Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vegan Saturday

So I had the idea to see what I could come up with that was all about vegan.  So I came across the north Texas town of Denton, Texas.  It is a college town that really supports local artists, music, farmers and so forth.

I had a couple of my yoga students come on this Saturday vegan adventure with me.  We started out at the Community Market that was so fun and very hippie.  We stopped at the stand were a couple was juicing all sorts of juices you could choose from........sooooo yummy and refreshing.  We also stopped at the Denton Vegan Co-Op (Peace Kitchen) which had a variety of vegan eats biscuits and gravy, veggie tacos, seitan bbq sandwiches, and homemade sweet breads too.  We sat down and ate and there was live music playing as we chatted about how cool this place was.  There were vendors selling soy candles, jewelry, fruits and veggies, recycled purses and so much more.  The market had such a good vibe that was a wonderful way to start our morning out.

We made our way over to the downtown square that boasts all kinds of unique shops and eateries.  Again it was about supporting local....I love it.  We really need more of that.  We went from shop to shop trying on jewelry, scarves, and funky hats.  We stopped off at Jupiter House Coffee to get something to drink because of course it is like a 107 outside.  This was a groovy little spot which supported local artists lots and lots of paintings on the wall.  Also Denton's Vegan Co-Op's sweet breads were sold here too.

After leaving the square we set out to locate Vegan Freak. A fairly new store that of course only has vegan goodies in it.  It was small but had snacks, all kinds of household cleaners, and other unique little vegan things.

So by now we are hungry again and try to figure out what we can eat.  On our way to go eat we passed by a cool two-story funky colored house.  Of course, we had to stop it looked just so vegan Saturday.  The place was called Juliet's Jewels and this was a real find.  The lady that owned the business was so friendly and welcoming.  She had jewelry, scarves, purses, buddha statues and more from India, Nepal, and Thailand.  She also made some of the stuff herself.  One of girl's who said all day long she could not buy jewelry could not resist Juliet's stuff so of course she left with a beautiful garnet ring.

We headed off to The Pita Pit where we devoured falafels.  This restaurant served all sorts of pitas and salads. 

Now it was time to head back home.  I truly enjoyed the day with the girl's!!  It is a for sure place to go back again.

I love the fact this town is supporting the whole vegan movement and everything local.  AMAZING!!!

But for me my vegan Saturday was not completely over.  My wonderful husband who is completely carnivorous took me to The Spiral Diner and Bakery to have dinner.  If you haven't been here you must go whether you're a veg head or not the place and food is amazing.  This is my favorite place to go eat.  I got my fair share of vegan eats and of course had to take one of their wonderful brownies home with me.

This was a wonderful day with wonderful people from beginning to end.  Thank you!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Skinny on Plant Based Diets

So, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, vegetarian diets can be a nutrient dense way for people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.  Vegetarians on average have better body mass indexes compared to their meat-eating counterparts.  Also their studies show that vegetarians had higher intakes of fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, thiamin, calcium, magnesium, folate, and iron than non-vegetarians.

Unlike all those crazy fad diets that don't last and usually cause more weight gain than before you started, go for a plant based diet.  Plus you don't have to count calories and you can eat as much as you want.  Stick to eating a wide range of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes.  Keeping away from meat, dairy, artificial sweetners, refined flour, chemical laced processed foods, and put down those diet sodas too.

Plus you will feel good about supporting a plant based diet because you are not promoting the raising and killing of animals for food.  You will feel lighter and cleaner after you rid the body of animal products.  To help you get started, you can order your free copy of MFA's helpful, Vegetarian Starter Kit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Totally Mad About:Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burger's

So of course summertime you think bbq's, burgers with all the fixin's right?  Well being the veggie girl that I am I have tried many of the burger substitutes.  I haven't really been a big fan of most of them because it seems that they are trying a little too hard to taste like a real beef burger, Gardenburger, Boca Burger, Morningstar to name a few of the popular one's.

Texture and flavor are two of the main things when choosing a good veggie burger.  Some veggie burgers are too chewy but Dr. Praeger's is more of a softer melt in your mouth burger. Also alot of the burgers taste like liquid smoke which I am not a fan of.  Veggie burgers come in a variety of flavors too.  Dr. Praeger's has a line of different veggie burgers and also other healthful goodies like sweet potato pancakes....yum!

This is a definite must if you haven't tried them yet.  Load up your veggie burger with lettuce, tomatoes, onion and a little vegenaise, on a good whole grain bun or whatever floats your boat.  Must I even say more try them for yourself and I know you will go mad over them too. 

Dr. Praeger's is the veggie burger "where you recognize all the ingredients." 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yoga at Your Desk

I hear these symptoms all the time from my yoga students, tension in the neck and shoulders, tired wrists, and low back pain, most of this comes while sitting at the desk shuffling those papers, long hours on the computer and lots of deadlines to meet.  So here are a few stretches you can do while sitting right at your desk.

Start off by sitting upright in your chair feet about hip width distance apart and close the eyes for a moment and bring attention to your breath.  Just mentally following the breath rising and falling.  This will help calm the mind.

