• Thumbs Up Bolivia! Adios McDonald!

    Date: 2011.12.27 | Category: vegan news | Response: 0

    Have you ever wondered what would happen if people were to stand for their values, their culture and their health?  Good things for sure. For one, they would make sure that their values, their culture and the public health is preserved for themselves and future generations. Not a small achievement, by any means!

     

    Take Bolivia for instance, after 14 years of trying to break into this country, McDonald’s announced the closure of its 8 restaurants in all major cities due to the lack of business. This new trend isn’t limited to Bolivia, restaurants will be closed in 7 other countries that haven’t done well either. McDonald’s fast food isn’t welcomed here anymore!

    Kudos to the people of Bolivia for having followed the wisdom of your culture, not succumbed to the temptation and the deadly trap of American fast food, for having taught your children well as to the goodness of food made with love and wholesome ingredients!

    Can you imagine if the American people were to exercise their right to have delicious, wholesome food at a reasonable price? Since supply follows demand, it shouldn’t take too long before visible changes would be seen. America doesn’t have much of a culinary history as the rest of the world does, so Americans can’t be as picky. But, access to affordable healthy food is a right not a privilege and we should demand it from now on.

    How about following Bolivia’s example and create the world we want to live in by standing for our good values, for the benefit of the many instead of the few?

    So, what about occupying McDonald’s?
    I can already hear the slogan in the distance: “McDo, Hell no!”
    Can you? Start singing, folks!

    Read the original article here.

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  • Rejuvelac – Probiotic in a bottle

    Date: 2011.12.20 | Category: Beverages, sprouting, Superfoods | Response: 0

    As we approach the Christmas holidays, I wanted to share this recipe because it will come handy! First, let me start by saying that rejuvelac is an amazing drink that EVERYONE should make at home. If you are in your golden years, say goodbye to Metamucil and stool softeners and hello rejuvelac! If you enjoy occasional fastfood, you will want to ease your digestion with this homemade elixir! So many people suffer from digestive problems these days. Many become dependent on over-the-counter medicines that only alleviate the symptoms temporarily until they get used to them and they stop working! The great news about rejuvelac is that it not only helps move things through your digestive track but it replenishes enzymes that the standard American diet (SAD) robs from us. Apparently, not only do we produce less digestive enzymes as we get older but the ones we do produce get weaker over time! But, no worry, help is on the way and you can make it at home!  This is, by the way, one of the secrets of the healthiest and oldest people living in what is called the Blue zones (areas of the world where large number of people live to be active, healthy centenarians). They all regularly drink a type of homemade fermented brew. 

    Now, I have to say that I tried it 8 or 10 years ago but frankly the taste was a little too intense for me,  so eventhough I knew that it was a formidable digestive help, I just couldn’t get it down. And I love fermented food, pickles, chutneys etc.

    But someone recently suggested that I add some acidophilus capsules to the batch to get rid of the strong fermented taste and also to add more enzymes to the finished product (I poured the content out from the capsules). Bingo, the result was so light and almost sweet. I still can’t get over the difference. I should have done this years ago!

    So what is Rejuvelac? 

    Wheat berries

    It is basically a fermented drink made mostly from either soft wheat berries or rye but can also be made with oat, barley, millet, buckwheat, quinoa or other grains. You can think of it as liquid yogurt without the dairy, the puss, the fat and the congestion! It is packed not only with acidophilus-rich probiotic enzymes but with 8 of the B vitamins, vitamins E and K, a variety of proteins and lactic acid.

    How do you make it?

    As with any sprouted or fermented dish, the process will take a few days, but you can make more than one batch with it.

    DAY 1: I usually start in the evening by soaking 2 cups of soft wheat berries or rye in a 2 quart jar or smaller glass jars. Cover with 1 quart of water and stir. Seal the jar with the ring that comes with it and some cheese cloth. Soak overnight (8-12 hours).

