Showing posts from January, 2011

Product Review! Tasty + Conscious = Eco Ola

I've already talked about the concept of "food as love," the idea that the emotion that you put into something can make it taste just that much better... It would make sense then that something tastes that much richer, that much more wholesome, and that much more energetic if it was made in healthy, happy, conscious way. There is a reason Fair Trade Coffee tastes better. There is a reason small-scale organically-grown tomatoes look that much redder and taste that much sweeter. You can just taste the social justice and environmental sustainability!
Enter Eco Ola.
A few days after I wrote a raving review of Sacha Inchi seeds, I was contacted by the good people at Eco Ola to let me know that they too were just as crazy about Sacha Inchi as I was. In fact, they decided to make a business out of it. Founded in the Peruvian Amazon, Eco Ola's mission is to produce nutritious foods indigenous to their local culture and climate, while respecting the land they farm on and improv…

Share Your Passion: The SimplyRaw Potluck

Does the phrase, "I'll have the salad dressing on the side please" ever get a little tiring for you? Ever feel like your social life has become slightly more difficult because you've chosen to stop eating unhealthy or cooked foods, but don't know anyone else who has made those changes too? Look no further! If you're in the Ottawa area, and whether you are a die-hard 100% raw foodie or just at the beginning of your raw journey, check out the monthly SimplyRaw Potluck, hosted by Raw Food Coach, Natasha Kyssa, on the last friday evening of every month.
This friday, we ended our first month of 2011 by making it to SimplyRaw's January potluck, and did we ever come out with our bellies full! It was amazing to be able to go out for a night and actually know that if you wanted to, you could eat every dish laid out on the table. Our contribution? A 100% organic and raw apple crumble (yes, these will all be less than fantastic phone photos):
filling: dehydrated apple…

Winterize your Fruit Choices

Thanks so much for all your feedback both on facebook, email, and in the comment section about Birth Control. I love to hear all of your stories and how you dealt with the choice. It was a choice I strongly felt I should never opt for, and as far as I know, it's worked out for the best!

Anyway, I know there is a thing about not eating fruits that are too sweet in cold climates because our bodies weren't meant to be processing them in the winter. The sweetness of summer fruits aren't meant to be digested in the cold winter, so they might sit in our stomachs a little longer than necessary, causing potential fermentation, which yeasts love to feed off of. Fruits that can be found in Northern climates during the snowy season, mostly berries or hardier apples, can still be assimilated by the body with little problem, but other ones should be eaten less liberally. Interestingly, I've found that I have no desire for the summer fruits of my region until the proper season comes…

Just Don't Do It: The Birth Control Pill

So, I'm going to go out on a limb here and pick another fairly controversial topic to discuss on a monday morning: the birth control pill. I feel like every girl and her mother are on the pill nowadays. Why? Because it's an expedient method to avoid pregnancy, and doctors claims it can solve everything from bad acne to irregular menstrual cycles. Pregnancy aside, why are we not addressing the actual causes of things like acne or menstrual pain rather than just the symptoms? Unnecessary pains or breakouts are generally your body trying to tell you something is up. Why don't doctors ask us to try something like change our diet, try an herbal remedies, or adopt healthier lifestyle? These would actually address the causes than the symptoms. Instead, we are given a contraceptive? Am I the only one who thinks this is abnormal?
As girls we are now taught that birth control pills are a safe and reliable way to avoid pregnancy. This couldn't be further from the truth. Birth contr…

The Desk Job/Student Life & Staying Fit

So I've heard time and time again that working at the office or getting a "real job" is what often leads people to poor health habits. People's results usually end up spiraling into some vicious cycle of of weight gain and lack of motivation. The stereotype is that starting in her 20s a woman will gain about a pound or two per year until menopause... That adds up pretty quickly! However, defying everything that most people always told me about getting that desk job, I managed to get in the best shape of my life during a period when I was juggling a really demanding internship (aka. the desk job), completing my MA (so a full course-load), and maintaining a social and home life. So it's not impossible! I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but I'm just trying to highlight that it's not difficult to maintain a certain way of life if you choose to make it a priority. So what was the trick? Here are a couple pointers I've come up with:
1) Walking as …

Traditional Chinese Medicine & Food

Lychees are very unphotogenic, but really yummy! Seriously though, they are. When I put lychee into google images, this is what I got:
Lychees as eyeballs (from here): Lychees as... what usually happens after a rough night out? (from here) Lychees as... the primordial soup from which all life was born? (from here)
And I don't even know where I'm going with this anymore, but needless to say that lychees just kind of look globby when you try to photograph them:
Anyway, the reason I'm talking about lychees is that my foray with cooked foods over the winter break made me realize: a) how much I love raw foods and how they make me feel so much better b) that any dietary issue can probably be solved by raw food, you just have to figure out how. Right now, I've been looking for answers in Traditional Chinese Medicine, namely through the concept of "warming" and "cooling" foods.
The reason I was being a little bit more lax about my cooked foods intake over the las…

Skin & Fungus... Yum!