Neck Rolls

Take your shoes off before starting these stretches if you are wearing high heels.
Close your eyes.
Let your chin drop down to your chest.
Begin to circle your neck slowly, taking the right ear to the right shoulder, the head back, and then the left ear to the left shoulder.
Try to keep the shoulders relaxed and not to hurry through areas of tightness.
Take 3-5 rolls and then switch directions and take another 3-5 rolls.

Cat-Cow Stretch

Push your chair back from your desk.
Bring both feet flat on the floor.
Interlace your fingers behind your back.
Straighten your arms, drawing the interlaced fingers down.
Fold at the waist, bringing your interlaced hands over your back.
Rest your chest on your thighs and release your neck.

Seated Forward Bend

Push your chair back from your desk.
Bring both feet flat on the floor.
Interlace your fingers behind your back.
Straighten your arms, drawing the interlaced fingers down.
Fold at the waist, bringing your interlaced hands over your back.
Rest your chest on your thighs and release your neck.

Seated Spinal Twist

Turn so you are sitting sideways in your chair.
Bring both feet flat on the floor.
Twist towards the back of the chair, holding the back with both hands.
Turn the chair the other way and repeat.

Wrist Stretch

Stand up.
Turn your hands so that the wrists face your computer and the fingers face the edge of the desk.
Lean in to the wrists and flatten your palms as much as possible.
Back off if you feel pain.

These are some wonderful little poses to relieve that work tension and stress.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ellen DeGeneres Launches Vegan Website

Ellen DeGeneres has launched Going Vegan with Ellen, a website dedicated to her ethics and benefits from her vegan lifestyle.

Ellen DeGeneres has been vocal about her vegan lifestyle for years.  Her website will offer up many recipes, living tips, informational resources for vegans and the veg-curious, and a list of other celebs that abide by this cruelty-free lifestyle.  The blog will also include vegan relevant news, media, and video clips.

You gotta love Ellen she does look amazing!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Suggested Readings

This a compelling book that I read and it really made me look and change the way I eat.  The way I started to look at food after reading this was totally different.  It was the start for me to research as much as I could on what we spend so much of our time doing....eating.  The start of something I was so unfamiliar with factory farming.

Fatherhood had compelled Jonathan Safran Foer to write Eating Animals. He wanted to find out what was really behind the production of our food, our meat supply. So he set out with some of his own detective work.

He is quoted saying "if animal agriculture isn't the most important problem in the world right now-it's the #1 cause of global warming, #1 cause of animal suffering, a decisive factor in the creation of zoonotic diseases like bird and swine flu, and so on."

Foer's book challenges us to look at the way we eat, the justifications we make, and the family traditions set around food.

Truly an eye-opening read and one you will want to pass on for time to come.

Friday, August 5, 2011

International Buddhist Progress Society

I had lunch with my son at an unexpected spot The International Buddhist Progress Society.  Who would of thought because from the outside it looks like just an office building.  But, once you enter there is a preschool on the first floor and then get on the elevator and go up to the second floor and there is a dining hall set up community style. 

They serve a vegetarian buffet for only $6 a person. They have several types of rice, noodles, and veggie dishes and also tofu dishes along with fresh fruit and salad.  My personal fave was the veggie Pho, a Vietnamese soup.

The temple has been at this location since 1992 and they have been serving food since 1994.  They wanted to provide a place for their church goers to eat good vegetarian food and others to come to a place where they could get a good meal where no animals had been killed for the meal.  Providing a more peaceful environment for everyone.  Someone at the temple had told me this was their philosophy.  Also I learned that in Buddhism no onions or garlic is put in their food because it is considered mind altering and they are trying to reach a state of ultimate peace so no meat, onions, or garlic.  OM

There is also a tea room next door that offers a variety of teas to choose from.  So you can sit and have your tea and a moment of zen.

So next time you are looking for something different for lunch try the International Buddhist Progress Society.
They are open everyday from 11:30am-1:00pm except Saturdays.

Here is the link for the location but is doesn't show any information for the dining hall.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Raw Strawberry Pie

Strawberries are still in abundance right now so have some fun with them!!!

This is a fun and easy pie to make that everyone will love!

32 oz. of fresh strawberries (4-5 cups)
2 cups of raw nuts (I used almonds and cashews)
3/4 cup of dates
Pinch of salt
6 dates soaked in warm water for about 10 minutes
1 tbsp. of agave nectar
1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice *plus the zest from a small lemon*

Soak the 6 dates in a bowl of warm water for about ten minutes.  In the meantime put nuts, 3/4 cup of dates, and a pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse until broken down and sticky so it will stick together.  Press mixture along bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate.  Place crust in the refrigerator to cool down.

Wash and slice all of your berries.  Place 1 cup of strawberries, 6 dates removed from water, agave nectar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and zest from the lemon in your food processor and blend until smooth and set aside.

Remove crust from the refrigerator and layer strawberries in the crust and then pour the strawberry mixture over your layered berries.  Put in refrigerator and let sit for at least 2 hours or until set. It was even better the next day.
You can garnish with additional berries if you like.