    DAY 2: Next morning, pour off the water and rinse several times until the water comes out clear.
    Make sure to drain the jar by leaving it at an angle in the sink or on the dish rack.
    Rinse and drain the jar in the evening.

    DAY 3: Rinse and drain the jar twice a day.

    DAY 4: You will notice that the seeds produced little sprouts. Add 6-8 cups of filtered or spring water. Pour 2-3 capsules of acidophilus if you want a lighter flavored drink and cover with the screen. Set on top of your refrigerator (nice and toasty). Wrap a towel around the jar to keep it in the dark for the next 2 days.

    DAY 5: do nothing!

    DAY 6: Pour liquid into a glass bottle and serve, refrigerate the rest.

    You can make two more batches with the same berries by adding 1 quart of water and let it ferment for one day only.

    The fun doesn’t stop here, you can feed the berries to your compost pile or to the birds and squirrels. Is this great or what? Who knew you could get all of this just from simple wheat berries?

    So what does it tastes like?

    A little tart, kind of yogurty and sligthly carbonated depending how long you ferment it. Looks a little cloudy.

    How do you take it?

    Best to take before or between meals. I start the day with a glass on an empty stomach. You can add a little juice if you want but it isn’t needed.

    What to expect?

    Eliminating 3-4 times a day (that’s #2) without any effort! You are basically cleansing without even trying. Great for weight loss. If you are having a cooked meal without anything fresh in it, definitely drink a glass of rejuvelac to help digesting it. It is that simple. You may painlessly even pass small stones in the process.

    How long does it keep?

    Pour the liquid in clean glass bottles (Ikea sells beautiful clear glass bottles for less than $2) and keep refrigerated for up to one week. But since these are live enzymes, you should drink it in the next 2-3 days to get the most out of it.

    How much does it cost to make? 

    Probiotic rich rejuvelac

    It is so cheap to make, don’t bother buying it. A few bucks for several cups of berries, some pro-biotics (optional) and some water! Plus you can experiment with other grains and alter the taste of the finished product. Since most of the diseases are the result of improper elimination of the food we eat, make this a new habit for the New year.

    Serve it  in a martini glass without saying anything and you will have a par-tay!
    You can spike it with a little fruit juice of your choice, a slice of lime for a little extra flavor.

    One more thing, do share this post with anyone you know that suffers from digestive trouble.  Pain and discomfort are optional if you can prevent them!

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  • Vegan Cheese Ball

    Date: 2011.12.12 | Category: Dairy free, Gluten-free, RECIPES, Vegan Appetizers, vegan cheese, Vegan Holiday Treats | Response: 0

    Vegan Cheese Ball

    Here is a great appetizer everyone will enjoy around the holidays and for any party. Who knew that you could make a dairy-free cheese ball? Warning!  This ‘cheese’ ball disappears as soon as it is served so make sure to make a double batch if you have a big crowd! You get all the flavor and none of the guilt because this version has no saturated fat or cholesterol. So you can have your cheese ball and eat it too!

    Ingredients:
    1 cup blanched almonds
    1/2 cup pine nuts
    1/2 cup of firm tofu well drained
    1 Tbl nutritional yeast (optional)
    1 tsp red wine vinegar
    1 tsp vegetable oil
    2 drops of liquid smoke
    2 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tbl fresh chives

    Preparation:

    1. Place the almonds, the pine nuts and process quickly.
    2. Squeeze as much water from the tofu.
    3. Add the tofu, the olive oil, the liquid smoke, the onion powder and salt and blend.
    4. You may need to stop and mix with a spoon.
    5. Pour the mix in a bowl and fold in the chives.
    6. Make a ball and wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
    7. The next day, crunch 1 cup of walnuts into small pieces and roll the ball to cover it completely.
    8. Serve with crackers, celery sticks or bread slices.

    Notes:
    You can make a garlicky version or use fine herbs of your choice.
    Be creative and let me know how it turned out.

    Bon appetit !

