More & more I want to go RAW! And Vegan FAQ.

September 24, 2010 § 5 Comments

Afternooooon!

I am having a positively super day of jam-packed study action, as it is a rare day off from college and job #1 & #2.

Jam-packed study action, in my mind.

In fact, it has played out more along the lines of; hang with the J-man, mosey on home, proceed to the beach with Chels for some communal vit D absorption, make lunch, sip tea, blog, dream of dinner. It is now 2pm and study has yet to raise it’s hideously deformed head. But let’s not dwell on my tragically skewed priorities.

Onwards to the grub!

You may have noticed in the title an element of raw-some enthusiasm. It is true; more and more lately I’ve found myself eating a larger percentage of meals raw with perhaps one each day containing a cooked component (beans, quinoa, sweet potato). I don’t think I could ever be 100% raw, and like most things (veganism included) I find it counter-intuitive to subscribe wholly to a single, rigid label. I love me some baked sweet potato, or a hot bed of grains, or simple steamed veg, and don’t foresee myself letting go of these delicious comforts.

However today, after the gloriously temperate beach-going activity, all I wanted was a big raw smorgasboard.

Observe; Katey’s un-melting pot of raw-gasmic diversity.

It included:

Raw zucchini & seaweed salad

shaved zucchini slices (use spiralizer or peeler)

finely shredded kale

fresh coriander

mixed sprouts

arame seaweed (soaked)

sesame seeds

finely sliced fresh ginger

For the vinaigrette

rice wine vinegar (coat with this)

sweet soy mirin (couple of sloshes)

tamari (2 smaller sloshes)

a few drops of sesame oil

(I sense with my higher intuition that you are praising me for my superb skills of measurement and recipe communication. Praise away! Slosh will catch on as a legitimate approximation)

Also on the bill were fresh organic strawberries, carrot sticks, goji-berries, a medjool date and my last piece of sprouted essene bread with some coconut oil, honey, and dried coconut for a fun, textural topping.

I see you goji.

Vegan FAQ; snack ideas?

I have found I rely on snacks moreso now because a) I am doing more exercise and b) a plant-based diet is inherently lower in calories and I feel I need bucketloads more to sustain me throughout the day. This is a GOOD THING because you ideally want to eat as regularly as possible (every 2-3 hours) to keep your blood-sugar/insulin levels stable.

But what to reach for?

I go through phases, as I am but a fickle lass. Lately, I’ve been buying a loaf of sprouted bread and slicing thinly, freezing it, then lightly toasting it as a snack. Yes, toasting the semi-raw sprouted bread MAY defeat the purpose, please just go with me on this one.

Seen here modeling sunflower seed butter, raw honey & cinnamon.

A small-scale smoothie can also serve as a great hunger-buster. Yesterday between an early lunch and a late dinner, I whizzed up this swamp-like offering. It went hard, I assure you.

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 c organic strawberries

handful spinach leaves

rice milk

carob powder (1-2 tsp)

1 tsp maca powder

I also reach for apples with nut butter & cinnamon, carrot sticks & hummus or frozen banana dipped in a fondue-like mix of raw cacao, honey & coconut oil (ok, this is more like a dessert-treat, but most of my cravings DO tend towards the sickly-sweet, i’ll admit). I’m not too keen on pre-packaged foods like crackers or chips, even if organic. Usually they are absurdly overpriced, are quite processed and can still contain things like MSG under a host of deceptive guises (read this article/series from Meghan Telpner, the facts about MSG are astounding).

Any more vegan snack idea? Do share!

As an aside, I randomly purchased amaranth to try in place of quinoa. I’m scared and confused by quinoa’s absence in my pantry, but i’m going to compose myself and give this little round fellow a whirl.

Joyous, vegetable love.

I grow greens in place of chest hair. They sprout from every orifice.

Okie smoke, I am outta here to do some token perusal of the fattest anatomy textbook in history. It needs some cruciferous, fat-metabolising action, stat.

Have a nice Friday!

x

Blog it to me!

September 21, 2010 § 7 Comments

Hi-oooo!

