Grain Free Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

#WHATHEALTHYMODELSEAT 

I don’t know how many times I’ve posted a pancake recipe but this one is one a keeper! It also gives me a reason to use my fluffy organic allergen free flours from Cuisine Soleil. It’s grain free, gluten/wheat free, sugar free, preservative free, vegan AND wait for it….there’s vegetables in it! It makes me a very happy vegan when I incorporate greens in my breakfast and adding them to pancakes just makes sense. Made with organic chickpea flour, it makes for a high fiber and protein rich breakfast that will be sure to satisfy any tummy on a Sunday morning. This is what I call a healthy balanced breakfast!

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No need for honey, syrup or other sugary no good toppings; I top mine with my most favourite jam by Xyla. Their Mountain Berry is a mixture of naturally sweetened berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.) Since most jams contain a whack load of added sugars and preservatives, this one is a perfect healthy alternative because it’s completely sugar free and only sweetened with xylitol. The texture and flavour oozes of delicious fruit that sometimes I can’t help but eat it straight of the jar. That good. 

Alright already…go have some breakfast!

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What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (Cuisine Soleil has a great quality organic chickpea flour)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup of fresh grated zucchini

3 tbsp ground flax meal + 9 tbsp warm water (makes a vegan egg)

1 1/2 cups almond milk + 1 tablespoon of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (this makes a vegan buttermilk!)

Organic cold pressed coconut oil for cooking

Combine 3 tablespoons of flax meal in a small bowl with 9 tablespoons of warm water and mix well. Set aside for 5 minutes. To make the vegan buttermilk, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for a minute or so. Combine the flour, cinnamon, zucchini and baking soda together in a mixing bowl. Then add the flax egg and vegan buttermilk to the mixture. Whisk the batter but not too much. Clumps are okay sometimes. 🙂

Preheat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Add a little coconut oil and spread around the pan. Add about a 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. Cook for a few minutes on one side, flip and cook a couple more minutes on the other side. When it starts to bubble, that’s how you know it’s ready to be flipped! Remove from pan, keep warm on a plate, and top with fresh fruit and jam!

Makes about 6 generous size pancakes.

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Breaking News: I Don’t Have A Microwave!

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Microwaves should come with warning labels just like cigarette cartons. 

I’ve never owned my own microwave. It’s been about 6 years or so actually. When I first moved into my first apartment, I made the conscious decision to never own one. I figured there were other safer ways to heat my food. And quite frankly, microwaved foods never interested me. It never tasted good. My food was always scorching hot when it came out but after a few minutes, the temperature of it dropped drastically. Plus, the thought of an appliance “warming” my food with invisible energy radio waves boggled my mind – it made me very skeptical. You plug it in, press some buttons and voila! Food in a matter of seconds. Then it went straight into my body? Weird!

Microwaves play such a large part in the everyday Western lifestyle; it’s this impressive little everyday gadget that we don’t second guess as much as we should. On top of that, most homes are microwaving processed foods which only means one thing: it’s not real food being eaten. It’s just junk being heated by junk. It may help when you when you’re pressed for time but in the long run, it does more harm than any good. We cannot ignorantly sacrifice our health in return for the convenience of microwave ovens to prepare our meals. Exposure to unnatural radiation cannot be beneficial to our health. Would you be alright getting into a tanning booth (it’s kind of like a large microwave), blasting it on high for a few minutes and then repeating that everyday? Probably not. Because you know it’s not safe and can be damaging. You probably don’t need any scientific facts to justify that for you. 

Why should you be concerned about your microwave? Here’s a some fast facts I’ve rounded up for you (some so obvious that you may already know them): 

  • Nutrients, vitamins and minerals of all microwaved food is depleted or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit which cannot be brown down 
  • Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous tumors
  • Continual ingestion of microwaved food lowers the immune system and can cause digestive disorders
  • Eating food processed from a microwave oven causes permanent brain damage by “shorting out” electrical impulses in the brain
  • The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells that increase in human blood
  • The minerals and vitamins in vegetables are converted into cancerous free radicals by microwaves
  • Our bodies are unable to metabolize the unknown by-products that are created in microwaved foods

There are many articles about microwaves being harmful and also many articles about it being safer than cell phones. But the point of eating food is to reap the benefits it has to offer and if the nutrients are being depleted by microwaves, why bother? The dangers are there and it is absolutely not necessary to have one. 

