Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Q&A, week 1

Yay! Thanks for all your questions last week. I decided to answer 2 more thoroughly than answer a half dozen of them in a sentence or two, so I've banked the rest and will do my best to get to more of them another week. If you have more questions to add to the mix for following weeks, ask away!

Each month during my period I get pretty severe cramps in my lower abdomen and I'm always looking for holistic ways to alleviate them. I've tried just about everything, but do you have any foods/supplements/etc you would recommend?
- Valerie

First off, I just want to make sure that you've been to a medical doctor or naturopathic doctor and ruled out anything major (something that would need to be identified by blood work, ultrasound, etc.).
Now based on the fact that I don't know your personal health history, I'm just going to take a stab at some possibly-helpful things to try. To start, pain and inflammation in the body often go hand in hand, so an option would be to reduce (or better yet, eliminate) inflammatory foods in the diet: any animal products (if you normally eat them), white sugar (and glucose-fructose, corn syrup, etc), junky oils (like fried foods, conventional shortening, GM canola oil, corn oil, soy oil, etc), wheat and table salt. Enjoy tasty and anti-inflammatory foods like ginger (which is said to help with menstrual cramps and digestion), garlic, onions, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander and fennel. Magnesium relaxes smooth muscle, and is present in foods such as almonds, broccoli, dark chocolate and sesame seeds (a longer list is on page 49 of Get It Ripe), and you might check out a supplement like this one, which is pretty popular and sugar-free.
Never underestimate the power of a hot water bottle - if you're using just-boiled water (which'll keep it warm all night if you have it under the covers with you) just be sure to wrap it in a cozy or towel (my housemate got this crazy blistery burn one time from holding the rubber against her skin). The world may ask you to plug on as if it's just another day/week at this time of the month, but you tell whoever even looks like they're considering giving you heck that I said to take it easy, don't go full force. Have an afternoon nap if you need it, take a few extra "bathroom breaks" during a day at work and use the time to just have a little breather (not necessarily in the bathroom!).
You might look into uterine massage.
In the long term, consider some deliberate cleansing and detoxification (chapter 21 of Get It Ripe). Finally you might look at addressing/resolving any issues you have around reproduction, relationships, sexuality or even finances - as cramps is a second chakra issue (for more on this read Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss.

I am not vegan, but love vegan recipes. (I eat meat at the most 3 times a week.) I went to a nutritionist for a while and she said vegan desserts were not a good idea for me because eggs are what make those treats more nutritious (that is to say that I feel more full after eating)... What can I do?
- Sophie

Sophie, what comes to mind right away for me is the question "Do people eat desserts to feel full?" I'm not sure they do. It's really best to hit the point of feeling 80% full by the time you finish your main meal, that should include whole grains and/or legumes, and of course be vegetable-packed (at least 1/2 the plate).
I wonder if you might try enjoying desserts, vegan or not, more mindfully. Mindful eating involves doing your best to stay present for every bite of food - enjoying it visually, taking in the smells before you even put it in your mouth, then as you take a bite and chew, paying attention to the tastes and textures - and tuning into your body's signals, putting down your fork or spoon between bites, perhaps gaining the awareness that your done/full before you might have thought, instead of going on auto-pilot and finishing what's on your plate before you even realize, or reaching for a second helping before you've even swallowed the last mouthful of your first serving.
You won't be searching for desserts to fill up a bit space so long as they follow a meal with protein. However, you might also integrate a protein powder (pumpkin seed powder might be less noticeable than hemp) into baked goods - subbing out 2 tbsp - 1/4 cup flour and putting in the same amount of protein. Raw foods desserts would also be a good consideration, for both their nutritional value, their digestive enzymes and the fact that they're often so rich that it's hard for most people to go overboard. Hope that helps. Bonne chance, Sophie!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chi-chi Vegan Eats

