my cold is doing and suggested that I might want to try some chaga mushrooms to boost my immune system. I had heard David Wolfe talk about chaga mushrooms but wasn’t sure how to get my hands on them.

Loren produced not only a Ziplock bag of chaga mushrooms (which, I must say, looked remarkably suspect) but also a package of Instant Chaga and David Wolfe’s book entitled; Chaga: King of the Medicinal Mushrooms.

As I made my way home I decided that, once I got through the business part of my day, I was going to dedicate my day to the chaga.

Witchy CauldronI felt a bit like a fairy tale witch as I brewed my pot of chaga on the stove and had to resist the urge to let loose a maniacal witchy  chuckle. A few minutes later, however, as my mushroom brew came to a rolling boil, I did succumb to Shakespeare’s ‘bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…!’

I mean, really! How could I resist that one?

While I waited for my stovetop brew to be ‘cooked’, I tried out the package of Instant Chaga that Loren had given me to try. And, all I can say is…OMG! So delicious! It had sort of a caramel, coffee, sweet, and yummy taste. I have been looking for a delicious alternative to herbal tea and now I have found it. And, I can even see frothing almond milk and making it a morning latte treat with a sprinkle of cinnamon on the top.

I have already placed my online Instant Chaga order with Four Sigma Foods and will await delivery with much anticipation.

Chaga MushroomIn the meantime, I am curled up with David Wolfe’s intriguing book and a steaming mug of my stovetop brew. And, having never brewed mushrooms before, I was not quite sure what to expect. I am pleasantly surprised by the delightfully mild and earthy taste and I feel very much the Earth Mother as I drink my comforting chaga tea.

I am only about two chapters into Wolfe’s book but I am already a chaga convert. Here is what I have discovered so far about the medicinal qualities of this fabulous mushroom;

  • High Jing (life force enhancer)
  • So gentle it can be eaten by kids
  • High in zinc
  • Most alkaline food ever
  • High mineral content
  • Extraordinarily nutritious
  • Highest natural source of melanin (pigment in skin & #1 nutrient required by pineal gland)
  • High levels of antioxidants
  • Anti-viral
  • Amazing health and longevity tonic that is full of phyto-nutrients that slow the aging process
  • Boosts immunity
  • Staves off allergies and asthma
  • Helps fight cancer
  • Improves core vitality
  • Stimulates white blood cell production
  • Rich in vitamin D

I am now off to Zachary’s school to watch him in a much-anticipated dance performance. Oh the variety of my life is truly splendid…from Earth Mother one moment to Zachary’s mom the next!

Happy Friday all…!!! 🙂HAPPY FRIDAY

Kapow…!!!!

When I watched Super Juice Me a few weeks ago I was transfixed by the fascinating healing journey of the eight individuals in the film. Super Juice Me inspired me and, since watching it, I have incorporated fresh juice into my daily regimen. And now it is even more fun because Simon and I are juicing together.

Ginger ShotOne of the juices I noticed in Super Juice Me was a ginger shot. I had never heard of a ginger shot before and was intrigued. I knew that ginger was good for me but I wasn’t exactly sure why. And so, being the nutrition-fact-hound that I have become lately, I decided to do some research.

And here is the result of my research on the health properties of ginger;

  • Anti-inflamatory
  • Liver cleanser
  • Inhibits the growth of colorectal cancer cells
  • Kills ovarian cancer cells
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Fires up the digestive system
  • Improves absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body
  • Clears the ‘microcirculatory channels’ of the body (including the sinuses)
  • Helps reduce flatulence
  • Helps with nausea and motion sickness
  • Can affect hypertension
  • Effectively treats migraine symptoms

Health Benefits GingerThere seemed to be a zillion sites which wanted to wax poetic about the health benefits of ginger. However, I decided that I was entirely convinced and so ginger shots have become another part of our morning juice regimen.

Our ‘Kapow’ recipe for the two of us is;

  • Two small lemons
  • Two healthy ‘thumbs’ of ginger
  • Two good sized garlic cloves

And why do I call it Kapow?

Because the shot is so spicy and so pungent that you simply cannot help but exclaim in some very loud way as it kicks into the system! Our kids think we are completely nuts as we down our morning shot and do our crazy ginger dance around the kitchen.

But it’s delicious, funny and, extremely healthy, so we’ll keep it up! 🙂Kapow

Fed Up

Mother’s Day tradition in my family is a great big pot luck family get-together with moms, dads, kids, cousins and grandparents. And the bonus? The dads are the ones who bring all the food. And, truly, it is absolutely wonderful. Usually, after the pot luck lunch, my boys take me out for dinner which means that by the end of Mother’s Day I feel relaxed, loved, and well and truly celebrated.

Vegan and RawThis year, with all the Radical changes in my diet, Simon was not so sure about the traditional restaurant dinner. And when he asked me where I wanted to go, my response was; Raw Aura, Lettuce Love Cafe or The Naked Sprout. The problem with my three choices is that they are either raw or vegan. And while that is fabulous for me, it is not so fabulous for my three meat-eating sons.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if that is where I really wanted to go, that is where we would go.