Okay, so that title may not have been the most appetizing way to introduce you to this next dish, but the taste totally makes up for it! What I'm referring to is Hong Shao Dou Fu Pi and Mu Er ("red-cooked" tofu skin and "wood ear" mushrooms). By far, one of my childhood favourites! Over the holidays, I headed down to DC and came home to my mom's amazingly veganized Chinese food. Little did she know I had been dreaming of tofu skins a week prior to going home. (That's actually an embarrassing fact. Right before falling asleep one night, I was said to have exclaimed "You know what I'm really craving? Tofu skins!" That is the depth of my obsession...)
Tofu skin (also known as a beancurd sheet or yuba) is the filmy skin that lines the top of your pot when soy milk is boiled (the same thing happens when you heat cow's milk). It's made up of the bean's protein and lipids and it's apparently quite a process to make. Instead of bein…

Rainbow Smoothies

I don't think there will ever truly come a time in my life when I've had too many smoothies. They're not just convenient, but can be so versatile, and can easily boost you with all sorts of energy to start, continue, or end your day.
Yesterday, we went out for brunch at one of our favourite Ottawa haunts, Cafe My House (reviewed here). Among other things,we had a plethora of amazing smoothies. Their choices are as colourful as they are endless. To the seven of us, I think we ordered about 2/3 of their options, and they were all divine. From their mango-lime-cilantro, which is now something I make at home daily, to their raw cacao latte, there's definitely something for everyone. I opted for their Green Protein Plus, a wonderful combination of vegan proteins (pea, alfafa, hemp and brown rice), bananas, and cinnamon.
Sunday brunch inspired me to expand my usual morning smoothie repertoire, and it was super successful. In the mood for something a little more tropical than …

Rockville, MD Eat: Spice Xing, Veganizing Indian Food and Flavorgasms

I'm very reluctant to use the term "ethnic" when it comes to food, because what does "ethnic" mean anyway? According to the dictionary, "ethnic" means "pertaining to or characteristic of a people, especially a group sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like." In that sense, isn't all food technically "ethnic" food? To me, "ethnic food" has always just meant "whatever is foreign to you," but I think a lot of North Americans would laugh at the idea that McDonald's could be considered "ethnic" food in Ethiopia or Bangladesh. Are foods only ethnic when they come from seemingly "exotic" places like Thailand or Peru?
Anyway, I mentioned a little while ago that I've been having crazy cravings for what most people around here would call "ethnic" food. I grew up in a predominantly Chinese culinary household where everything is an abundance of flavou…

Post-workout Recovery

I'm always in the market for post-workout recovery foods and drinks. I can't say I really feel like I need them too often myself, but Andrew's weight lifting routine really requires that he gets all the building blocks to recovery when he's done. Pre-raw, he swore by Nature's Path Optimum Banana Almond Cereal, previously called Rebound Cereal. It contains a lot what you need after a good workout: whole grains (for slow energy release and recovery), almonds and flax (for protein, healthy fats, to repair muscle), cinnamon, molasses, and bananas (all three of those rebalance electrolytes, and the fruit restores glycogen levels), and matcha green tea (check out an earlier post about its amazing benefits).
It was so effective that I adapted the cereal to a mostly-raw recipe a little while ago, and more recently created a 100% raw one which I have yet to measure and post. To make a good recovery snack, consider the following:
1) Pre-hydrate! Hydrate! And rehydrate! Workout…

Berry Yummy Green Smoothie

What better way to start the day than with a high antioxidant, alkalinizing smoothie? I don't think the taste of my smoothies ever significantly change when I put milder greens in them, but if you're not into the whole "green" smoothie thing, just add in greens little by little and stick with the ones that have less of a taste like spinach or mixed greens. If you want you can move on to the big leagues later and ones like dandelion or beet greens, collard, kale, and more.
By breaking them up in the blender, adding greens to your smoothie makes them a lot easier for you to digest and absorb their nutrients. They're high in iron, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamins A, C, K and lots of the B family. And of course, greens are rich in chlorophyll. I just found out that chlorophyll is almost molecularly identical to hemoglobin, which means that by having your greens, you're actually helping your blood rebuild and clean and replenish itself. Raw foodists known that chlo…