January 31st: Day 19 – Breakfast

I have been receiving a lot of requests for pictures and recipes so I thought I would write about different items you could eat for breakfast, as a vegan – and include pictures and recipes of course. You may think that without milk, eggs, cheese and meat, there are not a lot of breakfast options. I must admit I struggled with breakfast my first week of being vegan as well and caught myself reaching for an energy bar most mornings. Now that I have discovered more and experimented, these are the options I have come up with:

–       scrambled tofu and tempeh bacon (already posted picture and recipe)

–       steel cut oats

–       breakfast quinoa

–       smoothies

–       vegan waffles

–       vegan drop biscuits

–       B12-fortified cereal (i.e. raisin bran), non-dairy milk and cut up banana

–       breakfast polenta

–       grapefruit and nut butter on bread

–       breakfast burrito

–       And of course so many options you can get from your ordinary breakfast restaurant: homefries, tomatoes, baked beans, fruit, bagels, english muffins … shall I go on?

Below I have added pictures and recipes of my steel cut oats (I started buying the blue menu brand a long time ago), waffles (so easy to make but waffle maker is hard to clean. I also like the no sugar maple syrup who, my sister – the Dietitian, recommended), smoothies (have fun with your smoothies, try something new everyday. Also for a more affordable version, slice your fruit in small chunks and freeze, this way when you make your smoothie you just toss it in the mixer) and drop biscuits (total of 20 minutes to make – have lots of time to clean up or get ready for work while they are baking). Enjoy!

Drop Biscuit Recipe: http://www.grouprecipes.com/40106/vegan-biscuits.html

Vegan Waffles Recipe: http://www.vegweb.com/recipes/easy-basic-waffles-morning

Breakfast Burritos: http://www.cheekykitchen.com/2012/08/10-minute-vegan-breakfast-burritos.html

Smoothie Recipes: http://www.yummly.com/recipes/vegan-breakfast-smoothie

Image

January 30th: Day 18 – Saving Seeds

Knowing that there are different type of seeds and understanding the distinction between them can be fascinating. There are three types of seeds:

  1. F1 Hybrid:  harvested from plants whose reproduction has been controlled by selective hand pollination (often sterile)
  2. Genetically Modified: you have probably heard of this seed before, they are created by inserting a gene from another plant or animal into a host organism and altering the offspring’s genetic makeup to produce a desired trait – so all our produce can look similar and desirable.
  3. Open-Pollinated Heirloom:  these are cultivators that have been passed down through generations. The genes passed on in heirloom seeds give life to our future. Unless the 100 million backyard gardens and organic farmers keep these seeds alive, they will disappear altogether.

For those who have their own garden or share a community garden, you might already know this information. To save seeds, you take seeds from heirloom produce.

– Remove the seeds, scraped crushed or mashed. Be aware that some seeds need to go through a fermentation process.

– Wash the seeds in a bowl of water (poor quality seeds float – remove those) then wash through a strainer.

– Dry the seeds for days, stirring several times a day (something that won’t stick i.e. not paper cloth or non-rigid plastic) –never dry them in the oven or direct sun.

– Place your seeds in a dry, dark place in a paper envelope, clearly labeled to enjoy next seasons harvest!

What an awesome way to reduce, reuse and recycle. For more information on saving seeds, check out True Food by Annie B. Bond, Melissa Breyer, and Wendy Gordon

January 29th: Day 17 – Second Week Review

During my second week as locallyvegan I have noticed similar revelations as my first week.  I am continuing to eat locally as much as I can, as a vegan in everything I eat, appreciating my food, praying for my food, learning something every day and overall just feeling better about my body and my choices. Physically I have now lost 5lbs but don’t feel like I have lost muscle. I go to hot yoga everyday and I feel stronger then ever in the classes. Mentally, I haven’t had any cravings but things definitely have become less convenient and this has tested my patience. When my Dad is making eggs and offering one but knowing I can’t have it, or when we had family over for my Mothers birthday and my sister and her finance made cannelloni’s, missing out on these meals was not that fun. However I know I felt better eating my vegan meal vs. stuffing myself with cannelloni, cake and ice cream but still missed indulging during a nice celebration. Emotionally, I am enjoying reading and learning more about everything involving food but am not doing as well as preparing my meals due to traveling. Economically I have spent another $15.00 which to me was reasonable, especially for trying out a lot of new recipes.

 Overall this week has been really fun trying new recipes but feel a little less excited than last. I have realized that being a vegan is very strict because there are a lot of things you cannot eat. Which is understandable. But compared to eating locally, I feel like I put less pressure on myself because I can make informed choices to the best of my abilities and resources. Without this pressure I have shifted my focus from veganism to eating locally which has allowed me to look into fun new things such as gardening and saving seeds which I will be blogging about next week – so stay tuned!

