I’m Back Baby!

So here’s the thing.  After falling off the Eating Clean August wagon and then clawing my way back on i decided to just hop off.  I don’t think cleanses and challenges like that are for me.  They don’t really suite my personality.  Pretty much, if i know it’s not forever or i am not going all in i just can’t make the commitment for now.  Seems pointless.  That’s why when i lost a bunch of weight i lost a bunch of weight.  Why when i went vegan i didn’t go vegetarian first.  Why i have never been able to cut back on smoking, it’s always been either i smoke or i don’t (and by the way, i still don’t!).  Also the voice inside my head was shouting “you already don’t eat meat and dairy and gluten and you’ve cut back on soy…..are you kidding me with this sugar free thing?”  I got sick of listening to the shouting and so said “fine, fuck it.  Give me a cookie”.  So i spent the rest of August eating what i wanted (out of what i could) and enjoying the Summer.  Went to Hornby Island (a miracle of a place, everyone should go.  They make sunscreen out of seaweed for fuck sakes!), and just generally chilled.  September has been a blast, first with Bumbershoot (from which i still have bruises from the mosh pit at LMFAO) and now with FRINGE!  So…that was my “hello, it’s been awhile, hope you are all doing fab” post – now over to FanFuckingFringeTastic!

Eating Clean August – Day 6, 7, 8 – August 8th, 9th, and 10th

Combining 3 days into 1 because…i can.

Sunday was not a total write off but if i fell off the wagon on Saturday i was only climbing back up on Sunday.  There was a fantastical shake that included banana, strawberry, raw cocao, vanilla, and natural peanut butter and a yumtastic tofu scramble…but there was also fries with ketchup.  So yeah, i was holding on to the wagon but flailing and dragging my feet big time.

Monday was better.  It featured a shake (shock!), left over curry from dinner Sunday, and a BIG stirfry.  You may have heard of my BIG salads, well this is almost the same but sauteed.  Baby bok choy (and i don’t care…i just always have to sing that after saying baby bok choy), baby corn, asparagus, red, green, and yellow peppers, sprouts, broccoli, and tofu.  Lots of times when i make a BIG stirfry i don’t bother with a grain as it just seems like filler, so this was nothing but veggies seasoned with Braggs, nutritional yeast, and Spike.  SO good.

And then there was today…..a bounty of awesome good for me radness.  1st there was…A SHAKE…seriously, have to start making radder shakes….anyone have a recipe i can try?

Schweeeet and Schpiiiiicy!

And then it got good.  For lunch i had Raw Sweet and Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms as taught to me by the lovely and amazing Janice of Raw Foundation.  I marinated portabello mushrooms in Braggs and water over night and then topped with a concoction of avocado, chilli powder, cayenne, lemon, agave, and fresh tomato.  So much lovelier than the BBQ that was happening at my work that made the whole building smell super gross.  I am such a hippy.

WOWOWOWOWOW-Zers!

And for dinner?!?!  VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE PIZZA from The Wallflower! I ♥♥♥ this place and i SUPER ♥♥♥ the pizza that you can only get on Tuesday!  The crust is homeade and amazing (not the usual shit substitutes GF peeps have to deal with) topped with Daiya cheese, vegan “meat” options, and veggies.  SO YUM!  I shared the pizza so also had a spicy peanut wrap and Lightening Fries (vegan chilli fries).  And if that wasn’t enough super awesomeness they also have a gluten free beer at the Wallflower!

Look how sad my water was to be pushed aside for this awesome gluten free ale (can you call any beer an ale?!?).  Don’t know if it’s vegan but will find out.  I really hope it is (hopehopehope).  Oh, and we used a Groupon so we saved $20.  Because we are super smart and awesome like that.

So that was what i ate.  Now for the lesson you’ve been dying to learn:

WTF is Nutritional Yeast?!? And Why All You Crazy Vegan’s So Nutty For It?!?

From Buzzle.com

Nutritional yeast is the deactivated form of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is called the “vegetarians’ proteins” as it is a rich source of protein while still containing a number of other nutrients. Nutritional yeast is grown on cane sugar and molasses. It is then harvested, washed, dried and sold either in the form of flakes or powder. The color of nutritional yeast may range from yellow to brown depending upon the manufacturer. The various nutritional yeast benefits have made this nutritional supplement a popular choice for many, specially amongst vegetarians.

Nutritional Yeast Benefits

With 18 amino acids, nutritional yeast is a complete protein. It is up to 55% high quality protein. In addition, it has 15 minerals in it. For vegetarians and those who are on a low cholesterol diet, nutritional yeast is a great substitute for meat, dairy products or other sources of proteins that are also rich in fats.

Other health benefits of nutritional yeast include:

  • It maintains ideal intestinal ecology.
  • It improves blood production.
  • It helps in maintaining optimum cholesterol levels.
  • It improves liver health and function.

