2017 Resolutions: Patterns for Change

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Picture from the Chihuly exhibit at the ROM; this piece is entitled Tumbleweeds, but for me elicited lightening, or a spark. An inspiration to spark change for 2017.

Congratulations on making it through the  first week of 2017 (and a bit)! Nearly 51 of them left to accomplish your goals, get stuff done, screw it up, reinvent yourself, get lost, find your way again, make mistakes, get it right, find success, experience loss, travel, end relationships and start new ones, ignite new passions, flip the page. It’s all a bit exciting, isn’t it? Maybe a bit scary. Not knowing what lies ahead, where you will be at this time next year? All the while hoping that life doesn’t throw you a giant curveball. Bracing yourself for potential disaster or pain. But that fear hangs in the background for now – because January is for aspirations and renewal. As pretty much everyone else (whether they admit it or not), I too love January for its capacity to instill reflection and inspire purpose. I don’t arrive on January first with a list of resolutions, instead I form them over the first few weeks of the New Year. Emerging from a holiday induced stupor, I need a bit of time to get my  bearings and spend some time thinking about how I want to shape the days, weeks and months ahead. This is a luxury granted to us living amidst material comfort, good health and relative affluence. I don’t want to squander it.

So how are you making out so far? Are you feeling panicked or energized? Hopeless or motivated? Astray or purposeful? It’s so easy to get overwhelmed under the barrage of resolutions flying at you every which way. Everywhere you turn, there they are – in conversations with friends, scrolling through social media, in every magazine and news outlet. And one common theme is health. Specifically the attainment of a healthy weight, a healthy diet, a healthy everything. I have to fully confess, as a dietitian I sometimes want to go into hibernation during this time, and perhaps I would if it weren’t for my own desires for a fresh start. But the seemingly endless posts about diets, detoxes and nutrition have me wondering when the collective paranoia of what we put on our plates reached this frenzied fever pitch. Everyone from doctors, to TV personalities to self proclaimed experts and celebrities are claiming that their diet is the one that will change your life around. You just need to avoid this, give up that, try this, banish that. Each nutrient or food coming under attack in turn, with grains and sugar getting the brunt of the scorn at the moment it seems. And if it’s not a food that’s getting publicly flogged, then it’s how we eat. Forget the advice to eat small meals throughout the day – oh so last millennium! If the hordes of (start air quotes) nutrition gurus (end air quotes) are to be believed, fasting is where it’s at. And the longer the better it seems; a study in willpower. Perhaps the biggest test of it being how long you can withstand a juice fast, because you know, detox. Forget a weekend, a week even, let’s go for a month! Umm, no thanks, I like to chew.

I know I am sounding incredibly disdainful and perhaps a touch irritable. But the thing is, all of this makes me sad. Sad that people shilling this ever-changing and increasingly more outrageous diet advice are preying on people’s vulnerabilities, all the while making A. Lot. Of. Money. Your buy-in buys them a very comfortable life. The weight loss industry in the US, including everything from diet soft drinks to supplements, diet books, apps and more is worth $60 billion. Let that sink in: $60,000,000,000 in one  country alone. That is a lot of zeros.

It makes me even more distressed knowing that the majority of those who consume this advice are women. My comrades, my soul sisters. Strong, smart, amazing, beautiful humans. And not their fault – women have been spoon fed smoke and mirrors about what they should look like for far too long, inciting a quest to change what they see in the mirror. But that is a rant for another day. For now, let’s focus on this: there is no ideal, perfect diet. No ultimate way of eating. No supreme regime. In my books, there are only healthy eating patterns. That’s right patterns is the operative word. Patterns that change and mold and flex. They are not meant to be rigid and static. Your pattern will differ from mine and will suit your life.

Pulling from the dictionary, where a few definitions of what a pattern is reside, the one that I like in this instance is this: a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, etc., forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement; anything fashioned or designed to serve as a model or guide for something to be made. In essence, a consistent model that allows for variety.