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  • Cranberry Relish

    Date: 2011.12.07 | Category: antioxidant, Dairy free, Gluten-free, RECIPES, Superfoods, Vegan Deserts, Vegan Holiday Treats | Response: 0

    Cranberry relish

    This is one of my favorite relish recipe because it combines the tartness of cranberries and the freshness and sweeteness of oranges. You also get all their health benefits because you eat them whole and raw. Add the vitamin C, the amazing colors, which means, lots of phytonutrients. In our home, we don’t just wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas, whenever we need a pick me up side dish, that’s the one we go for.
    You can buy cranberries in the fall, freeze a few bags for later on and you will be all set!

    Ingredients:
    1 bag of cranberries
    2 medium oranges (organic preferrably)
    2-3 Tbl brown sugar

    Preparation:

    1. Pour the semi frozen cranberries in a food processor.
    2. Wash your oranges and cut the top off and cut into quarters.
    3. Add the oranges (the whole thing) by spreading them around the processor and sprinkle the sugar evenly.
    4. Process everything. you will need to stop, mix and process again until most of the large pieces are nicely processed and the sugar well mixed.
    5. Taste, add sugar if needed, this part is up to you. Some people like it tart, others more sweat. Serve.

    Nutritional facts about cranberries:

    Everyone knows that they help prevent and heal urinary tract infections, but newer research also seems to indicate that they can even prevent stomach ulcers from developing. Cranberries are a major source of anti-oxidants so they are naturally anti-cancer. They are also anti-inflammatory. So, they are now in my list of super foods and they don’t cost hardly anything! So stock up!

    You can serve it with tofurkey, seitan dish, mash potatoes and gravy. You get the idea, but don’t stop there. I love using the relish as a desert.

    Cranberry desert

    All you have to do is find a nice serving glass (or mug as in the photo), spoon some of the relish, then sprinkle some granola, then a little soy or nut milk, then more relish and finish with some granola. It is pretty, delicious and very good for you. If you want more fancy, you can add a scoop of coconut or soy icecream but it doesn’t need it.

    Ok, so no more excuses for buying cranberry sauce in a can (that looks like dog food when it comes out) or other lesser versions. You know better now!

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  • Vegan Holidays, Because Eating Turkey is Foul Alright!

    Date: 2011.11.29 | Category: MUSINGS | Response: 0

    Have you ever wondered, what is it with our race and the need to kill something every time we celebrate an event? I probably should say with men, since I somehow can’t imagine women coming up with this strange practice that has become so ingrained in our culture. It would be like saying “Today, we are celebrating life so let’s go kill something (which is actually a someone in this case)!

    I often wonder if this could be what caused the ‘fall’ in the Garden of Eden (let’s say there was such a place for the sake of the argument!)
    One minute everyone is hanging out peacefully, the next ,Adam and Eve are ashamed, they have to cover their body and are expelled from Eden. Sounds to me that they started to look at each other’s differently and who knows maybe someone became someone’s dinner! It could happen!

    Seriously, celebrations have always been important because life was tough in the old days (still is today), so any occasion like the arrival of Spring, new life and all the subsequent religious holidays (which are basically ancient pagan rites renamed after religious events!) are an essential part of every culture. I guess my question is, why spoiling a celebration with shedding blood and causing suffering?

    Women would probably have come up with things like, a potluck, music, dance, storytelling, ceremony to celebrate the special event. Later on, maybe a sleepover with some pampering. You get the picture!

    Really, who came up with this lame idea to go out and sacrifice an innocent animal (a lamb or a goat in Africa, the Middle East, chicken and turkey in America, Western Europe…) I wonder if the reason why men are more inclined to fight and take lives is because they do not have the ability to hold and nurture life inside of them  therefore it is easier to forget how precious, fragile and sacred life is. Or maybe men felt left out and decided to bring something to the par-tay! And all they could come up with is a dead animal! A carcass! Really?

    I think that it is time we evolve as a specie! Don’t you?

