Happy weekend, y’all!
It’s been awhile since I wrote my last post – apologies for being MIA. Summer is one hell of a chaotic (the good kind of course) ride. And somehow along the way, you lose concept of time because of the summer memories you’re busy creating.
To make it up to you, here’s one of my favourite cake recipes. You know how I do: low sugar, gluten/wheat free, vegan and crap-free.
It’s also a chocolate cake.
That’s how sorry I am.
Cause chocolate makes everything better, amiright?
What you’ll need:
1 cup of buckwheat flour
6-7 tbsp of organic raw cacao
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of baking soda
3/4 cup of organic coconut sugar or granulated xylitol + 3 packets of stevia (adjust to sweet tooth!)
1/4 cup of plain unsweetened coconut yogurt
3/4 cup of unsweetened almond/coconut milk (or filtered water)
1/4 cup of raw almond butter (or Sunbutter if you want it nut-free)
2 tsp of alcohol free vanilla extract
2 tbsp of organic coconut oil + 1 tsp of organic coconut oil for pan greasing
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8″ square pan with 1 tsp of organic coconut oil. Set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and use a fork to get rid of any clumps. In a second bowl, bring in nut butter, yogurt, milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix. Do not over mix! Transfer into pan and distribute evenly.
Bake for 22-26 minutes. Remove and let it sit to cool.
For the coconut yogurt icing, you’ll need:
1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut yogurt (or non dairy option – I love using Yoso Coconut Yogurt)
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1-2 pinches of uncut stevia (or 1/4 of organic coconut sugar)
3 tbsp of coconut cream (not oil!)
1 tsp of organic raw cacao
Combine everything in a frosting bowl until completely smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness. Spread icing on the cooled cake, cut into desired square slices and top with sugar free chocolate chips (or carob chips). Nom nom away!
Who says taco nights only have to be on Tuesdays?
Secretly, I wish taco night was every night. Taco Monday, Taco Wednesday, Taco Sundays, Taco errrday. These hearty and nourishing tacos were made (on a Saturday) so that I was able to stuff as many tacos in my face without feeling guilty about it.
The trick to making a hearty meatless bunch of tacos is to choose dense ingredients that are deep and rich in flavor – and of course, satisfyingly filling. Think chickpeas, beans, lentils, avocados, sweet potatoes, organic quinoa….the possibilities are endless and delicious!! The goal when loading up your perfect taco is to create an interesting and tasty abundance of flavors and textures. By mixing these ingredients with savory spices and your favourite preservative free fresh salsa you’ll have a crave worthy taco for any night of the week. Not just Tuesdays! You can’t tell, but I’m already drooling.
These tacos are not only vegan, they’re also absolutely bad fat and cholesterol free (cause some fats are good for you) and so substantial that your tummy will thank you. Thought I can’t guarantee that you’ll stop at just eating one. 😉
Warm lentils simmered in crushed minced garlic pair so well with the tangy, mildly spiced salsa by Green Mountain Gringo. They’re salsa is non GMO, versatile and made with natural unprocessed clean ingredients. No sugars, artificial or funky stuff added. See for yourself here!
I chose to use brown lentils as the main base because they’re fulfilling (even for the meat eaters out there) and they offer a plethora of heart health nutrients and vitamins. Being “bad fat free”, these magical legumes also help to lower cholesterol since they contain high levels of soluble fibers. The (soluble and insoluble) dietary fibers found in lentils have also shown to help prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like IBS and diverticulitis. Lentils are also high in good protein, stabilize blood sugars and an excellent source of iron and energy (good carbs).
I’ll now leave you with the recipe of awesomeness. You’re welcome. Happy taco eating!
What you’ll need:
1 cup of washed and drained whole brown lentils (try not to use canned lentils if you can)
1 medium yellow onion, minced
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed then minced
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp of chili powder
2 tsp of cumin powder
2.5 tsp of dried thyme
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp of oregano
Dash of cayenne pepper
1.5 cups of Green Mountain Gringo salsa (medium or hot – your call!)
1 tbsp of lime juice (or lime squeeze)
Heat 1/4 cup of filtered water in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions for a few minutes until nicely browned and softened. Stir in the minced garlic. Stir for 2 minutes. Throw in bell peppers and spices. Mix well. If the pan starts to dry up a bit, add a few more teaspoons of filtered water. Pour in salsa. Add the washed lentils and stir well to mix. Add enough water to cover the lentils. Bring the lentils to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and let lentils cook until they are very tender and fully cooked. Add more water if needed but no more than 1/2 cup at a time. Don’t add too much because you want the lentils to be hearty not liquid-y. Add in lime juice or squeeze one lime over mixture. Stir until well cooked and flavorful to taste. Remove from heat. Assemble organic taco corn shells with raw baby spinach (or any leafy greens of choice) and stuff desired amount of lentil mixture. Top with more salsa. Enjoy!