It’s a tough sell because this concept is not wrapped in a sexy, glossy package. No promises of enlightenment  through discipline. But perhaps the promise of tamed anxiety and realization that you have the knowledge and skills within. So let’s take a collective, deep, steadying, cleansing breath and look at what healthy eating patterns might look like.

For starters, let’s just accept that there is no need for a punishing regimen for our bodies to detox. We have livers and kidneys who do the job just fine. Now onwards. Here are some healthy eating patterns to get you started, my Top Ten if you will:

  1. Eating more whole fruits and vegetables IS in fact a good thing – the more the better. If possible, at every meal and making up the majority of your plate. No argument from me here. Besides adding a whack load of vitamins and minerals, they add to our fibre intake which we are severely lacking in. Fibre is the nerdy, undervalued, introverted but quietly powerful superhero of the nutrient world – balancing blood sugar, keeping our gastrointestinal systems in tip top shape, taming cholesterol levels and more.
  2. Legumes like beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas as well us nuts, seeds and tofu are excellent sources of plant based protein that I encourage people to eat more of – supported by lots of evidence that reducing our intake of animal based protein is better for our health, our budget and the environment. Oh and again, hello fibre, our multitalented superhero friend!
  3. Skip the processed white grains for the most part. There are so many awesome whole grains waiting to grace your plate! Brown/red/black/wild rice, quinoa, millet, sorghum, farro, wheat berries, oatmeal, buckwheat, pot barley, amaranth, teff, spelt, kamut – it’s a whole new world opening up before you! And you guessed it – more fibre.
  4. Dispense with sugary and artificially sweetened drinks like pop and juice, sports drinks, sweetened lattes, diet soft drinks. Choose herbal teas and water – whether plain, carbonated or fruit infused. Go ahead and add lemon juice – it isn’t a magical cure for anything but it does taste good and might make you drink more.
  5. The grocery store is a minefield of ultra processed foods masquerading as healthy choices. Be wary of what food manufacturers claim on the front of the package. Read the ingredient list (its length not necessarily an indication of quality – my favourite brand of crackers has a super long list of ingredients but they are mostly whole grains and seeds) – look out for added sugars, artificial anything, food colouring, refined starches and so on. I often post reviews on my Facebook page of packaged foods that I think are great…and maybe ones that aren’t.
  6. Speaking of sugar – it’s not an all or nothing deal. It’s true that we consume too much. But instead of trying to banish it completely (umm can you really say you will never have birthday cake or ice cream with your kids??), look for sources of added sugar in your kitchens and replace with better options gradually – start with cereals, yogurt, granola bars, snacks marketed to children, drinks and so on.
  7. Take the time to feed yourself and your family well. Be consistent and reliable. This means taking the time to plan, shop and cook and making space and time for meals and snacks that you eat together at the table(whenever possible) without distractions. Be prepared so that you don’t skip meals or forget to feed yourself. It might mean giving up some things in order to make this a priority (yes I know Netflix tempts with endless opportunities for binge watching…but someone has to get dinner started!)
  8. Pay attention when you eat. Avoid TV, devices, toys or books during eating times. Make conversation with those around you. If you eat mostly on your own, it means having to adapt to being with yourself and your thoughts during mealtime. This is the only way to truly start getting to know your body and your hunger and fullness cues. We’ve been conditioned to ignore our inner voice on so many fronts. Distractions in our lives abound and so we are terrible at this (myself included) and often override our bodies – skipping meals when hungry or eating beyond fullness. Start listening.
  9. Enjoy your favourite foods at regular intervals. Denying yourself chocolate or restricting chips will only lead to preoccupation with those foods. We all know how that goes… Instead, have them every now and them, enjoy thoroughly and watch how they lose their power to control your food choices.
  10. Take pleasure in moving your body in ways that are appealing and enjoyable to you. If you have kids, move with them. If running is drudgery and the treadmill your nemesis, why the heck are you signing up for a 10km race? Find a yoga challenge or a hiking trek if that’s your thing instead. As with food, there is no perfect or ideal exercise.