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  • Top 10 Reasons for Having a Vegan Thanksgiving

    Date: 2011.11.16 | Category: MUSINGS | Response: 0

    Vegan Thanksgiving Feast

     

    To kick off the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to mix recipes with musings around these traditions. So for this week’s post, I give you my Top 10 reasons for having a vegan Thanksgiving.

    and now the red enveloppe…
    Drumroll please…

    10. A dead bird on the table is so old paradigm and unappetizing!

    9. Make your home a sanctuary (and you won’t have to dispose any dead body!)

    8. It is better for your health and kinder to the planet (all the flavors but low fat, low cholesterol and high fiber)

    7. Teach compassion for all creatures to our children, because chances are, they are equally loved and valued by the One who made them.

    6. Meat-free is just good karma!

    5. For the respect of all mothers, because they deserve it!

    4. You may be thanksfull but the turkey is not! 

    3. No animal will be harmed in the making of your meal! (40 million turkeys are killed every year around this time)

    2. By sparing the life of an innocent being, our life may be spared too.

    1. Make it a truly holy day!

    What are your reasons for having a vegan Thanksgiving this year?
    Do tell!

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  • Purple Yam

    Date: 2011.11.04 | Category: Dairy free, Gluten-free, Vegan Breakfast and Brunch | Response: 0

    Sorry folks, it has been a while that I have posted a recipe. I have been busy preparing and teaching classes. But I do want to share something I discovered last week.

    I was shopping at an Asian grocery store for one of my classes
    and noticed in the vegetable section next to the potatoes some purple yams.
    They didn’t look very special on the outside. Actually, they looked similar to the plain yam with the shape of butternut squash. But I had just listened the evening before to a very interesting presentation on the power of plant-based nutrition. And one of the thing I learned that evening, was the darker the food, the more phyto nutrients it contains. That would explain while kale is at the top of the leafy green vegetable family and so good for you. So when I saw purple yams, I had to get some.

    Baked purple yam

    I really wanted to taste them so I  just roasted them without adding anything and OMG! I never tasted something so exquisite. The sweeteness was unbelievable, almost like a fruit. It is now my new breakfast. You only need one to make you feel full and satisfied.

    Now I have had one every morning. It is delicious even cold, easy to carry if you want to take it with you for a morning or afternoon snack.
    You can peel one and mash it and pour some nut or soy milk and nuts for your kids.

    What is wonderful about this type of yam is that you don’t need to add any sweetener. Just the vegetable and nothing else. That’s fast food the way Mother Nature intended it!

    This is a great item to bring if you going camping. It is cheap, easy to roast on an open fire, a great hand warmer in cold nights! What’s not to like!

    From a nutrition standpoint:

    A serving provides B6, vitamin A,  5% of the daily value for vitamin C, fiber, plus antioxidants. It has no fat or cholesterol.
    The jury is out about potassium. Some sources say it contains a good amount, other say it doesn’t.

    It also has a good sense of humor! I wanted to take a photo so that you can see the deep purple and the shape. And then, I turned the plate around and just about peed in my pants when I looked at the photo. See for yourself!

    Purple Yam or cool dog?

     

    Can you see it?

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  • BIG THUMBS DOWN FOR FRANCE!

    Date: 2011.10.24 | Category: vegan news | Response: 0

    France Outlaws Vegetarian
    and Vegan Meals in Schools


    Are you kidding me? Being French, this news just about  socked me in the gut. Actually, even my father who is a pescatarian (no red or white meat, no cow dairy products, only goat cheese and fish) keeps telling me that France will be the last country in the world to willingly decrease its meat consumption because people are soo attached to their steak and fries. As of today, France has to be one of the most vegan hostile country in the world. Come on, there is attachment and there is obsession! This is ridiculous and so sad for this country!

    There are a few moments in my life where I have wanted to entirely dissociate myself from my country of birth, and well this would be one of them. I felt the same when blatent tampering with voting machines and other unethical tactics resulted in someone I won’t name, steal the elections. I almost considered moving to Canada!

