I like to hike.
And on a long hiking trail, keeping my energy at an optimum level is important. I bring lots of water, in the summer I pack a hydrating watermelon smoothie and snacks. Lots of yummy snacks.
Here’s one packed full of carbohydrates for quick and easy energy. It also has hemp hearts for a clean protein, good-for-you omega 3 fats and a bit of dark chocolate for anti-oxidants and the yumminess factor.
Chocolate Hemp Energy Bites
2 cups of rolled oats – organic
1 cup organic peanut butter
1/2 cup 80% dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup raw organic honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup ground flax
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic pumpkin seeds
Combine ingredients in bowl. Let sit in fridge for 25 minutes. Roll into balls. Coat in hemp hearts.
Yes, you read the title right. An Eco-friendly doggie b-day party happened a few days ago for the Nickster’s 8th birthday.
What made it eco-friendly and why am I having a birthday party for my dog? Good questions.
I’ll start with the why. I never had kids and totally missed out on the fun of having little rugs rats running around, excited and on over-drive from a chocolate cake sugar buzz. Now that I’m a dog mom, I get to invite my friends over for wine and cake and get to see a bunch of excited pups run around barking and chasing each other. Close enough.
And how did I make my fete eco-friendly? In so many ways that I’m excited to tell you about.
Here are the top ten:
- The (super elegant) crystal stemware I used is from craigslist
- The beautiful turquoise bowls were from Salvation Army
- The chocolate cake was vegan
- I asked for the plastic to be removed and re-used when I bought the flowers
- I picked some of the flowers from an abandoned lot
- The (people) menu was vegan
- The only gifts allowed were edible, ie. treats
- I asked that guests didn’t use packaging for the gifts
- The wine and sparkling wine were local, from the Okanagan
- The napkins were from the Salvation Army
And, with all of this eco-friendliness, the party was still very chic, and very easy on the budget. Simple is elegant, easy on the earth and cost effective too. xo
A few photos and quotes from last week’s hike on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver:
Birds are not meant to be caged. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. – Stephen King
In quietness are all things answered. – A Course in Miracles
I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive. – Gilda Radner
Spending time in the forest has always been my yin to the yang of the corporate world. Nothing for me is more soothing and rejuvenating than spending an afternoon surrounded by sweet scented, mossy green trees.
And after working up an appetite on a hike I like to head home to whip up a tasty, sugar-free treat. This recipe is a post hike favourite. It’s vegan, naturally sweetened and uber-healthy with nut butter, dairy free milk and lots of anti-oxidant fruit.
Peanut Butter Banana Nice Cream
- 5 bananas
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 3 T. peanut butter (or almond butter if you prefer)
Blend together and store in freezer until frozen. Top with your favourite fruit. This one has banana, mango, strawberries and unsweetened coconut. The recipe tastes a lot like ice cream but is so very good for you.
Hope you enjoy it.
A few weeks ago I found myself sitting in a raw food eatery in Calgary with my ex-boyfriend, his daughter and his son-in-law, celebrating father’s day. Don’t ask how this happened. It’s a long story.
The cool thing about this luncheon, though, was that the daughter and son-in-law had been sugar-free for a few months and they were singing the praises of this lifestyle like the truly converted.
They had more energy and more even energy throughout the day, balanced moods, their skin looked better and had both, effortlessly, lost weight, they said. And their eyes lit up when they talked about their new eating plan and how much it had improved their lives.
As they talked, I remembered feeling that way too when I gave up sugar. The only thing is that it’s hard and, invariably, I slink down the slippery slope that leads to sugar mountain.
But, what the heck, I’m feeling ready to take on the sugar demon one more time.
I’ll chronicle my experience (and recipes) here and start the journey with one of my sugar-free life savers. This pudding is rich, creamy and bursting with a deep, dark chocolate flavour. Here it is:
The Chocolate Avocado Raspberry Pudding
- four bananas
- 2 avocados
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- splash unsweetened coconut or almond milk
- 2 T raw cacao
Blend, garnish with fresh raspberries & unsweetened coconut and serve.
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 beautiful natural world.
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 consequences of excessive meat consumption, it does our bodies good too to stay away from too much meat.
And don’t think that you have to 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. It’s a win/win/win.
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. Oh, and the magic is in the truffle oil.
Homemade Olive Hummus
- 1 can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
- fresh lemon juice from 1 large lemon
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 3 chopped black olives
- 2 T Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil
- Salt to taste
Blend all ingredients together and serve.
I’m loving the raw food recipes I’ve been sampling as I continue with my nutrition course.
You can’t be perfect though, and sometimes I just want to leave the uber-healthy green smoothies behind and indulge in a messy, gooey, rich and delicious dessert. But a dessert that won’t make me feel unhealthy and bloated and give me a sugar rush. Well, The raw food recipes I’ve been experimenting with have got that covered too.
Let me introduce you to Nice Cream.
- 3 frozen bananas cubed
- Splash of maple syrup
- One T coconut cream
- Two T raw cacao for chocolate (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. for other flavours)
Blend all ingredients together and indulge in this rich, delicious ice cream-like dessert that is actually good for you!
I’ve been learning a lot about MSG lately and none of it is good. Did you know that MSG is an excito-toxin that does a bunch of terrible things to our bodies? First, it contributes to ADD, mood disorders and the “dumbing down” of our society by causing neurons in our brain to fire too quickly. It also exacerbates Alzheimer’s disease when eaten in excess (and, since it’s in everything, it’s very easy to unknowingly eat in excess). And, as an explanation of why North Americans are getting bigger and bigger as time goes on, it suppresses the mechanism in our brain that tells us when we’ve had enough food. Oh, and to top it all off, this cheap little flavour enhancer is addictive too. Clearly big food corporations aren’t interested in our health and well-being – only their profits – by adding MSG to literally every processed item in our food supply.
So, after reading all of this, I’ve decided to eliminate MSG from my diet and I’m discovering that it’s literally everywhere, hidden behind some very sneaky labeling in a lot of cases. It was even in my toothpaste, vitamins, vegan protein powder and “healthy” granola. Basically, if a food is processed and packaged, it’s got MSG in it. So I’ve realized that the only way to avoid this nasty little toxin is to make my own food for every meal.
I’ve been doing just that and it’s been a wonderful experience the past few days. Time consuming for sure, but the food I end up with is wholesome, yummy and, most importantly, real. It tastes like the food I ate as a child when we picked our own veggies out of the garden, added butter and salt and chowed down. No health-robbing chemicals needed.
I’m looking forward to sharing all of my healthiest and prettiest raw, MSG free recipes here as well as any changes I notice as I go along.
There’s nothing more important than nourishing our bodies with delicious, healthy food made with love. I’m excited to be on this journey and to share it with you.
Happy Valentines Day ❤