Now these may be a good place to begin, but there are plenty of other things that you could do, or maybe are already doing, to start you off on good footing as you welcome 2017. The ULTIMATE goal is living a life that you can embrace for 365 days of the year and not just 7 or 30. In fact that’s the litmus test for any diet out there – if you can’t live it for a year it’s not worth starting in the first place. My happiest, most vibrant life includes a boat load of vegetables as well as homemade chocolate peanut butter pie – just in different proportions. It includes long hikes with friends, solitary yoga and punishing obstacle course races. Cupcakes, kale, hummus, wine by the bottle and Netflix too.

For 2017 my hope is that you make peace with food and permanently exile restrictive, demanding diets that zap your confidence, diminish your self-worth and wreak havoc on your health. Embrace vitality and give yourself permission to enjoy eating. Invest time in cooking for yourself or your families and relish new ingredients, recipes and cuisines. Happy New Year!

Shortbread Failures and Life Blow Ups

I was really hoping to post a recipe today. It was all planned out. But it just wasn’t meant to be. After a couple of weeks of testing shortbread cookie recipes I declare defeat. For now at least. Though I solemnly swear that I cannot. Eat. Another. Shortbread. Cookie. Ever. Sad thing really, as they were my favourite at some point, though it’s hard to recall that blissful time in this sugar-induced haze I find myself in. What went wrong? Well, good question, it comes down to science really. The formula of sugar, butter and flour just wasn’t right. Nor were the changes I tried to make. I tinkered with proportions, times, temperatures and materials. Each time believing this batch would be it. But it wasn’t. The last batch being the worst of all. So I have decided to give myself a short shortbread break. A shortbreak. Hehe. Is it a forever break? Heck no! I just need to step away from these cookies long enough to not hate them. Should take a week or so. I’ve also run out of vegan butter.

What you might have seen on my Instagram Stories:

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This whole experience made me think of something I heard on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page the other day. That’s Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray Love book/movie fame. I recently got reunited with her discourse and community after discussing a book of hers with a good friend. In any case, she said something to the effect that anytime something blows up in your life, more often than not there is something far better on the other side. Now I know cookies don’t have the gravity of life events, but anytime I can use food as a metaphor…and the hope of better cookies on the other side? I’ll  take it! And it’s true, for my life anyway, life has blown up a few times in the past (breakups, injuries, health setbacks, a gazillion moves…) and it has ALWAYS led to a bigger, better, more fulfilling life on the other side. Yes, of course there is that temporary state just after the blow up that makes it hard to see things clearly. You are suspended in this insubstantial space that feels uncomfortable, scary, raw, blurry, you feel vulnerable or drained or fragile. But for me anyway, there were always cracks that allowed some light in. Sometimes those cracks were nothing more than hairline fractures, barely visible to the clouded eye. After going through a few life blow ups, I try to focus on expanding those cracks and coaxing, urging the light to edge out the pain or uncertainty. With practice (I’ve had some), the light seems to know its way back in much faster, I guess it has directions 😉

And blow ups is where the learning happens. You learn about you, your friends and family, your strength, your needs. And with these cookies I’ve learned about the infuriating yet fascinating baking process. One small change to the method or ingredients and boom, a wildly different outcome. I can already see how making endless batches of failed cookies has provided me with knowledge that will inevitably become invaluable as I create new recipes in the future. And yeah there will be more! I don’t succumb to defeat that quickly! Though a shortage of ingredients certainly puts a halt on development.

As an aside, you may have noticed with the last few posts that this isn’t strictly a traditional food blog (but I don’t think there are rules about that anyway). I’m still trying to find my voice and direction with this project and I have decided not to put any limits or agendas in place just yet. My sole intention is to create then post something at regular intervals. Sometimes that may include recipes but sometimes, like today, just words suffice. I do use food metaphors often though, so I guess there’s always that. Cooking and baking for me are like meditation in motion so that’s often when I do a lot of thinking and sorting of the chaos in my brain. Naturally then, for me, creating in the kitchen is tangled up with soul searching.