    So what could have caused such a drastic decision?
    ‘The French agriculture minister, Bruno Lemaire, declared in January 2010 that the government’s aim in determining its public nutritional policy was to defend the French agricultural model and specifically to counter initiatives such as those of Paul McCartney calling for a reduced consumption of meat with his Meatless Monday campaign.’

    The decree supposedly came as an attempt to improve the quality of school meals. But the French public health authorities hold, in opposition to the findings of most medical authorities in Europe and in the world, that a balanced diet is impossible without animal products. How convenient for the agro-business!  How lame too!

    Below is the summary of what was decided (courtesy of Team One Green Planet):

    France has issued a governmental order mandating that all meals served in school canteens in France must contain animal products, and that meat and fish will be served at a certain minimum frequency. This implies that no vegetarian or vegan can eat at any public or private school in France (bringing lunch to school is not an option, since the government has also banned packed lunches).

    France is planning to pass similar requirements for almost all forms of catering from kindergartens to hospitals, prisons and retirement homes.

    So are vegan and vegetarian kids in France supposed to survive on french fries? REALLY?”

    FOOD FOR THOUGHTS:

    This goes to show a few things if you read between the lines:

    1) The meat and dairy industry are losing market share in France and are trying their ultimate dirty trick to ensure their survivavibility.

    2) Paul Mc Cartney’s Meetless Monday’s initiative is gaining ground in Europe.

    3) The Vegetarian/vegan movement is quietly growing in France threatening the status-quo.

    THE REAL ISSUES:

    I can’t help to wonder what will kids with dairy and lactose allergies do then? That should be a legal nightmare for the government to get around. French people don’t sue as easily as Americans but this would be great ground for it. I hope that parents will mobilize to protect the health of their children. We are not saying take everything dead out (although this would be great too), but provide at least a few vegan options, even if it is only the garniture (that’s what I end up eating quite often in restaurants that don’t even have one safe option on their menu).

    If this decree is extended to hospitals (God forbid) as they are planning to, then you better not get sick or injured in France! Because vegans won’t be able to eat anything on the menu. As in all things, there is always a silver lining. If you are sick or injured, fasting may be the best thing to do to heal. You can always ask for some fruit and nuts or have friends sneak some snacks for you.

    While the rest of the world is reducing its production and consumption of farm animals, getting healthier and adopt more sustainable farming practices, France will remain the cavemen of Europe,  if this decree is not challenged. They will be the unevolved descendants of Lascaux caves! Those who actually painted all the amazing animals had artistic appreciation for other species!  When will we learn?

    WHAT YOU CAN DO:

    If you care about reversing this ridiculous ordinance, sign this petition at:
    http://petition.icdv.info/en
    http://petition.icdv.info/  (in French, forward to your French friends)

    If you still plan on visiting France or Paris, make sure to patronize vegetarian and vegan restaurants, they will need your support moving forward.

    Here is a list of veg restaurants in Paris
    To find out vegetarian and vegan restaurant s around the world visit http://www.happycow.net/

     

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  • VEGAN TORTILLA SOUP

    Date: 2011.10.23 | Category: Dairy free, Mexican, Vegan Soups | Response: 0

    Hello everyone!

    I just got back from a week in Cancun, Mexico to celebrate two of my dearest girlfriend’s birthday. I know, it is a tough life, but someone has to do it!
    As vegans, we were a little worried about what we would be eating in an
    all-inclusive hotel, since we no longer eat cheese, butter etc. No more nachos,
    Chilaquiles…

    Well, we ended up changing hotel and staying at the Royal Caribbean on the strip because it came with a full kitchen and a great store downstairs with lots of fruit and
    vegetables at a reasonable price. We not only enjoyed our stay, the beach, the pool,
    the view of the ocean but had gourmet meals every day without having to worry about hidden ingredients and bad surprises in the rice, the broth etc.