Including Nutritional Yeast in Diet

Besides the health benefits of nutritional yeast flakes or powder, it is the nutty and cheese like flavor that also has a role to play in popularizing this supplement. It is favored by many as a cheese substitute. Here are some ways in which nutritional yeast can be included in the diet:

  • Use it as a topping for popcorn, instead of butter and salt.
  • Put in on your scrambled eggs <– nope, don’t do that, use it in your TOFU SCRAMBLE!  Much better!
  • Use nutritional yeast for it’s cheesy flavor in pizzas, pastas and casseroles. <– check out THIS awesome Mac and “Cheese” recipe!
  • Add to soup to give it a creamy taste without adding milk.
  • Use it with fried or mashed potatoes.
  • Can be used with gravies and sauces.
  • Mix it with vinegar and oil and use as salad dressing.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon with every 2 cups of vegetable mixture for burgers. <– veggie burgers 😉
  • Add 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast to each cup of flour while making baked foods.

And no, eating lots of nutritionl yeast does not cause yeast-y problems.  In case you were wondering.

There you have it….see you tomorrow…when i will be starting my day with…an omlette!  Just kidding.  A shake.

Eating Clean August – Day 5 – August 7th

Ok…so i may have fallen off the wagon a tad…

The day started off well with a sugar free hazelnut latte and 2 vegan, gluten and sugar free treats from the farmers market.  Later in the day i snacked on Bean Boy hummus, raw vegetable crackers from Organic Lives, and strawberries from the market.

Everyone loves strawberries.

Then Josie came over with some organic wine and everything went off the rails after we each drank half the bottle…before dinner.  We went to a mexican restaurant where we succumbed to our weakness for tequila, which led to margaritas.  Whoops.  Oh well, at least my drunken before bed snack was Falafel Chips which are totally organic, and super duper healthy.  At least there’s that.

And there’s this:

Health Benefits of Tequila:

*Tequila dissolves fat and has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol.

*In small to moderate amounts, it is a heart healthy drink.

*When you are feeling stressed, one shot of tequila can help you relax.

*According to Tequila Health, if you drink a small glass of tequila after eating your dinner, it helps you digest your food faster.

*Tequila Health also says that drinking moderate amounts of tequila can help reduce your chances of getting dementia in later years.

I have no idea where the website i found this on got the info (what’s Tequila Health?  I couldn’t find it) but let’s just assume it’s all true.  And we’re not even thinking about the health benefits of the lime 😉

Eating Clean August – Day 4 – August 6th

Ok, i am confused….I think i am ahead a day…which is actually fine since the day before yesterday was lame.  I didn’t cheat but i didn’t really eat or learn anything worth telling you about either.  So…Friday the 6th it is.

Breakfast and lunch were more shakes and leftovers.  Although i’m not sick of eating my Go To shakes i am sick of writing about them so i need a fun new shake to share.  I will work on a ‘Week of Rad Shakes’ which will be awesome and inspiring and all that jazz.  Until then…sorry.

So what about dinner?!?  Thanks to the awesome shmasome Jenn I had a fantastic meal of Greek salad (with her mom’s secret recipe dressing which was awesome), olives on the side (because olives are disgusting).  Rice with Earth Balance (i decided after reading the ingredients on Earth Balance that even though it’s a processed product it’s all good stuff so it’s ok), Braggs (same goes) and nutritional yeast.  Roasted potots with Spike (i had no idea how good Spike was!  For you and taste wise).  All jumbled up together on my plate with homous* and hot sauce.  Oh man…there was probably sugar in the hot sauce!  It’s EVERYWHERE!

For wine we had some kind of organic pinot grigio that was fizzy and had a top that popped!  Super fun but i cannot remember the name of the winery…Jenn, you still have the bottle?!?  Holla atta peep!

So that was that.

When i got home there were some Kiwi’s on my doorstep.  Not the fuzzy kind, the kind who just took the bus up from Kelowna to visit for a few days…and they brought an Aussie with them!  For dinner they had Wok Box (one of the Kiwi’s had never eaten out of a Chinese food box!  How sad).  I had heard Wok Box was getting gluten free sauces (every 2 weeks they have been telling me it’ll be another 2 weeks) and so i asked what the what what was.  They didn’t seem to be aware of the impending influx of GF sauces but did tell me the Kung Pow with rice noodles was gluten free..yippee!  As we were walking to the restaurant we got to talking about organic wine as one of the Kiwi’s, Tell, has worked for vinyards for years and years.  She says it’s not that important to find organic wine because vinyards spray so little due to how their rating systems work.  So even if it’s not labeled  “organic” it’s probably still ok.  AHHHH!!!  I am SOOOO confused!!  The only safe wine as far as i can see is Summerhill as it’s organic and vegan.  And i used to hang with one of the families kids.  Not that that matters.  I think i might just try to be super strict on the vegan end of things and forget about organics and sulphites, and all the rest….anyone have anything to say about it all?!?  PLEASE go ahead!

