Monthly Archives: January 2012

Tofurky Kielbasa Polish-Style Fauxsages

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We’re usually not very big on faux-meat, but as we were walking around at Fleur Sauvage, we saw this. Caught our interest, so we decided to give it a try. Before going vegan I liked sausage every once in awhile, so I was curious to see what fauxsage would be like.

First off, I have to say that these fauxsages are BIG, and had enough with just one. It was a mixed review for us though. Matthew didn’t really like it because it reminded him too much of real meat, and I liked it. Well, not to the point of having it all the time, but you get the point. I have to agree with Matthew about the taste bit. I really felt like I was eating real, actual sausage. I was fooled. I liked the taste – very garlic-y and onion-y.

You can fry ’em up in a pan, on the barbecue, or heat them up in the microwave – but the first two options are much better I would assume.

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Our First Hot Yoga Experience

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…and probably our last.

Matthew and I came back from our first Hot Yoga class at Moksha Yoga NDG last night. One of our New Year’s resolutions was to start working out and be healthier – and try Hot Yoga. We liked that there was a studio very close to our apartment. It was $20 for one week unlimited, so we thought, why not give it a try?

For those of you who don’t know what Hot Yoga is, well it’s doing a series of yoga poses in a room heated to about 40*C. I have never sweated as much. I thought I could handle it like a boss at first, bah it’s only sweat, whatever. But then I started getting all slippery because I was drenched in sweat from head to toe, and I had sweat falling in my eyes, and in case you don’t know, it BURNS! At some point Matthew started feeling sick and asked the instructor if he could step out, which she actually refused at first and just told him to lie down. After awhile, he really couldn’t stand it, so he asked her again to get out of there, and she finally agreed. I know he is prone to anxiety attacks, and I got really worried for him. I kind of understand the instructor not wanting to “disrupt the peace” for the other people in the room, but come the fuck on!

I found it really hard to relax in such heat. I couldn’t even do the abdominal breathing properly because yeah, couldn’t really breathe in there! The instructor was a little pushy too, and even though they say the class is open for all levels, I didn’t find it beginner-friendly at all. I guess we found it the hard way that Hot Yoga was not for us. Oh and what topped it off was that their bottled water they were selling contained whey protein. Seriously? Gross!

We will be going elsewhere to do Hatha Yoga. We are definitely not going back there. I know it was our first try, and we should probably go back and see how the second class goes, but honestly, if I’m going to sweat while working out, I’d rather not do it in front of people. And even though their showers look clean, I don’t like showering in public places, so I go back home all sweaty.

Health Benefits Of Being A Vegan, Pt. 2

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Since us vegans eat more fruit and veggies, incidentally we consume more phytochemicals. Here is a list:

  • Allicin is found in onions and garlic. Allicin blocks or eliminates certain toxins from bacteria and viruses.
  • Anthocyanins are found in red and blue fruits (such as raspberries and blueberries) and vegetables. They help to slow the aging process, protect against heart disease and tumors, prevent blood clots, and fight inflammation and allergies.
  • Biflavonoids are found in citrus fruits.
  • Carotenoids are found in dark yellow, orange, and deep green fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, parsley, oranges, pink grapefruit, and spinach.
  • Flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables, wine, green tea, onions, apples, kale, and beans.
  • Indoles are found in broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, and turnips (also known as “cruciferous” vegetables). They contain sulfur and activate agents that destroy cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Isoflavones are found in soybeans and soybean products.
  • Lignins are found in flaxseed and whole grain products.
  • Lutein is found in leafy green vegetables. It may prevent macular degeneration and cataracts as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
  • Lycopene is found primarily in tomato products. When cooked, it appears to reduce the risk for cancer and heart attacks.
  • Phenolics are found in citrus fruits, fruit juices, cereals, legumes, and oilseeds. It is thought to be extremely powerful, and is studied for a variety of health benefits including slowing the aging process, protecting against heart disease and tumors, and fighting inflammation, allergies, and blood clots.