The phantom blogger (me) has crept out of the shadowy depths (pantry) to say hi to my favourite creepy stalkers interested parties (all of you!). I missed my blog baby; I fear it may be showing signs of malnutrition.

I’ll admit, I have had lacklustre motivation for blogging lately, due to cosmic forces putting a damper on my strength and willpower and youthful vigour (if I had any to begin with) in general. Why must life ebb and flow and cycle with glorious peaks of insight and mysterious troughs of apathy? Yes, you heard it here, the up-and-at-them vegan with a fetish for early morning action and all things wholesome does have her off weeks. This was an orrrfffff week my friends.

But you know what? It’s nothing a good coconut couldn’t fix!

I bow before you, King of nuts.

The i’m-just-about-to-attack-you-with-a-cleaver stare.

I do believe that the promise of a young coconut can lift anyone’s mood,  as well as slogging it out on a good run. Before this photo was taken I was feeling pretty blah/wah/gah, however I made myself get up, hit the pavement, and within minutes I was feeling focused and happy once more. Especially with the allure of a big cacao coconut smoothie to come home to.

Most importantly, this week has featured some delicious kitchen experiments.

I believe in utilising all available left-overs and thus these dregs-of-fridge burgers were born! My my, I do have a way with appetising titles don’t I?

For these little babies, I mashed left-over black beans & chickpeas together with steamed sweet potato, seasonings (S & P, cajun, paprika) & coriander and baked in the senile oven (NOT fan-forced) at around 200 degrees for an unfathomable period of time. Enough to brown & crisp them, obviously.

I ate them with hummus & excessive amounts of lemon juice, and vegetables for Africa. (Poor Africa, all these empty promises).

Let me now introduce you to the most delightful beverage to ever pass my greedy lips; peanut butter sludge shake. (Did I get you with that one?)

It contained handful baby spinach/greens of your choice, rice milk, 1 tbsp natural PB, 1 heaped tbsp carob powder, 1 medium frozen banana. Lord give me strength, for there are no words to describe the gustatory goodness of this smoothie. Please believe me when I tell you that the spinach is undetectable. Really, truly, the only hint of it’s presence is a swamplike tinge and the undeniable chlorophyll high one experiences after downing liquid greens. Have one for breakfast and you can smugly proclaim that your AM eats were RAW (if using raw nut butter/subbing it out) and VEGGIE-FILLED. I aim for every meal to have a leafy-green component. Try it, you will notice the difference in your energy and general raaaaadience darlings.

For lunch, I attacked this pre-prepared seaweed salad that was ready and rearing to be taken to college this morning. Ready, before I decided to crawl back under the covers (in keeping with the pervading theme of laziness this week) and study the shitzen out of Chemistry. We have an exam tomorrow (*wee runs down leg*) and I deemed a day of cramming to trump a 5 hour lecture on the importance of workplace professionalism. Good call me.

Ay karumba, never thought i’d be sitting a science exam in my literature-loving lifetime, however times they are a-changin’, and my brain must learn to adapt to these new and vom-inspiring exciting challenges!

(Side note: please eat seaweed salad with chopsticks, it is fabulous. Also, to make this, use rice wine vinegar + sweet mirin + tamari (in order from most, to least amount used) to make a dressing, sprinkled over kale, greens, julienned beetroot/carrot, capsicum, wakame (soaked & sliced), coriander & sesame seeds )

So anyhoo, speaking of brain remodelling, I am now reading this exceptional book.

My awe-inspiring chemistry & anatomy lecturer was telling us the other day about research into neuroplasticity, and the emerging science that is starting to debunk old-school notions as to localized, unchanging brain function. Ie. you damage a part of your noggin’ that controls speech, you’re done-diddly-un for as a conversationalist. Not so according to Norman Doidge, author of ‘The Brain that Changes Itself’, who has demonstrated the mind-blowing (literally) capacity of the brain to re-learn & re-program.

Also FINALLY read ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, which was bleak, harrowing and brilliant as expected.

With that, I guess I should be off to make good on my promise of studying from dawn til dusk, with the aim proving to myself that my brain IS a malleable, infinitely intelligent organ capable of redirecting thoughts of film, Foucault and food to those of saturated hydrocarbons, cations and anions… (onions? No, bad brain!).

