Archive for October, 2010

October 28, 2010

We Like it Raw

It seems that many people still consider veganism to be some strange, far out diet that only hippies and health nuts prescribe to (not that there is anything wrong with either of these groups in my opinion). If some people believe that vegans are so radical, I wonder what they would think of raw foodists!

Raw foodists love their fruits and veggies!

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the raw food lifestyle and have decided that I am going to try to incorporate more raw food into my diet. Raw food refers to any food that has not been cooked above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Once food has been cooked at temperatures higher than this, chemical changes occur that form acidic toxins, mutagens and free-radicals. Live enzymes that aid in digestion are also destroyed when food is cooked.

The benefits of raw food appear endless; increased energy, alertness, health and beauty! Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis, authors of Raw Food: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow, state that, “It’s easy to spot a raw foodist in a crowd of people living on the Standard American Diet (SAD…an appropriate acronym). Just look for the unusually clear skin, glossy hair, and shinning eyes.” If raw foodists look that good, you can count me in.

There are hundreds of delicious recipes online (some require a dehydrator), including Italian Chocolate Almond Zuccotto cake and Ruby Red Sushi. Even if you have no interest in becoming a full-fledged raw foodist, it still might be fun to experiment with your cooking and baking!

 

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October 27, 2010

Vegan Week

This week happens to be full of vegan and vegetarian celebrations across the States. We are currently in the middle of the IDA (In Defense of Animals) World Go Vegan Week. World Go Vegan Week began this past Sunday and ends on the 31st of the month.

The purpose of this week is to celebrate the benefits of veganism (environmental, health, animal rights) and to help educate others about the positive effects veganism has on the world. Vegans are encouraged to cook their friends an animal-free meal or hand out pamphlets on veganism.

This coming weekend is also the 15th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. The festival is chance for vegetarian friendly food companies, chefs, speakers and people like you to get together and celebrate vegetarianism. If Boston has been celebrating the vegetarian lifestyle for 15 years, I think it’s about time we in Frederick have our own vegetarian food festival!

In California, the Veggie Pride Parade is being held on Saturday in Los Angeles. Vegans will gather there to listen to speakers, eat delicious food and parade through Santa Monica in veggie costumes.

Let’s not forget, this weekend also brings Halloween. Celebrate with cute ghost and pumpkin cupcakes and have fun!

 

October 22, 2010

Seasonal Recipes

Fall is my favorite time of year. It is when the leaves change brilliant red, yellow and orange, the air is crisp and refreshing and a variety of delicious vegetables and fruits come into season. With fall being the start of the holidays, there are plenty of opportunities to show off your seasonal cooking and baking skills.

Autumn is the time for some of my favorite fruits and vegetables: kale, broccoli, pumpkins and apples.

Kale is a hearty, leafy green and probably my most loved vegetable. There are plenty of dishes that can be made with kale, including vegan kale lasagna and chickpea and kale soup.

Broccoli is a fairly versatile vegetable as well and some of my favorite broccoli recipes include caramelized broccoli stuffed shells, broccoli and tofu in garlic sauce (my go-to Chinese dish) and vegan cream of broccoli soup.

Pumpkin is a great vegetable because it can be easily used in both entrees and desserts. For the main course, try pumpkin and peanut curry or pumpkin thyme rigatoni. Dessert can include anything from pumpkin pie brownies to vegan pumpkin cheesecake.

When it comes to apples, some amazing recipes include acorn squash and apple soup, apple waffles and the classic apple pie.

These are only a few of the many tasty recipes that can be made with kale, broccoli, pumpkins and apples, not to mention the bounty of other fall vegetables and fruits such as beets, artichokes and cranberries. The possibilities for cooking with fall friendly vegetables and fruits are endless, so better get started!

 

October 16, 2010

A Post in Which I Gush About Yummy Food

This past week I went up to Montreal to visit a friend. Not only is Montreal a beautiful city with a calm atmosphere, but it is also home to a bounty of vegan restaurants.

Lucky for me, Montreal’s first all-vegan restaurant, Aux Vivres, was only a ten-minute walk away (on St. Laurent) from where I was staying. It was so good I ended up going there three times in the five days I was in Montreal.

A street shot of Aux Vivres

On my first visit, my friends and I went there for dinner. It took me forever to decide what to order as absolutely everything on the menu is vegan-friendly. I’m used to much more limited choices!

I finally decided on the Dragon Bowl, which was delicious. The Dragon Bowl consisted of a salad with shredded vegetables, sprouts, toasted sesame seeds and their dragon sauce. I can’t tell you what exactly dragon sauce is, but I do know no animals were harmed in its making. I also added grilled tofu to the mix, as protein is important.

Not being able to resist, I went back with my boyfriend a day later to partake in Aux Vivres brunch menu. We both ordered the waffles and we were not disappointed.

The waffles and maple syrup they came with were all organic and mighty yummy. Not only was there maple syrup on them, but there was also cashew cream, vegan whipped cream and fruit. Accompanied with multiple cups of coffee with almond milk, it might have been the best breakfast of my life.

The last time I went back was to pick up something for Canadian Thanksgiving, which was this past Monday. I couldn’t resist buying half a cake of Gateau Fauxmage (quite the clever pun). It was a bit expensive, but totally worth it. I’ve never eaten vegan cheesecake before and I don’t think I’ll ever eat any moderately as good again.

Needless to say, I was reluctant to leave when the time came but I’m sure I’ll go back to Montreal to stuff myself at Aux Vivres again sometime in the future!

 

October 6, 2010

The B-12 Debate

In my many internet searches of veganism, I have come across quite a few pro-vegan sites that allege vegans can get a sufficient amount of B12 from plant sources such as algae.

I find such claims slightly disturbing as there is no significant evidence that vegans can obtain the levels of B12 necessary outside of eating fortified foods or taking supplements.

As always, it is important to be wary of information gathered off of the internet. Know your sources! Most legitimate vegan sites strongly advise vegans to carefully monitor their B12 intake by taking supplements.

The myth concerning plant-based B12 revolves around “fake” B12, or analogues. Jack Norris, Registered Dietitian and President of Vegan Outreach, states on his website Vegan Health that Analogues can “imitate true B12 in blood tests while actually interfering with B12 metabolism” which can cause harm.

Vegan Health has an entire section dedicated to providing legitimate information on proper B12 consumption for every type of vegan imaginable.

Norris states on Vegan Health that, “There are no reliable, unfortified plant sources of vitamin B12; therefore fortified foods and/or supplements are necessary for the optimal health of vegans and even vegetarians in many cases.”

It is incredibly important to maintain healthy levels of B12 as a B12 deficiency can lead to heart disease, blindness, deafness, dementia and even death.

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