World Environment Day and Homemade Hummus

I was really hoping to get this post out yesterday which was World Environment Day but I spent the evening hanging out at the beach and celebrating the day by soaking up our magnificent natural world. So I have a great excuse for this blog post being a day late.

The big topic of conversation with my friends yesterday was the effect of meat consumption on human health, the environment and, last but not least, the suffering of animals in the factory farm system.

I read an article recently that if the human population keeps growing at the rate it is, food supplies will have to increase by 70%. 70%! Imagine cutting down that many more forests to raise animals to eat? Forests which cool the planet to raise cattle whose gas when fed an unnatural diet of grains (which we are currently feeding most cattle) create methane gas that damages the ozone layer and contributes to global warming. Is it just me, or does that sound like a very sad recipe for disaster and a burning hot planet?

And beyond the environmental disaster of excessive meat consumption is the stomach turning cruelty of factory farms. There is a slaughterhouse in Toronto called Fearman’s (appropriate name) that kills 10,000 pigs a day. Every. Day. And that is only one slaughterhouse of the thousands and thousands of slaughterhouses in North America. Kind of mind boggling, isn’t it? It gets worse. I recently read another article that will not leave me. It was a slaughterhouse worker who was promised anonymity for describing life inside the slaughterhouse. He spoke of how angry the workers get at pigs when they walk onto the killing floor. The pigs are usually thirsty and hungry after a long trip with no food or water, are always terrified and often they are crying in fear. I guess the crying and vulnerability of the animals enrages a lot of the workers so the men feel that they need to abuse the pigs before they kill them. I won’t even describe the things he recounts because the actions can only be described as hell on earth for farm animals.

So my hope for World Environment Day this year is that we all think about what the animals we eat go through and want to save many of them from terror and abuse. I hope that we realize the huge toll our love of steak and bacon is taking on the planet through pollution and climate change. And I hope we all love ourselves enough to feed ourselves a health-giving plant based diet. It does our bodies good too to stay away from too much meat.

When I talk to people about these issues who eat a lot of meat and can’t imagine life without it, I never say “give up meat”. Change doesn’t have to be so black and white. The less meat we all eat the better our health is, the less animals we hurt and the healthier and cleaner our world is. Every meal that we eat beans and grains and veggies is a big step in the right direction. If every person ate, say, half the meat they are currently eating, the planet would be transformed. The transformation would be a cleaner environment, less cruelty and healthier humans. A win/win/win.

I’ll be posting lots of my favorite bean dishes and protein smoothie recipes in the next while ’cause plant based is not only amazing for us, it can be unbelievably delicious too. And to get started, here is my hummus recipe. I whip this up in my blender, serve with an herb flat bread and a big salad full of veggies and avocado and dinner is served. Yummy, healthy and cruelty-free.

Homemade Olive Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3 chopped black olives
  • 2 T Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste

Blend all ingredients together and serve.

Snowshoeing Adventures

Squamish, BC is less than an hour from Vancouver but, in many ways, it’s a world away. At first glance you’ll see a typical Canadian small town with strip malls, fast food joints and a bustling Tim Horton’s. But then you look up and see the stunning mountain range right beside the town and Squamish no longer seems anything close to typical. This hiker, rock climber, and snowshoer’s paradise is one of my favourite mini getaways. The mountain range is called “The Chief” and now has a gondola that takes you part way up the mountain to tree lined hiking trails with breathtaking vistas.

If you love the outdoors and are planning a trip to BC, definitely put this winter wonderland destination on your list.

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The Chief

Christmas Shopping

img_6213-1It’s Christmas shopping season again and I’ve been thinking about how many times we end up buying our friends and family gifts that either end up in a drawer, collecting dust on a shelf or getting re-gifted the following year.

Wouldn’t it be kind of amazing to buy gifts for your loved ones that would help them be the best person they could be? Something that would give them an edge to help create a healthy, balanced life? Yes? Then check out Allysian’s top two products that will help do just that:

Genesis is a berry and green powder that subtly detoxes your system, nourishes you on a cellular level and provides a ton of antioxidant nutrition for your body. You take it once a day in a smoothie (or plain filtered water) and watch your energy levels soar and your skin glow.

Mastermind is a product that supports brain function, restful sleep, memory and cognitive function. This truly is a game changer!

Check out this video:

So, what could be better than gifts that show your loved ones just how much you love them and want them to live their best life?

Please message me any questions you may have and find out more about, and how to order, the products here:

http://www.laureloves.allysian.com/

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Hike. Eat. Drink.

