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5 Plant-Based Cookbooks to Buy TODAY

I love plants, and I love eating them, so I buy plant-based cookbooks. A lot. Sometimes I don’t even make any recipes from them, I just like to look at the pictures and drool.

(I might have a problem.)

But the following 5 books are books that I use all the time to create great and inventive plant-based meals for myself and my family. I strongly suggest you search them up on Amazon, take a look inside if that feature is available, and then buy them.

(Because you’ll want to after glancing at the food photography. Wow.)

The Blender Girl Cookbook

The Blender Girl

Let me begin by stating that good people create amazing cookbooks. Tess Masters is a lovely woman, whose heart and soul can be found living in bliss at the bottom of a Vitamix.

Full of creative, gorgeous recipes that taste as incredible as they look, this book encourages the intake of vegan nutrients by way of uber nutritious smoothies, sorbets, sauces, soups, and more.

Buy on Amazon HERE.

Oh She Glows

oh she glows

I know—this one’s a goodie that everyone owns by now, right? But if you’re one of the few that don’t own it, you should.

Written by Angela Liddon, who’s also the food photographer, this book packs insane nutrients and incredible enthusiasm for plant-based foods into every single page. I like the U.S. cover better than the Canadian one, and was disappointed to have been delivered the latter, but beggars can’t be choosers—and I was begging for this book.

Buy on Amazon HERE.

My New Roots

my new roots

This lovely book has the most beautiful photographs. Honestly. Any plant-based cookbook that includes edible flowers in their recipes get a giant thumbs up from me. It’s so pretty, I want to display it on a shelf in my living room, but my husband won’t let me.

Seriously.

Buy on Amazon HERE.

Thug Kitchen

Thug Kitchen

I’m not going to lie: I bought this book because of the persistent profanity. Who expects to open a cookbook and read “Slowly whisk in the milk so that shit doesn’t get all lumpy. SLOWLY, MOTHERFUCKER.” (Page 23.)

It had me at “Pay. Fucking. Attention.” (Page xiv.) Or “Eat like you give a fuck.” (Cover.)

So I paid attention, and loved the book. The recipes are simple and delicious and ridiculously entertaining to follow. I think I’ve purchased about 8 copies as gifts, alone. If you or someone you know loves to peruse plant-based cookbooks, this one’s highly recommended if only for the shock factor. (Which it won’t be, because the recipes are truly delicious.)

Buy on Amazon HERE.

Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Yep—I’m unapologetically plugging my own work. Officially being released on August 4, this labour of love consists of over 75 plant-based recipes that are designed to be kind to your digestive tract. A follow-up to my first book, Happy Healthy Gut, Vegetarian Comfort Foods provides recipes, meal plans, and tons of insight about how to care for a touchy bowel.

If you or anyone that you know suffers from stomach disorders such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s disease, colitis, and diverticulitis, this plant-based cookbook can help.

Buy on Amazon HERE.

My next purchase?

The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon

Bowl and Spoon

Part of the Sprouted Kitchen series by Sara Forte, this book looks like it’s right up my alley. It’s plant-based, inventive, creative and earthy home-cooking.

LOVE.

Buy on Amazon HERE.

Ummm…you’re welcome! xo

 

Book Signing Event: Happy Healthy Gut at Chapters on Robson, Vancouver

Happy Healthy Gut book signing

Happy Valentine’s Day! This day is one of my faves, but not because of all the love and chocolate. February 14th marks the halfway point through February, which means it’s almost March, which means it’s almost SPRING!

And every Vancouverite out there is DYING for spring by this point in our long, dark, rainy winter.

It’s also 5 days before an event I’ve been waiting for since the fall: on Thursday, February 19th, I’ll be signing copies of my first book, Happy Healthy Gut: The Plant-Based Diet Solution to Curing IBS and Other Chronic Digestive Disorders, at my favorite bookstore, Chapters on Robson Street, Vancouver.

WHY is this my fave bookstore? Because it’s 3 floors of awesomeness that are accessed via old-school iconic escalator, and the store itself is deep within the heart of Vancouver’s notoriously fabulous shopping district. Plus, there’s a Starbucks. (Obviously.) Come find me on Thursday from 1-4, and I’ll happily gift you with an abundance of bookmarks, and a big, goofy smile.