The Book: The Millenium Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine by Eric Tucker and John Westerdahl, dessert recipes by Sascha Weiss (Ten Speed Press, 1998)
Review by A-K Thordin

Preamble/Overall Feeling: The Millenium Restaurant in San Francisco is in many ways the pinnacle of fancy vegan dining, and while I haven’t had the opportunity myself, I’ve heard only amazing things about eating there. This, their first cookbook, includes many recipes used at the restaurant, and is a go-to resource for those meals where you really REALLY want to impress your sweetheart or dinner guests. It has a simple look with well-demarcated sections and recipes under appetizers, salads, soups, pasta and pizza, sides, entrees, brunch and lunch, sauces/salsas, desserts as well as informative cooking basics and resources sections. The Millenium Cookbook is punctuated with smaller black and white “mood” shots as well as full-page color photos of some of the entrees, which is plenty to get you thinking about how to incorporate Asian Romaine Spring Rolls with Sesame-Lime Dressing, Tempeh Sauerbrauten Style with Braised Red Cabbage and Apples and Spätzle, Mad Good Chocolate Cake or Fig and Almond Tart with Red Wine and Pear Cream into your life as soon as humanly possible! And when I’m not ready to cook a gourmet feast, I find the Millenium Cookbook most useful either for coming up with unique flavor pairings or as a resource to pick and choose a couple smaller recipes from a larger meal.

Best Bits: I’ve had this cookbook almost since becoming vegan, and it is usually my first choice when I need inspiration for fancy meal ideas. In addition to its recipes for beautiful and full-menu meals, The Millenium Cookbook is also co-authored by a nutritionist to include lower-fat dishes as well as basic nutrition information — great for those who like to know what their food is providing them beyond flavor and satiation. While I haven’t had much chance to do a thorough cook-through of the book, my dabbling into the Ethiopian-inspired Lentil Stew with Millet-Almond Pilaf and Millet Crepes, Tempeh Pizzas with Puttanesca Sauce, Coconut Mashed Yams, Brazilian Black Bean Soup with Coffee and Orange, and the famous Chocolate Almond Midnight have all been delicious, gorgeous and crowd-pleasing. I’ve also made use of their Basics section to make Dark Vegetable Stock, Baked Marinated Tempeh, and Millenium Braised Garlic to name a few. The Millenium Cookbook is a great resource for seasoned cooks who want to make beautiful and gourmet dishes for special occasions, whether they want to cook a full-scale decadent meal or pick and choose subrecipes as sides or an incorporation into another dish.

Less-Wonderful Bits: As is often the case with gourmet food, ingredient lists can be long and certain items expensive, and the recipes can be quite time consuming. While many of the recipes are worth the effort, I’ve found them also to be overly complicated when they don’t need to be, or sometimes deceptively simple—until you realize you need to make two or three other recipes first in order to start the recipe you were planning to make. The scale of many recipes can feel pretty intimidating and are largely not for quick meals, but it’s more approachable when you remember that you don’t have to make every component of, for example, the Seitan, Wild Mushroom, and Corn-Stuffed Peppers with Poblano Chile Sauce and Quinoa Pilaf, which includes six subrecipes for various marinades and sauces. For those with allergies, sensitivities, or aversions to wheat/gluten and soy, they feature pretty prominently in several recipes, though there are many vegetable- and bean-based dishes if you take the time to read through the cookbook (there are no allergy indexes or other recipe markers). And apart from the sorbet section, the dessert recipe features lots of all-purpose flour, though experienced bakers can certainly adapt with a few substitutions, and the remaining ingredients make use of fruits and some alternative sweeteners like Sucanat and maple syrup.

Whole foods focus?: Generally, yes.
Vegan-friendly?: Absolutely!
Eco-conscious?: In that it features vegan recipes.
Web presence?: Sorta.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Q&A

Hi all! I dunno about where you are, but here in Toronto it's a winter wonderland! Snow on the ground is certainly worth mentioning in a season where we've had very little.

