From the age of 16, film has been a major catalyst in my life for inspiring good health and wellness. I remember watching Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me documentary for the first time and my body going into shock from all of the knowledge I had acquired that evening. It wasn’t often that I came across a thought provoking movie that shifted me to rethink my food habits and question the lifestyle I was accustomed to from childbirth. After that evening, the notion of McDonalds was never going to be the same for me. Consuming meat would not be in the picture either.
From there, I made it a process to actively educate myself more through my love of research, books and of course, documentaries. Even though the wealth of information I was learning along the way practically traumatized me, consciously choosing a vegan lifestyle was the greatest decision I had ever made for myself and my soul. And it all started with simply changing my diet. And then slowly but surely, I began to develop and propagate morals for animal rights, environmental issues and human activism. And my decision to go vegan was not based on just one thing anymore – it grew to a foundation of all connecting principals that seemingly came together.
Over the past few years, the number of food and health documentaries has tremendously blown up. You now have easy access to watching a myriad of topics too – from food politics to nutrition theory shifts to diet stories. These documentaries have an effective medium to cultivate ideologies and bring awareness in a powerful way to society with the compelling magic of storytelling.
It all starts with awareness, right? So whether you’re looking for a little inspiration to clean up your lifestyle or want to discover more about the food industry and its global effects, watching these 8 food documentaries is a great way to start! All from the perspective of wellness/health, the environment and human ethics.
FORKS OVER KNIVES
HUNGRY FOR CHANGE
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I look forward to waking up to a nice cup of green tea, warm lemon water and a nutrient filled breakfast. While I do enjoy a good bowl of gluten free oatmeal and pancakes from time to time, the best thing I can have in the morning is a power smoothie that’s plant based, low in sugar and gluten free!
Smoothies are effortless, efficient and you are guaranteed to collect all of your essential vitamins in just one delicious dose. Having a nutrient-filled powerhouse smoothie (like the one below), can set you up for a healthy and productive day. Due to the density of the beverage, they are capable of keeping you full, energized and satisfied longer. That way, you’re not tempted to reach for that sugar-laden muffin or feel like you are crashing by 11:00 am.
Smoothies are also a great tool for weight loss and weight management because you can customize and control the ingredients depending on your goal. You can get all of your necessary nutrients in just one cup without adding in extra or empty calories.
This is one of my favourite smoothie recipes to make. I have it at least 4 times a week for breakfast. Besides the veggie and fruit basics, I included a pizzazz of superfoods that up the nutritional value of my smoothie. I’ve learned about each ingredient and created a balanced smoothie that consists of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and complex carbs.
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup of organic, cold pressed coconut water
1/4 cup of filtered water
1/2 frozen fair trade banana
2-3 cups of baby spinach (organic if possible)
1/4 cup of organic fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon of spirulina
1 teaspoon of chlorella powder
1 tablespoon of hemp protein powder
1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1 tablespoon of baobab powder
1 teaspoon of organic goji berries (I love Rich Nature‘s!)
1 tablespoon of raw cacao nibs
2 brazil nuts
5-7 ice cubes (adjustable)
Combine all ingredients in your blender or magic bullet. Blend well. Pour, sip and enjoy.
Happy weekend, y’all!
It’s been awhile since I wrote my last post – apologies for being MIA. Summer is one hell of a chaotic (the good kind of course) ride. And somehow along the way, you lose concept of time because of the summer memories you’re busy creating.
To make it up to you, here’s one of my favourite cake recipes. You know how I do: low sugar, gluten/wheat free, vegan and crap-free.
It’s also a chocolate cake.
That’s how sorry I am.
Cause chocolate makes everything better, amiright?
What you’ll need:
1 cup of buckwheat flour
6-7 tbsp of organic raw cacao
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of baking soda
3/4 cup of organic coconut sugar or granulated xylitol + 3 packets of stevia (adjust to sweet tooth!)
1/4 cup of plain unsweetened coconut yogurt
3/4 cup of unsweetened almond/coconut milk (or filtered water)
1/4 cup of raw almond butter (or Sunbutter if you want it nut-free)
2 tsp of alcohol free vanilla extract
2 tbsp of organic coconut oil + 1 tsp of organic coconut oil for pan greasing
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8″ square pan with 1 tsp of organic coconut oil. Set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and use a fork to get rid of any clumps. In a second bowl, bring in nut butter, yogurt, milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix. Do not over mix! Transfer into pan and distribute evenly.