Because this will never happen again.

Chapters on Robson

Photo courtesy of Vancity Buzz.

On June 30th of this year, because of skyrocketing downtown leases, Chapters on Robson will be closing its doors, and relocating elsewhere in Vancouver. That day, my friends, will be a sad, sad day.

So help me make incredible memories and join me on Thursday. For those of you who live in and around the Vancouver area, I hope to see your beautiful faces. xo

Stop Eating THIS for a Brand New YOU

Hi, guys! As I opened up Facebook today to see what shenanigans everyone had been up to throughout the last few days, the very first “story” caught my eye. A friend of mine had written:

“1 month meat free! Endometriosis gone, stomach pains gone, fatigue gone, new me.”

Health and happiness

Girl, Meatless

Reading this brought me back to four years ago, when I underwent the same transformation. My story would read “6 days meat free! IBS gone, fatigue gone, back pain gone, new me.” After a few months, I could have written “Four months meat free! IBS gone, fatigue gone, back pain gone, periods lighter, sleep is better, mood is more stable, lost weight, cleared skin, am happier, new me.”

So what is it about meat that contributes to such unwanted ailments and unhappy symptoms? And isn’t it sad that all you have to do is eliminate it for a week or two to understand just how crappy you feel on a daily basis?

The Effects of Consuming Meat

There are so many reasons why meat consumption changes our bodies for the worse. Logistics of whether or not we should be consuming animal products in the first place aside (this blog post isn’t about that), meat has been proven to alter our bodies in ways that contribute to sickness and disease. Because many of us have grown up with meat on our plates every day, our bodies do what they’re designed to do, and adapt.

But not well.

IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Over time, consistent consumption of animal products wear down, and have a negative effect on our immune system, bone density, natural pH, and most obviously for me, our digestive tract. Animal products contribute to chronic allergies, lethargy, hormone disruptions, cancer and heart disease, gut bacteria imbalances, antibiotic resistance, and even things like unfavorable body odor.

What the Studies Say

“When cancer researchers started to search for links between diet and cancer, one of the most noticeable findings was that people who avoided meat were much less likely to develop the disease. Large studies in England and Germany showed that vegetarians were about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters.”[1]

As human beings, we are designed to crave salt, sugar, and fat. This is a fact. Thousands of years ago, we could only access these tastes by eating meat and fruit—there was no corner-store candy or Krispy Kreme doughnuts. This high-protein, high-carbohydrate diet was essential to us back then, because we lived a very different lifestyle. We spent all day hunting and gathering and trying to keep ourselves alive to the ripe old age of maybe 30 or 40 years old.

Nowadays? We sit a lot, and we eat more than we can burn off. We’ve been conditioned to think we need all that protein, and although we’ve been eating it for a very long time, our current lazy lifestyles are just not conducive to having a chunk of animal flesh rot in our intestines for a couple of days. It takes us too long to process animal protein when we’re sitting at a desk. And the diseases and discomfort that come from a diet high in animal products often rear their ugly heads much sooner than we would have imagined. If back in the day our lifespan was only a few decades, then eating meat to build the kind of muscle and give us the type of stress function we needed was fine. But if we want to live a long and healthy 80+ years, then meat consumption needs to stop.

“A growing body of evidence suggests Americans’ taste for meat and animal products is putting them at greater risk for a range of health problems.”[2]

In a 2012 study conducted by The National Institutes of Health, researchers concluded that their “study adds more evidence to the health risks of eating high amounts of red meat, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers in other studies.”[3]

If we know all of this, and it makes sense to us, then why not conduct your own little trial run and see how eliminating meat and other animal products from your diet makes you feel? If you feel great (which you will), then continue with a more vegetarian lifestyle.

Happy Healthy Gut

It’s been awhile since I’ve felt compelled to touch (okay, rant) on this subject, but this is exactly what my book Happy Healthy Gut is about. It’s become a passion of mine to put this type of information out there. I want people to read it and find out they can do something really easy and inexpensive and natural to help themselves feel better, look better, and live longer.