I am always happy to get feedback, so leave a comment, share with friends if you so please and as always, I am eternally grateful that you stopped by! Even though there’s no nice food pictures this time around 🙂

xo

ilona

There is a crack in  everything. That’s how the light gets in. —Leonard Cohen

Hard to Imagine…My Dream Came True!!

This post is completely not food related. But I have to share my elation.
I got to cross off an item from the proverbial bucket list. I attended my first ever Pearl Jam concert last night!! Oh, it just dawned on me that there is a slight food connection there, considering the bands name and all. LOL.

Anyway. I know I am a bit late to the party here, having met several super fans yesterday whose concert attendance numbered in the double digits, but hey better late than never!
It was magical. It was amazing. It was unforgettable.

I listened to their hits on the radio as they came up over the years but I truly fell madly, deeply into the music about a year and a half ago. And immediately became entirely immersed and encompassed. This serendipitous encounter came at a time in my life when I very much needed the soul soothing salve that is their song catalogue.

Last night’s show included many defining anthems as well as lesser known, to the average folk anyway, tunes. I savoured every single morsel but was particularly elated when they belted out one of my faves, Unthough Known. Goosebump-inducing moment for sure. That song has carried me through many tough moments and I find myself turning to it time and time again whenever I need to brighten my mood and lift my spirit.

I will continue to ride this post-concert afterglow for a few more days yet. Wow.

Fill the air up with love,
ilona

Blissful Summer Day

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Want my recipe for a mind, body, spirit detox? A hike. Pure and simple.
Whether a journey of solitude or a frolic with friends, nothing restores, cleanses and recharges like a day on the trails surrounded by endless foliage, a blue sky and the warmth of the sun on your face.

It never ceases to amaze me how amazing I feel after hours, yes hours, out in nature. It’s perplexing to me that more people don’t go outside to enjoy the spoils of Mother Earth that surround us. I guess I happen to be super lucky to be living literally at the foot of the escarpment. And am I ever so glad that I do.

Now, initially I had much different plans for today. I had scheduled myself in for a quick morning run, then shopping at a mall. This all changed after a night of awful sleep and being greeted by dazzling sunshine that finally forced my eyelids open. Original plans went out the window pretty darn fast. I happened to be dog sitting a lovely canine by the name of Jersey, so I packed a backpack with water and snacks for us both (doggie delights for her and a trail mix of pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, dried cranberries and cacao nibs for me).

Off we went into the wild.

The sounds, smells, and sights of the forest, fields and rocky ledges were just delicious. I love how you can observe every detail of your body when you’re out there with no distractions to fuzz your perceptions – the building heat of your skin, the pounding of your heart with every incline and ascend, the delight your brain registers as you turn a corner to discover an amazing view, the feeling of the ground beneath your feet. And yes, even the sting and immediate itch following a mosquito’s feast (and boy did they feast today!).

Ahhhh. Heaven.

After nearly 3 hours at Kelso Conservation Area, we headed home. Content and spent. The pooch and I pooched. We re-hydrated and I was happy to have leftovers from yesterday’s meal to feed my growling belly.

I leave you with some pics from our adventure.

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Oh, and here’s my post-hike nourishment. Perfect, no?

Millet with Veg and Beans

Happy hijinks on the hiking trail,
ilona

Hug a Dietitian Today: Part 2.0

Happy National Dietitians Day! (the Canadian version; the US celebrated a week ago).

Yup, today is specially dedicated to honouring and celebrating dietitians. Today also happens to be World Macaron Day… coincidence??

A couple years ago I wrote a little post on my other blog (which is currently in hibernation) dispelling crazy myths about dietitians. Check it out here.