Bake for 22-26 minutes. Remove and let it sit to cool.
For the coconut yogurt icing, you’ll need:
1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut yogurt (or non dairy option – I love using Yoso Coconut Yogurt)
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1-2 pinches of uncut stevia (or 1/4 of organic coconut sugar)
3 tbsp of coconut cream (not oil!)
1 tsp of organic raw cacao
Combine everything in a frosting bowl until completely smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness. Spread icing on the cooled cake, cut into desired square slices and top with sugar free chocolate chips (or carob chips). Nom nom away!
Life is absolutely wonderful.
It can go from chaotic to joyous in a matter of minutes! At times, it can go from amazing to stressful. Then there are the days when you feel like you just can’t keep up anymore!
That’s why I believe that the food we put in our bodies is one of the essential tools that helps us cope with the roller coaster moments of life. We all know that with a conscious effort, eating smart, getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, exercising daily and doing daily affirmations and/or meditations creates the perfect balance and booster to one’s being. However, those days that you feel like you can’t keep up anymore hit us unexpectedly thus causing us to become sick from stress, lack of nutrients and vitamins, unhealthy eating, etc. And before we know it – our immune system crashes.
It’s no secret that a healthy body and mind begins with a healthy immune system. It’s been said that 70% of our immune system is located in our gut. In turn, what we put into our bodies forms and supports the foundation of our overall health. And we always want the best, right?
Eating a diet rich in nutrient dense foods that are mainly plant based is far better and ideal for your health than loading up on unnecessary supplements, or worse, falling victim to vaccines that expose you to health risks far severe than influenza and gut issues. Unfortunately, infections are inevitable. So whether you have a tickle in your throat, fighting off flu season, feeling a little bloated,or just need a little “super charge boost” in your day, try sipping on this immune-strengthening homemade tea that helps to ward off bad bacteria and viruses, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, all the while allowing you to naturally fight back. Sans Tylenol, sans over the counter pills.
Food is most nutritious and powerful when it’s close to its original form ergo having the properties to heal and nourish the body organically. Make this special (beware, it’s an acquired taste!) tea from a combination of pure herbs and whole ingredients and you’ll not only decrease your exposure to the circulating viruses but improve your overall health and longevity at the same time. Don’t expect this tea to be a miracle worker though; this hug in a cup works best with a healthful diet and lifestyle. So eat those veggies!
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn
What you’ll need:
2.5 cups of water
Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
1 organic cinnamon stick
2 slices of fresh ginger (I like it grated sometimes)
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 garlic clove OR 1/4 tsp of cloves (depending on which taste you prefer)
A pinch of cayenne pepper (add more if you can handle it!)
Add all ingredients to a small pot and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat. Let simmer for 7-9 minutes until well steeped.
Pour tea through a strainer. Drink mindfully.
Drop your protein powder scooper and step away from the blender…
Cause I think I found THE most efficient, delicious and well-rounded plant-based protein powder known to NAMB kind! And I must share with you. That is my duty.
You see, a mere few weeks ago, Garden Of Life graciously sent me some awesome samples to try out for my blog. I’m a sucker for a) healthy vegan products, b) hip, modern company branding and c) anything free. I have tried a multitude of different vegan protein powders but Garden of Life takes it to another level. Most that I’ve tried are great sources of plant based protein usually containing 3 or less ingredients such as brown rice protein, pea protein and even sacha inchi protein. While some have made my recipes quite awesome, there were some that tasted like unappetizing cardboard and didn’t agree digestively. Needless to say, they were giving me my adequate amount of protein intake, but I didn’t want to consume anything that made my stomach bark and meow.
Unless you’re a physical athlete or working out immensely, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the lack of protein in your everyday diet. The overall focus should be about getting a healthy balanced amount of nutrients and vitamins. Of course, some may need more of one than the other, but ultimately, it’s about that fine balance. You know, the one that makes you feel oh-so-good overall.