Perhaps in a few short weeks, you can comment on this post and simply leave “Meat-free, one month, feel great, new me.”

Just try it. xo

References:

[1] http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/diet-cancer/facts/meat-consumption-and-cancer-risk

[2] http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-a-livable-future/projects/meatless_monday/resources/meat_consumption.html

[3] http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/march2012/03262012meat.htm

Nutritional Benefits of #Kale You May Not Know

kale recipes

Morning, folks! (Or good afternoon if you’re on the east coast…?) I’ve come across an excellent article on kale, and since it’s still a topic that seems to be going strong (kale’s had a good run), I’ve decided to post the related infographic, which is being shared with us by Health Ambition.
Kale is one of those incredible leafy greens that has so many health benefits (I use it weekly, in conjunction with other anti-IBS foods), that it’s beyond worth incorporating into your weekly diet. In the original article, written by Akil Wingate, it states that “One cup of kale is only 36 calories and 0 grams of fat. It also provides 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber which in all its digestive glory promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation and lowers blood sugar levels. The glucosinolates also prevent the bacteria H. pylori from forming on the stomach lining and leading to gastric cancer.​”
(See original article HERE.)
As someone who has openly struggled with digestive issues in the past, this info was extremely helpful to me, and I know that others would benefit from it, as well.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! xo

For more gut-friendly ideas, check out my book, Happy Healthy Gut. Available on Amazon HERE.

or

Pre-Order Vegetarian Comfort Foods, available on Amazon HERE.

3 Ingredient Substitutions for Converting Conventional #Recipes into #Vegan Masterpieces!

Vegan Baking

Hey, y’all! I don’t know about you, but homemade STUFF is in full-swing around here. I’m hosting my annual cookie exchange next week, and it has me pouring over recipe books, looking for incredible-looking cookies that I can transform into vegan holiday treats.

(Spoiler alert: I found them!)

There are always three ingredients I am more than ready to substitute when looking at conventional recipes: eggs, butter, and milk. To greatly lower saturated fat, keep my IBS in check, and try and stay as plant-based as possible, these three gotta go. Wanna know how?

Flax seeds for vegan baking

  • Eggs. Eggs can be replaced by ½ cup of anything gloppy (think fruit puree, like applesauce, pumpkin, or avocado), but so can butter, and you don’t really want to substitute both ingredients for the same thing, because your recipe will end up flat and dense. Also, eggs are used in recipes as binding agents, so you need to find something else that will hold everything together the way eggs do. So with eggs, I use flax seeds and water. One egg can be replaced by 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds, mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Let this mixture sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes, until it’s kind of congealed. Mmmm…congealed…(Just kidding. That word’s gross.) You can also use ground chia seeds instead of flax.

Coconut Oil.

  • Like I stated above, butter can be swapped directly for anything wet and gloppy. Pumpkin puree, applesauce, coconut oil (melted), and avocado are my faves. If the recipe calls for a ½ cup of butter, then use a ½ cup of one of the above, instead.

Almond milk instead of dairy

  • This one’s easy: swap milk for organic, unsweetened soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk. Keep in mind that the latter three are thinner than 2% milk. If you need thick, use soy or canned coconut milk. If you can get away with thin (like skim), then use one of the other three.

And there you have it! Easy ingredient substitutions that will help your recipes become vegan beacons of deliciousness. (Too much?) If anyone has any suggestions, let me know! If I forgot something, call me out, ok?

Happy baking! xo

6 Ways to Make Homemade Oatmeal More Exciting

TGIF, friends! Is it seriously Friday already?! The weeks are going by WAY too fast right now. I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner! With all the craziness and hoopla that surrounds the holidays, it’s easy to rely on pre-packaged crap to get you through the day. But we don’t need to put our poor bodies through that—we just need to get creative! Cold months are perfect for oatmeal, which is super simple to make, and very good for you. It’s high in plant-based protein, low in sugar, great for your digestive system (and those of us suffering with IBS), and it’s a whole food.

Oats. That’s it!