What makes you feel on top of the world? For me it’s overlooking stunning views like this..


You’re probably wondering where I was to see a view like this, so let me fill you in. I was at the lookout point of St. Mark’s Summit, a gorgeous hike on Cypress Mountain.

St. Mark’s is a 5.5k trek up the mountain and takes about 4 hours round trip. It’s trail goes through a misty, magical forest and, as a grande finale, ends up overlooking the stunning seascape of Howe Sound.


It’s a hike that will also have you working up an appetite. So, I’ve created a yummy, vegan, apres hike dinner that features one of my all-time favorite dishes, Pan Fried Tofu Cakes. These cakes are smoky, onion-y pieces of foodie heaven and are served with a yummy spicy mayo. They are seriously one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.

Here’s the recipe:

Pan Fried Tofu Cakes

  • 400 grams soft tofu, drained for 3 hours
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T Worchester sauce
  • 6 drops of sesame oil
  • 3 shakes of chili spice
  • 2 T julienned green onions
  • 1 package Asian seasoning mix
  • 1 cup panko flakes.

Directions

Place tofu in colander and break apart let stand for 3 hours to completely remove water.  If this isn’t done cakes will not form.

Next beat eggs, Worchester and chili oil.

In a separate bowl combine the seasoning mix, green onions and add wet ingredients with 1 cup of panko and mix by hand.   The mix is ready when a ball can be formed and hold its shape like a meatball.  If mix is too wet add more panko until achieved.  Scoop enough to form a 3 inch diameter cake.  Don’t go too big or they will be mushy. Pre-heat cast iron pan and add olive oil. Place patties in pan for a few minutes to make them crisp on each side.  Finish in a 350 oven for 10 minutes.  Serve hot.

Spicy Mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

tofu cakes

Finish the meal with a big bowl of blackberries or cherries and a lovely Okanagan wine and you have all of the ingredients you need for a healthy, delicious (and sugar free) feast.

Deep Cove & Quarry Rock

Ever wanted to slow your life down to a simpler, sweeter pace? Whenever I’m feeling a little frazzled and need to get my Zen back, I beeline to Deep Cove.

deep cove

Deep Cove is a little hamlet in North Vancouver. Its main street is home to an old fashioned general store, an ice cream shoppe and an always overflowing restaurant that specializes in home-made, honey-glazed donuts.

Leave the main drag to wander along the water and you’ll be lucky enough to see vistas like this..

deep cove

deep cove

Then walk a little further to the edge of the forest and you’re on the trail to Quarry Rock. The hike is about two hours round trip and will get you huffing & puffing and sweating several times over those two hours. But, its saving grace is that is has a lot of flat areas to catch your breath as well. And while you’re catching your breath you can’t help but notice that you are in the middle of an enchanted forest with mossy branches, oversize ferns and beautiful, tall trees.

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And then, when you reach the clearing at the end of the trail, this will be waiting for you…

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Not too shabby.

What to bring:

  • One or two bottles of water
  • Lunch to eat on the rock overlooking Indian Arm
  • Sunscreen
  • Your camera
  • Your dog

What to wear:

  • Layers – it can be cool in the forest and hot on the rock
  • Hiking boots – the trail is super rooty

There. You’re all set. Happy Hiking.

Healthy Happy Hiking Snacks

The Grind is taking up a fair amount of my spare time right now so it’s going to be the subject of another blog post. This one to be exact.

The stairmaster-esque climb, the intense sweating, the checking of the heart rate every few minutes and the unbelievably long time it takes to get to the first quarter mark can make this hike feel like a special form of torture. But, that said, it’s the best and quickest way for me to achieve my summer fitness goals. And, for this reason, in spite of all of my complaining, I kinda love it.

The Grouse GrindHowever, my fitness level is at a point where I definitely have to sit and take a break part way up. I stare into space for a while, gulp down some water and text a few friends the exact same message “I’m in actual hell right now”. Then I usually hear my stomach grumble angrily. The last time this happened I devoured a sugary granola bar but…no more. I’m eating clean and sugar free now. So for my grumbly, half way up the mountain hunger pains I’ve made a yummy, no-sugar alternative. I tried these snacks for the first time a few days ago and my verdict is YUM.

Disclaimer: this recipe is only delicious after you’ve been sugar free for a while and have reset your taste buds.

Here’s my easy as (sugar free) pie recipe:

Workout Cookies

2 ripe, mashed bananas
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
a dash of cinnamon
Mix all ingredients, drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

sugar free cookies

There you have it. Take these on your next trek into the woods and your body with thank you.