It is important to note that these phytochemicals cannot be found in supplements, so they can only be found in food. Food with high contents of phytochemicals include:

  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Soy nuts
  • Pears
  • Turnips
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Lentils
  • Cantaloupe
  • Garlic
  • Apricots
  • Onions
  • Seeds
  • Soy beans
  • Green tea
  • Apples
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Bok choy
  • Kale
  • Red wine

Antioxidants are also nice little guys that prevent oxidation from happening too much in your body. Oxidation causes accelerated ageing, cancer, and heart disease, to name a few. Oxidation creates free radicals, which attack the DNA of healthy cells. This causes mutations, and therefore, allows tumors to grow. Antioxidants include:

  • Ascorbic acid, aka good ole vitamin C. It is present in citrus fruit, green peppers, red peppers, strawberries, and most green veggies.
  • Beta carotene. Good sources are carrots, squash, collards, spinach and sweet potatoes.
  • Vitamin E, which can be found in sunflower oil and seeds, most nuts, bran, and whole wheat to name a few.

Finally. omega-3 fatty acids. It is important to get them in our diet because the body cannot make them. Not only is it good for brain health, but right now researchers are studying the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on reducing or delaying the growth of certain tumors.

Like you probably already know, these fatty acids are found mostly in fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel (amongst many others). However, if you are vegan, you don’t consume fish (also I don’t like the thought of putting doses of mercury in my body, but that’s another story!), so getting your omega-3 dose can be a little trickier. Your best bet is flaxseed oil. You can find it in capsules in most natural health stores. Also, some beans like kidney, great northern, navy and soy beans contain omega-3 fatty acids as well.

Happy healthy eating! 🙂

Source

Health Benefits Of Being A Vegan, Pt. 1

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The Effect of a Plant-Based Diet on Plasma Lipids

I really like reading about research studies on vegan diets. Recently, someone in my Facebook friends posted this picture:

In case you can’t read what is written…

ABOVE:

This woman is 51. She is TV health guru Gillian McKeith, advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and health, promoting exercice, a vegetarian diet high in organic fruits and vegetable. She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation and supplements.

RIGHT:

This woman is 51. She is Nigellea Lawson, a TV cook, who eats meat, butter and desserts.

I REST MY CASE.

Now, I don’t even know where to begin about this piece of crap. Obviously this is just going to get anti-vegan and anti-veggie people to point out how unhealthy this diet is, and well, you know the drill. I  responded to that friend, saying this is a very gross generalization, and it was actually a misrepresentation, which is very dangerous. And I could bet actual money Nigellea has had cosmetic surgery. Therefore, this little piece is not proving anything.

Anyway, back to the article I linked at the beginning of my post…

After 4 weeks, the participants eating the plant-based diet, rich in nutrients and phytochemicals, reduced their total and LDL cholesterol significantly more than the participants consuming a standard low-fat diet.

That is from the article. You can even read the Abstract of the study. This is great news, and just proving that we are super healthy. 🙂

Curry Dipping Sauce Recipe

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This is yet another recipe from my mom that I adapted for a vegan diet. It’s ridiculously silly easy to make, and tastes amazing! If you’re a curry fan like I am, you will love this.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup Vegenaise
  • 1 tbsp curry powder

Mix until the curry powder is well blended in the vegenaise. Serve with raw veggies.

Lush Aqua Marina Facial Cleanser & Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask

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For about 14 years, I’ve had almost-flawless skin. Before that, I had been on every acne treatment possible. I had to go down the Accutane route, and although this is one hell of a scary drug (which I won’t go into here), I have been acne free ever since, except for the occasional breakout of one or two pimples always on the same spot, caused by hormonal changes that one time of the month.

My skin is a bit sensitive, so I just can’t wash it every single day with regular soap. Spectro Jel used to be the only stuff that was gentle enough for my face. Although recently, having become a Lush junkie, I wanted to try their products and see how they fare compared to what I used in the past.

The Aqua Marina facial cleanser was highly recommended to me by one of the employees at Lush. It’s excellent for sensitive skin like mine. It has nori seaweed, calamine and aloe vera. The first time I tried it, although the smell was rather weird (because of the seaweed), it left my skin so soft and rosy! And you don’t need to use a lot – only the size of a pea is enough to do the job. You mix it with lukewarm water until it has the consistency of lotion, wash your face, then rinse. The seaweed will leave some green “fluffs”, so not to worry, it will come off when you rinse!

Next, the Catastrophe Cosmetic fresh face mask. Made with fresh blueberries, calamine, chamomille and almond oil, it is one of the only few vegan options, since most of them contain honey and/or eggs. I wanted something for sensitive skin, so this is the one I was recommended. Besides, I love blueberries, so how can I go wrong?

