Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We'll start the post off with these delicious raspberries that I got at my favorite produce market.  I just love berries.  I didn't even do anything special with these.  I just ate them out of the package.

I'm trying out a few new things that I picked out.  Here are some pictures:
This is really quite tasty oatmeal.  I use 2/3c of these steel cut oats to 2 cups of water.  Or 1c of water with 1c vanilla almond milk.  Then I cut in one apple and a scoop of peanut butter.  This has been my breakfast for the past week.  Very tasty.
Speaking of peanut butter, I found these cute packets of Justin's at Bigg's.  I tried these 4 to begin with, and then I discovered more delicious flavors at Whole Foods.  I think my favorite so far is Chocolate Hazelnut butter.  I had it on a whole wheat pita and it was delicious.  Very similar to Nutella but without all the preservative and chemical garbage.  Yum.  I don't know that I'd ever buy something like this in a jar.  It's much more accessible in a little packet.
I also tried Polenta for what I think is the first time ever.  It was a recommended accompaniment to a recipe I'll share below.  It's good stuff.  I try to avoid corn for the most part, since its included in just about every processed food made in America.  Even though I liked it, it won't be a frequent addition to my meals.
And I got this nice new tea to try.  It is rather tasty and I've been enjoying it with some local honey.  Probably from Don Popp's Honey Farm, but I'm not for sure.  I think its from another local honey place.

I also got myself these lovely flowers at the farmer's market by Lunken Airfield.  So pretty :)
Now for some food pictures!  I did a lot of cooking in the last two weeks or so, as evidenced by this picture:

Bottom right: Polenta, sliced like sausage and pan fried
Back right:  3 bricks of tofu.  Pressed, marinated, and baked
Bottom left:  Brussels sprouts and carrots in balsamic vinegar
Back left:  sweet potato parsnip puree, brown rice, and olive oil roasted tomatoes with fennel and cannellini beans

Here is a close up of the bean dish.  It was really very tasty.  This was my second go at this recipe and I'm happy with it.  Here is the recipe if you are interested in replicating it.

This yummy photo is of the sweet potato and parsnip puree.  Recipe here:

This recipe was pretty easy to veganize.  I used water instead of milk.  And I added some cashews for a creamy texture.  It also provided a nice nutty taste as well, which was quite enjoyable.  I'm sure you could use olive oil as a substitute for the butter.  I actually left the butter in!  Its the one food I haven't been interested in giving up.


Carrots and Brussels sprouts.  Looking all yummy and delicious!

And I'll leave you with a photo of some lovely apples.

These were all cut up an sacrificed to the oatmeal goods.

3 Days Vegan

This actually went much easier then I expected it to be.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Each day I kept a little list of the things I ate on a post it note. 

One of the lessons I learned was that if I have access to good vegan food, I will eat it.  The trouble comes when I get too hungry or I run out of food in the house.

I'd like to elaborate on this process a bit more, but I've been a little under the weather and I want to share some products I've been trying out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Avoiding Osteoporosis

I found this article online today and wanted to share.  It's rather ironic that I found it very interesting, because I follow the personal blog of this writer and didn't realize they were the same person until I'd already decided to post this.

This topic is of particular concern because there is osteoporosis within my family and I am extra aware of it and the potential consequences because I see them and hear of them.  It was definitely something I considered when contemplating giving up dairy.

I'm going to copy the text of the article below in case the link stops working.

Could More Meat Mean Weaker Bones? Why to Up Your Veggie Intake

Posted by Gena Hamshaw
Recently I touched on a topic that’s of vital importance to all women: bone health. In my post on almond milk, I mentioned that new research is pointing to an unexpected culprit behind bone density loss.
Traditionally, bone loss has been attributed to an absence of calcium in our diets, and so milk and other dairy foods have been offered as remedies. What this suggestion tends to ignore is the fact that osteoperosis is often higher in countries that consume more dairy than it is in countries—even third world countries—where dairy consumption is low. Why is this? Is it possible that dairy (and, by extension, calcium intake) isn’t a catchall solution to bone loss? Or that dairy foods are contributing to the very problem they’re supposed to prevent?
Possibly. A wealth of new research seems to suggest that bone loss results not only from what we don’t eat enough of (calcium), but also from what we might eat too much of (animal protein).
Remember your high school chem class, when you learned about the pH scale? Our bodies, like all other matter, exist somewhere on this scale. Acidic matter has a low pH, and alkaline matter a high pH. Our stomachs have a highly acidic environment – anywhere from 1.5-3.5 on the pH scale. Our blood has an extremely narrow pH range of 7.35-7.45, and it’s usually stable at 7.4. If it moves even a little in either direction, our respiratory and urinary systems will work to stabilize it.
A growing body of medical research suggests that when we digest excessive quantities of animal protein, we create uric acid as a byproduct. Over time, too much acidic byproduct may threaten to lower the pH in our tissues and even in our bloodstream.
Our bodies are designed to maintain homeostasis (sameness), so our systems search for ways to neutralize acid buildup. One way is to “buffer” acid with minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. And one very good place to get these minerals is our skeletal system. However, when our bodies assimilate too much animal protein, they turn to our bones for aid in neutralizing the digestive by products. Which may be why countries with the highest protein consumption so often happen to be plagued by osteoperosis.
But You Don't Have to Go Vegan
This is no reason to swear off meat or dairy. They can be consumed healthily in moderation. But it is a very good reason to practice meatless Mondays, or to start cooking more vegetarian meals, like whole grain pasta dishes with fresh beans, baked tofu and grilled veggies, or hearty stews and curries.
Ultimately, bone protection is a multi-part process. Calcium (and Vitamin D) are important, but so is eating a nourishing diet that’s rich in alkaline foods (like dark, leafy greens) and mindful of acid-forming foods (like meats, dairy, and alcohol). Exercise and strength training play a huge role in osteoporosis prevention, too, so don’t forget to hit the gym or pull out the home dumbbells three times weekly if you can!
For more information on the osteoperosis and acidity link, check out Christine Northrup’s recent articles on the subject. Or read what the USDA has to say about it. May you all have healthy bones!
Gena Hamshaw is a certified clinical nutritionist with an emphasis on plant-based nutrition. She writes about body image, green living, and a plant-based lifestyle on her popular blog,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eats lately

I'm still giving some thought to my 3 day vegan extravaganza.  It's still on the table, don't worry.  I'm just trying to figure out what I'm going to eat!

