Carrying on from my first piece about land, water is the second topic that majorly influences what I choose to eat. You may be surprised at the world's current water "status" and how much water you you are indirectly consuming through your diet. Approximately 92% of the water we use is invisible and it is hidden in our food. Is the global drive for "progress" through certain industries coming at the expense of one of our most basic needs: water? More than just trying to follow the latest fashionable diet or appeasing your tastebuds, your diet affects people all around the world as well as the next generation.
(Part one in what I now realise will need to be a series of articles)
What do you think about when you are perusing the isles of the supermarket deciding what you’re going to eat today? Do you do the thinking or does your stomach do most of the thinking? Do you think about what is healthy for you or what you desire at that point in time? Both perhaps? Do you think about the impact your ingredients have on the planet, its inhabitants or fellow human beings? If so, does that make a difference to what you buy or is price and convenience more influential?
In my opinion ignorance is not bliss when it comes to food choices. Ignorance can be detrimental to the lives of others and disastrous for the planet. Even if only for our own continued survival as a species, I believe we have a moral duty to know and take into account how our food gets to our plate and the impact it has on the environment. In a world interlinked as never before, I have learnt (and am still learning) that your food choices aren’t all about you (or me) and in fact many other people are affected by what we eat…that global issues of food and water shortages, deforestation, global warming and the likes, should take precedence over your desire to follow today’s most trendy diet or to satisfy you craving for a Big Mac, coke and fries.
For the past few years, I’ve been actively seeking the truth about our food. Of course, I don’t know all the facts, however from the research and evidence I have collected over the years, I now feel compelled to share the matters that have the biggest influence over what I choose to eat.
A long time ago in my pre-healthy life, I didn't eat avocado's much. I didn't really know what to do with them. Now, I use avocado pretty much every day. They are super versatile. They make amazing raw vegan "cheesecakes" and are great for making smoothies extra creamy. This is one of the more simple ways to use an avocado but still, so tasty and surprisingly filling (I couldn't finish my whole avocado!). Check out the nutrients contained within these little gems below.
Consumption of meat and other animal products is strongly linked to several types of cancer, according to an article published in the journal Nutrients. The author analyzed data on 21 different cancers in 157 countries and found that certain factors, especially diet, were associated with risk for developing specific cancers. Specifically, the association between animal product consumption and cancer was as strong as that linking tobacco and cancer. Possible mechanisms for risk include animal products' promotion of growth and high iron and fat content. The author notes that while detection and treatment are important, animal product consumption has been recognized as a cancer risk for more than a century and needs to be addressed in order to prevent the deadly disease. Consumption of animal products correlated with cancer incidence with a lag time of 15–25 years.
Grant W. A multicountry ecological study of cancer incidence rates in 2008 with respect to various risk-modifying factors. Nutrients. 2014;6:163-189.
I don't know about you, but I get bored with the standard raw muesli sometimes. So I've been looking around for healthy breakfast alternatives. (Of course, NEVER believe the claims made by breakfast cereal companies about how good their cereals are for you. Their claims almost always stink with mis-truths). I find store bought toasted muesli has too much sweetener in it and is so expensive. I was recommended a great app (http://thewholepantryapp.com/) which has an amazing granola recipe. The cinnamon and raw cacao tastes too good to be healthy - but it's actually really good for you! I'll be adding to my normal soaked muesli just before I eat it so I still get the goodness of raw muesli, but with this tasty toasted treat on top. You could also simply eat some for a snack as it is - yum!
I know the word superfood get's thrown around a LOT these days, but chia seeds are a SUPER FOOD and are worth adding to your diet - PRONTO :) Chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds (unlike flaxseeds). One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus a plethora vitamins and minerals. You can often find them in the health section of the supermarket. Otherwise your local health store will be sure to have them.
A nice light dinner for a cool Summer evening. Kelp noodles are a nice change for this laksa although you can use rice noodles too if you wish. Kelp noodles are a low calorie, raw substitute for pasta made from kelp (a brown seaweed), sodium alginate (a salt derived from seaweed), and water. Kelp is an edible seaweed that is high in nutrients and gluten free. High in iodine, kelp also contains over 70 minerals, trace elements, enzymes, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and 21 amino acids. Kelp noodles can be used right out of the bag. Just rinse under water first.