Since this is made with fresh products, you need to keep the mask in the fridge, and it is good for a couple of weeks only. That’s probably the only thing I don’t like about it, but other than that, it is amazing! I used it right after washing my face with Aqua Marina. It was a little messy, but the smell was great, and it soothed my skin like you wouldn’t believe! 5 to 10 minutes later, after taking it off, my skin was very soft, and looked extremely healthy.

Since I have to use it by mid-February, I will definitely be indulging again soon, since there was enough for a least one or two more masks!

Earth’s Own Chocolate-Flavoured Almond Milk

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I am not a huge fan of most things that are chocolate-flavoured, I’ll admit. I guess that puts me in the minority. I have always preferred vanilla ice cream over chocolate ice cream, for example.

My sweetheart had tried chocolate-flavoured soy milk before, and was kind of neutral about it. He doesn’t really like the aftertaste of most soy drinks. Neither do I. Some flavours do a better job at hiding it, however.

We went to our local supermarket and he wanted to try the almond milk. We went for the chocolate stuff. I had already tried the original, unsweetened almond milk and really liked it, despite it being a bit “dry”. Most non-dairy drinks have so much sugar in them and I wanted to avoid that; however the plain unsweetened almond milk was a little too plain, and could have used a bit more sugar. They should really have the happy medium option. Lightly sweetened?

Anyway, this chocolate almond milk tastes just like the good ole chocolate dairy milk. I admit we were really fooled! It also reminded me of chocolate-covered almonds. Delicious!

The Ethics Of Veganism – My Personal View

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I come across a lot of people who call me out for being self-righteous because I went vegan. Apparently, being vegan makes you judgemental of anyone who isn’t. That we think we are better than everyone else. I’ve heard and read a lot of accusations and whatnot.

I honestly don’t care if my friends eat meat and animal products, or wear leather/fur. It’s none of my business. I know some vegans are more active about their beliefs than I am, and that’s fine. However, I don’t associate with these people. I hate PETA and think they are full of shit and very hypocritical. I used to have a friend who criticized, without my asking, every single one of my possessions and decisions because they were apparently pro-cruelty. All of my family, and most of my friends are omnivores, and the idea of lecturing them never even crossed my mind.

I have seen a lot of veganism bashing, calling us retarded and ignorant to the fact that animal-based products are virtually everywhere, no matter how we try to avoid them. I’d like to respond to this. I am fully aware of that. What we vegans try to do is to just not encourage cruelty as much as possible. I take some (vital to my functioning) medication that has probably been tested on animals, but I need it. I wish I could avoid it, but it is not possible. To make up for it, I decide not to eat, drink or wear anything that belonged to an animal.

Some people would say it makes me a hypocrite. I’m fine with that. But why give crap to people who are trying to make a difference? I have read more passive-aggressive posts against veganism recently after starting this blog. I’m not trying to convert anyone – all I want to accomplish is to share my experience with vegan-friendly foods and products. I am not looking for a heated debate.

I just wish people would understand that.

Rant ends here. 🙂

Lush Atomic Toothy Tabs

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Like I said earlier, you will be reading a lot about Lush. I spend pretty much half of my paycheck there. 😀

One of their newer “inventions” are toothy tabs. What are they exactly?

Well, they are solid toothpaste, if you’d like. It is all-natural, has no fluoride, and comes in a recyclable paper box. You bite one tablet with your front teeth, until you’ve ground it as much as possible, you wet your toothbrush, and you brush. Very simple, and super convenient when travelling, for example.

I first tried Sparkle, which the salesperson described it as tasting like vanilla. I was very disappointed as it tasted NOTHING like vanilla, and it had a tart taste I didn’t like at all. Gross. When I brush my teeth, I like when it is a bit spicy, not like I just ate.

So I went back to the store and bought Atomic. This one contains ginger, coffee, clove, and cinnamon, among other things. Verdict: OMG AMAZING! The clove actually numbs my gums and the tip of my tongue, which feels nice, and the other spices make my mouth taste super fresh. I honestly didn’t even notice the coffee. My teeth feel amazingly clean, and it’s very frothy.

$3.95 for a box of 40 tabs. More expensive than regular toothpaste, but I like it way better. This flavour is also fair trade!