Sunday, October 21, 2012

Raw vegan chocolate ice cream

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks. xo

I've been meaning to do a detox for a while now. I've been feeling less than awesome - the state of limbo I'm in with waiting to travel and dragging my feet and the season change toward cold cold cold and wet have not been helping. I've been tired, unmotivated, anxious, and a bit down. Add to this a weekend of eating almost nothing but processed soy, and a switch flipped and I was suddenly ready. 

I've been on the detox for about a week now and have felt great about the foods I've been eating. It's been about 95% raw, tons of veggies and fruits, with some seeds and nuts for protein and healthy fats. I've steered clear of concentrated sweeteners and anything processed or refined. I've had no cravings, which is great. I was experiencing detox symptoms, but they seem to be on their way out. 

One thing I've done to ensure success is that rather than completely limiting myself on flavours/tastes I like, I've made healthy alternatives. I normally eat some sort of raw truffle each day (though I've begun to sweeten it with banana instead of dates - I'm loving the different texture!). I've also been super enjoying raw ice cream! I made this one in a food processor and added ground chia seeds, so it has the texture more of a harder ice cream than soft serve. It also ends up with yummy fruit chunks in it. Ok, enough blabbering, here's the recipe:

Chocolate ice cream 

1 banana, frozen

4 strawberries, frozen

1.5T raw cacao powder

1.5T ground chia seeds

almond milk (add a bit at a time to get the right texture. I think I added like 1/2T-1T in total)

Put the first four ingredients in a food processor with a bit of almond milk and process, adding a bit more milk if needed. Scrape down the edges after processing a bit to keep things mixing well.




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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ultimate Fall Smoothie: Pumpkin pie edition

It's officially fall! So so officially. As with any weather change time in Toronto, I am constantly confused about what I should be wearing. On the day these photos were taken, I ended up on one of my fave cafe patios (Moonbean in kensington) lounging in a tank top. The next day I lost feeling in my hands and feet because it was so cold and had to huddle around a cup of tea at said cafe to regain sensation! I'm trying to bike everywhere as well, which adds to the challenge. My hands have aged ten years from the cold!

One of the things I love love love about fall are all the amazing fall flavours: spaghetti squash, apple pie, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, butternut squash soup, and pumpkin pie all come to mind! In celebration of the beautiful colours and flavours of the season, and to warm you up on a crisp fall day, here's the Ultimate Fall Smoothie (spoiler alert: think pumpkin pie meets apple cider).

The recipe
1/2c pumpkin puree
3 small carrots (not baby carrots, just small organic carrots)
2 empire apples, cored
1" cube ginger, peeled
1/2T pumpkin pie spice
water to achieve favoured consistency

Blend in a high power blender, find your fave fall spot and enjoy!


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Post: Eat and Run by Scott Jurek - a review

My friends are absolutely amazing. Marianne is one of them. One of the most driven people I know, she decided like a year ago she wanted to be a triathlete, trained hard and now is one! What! When I was offered the chance to review Eat and Run by Scott Jurek, a veggie athlete, on veganlicious, I knew Marianne was the perfect person for the job. Enjoy! xo Selene

Marianne Vander Dussen is a triathlete, a cycling advocate, and bibliophile. She is attempting to slowly convert from omnivore to herbivore while maintaining a very active lifestyle. Her recent obsession is writing about developments in sustainable urban infrastructure. She currently lives in T.O.

I first discovered Scott Jurek in Christopher McDougall’s bestseller, Born to Run. I had taken the book out of the library on a whim, and within the week I had devoured his epic story of ultrarunning. Though Scott Jurek was hardly the focus of the book, his presence in the Copper Canyons presented a true challenger for the Tarahumara, the greatest running tribe still in existence today.  

For the legendary Jurek, a marathon is a mere warm up. Climbing mountains and dodging lightning bolts is the status quo. Not only does he participate in events that seem impossible for even the superfit, he wins them, often by large margins of time. But what Jurek stresses throughout his new book, Eat and Run, is that his vegan diet is an inextricable requirement for his success. He credits his speed, endurance, and energy entirely to a plant based diet (in addition to hours and hours of training). His love of food is held in balance by his love of running, each sustaining the other. The combination results in a superhuman ability to go impossible distances, past heartbreakingly gorgeous landscapes, to the finish line, often 100+ miles away.
Eat and Run begins in the brutal Badwater Ultramarathon, a grueling 135 mile race through Death Valley. The pavement is known to melt athlete’s shoes, forcing the competitors to run on the painted sections of the road to preserve their footwear. From the heat of the desert, the reader is invited into an intimate portrait of his childhood, revealing the roots behind the compelling desire to just keep running. From his mother’s struggles with Multiple Sclerosis, to his extremely disciplined upbringing, Eat and Run provides an unsentimental yet touching account of the conditions which enabled him to endure immense physical and mental pain on the race course.

The title itself refers to how a plant based diet plays such a crucial role in his development as an athlete. As if to drive the point home, each chapter finishes with a recipe. I have to admit, after I read the recipe for the Minnesota mashed potatoes, I had to prepare it for dinner that very evening. I quite enjoyed the frequency of the recipes, rather than having them combined as an appendix at the end of the book. Food is woven into Eat and Run as part of the narrative fabric, just as food is woven into the source of Jurek’s stamina. The recipes are tasty and definitely worth trying.