I can't even begin to tell how good wild mushrooms are for you. I got a dried mix of shitaki mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, black fungus ( the seaweed looking stuff that tastes better than it sounds and has a great texture!) and some other type of mushroom I can't pronounce. Just the shitaki mushrooms along are super rich in iron, support the immune system and are used by researches to help fight cancer. They are also one of the most sustainable foods you can have on your plate. Ever.
I recommend being careful what white wine you use. Most have eggs or dairy in them. It took ages to find this organic one that was vegan friendly. Also, I made my own pasta (I was feeling adventurous) but you can use any good fettuccine. As always, I recommend finding one that is vegan friendly.
You could go buy a bag of roasted chickpeas from the organic store for $7-$9 or you could make them yourself for half the price :) These low GI, high protein chickpeas are packed with calcium, magnesium, folate, iron, phosphorus, zinc, fibre and other good stuff. The smoked paprika and lime are a tasty combo.
One good thing I find about not being on a diet is there's no "cheat meals". Being a plant based vegan who only drinks about 2 beers a month means you've pretty much eliminated anything that could be considered a cheat meal. However, if someone asked what my last cheat meal was, I'd feel inclined to confess these super filling, home made quesadillas as my last guilty indulgence. Yes I know. Off the rails isn't it. And it's not even a Friday night. My reason for this is because of the bread tortillas, the cheesy sauce which although is delicious isn't exactly nourishing (apart from the nutritional yeast which provides loads of B vitamins) and the fact they are super cooked all the way through. I prefer my meals a more raw than this normally but this was perfect for satisfying my urge for some mexican style food.
On the plus side, they are much better for you than the dairy infested quesadillas you might get elsewhere! You can also mix up the ingredients to suit what's in your fridge or your taste buds.
Just be careful about what bread wraps you buy - there's a lot of numbers in those things that you probably want to avoid. Try get them from your organic store or get the wraps with the least amount of ingredients. Simple is best. Even better, make them yourself. Enjoy!
I took this to our crossfit end-of-year BBQ today and seemed people really liked it :) Lots of questions about what was in the layers. The beet layer is unusually enjoyable. you might be thinking beets are a strange thing to make into ice cream, but the earthy tones of beets along with the sweetness of bananas is yum! Letting each thin layer freeze is a tad time-consuming, but it's worth it.
Do you know what the grand-daddy of bad-for-you food colorings? Red. The red food color you get in that little bottle is usually made up of Red 40 and Red 3. Independent research studies have shown that Red 40 (and its nasty counterpart Yellow 5) might cause ADHD, migraines, hives, and asthma in folks with reactions. And Red 3? It’s been recognized as a known carcinogen by the FDA (but is still allowed if levels are under a certain amount). I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any amount of a carcinogen in my holiday treats. Furthermore, research shows kids can have a hyperactive reaction to food colourings - eek!
So in the process of making a raw vegan cheesecake, I inadvertently made this super creamy, rich chocolate soft serve ice-cream. What a nice surprise! There is officially no need to use milk or cream of any sort to make amazing ice-cream. And it's so cheap and easy! Get the kids to make their own ice-cream. Mix up flavours even. They'll love it and so will you.
These heavenly little morsels are a bite size of chocolate caramely delight. Perfect for taking to a BBQ or dinner party. Super easy to make too.
A friend of mine gave me a bag of walnuts from his tree. They have much more flavour than store bought walnuts and I have been using them in my cooking recently. Here are some delicious muffins that turned out super soft and fluffy - you don't need eggs or butter to scrumptious muffins.
5 Fast Facts About Walnuts:
This salad is filling enough to count as a full meal, yet simple enough to whip up last minute before heading out the door for some summertime fun. Feel free to adjust all seasonings and ingredients to your taste! This is, after all, a salad… mix it up! Cherries are in season at the moment and they are TAAAAAASTY! You'll find people selling them on the side of the road or at the market. They are a great source of vitamin C, fibre and is ranked among the top 20 foods with the highest concentration of antioxidants. In fact, the standard one-cup serving of cherries has the capacity to carry 4,873 antioxidants!
Holy cow. If you like chocolate, you'll love this. It's like a mega awesome super chocolate party in your mouth and the little bit of chilli gives it a nice kick! They are a little bit time consuming but SO SO worth it!
The noodles were ridiculously easy to make, just slice them on the mandoline, with a peeler or a spiral slicer and you have the most beautiful, living, fresh pasta you've ever laid eyes on.
Clean, plant based recipes for EVERYONE :) And some research thrown in for good measure.