Hope you’re all enjoying your Tooooosday.

xxx

Hey gluten, you’re not my friend anymore!

August 20, 2010 § 1 Comment

Hello hello!

I have briefly emerged from my haze of anatomical double-dutch to give you some blog lovin’! I’m studying for the very first exam of my new course, so the overachiever within has gone a little crazy-ape-bonkers. Must. Earn. Gold. Star!

Anyhoo, study mania aside, I am welcoming this little breath of spring we’re experiencing with arms in the lateral position! How wonderful to finally fling off the michelin-inspired winter layers and feel the sun on your back, and yet, exposing those scaly, white appendages with the feet attached aint so grand. For me, or anyone else who happens to witness such vulgarity.

The last couple of days, I caught up with my old chum gluten here and there, and realised, I don’t like that jerk at all! We’ve grown so far apart in our months of separation…

I’ve been unwittingly gluten-free for the last 1-2 months, after replacing morning oats with spirulina shakes and obviously steering clear of all traditional breads/pastas etc. Have felt grand, and also noticed that I have not been getting creepy red-eye syndrome at all anymore. Winner!

Today, after the last couple of days in which certain glutenous foods have been chowed (pasta, biscuits, bread) I’m feeling not so hot. After eating some bread & biscuits yesterday I saw an immediate return of the bloodshot peepers, and when I googled it it seems there is a definite possibility that gluten intolerance can cause irritation of the eyes, respiratory tract and of course, the digestive system. I am the Sherlock Holmes of nutrition!

So there’s an interesting thing to consider if you want to up the ante with your healthful pursuits. I feel 100% better gluten free, even though i’m not coeliac.

Today is gluten rehab.

After an epic & gorgeous morning run (before which I smashed a date & cup of magnesium drink thing), I came home to my beloved spirulina goop fest. Please note the viscosity of which no spoon can penetrate. Lately i’ve been making my own Pepita Milk for the base. YES, PUMPKIN SEED MILKY GOODNESS! Will post more about it, but basically blend up 1/2 c soaked pepitas with 3 c water and a date or two for taste. BOOM. This sludge monster also contained spinach, frozen banana, chia seeds, spirulina & vanilla rice protein.

Snackity snack dish. Goji, pepitas, coconut, dried cranberries.

Predicting that lunch will feature this left-over lentil/tomato soup I made last night. I was too impatient to let the lentils cook properly, so on the al dente side…but delicious nevertheless. Made up the recipe as always, so it will have to remain a mystery until such time as I can get my shit together and measure it out!

This is the extent of my study siesta, so I bid you farewell! Have a glorious weekend!

Simple quinoa recipe; wack stress attack.

July 26, 2010 § 4 Comments

Howdy folks,

I’ve missed blogging the past few days; but believe me, I am going to have SO much new insider naturopath info to share with you guys in the future, haha! Yeah but, no but, seriously-like, my brain must have a knowledge baby right now cos that thing is FULL! After 4 days of the course, I feel like i’ve learned more than during the past 2.5 years of uni. May or may not be attributed to my complete disregard for attendance, note-taking and all things studious in former degree, but let’s blame the institution for now.

First things first.

I’ve obviously needed to unleash my inner organisational goddess and plan lots of meals in advance to cater for the long hectic days running between college and work. This meal of red quinoa and greens was something really flavourful, quick and packable to whip up. (Pssssst red quinoa is the bomb! Only just tried it the other day, and for some reason it cooks really nicely and has an awesome texture that I think trumps the white).

Into the mix went (serves 1 regular person, or 2 frugal students):

1/2 cup red quinoa, cooked in 1 cup vegetable stock

1 tspn extra virgin coconut oil

1 clove crushed garlic

1 tbspn diced red onion

cubed eggplant

small broccoli florets

fresh green beans

zucchini

baby spinach

juice of 1/2 lemon

celtic sea salt

cracked black pepper

So easy y’all. Cook up your quinoa; sautée garlic & onion in coconut oil until translucent; add greens (omitting spinach) and fry for a minute; add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan and cover for 3 mins to steam; add cooked quinoa; add spinach leaves; squeeze in lemon juice with a pinch of sea salt & lashings of pepper, and enjoy!