Eating a variety of a bountiful, beneficial and nutrient dense whole foods is key to a healthy lifestyle. While vegan protein powders are not typically as essential as consuming whole foods such as fresh organic greens, lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts, they serve a purpose in providing a sizable punch of protein efficiently and effectively for those who are health conscious like me. Personally, I consider them to be “health enhancers or boosters” more than supplements or replacements for real food. If you pair a fabulous protein product with your usual array of healthy foods, your food really can’t get any more super than that! So essentially, it’s ideal to opt for a protein powder/supplement that’s on par to a whole food source to really make it worth your while.
Let’s face it – you deserve the best!
Raw Protein and Organic Plant Protein both have many admirable factors to say the least. What I love about Garden of Life’s products, besides the obvious fact that they provide clean protein, is that they offer a plethora of vitamins and minerals your body also needs and contain zero synthetic fillers and preservatives. Ingredients that don’t stress you out! The Raw Protein products are raw (duh!), certified organic, vegan and contain live probiotics (good bacteria), enzymes like proteases, essential amino acids, fat soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E and a bunch of sprouted goodness like flax seed sprouts, quinoa sprouts, lentil sprouts, buckwheat sprouts, broccoli sprouts to name a few. Let’s just say that there’s a whole lot of goodness in there! See for yourself here. Oh yeah, I should probably tell you that there’s about 17 grams of plant based protein per serving. That’s a good deal for the amount of very few calories. You can choose from 4 flavours – chocolate, vanilla, vanilla chai and raw original. For my recipes below, I used vanilla chai as it was my most favourite palate-wise and worked flawlessly in my blondies.
*Note: I’ve chosen to be ironic by using a raw protein powder for a baked good instead of the smoothie.*
Organic Plant Protein’s formula is a bit similar. The powder isn’t raw and it’s grain free but still has the same endearing qualities like being certified organic, vegan, nutritional and high in protein of course. For about 100 calories worth of a serving, there’s less than 1 gram of sugar (no added sugar and sweetened with stevia), roughly 3-4 grams of fiber and carries about 15 grams of plant strong protein. You also got some pea seeds in there, some flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds which all come together beautifully to balance and level out your blood sugars. What’s more is that they threw in some superfoods in there like moringa and baobab for that extra mineral and anti-oxidant kick. There’s 4 different flavour options and they’re all deliciously earthy tasting, smooth and versatile. The flavours are subtly apparent but the hint of sweetness to them isn’t overbearing but rather fortifying. Smooth Energy was my go-to because it contained a type of naturally caffeinated tea called Yerba Mate and added Vitamin B12 (warranted for vegans and vegetarians like me.) I must say, it’s less chalky than it’s cousin Raw Protein and more appetizing to throw and mix in a beverage like in my smoothie below.
All in all, they’re both worry-free, reliable options when searching for a standard protein powder product to call the one. Find a product that works for you and your preferences. Experiment with different recipes to keep things fun and interesting. I’m here to tell you that consuming protein powder doesn’t have to be boring!
BLONDIES (use organic and preservative free ingredients whenever possible!)
1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour blend (I used buckwheat flour and brown rice flour with a bit of coconut flour)
1 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of coriander
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (I like to use a little more)
1/4 tsp of cardamom
1 pack of Raw Protein Vanilla Chai protein powder
1/4 tsp of guar gum (optional but keeps ish together)
1/2 cup of unsweetened almond or cashew milk
1/4 cup of cold pressed virgin coconut oil (melted)
3 tsp of alcohol free vanilla
6-10 packs of stevia (use your taste bud discretion)
1 cup of vegan, stevia-sweetened dark chocolate (chunks or chips – your call!)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 x 8 square baking pan with some oil.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Except chocolate! Mix together wet ingredients in another bowl.
Stir to combine both bowls into one. Fold in chocolate chunks/chips. Don’t be stingy! Next, spoon the batter into the greased pan and smooth down with a spatula or the back of your spoon. Add more chocolate if you please. And please do.
Bake the blondies for 16-18 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes before slicing into desired squares. Bite, devour and repeat.
Then enjoy this smoothie:
Half of a small frozen banana
1/4 cup of frozen strawberries
Handful amount of baby spinach (I say the more the better!)
1 generous scoop of Organic Plant Protein Yerba Mate Smooth Energy
2 tbsp of raw cashews
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
4-6 ice cubes (I usually more cause I like it creamy!)
Blend it. Love it. Drink it.