Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Love List #5: For the ladies

I'm all menstrual right now, so this week's Love List is going to be primarily for those with lady parts.

Organic cotton Lunapanties: I've been wearing the same 3 pairs for every period I've had over the past 10 years or so. They're nice fitting undies (they come in different cuts for those of us who are choosy), with a layer of fleece padding in the crotch. They're great on their own on very light days (say, at the end of your flow), or important added "protection" when paired up with an organic tampon, sea sponge (non-vegan alert on that one) or Diva Cup/Keeper that may runneth over. They're more eco and breathable than a disposable pantyliner, and somehow less of a hassle than reusable pads (especially when you're biking and you don't want pad snaps digging into your delicate parts).
Mine, being the original (older) Lunapanties don't have the "special bands" (mentioned in the video if you follow the above link) that'd hold an extra liner in place, but they're good all the same.

Monthly Info: Love this website. Love it! Every time I mention it on fbook or twitter, I get a bunch of thank-you replies for letting folks know about it. It's so so helpful for keeping track of your cycles - having a record of your menstrual history, and helping to predict when your next ovulation and blood-time should be. It'll even send you e-mail notifications a few days before you can expect a change (ovulation, menstruation). And it's free!(though if you want to make a donation - and so you should once you start using and appreciating it too - they're open to it).

The Path of Practice: Want a stronger sense of ritual and spirituality/meaning in your life? Read this book by Bri Maya Tiwari.

Bust magazine: I have been reading this magazine for a good long while. I think I've only missed one issue since my first one, with Margaret Cho on the cover. It's got a poppy easy-to-consume quality, while still offering interesting articles from an inherently feminist view-point, so you don't have to worry about being offended in that way every single conventional women's mag seems to offend thinking people. (And I'll admit, I loved them just a little bit more when they wrote a positive review of Get It Ripe in their December 2008 issue.)

Home-blended Lady Tea: Here's the herb tea I make myself and drink about a litre daily the week before and the week during my period.
2 parts red raspberry leaves (tones the uterus)
2 parts nettle leaves (good source of minerals, which you need to replenish when you're bleeding; can help with heavy periods)
1 part dandelion root (supports the liver, which regulates hormone production)
1 part red clover (effective hormone balancer)
1 part liquorice root (tastes sweet; nourishes the adrenal glands to help with PMS stress)
1 part dried ginger root (optional - warming; helps relieve muscle cramps)

Combine all herbs in a large bowl.
Bring some filtered water to a boil.
Measure out 1 teaspoon of herb blend for each cup of water or a heaping tablespoon for 4 cups of water. Pour water over the herbs, cover and allow to steep for 10-30 minutes (the longer the better) – you can do this in a teapot or a glass jar.
Strain out the herbs and rebottle – you can store it in a thermos to keep it warm throughout the day.
Transfer remaining herbs into to a glass jar with a good-fitting lid and use over the next few months. (Check with your naturopath or midwife about consuming this when you're pregnant or breastfeeding.)

Ain't being a woman grand? (I'm not even being sarcastic!)

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Veggin' out.

As a kid I was a very picky eater and a creature of habit, especially when it came to packed lunches. I think my mum packed me peanut butter and jam on whole wheat bread with the crusts cut off for most of my elementary school days. A book like this in our house might have set us in a better direction!
Let's hear what fellow holistic nutritionist Laurie, with her specialty in pediatrics, has to say.

The Book: Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love! by Jennifer McCann (Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books, 2008)
Review by Laurie K. Meher, RHN

Preamble/Overall Feeling: This cookbook focuses on vegan lunch options for kids and adults alike. The author, Jennifer McCann, kept a blog where she photographed her son’s lunches for a year; this cookbook is a compilation of these meals and many more. The book is separated into two parts; Part One has a variety of menus and Part Two Lists the recipes. In the first part the menus include Quick and Easy Meals, meals that are fast to prepare, Rise and Shine, for meals that you can take the time to create, Ready and Waiting, meals that you can make the night before as well as menus with an international focus and for special occasions. I appreciated her respect for the struggle that parents have to make meals when it seems like there is little time in the day, so the Quick and Easy options are helpful. I also like that she has some meals to make the night before or that made a large amount that you could freeze. This is a useful way for a busy family to get meals together. The recipes in the second section have easy-to-find ingredients and are fairly simple to put together. Some of my favourites are the recipes for Lentil-Rice balls, Split Pea Alecha (Ethipian Stew) and Samosas.

Best Bits: This book focuses on variety, colour and flavour, which I like. It is important for parents to realize that we do not have to feed our child the same thing every day, especially if our families have a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. The menus are well-rounded offering good sources of vegetable protein. Jennifer offers some creative and tasty ways to make up legumes and some items can be used in several different ways, which makes meals easier to throw together. She also makes lunches and menus that replicate what the other kids are eating: calzones, muffins, cookies, even croissants! I also love the international options because it helps get kids excited about meals that offer flavour and nutrition.

