Farm Fresh Greens

One of the basic philosophies of the raw food movement is that since humans evolved from primates, our most natural and health giving diet consists mainly of fruit. I love that philosophy…in theory.

Fruit is sweet and luscious and so delicious that I wholeheartedly embraced this way of eating  for the past few months. I embraced it until I noticed that I began severely lacking in energy and I kept getting sick (three times this winter compared to my usual one), and my skin wasn’t looking better, as all the raw food lessons, books and articles said it would. In fact it was looking a little worse. And I was craving protein. Even as I was studying my “Peak Performance” lesson which stated that protein was over-rated, I was severely craving protein. Something had to give. And so it did.

One day the image of a succulent, savoury piece of salmon wouldn’t leave my mind. No matter what I did or how I tried to lead my thoughts down another path, a path filled with raw carrots and bananas and mangoes, I couldn’t stop thinking about salmon. So, after much deliberation, I did what I had to do. I had to admit that the 80 -100% raw vegan life is not for me. Then I went out a bought the biggest wild salmon steak I could find. I jogged home with it, ripped my coat off, raced to the kitchen and covered my fish in lemon and capers and a thin layer of mayo. Then I proceeded to slow cook it at 180 degrees. The aroma was heavenly.

I really loved eating all of the recipes filled with sweet tropical fruit, honey and maple syrup but clearly I was consuming a bit more sugar, even if it was natural sugar, than my body could handle. So, as much as I like the ‘gorilla food’ theory there is also a theory that you should be eating food that is natural to your environment. So, if you’re living in the Yukon it would not be natural for you to be chowing down on kiwis and pineapple and if you’re living in Vancouver, eating wild salmon and greens and fruit that is indigenous to your environment would be the healthiest fare. Makes sense to me.

So, after a visit to the local farmer’s market, where I found the freshest greens and spouts I’ve tasted in a while, I have a farm fresh salad to share with you.  Enjoy.

Farm Fresh Greens

  • 1 cup fresh organic spinach or greens of your choice
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 1/4 cup various sprouts
  • sprinkle of Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds
  • Dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mixed herbs and fresh apple (all ingredients to taste, blended together)

Nothing beats the taste of home.

Hiking Joffre Lakes

There are certain places in the world so beautiful they’re almost shocking. Joffre Lakes is definitely on that list. The first time I gazed at the pristine, glacier water I thought “Is this real?”

The three beautiful jewels that are Joffre’s glacier lakes are very real and getting to spend some time dipping my feet in their aquamarine hued water, hiking along their shores and sitting lake side, gazing at their cool, clean beauty is, in my opinion, a wonderful way to spend a day.

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And the best food to re-fuel with after a day of getting up close and personal with the natural beauty of Canada’s wild west?

A very vegan power salad, full of good-for-your-body antioxidants. Here it is:

Raspberry Cashew Greens

  • mixed organic greens
  • sliced red peppers
  • cucumber
  • raspberries
  • raw cashews

Dressing:

  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • maple syrup
  • fresh raspberries

All ingredients are to taste.

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Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein

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Meet your Meat

What’s better than a beautiful, nature filled trip to Alberta? Not much, as you can see from this post and this one. Hiking, rock climbing, hanging out in Calgary’s Prince’s Island and visiting Drumheller, the dinosaur capital of the world were all on the agenda.

Then a very interesting thing happened while driving back to Cowtown.

We passed a bunch of really cute cows.

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Now, I don’t know about you but I am pretty well completely removed from where (and who) my food comes from. If I eat a steak, it is either shrink wrapped in plastic at the supermarket or served to me on a white plate in a restaurant. I hardly ever think about the animal I’m eating or the misery of factory farms, the slaughterhouse or even the environmental consequences of my food. I’ve always eaten as little meat as possible but it’s been years and years since I’ve seen or really thought about cows.

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This family of cows had a bunch of cute and playful calves among them, so I thought I’d get out of the car to snap a few photos. When I first walked toward them they looked startled and ran away but eventually let me get pretty close. Close enough to see two young cows playfully butting heads and another one happily skipping along a pond. Then I looked into one of the adults big brown eyes and she looked back at me curiously. And, all of a sudden, this thought popped into my mind: “They’re not food.” and wouldn’t leave. I looked again at the calves playing with each other. “They have no idea what’s in store for them.” I thought and promptly burst into tears.  Eventually I got a hold of myself, said goodbye to my new friends, the cows, and walked back to the car. Then I burst into tears again.

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Strange things happen when you meet your meat. I haven’t had even a smidgon of beef or dairy since that experience and, you know what? Other than the odd craving that lasts a milli-second, I don’t miss it at all. And when I get that slight craving, I think of the youngsters playing together and skipping beside the pond and, guess what? The craving goes right away.