Now go celebrate with some cake. Make mine vegan.

Cake and love and good food,
ilona

Happy Six Week Anniversary To Me!!

Consider yourself warned. This is a long post LOL.

 

Yesterday was the six week anniversary of the start of the fling. With the veg thing. I celebrated by watching Forks Over Knives…well I should say I attempted to watch it but sleep won over about half way through. And truly, that is not a reflection of the content of the documentary. It was actually quite interesting but, note to self, don’t begin a movie at 9:30pm on a work night.

 

So six weeks is a pretty good amount of time to contemplate the impact of such a dramatic change on one’s life. And going vegan does affect a number of areas: your shopping locales, cooking, exploring new ingredients but most significantly your social interactions. Because one simply has to plan ahead when avoiding animal-based foods. Going to a birthday party means skipping the cake and ice cream (and learning how to decline politely), venturing out to restaurants with friends means perusing on-line menus beforehand and getting creative, lunchtime meetings at work often require explanations and visiting acquaintances who might not be aware of your new lifestyle is fraught with raised eyebrows and eye rolling. I can’t say any of these experiences have been negative. And the discussions and commentary that I’ve engaged in as a result has been interesting and enlightening.

 

Early on, my mom started spreading the word to family and friends about this seemingly crazy mission and blog. Most people replied with a word or two of support or shared a favourite veg recipe. People where genuinely interested in the hows and whys of the whole thing, often exclaiming that they could never do it. Then there is my uncle.

 

My uncle Jacek, who lives in Poland with his lovely wife and two daughters, replied in his own, unwavering fashion: witty, cutting and truthful.

 

And now I quote (via translation from Polish to English, and I do apologize here because I can’t quite convey his wit and humor): “Just like cutting off a finger because of a paper cut isn’t a good solution, converting to a vegan diet to achieve better health is, in my opinion, somewhat draconian and radical.” He goes on to ask why foods like boiled eggs or using meat to flavour vegetable soups and stews would be considered unhealthy.

 

My mom answered that yes, she too though our approach was a bit extreme but that even she was starting to change her eating ways after watching the two documentaries that spurred my siblings and I into action. She also recalled a time when her family raised their own animals for meat, kept chickens for eggs, ate whatever food was growing in the garden, bought dairy products from a local farmer and in the winter enjoyed preserves made by my grandmother. It was honest to goodness farm to table living.

 

I’ve held off on responding to my uncle and have been contemplating my mom’s response. But six weeks in and armed with a collection of thought-provoking experiences I am now ready to share my opinions and ideas as to why I ended up here. So here is why I’m doing what I’m doing.

 

I don’t believe that there is inherently anything wrong, nutritionally speaking, with eggs, meat, fish or dairy. Or, shall I say, there wasn’t anything wrong with these foods until we started messing with Mother Nature. I feel we really went wrong when we began mass producing animal-based foods at a rate that inevitably compromised the quality, safety, ethics and compassion that should exist when sacrificing animals or using their by-products.

 

I’ve been exposed to enough literature and documentaries that it is now, more than ever, hard for me to ignore the evidence of how these poor animals are treated in the weeks, days, minutes leading up to their death. Or their miserable existence as we extract from them what we want (milk, eggs) and allow them to wallow in despicable conditions. Reduced literally to a commodity for human consumption, akin to canned goods, their well-being completely sacrificed for efficiency and quantity. Because we humans want things fast, and in vast amounts. And I mean, why change now? Why not when I first saw Food Inc. or the like? I don’t have a good answer. But upon being confronted with those horrific images yet again, I knew I had to solidify my thoughts and beliefs with action. The action in this case being a pledge to do vegan AND document it in writing (i.e. this blog).