I’m learning that simple flavours are so vibrant and fresh, and ultimately supremely satisfying.

All packed up with one place to go; belly town.

My goodness I am so tired right now. My flatmates just got home and handed me my keys…that i’d left in the lock of the front door. Total vague-out moment. But i’m soldiering on!

Looking forward to waking up to this in the morning:

Rice milk, spirulina, spinach, banana, berry, chia seed, cacao smoothie. These things hold you over big time!

Other things brightening my days; sweet potato butterflies!

Anyhoo, I noticed something interesting the other day in regards to stress, and how sensitive we can become to it after living such a leisurely life of, well, leisure. After an unfairly long bout of holidays, and not too much to tax my mind other than choosing between traditional as opposed to tuscan kale, getting back into time-management left me a little shaky and anxious the other night. Scheduling enough sleep, planning meals in advance, organising textbooks & notes, babysitting, working, driving, living, breathing became all a bit much for this frettish gal. I could literally feel the adrenalin coursing through me as I tried to comprehend how I was going to physically be in all the necessary places over the next 3 days… Next morning I woke with a headache (highly unusual), and felt like I was walking around in a fog. Today has been the same, with sore sketchy eyes, sudden onset dyslexia, and decidedly lower capacity for wit and intelligence…

My point is, I realised a) how toxic stress hormones can be & their profound effect on your energy levels/concentration/well-being and b) i have poor stress management!

What do you all do to de-stress? A lot of my new friends at college are heavily into yoga and I think it may finally be my time to take the plunge. Why am I so scared of the stretchy calmness?!?!

Seriously, there is so much I want to talk about, but my head is flopping from side to side in a fairly flaccid manner so I think this is my cue to crawl under the covers.

I’ll leave you with a parting picture I took of a radish, hehe.

Impromptu (almost) raw Thursday; attracting positive energy; skin picking.

July 23, 2010 § 6 Comments

I woke up yesterday ready to tackle my first week of homework with alacrity, when I realised I had yet another hugh-jass blemish coming up…in exactly the same place as the last 2 or 3 Etna-style eruptions. Cue meltdown. I know it sounds dramatic, vain and all things superficial, however some of you may know the utter frustration of a skin condition, especially when you are trying so very hard to be healthy, happy and generally monk-like in your efforts.

I engaged a battle plan after dragging myself out of my ditch of self-defeat, and did what any person would do in my situation – ambled on over to High on Health to consult the experts. I ended up learning something very important – something that I hadn’t considered in my ongoing quest to solve the skin issue.

Picking is baaaaaaad news folks.

Of course, we all already knew this. I knew it myself, but didn’t consider what I was doing as ‘skin picking’. One huge sqeezing attack wasn’t picking per se – that’s what everyone does right? Wrong! Now I realise why the same big angry inflamed red monster keeps emerging in the same place – I have been continually damaging the follicle/deeper skin cells and the whole vicious cycle is on repeat.

Read this article – it’s changed my perspective on caring for my skin.

Because my usual cleanser is also running out, in a spur of un-characteristic impulse buying (…ok, so i’m a consumer whore, what of it?) I also got me a High on Health skin care pack with a hemp cleanser, bee-yummy skinfood moisturiser and neem oil (a spray-on antibacterial miracle product that I am so excited to try). I’ll be letting you all know how it goes!

Yesterday I also had a bit of an impromptu day of raw-dom. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but always fall back on the old ‘too hard’ mentality, which of course is rubbish. Inspired by new college friends who are high-raw (vegan), I want to make more of an effort to eat living foods and dabble in a bit of experimentation.

For breakfast I had my usual smoothie; frozen wild blueberries, small banana, bunch of spinach, 3 tspn chia seeds, 1/2 tbsp spirulina, 1 tbsp raw cacao powder and rice milk.

I went for an awesome long run, and by the time I got back to the park on my big merry loop, I had the urge to fling off my joggers and go barefoot the rest of the way home. I’m a vibrams girl now!

Lunch was experimental.