So, I'm thinking about adding another theme to the blog. We've got The Tuesday Review, The Thursday Love List and Foodie Fridays, and now I'm adding Wednesday Q&A. I often get questions about this that and the other, and answering them all takes a lot time! It's a particular challenge when I get asked the same question over and over (the biggie is about what kind of training I have and if I can recommend a holistic nutrition school). The idea with Wednesday Q&A is that I will take this space to answer any questions you may have - it could be a culinary question, a holistic health question, a question about Get It Ripe....

Does that interest you? Post your questions in the comments this week and I'll pick 1-3 of them to answer next week, and so on. Great!


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Like a Warm Hug

I will admit, part of me in the midst of preparing this post was like "As if Isa needs anymore publicity!?" (she's even been the celebrity attendee on a vegan cruise, for eff sakes!), but a quick reality check reminds me that she is so very good at what she does, so why not celebrate it?

The Book: Vegan Brunch: Homestyle Recipes Worth Waking Up For – from Asparagus Omelets to Pumpkin Pancakes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Da Capo Press, 2009)

Review by Marika Collins

Preamble/Overall Feeling: Vegan Brunch is brought to us by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the friendly and funny founder of the famed Post Punk Kitchen website and forums, and co-author of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Veganomicon. This sunny book is written in a warm, humourous, unassuming tone – it's an excellent cooking resource for anyone, vegan or not, with a fun, positive, and welcoming feel. Visually, the book is like a warm hug, from its cheerful yellow cover to the bright colour blocking and colour photos within. It's well-organized, easy to follow, and its medium size makes it comfortable to hold in the hand.

Best Bits: Friendly and inviting, the book opens with a deliciously enticing ode to brunch – setting the tone for the entire book which is unabashedly brunch and breakfast oriented. A brief explanation of key ingredients used in the recipes comes next, followed by a fun section about how to set up and host a proper brunch. The recipes are sensibly divided into sections according to savoury, sweet, toppings, bread basket, and drinks – making it easy to pick and choose from amongst the categories and ensuring your brunch will cover all the bases. A multitude of variations and helpful suggestions are included throughout, including a hilarious open letter to the would be crepe-maker.
All the traditional brunch favourites are represented and then some. If you fancy the classics, they're all there, from Old-Fasioned Chelsea Waffles and Classic Broccoli Quiche, to Diner Home Fries and Biscuits with Smoked Almond Gravy. If you fancy something different, Isa infuses traditional fare with big personality, presenting us with the likes of Curry Srambled Tofu with Cabbage and Caraway, Chili Cashew Dosas with Spiced Apple Cider Chutney, Ethiopian Crepes and Chocolate Beer Waffles.
This is a test: Banana Flapjacks, Brazilian French Toast, East Coast Coffee Cake, Caramelized Figs, Cherry Vanilla Bean Sauce, Brown Sugar Peach Coulis, Baked Cinnamon Apples. If you can read through that list and not be instantly transported to a happy place, then maybe this book is not for you. That same list puts me squarely in the zone. This book, in fact, was given to me by someone who truly understands my deep appreciation of brunch – and if you love brunch fare as much as I do, I'm fairly confident you're going to enjoy this book. Beyond the celebration of brunch however, this book is about comfort food – and for that reason I think it's accessible to all.

Less-Wonderful Bits: White flour and sugar figure strongly but, to be fair, the book never pretends to be health conscious. Ed's add-on: The food photos (and there are many throughout) are a little hit and miss.

Whole foods focus?: No, not really.
Vegan-friendly?: Yes, totally, 100%.
Eco-conscious?: In that the book promotes veganism.
Web presence?: Yes.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 05, 2010

Seedy and sweet (and gluten-free!)

Would you believe I got the idea for these cookies while I was in the bath the other night?

