My Top 8 Influential Documentary Recommendations

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.

VEGUCATED

COWSPIRACY 

FOOD, INC.

FORKS OVER KNIVES

FOOD MATTERS

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE

FED UP

GMO OMG

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Free Buckwheat Granola

It’s funny when people joke around about how vegans only chirp on bird food like granola and hemp seeds….

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Homemade crunchy buckwheat granola anyone? 🙂

This recipe is wheat free, soy free, gluten free, dairy free, preservative free, vegan and sugar free! It’s a free for all I tell ya! Delicious, the perfect amount of crunch and a great on the go snack or breakfast. Alternatively you can use rolled oats (make sure they’re organic gluten free) instead of the buckwheat groats.

In my last post, I babbled about the importance of sprouted and soaked almonds (and other nuts/seeds) and expressed my fixation with Dastony‘s divine organic sprouted almond butter. Did you know they also produce a variety of other yummy sprouted nut and seed butters?! Almond butter, coconut butter, hemp butter, you name it! All certified organic, raw, stone milled, preservative free and 100% pure with no additives and added sugars or oils. Just how any nut butter should be!

Have a nut allergy or just not a fan of almond butter? Try sunflower seed butter or sunbutter! As a matter of fact, SSB has significantly more magnesium, vitamin E, iron, zinc and selenium than some of the other nut/seed butters (sorry peanut butter!) It’s a versatile spread packed with nutrients retained from the whole seed and adds nutrients and flavour to adventurous recipes such as hot cereals and this granola melange!

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What you’ll need:

1 cup of buckwheat groats (raw or sprouted/soaked)

1/4 cup of sunflower seeds (or chopped pecans)

1/4 cup of shredded coconut flakes or desiccated coconut

2 tbsp of hemp protein powder

2 tbsp of raw cacao nibs or unsweetened carob chips

1/2 tsp of vanilla powder

Drop of vanilla stevia extract (adjust to sweet tooth)

2 tsp of organic cinnamon powder

1 tsp of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 tbsp of sprouted sunflower seed butter (for nut free version) or raw almond butter (Dastony‘s is my favourite!)

3-4 tbsp of organic virgin coconut oil, melted

Stevia to taste (For non sugar free option, use 2-3 tbsp of organic coconut nectar)

Optional: 1 tsp of lucuma powder, 2 tsp of sprouted almonds or other nuts/seeds of choice

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together. In a small bowl, mix the wet ingredients together until there are no clumps left. Pour the wet mixture into the big bowl of dry ingredients and fully coat everything until clusters start to form.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or baking paper. Transfer the granola mixture onto the lined sheet and spread evenly so that it evenly bakes. Bake for 15 minutes. Check back and using a spatula, flip around mixture.

Bake for another 15 minutes and remove once golden brown. It may still look a little wet but that’s fine! You will need to let it cool and dry for about half an hour or so before serving with your favourite coconut yogurt, almond milk or fruit fresh!

*For a raw version (if you have a dehydrator), dehydrate at 115 degrees for 7-8 hours until golden brown and crispy.

Transfer the rest into an airtight container or sandwich bag. Keep granola cool. x

#FoodExplorerFriday on FoodiePages!

foodie-charmaine

A #FoodExplorer is a person who loves to experience and experiment with the freshest, most delicious local foods they can get their hands on. They are notorious Foodies who always put their own delicious spin on a recipe or ingredient. This week’s Food Explorer of the week is vegan model blogger Charmaine San Pedro of Not Another Model Blog.

Read the full interview on FoodiePages website!

You can also find my Healthy Soy Free Vegan Scrambled Eggs recipe there too!

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ABC Breakfast Bake [Grain Free + Vegan]

A is for apples. B is for buckwheat. C is for chia AND cinnamon. Good enough for me!

Friends, let’s have the alphabet for breakfast.

Forget the high simple carb, sugary muffins you have the morning at Starbucks. It’s crap and you deserve better. 🙂 Something like this delicious and simple baked breakfast cake is very much all you. It’s similar to a thick moist muffin cake you can enjoy with your favourite fixins’  like melted almond butter, homemade jam, almonds, more fruit or coconut butter. So. Many. Possibilities. 

Having this in the morning means having a high fiber, protein and iron rich, healthy fats filled blowout. Also low in sugar (free of refined sugars) and naturally sweetened with delicious green Apple bits, Cinnamon and some xylitol/stevia.

I’m obsessed with baking (more so eating) chia seeds and buckwheat especially for the past couple of days. Both have become a staple part of my pantry and diet and for many of my everyday dishes, they’ve been great flour and grain replacements. Not only do they do the body really good, they are also very versatile. Healthy puddings, cereals, cakes, pancakes, smoothies…you name it. So when I found out Nature’s Earthly Choice created a line of convenient and nature-approved goodies like Chia Goodness, I was left in a moment of bliss. They kindly provided me with healthy products that not only were quality fresh but combined two of the beloved main ingredients for my breakfast bake: chia seeds and Buckwheat.

Score! Healthy, real ingredients and provides satisfying energy to fuel the beginnings of promising days.  

And for an extra nudge of protein and nutrient density, all of the Chia Goodness products contain hulled hemp seeds too. Therefore, when you’re pressed for time in the morning and can’t make this ABC breakfast bake (no excuse not to make it on a Sunday!), you can jumble a few tablespoons of the Goodness mix with unsweetened vanilla almond/coconut milk (perhaps some fruit?) for a speedy and nourishing breakfast bowl. Either way, you’ll certainly be taken care of in the mornings. 😉

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I know my bake is a little naked but I wanted to show you how delectable it looked on its own. If you don’t want a heavy breakfast, you can definitely have it by itself and hustle it to go like you would a muffin.