Fed UpSimon, being the mover and the shaker that he is, suggested a Radical change for Mother’s Day. He suggested we go to a movie. But, not just any movie, to a brand new food documentary entitled Fed Up that was premiering in Toronto that very night. I can’t even imagine the hours I have logged recently watching food and health documentaries, watching YouTube videos on health and nutrition and reading anything I can get my hands on. And so, a food documentary for Mother’s Day sounded just perfect!

The kids weren’t entirely convinced, but they came along without too much hassle. And, much to their surprise, they absolutely loved the movie!

Fed Up takes the audience on a harrowing, fascinating and heartbreaking 92 minute journey into the American Food Industry. It upends, once and for all, the idea that ‘calories in, calories out’ is the only way to lose weight. And it invites the audience to take a look at food labels in the conventional grocery store and take note of the staggering amount of sugar (in all its forms) that we are consuming on a daily basis.

Fed Up ChallengeWithout giving anything away, the audience is issued a challenge at the end of the movie…to join the ‘Fed Up Challenge‘ and go sugar-free for 10 days.

Needless to say, I was thrilled and delighted to listen to the impact the movie had had on my boys. We bought them each a Fruitopia drink to have while they munched on their popcorn and, at the end of the movie, both Michael and Zachary threw out their full drinks. I thought Michael put it beautifully; “how can I drink that crap after watching that movie?”

We talked all the way home about the movie and the family is all-in for the 10-day challenge. And, even better, the boys are questioning the food that they are eating for the first time since we went gluten-free, dairy-free four years ago.

If Fed Up has made its way to your city, I highly recommend it! You just might want to re-think the Coke that usually accompanies your popcorn!Coke and Popcorn

What’s for Dinner?

What’s for dinner?

mercredi3Isn’t that the question that every parent is greeted with at the end of the day?! And, for some of us, a question that we dread?!?!

I used to love to cook. When Simon and I were first married I used to spend Sunday mornings browsing new recipes in my various cookbooks while relaxing and drinking coffee. I would then plan out a menu for the week, make a shopping list and then Simon and I would head to our local grocery store to do the shopping.

And, back then, even grocery shopping was fun!

Flash forward eighteen years and the story looks slightly different. I have left all my cookbooks behind, I no longer browse recipes (well, traditional ones, anyway) and I no longer love to cook. Most nights, cooking dinner ranks up there with cleaning the bathroom. It has to be done but I sure don’t love it.

That is, until now.

bloveFor the past week, most of my dinners have been juiced. Even as I write I am enjoying my beet, broccoli, ginger, spinach, lemon, celery, and cucumber concoction as a late afternoon snack. And for dinner I have made Raw Tacos. I learned this recipe from Barb Maccaroni who is the wizard behind the B.Love brand. Barb is a raw food chef extraordinaire and four years ago she gently guided me into the wonders of  raw food.

My first foray into raw food was a class at Barb’s house with a group of strangers. When I arrived at Barb’s I felt out of place and conspicuous as most of them were already die-hard raw foodies. And, only a week before, I thought raw food was just carrots and celery sticks. I had no idea there was such a thing as raw food much less that there were specially trained chefs. I mean, really, how much training does one need to cut carrots and celery?!

9-Tray-Excalibur-Food-DehydratorBy the time I left Barb’s house that night I was absolutely intrigued with the preparation of raw food and satiated in a way that I had never been following a big meal. Looking back, I realize that this past four years has been a winding road to where I find myself now. I am now eating mostly raw vegan, I am juicing, I am eating sprouts and superfoods on a daily basis, and I am just about to dust off my Excalibur dehydrator for the first time in two years.

And…I am feeling better than I ever have!

I was thinking of Barb as I prepared my dinner for tonight and reflecting on my intriguing food journey these past four years. And while I chopped, crushed, juiced and blended, I was appreciating the fresh and vibrant ingredients that I was using. Not to mention the aromas, the tastes and the textures and the fact that my body was going to feel wonderful afterwards.

If only all my ‘cooking’ could feel this resonant and aligned with my values.

Now, for those of you who are wondering what the heck a raw taco is…here you go:

  • 1 large romaine leaf
  • Nut meat (Google nut meat and you will find all kinds of ideas)
  • Guacamole (mine is just avocado, fresh lemon juice, garlic and Celtic sea salt)
  • Salsa (your favourite one- my local health food store sells one that is ‘raw-some’!!!)

Fill the romaine leaf with the nut meat, guacamole and salsa, roll it up and dig in.

Absolutely delicious!

If only my kids would eat them…they are having hamburgers and a fresh green salad for their dinner. Who knows, maybe one of these days they will be thrilled to hear that Raw Tacos are on the menu for dinner. In the meantime, I will continue to love my raw food time in the kitchen and to deeply appreciate all the wonderful people who have come into my life over the past four years to gently show me the way! 🙂heathly_heart_vegetables_400_400_s