But just oats can get a little boring, so here are 6 ways to create incredible-tasting oatmeal, and make it look even prettier (because everyone knows that pretty food just tastes better):

Homemade oatmeal

  • Experiment with some fun ingredients. Aside from the common toppings of cinnamon or raisins, try other things. Banana slices, pomegranate seeds (especially this time of year), blueberries, shredded coconut, and flax seeds are all great additions to any bowl of oats. Literally, IT’S ALL GOOD.
  • Swap water for almond or coconut milk while cooking. It makes a thicker, heartier oatmeal that will stick around for the entire morning. If your tummy starts rumbling for a snack an hour before lunch, then this idea is for YOU. No more rumbles.

Homemade oatmeal

  • Try assembling it the night before. If time (or lack thereof) is your excuse for skipping breakfast or throwing back a crappy Nutri-Grain bar on your way to work, then prep, baby, prep! Here’s how: layer dry ingredients in a bowl or jar the night before, and sit it on the counter where you’ll see it in the morning. When you’re ready for it, add fresh fruit and some unsweetened almond milk, and viola! Good quality, homemade breakfast. You can’t beat that.

Homemade oatmeal

  • Make your oatmeal into little muffins! Simply combine oats with pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and some ground flax until the texture feels right. (Like vegan oatmeal meat balls!) Plop into muffin paper liners (in muffin tin), and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let cool for 15 minutes before eating, or make the night before and just pop 2 into your purse on your way out the door. Easy, peasy!

Vegan Homemade Oatmeal

  • Dress it up. Not with toppings (do that, too), but arrange it in something fancy and pretty. It’ll be more visually appealing to you in the morning, and you might just make time to stop and take a foodie pic. I do it all the time. I’ll admit it, and I’m not ashamed. Think about it: if you’re creating food that you feel compelled to photograph, then you’ll want to eat it! Get passionate about breakfast! And create an Instagram account.
  • Do a quick search online about how good oatmeal is for you. It’ll help to know that oats are protein-laden, fiber-rich, blood sugar lowering, weight-loss inducing, intestine-cleaning powerhouses. How do you avoid it, now? YOU HAVE TO EAT IT!

And those are my ideas on how to make oatmeal more exciting. I hope you’re totally planning on running home after work, assembling some jars of oats and stuff, and are looking forward to your healthful, amazing, plant-based breakfast of oats for the week. If you have kids, it’s fun for them to create their own oatmeal concoctions, too! Let the creativity roll!

Like an oat. Like a rolled oat. Get it? Kk, I’m out. xo

Vegan Foodie Pics of the Week

Happy Meatless Monday, friends! Here are this week’s most delicious-looking vegan foodie pics, courtesy of the incredible filters on Instagram and my iPhone! Some of these recipes will be available in Vegetarian Comfort Foods, which will be released August 4, 2015. (Pre-order HERE.)

Enjoy…xo

Pomegranate Salad

Pomegranate Salad

Banana-Mango Smoothie

Banana-Mango Smoothie

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

Sweet Potato and Corn Quesadilla

Sweet Potato Quesadilla

Granny Smith Apple-Ginger Juice

Apple Juice

Earthy Glow Bar

Earthy Glow Bar

Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Strawberry Protein Smoothie

5 Common Triggers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS

Happy Saturday, everyone! Today’s post was inspired by a series of realizations I’ve had oven the course of the last year or so. For those of you who don’t know this about me, I used to struggle with awful IBS symptoms that impeded my life every single day. This gut-wrenching story (see what I did there?!) has a happy ending, though. I managed to figure out the sources of my discomfort, and reap the rewards that come with a calm, happy, healthy gut.

BUT…everyone who has ever suffered from a chronic health issue, knows that from time to time, there are circumstances that cause these types of conditions to rear their ugly heads.

Here are, in my opinion, the top five offenders that just LOVE to make my bowel (and perhaps yours) irritable:

Yoga for stress

  • Stress. This is seriously the number one cause of any IBS flare-up I experience, nowadays. I can eat as clean and regularly as I want, and exercise, and sleep well, but your brain doesn’t care. If you’re stressed, IBS becomes more imminent. Some ways to relieve stress, include meditation, yoga, conscious breathing, and exercise.