These guys sure do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj324R9R_NQ&feature=youtu.be (Warning. Some explicit content!)
While you’re there, check this one out too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZcUrWAK-8Q (Sorry!)
Don’t like what you see, do ya? After all, you’ve been brainwashed by the dairy industry’s propaganda to believe that the main source of calcium is by consuming milk (and milk products) and by drinking the recommended glass of it a day (or 3 according to the USDA), you’ll grow up to have strong, healthy bones.
So yes, you do need cow’s milk to be healthy – if you’re a baby calf! :/
The meat industry has been under some major scrutiny (and for good reasons) for their colossal factory farm system and practices of raising cattle in immoral confinement, yet the animals in the dairy industry are arguably just as guilty. In their haste to sell you their products, the dairy industry has created an obsession over the importance of dairy products (also known as liquid meat) which in reality does more harm to the body and our planet than good.
There has been extensive scientific studies on the many harmful cumulative effects of consuming AND producing dairy – whether organic or not. In actuality, there is no reason for us to consume cow’s milk—and there are a host of important reasons to avoid it. Here are some that I’ve gathered for you to help you pass up that glass of cow’s milk:
1) Less dairy equals better bones. Countries with the lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Asia and Africa) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
2) Calcium may (or does) raise cancer risk. Some studies have proved that with higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products can potentially increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Dairy product consumption increases levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) in the bloodstream. IGF-1 is a potent stimulus for cancer cell growth. High IGF-1 levels are linked to increased risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer. Nowadays, milking cows are given antibiotics and most are also injected with a genetically engineered form of bovine growth hormone (rBGH). A man-made or synthetic hormone used to artificially increase milk production, rBGH also increases blood levels of the insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in those who drink it.
3) Not everyone can stomach dairy. Approximately 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance. You may not show the common symptoms, but try taking it out of your diet and see what happens! 😉
4) Adding dairy foods to your diet would only supply more calories, fat, animal protein, cholesterol, sodium, microbes, and chemical contamination—ingredients that may contribute to even more health problems and trigger inflammation such as allergies, sinus problems, diabetes, chronic constipation, asthma, autism, skin issues such as eczema and irritable bowel syndrome.
5) Amy Lanou Ph.D., nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine states, “The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost nonexistent.”
6) Milk is a very strong earth pollutant: it is about 400 times more polluting than untreated sewage. To put it another way, 1,000 gallons of milk has the same polluting potential as the untreated sewage from a town of 7,000 people.
7) So yes, dairy farms and factories pollute the earth and also accountable for the huge amounts of CO2 emissions, land degradation, water consumption and water contamination. They also contribute to the slaughter of more than 250,000 dairy cows per year.
8) ALL cow’s milk (regular and ‘organic’) has 59 active hormones, scores of allergens, fat and cholesterol that either occur within the milk naturally as the cow develops it OR it has synthetically been injected into them. Most cow’s milk has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins (up to 200 times the safe levels) and up to 52 powerful antibiotics. Milk also contains blood, pus (about 750 million pus cells allowed by the FDA), feces, bacteria, viruses and traces of anything (both toxic and non) the cow eats too. Yes, while some raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization — but these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential health risks overall.
9) The amount of money the government spends to promote the dairy industry is roughly 550 million just in America alone! Each marketing buck spent boosts sales by an average of $8, for an annual total of an extra $4.6 billion in government-backed sales of meat, dairy, and eggs. If that wasn’t enough, the U.S. government also spends on average more than $30 billion in subsidies for animal products such as dairy, and only a fraction of a fraction of that much on fruits and vegetables. That’s just sad. In addition, some of the “experts” who have helped create the recommended food pyramid actually work for the dairy industry, which makes the US Department of agriculture’s recommendations reflect industry interests (aka money), not science or the public’s best interests.
