At the Health Holistic Lifestyle Expo this past weekend, we had a draw for a 50$ Zengarry gift certificate. Several people came by to enter the contest. One man stopped to chat and as he was filling out his ballot he said to me, "You know I always win these things!"
"Really?" said I, a bit skeptically.
As he put his ballot in the fish bowl, he looked at me and said, "This is the ballot that you are going to draw." I didn't really think that much of it until later that day when I drew his name as the winner of the contest! What amazing powers of attraction!! If you know Steve Hudson, this may not come as a big surprise! He and his wife Wendy teach classes at the Awakening Angels School for Healing and Enlightenment, so I know that he knows all about The Secret and The Power of Attraction!! In fact, it was from these two that I first heard about The Secret all those years ago!!
You may also know of Steve's generosity... he has demonstrated this once again by donating his gift certificate. These were his exact words: " As for my predictable win (smiley emoticon) I would like you to donate it to a deserving someone of your choice as an early Christmas gift from Santa Steve."
Thanks to 'Santa Steve' I have come up with a fun holiday give away idea for my awesome Zengarry friends!! AND I have decided to upgrade the gift certificate to $80!! That's one FREE cooking class or Healthy Lifestyle Immersion Program!! To be entered in the draw to win this 80$ Zengarry gift certificate towards the class of your choice, you must:
1) Like Zengarry Vegetarian Cuisine's facebook page
2) Share this contest post with your friends
AND 3) Post your favourite plant based holiday recipe or a link to your favourite plant based holiday recipe on Zengarry Vegetarian Cuisine's facebook page!
Just think about it!! If we all post one holiday recipe, we will have created an awesome holiday recipe resource!! You will have so many ideas for Christmas dinner that you won't know what to do!! And as a BONUS.... if you post a picture of the dish that you have prepared, and tag Zengarry Vegetarian Cuisine, you will win an extra chance to win the draw! We will draw the winner on December 22nd at our Zengarry Holiday Dinner Celebration. HO HO HO!!
I'll get you started!! This is one of my favourite holiday recipes....
Chilled Holiday Nog
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
Health is something that needs to be nurtured on a daily basis. It is our our habits that will determine how healthy our bodies are, not what we do for one day or one week or even one month. Habits are acquired patterns of behaviour that have become nearly or completely involuntary. That means we're often not even aware of them.
It is not always easy to change these ingrained unhealthy patterns, especially since we have evolved to seek out foods that are calorie dense to help us to withstand periods of scarcity. Foods high in fat, sugar and salt hook people by triggering the exact chemical reactions triggered in the brain by hard drugs, or nicotine, or alcohol. To learn more about this you can check out 'The Pleasure Trap' by Dr. Douglas Lisle.
There are steps we can take to make the acquisition of new habits a little easier. First, know your why. What are your motivations? Get really clear about why you want to change. Remember how great it feels to be full of energy and enthusiasm for life; how your energy affects all those around you; and how your children learn from your example.
Plan for success. Write down your goal. Choose a start date. Write down exactly what you’re going to do, how you’re going to be accountable, what your rewards will be, what obstacles you might face, what your triggers are. And then commit yourself to your goal. Tell the world about it. Write about it on your blog and your facebook page, tell your family, friends, co-workers, etc. The more people that know, the better. Set up a system where you will remain accountable. Making this public commitment will make you think twice before you buy that tub of rocky road.
Identify your triggers. Every habit has at least one trigger — an event that immediately precedes the habit. Create a positive habit to replace the negative habit for each of the triggers. For example, if you have a hard time eating with health in mind when you go out, figure out how you will deal with this situation. Maybe going to a different restaurant that has more healthy options, or eating a big salad before you go will prevent you from ordering your old fatty favourite with a side of supersized fries. If you tend to buy impulse foods when you shop, keep healthy snacks in your purse and drink lots of water so you're not shopping when you're hungry.
There will likely be times when you falter (or at least want to). Who will you turn to when you need encouragement? How will you get yourself back on track? What will keep you going when you forget your reasons? Do your research and keep motivated! Find strategies for success, potential obstacles, tools that will help you be successful (blogs, magazines, books, forums, success stories). The Happy Herbivore posts 'Herbie of the Week' success stories that I find motivating. Identify your support system.... people you can go to who will be supportive of your healthy choices and who will help you stay on track, and arrange to meet with them regularly.
Keep track of your success. A journal helps you succeed because it reminds you to be consistent. It keeps you aware of what you’re actually doing and reminds you how far you have come. It motivates you, because you want to write good things in there.
Reward yourself regularly and often. Buy yourself a healthy treat, get a massage, schedule an extra hour to yourself, have a hot bath, or buy yourself a new pair of shoes! This is very important. You want your brain to start making the connection between a healthy diet and positive emotions.
If you slip, just get back on the boat... right away!! Figure out why you slipped, and plan to beat that obstacle next time. Then be as consistent as possible until the habit becomes ingrained. If you quit, you’ve let the failure beat you. But if you reset your resolve, and learn from your failure, the failure then becomes a stepping stone to success, so don't beat yourself up!
The good news is that good habits are just as addictive as bad habits!! Like brushing your teeth, healthy habits eventually start to feel like the norm and you will feel off when you don' t do them.
What habits do you want to change and why?? Start with one at a time. Focus on one habit every month or two, and just imagine where you'll be by the end of the year!