Here are some examples of my recipes over the past week: tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, tempeh BLT, kale chips, taco salad and vegan cookies. Here is the tofu scramble recipe 

http://www.thewannabechef.net/2012/01/25/scrambled-tofu-2/

Image

January 28th: Day 16 – Coffee

Joan Gussow was one of the first to advocate for eating locally, specifically for environmental reasons. She tells coffee lovers that “coffee is okay for people to import as long as it is produced sustainably. Coffee does not weigh a lot and therefore takes less energy than many foods to transport, and it doesn’t need to be refrigerated en route.’ – True Food.

As as true ‘coffee lover’ I was happy to hear these facts. If you don’t know already I received a Nespresso machine for Christmas from my lovely boyfriend. I have been obsessed with it ever since I laid eyes on it – the machine.. and him. Naturally I wanted to know more about where this coffee was coming from because it was so delicious and I really didn’t want to give it up. I knew that Nespresso is known for their quality of coffee and not necessarily their sustainability. So looking further into it, I found out that Nespresso is partnered with Rainforest alliance and has an initiative called (links below). The Rainforest alliance helps secure the long-term sustainable production of coffees. Their objective is:

– The Nespresso objective is to source 80% of its coffee from its AAA Sustainability Quality™ programme and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms by the end of 2013.

Ecolaboration is Nespresso’s approach to sustainability and manage the social and environmental impacts of our business, while improving the lives of coffee farmers and their communities. Their goals are:

– Coffee: source 80% of our coffee from the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Coffee Program, including Rainforest Alliance certification by 2013.

– Capsules: put collection systems in place to triple our capacity to recycle used capsules to 75% by 2013.

– Carbon: between 2009 and 2013, reduce the carbon footprint of each cup of coffee by 20%.

Ecolaboration link: http://www.nespresso.com/ecolaboration/uk/en/home.html

Rainforest Alliance Standards: http://www.nestle.com/csv/ruraldevelopment/coffee/nespresso

In my opinion Nespresso isn’t the poster child for sustainable cofeee but at least they are taking steps in the right directions. Here is my mom enjoy a cappuccino from my Nespresso machine: Image

January 27th: Day 15 – Birthday Desserts

Today was my mother’s birthday. We had a lovely celebration with food, family and friends. I was in charge of making the salad and desert. Of course I made a non-vegan cake for my mom and everyone else. But I also needed to make a desert that I could enjoy. Not to mention have everyone else experience that vegan food and deserts taste good too. So I tried making vegan chocolate fudge and vegan chocolate chip cookies.

Here are the two recipes which I would definitely make again. No one would even know the fudge pie is made with tofu, it tastes that good! (I made the fudge pie without the crust – less work and less calories).

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/09/06/the-ultimate-chocolate-fudge-pie/

January 25th: DAY 13 – Freezing, Drying and Canning

Yesterday I talked about eating food that are in season. However, we still want to consume those juicy fruits and vegetables that are not in season, so then what do we do? Well, we can eat frozen, dried, canned and food stored in local root cellars. In the book “True Food” by Annie B. Bond, Melissa Breyer and Wendy Gordon, they provide a lot of specific important details when freezing, drying, or canning your own food, which is very helpful. Below I put a picture of the fruits and veggies he names that we can freeze (bottom picture) as well as (top picture) fruits and veggies we can dry.

When faced with choices, I have come to the conclusion that this is the best logic that works for me: if you can’t buy local produce, freeze, can or dry your own local food, if you don’t have these options, buy organic, if you can’t buy organic, buy from a family farm, if you can’t buy from a family farm, buy from a local business, and if you can’t buy from a local business buy for terroir (purchase foods famous for the region they are grow in and support the agriculture that produces your favorite nonlocal foods).

However this got me to thinking, if this local food movement really does pick up, what about all those jobs as processors, packagers, distributors and marketers? Because as we know worldwide farms usually receive a few cents of the food dollar and most of the money goes to these middlemen mentioned above. So if we subtract that middleman or even decrease him a little bit, where does that leave him? Have we now put him in a bad situation?

“There are no simple answers to preserving farms and agriculture, but so far, farmers’ markets have been the most incredible solution going” – Elizabeth Ryan, Orchardist 

Image

January 24th: Day 12 – In Season

“I remember how excited we were when the first peaches were ripe because we knew peach cobbler would soon be on the table. We felt the same way when we spied blackberries along the hedgerows, looking forward to the pie Mother would make.” – Edna Lewis, In Pursuit of Flavor

Buying produce in season will not only be more affordable but also more fresh and delicious. Clearly, with a wind chill of -23°C today, our current season in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada is most definitely, winter. The produce that is in season for winter is: apples, beets, cabbage, carrots, citrus, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes and turnips. So many recipes come to mind when discussing these fruits and veggies, curried potato soup, shredded beet salad, maple glazed parsnips, sweet potato quesadillas, spicy baked apples and many more. Get creative, find in season recipes or make up your own! Don’t rely so much on youtube for instructions or google for recipes, just experiment and have fun! And continue to “vote” with your dollars by spending your food budget on foods that reflect your values.