10) The life of a Western cow ain’t a pleasant one. While female calves are slaughtered or kept alive to produce milk, male calves are often taken away from their mothers when they are as young as 1 day old to be chained in tiny stalls for three to 18 weeks. Male calves, who cannot be raised to themselves become dairy cows, are slaughtered early on in life for veal. The dairy industry is the backbone of the veal industry – without it, the routine slaughter of calves could not continue. Just like veal calves, dairy cows who cannot produce milk due to exhaustion or disease are of no use to the dairy industry. Instead of “wasting resources” (feeding, sheltering), these cows are transported to factory farm feeding facilities to be fattened up, then slaughtered for meat.
One of the best methods to battle practices you don’t support is to vote with your dollars. Or as I’d like to say, “Vote with your fork!” Opting out from dairy altogether is definitely an ideal option and it’s a lot easier than you think. Nowadays, you can almost always find milk alternatives in your grocery aisle. You can choose from a number of delicious non dairy alternatives such as almond milk, hemp milk, organic soy milk and rice milk. Or – make your own! Be your own almond milk man. Don’t eat meat but can’t live without cheese or butter? Try making your own homemade cheese made from nuts like cashews and almonds. Rather than slathering your food with salty butter, try going for organic virgin coconut oil!
What about calcium and the benefits of milk we’re told are good for us? While calcium is a necessary nutrient, we can easily get enough of it from plant based foods. The most healthful sources of this vitamin can be obtained from eating green leafy vegetables and legumes, beans, seaweed and nuts. You don’t need to rely on dairy for healthy bones either. If you want strong, healthy bones, getting plenty of exercise and vitamin D (about 2000 IU or more depending) daily is key. Remember, dairy is not vital for good health nor is it sustainable.
Go dairy free and see what it can potentially and positively do for you. Trade in that glass of chocolate milk you crave in the morning and instead opt for a delicious vegan cinnamon roll protein milk beverage that’s nutrient dense, immune boosting and cruelty free. And then if someone throws a “Got milk?” at you (whether in a paid advertisement or from someone who wants it for breakfast) smile and let them know that you know better!
What you’ll need:
1.5 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (homemade or an organic brand of your choice – always unsweetened!)
6-10 ice cubes
1 pouch of vegan protein powder unsweetened vanilla flavour (Brown rice or pea protein works best!)
1 tsp of organic cinnamon powder
1 tbsp of ground flax
1 tsp of chia seeds
Optional: pinch of stevia to taste (my protein powder usually contains some so I usually leave this out)
Another great option: raw cacao nibs, a pinch of vanilla bean powder
Add all ingredients to your Magic Bullet or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with more cinnamon if desired. Enjoy! x
Homer and Bart once said to a devoted vegetarian Lisa Simpson that “you don’t win friends with salad.”
Little did they know about this delicious salad recipe. (I like to pretend it’s one of Lisa’s go to favourites!)
A salad so simple, creamy and nutritious, it’s hard not to impress people (or at least your taste buds) with all of its glory.
And if you’re like me and absolutely crave a filling tossed salad, this recipe will become a staple in your cooking routine. Works perfectly as a side dish to a hearty entree or just as its own. This salad is very similar to my popular lemon tahini dressed kale salad. Which by the way, was an absolute hit on Facebook! 😀
In this case, I use cashews as the main base to achieve the creamy-ness and “milk-like” flavour. Cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds are some of my favourite ingredients to use in the kitchen! Chop em, mash em, blend em, bake with em, these tiny yet powerful entities are so versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. (You can even make your own vegan “cheese” with cashews!) However, I’ve noticed that a lot of people aren’t familiar with the health benefits of consuming them, and sometimes think twice about eating them because of their “high fat content” (which is mostly the healthy kind of fat). I’ve stressed many times in my blog about the importance of eating good healthy fats and incorporating cashews into your everyday diet is a great way of doing so.
Did you know that cashews come from trees? The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is native to Brazil, where its fruit is considered a delicacy. Technically they’re not even nuts, rather a seed (or fruit) that comes from a tree that thrives in tropical climate. In the early 16th century, the Portuguese introduced them to India and a few African countries, where they now also are grown and produced. What we call the cashew nut is actually the seed of a fruit, very similar looking to a large bell pepper, that hangs off the cashew tree.
They’re typically sold shelled and roasted. If you do buy cashews labeled raw, they are not truly raw but instead gone through a process of steaming, light roasting or otherwise processed to remove its toxic oil. This toxic oil is found in the double shell that encases the raw cashew called anacardic acid, which is a poisonous oily substance that can trigger significant skin rashes, and can be toxic when ingested. Alike to the toxic compound that’s found in poison ivy and poison oak.