Raw pizza. I used ground almonds & flax seeds, grated zucchini & carrot & a dash of Tamari to make the base. I then formed it into a respectable shape & left in the oven on the lowest temp with the door ajar for about 3-4 hours. Could definitely improve on this random recipe dictated by my dwindling grocery supplies, but it dried nicely and I was left with a cute malleable flat-bread.

Topped with diced avocado, tomato, red onion, cracked pepper & lemon. Could have used some herbs, and a bucketload of inspiration – but again, the veggie situation was lacking.

Later, I had some sprouted wheat bread (NOT raw, but raw-er than usual bread. Counts, no?) with a big bowl of fresh fruit salad.

Before going out in the night to a comedy show, I sucked back a huuuuuge spinach, wild blueberry & orange smoothie. So my friends, I am quite pleased with my rawr efforts, and hope to keep up this un-cooking aspect of my life.

Speaking of life (check out the segue skills)… as you know I am happy as a happy thing right now with my study situation, and the world in general.

The other day however, I was feeling a bit off, my mum was leaving to move to another state, and I was possibly battling some kind of internal hormonal forces. Well, I had absolutely one of the worst afternoons of my life. Not only was everything going wrong (getting lost while driving, short for parking by 50c, late for work) I also had a huge run-in with a customer at work that left me a blubbering mess. Usually, I’m happy to say that I don’t get in fights, or promote confrontation – I would rather just smile and let it go, practicing my zen-like powers of calm (that are probably equally as infuriating for the unhappy party!). This night, I must have been radiating negative energy because a woman of the heinous-wench variety stopped by to play verbal jujitsu. I took the bait; I fought back; I teared up and the rest is history.

In a funny way, I knew something like that was bound to happen that day. I was obviously projecting a hearty amount of bad vibes outwards, and of course this affects those whom we encounter in greater ways than we care to admit. People sense it – this lady obviously did. On some energetic level we clashed, where on an average day I may have avoided the situation with a more positive attitude.

I am affirmed in this belief because days like yesterday, when I am beaming my little heart out as I go about my business, the opposite occurs. Whilst shopping, in every store I had fantastic conversations with the staff; even strangers. At the health food store, a lovely girl complimented me profusely on my hair, and in another I made friends with a like-minded outdoorsy fitness type who was keen to hear about my course and everything in between. It was an awesome day, confirming that your mood and energy can certainly dictate the ways in which you interact with others, and the situations you find yourself in.

What think you, dear readers?

My, this has turned out much longer than expected. Must dash to cram in some study before work – stay happy!

xx

Recovery, for weaklings (me).

July 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Flatmate bonding night, otherwise known as let it rain wine!

So maybe a bit of an overstatement, you know i’m not a huge drinker (read: haven’t drunk in months…and I call myself a student!) but I do enjoy a cheeky verre du vin every now and then, especially of the tasty, gutsy, shiraz variety. Despite my weakling status amongst these two seasoned drinkers you see before you, I still needed to rehydrate this morning, and am feeling decidedly weary today.

When I woke up, I threw back a huge stein of water with the juice of half a lemon for good measure. Later when my appetite crawled out of hiding, I whipped up a thick-green-goo shake.

1 small banana

around 10 frozen pitted cherries (new obsession)

handful baby spinach

1.5 cups rice milk

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp spirulina

1 tbsp cacao

Much better! Ready to assemble the IKEA bookshelf that arrived on my doorstep last night courtesy of loving bf and his super-size station wagon.

Much like my lack of respect for recipes, I also harbour contempt for instructions, directions and all things fiddly & detailed. Just do it I say!

Once I messed up the very first step however, I decided to shelve my gung-ho attitude and take IKEA’s advice. Result – completed bookshelf, sans drama. What can I say? D.I.Y genius! I am now basking in the joy of my newly arranged room and staring at my alphabetized literature. (What a geek!)

Lunch was yet another variation on the sweet-potato boat. This time, stuffed with tempeh in a homemade tomato sauce.

I just crumbled some tempeh into a pan with olive oil & fresh garlic, sautéed until golden, then added some canned tomatoes, tomato paste, cracked pepper & salt, some herbs (basil, oregano), bit of hot paprika for a kick, and of course a splash of left over red from last night. Stuff steamed sweet potato and marvel at the endless versatility!

