Healthy Nutrition Packed Cookies

20180219_140131.jpg

These cookies! I wanted to make a high protein cookie that could work for breakfasts or snacks. And these turned out GREAT!  What's even better is that I found a way to sneak some vegetables into them.  Personalize these babies with any dried fruit, chocolate chips, coconut or nuts. 

I used Iron Vegan Vanilla protein powder, but any protein powder will work. They can also be school friendly for kids if you use a seed or soy butter, instead of peanut or treenut.  In a pinch, coconut oil would work too. 

20180219_142216.jpg
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 2 tbsp nut butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup flavoured vegan protein powder
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot

Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Shred your zucchini and squeeze out some of the water. In a large bowl, combine the banana, nut butter, vanilla extract and water.  Add in protein powder and mix well to prevent any lumps. Next, add the oats, cinnamon and salt, mixing until combined.  Finally, add the shredded zucchini and carrot and mix. 

For small cookies, use a tablespoon to measure out your cookies.  If you want a breakfast cookie, I would suggest making them a little bigger.  Use a fork to flatten the cookies out slightly. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. You can store for a couple days in an air tight container, however these are pretty moist cookies so I would recommend storing in the freezer and taking them out as needed.

Enjoy xo

 

Vegan Poke

I saw online that some specialty stores and restaurants were selling a vegan sashimi-style fish, and I thought to myself why not just make my own!  I had never had a poke bowl (pronounced Pok-ay) so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity!  This is an amazing dish to bookmark for summer when tomatoes are in season. YUM!

20180128_175711.jpg
  • 2-3 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp siracha (or to taste)

Boil water in a medium pot. Wash your tomatoes, and pierce the skin a few times with a fork. Prepare a large bowl of ice cold water, set aside. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water, and watch carefully. Once the skin starts to split, remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and plunge directly into the ice water. Once cool to the touch, peel off the skin, slice into small sections and remove any seeds and ribs. 

In a shallow bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix.  Coat the tomatoes in the mixture, and lets them set for 10 minutes or so in the bowl. Remove and add on top of sushi rice, in collard green sushi rolls or a poke bowl!  Remember, unlike sushi this is low in protein.  Edamame is a great compliment to this vegan sashimi!  Enjoy xo

Better than Boxed Crackers

These crackers are awesome! They are really easy to make, I was surprised how great they turned out.  They are also vegan, gluten free and high in protein.  Each cracker (for a recipe of 30) has 3.5 g of protein.

20180225_120346.jpg
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp flax seed
  • 1/2 cup plain vegan protein powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place grated carrots onto a baking tray lined with parchment.  Bake in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes (flipping a few times), or until a bit dry. Add water and flax seed into a bowl, mix well. Set aside. 

In a larger bowl, mix together protein powder, sesame seeds, hemp hearts, chia seeds and salt. Add in flax egg, oil and carrot, mixing together into a dough ball. Place dough into a 8x11 pan lined with parchment and greased.  Use your hands to press down the dough into the pan, trying to reach close to the edges. Score the top with a sharp knife into the desired size of crackers you want.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hr, then flip and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Using a knife, break apart your crackers into squares and store in an airtight container.

Eating 101: Do you know how to eat?

HOW you eat.  I believe this should be the number one area of focus for individuals looking to eat well and manage their weight.  And, trust me, it is definitely challenging one to tackle.  Our society isn't set up for us to use mindful eating practices with ease.  Majority of individuals are born with both natural cues to know when to start eating and when to stop.  And we also are born without predisposition to label foods as "bad" or "good".  As we move through our lives, external cues like set meal times, time constraints at meals, the media and social influences (family and friends) begin to shape our hunger/ satiety cues and relationship with food. Unless you want to live away from the modern world, many of these factors are just the new normal. What is important, is to recognize the effect our environment has on us and find the best way for you to navigate through that environment; basically make the environment work for you! Two key areas of mindfulness I want to touch upon today is the anticipation of eating and deprivation patterns.

I recently listened to a webinar from Dietitian Helene Charbonneau and she talked about how we have lost anticipation with eating.  And this really spoke to me. We often graze on food while we are making dinner, eat something because it's "there", or have a meal just because its "time". These patterns make it difficult for us to really savour in the process of eating, from enjoying in  preparing and eating the food, as well as finding satiety.

