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.

Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette

My MSG free journey is coming along pretty well. Of course there have been a few surprises along the way. One of the surprises was the realization of just how much MSG has infiltrated our lives by being in almost every prepared product on the shelves of the grocery store. This annoying little toxin is in so many every day items that you really have to re-think almost everything that goes into your mouth. An example is that I had to toss out my minty fresh, flavour enhanced toothpaste and am now brushing my teeth with a coconut oil/baking soda mixture. Oddly enough, I’m finding that I have fresher breath with this natural cleanser. I can’t wait until my next trip to the dentist for a cleaning to see what the verdict is on my new found oral hygiene. But I digress.

What I really want to talk about is salad dressing. Do you know that it’s pretty much impossible to buy a commercial salad dressing without a liberal dose of MSG added? I’ve looked and looked and haven’t been able to find one (If anyone out there knows of one please leave the brand name in the comments section below). So, I’ve been making my own dressing at home…much like I’ve been making my own everything on this journey. The TV show Little House on the Prairie that I used to watch as a teenager has been popping into my mind as I make all of my meals from scratch in my little galley kitchen. I used to love watching the show and all of the homesteading that was just part of life back then. Oops, digressing again.

tossed salad with raspberry vinaigretteSo salad dressing! I’ve concocted what I think is a winner.

Such a winner that as I eat my delicious, wholesome salad, I wonder why I ever bought that preservative filled, MSG laden store-bought dressing in the first place.

Here it is:

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Drizzle this over a salad of mixed greens, pecans, goat cheese and fresh raspberries for a big plate of yum!

Snowfall & Soaked Oats

Our unusually snowy Vancouver winter continues, giving me beautiful photo ops like this..

and also making me crave some good, wholesome, stick-to-your-ribs breakfasts to start the day before putting on my winter boots and trudging through the snow.

Luckily I’ve been Pinteresting and found out about soaked oats. Soaked oats are amazing! Tasty, healthy and wholesome. Top with fruit and nuts and you’ve got a hearty breakfast that will power you through the toughest Canadian winter morning.

Banana Pecan Soaked Oats

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 T full fat yogurt
  • 2 T shredded coconut flakes

Top with Sliced banana, pecans and drizzle with pure Canadian maple syrup.

soaked oats with banana

Chocolate & Blueberry Chia Pudding a Deux

chia puddingAre you looking for something sweet, dark and delicious to serve your Valentine in a few days?

How about a delicious chia pudding to share?

This easy parfait consists of the following two recipes layered with frozen blueberries and a little dusting of coconut flakes to top things off. It’s a yummy, healthy and energizing dish. Perfect for Valentines. 

Blueberry Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Chocolate Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup organic nut butter
  • 3 T raw cacao

chia pudding

Here’s to a happy, healthy Valentine’s Day xo

Berry Mandarin Smoothie Bowl 

This week, in my Raw Food Educator course, I’ve been learning how to transition healthfully and gently to a raw food diet. Im currently doing ‘Raw til 4’ which means you get to feast on Smoothies, juices, fruit, chia pudding, veggies and raw nuts until dinner, when you eat a ‘normal’ meal.

This is working out incredibly well and doesn’t shock the system the way going fully raw all at once might…As in ‘too much of a good thing’. In fact this might be the perfect ‘raw ratio’ for me. I completely believe in the health giving qualities of raw foods but I also believe in moderation..and the soul satifying qualities of some cooked food. 

Anyway, back to the recipe. Here’s a recipe for one of my breakfast bowls. It’s easy, delicious and pretty lovely to look at too.

Berry Mandarin Smoothie Bowl

  • 3 bananas
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Blend ingredients together and top with your favourite fresh fruit. Bon appetite.

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Snowy Days and Smoothies

Vancouver has had an uncharacteristically cold, snowy and sunny winter so far this year. 


The temperatures even dipped below zero a few times, making our usually rainy city feel oddly like the rest of Canada. 


My inner Ontario girl is loving this weather but it is a little chillier than I’m used to, so I’ve been drinking a warming smoothie instead of my usual frozen fruit concoctions. Here it is..

Warm smoothie latte 

  • One scoop Vega chai protein powder
  • One tsp turmeric
  • One tsp cinnamon 
  • One cup coconut milk 

Blend all ingredients then Gently heat in a saucepan until warm. Pour into a cup or glass and warm up from Winter in Canada. Eh.

5 Reasons to Love Fruit 

Did you know that fruit is the biggest player in a healthy, kick ass, anti-aging diet? And if you want to be your healthiest, happiest self you should be eating a few serving of this sweet, juicy goodness every single day.

raspberries Here are 5 reasons why it’s so amazing:

  1. Naturally low in fat Eating fruit can help keep you slender and keep your heart healthy too.
  1. Contain lots of water. Certain fruits like watermelon contain over 90% water. Even solid looking vegetables like carrots are made up of approximately 80% water. There isn’t a more hydrating food in the world and being hydrated means better body function and younger looking skin.
  1. Low in calories. Did you know that a 100g chocolate bar contains approximately 9 (yes – 9!) times more calories than a medium sized 100g apple. You could never become overweight from eating fruit.
  1. Contains soluble fibre. This fibre forms a jelly-like substance in your stomach and helps to make you feel full. It also lets food stay longer in the stomach, which has the effect of keeping your blood glucose nice and stable over time. When blood glucose fluctuates, it causes the ‘I need something to eat NOW’ state, which causes the not-so-good food choices we can make. Fibre also helps maintain a healthy gut and prevents constipation and other digestive problems.
  1. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Populations who have diets rich in fruits and vegetables have lower levels of certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Our immune system benefits as well from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

There you have it; five excellent reasons to fill up the fruit bowl.