 

And really I can’t say that this is entirely alien to me. I’ve been naturally moving towards an increasingly more veggie diet for quite some time. I already had a fairly limited consumption of meat, though I did eat fish often enough; and I more often opted for plant-based milk alternatives in lieu of the more familiar carton in the dairy section (aside from drinking my coffee with cream or milk). Also, I adore, crave even, vegetables and fruit (the former to a slightly larger extent). So it’s not like I was the type to order a meat-lovers pizza to start with anyway. I’ve always been much more content to slurp up a tofu and veg Thai curry or feast on a ginormous salad or ogle the colourful wares at the local farmer’s market.

 

But I have to admit, my mom’s narrative of “the good old days” did get me thinking. Now I wager that most/all vegans would be repulsed by eating an animal regardless of the life that preceded their slaughter. Would I be more at peace eating meat and animal products if I knew the animals were being treated ethically and led a happy existence?  This was one question that my brother posed before we set out on our veg adventure. I can’t say I had an answer then, and I don’t have an answer now. As it stands, I’ve thus far lived 6 weeks of vegan life (though I already feel like I will have a hard time reintegrating into the “other” world). I’m inclined to say that I’d certainly consider looking at the options for ethically raised meat and animal products sourced in a way that did not cause harm. Although this would certainly require some good old research and footwork as I feel I have so been duped by exclamations of free run, organic, grass fed and such that I would only trust my own investigations and conversations with producers to even consider such options. So maybe. In the future.

 

Another thing. I feel entirely unqualified to tout veganism as an option for every woman, man or child. It would feel awfully hypocritical, having only practiced partial vegetarianism in the past and full-on veganism for a mere month and a half. My goal is definitely not to impose any of my ideas, beliefs or undertakings on others. I truly believe that any change must be fully embraced by the individual before the plunge is taken, and that comes from within. It’s like badgering a smoker to quit. It won’t happen unless they themselves have an emotional connection to why they should do it and often the sentiments of “because it’s bad for you” are not sufficient.

 

But let me just say this (hey, it’s my blog after all!). I don’t judge those that choose the omnivore lifestyle. Just like I don’t believe that vegan equates to healthy (theoretically one could live off of chips, potatoes and Oreos and call themselves vegan). But I do very strongly feel that it is time for us to become more aware of what we put in our grocery carts, and more importantly, what we put in our mouths. Let’s not be blindly led by corporations and large scale manufacturers, who seem to largely make dietary decisions for us these days. Let’s examine what our food is made of and where it comes from. Let’s believe in the power of food to heal, transform and cure our ailments. Let’s stock our cupboards and fridges with foods that nourish, energize and keep us free of disease. Vegan or not, let’s be mindful of what we eat. Our bodies are precious, meant to take us from A to B and beyond for what we hope to be healthy, meaningful decades. This can only be achieved by fuelling them with goodness and not letting them become dumping grounds for processed, factory made, toxin-filled rubbish

 

At the end of it all, this whole experiment…the lifestyle change, the blog…is all a ruse to start conversation, to challenge beliefs and for me, personally, to see if I can do it. And by “it” I guess I mean two things: the vegan life and starting/maintaining a blog. That’s all 🙂

Peace, love and a good, long, healthy life,
ilona

Kitchen Treasures

First of all, has it already been five weeks? Over a months since my siblings and I started our veg challenge? Wow. I have been living the vegan life for 35 days thus far and I feel it becoming part of who I am not just something I’m doing. I remember at first I used to announce the milestones to anyone in my vicinity with pride, awe, surprise.

“It’s been a day!”

“A week in and so far so good!”

“Two weeks and still alive.”

But truth be told, today I actually had to look up when we all jumped aboard this journey. I just could not recollect how many weeks it had actually been.  It seems that the “how long” has stopped mattering. I feel a big part of this has been the fact that along the way my passion and excitement in the kitchen has been re-ignited and I have been head-over-heels giddy with all the new culinary discoveries that I have made.

