Over the past couple years veganism's popularity has been vastly growing. During the pandemic so many of us actually took some time to try and educate ourselves and so many new documentaries and studies have made themselves available. From celebrity influencers to mass media and even our best friend, we are bound to hear someone has “turned vegan'' or has been “practicing” meat free days. There are so many great benefits to going vegan, but there are also so many reasons to choose this diet direction. Lets clear one thing up, I myself was vegan for over 6 years. I then began introducing seafood every once in a while, but mainly stayed vegan. I recently tried chicken and even the dreaded red meat to see how I would react to them. We never notice a difference when our main staple is meat and even when we change to eating vegan it's hard to chalk up all the bad feelings we felt while eating meat. So with this experiment on myself I found that chicken makes me bloated and gassy, and red meat gives me the worst heartburn and pain that i have felt almost worse than pregnancy contractions. The population is starting to realize the same effects of going meat free. From celebrities to your best friend they are trying this style of eating. There are numerous benefits from being rich in nutrients, help with weight loss, improve system functions, and it may also prevent numerous disease ailments, its no wonder people are going meat free. Those who suffer from G.I. type diagnosis may benefit greatly from adapting to a vegan way of eating. At the end of the day we all have to decide on what works for us and what nourishes us rather than hurts us. Food can be so delicious making us forget about our health and indulge in the things that can deplete our health reservoir. Make wise food choices and consider incorporating at least 2-3 days where you are meat free. This can help reset our digestive system and may also give us an energy boost. I strongly feel it is here to stay consciously or unconsciously at some point we eat vegan!
I love the holidays! The food, the weather, decorating, and the time spent with my family in the kitchen. With Thanksgiving coming up in exactly a week it is only right that I post a recipe to help those of you who are struggling on what take to your family gathering. Perhaps you want something simple but classic. Well I got just that for you. I like to keep things healthy but tasty so that not only will my little family enjoy it, but also the rest of my extended family. This recipe is one that I have been making for several years. In my family cranberry sauce is not a very well liked side dish. To my knowledge myself and my dearest grandmother were the only ones who enjoyed this classic side. When I became a health nut I was determined that I would never eat cranberries out of a can ever again. I wanted to use the freshest cranberries I could find and make everything from scratch. I searched for a recipe and of course had to add my twist to it, but found that Damn Delicious had the recipe I was searching for.
The recipe below has been adapted from Damndelicious.com
Cranberry Orange Sauce Makes 3 cups
¼ cup freshly squeezed organic orange juice
Zest of ½ an orange (optional)
½ cup coconut sugar or coconut nectar
12 ounces of fresh organic cranberries
In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest (if using), sugar and ¾ cup water over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
Stir in cranberries and bring to a boil; reduce heat and let the sauce simmer until it has thickened, about 15 minutes. WARNING do wear an apron and not your thanksgiving outfit when preparing. These little cranberries pop as they heat up and could potentially splatter on you. It happened to me!
Let cool completely before serving.
Serve on top of Coconut Bliss ice cream with a side of pie or on the side of your Thanksgiving feast!
No bake energy bites have many beneficial ingredients. This recipe is meant to give you energy and also give you a healthy snack to consume throughout the day or when craving baked goods! 1.Oats: Oats aid in the production of GABA. Around 3-4oz. of whole oats provides 3.7 grams of GABA. GABA is calming to the body and is involved in the production of endorphins. A deficiency in GABA can lead to headaches, hypertension, heart palpations and seizures. Oats can also help regulate blood sugar levels. 2.Coconut: Coconut is a great source of omega-3. Using parts of the coconut such as coconut flakes, coconut milk, or coconut oil can add essential fatty acids to your diet. Coconuts are antiviral, antibacterial, and ant parasitic, meaning they kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites (Dansereau, 2012). It can also help with lice, throat infections, urinary tract infections, tapeworm, herpes, bronchitis, and numerous other microbial ailments. 3. Flax: Flax is another great source of omega-3. They also contain magnesium. Magnesium is a mood stabilizer because it regulates electrical stability of cell membranes. A deficiency in magnesium can be caused by stress, excessive calcium intake, dietary insufficiency, hypothyroidism, or insulin resistance can cause depression (Bauman, 2012).