Despite its proneness to poison, this potent C shaped ‘nut’ is lauded for its substantial emporium of vitamins and nutrients. They’re deliciously rich in iron, phosphorus, niacin, selenium, zinc, copper and magnesium, you know – all that good stuff our bodies require! And like most nuts, cashews are an excellent source of cancer-fighting phytochemicals, flavanols, antioxidants, vitamin E and protein. Being cholesterol free and high in mono-unsaturated fats helps lower the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.
So before you crack open that big bag of cashews (for our recipe), please take a moment to value the hard work that went into them and the long expedition those beloved nuts took from the exotic tree to your hands!
And if we don’t win friends with salad, then dang-it…it just means more for us!!
What you’ll need:
3/4 cup – 1 cup of preferably organic unsalted cashews (Using 1 cup will make your dressing creamier!)
1 cup of filtered water
1 1/2 Tbsp of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp of lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
1 garlic clove
Optional: 1 Tbsp of All Natural Dijon Mustard (if you like your dressing zesty and tangy!)
1/2 Tsp of black ground pepper
Soak cashews in warm filtered water for about 2-3 hours. If you have a high speed blender, Magic Bullet or Vitamix, then you can skip this step.
Blend all ingredients until you get a smooth and consistent dressing – start with just a 1/4 cup of water and add more as you blend until you reach a consistency that you like. The more water, the more of a dressing it will be. Use less water, you’ll have a thicker sauce like dressing. Adjust to taste.
Coat baby kale, chickpeas, chopped peppers, cucumbers and broccoli (or veggies of choice) in homemade dressing. Serve immediately. x
So yesterday was Tuesday. If you’re like me, a Tuesday can (at times) feel more challenging than a Monday.
Maybe you’re feeling a little sluggish still from the weekend? Or maybe you’re overwhelmed by the lack of time you think you have? Or in my case, you forgot to meal prep on Sunday, forgot to buy stock up on produce and left having to figure out quick, healthy and delicious lunch ideas for the week…(doh!) this was yesterday also known as, you guessed it – Tuesday.
Now what’s one of the most popular and appreciated dishes to devour on a Tuesday? (Not referring to the ghastly “Toonie Tuesdays” at KFC!)
Answer: Taccccoooosss! (Arriba!)
Beloved by all, many tacos are stuffed of refined and processed ingredients and nonessential meat grease. These easy peasy tacos I’m about to share with you are downright healthy in comparison. They’re nutritious, shockingly satisfying and just enough flavor to get you through the day!
The best part? Super easy to make and you can whip it up in a mere few minutes with just a handful of simple yet heart-healthy ingredients. You can improvise on the vegetables too – a little fresh organic corn would work great added in or some cooked beans if you’re in the mood. I prefer to keep it light at lunch so I kept these tacos to a few of my favorite greens, onions and ripe bell peppers. Certified easy peasy.
However, the key to the overall taste is in the way you season and saute those veggies. One of my go-to spices is the infamous cumin powder. Ground cumin, or seeds, is a favored spice native common to regions of Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean. Now used worldwide, cumin not only adds a punch of exotic and savory flavor to almost any dish (IMO) but it actually has some surprising nutritious content that our insides would favor. It contains a wholesome antioxidant called curcumin, along with other elements, that provide health benefits. Some include its ability to aid in digestion and related issues, improve immunity, support heart health and can help treat and fight an assortment of conditions such as insomnia, anemia, skin and respiratory disorders, bronchitis and that pesky common cold.
Cumin is considered a low sodium herb and spice so by adding cumin flavor to your food, you essentially will use less salt and other high-sodium seasonings during cooking and at the table. Consequently, by reducing the unnecessary sodium in your diet, you help prevent and/or lower high blood pressure – FYI!
A little less salt please, a little more sprinkles of cumin!
What you’ll need:
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and then minced
1 tbsp of cumin (organic without fillers if possible!)
1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Pinch of ground oregano
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of chili powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional if you don’t want it that spicy)
Chopped bell peppers (not the green ones!)
Zucchini, sliced into thin strips
Raw baby spinach (keep this raw for your tacos!)
Heat a tablespoon (or two) of EVOO in a large saute pan on medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic for a few minutes until nicely browned. Lower heat to medium if needed to avoid burning. Spread veggies of choice (except spinach) on the pan and sprinkle spices evenly. Stir and let sit for a minute or two until lightly browned. Lower the heat to low and let gently cook for a few more minutes while you heat up the tortillas in another pan or skillet.
Remove both pans from heat. Assemble and add baby spinach. And serve with homemade sugar free salsa and sliced lemons!
Enjoy your Tuesdays. x