Another key theme which remained with me was the idea that endurance isn’t just a sport, it’s a philosophy. “Sometimes you just do things” is a chapter title, and also a mantra. Sometimes, you just keep going, regardless of the pain. The reader is guided through mountain ranges and vivid descriptions of injuries and body failures. And like the majority of us, Jurek also encounters life’s speedbumps, including divorce, his mother’s deterioration as MS ravages her body, and strained friendships. But the message endures with the same fortitude of an ultrarunner: sometimes you just do things.

I personally approached Eat and Run as an athlete. I competed in my first Half Ironman this summer, and it’s my dream to one day run an ultra. The book spoke to me, inspired me to keep making dietary changes, and made me want to dig deeper in myself and take the road less travelled. Even if you’re a casual runner, or someone who is merely interested in what it is that pushes people to go crazy distances, this book will motivate you to go beyond your comfort zone. Guaranteed.

Scott Jurek is a challenger of paradigms. Though outrageously intelligent (which comes across very clearly in the book), he prefers a “dirtbag” lifestyle, staying close to nature and forming deep bonds of friendship with likeminded people. Though he is a running legend, he eschews every commonly held belief of sports nutritionists in favour of veganism. His out-of-the-box thinking (at the time) was not based on moral opinions of environmentalism or animal cruelty, but was a pure result of trial and error. Plants make him a healthier, faster athlete. Ergo, eat only plants. It’s simple logic.

I highly recommend Eat and Run to anyone searching for adventure and/or inspiration. The story runs through races across the globe, and the pace is exciting and consistent. Whether you experience the joy of running in your own exercise regimen, are curious about fueling for events using a vegan diet, or simply want a good ol’ fashioned tale of a small town boy rising to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, this book is for you.

I give Eat and Run five bananas out of five. Don’t hesitate. Read the book. You’ll love it.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Spiced stuffed baked apples - now that's how you welcome fall!

Terrible picture, I know. I can't find my camera, so this was taken on my cousin's cell phone. This is a super easy fall time dessert I made for thanksgiving dinner with the family and some friends who don't have family in Canada. It tastes just like apple pie!

My parents always travel in the fall, and I was in Vancouver with my best friend last year, so we've missed the past three years of Thanksgiving. So this year it was kind of a big deal. And we ended up with ten (!!) people - the four of us, my sister's boyfriend and friend, my couch surfer from France, my cousin who is visiting from India, and his two roommates who are also from India. Overall, it was an amazing Thanksgiving weekend and gave me so much to be thankful for - I spent all my time doing amazing things with amazing people including some very close friends and some new friends. 

One negative thing about the whole weekend was around someone who I thought was close to me. I tend to take my personal relationships very seriously and can be pretty sensitive when someone pulls a mean girl/guy on me. The situation has got me down over the past week and has had me thinking a lot about the people in my life and who and what I spend my energy on. I think, a week later, I finally have some resolution on the whole matter. At the end of the day, I try to approach everyone I meet with the assumption that I like them and that they're awesome. In most cases, judging by this past summer alone, this ends up being amazing and I have been lucky to have people in my life who mean a great deal to me. And even people who I've only spent a little bit of time with, it's still been amazing and resulted in great conversation and many laughs. However, doing this does also mean opening yourself up to the possibility that someone will disappoint you. And I have definitely been disappointed and it does definitely hurt. And since I'm an overthinker and a can guess how that has gone. But, I decided late last night/today that I'm done dwelling and that I'm not going to regret giving these people a chance to be a part of my life even though it didn't work out, that I'm not going to not give other people an open invitation to be a part of my life out of fear, because that would be ridiculous and I would miss out on so much. So, as with fall, time to clean out the old and focus on the beautiful colours of life. And, of course, eat delicious baked apples.

Spiced stuffed baked apples
empire apples, cored all the way through (I used a corer and it was so so easy. and then i scraped a bit at the sides with the corer to make the hole bigger.I saved those non-core apple bits for the mix)
cranberries, fresh or frozen
chopped apple from when you hollowed the apples out
maple syrup (optional)

Preheat oven at 425F
Place hollowed out apples in a baking dish
mix pecans, cranberries, chopped apple, cinnamon and a bit of maple syrup (I used very little)
stuff apples with the mix to the top
Bake in oven until soft 

Serve with almond cream or just enjoy on their own.

What's your favourite fall time dessert?


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Saturday, October 13, 2012

A little game of catch up...

I know, I know, I'm the suckiest blogger ever. Here's a little summary of what's been going on...
1. I finished school (yay!) and am now a holistic nutritional consultant (double yay!)
2. While biking, a car hit me. I'm fine, just covered in bruises. I love biking and will never stop, but Toronto really is like the least friendly place to bike. Passerbys (sp?) were amazing and sooo many people stopped to help me and check on me (love this city!) but many drivers are terrible and don't pay attention or really even know what to do when there's a bike on the road.
3. I was featured on Raw Food Recipes as a featured chef!!!! Check it out! Soooo exciting!
4. I'm up and moving to South America! I leave on November 27 (which means I'll be spending my birthday - Nov 28 - there) and will be landing in Ecuador. I'm kind of freaking out. I have sooo much to do, so much to pack, buy, etc etc. I'm going for six months, but we'll see what happens after that. I love Toronto and know such amazing people here that I am already missing in anticipation. I'm also super excited - I've never lived anywhere else. I'll still be blogging and hopefully will find my camera before then...
5. I'm currently working on a new and improved website and blog. I'll let you know when it's all set up!

Phew! Well, that's been my life lately. What have you been up to? Any readers in ecuador that know where I can get a good coffee and some soy milk?