Sesame Ginger Cookies

These gluten-free whole-food treats are nice and warming, what with the ginger and sesame, making them very February-appropriate. For those of you who have a love for my Maple Flax Cookies, these are their more gut-friendly cousin.

1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup sesame seeds (unhulled preferred)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup raw sesame oil or sunflower oil (+ more for the baking sheet if needed)
1/4 cup tahini (sesame butter)
1 tbsp. finely grated ginger root

Preheat the oven to 350oF. Prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of unbleached parchment paper, or a light coating of oil. Whisk together the flour, seeds, and salt in a large bowl. Add the syrup, oil, tahini and ginger, and mix with a silicone spatula just until all the flour's been absorbed.
Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and placing them on the baking sheet.
Press down on each ball gently with your palm (or fingers), flattening each ball to about 1/2 cm thick.
Slide in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, until they are no longer shiny. Allow to cool on a rack, or eat 'em warm with a tall glass of non-dairy milk.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Love List #6

Today's Love List is short but satisfying in the entertainment department, and brought to you with the help of the fine folks at YouTube.

Pomplamoose: I don't get to see my good friend Jamie as he's been living the life of a jazz musician down in New York these past few years, but he happened to be in town last weekend and at a party I was at, so we had the opportunity for a good chat. He was telling me how he just couldn't get enough of Beyonce's song Single Ladies, and I said I hadn't heard of it (yes, I live under a bit of a rock when it comes to pop-culture) but that I'd look it up. I didn't like it. And I told Jamie so, so he referred me to this version by a cute California couple calling themselves Pomplamoose. Once I watched this "video song" of theirs, I was drawn to check out some of their other videos and now I can say, 48 hours later, that I think I've seen them all. Here, watch this:

Lordisa, how I wish I made cooking videos as good as this!

Now, do yourself a favour and take 10 minutes to watch this video. It's another opportunity for you to feel so good and have a laugh.

I watched it with my housemate, Lesley, whose comments included "This is the funniest thing I've ever seen!" and "... Is he wearing Uggs?"

Have a nice weekend, y'all!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Nature’s Nutritional All-in-One

The Product: Manitoba Harvest hemp products
Review by Chantal Clément

Preamble/Overall Feeling: It’s for an obvious reason that I came back to Washington from Christmas in Ontario last year with a case of Manitoba Harvest's Hemp Protein Powder, 3 jars of their hemp butter, and 4 bags of their hemp seeds. Out of all the hemp products currently out there, Manitoba Harvest is definitely the hemp market leader! A nutritional and culinary blessing to all those on vegan, raw, or just healthy diets, hemp products are a must in every pantry. Now if only we could lower the price of hemp products in the US by legalizing hemp!

Best Bits: A ten year old company based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Manitoba Harvest is one of (if not the) yummiest source of hemp ever! Unlike other hemp products, the taste of Manitoba Harvest Hemp is richer, nuttier and simply has a more ‘natural’ and less processed taste. I love when you can read an ingredient label and it just has one ingredient listed: hemp in whatever format you choose. No additives or preservatives. Considering I use their powder in my breakfast smoothie every single morning, I think I’ve become something of the American poster child for the company. Hemp seeds are a great addition to your favourite baked good recipe, on top of yogurt, cereal, salads, and more! Also, nothing beats a nice slice of toast with hemp butter and jam!

Less-Wonderful Bits: A lot of people say that hemp products are still something of a luxury since they aren’t that cheap, especially if you’re in the States, though the nutritional value is definitely worth it to me. Another thing for first-time hemp users: hemp protein powder has a much thicker consistency than other protein powders so smoothies or juices may not turn out as silky or smooth as you might be use to.

