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

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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

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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

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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

Vegan Eggnog Pancakes

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N'egg Nog Pancakes

Vegan Eggnog Pancakes

These were inspired by Joy the Baker's Eggnog (without the egg) Pancakes. Perfect for the holidays topped with some cinnamon, icing sugar and if you are so inclined Real Canadian Maple syrup!

  • 1 cup plant milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 12 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of ginger and all spice
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp Follow Your  Heart VeganEgg
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp whisky

Directions:

  1. . Make vegan buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp lemon juice in a measuring up and filling it up with plant milk of choice. Let it sit. 
  2. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients before canola oil, mix until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, add VeganEgg, 4 tbsp of water and 4 tbsp of butterilk mixture. Mix to combine, removing any lumps. 
  4. Add egg, oil, and whisky to dry ingriends and mix until combined
  5. Preheat nonstick pan at medium heat, and add some margarine or butter to the pan. Measure your pancakes to about 2 tbsp each, and cook. 
  6. Enjoy!

 

Vegan Holiday Roast

Need something quick and delicious this holiday season?  This is amazingly delicious and can't be easier if you have a bread maker. 

seitan roast

I cannot take credit for this masterpiece, its from the blog Vegan Nosh - Lazy Dave's $5 bread machine Turkey Flavoured Seitan. Now yes, I called this a roast because mine didn't really look or taste turkey-like. 

Check out the recipe here. Happy holidays!

Vegan Apple Pancakes

Fall is here! I am more of a summer gal myself, but there are a few benefits like winter baking and winter flavours like apples and pumpkin. I got a bunch of apples at the farmer's market this weekend, and thought I'd try adding them to brunch this weekend. They turned out delicious, sweet enough to have without syrup if you're so inclined and pretty filling too! I topped them with a licorice butter I got at a local market a few weeks ago. 

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  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup nut milk, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp VeganEgg (optional)
  • 2 tbsp water (as needed)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

Add all ingredients, exept baking powder, into a blender and combine until smooth. Add baking powder and blend.  Cook in a greased non-stick pan over medium heat. Freeze any leftovers!