In the meantime, thinking about it a lot has done some changing to my eating habits.  I'm becoming increasingly aware of what I'm eating and why.  I also enjoyed a few days last week with more vegan eats.

One of the things I'm struggling with is coping with hunger when I'm eating vegan protein sources.  It seems that animal proteins make me more full and full for longer.  I'm hoping this is just an adjustment period...sometimes its hard to focus on work when I keep getting up every half hour for a bite to eat!

Here is a picture of some delicious filling salsa I made.  It consists of:  1 green, 1 red, and 1 yellow bell pepper, black beans, cilantro, and lime juice.  I've been eating off of this all week.  I think the first day I ate it was the best, because I mixed in a block of marinated tofu that I baked.

I'm super excited about the lunch I'm eating today.  It's Sunday and I went in to work for a few hours to get a head start on the week.  I barely have any food in the house and was forced to stop downtown to pick up a bite to eat on my way in to work.

I had a delicious slice of spinach ricotta pie, which was amazing.  I got it at Coffee Emporium and filled the rest of my belly with a brownie from Sweet Peace Bakery and some OJ.  Since I don't usually bother making coffee on the weekends but needed a brain jump start...I also ended up having 2 cups of Chai at the office.  With honey, sans milk.

I wish I'd taken a picture of the pie, because it was beyond delicious.  It didn't help matters much that by the time I ate I was starving to death.

Now...about lunch.  I really enjoy dropping by Park + Vine downtown.  They have a nice selection of pre-made food from Melt in Northside that you can grab and go.  I am going grocery shopping a bit later today, but I needed to eat first so I didn't buy one of everything.

I discovered Park + Vine when a friend told me they carry kombucha tea, since I was suffering from the loss of GT's kombucha.  I stop by there once a week or once every two weeks and grab some yummy pre-made tastiness and usually several bottles of kombucha.

I was pretty excited to try the new flavor of Fab Ferments, pineapple kombucha.  It's really quite delicious and is my new favorite flavor.  Here is a picture:

We had kind of a bumpy ride home and the bottle was foaming all over the place when I opened it..since I couldn't wait for the bubbles to settle down.  This is the first time I've put kombucha in a glass...always figured the bottle is brown for a reason!

I picked a selection of items to munch on for a couple days. 

Green bell pepper filled with cous cous, pecans, and some veggies

Kale salad with a delicious sesame dressing:

And some noodles with sesame dressing.  Did I mention I'm kind of nuts about sesame oil?  I just discovered it within the last year and I don't know how I ever lived without it in my pantry.

I also picked up a "Betterfinger" from Sweet Peace Bakery while I was at Park + Vine.  I tried to buy one this morning at Coffee Emporium, but they were actually just brownies.  I think I died and went to heaven when I bit into this betterfinger.  Its probably good that I waited until after my meal to eat it because I probably would have just eaten kombucha and the betterfinger.  yum yum!

Perhaps next time I'll take a picture of it unwrapped.  haha...It was consumed much too quickly to get a picture once the plastic wrap was taken off!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New books!

Today must have been an inspiration day.

I also decided to buy two books.  Brendan Brazier's Thrive, and Veganomicon.

Super excited about both these purchases.

Vegan Test Run

I am in the process of switching to a mostly vegan diet.  I have a lot of reasons for doing so, but I don't feel like I need to justify them at this time.  Eventually, I may get into it.  But for

Over the course of the last 9 months I've been gradually adding vegetables to my diet and reducing the number of animal products I've been eating.

Now, at this time I have no intentions on being 100% anything, vegan nor vegetarian.  But I want to be more vegetarian, I want to be more vegan.

I've been doing some thinking on what is holding me back from taking the next step and I determined the problem is that I don't know enough recipes or have enough aces in my pocket.  So I am developing a challenge for myself!

Originally I was thinking about going 100% vegan for a week.  But the thought of planning a whole week was somewhat daunting.  So I am going to try being vegan for three days. 

Of course my plan is to document it here on the blog for you lovely readers to view :)

So, I will be blogging soon with my plans!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Squishing Tofu, the old fashioned way

This is a brick of firm tofu.  I've been seeing reviews of the Tofu Xpress on a few different blogs and also found a way to do this at home based on an easy method described in a no frills foodie blog.

I put the little piggy here for a size reference, but I don't think you'll be able to tell the drastic change that I saw unless you try this yourself.

So, why squish your tofu?  Because its full of water of course!  Now, I've been eating tofu for a long time and I've always been happy with it just as it is (well, seasoned of course).  If you squish the excess water out of your tofu, it gives it a nice chewy texture.  I think you will enjoy.

Simply squish between two dinner plates and set something heavy on top!

I let mine sit for a little while, then flipped it over and put the weight back on it.  You probably don't need to do this, but the weight I use is not even and I don't like my tofu to lose its nice rectangular shape!

Here is a side view.  Now you can really tell that it is a bit off kilter.

Here is the finished product.  Much thinner then the original version.  I hope you can tell!

The downside of hippies :(

My first trip to Northside Farmer's Market.
I bought waaay too much produce!