Dairy

  • Dairy. This “does a body good” mammal secretion (I write with pure loathing) does not do anybody good. It sucks. It’s for calves, not for adult humans. Dairy acidifies our bodies and clogs up our bowels. It sparks spontaneous allergies, and is loaded with fat and sugar. If you have IBS, please refrain.

pink slime

  • Meat and processed food. Both of these foodstuffs are so chalk full of crap that our bodies silently scream in protest, but we don’t pay attention. Unless you have IBS, and then you’re pretty much forced to. In addition to this, meat is also full of saturated fat, and acidifies our bodies like dairy. (That’s “pink slime” above, if you were wondering. You should totally Google it.)

Working Out

  • Stagnancy. That is, not exercising. Everyone needs to move their bodies every day in order for vital bodily processes to occur. (Circulation, digestion, proper respiration, muscle building, calorie burning, etc.) When you don’t move, it throws your entire body out of whack, and when you have IBS, your digestive system is beyond touchy. It’s one sensitive son of a bitch, and I can assure you, it’s in your best interest to keep it happy.

Lack of sleep

  • Lack of sleep. This might be related to stress, but lack of sleep is my worst nightmare. (Irony—and pun—intended.) In order to sleep very, very well, I would definitely advise you to take everything I’ve written above to heart. You sleep better when your stress level is down, you’re eating good, clean, whole food, and exercising your body on a regular basis.

Here’s a summary:

Stress, animal products, processed food, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep are all BAD for IBS.

Reduced stress, whole food, lots of vegetables and water, daily exercise, and great sleep are all GOOD for IBS. 

Happy Healthy Gut

It’s all about the routine, and the lifestyle you choose to implement for yourself, but I can assure you, IBS can be tamed. For a full 272 pages on EXACTLY how this is possible, check out Happy Healthy Gut. For a recipe book full of delicious, tummy-taming concoctions, check out Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Have a great rest of your weekend! xo

Look Who's Nominated For the One Lovely Blog Award!

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks so much to FIT FARMER for nominating me for the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD! I’m super excited to be part of this supportive blogging community, and I hope everyone who reads this will check out my blog recommendations.:)

The Rules
– Thank the person who nominated you for the award
– Display the banner/sticker/logo on your blog
– Share 7 facts or things about yourself
– Nominate 15 bloggers that you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog

7 facts about me:
1. I’m a writer. I began with my first book (Happy Healthy Gut), and then I started writing for magazines (like Vancouver’s alive Magazine), and now I just write to get reactions, make a difference, and challenge myself. I’ve always loved to write.
2. I am 33-years-old. I have three kids, one husband, zero pets, and no more apples in my apple tree. (Because I picked them all to make applesauce, which I talked about a couple of blog posts ago.)
3. I used to have IBS, but I don’t anymore. 4 years ago, I began a whole food, plant-based diet that changed my life from the inside out. You can read all about it in Happy Healthy Gut!
4. I love to sing. Even though most people who have heard me will say I definitely can’t carry a tune, it’s because I have a VERY hard time singing in from of anyone aside from my kids (even my husband). But I can sing–for real.
5. I’m obsessive-compulsive. I didn’t really know this until I was a parent, but when you start comparing things with other moms and realize that you’re the only one who tracks days you work out, have a glass of wine, or feel overly emotional, you come to understand that perhaps you’re slightly ridiculous.
6. I love to eat! I’ve always been a major foodie, and I’ve always been willing to make myself sick for that extra stuffed mushroom. (Although I have to say, now that I’m 4 years in on the whole food, plant-based bandwagon, I can eat way more without feeling sick. It’s seriously ideal.)
7. I LOVE trash TV. Particularly the Real Housewives franchise, and especially New Jersey. Yup.

My 15 nominees:
1) Kitchen, Uncorked
2) Just January’s Jargon
3) Oh She Glows
4) Love Food
5) Love.Peace.Hapiness.Cooking
6) Taste of Colours
7) Bucket List Publications 
8) My VanCity 
9) Forks and Beans
10) Pickles & Honey
11) The Kind Life
12) Living Food Love
13) The Garum Factory
14) Fiona Grows Food
15) Good Girl Gone Green

Happy blog perusing! xo