Have a great Thursday night! I’m having a friend over for dinner so I need to pull myself together and decide on something vegan to cook. Ugh, decisions!

See you round x

Salt & Pepper Tempeh.

July 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hello there!

Again, apologies for being MIA – i’ve been flitting about spending far too much money and basking in the final glorious weeks of holidays!

Mornings have been characterised by the consumption of thick, gooey, mud-sludge smoothies that have usurped porridge as my breakfast of choice. I’ve been trying to avoid oats for the past few weeks, mainly because I realised I was helping myself to unhealthy amounts of them and something inside my little bird-brain was telling me that I must break the oatey addiction. I still believe that oats should be soaked before use due to the phytates they contain (can inhibit the absorption of some nutrients etc) and considering my skin and whatnot, I just felt perhaps they weren’t meshing with my system. So now for brekky, I alternate between quinoa flakes or the above murky bevvo.

This aesthetically challenged, yet supremely delicious concoction contained:

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 fistful of baby spinach

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

almond milk (maybe 1.5 cups?)

BAM! I love that these are so thick you sometimes have to use a spoon!

Pre-sludge shake I’ve been downing a huge glass of water with fresh lemon too, and can I say the naturopath’s detox plan + lemon-ey goodness + no agave or refined sugar + vegetable bonanza + ginger & turmeric tea + lots of vibram 5-finger running has left me feeling SUPER HAPPY AWESOME AMAZING!

I’ve almost finished stage 1 of the gut-cleansing, so coming up next is he ‘renew’ phase, whereby I cultivate my intestinal flower-beds and blossom from within!

A girl with a squeaky clean intestinal tract!

The MAIN point of this post however, is to alert you to the wonderful, dynamic vegan delight that is tempeh.

Looks a tad bizzare and off-putting, however once you get the hang of cooking with it, it’s a great source of protein and nutrients for vegos, vegans and omnivores alike.

As you know, I prefer to be soy light, however tempeh is a little different (to tofu, soy milk etc) and I will happily be adding it to my diet as a ‘sometimes’ food! It is made from fermented, whole-soy beans and from what I’ve read, does NOT share many of the attributes of processed soy products that I was concerned about when I decided to break up with them last year. This article is an interesting scientific explanation of the soy dilemma.

This week, to honour my new-found soy ally, I created Salt & Pepper Tempeh. Nothing too flash, but quick, simple and evoking a decidedly sea-side, fresh summery vibe.

For the salad:

baby spinach leaves

1 small tomato, diced

1/2 avocado, diced

1/4 red capsicum, diced

1/2 small cucumber, diced

1-2 tbsp red onion, diced

handful chopped coriander, to toss through & garnish

For the tempeh:

3 x 3 inch block of fresh, organic tempeh (can find in cold section at supermarket, or in health-food stores)

celtic sea salt & cracked black pepper

1 tbsp coconut oil

Toppings:

excessive amounts of fresh lemon

coriander

2 tbsp ‘tahini’ dip (I found one in the health food store that is basically a creamy tahini dressing with sesame seeds, garlic, lemon, salt and not much else – so something vegan and ‘aoli-like’ would be ideal if you can’t find that particular item)

How to:

  • slice tempeh as thinly as possible (2-3mm ‘slabs) until the block is in about 5 thin sheets. I then cut diagonally across to form mini triangles – but you can go with whatever geometric pattern that takes your fancy!
  • melt coconut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and add the tempeh. sprinkle salt & cracked pepper over exposed side while cooking – will take about 5 mins on either side to crisp up.
  • while the tempeh is sizzling away, dice your salad veggies, and arrange over a bed of baby spinach.
  • once tempeh is browned to protein-ey perfection, stack artistically (or otherwise) atop your dainty salad.
  • serve with the tahini dip, lashings of lemon juice, and as much coriander as you can handle.

Gobble.

Okay so this is when I made it a second time…the following day.

Well, that’s it for the moment – off to whip myself into an organisational frenzy pre course commencement. Wheeeee new stationary!

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