Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Vegan Feast

The Vegan Feast!

Just a little plant-based dinner I made this weekend...enjoy!

Sweet Potato & Greens Soup

(Before blending)

(After blending)

Thanks, @DebGleason for the recipe!

Pita Pizzas

  • whole wheat pitas
  • basil pesto
  • mushrooms
  • kale and radicchio massaged with olive oil -- *thanks to @AliciaSilv for the idea of putting radicchio on a pizza!
  • tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • *Parmesan cheese for those not on the vegan challenge!

Raw, vegan chocolate "pudding" topped with strawberries soaked in maple syrup -- what's not to like?

Thanks, @Jason_Mraz for the recipe! You can see it here.

This little vegan feast was enjoyed by all, and even though I put Parmesan cheese on the other pizzas, my guests said they could have done without it -- they liked the pizzas that much! I was humbled :)

Yay for healthy, plant-based dinner parties :) We had a little bit of olive bread too, which was delicious!

More video blogs to come soon...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Recipe: Golden Globe Chili

Adapted from a recipe in the Wellness Warrior Coaching 30 Day Health Tune Up Guide, I present to you my "Golden Globe Chili"! I decided to call it "Golden Globe Chili" for two reasons: one, to pay tribute to tonight's Golden Globes host, Ricky Gervais; and two, because it turns out to be a beautiful golden colour! After tasting the chili tonight, the only change I would make in the future would be to add more spice, otherwise I think it's a healthy, hearty meal that can satisfy for days!

Please enjoy!

Put the following ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. To quote Jamie Oliver, it's "easy peasy"!
  • 1 tetrapak of vegetable broth (1 litre)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 peppers, chopped (I used 1 red, 1 green)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (I left them whole)
  • 2 cups lentils (I used red lentils, which are actually orange, and end up being yellow, or "golden")
  • 1 cup quinoa (I used millet)
  • 1 28 oz. can of chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 4 tsp chili powder (or more!)
  • 1 bay leaf (my choice to add this, I love bay leaves!)'s all vegan! Thanks to @DebGleason and Wellness Warrior Coaching for (most of) this recipe!

My "B" weekend: Blotchy Skin, Vitamin B and Benadryl

It was a typical Saturday morning: after sleeping in, I woke up, turned on a cheesy movie, made some coffee and breakfast, and settled in for a leisurely start to the day. Since I was out of bananas and didn't want a breakfast smoothie without one, I enjoyed a bowl of almond cereal with almond milk, and a piece of toast topped with delicious almond butter. Not long after my second bite of toast, I instantly noticed that something was wrong.

My body temperature shot up, my skin started to feel tight, and my arms, chest and face broke out into a tomato-red, blotchy rash! In the few seconds after this happened, I realized I didn't have any Benadryl in the house, nor did I have a car or a roommate. I only had one choice, not knowing how serious or respiratory-related this situation was going to be, so I swallowed my pride and I actually dialed 911.

I know it's ridiculous, but in the heat of the moment, I really couldn't see any other option considering I had no idea what was happening, and thinking it might be an allergy to the almond butter, I knew it could be a problem I might not be able to solve myself. It was slightly embarrassing to greet 3 male paramedics in my reindeer pyjama pants, but they were helpful and professional and got me to the hospital quickly.

Once inside, the nurse gave me a double dose of Benadryl, and I went to wait in the "urgent care" waiting room (which is actually a waiting corridor, not a room). There were about 12 of us there, some hooked up to IVs, some coughing and wheezing; I took a moment to be grateful for the fact that I was breathing, and my medical issue wasn't as serious as it could have been.

After seeing the doctor, he calmed my fears of never being able to eat glorious almond butter ever again, and explained to me what he thought happened. He explained that many B Complex vitamins have a healthy amount of Niacin in them (I had recently started taking a B Complex). If you have a buildup of Niacin in your bloodstream, it can cause what is known as a "Niacin flush" (he didn't use this term, I found it online after the fact).

Basically, your blood vessels dilate to such a degree that it creates the red, blotchy hive-like rash that I experienced. Trust me, it's scary seeing your face instantly transform into a tomato! After researching this more online, I learned that there is a lot of information out there about how a "Niacin flush" can actually be good for you because it increases blood flow and allows fatty tissues to exit the body, but reading that information scares me, frankly. I would never want to experience this again, and I really hope that no one attempts to do this for weight loss reasons. Please use caution when reading health information online, and always check with your Medical and/or Naturopathic Doctor.

I probably should have had my blood checked and consulted with a doctor before implementing a B Complex vitamin into my routine, but this has actually been a good learning experience to learn "the hard way". Anyway, I'm feeling good now, I was simply a little weak and shaken up from the experience (and the drowsy Benadryl), but with a little family TLC and healthy food, I'm feeling back to normal, and my personal choice is to discontinue use of the B Complex. For me personally, I think I feel more comfortable increasing my vitamin B levels through food, so I look forward to doing my research!

And...I have never been so happy to hear that I can still eat almond butter!!! I do, however, have a new respect for anyone with food allergies, as I am sure what they go through is much more serious and stressful as what I experienced.

***Note: It was my choice to start taking the B Complex and to take it daily. This choice was not influenced by Deb or the Wellness Warrior Coaching Program.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holiday Food: A Gallery

Countdown Cupcakes via Tiny Brushstrokes via Martha Stewart

I love pomegranate seeds! Great with Prosecco for a holiday toast!

Dad's seafood pasta dish

Winter Quinoa Salad -- recipe here :)

Chocolate Beet Muffins via Credible Edibles

I am going to poach my salmon all the time now!

Salmon Pie via Tiny Brushstrokes via Emeril Lagasse

  • The muffins are scrumptious -- you can see the recipe here.
  • Which cupcake number would you eat? It was interesting to see which number each family member chose!
  • The salmon pie was good, however, we all agreed it could use some salt. Ideas: poach in miso broth or add curry, or add bacon...depending on your food choices!
What did YOU eat over the holidays?