Whole foods focus?: Definitely! Hemp is packed with essential fatty acids (that’s your omega 6s, 3s and 9s, linolenic and stearidonic acids), antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, chlorophyll, and it's a complete protein!
Vegan-friendly?: Yes... and beyond! (a lot of their products are raw and gluten-free)
Eco-conscious?: Extremely! Not only committed to organic agriculture, Manitoba Harvest products use recyclable or reusable packaging. Their promotional materials all use recycled paper and vegetable-based inks. And their office is a fully-fledged green facility!
Web presence?: Yep! And do check out their extensive recipe section.

Labels: , ,


"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!



    foodie fridays (posts with recipes)

    the tuesday review


    * Fasting and Cleansing
    * Spring Cleansing
    * Warming Up to Better Digestion
    * Kick a Cold
    * Wholesome Holiday Feasts
    * Realistic Resolutions: Developing a Wellness Plan You Can Actually Stick To
    * Grains / Wheat Alternatives
    * Vermicomposting
    * A Foodie's Guide to Scotland

    free knitting patterns

    Unbiased Scarf
    Cozy Cabled Toque

    recent posts

    Thursday Love List: Spread the love
    Monday starts a month of more deliberate health-se...
    Pretty "down there"
    Foodie Fridays makes a comeback with the best gran...
    Lucky Sunday, week 1 in review
    New Year's Special, part 2: Here we go, 2012!
    New Year's Special, part 1: Thanks for 2011
    Give a gift, get a GIFT FROM ME!
    Thursday Love List: Watch it
    Wednesday Q&A: Freezing Up


    January 2005
    February 2005
    March 2005
    April 2005
    May 2005
    June 2005
    July 2005
    August 2005
    September 2005
    October 2005
    November 2005
    December 2005
    January 2006
    February 2006
    March 2006
    April 2006
    May 2006
    June 2006
    July 2006
    August 2006
    September 2006
    October 2006
    November 2006
    December 2006
    January 2007
    February 2007
    March 2007
    April 2007
    May 2007
    July 2007
    August 2007
    September 2007
    October 2007
    December 2007
    January 2008
    February 2008
    March 2008
    April 2008
    May 2008
    June 2008
    July 2008
    August 2008
    September 2008
    October 2008
    November 2008
    December 2008
    January 2009
    February 2009
    March 2009
    April 2009
    May 2009
    June 2009
    July 2009
    August 2009
    October 2009
    November 2009
    December 2009
    January 2010
    February 2010
    March 2010
    April 2010
    May 2010
    June 2010
    July 2010
    August 2010
    October 2010
    January 2011
    February 2011
    April 2011
    July 2011
    September 2011
    December 2011
    January 2012
    April 2012


    plant-based: veg blogs
    bittersweet blog
    cake maker to the stars
    the conscious kitchen
    a crafty vegan
    the discerning brute
    eat me, delicious
    everyday dish
    fake sheep
    get sconed!
    have cake, will travel!
    just the food
    kamutflake girl
    lunch box bunch
    101 cookbooks
    post punk kitchen
    swell vegan
    28 cooks
    the urban housewife
    vegan knitting (and then some...)
    vegan blog tracker
    vegan lunch box
    vegan yum yum
    veg cooking blog
    we like it raw
    what the hell does a vegan eat anyway?
    world vegetarian
    yellow rose recipes
    your vegan mom

    in the loop: take back the knit contributors' blogs...
    cosmicpluto knits!
    everyone is doomed
    is it a sweater yet?
    jodi's weblog
    knit freak
    knit wit
    mason-dixon knitting
    mk carroll
    pens and needles
    sweet little domestic life
    titanium rose
    tricky tricot
    a view from sierra county
    yarn harlot

    other blogs...
    bienvenue a mon monde
    brainy lady
    dirty sugar cookies
    domestically challenged
    fig and plum
    french word-a-day
    knit and tonic
    lovely purls
    michelle knits
    montreal knits
    sock crazy
    super eggplant
    ten thousand stories
    you grow girl

    veg-specific resources... (see also FOOD below)
    Happy Cow (veg restaurant guide, etc.)
    In a Vegetarian Kitchen
    superVegan (NYC)
    Toronto Vegetarian Association
    Taste Better
    Vegetarians in Paradise
    The Vegetarian Resource Group