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Since I’ve been home, I’ve embraced chickpeas with a passion and I’ve been incorporating them into my diet almost every day. They’re full of protein, fiber and yumminess and I’ve been making hummus, bean soup and salads with them.

Here’s a simple salad that gives you a taste of what I’m eating now. With a bit of brown bread on the side and some fruit for dessert, I feel like I’m dining like a queen.

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Tropical Dinner Salad

  • Big bunch of mixed greens
  • Sliced mango
  • Shredded cilantro or Italian parsley
  • Diced red onions
  • Cubed tangerine or orange
  • Chickpeas

Dressing – all ingredients to taste

  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard

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Yummy. Healthy. Cruelty Free.

Salad Days of Summer

My patio is my summer sanctuary, surrounded by trees and filled with herbs, tomatoes, wheat grass and lavender. With my little Terrier resting at my feet, it’s my favourite place to have dinner on a warm summer night.

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And my favourite dinner? A great, big Farmer’s Market salad, like this one..

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Did you know that summer berries are the best way to get antioxidant, fiber rich, vitamin filled goodness into your body? Put them in smoothies and salads, add a little avocado (full of omega 3 fat) and watch your skin glow.

Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 pinch salt

Simple Summer Salad

The sun has been shining for the last several days in our lovely, little rainforest town and a lot of Vancouverites are walking around town with a smile on their faces. On a day like this I plan to stay out of the kitchen and on the beach for as long as possible. So, this morning I hit the Farmer’s Market to see what yummy, easy, local, organic-ness I could bring home for tonight’s dinner. And this is what I found:

A huge bag full of sweet, baby peppers and a big bunch of baby kale, only $5.00 each. Both locally grown, organic. The farmer who sold me the peppers told me she started using ladybugs a few years ago as living, natural pesticides. I’m always so impressed when farmers work in sync with nature like that. Ladybugs as pesticides? Apparently they do an amazing job of killing aphids and other problem insects.

Tonight’s menu: A salad that’s cool and simple on a hot, summer night.

I added avocado, walnuts, dried blueberries and red onion to the ingredients above. Then pan fried a piece of wild, BC salmon and drizzled everything with a home-made dressing of olive oil, balsamic and yummy, Canadian maple syrup. This salad is delicious with organic blue or goat’s cheese crumbled on top too.

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An almost effortless dinner that’s refreshing and full of antioxidants. Eat al fresco if possible and enjoy the sweet, lazy, summer evening ahead of you.

Nigella’s Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad

WATERMELON SALAD I love fresh mint. I love fresh mint so much that when I buy it at the market, I walk around carrying it in front of my face so I can sniff the tantalizing, minty aroma while I shop. Instant aromatherapy.

And, usually when I buy a big bunch of fresh mint, I either make mojtos with it or keep it in a mason jar, filled with water, on my kitchen counter, so the entire room smells minty fresh. But, oddly enough I don’t use it in many food recipes; my raw, vegan pea soup that I made a few weeks ago was the first.

So, I was perusing bad-girl chef, Nigella Lawson’s website the other day when I found this amazing, minty watermelon salad recipe and decided that it was time to do something with mint other than smelling it, drinking it and decorating my kitchen with it. 

Nigella’s Minty Watermelon Salad

  • 4 limes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1.5 kilograms watermelon (sweet and ripe)
  • 250 grams feta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 grams pitted black olives
  • black pepper
  1. Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes’ worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  2. Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm / 1½ inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  3. Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime. Hava Negila! The taste of Tel Aviv sunshine!

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but close enough, and it was melt in your mouth, refreshingly delicious. A perfect light, summer dinner.

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Oh, and the health and beauty benefits of mint:

  •  Juice from fresh mint can soothe and calm skin that’s itchy or infected. You can also use it to help heal bites from mosquitoes, wasps and bees.
  • Mint contains vitamin A and helps to strengthen skin tissue, reduce oily skin and clear acne outbreaks.
  • Mint also helps upset or inflamed stomachs. When you feel sick to your stomach, drinking a cup of mint tea can soothe your tummy.

And watermelon:

  • Fights dehydration. Made up of 92% water and full of important electrolytes, watermelon is perfect to munch on during hot summer months.
  • Watermelon is also great for your skin because it contains vitamin A, and a high water content to keep skin soft and hydrated.
  • Watermelon and watermelon juice have been shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time following exercise in athletes.
  • Contains a ton of health giving vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but is incredibly low in calories.

 Mint and watermelon. Tastes amazing together and has a ton of health and beauty benefits too! What’s not to love?