Bottom line: You don’t need it. I believe that every meal you make should be prepared on purpose with purpose. Life can get hectic and busy, but that doesn’t mean your body has to compromise with crappy food sprayed in a coating of radiation. Not to mention a lot of it is probably wrapped in some sort of BPA, but that’s a whole other issue on it’s own. It’s safer to eat natural foods in raw form which is not only as convenient as microwaved food but much healthier. Our bodies are capable of handling something close to what mother nature gives us but if it’s not, it’s more likely our bodies cannot. Keep in mind, I’m a vegan so a large portion of my meals don’t require any heating. The foods that do, go straight into the conventional oven or reheated in a pan. You”ll be surprised just how easily you can get by without a microwave! Whether or not these facts are “true or false”, if you can reduce the potential risks, would you? 

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Try this home experiment from NaturalNews to understand the potential hazards of microwaving: “Plant seeds in two pots. Water one pot with microwaved water and the other pot with regular tap water. The seeds that received microwaved water won’t sprout. If microwaved water can stop plants from growing, then imagine what microwaved food is doing to your body.” 

Healthy Mexican Quinoa Salad

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There are a billion and one ways to make quinoa. It’s so versatile and a great replacement for pasta and rice. It’s protein packed, low in fat, easy on the calories and naturally gluten and wheat free. Perfect for vegans like myself, and pretty much for anyone that likes food!

So yesterday I thought I’d spice it up a bit. I am a big fan of Mexican food because of its array of flavours and exotic spices. Honestly, I wish it could be Mexican night every night at my place!

What you’ll need:

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Half an onion, chopped and minced

1 jalapeno

1 cup of organic soaked quinoa

1/2 can of lentils

1 cup of organic corn kernels

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of coriander

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

Fresh black pepper to taste

A squeeze of lemon

1-2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro leaves

1 cup of pure organic tomato puree (no salt added if possible)

Cook 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water. Or follow brand’s directions.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno and onions and saute until fragrant for about 1 minute or so. Add corn, lentils, tomato puree and spices. Add 1/2 cup of water. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. Stir occasionally until thoroughly combined. Stir in cooked quinoa, lemon juice and cilantro. Mix, mix, mix!

Serve immediately on a bed of greens and grab your sombrero! Ole!

Coconut Vinegar Anyone?

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I’ve stayed away from balsamic and white vinegars for a few years now mainly because I have read that it feeds candida and yeast growth. I don’t have candida but there are times if I have too much over active yeast in my body, I break out into a rash or infection that’s similar to some candida symptoms. There’s also been a link to candida and cancer which I found interesting this article:

http://www.naturalnews.com/038266_cancer_candida_correlations.html

I was getting a little tired of having my quinoa with just olive oil and lemon until I came across this awesome vinegar product by Organika. It was coconut nectar produced from pure coconut sap (not water.) And if you don’t already know this about me, I’m a huge fan of anything that’s coconut! There’s a whole spectrum of surprising food ingredients and products derived from coconut trees from coconut water to coconut milk and now coconut nectar vinegar. Coconuts are all the rage these days!

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The difference between coconut vinegar and other vinegars (besides raw ACV) is that it does not go through any form of pasteurization after the completed (natural) fermentation. It nutritionally exceeds other vinegars because it is a more natural, more nutritious option.

Some say that coconut nectar vinegar is just as good (or even better) than apple cider vinegar because of it’s richer health benefits. And we all know how much coconut has to offer! It contains 17 health promoting amino acids with alkalizing effects on the body, broad spectrum of B vitamins and mineral content and contains a prebiotic called FOS which help to promote digestive health.