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Yield: About 3 dozen
1 cup oats
2/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup cacao nibs (optional)
1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Method: Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1" in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes 4 rolls. Equipment Bamboo sushi rolling mat Really sharp serrated knife Rice cooker or pot for rice Large preferabely glass bowl to cool rice down in Small saute pan Ingredients 1 cup rice (1/2 brown rice and ½ basmati) For the filling 1/2 avocado, peeled, seeded, sliced into long pieces 1/2 cucumber, peeled & sliced into long thin strips 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 4 sheets nori* Directions For the rice Prepare rice accordingly. It should be something like 1 1/4 cup water to 1 cup rice. Cook till rice is tender but firm, even a little dry. Empty hot rice into a large glass bowl. When rice is slightly warmer than room temperature it’s ready to work with. Take one Nori sheet and place on bamboo sushi mat. Put about ½ cup of rice on to the nori sheet padding it down covering the nori sheet leaving a 2” edge furthest away uncovered. For the filling Layer avocado slices and cucumber on edge closest to you. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and Roll! Slice into edible sizes and enjoy with Liquid Aminos (healthy soy sauce), and ginger. Additional filling ingredients: sprouts, carrots, asparagus, green onion, and any other ingredient you can imagine! This was an adapted recipe from Post Punk Kitchen (Goin’ back to Cali roll by IsaChandra)
My journey began in Iquitos, Peru on a gloomy warm afternoon. The smell of diesel fuel filled the crowded streets of this small city while I rode on a moto-taxi. Many food carts lined the streets selling a variety of treats such as, popcorn, nuts, fruits and their juices, even clothes and accessories. I was on a strict diet which prevented me of completely indulging in the local cuisine, but it did not stop me from hunting out good food. My second day in this foreign land was an early one. I woke around 6 to get to the Belen Market. Belen is an “open aired” market that sells numerous items from food to household goods to tobacco and many medicinal herbs, plants, and perfumes. One of the alleys in particular that caught my eye, and nose, was the meat aisle. Fresh raw meat filled the aisle as vulture’s prowled through the garbage ridding the trash bags from all the unsold meat. I quickly turned down the fruit lane where many unfamiliar fruits awaited my arrival. Some familiar fruits were there too, mango, papaya, passion fruits, coconuts, and bananas. The unfamiliar were the variety of the familiar, such as, large yellow passions fruits, green, orange, black and yellow bananas, small and large, and the mango varieties. All these fruits were delicious and all the food from the handful of restaurants I visited was amazing. My meals often consisted of veggies, rice, and fruits. I also was able to find some amazing garlic bread that happened to fit with my strict diet. I spent a lot of money eating that garlic bread only to find out it wasn’t as much money as I thought. I also tried a fruit called Aguaje that had a red beaded like shell that incased a yellow cheddar cheese like fruit and a large seed. Although I can’t say I enjoyed it since I am not a cheddar fan, but it sure would be a great substitute for someone who loves cheese. The trip continued. After leaving Peru and arriving home it was time to get ready for my next destination, Jamaica. Jamaica has always been a dream destination for me. I love the turquoise blue waters and the variety of food they offer. The plane landed in Montego Bay and we were quickly collected and swept off to Belmont, a small town where everyone knows one another. I stayed at a small cottage called “Nature Roots Cottage” owned by a lovely Rasta man named Brian or “The Bushman” and his family. They were amazing hosts and always made sure we had everything we needed. The friends we met were also very helpful. We had one man named “Stumpy” who came every morning with fresh fruit picked from his farm that morning. Now the fruits in Jamaica are far beyond what I had anticipated. He brought us large bags filled with star apples, Jamaican apples, coconuts, bananas, mangoes, sour sop, jack-fruit, a cherimoya type fruit which they called sweet sop, ackee, and best of all bread fruit. We also had the opportunity to have fresh lobster brought to us caught just that morning. Our lovely host prepared amazing meals which included festival, a fried corn bread like treat with pumpkin mixed in the dough. We had run down which is similar to a stew, but with more of a runny consistency. Our favorite meal of the whole trip was the bread fruit, lobster and festival dish. Ackee was also a most requested dish. Once cooked, Ackee is similar to scrambled eggs. We had this for breakfast several times with festival and veggies. This trip also included visits to Negril, and Montego. It was far more difficult to find local Jamaican fruits in the tourist area. It’s important to make local friends that can help you find what you need. We just so happened to have a lady offer to braid our hair and while getting our braids done, we asked her where we can get ital food. Ital is short for vital. Many of the traditional Rastafarians eat ital food which is pure and clean from the earth mainly vegan with the exception of the occasional fish dish if they choose. In Montego it is difficult to find this food, but she knew a woman who was happy to cook for us and made us exactly what we wanted. We found that if you want the real feel of Jamaica living, there is no place better to start in than Belmont. I highly recommend starting and ending your trip here. On our return home from Jamaica we had a 6 hour layover in Florida. Now Florida is part of the U.S. and it’s easier to find healthy food. I was still skeptical since I don’t know the area. We found an amazing organic vegan restaurant that had many options. Our order as usual was a large one consisting of avocado toast, a squash dip with veggies, bbq burger, lentil bowl, shakes, and desserts! It’s always helpful to try and do your research before heading anywhere you’re unfamiliar with, but sometimes you get lucky. Although my traveling will continue, I feel a piece of my heart was left both in Peru and Jamaica. I had two life changing experiences both in their own ways. I will never forget these places and plan on returning. My hopes are for many other people to see these places and know that no matter where you go there is always something fresh to eat. You might have to step out of your comfort zone or step outside of your hotel to find it, but in the end and you will find yourself leaving a part of you in a foreign land, of course, in exchange for some great fresh food! Enjoy!