” A basket of produce lands on the kitchen counter… Look at this food. There are no ingredient labels, no health claims, nothing to read… This is food, so fresh it’s still alive, communicating with us by scent, colour and taste.” – Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food 

Don’t forget about the all season foods like dried beans, dried fruits, tofu, tempeh and whole grains. I have found that buying these ingredients in bulk can really help save. When you are eating in season remind yourself that you are doing it for the freshness, taste, nutrition, variety, the environment and local health. 

“A significant part of the pleasure of eating is one’s consciousness of the world from which the food comes.” – Wendell Berry, Farmer and Poet 

FYI – I would greatly recommend reading up on each of these authors and poet and the writings they have produced. These quotes are just a small fragment of the inspiration they share. 

 

January 23rd: Day 11 – Canada’s Food Guide

When becoming a vegan or a vegetarian, you want to make sure you are still consuming all your nutrients and vitamins. Its not that it is more difficult to achieve these daily values, the hard part is changing in your daily habits and behaviors.  Below I have included information on Canada’s Food Guide, Canada’s recommendation for our daily values and some other interesting links. I urge everyone to look into these daily values for their own body.

Daily Values used in nutrition labelling for each nutrient:

Nutrient

Daily Values

Fat

65 g

The sum of saturated and trans fatty acids

20 g

Cholesterol

300 mg

Sodium

2400 mg

Carbohydrate

300 g

Fibre

25 g

Sugars

no DV

Protein

no DV

Vitamin A

1000 RE

Vitamin C

60 mg

Calcium

1100 mg

Iron

14 mg

Some specific nutrients that I examine daily are:

Protein – an adult women needs, 46grams per day

Iron – an adult women needs, 18mg per day 

Vitamin D – an adult women needs, 600 IU daily

More on Vitamin B12 – http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/b12.aspx

How much food do you need everyday? http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/basics-base/quantit-eng.php

How many calories? http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/basics-base/1_1_1-eng.php

Now a days it is so easy to stay on top of your calorie intake and outtake, as well as your daily values in nutrients and vitamins. There are many cool apps out there but my favourite is: myfitnesspal, it allows you to enter in the items of food you eat each day and automatically uploads the calories and %daily values, it also allows you to set goals but best of all, its FREE! 

Also, order or print your own Canada’s Food Guide and put it up on your fridge or somewhere in your kitchen for a friendly reminder http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/order-commander/index-eng.php, again it’s FREE!

January 22nd: DAY 10 – Appreciation

The importance of appreciating everything we receive, whether it is gifts, friends, laughter or food, is beyond the stars. To show appreciation is an aspect of your life you can show by giving gifts, cards, saying grace or saying thank you. I make it a priority in my life to do these things because this is something that my mother taught me, something I value as important and something I wish to teach those around me and in my future, my children.

When discussing food, even our actions can show appreciation especially by eating locally as often as possible. These actions show that we are grateful for our food producers in our community and the healthy food they make and by saying thank you, we want to support them. When further discussing ‘traveling’, in yesterdays post, it can unfortunately be too easy to forget to pause and be thankful for everything around you, including food. I try to make an extra effort to say cheers, grace, even a thank you in every meal I eat. Because I truly am so grateful for all of the effort and beauty that has gone into allowing me to eat such nutritious meals. I wanted to share with you my thank you that I recite to myself before I eat (see below). I hope that you too can find appreciation in things around you and show gratitude to the things or persons that brought it to you, in whatever shape or form that may come in. 

“With what I am about to receive, may I be ever mindful of;

–       the pure, rich and nutritious qualities of this food

–       the hard work and diligence that went into this food

–       the virtue and beauty in the people who I am sharing this food

–       and, the needs of others for this food.

Thank you.”

January 21st: DAY 9 – Traveling

Leaving a familiar environment and breaking out of your comfort zone is always a little challenging, especially when trying to eat healthy. I strategically choose this month to become a vegan because I knew I wouldn’t have to leave my home very much for weekend events or where I would find it more difficult to eat as a vegan and locally, for that matter. But as we all know… life happens. I have currently found myself leaving my comfort zone for a few days and retreating to Toronto. I knew this would be more difficult than eating from my own fridge, in my own home, with my own local and vegan ingredients. So what did I do? I packed up this food properly and brought it with me. Problem solved. That was easier than I thought, as long as you are prepared with what you are going to eat for you breakfast, lunches and dinners, where is the problem? If a problem did occur, you can adapt your habits and behaviors very easily. If someone offers you something to eat, read the ingredients, is the product vegan – perfect, you can eat it! If you are going out for dinner – choose a local restaurant in that city to support. It is all about adapting to the environment that you find yourself being placed in. With continuing to stay true to your values and beliefs, which for me includes, respect towards whomever’s home you are traveling to or visiting.  

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. “ Stephen Hawking