    food related...
    The Biodynamic Agricultural Association
    Canadian Organic Growers
    Caroline Dupont
    The Center for Food Safety
    Cornucopia Institute
    David Wolfe (raw foods)
    Euphoric Organics
    Family Farm Defenders
    farmers' markets in Toronto
    Farmers' Markets Ontario
    Food First
    Food Routes
    Forever Healthy
    The Garden Diet
    The Global Gourmet
    Go Dairy Free
    Greenpeace Shopper's Guide: How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Food
    International Federation of Agriculture Movements
    Karma Food Co-op (Toronto)
    Living Nutrition
    Local Harvest
    The Meatrix
    Mighty Foods
    Mollie Katzen
    Ontario Natural Food Co-op
    Organic Consumers Association
    Organic Volunteers
    Park Slope Food Co-op (Brooklyn, NY)
    Raw Family
    Raw School
    Real (Raw) Milk
    Rebecca Wood
    Santropol Roulant (Montreal)
    Shazzie (raw foods, UK)
    Slow Food
    D. Smith & Son Two Century Farm (amazing u-pick soft fruit near Grimsby ON!)
    Store Wars
    Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
    Toronto Food Policy Council
    TransFair Canada
    True Food Network
    World's Healthiest Foods
    World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF Canada)

    Co-op La Maison Verte (Montreal)
    The Earth Council
    Global Resource Action Center for the Environment
    Greenpeace Canada
    Greenpeace International
    International Dark Sky Association
    Living Tree Paper Company
    The Rooftop Gardens Project (Montreal)
    Santropol Roulant (Montreal)
    Sierra Club of Canada
    Small Planet Fund
    Soil Association (UK)
    Spacing: covering toronto's urban landscape
    Toronto Environmental Alliance
    Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative
    Voice Yourself

    'alternative' health
    Alive Magazine
    Association of Ontario Midwives
    Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors
    Canadian Association of Naturopahic Doctors
    Canadian College of Naturopahic Medicine
    Canadian School of Natural Nutrition
    Corpus Diem naturopathic clinic (Montreal)
    DONA International (doula association)
    Clinique Elementerre (Montreal)
    Engender Health: Improving Women's Health Worldwide
    Fertility Awareness Method
    Harmony Health Centre (Montreal)
    Hassle Free Clinic (Toronto)
    Head & Hands youth clinic (Montreal)
    The Healthy Breast Program
    Holistic Online
    International Institute of Concern for Public Health
    Kokoro Do Jo Zen Shiatsu Therapy and Acupuncture (Toronto)
    Living with Our Fertility
    Dr. Mercola
    National Network on Environments and Women's Health
    Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors
    Scarleteen (Sexual Health for Teens)
    360 Health Care (Toronto)
    Whole Health MD
    Women's Healthy Environments Network

    knitting & craft related...
    church of craft
    crochet my crotch
    get crafty
    oh my stars
    revolutionary knitting circle
    super naturale
    stitch'n'bitch groups

    zines/indie media...
    Microcosm Publishing
    projet Mobilivre/Bookmobile project
    Rabble: news for the rest of us

    inspiring ladies...
    Action Grrrlz
    Ayun Halliday
    Bitch Magazine
    Blood Sisters
    Code Pink
    Evalyn Parry
    Guerrilla Girls
    Hip Mama
    Inga Muscio
    Kristin Sjaarda
    Margaret Cho
    Michelle Tea
    Sarah Merry
    Shameless Magazine
    You Grow Girl: Gardening for the People

    Fellowship for Intentional Communities
    Free Will Astrology
    Ontario Women's Directorate
    Oxfam Canada
    Public Dreams Society(Vancouver)
    The Ruckus Society
    Urban Harvest
    Vipassana Meditation