Deprivation rarely leads to sustaining a healthy weight, and definitely does not nurture a positive relationship with food.  Between the media, health professionals and other friends, we hear a lot about what foods are "bad" or "toxic" for us. With all the labels we put on foods, it's hard to eat without feelings of guilt and negativity. I find my clients who have a long "bad" list tend towards a pattern of deprivation/ binge. In this pattern, you end up eating a food that is on your "bad" list, which makes you feel negative because you "failed" (I mean you ate something "bad" according to your list!). These negative emotions lead to more eating, and more guilt.  It's not realistic to say that you will "never" eat fun foods like chocolate, chips, etc. so why set yourself for failure.  Often telling yourself you "can't" have it makes you want it even more (just like a 3 year old really wants to touch the breakable thing you just told them they can't touch). Avoiding the bad and good food labelling is especially important around children; it's important for them to begin at a young age building a positive relationship with food.

So, try this year to focus on the "how's" of eating: build a positive relationship with food, listen to your appetite and learn to savour your food.  If you need some help in the process of mindful eating, I like this youtube video from The Mindful Guy.  One reason why I like it may be his accent.. haha. 

Happy eating xo

Lauren

New Year New You? How to Manage your Weight Goals

paper-3042645_1920.jpg

The start of a new year is synonymous for resolutions - most commonly the resolution to lose weight.  It tends to be one of those goals that goes on the top of the list year after year.  Was it on  your list?  Here are some some important questions to consider:

  1. What will change if you lose weight? 
  2. Are your weight goals realistic; when was the last time you were at your goal weight? Has it been 10 years or more?
  3. Are the lifestyle changes you want to make sustainable (are they things you can maintain long term)?
  4. Do you feel deprived; hungry after meals or always craving foods you won't allow yourself?
  5. Have you found a way to be active in ways you enjoy? 

Why are these questions important? Isn't the only question to ask yourself is how much weight and by when? No.

Because as humans, we tend to put too much pressure on ourselves, and often set ourselves up for failure.  We see stories where someone loses hundreds of pounds in a few months, or have friends constantly talking about their lofty weight loss goals - we may even have health professionals recommending losing 20 or 30% of our body weight.  It makes it seem like the norm, and like it should be easy. 

And maybe one time it does work; on a really strict diet where you feel starved or can only eat cabbage, lemon water and boiled chicken - but then the weight comes back on and more. The second or third time trying to lose weight are usually less successful, and adding on to that changes in metabolism with aging make it even harder.  For many, small weight changes can take a LOT of work - mentally and physically. I know it sounds harsh, but unfortunately it is the reality for most.  As health professionals we haven't found the formula for sustained weight change unfortunately. 

And that is why I come back to the questions above.  They emphasize that there is more important considerations than just the number on the scale; eating well gives you energy, helps to manage or prevent chronic diseases, and fuels your body with the nutrients it needs.  These questions also have you think critically about whether your goals are realistic to maintain.  For example, the weight you were in your early teens, or when you were a marathon runner, may not be realistic now. And your intake must be at a level where you feel physically satisfied and can avoid binge/deprive patterns. Finally, the last question is centred around movement.  I strongly believe that you can find a way to be active in ways that you enjoy, and feel the benefits of increased functional strength, joint mobility, flexibility and heart health. 

I hope this wasn't a total downer - I'm not discounting the goal of weight loss.  Rather, I am just putting a different perspective on the journey; on the"why" and realizing that there is more to life and to your health than seeing a change on the scale. 

Light, love and health in 2018 xo

New Years Eve Round-up

Untitled design.png

Need some great finger food ideas for holiday parties? Here are a few ideas that I have tested that are great for New Years Eve or other festivities :). These are all vegan and have a slightly healthy spin. Enjoy!