Is there a difference between being a vegan and following a plant-based lifestyle? I believe there is.
Wikipedia defines veganism as "the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals." I think it's the 'associated philosophy' that gets us into trouble here. Are you a vegan if you wear cosmetics that are tested on animals? What if you eat honey or wear silk? I met someone this weekend that called himself a vegan even though he eats fish and seafood. Is one person's definition of veganism more right than another??
In addition to the lack of clarity of the term, there is alot of stigma attached to the word 'vegan'. As much as I think PETA does very important work, I also believe that they have helped portray vegans as militant protestors pointing the finger at the 'evil doers'. There is also the view of the 70's tree-hugging hippie that's high all the time. When the media portrays vegans they usually fit into one of these two categories. As such, the word 'vegan' is tinted with negative impressions that make people feel defensive and judged.
Some people have the impression that vegan equals healthy. However, there are many foods that do not contain animal products, and are therefore considered to be 'vegan', but they are not healthy by any stretch of the imagination. Oreos, potato chips, french fries, white bread, soda, and Twizzlers are just a few examples. These are not real foods. They are some sort of chemistry experiment. Our bodies were not designed to eat these processed foods that are high in refined sugars, fats and salt, and a vegan person that subsists on these foods is not following a healthy diet.
As a species, we evolved to exist on foods in their natural form. Whole vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. These are nutrients packaged the way nature intended. The nutrients in animal products originally came from plants that were eaten by the animal.
I embraced the plant-based philosophy from a scientific health perspective. I believe that the scientific evidence demonstrates that a whole foods, plant-based diet is healthier than other diets that contain animal products and processed foods. That is my personal view based on the research I have done and on the evidence I have noticed with my own experiments. That is not to say that I don't appreciate the merits of animal rights arguments. I also believe that a plant based diet is the best dietary option for environmental reasons, and these benefits have become more evident to me as I have progressed on my plant-based journey. All in all, it just makes sense to me.
When I first eliminated animal products from my diet, I didn't always eat healthy foods. I was somehow able to rationalize that as long as I was eating 'vegan', I was eating healthy. I see this as part of my progression towards a whole foods, plant-based diet. Gradually, I began eliminating the non-foods and replacing them with more actual plant foods. Even today, I'm not perfect. The occasional cupcake does cross my lips, but I'm no longer fooling myself that it's a healthy cupcake, even if I made it myself with organic sugar and unbleached enriched flour.
I don't think we can always be perfect, but when we know better, we do better. As I learn to listen to my body and it's infinite wisdom, I know when I'm doing the right thing, and when I'm fooling myself, and I strive to replace unhealthy habits with healthy habits. I am working towards being better than I was yesterday, and my health reflects the choices I make on a regular basis.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
I had the intense pleasure of leading a plant based brunch cooking class this morning. I was very excited to lead this class since, personally, I find brunch one of the most challenging meals to prepare in a healthy plant based way, and I love Sunday brunch. To get up on the weekend and leisurely assemble a lavish feast as the first meal of the day, is a special treat.
Most brunch foods are laden with eggs and dairy and fatty processed meats. So if you cut out these foods, what's left?? Our feast consisted of plant based sausage, mushroom spinach strata, potato latkes with curried sour 'cream', pumpkin cinnamon buns with orange glaze and a beautifully creative fruit platter.
With our cups of tea close at hand, we set to work; chopping, mixing, chatting and sautéing. Everyone got their hands dirty, kneading dough, assembling dishes and cutting various fruits into cute star shapes. Although the cooking was fun, the magic happened as these people, some strangers to each other, connected on a very personal level.
Once our table was set, we sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labor. And long after we had finished filling our bellies and commenting on the food, we lingered at the table. We sat for hours sharing stories and experiences. Finding a common ground amongst the empty dishes. These people, individually trying to bring healthier habits into their lives, feeling the resistance of old habits and patterns, for a few hours came together, and no longer felt alone or misunderstood. For these few hours we could support each other, renew our resolve, refresh our recipe repertoire, and learn from the similar experience of the others at the table.
I am continually amazed that no matter how I try to manage and plan every detail, the Universe has a way of creating an experience which is more perfect than I could ever have hoped for. I extend my thanks to the beautiful participants, and I anxiously await the next class!
I love tzatziki! It's so versatile and delicious! You can use it as a dip for vegetables, as a sandwich spread, or even as a salad topping! It's the perfect companion for Greek dolmas and seitan gyros. It adds flavour and zing to anything it touches.
Most tzatziki recipes are made with yogurt, and I have tried replacing the dairy yogurt with soy yogurt, but did not get the results that I was looking for. This recipe is super simple to make and I use silken tofu in a tetra-pac that you can keep in the cupboard until you're ready to use it. If you want to eliminate the added fat, leave out the olive oil.
Vegan Tzatziki Recipe
1 package of firm silken tofu
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
Put all this in the food processor and mix until smooth. Then add:
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
pepper to taste
Mix again in the food processor then remove to a bowl.
Peel one cucumber, slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Then grate it onto several layers of paper towel. Once it's all grated squeeze the cucumber inside the paper towel to get out as much moisture as you can. Add it to the tofu mixture and mix. If you like you can add dill or mint if you happen to have some on hand, but I like mine just like that. Mmmmmmm. Creamy, garlicky goodness!!
Get FREE updates in your inbox!