    View from the Royal Caribbean hotel in Cancun

    So, if you are vegan and heading to Cancun, check the Royal Caribbean hotel for availability. There is only one vegan restaurant in Cancun called Shamballa and they don’t have vegan cheese. They are working on it though!

    Here are some of the dishes we had, courtesy of yours truly, who took on the kitchen duties.
    Meaningless to say, we didn’t starve!

     

    Tropical fruit plate

    Tropical fruit platter for breakfast!

    Eggless Potato Omelet

    Potato omelet for brunch

    Stir fried nopales (cactus)

    Nopales (cactus)

    Oven baked vegetables



    BACK TO THE TORTILLA SOUP

    Vegan mexican tortilla soup

    This is a wonderful soup that can be enjoyed all year around. A Mexican classic, full of flavor and crunch. What’s not to like!

    Ingredients for 4 people:

    5 cups of vegetable broth
    1 large onion minced
    2 cloves of garlic crushed
    2 tsp chili powder
    1 Tbl cumin powder
    Salt
    1 cup of whole corn kernels
    1 can of black or
    1/2 cup of chopped mild green chiles (small can)*
    1 cup of stewed tomatoes (or chunky salsa)
    3 slices of avocado per person
    1 cup fresh cilantro washed and dried
    crushed tortilla chips
    Vegan cheese (optional)
    chopped green onions

    *If you don’t have green chiles you can use diced nopales instead, they bring a nice mexican flavor to the dish. Just dice and add to soup until tender.

    Preparation:

    Heat up the broth.
    Stir fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil for a few minutes.
    Add the chili and cumin powder.
    Pour the broth over and stir.
    Add the corn, the beans, the green chiles, the tomatoes and stir again.
    Cook for 15mn.
    Taste and add salt if needed.

     

    Serving the Tortilla Soup

    Serving the soup:

    Find nice soup plates. Laddle the soup, making sure you have all the colors present (green, yellow, black, red) and enough broth.
    Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions, then crushed chips and slices or chunks of avocado. You can sprinkle vegan cheese if you want too.

    So good and easy to make.
    Crunch away!

    Enjoy!

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  • GRILLED PANINIS

    Date: 2011.10.01 | Category: French cuisine, RECIPES, Vegan Entrees | Response: 0

    
    

    Grilled paninis

    Most countries have a version of a grilled sandwich.
    France calls it Croque-monsieur, Americans call it grilled sandwich,
    Italian, grilled paninis, you get the idea. My mom makes the best
    grilled sandwich Italian style so I decided to create a vegan version.
    To get the full effect, you will need sliced vegan meat (the smoke turkey
    or ham type) and vegan cheese available in most grocery stores.
    You don’t need a fancy grilling machine. I make it most of the time with a heavy pan to press the sandwich down.

    Ingredients for grilled paninis

    INGREDIENTS per person:

    2 square slices of whole wheat bread (forget the white stuff!)
    3 slices of veggie meat (Yves’s smoked turkey is a great choice)
    1 Tbl Dijon mustard (don’t use the sweet American type)
    1 Tbl daiya cheese (or other vegan cheese of your choice)
    3 gerkins (don’t use relish, it is too sweet and slimy!)
    1 Tbl capers flattened (large ones are better but small one will do too!)
    Some vegan butter (Earth Balance)

    PREPARATION: 

    1. Lightly butter the bread slices on one side all the way to the edges.
    2. Spread mustard on the other side, then place the slices of vegie meat.
    3. Thinly slice the gerkins and capers and place on top of the vegie meat making sure that they are spread out evenly.
    4. Sprinkle the Daiya cheese or other vegan cheese of your choice.
    5. Cover and pan fry.
    6. Press the top with a heavy pan to make sure that all layers are melded together and the top and bottom are crisp.
    7. Serve immediately with a nice salad or an assortment of raw vegetables, some sliced avocado etc.

    Note: this is a thin sandwich, the type you will find in France and Italy not the gooey thick one that is usually served in the US.

    Bon appétit !

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