Now, in all fairness I have always been one of those strange people that enjoy grocery shopping. Not the kind where you rush into the store, exhausted after work to pick up a missing ingredient or two to make a meal for a crowd that you invited over in a moment of utter amnesiac-like stupor. I’m talking the kind of shopping you can do with coffee cup in hand, languidly perusing the aisles in search of new treasures. Sorry, did I just make anyone gag a bit? But it’s true. Many a shopping trip have landed me in possession of some new exotic or never before owned ingredient awaiting gastronomic exploration. Or, in some scenarios, I have found myself searching high and low for a novel food element that I had discovered in a cookbook, conversation or show.

So opening the Pandora box of veganomics has certainly led me to acquire and try a bunch of fresh kitchen wares. Here are some favourites:

Millet:

I have long been on-board of the increasingly more crowded quinoa train. But I came across millet in a few vegan recipes and decided it was time to expand my grain repertoire. I like it a lot. I’ve used it as a base for a breakfast porridge, in a mushroom soup and as a side dish. Will continue to have this as a staple in my pantry for sure!

 

Nutritional Yeast:

Hello flavor! And nutrition! Nutritional yeast is a go-to ingredient in a lot of veganized recipes. It imparts a deep, pungent flavor. Hard to describe but the word umami comes to mind. I’ve put it in dishes like soup, spreads, scrambled tofu and an eggless egg salad. Rock on!

Dried Legumes:

Legumes (beans, lentils and chickpeas) have made many appearances in my pre-veg cuisine. Most often, except in the case of lentils, I would reach for the canned versions. Over the last few weeks, however, I decided to give dried a spin. And let me tell you, there is nothing scary about them. You soak them overnight and the next day you let them bubble away for about an hour, give or take a bit depending on the variety, while you go on with other business. The resulting tidbits are more flavorful, have better texture and for some reason they are, at least for me, easier to digest. Plus you do save some bucks doing the dried. Winners all around.

 

Sugars:

I was pretty surprised to hear that your garden variety sugar is often processed using animal bone char (it is used to filter out the impurities). Consequently, many vegans choose other alternatives. In lieu of the usual white stuff, my pantry is now stocked with Sucanat, organic sugar, agave and maple syrup. Oh yeah and coconut sugar. Cool, eh? I have to say, these processed white sugar alternatives have such unique, awesome flavours…who knew there was a world beyond the white??

 

Whole Foods 365 Almond Milk:

I have been using cow’s milk alternatives for far longer than I can remember. I’ve tried a few brands of almond milk and had settled on one brand in particular. Then I found out something concerning. It turns out that many products on grocery shelves, including the variety of almond milk I was consuming, contain an ingredient called carrageenan. Apparently not so great for your gut. So I started a search for something more GI-friendly and settled on Whole Foods 365 brand. Mmm. I use the vanilla, original and unsweetened varieties.

The next step is making my own!

 

Earth Balance:

Because sometimes you just want some buttery toast. Or mashed potatoes. Or popcorn. Earth Balance is a vegan margarine that is referred to by name in all the vegan cookbooks and sites that I have come across. Yummy, buttery goodness.

 

Food for Life Ezekiel Breads and Wraps:

I have not quite joined the gluten-is-the-root-of-all-evil party. But I do strongly feel that many of the sandwich building blocks available to us, despite the “whole” or “multi” labels slapped on them, are made with far too refined grains. As such, Food for Like Ezekiel is my go to brand. Their goods are made with whole, sprouted grains and the results are delicious. Currently in my freezer you will find the Ezekiel Sesame Whole Grain Sprouted bread, Sprouted Whole Grain tortillas and Sprouted Corn tortillas. They are kept in the freezer as they don’t contain any preservatives to extend their shelf life. A quick spin in the toaster or microwave and they’re good to go. Sooo nutritious and delicious!

Okay I will stop here. For now. I have a million other things to share with you, dear readers, so I will do more posts like this.

But in the meantime please, do share! What is your favourite vegan food or ingredient in your kitchen right now? Sharing is caring, after all 😉

wishing you a blissful, peaceful Sunday afternoon,

ilona