Remember that asterisk back a few paragraphs?  Next to the word homous?  Well it’s because i’m going to tell you about the 3 best homous’ hands down.  Besides yours of course.

Royal Gourmet Foods Homous I ♥♥♥♥ this homous, and so does everyone i have ever shared it with.  It is mad garlicky, super creamy, and just so effing awesome i cannot live without it.  I eat probably 2 containers a week, no joke.  It’s great as a dip, a sauce, or just to eat with a spoon or your finger.  I do it and so can you.  No shame.  It’s also really close in flavor and texture to one of the loves i lost to veganism, the skordalia (or garlic sauce) from Stepho’s.  If you too miss that delectable dip then try this out and feel whole again.  And it’s local (for those of you in Van, it’s from Burnaby)!  I get mine at the Ghetto Grocery (what Ange and i call the Super Value on Davie), and West Valley Produce on Bute and Davie.  I think Donald’s Market also carries it.  just look for the fat little chef on the logo 🙂

So even though i am annoyed by all places with urban in their name the homous in the deli here is great.  It is actually almost the same as Royale Gourmet…someone must have stolen the recipe and i’m pinning it on UF, but only because of their douchy name.  So if you cannot get your hands on any RG Homous then this is your next best bet.

So i can’t find anything online about this company but man do they make gooooood homous!  They are usually at the West End Farmers Market so you can pick some up there.  It looks gross but tastes awesome and freezes really well.  Mmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmm.  In fact i just ate me some a few minutes ago!

I ♥ HOMOUS!

Eating Clean August – Day 3 – August 5th

Yesterday was a fab day!  No cheating and we found some organically produced wine!  It still had sulphites but here is what the chick at the store had to say about sulphites:

Blue Mountain Winery. We got the pinot blanc, it was yummy! And didn't make me stuffed up like white wine usually does...hmmm

  • They are not that bad
  • They are also found in food, wine just gets a bad rap
  • There are less sulphites in organic wine
  • Sulfites dissipate when you open the bottle, this is one reason you let it breathe (oh, i thought you did that as a joke to entertain your friends as you pretend to be a wine snob)

So not only do i need to learn more about sugar, and coffee (for the discussion we’re having over here), now sulphites too.  Eff.

Anyway to go with the wine Ange and i made something i kind of invented…Lime Curry Stuffed Peppers!  I had lots of bell peppers i needed to use, and love stuffed peppers but I didn’t feel like another tomato based dinner.  I could not find anything but the traditional stuffed pepper recipes online so i used a recipe for a stir fry and made it my own.  Worked out great!

The recipe i adapted is here.  FYI for breakfast i had pretty much the same shake as Tuesday but with coconut water instead of regular water.  For lunch i had leftovers from the Triple Tomato Summer Squash Pasta. I also had local strawberries and an apple for a snack.  Oh and coffee with almond milk and stevia.  Boring.  Let’s get to the good stuff!

Thai Curry Quinoa is Hot Stuff….Ing for Bell Peppers (i need a better title, anyone!?!?)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes (the bigger package, not the smaller one.  Hehe..)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoons red curry paste (add more as you go to up the hot if you want)
  • 1 big zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tun bamboo shoots
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk (i used light, worked well)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Bell peppers, as many as you want to stuff
Directions:
  1. I make my quinoa in a rice cooker!  How the heck does the cooker know what’s in there and when to shut off?  It’s AMAZING!  Anyway, put 1 cup rinsed quinoa in the cooker with 2 cups water, turn on.
  2. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden brown. Remove the tofu and set aside, leaving the remaining oil in the wok. (here you can pat the oil out of the tofu with paper towel.  That is if you accidentally bought paper towel instead of toilet paper.  If not use a coffee filter).
  3. While the quinoa is cooking ttir the ginger, onions, garlic and curry paste into the hot oil for a few seconds until the curry paste is fragrant and the ginger begins to turn golden. Add the zucchini; cook and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the lime juice, soy sauce, maple syrup, coconut milk, and tofu. Add the quinoa and bring the coconut milk to a simmer, and cook a few minutes until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is hot. Stir in the chopped basil and bamboo shoots.
  4. While you are sauteing everything get your peppers ready.  Cut the tops off, scoop out the insides and place on a lightly oiled baking pan.  If they topple you can gently shave off some of the bottom to make them stand up.  Place pan in over set at 350 degrees and bake for about 10 minutes.
  5. Once curry has reduced and the veggies are cooked to your liking remove from heat and start stuffing the peppers.  This recipe yields A LOT of curry so really jam it into the peppers 🙂
  6. Bake peppers for another 10-15 minutes and VIOLA!  Yum-Tastic Thai stuffed peppers!