Health aspects aside, the taste is pretty darn good! It does not make my food taste like coconut and has a pleasant, mild, slightly sweeter but medium sourness taste than other vinegars. It’s not as potent either. You can use it in condiments, dressings, sauces or marinades, which in my case I like in my quinoa bowls mixed with a little seasoning and a lemon squeeze. A little goes a long way! For added benefits or internal cleansing, you can even drink it (by taking teaspoons of it) like this guy here.

It’s great for health conscious people like myself that like to reduce synthetic acids and prefer cooking with 100% natural derived ingredients. There are no added preservatives, MSG, sodium, sugar, artificial yeast, adulterants and it’s gluten free, vegan, soy free, wheat free and low glycemic. In addition to the additions, it’s low in calories and carbohydrates. About a tablespoon has 0 calories and 0 grams of carbs.

I haven’t tried the other brands but Organika’s seems to be a keeper! Their product is certified organic, raw and non GMO and contains only one ingredient: coconut nectar. Nothing more, nothing less. Just how it should be.

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Raw Crunchy Cacao Almond Protein Balls

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The most popular question I get asked about being vegan is “Where do you get your protein?!” I can list a million a one meat less ways that are excellent sources of protein but I’ll let this recipe do the talking. 

One of the things on that list is sprouted brown rice protein. It’s a perfect protein supplement for vegans, vegetarians, lactose intolerants and even meat eaters! I currently have a strong relationship with Heartland Gold’s Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Powder. It’s non GMO and allergy friendly. Here are 5 Fast Food Facts about sprouted brown rice (protein):

  • Helps to promote a healthy balanced sugar as it’s considered to be a low glycemic food 
  • It’s allergen friendly – no gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar, soy and whey!
  • Excellent in amino acids containing all 9 amino acids that are essential to your health and it’s high in iron!
  • Low in calories and carbs per scoop (depending on the brand you get) 
  • It’s a great (and better) alternative to soy and whey protein powders. Some studies have shown that brown rice protein has the same athletic benefits as whey protein. Suitable for someone on a plant based diet who also needs to build muscle and also for muscle recovery and healing!

It has a smooth taste and it’s easy on the stomach. A few years back, I tried Vega’s protein powders and all of their products made my stomach hurt and run to the washroom. I’ve read about many people who complained about it hurting their tummies too and were told that they “would get used to it” after a few uses. I gradually added it to my everyday diet and it still left me with the same results. Maybe it was because of their abundant amount of ingredients mixed together that took a hit at my digestive system?  

So I stopped and gave up on protein powders because of them! 

One of the most popular health snacks right now are raw protein balls. You can buy them (various health brands) or you can make them yourself and control what’s inside of them. I’m always a big fan of homemade. Plus, they’re super easy to make and since it’s raw, they’re easily accessible! So that meant giving protein powders another chance. Heartland Gold’s Non GMO Sprouted Brown Rice Protein powder is a fantastic brand especially if you’ve just started to introduce protein powders into your diet. I bought this one for $15.99 at my local health store in Toronto. 

A great component of this particular protein powder is that it only has one ingredient: Organic Compliant, Sprouted, Non-GMO, Brown Rice Protein Concentrate! With 80 calories per scoop and 16 grams of protein, it’s the perfect addition to your smoothies, blends, hot cereals, pancakes and in this case, protein balls! And the best part? My stomach doesn’t hurt afterwards! Take that Vega! 

Now, let’s get our protein on…..

What you’ll need: 

1/2 cup of pure roasted almond butter 

1 scoop of sprouted brown rice protein (Heartland Gold Sprouted Brown Rice Protein vanilla or unflavoured) 

1 cup of raw almonds sliced in halves (or you can use almond shreds but it won’t have that super crunch we want!) 

2 tablespoons of organic maca powder

1 packet of stevia 

1 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract (alcohol free if possible!)

1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil 

2 teaspoons of organic chia seeds 

1/2 cup of organic almond flour 

1/4 cup of raw cacao powder (you can use carob powder if you want to reduce your caffeine intake!) 

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. You can use a food processor if you have it if anything. Blend thoroughly. Take a spoonful and roll into a ball shape using your hands. 

Take a spoonful and roll in the palms of your hand in a ball shape. Refrigerate and grab when you need one! 

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