 

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Step aside muffin. 

What you’ll need:

3 tbsp of Nature’s Earthly Choice Chia Goodness Original mix

1/2 cup of organic buckwheat flour (grind buckwheat groats in blender)

1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tbsp of organic cinnamon

1/4 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of vanilla bean extract (non alcohol)

1 flax egg (1 tbsp of ground flax + 3 tbsp of warm water – let sit for 5 minutes to create flax gel)

Small green gala apple, diced

1/2 tbsp of organic coconut oil (can omit)

 

1 tbsp of xylitol or stevia (adjust to sweet tooth)

Optional: 1 tbsp of raw cacao or carob powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all of the dry ingredients together. Whisk in wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix well. Lightly grease a small ramekin or other safe baking dish with some coconut oil. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 20-23 minutes until fully cooked but still moist. Let cool. Flip onto a small bowl, top and devour!

 

 

Grain Free Coconut Flour Crackers – “Non Fat Free!” [Vegan + Gluten Free]

Mary’s Gone Crackers are so good. Too good. They’re ridiculously addictive and after a few crackers, next thing you know, the whole box is empty! Puts me on this “carb-high!”

True story. On more than one occasion!

You can never just have a few. Or at least, I can never just have a few. That’s probably why they’re called crackers. Crack-ers. Coincidence? I think not!

Well enough is enough. It was time I make some at home. It’s been done before but sometimes, it’s easier to buy the darn box and not have to worry about dirty baking dishes. Last time, I baked crispy homemade crackers using spirulina and organic almond flour – a blend of healthy and natural almond buttery delicious-ness.

Both cracker recipes are subtly sweet and savoury – just how every cracker should be!

While I’m a fan of baking with almond flour, the calories can add up per serving (1/2 a cup can equal to roughly 320 calories). Coconut flour, on the other hand, is a little lower in calories yet still naturally gluten/wheat/grain free, non inflammatory, high in fiber and low carb. And lower in calories, by that I mean you won’t need as much of it compared to almond flour because it’s very dry, like a sponge, it absorbs up moisture like crazy. Cuisine Soleil makes an excellent organic coconut flour product. I’ve used their chickpea flour in my other recipes so I’m a big fan of their goods! Elise Larouche, from Cuisine Soleil, has been so generous in providing me high quality products which I’ve been putting to good use to make healthy and delicious treats. (Like this one that I’m about to share with you!)

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For a punch of “health-oomph”, there’s ground chia seeds and hemp hearts that provide beneficial good fats, anti oxidants and some added plant based protein in these crackers. Prana carries an array of top notch certified organic products from must-haves such as chia seeds, maca powder to an assortment of nutritious raw nuts.

This cracker boasts essential healthy fats from the MCT (medium-chain saturated fatty acids) in the coconut flour and coconut oil to the Omega 3’s provided by the chia seeds. While you probably already know that coconut products are high in saturated fats, the truth is, that MCTs found in them have been shown to improve metabolism and used as energy instead of being stored as fat tissue. Coconut products, especially cold pressed virgin coconut oil, is the best (and rare) source to get your daily dose of MCT.

There is a difference between good fats and bad fats.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are both beneficial polyunsaturated fats that our bodies need but cannot produce. So we must source them from other foods. Unlike almond flour, coconut flour is very low in Omega 6s. Omega 6 is inflammatory when consumed in excess amounts. It is recommended that everyone should have a ratio of Omega 6 – Omega 3 of about 4:1-1:4 for optimal health. Unfortunately, the ratio is much higher than that, with most people on the Western diet, consuming a ratio of about 16:1. This leads to many complications and raises the risk of all sorts of diseases. To simply put it: Omega 6 is inflammatory and Omega 3 is anti inflammatory.

Omega 6 is easily found in many common sources like safflower oil, sunflower oil and various nuts like almonds. So it’s very easy to overdo it and then end up with an unbalanced consumption. But Omega 3 acids are not so easy to come by. One of the best foods to add to your diet in order to increase your Omega 3 intake is organic chia seeds (and flax seeds!) In fact, chia seeds contain a higher content in Omega 3 than salmon! Just like coconut flour in this recipe, it’s rich in dietary fiber, minerals and nutrients but also provide the vital healthy fats your brain and body needs.

Remember, finding the balance is key to optimal health! See? These “No-Non Fat” crackers CAN help you! 😉

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Also, did you know that coincidentally Cuisine Soileil and Prana are both booming companies from the same province of Quebec? I guess that means French-Canadiens must know a thing or two about good grade food! 😉

Okay, so….Let’s get cracking! 

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What you’ll need:

1/4 cup of organic ground chia seeds (black or white is fine) – if you have whole chia seeds, you can ground them up in a blender or food processor

1/2 cup of organic coconut flour, sifted

3 tbsp of hemp hearts (I used 2 tbsp of hemp hearts + 1 tbsp of flax seeds for this one) – you can sub with more ground chia seeds, flax seeds or hemp protein powder if you wish! 

1/4 cup of liquid organic virgin coconut oil

3/4 cup of boiled water

1/4 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp of onion powder

Seasoning of choice

Black pepper

Sprinkle of dried parsley flakes or dried thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Use a fork to mash away clumps. Add boiled water and liquid coconut oil to the dry ingredients. Mix well!

The batter should be a firm dough, not too wet but not too dry, enough to pick up and form into a ball. On parchment paper, roll dough ball flat with a rolling pin until evenly distributed and there are no cracks and tears. Don’t make them too thick, otherwise it will be more cake-like.

Use a pizza cutter to cut into desired shapes. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The longer you bake them, the crispier they will be!

Let completely cool before serving and serve with healthy dip!

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