Less-Wonderful Bits: I wasn’t too happy with the amount of soy products that used in here. While I appreciate the convenience of soy products, I don’t feel that vegan deli slices, hot dogs, cream cheese or soy yogurt are any healthier than the animal versions. I understand that it is hard to find substitutes that are easy and quick for lunches, and I was looking for something that would give me other ideas, beyond those soy products. I was also surprised by the fact that many menus included candy or processed desserts. I would like to see parents getting away from including these sugar treats in their kids lunches altogether.

Whole foods focus?: Sure, for the most part.
Vegan-Friendly?: Yes, completely.
Eco-Conscious?: Definitely (Promotes non-animal eating and reusable containers!)
Web Presence?: Yes.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

"Mares eat oats, and does eat oats...."

"...and little lambs eat ivy." Didn't your mum ever sing you that song when you were little? Mine did.

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

I baked these up when I was feeling the need for a break from spelt flour. When talking about oats I’m always sure to remind eaters that they nourish our nervous system. They generally make comfort food to me. The spice in these isn’t a wussy undertone, it’s pretty prominent, so if that makes you nervous, feel free to scale it back to 1-2 teaspoons in all. The raisins can be replaced with other dried fruit (chopped dates, cranberries, etc) or chopped nuts (I bet walnut or pecan would be nice!).

1 ½ cup oat flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup oatbran
1/3 cup ground flaxseeds (from about 2 1/2 tbsp whole flaxseeds)
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cinnamon and/or nutmeg and/or cloves
½ tsp. sea salt
¾ cup raisins
½ cup applesauce
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup sour milk (1 tbsp cider vinegar + non-dairy milk)
½ cup sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 375oF. Prepare 12 muffin cups with liners or a light coating of oil and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, oats, bran, ground flax, baking powder and soda, spices and salt in a large bowl. Add the raisins and stir to coat in the flour. Pour in the applesauce, maple syrup, sour milk and oil. Gently mix together just until all the flour has been absorbed. Portion evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Slide them into the oven and bake for 25-28 minutes, until the tops are domed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Stores in an airtight container for 3 days, or in the fridge for up to a week.

Makes 12 muffins.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Love List #4

Let's have another Love List, shall we? Collecting things for this weekly post is feeling like such a treat.

All Creatures Great and Small: I watch this with my parents on nights when I go visit them for dinner. My mum's read most, if not all of the books by James Herriot, the British veterinarian (who began working as a vet in 1939) and writer, who chronicled the tales of his work in rural England. There is something just so comforting about old British shows (this series originally aired between 1978 and 1990), that aren't Masterpiece Theatre (I'm just not a mystery person), especially if they include birthing cows and rebellious pigs, and drinking pints down at the pub while flirting with lovely young lassies. I found the first season on VHS at a garage sale this past summer for $5, and have managed to find the next few seasons for download.

Bikram: What a revelation, this crazy hot yoga! My whole life I've been an adamantly non-active person. I have memories of being a pissed off toddler, being encouraged to walk up the hill from the beach to our house and stay out of the stroller. I didn't start riding a bike till I was 19. And sure I've enjoyed yoga classes over the years, but not with any real degree of regularity. Until this summer. It was encouragement from a couple of Bikram-excited friends (Lisa, Paul), and the fact that the local studio is owned by an elementary school friend of mine. I went 5 or 6 times in that first introductory week in July, and have mostly managed to go 1-3 times a week since. And I'm now - surprising to myself even - 6 days in to a 30-day challenge! I thought I would feel the need to rebel against Bikram's rigid structure, and I doubt that (other than labour) I will ever go through anything as physically challenging, but I love it. I've dropped about 10 lbs, and even gotten a little ripped. I feel more present in my body. This makes me a true believer that there's an exercise for everyone, we all just have to find the one we enjoy doing.

A dollhouse for Frida Kahlo: The other week I was searching for a Kahlo image for an assignment in my Birth and Its Meanings class when I came across this incredible miniature thing by Elsa Mora. I don't have much context to offer you, but I just love how creative people are!

PS. In case you didn't catch this on facebook yesterday, I was on the cover of the Entertainment & Living section of The Toronto Star yesterday. You can see the article on veganism and vegetables online here.

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"Domestic affair... do you think it's a funny title?" I asked a friend.
"Funny ha-ha?" she responded, "well, no not really."
"But 'domestic affair', it's like what's going on in the nation, but it's also me, being drawn to all these domestic tasks - knitting, cooking, caring for small children..." I tried to explain.
"I like that it has the word affair in it," she concluded.

jae's first book!

Get It Ripe cover Have you seen my award-winning whole foods cookbook Get It Ripe: a fresh take on vegan living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)? Keep your eyes peeled for it!
To join the Facebook group for the book, go here.


about the blog:

about the cookbooks:

While I love hearing from you, and read each and every one of your e-mails, please understand that I just cannot respond to all of them due to the rate at which they're coming in these days!

If you have a question, I might have already answered it here.

in the press

live in person!

come see me:
* Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR, August 26-28, 2011.

...but better yet, check the calendar for details!



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