Guinness Chocolate Loaf Cake (Top Left):

So, I made this in advance, wrapped it up and placed it in the freezer.  It got pulled out and we tried it just before Christmas, drizzled with chocolate ganache, rather than the stout glaze. It was delicious, and you can find the recipe here from Baking with Honey!  I would suggest cooking this for the shorter time suggested if you plan on freezing it, I found mine a bit dry. It was really great warmed up slightly and the ganache complimented it well. I made a simple ganache with Cashew milk: Heat up 1/2 cup of plant milk in a pot until a light boil. Take off the heat, then add 1 cup of chocolate chips stirring well until totally combined. Feel free to add a little vanilla extract or cinnamon if you'd like. Let this cool then whisk or beat for 3-5 minutes to incorporate a little air. Place in the fridge to thicken for at least 30 minutes. I sliced the pound cake, then drizzled ganache over the slices. 

Spreadable Cashew Cheese (Top Right):

This recipe is from my own blog and I have made it several times. Both vegans and cheese lovers have both complimented it!  So, fair warning this does take several days to make. So you may want to start the process now with making your rejuvelac. But trust me it is worth the waiting game!  You can find the recipe here

Healthy Cookie Dough Tip (Bottom left):

Oh. My. God.  This stuff is amazing.  And its made with BEANS.  I can't believe it!  It is gluten free, vegan and you can adjust the nut butter to a seed butter or soy butter (or if need be coconut oil) for allergies to make it a versatile option for a variety of diet concerns. In my recipe, I used almond butter and it was amazing.  I also used white beans instead of chickpeas because I find they have a more neutral flavour. I would also suggest reducing the chocolate chips, or ideally using small chocolate chips. Here is Chocolate Covered Katie's amazing recipe. 

Delicious Ribz (Bottom Right):

Vegan ribs are SO AMAZING.  And very easy. I have 2 recipes that I cycle through depending on the ingredients I have on hand.  One recipe from Baked In, which requires vital wheat gluten and then pretty simple ingredients.  Find the recipe here.  I have also made this recipe from Low Fat Vegan, and its probably my favourite. The jackfruit in it really gives it a pull apart texture like ribs.  I'm not really one to make my own BBQ sauce, and my go to is Wildy Delicious brand, because sugar is not the first ingredient. You can find it at some grocery stores or here on Amazon. 

Have a safe and happy New Year! My new years resolution is to provide you with some awesome recipes and interesting blog posts in 2018 :)

Vegan Holiday Round-up

Xmas roundup.png

If you are a little last minute and still trying to figure out some of your holiday dishes, I wanted to give you a little inspiration!  Having a "special" diet can be tough around the holidays and often requires a little more pre-planning when attending social events. As a general rule, I either eat before or bring my own dish so I'm not forcing others to accomodate me (icing on the cake if they do!).  Here is my mini holiday meal round-up:

Seitan Roast (Top LEft): 

If you have a breadmaker, with a bit of preplanning (from start to finish my breadmaker runs for about 4 hours) this seitan roast from Vegan Nosh is perfect!  This year I am going to be trying a new recipe for a seitan turkey from Gentle Chef, the cookbook can be found here and I am even going to try to make fake turkey skin by moistening rice paper with water and a marinade, then browning it onto the seitan.  I will let you know how that goes... lol

Lentil Loaf Muffins (Top Right)

My go to lentil loaf is Simple Veganista's, Ultimate Vegetable Lentil Loaf . This time I made them in well greased muffin tins (I got 12 muffins) so I could freeze them. These will be perfect for me to take with me as my main course meat alternative at some of our family gatherings.  To make these into muffins, reduce the cooking time to about 25 minutes or until they aren't super soft. 

Skillet Bread (Bottom Left):

This No Oven Skillet Bread does take a little pre-preparation for a short rise, but a lot shorter wait time than other breads.  It would be a great savory brunch item, as well as a side for your Christmas meal.  Slice leftover pieces lengthwise for sandwiches with your leftover seitan roast! Flavour this however you'd like as well: roasted garlic, rosemary, olive, onion, and even cinnamon sugar!

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

You can't get easier than this deliciously moist chocolate cake from Minimalist Baker. If you are having a smaller Christmas get-together, cut the recipe in half (like I did above), or make it a two layer cake if you make the whole recipe! I topped this with a simple ganache made by heating about 1/2 cup of coconut milk (low-medium heat, stirring the whole time), and adding 1 tsp vanilla, and about 10 oz. of chopped vegan chocolate until its well melted.

I hope you have a fantastic and safe holiday season. Stay tuned for an appetizer round up for New Years!

Happy eating! xo