I used a bunch of little peppers i got at the farmers market. So cute!

Eating Clean August – Day 2 – August 4th

Well it’s the 4th of August and that means BBQing and fireworks and…wait, that’s the 4th of July and i’m Canadian…never mind.  All today is, is Wednesday.  Oh wait, it’s also my quitiversary!  Happy 2 week quitiversary to me!

So, eating clean.  So far so good…but i have only had 1 day.  In a minute i will tell you what i ate yesterday and share a recipe but first i want to chat about sugar and i want your opinion!  I said i was not going to eat sugar and what i meant by that was white, processed sugar.  I guess my thinking was “easy peasy!  I don’t use that in anything and i can’t eat any baking right now (wheat) so shouldn’t be hard!” And then i bought some vegan and gluten free organic granola bars because they looked soooo gooooood.  Sweet and Salty Peanut Choco bars people!  That are ORGANIC, GLUTEN FREE and VEGAN!  OMG.  Anyway, i bought them after reading the label and not seeing “gross white refined sugar” listed.  But now that i have come down i realize it may not be that easy.  Just as i am now used to looking for weirdo ingredients like casein (dairy product) i should learn my sugars.  During Eating Clean August i am not eating anything processed that has ingredients i cannot pronounce but these bars seem pretty ok….

Anyway, here is the list of ingredients…i would love your thoughts.

INGREDIENTS: Granola* (rolled oats*, evaporated cane juice*, soy oil*), tapioca syrup*, roasted peanuts*, chocolatey icing* (evaporated cane juice*, palm kernel oil* and/or cocoa butter*, cocoa*, natural flavor, soy lecithin*, sea salt, tapioca starch*), brown rice flour*, invert cane syrup*, peanut butter*, acacia gum*, sea salt, evaporated cane juice*, molasses*, tocopherols. *Organic

FYI tocopherols (which i can pronounce) is a vitamin E compound.

So yes, there is a lot of sugar like products in here, but that is what makes them taste good!  and it’s not that bad…right?!?  Please let me know if the comments and this poll.

Ok, now on to yesterday’s meals.

Breakfast:

Coffee with almond milk and stevia

Van Chick’s Go To Breakfast Shake

Spinach (i ♥♥♥ spinach in my morning shakes, such an easy way to get calcium and other good stuff)

Water

Banana

Protein Powder

Amazing Grass Berry Superfood (another easy way to pack in the goodness)

3-6-9 oil

Lunch:

Leftover Mac and “Cheese”.  My FAVE vegan/gluten free recipe.  Mmmmmmmm.  Yup, there was Earth Balance margarine which is on my no-no list for the month (too much processing) but i wasn’t about to throw away left overs.

Dinner:

Spinach (the only leaves i had in the pad) with leftover caesar dressing.  Recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen.  And……

Triple Tomato Marinera over RAW Summer Squash!

As i am no chef i owe this one to Summer Tomato, adapted to suit my tastes 🙂

  • 2-4 summer squash (no need to peel)
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 fresh roma tomatoes (or whatever you have)
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Some oregano
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • ~10 leaves fresh basil
  • coconut oil
  • salt

OMG, when i have basil i just want to stick my whole head in the bag, which i know is not safe, but i don't care. Mmmmm baaaaasil.

Chop garlic sun dried and fresh tomatoes.  Drain diced tomatoes and reserve the liquid.

Chop your basil. Leaves such as mint and basil are easiest to cut if you chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other and rolling them lengthwise like a cigarette. From there they are easy to cut into thin strips. <– best tip ever Summer Tomato!!!

In a pan heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant but not brown, about one minute. Add the canned tomatoes, a bit of the reserved sauce, oregano and red pepper flakes (to taste, i like my sauce spicy!), and sun dried tomatoes. Simmer until sauce starts to thicken, about 8 minutes.

Pretty!

While the sauce is simmering create squash noodles on your spiral pasta maker. What!??!  You haven’t gotten one yet?!?!  Go get one!  In the mean time click here to see a video of how Summer Tomato makes noodles.

When sauce starts to thicken, add fresh tomatoes and basil. Add some reserved tomato liquid if it becomes too thick to work with. Cook sauce another 3 minutes or so and salt to taste.

Toss your sauce with squash noodles and serve immediately.  YUMMMMM-TASTIC!

And for dessert i had one of those Peanut Choco bars….and all day nothing to drink except water with a packet of Emergen-C…fuck, is there sugar in that?!?!  Let me check…Goddamn…Jenny was right, there is sugar in everything!  Fructose in Emergen-C.  Ok, i really need to know your thoughts on sugar!  Please comment! 🙂

….happyquitiversarytomehappyquitiversarytomehappyquitiversarydearvanchickhappyquitiversarytoyou…..