Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ta-Da 2 weeks vegan!

So it's been two weeks as a vegan and to tell you the truth, I feel no different yet.  The upside is that I certainly don't feel any worse for lack of eggs and dairy.  I do crave cheese a lot when I make grilled cheese for the kids, but it's not so bad.  It's too soon for me to make any determination about what my food future holds...

Here are some of the things I've eaten recently:

These are smoothies with frozen blackberries, bananas, ground flaxseeds, water, and the green stuff, which is Purslane in English, Regilat in Hebrew.  High in those Omega-3's! 
(The kids did drink these but said to tell the blog readers that "we've had better").

This is The Breakfast Cookie from

I had to modify the recipe a bit based on ingredients available to us here in Israel.  The original recipe can be found on her blog as linked above.

1/3 cup oats
1 T tahina or peanut butter
1/8 cup non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)

You just mix it all together at night.  Then spread it into a plate and refridgerate overnight.  In the morning it's a solid-ish cookie and perfect pre or post workout.  (I had it before a Friday morning jog).

And then there's this...

This... is a cupcake.

But it's a vegan cupcake!

Vegans have to go to birthday parties too.  It was my nephew's big boy 2nd birthday tonight so I brought the vegan cupcakes!

I can't put the recipe for these babies here because it's not mine, but rather from this cookbook:

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Here's a hint though: That luscious chocolate buttercream? It's made with tofu and it's sooooo delicious!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 11: Recipe Catch-Up

Here we have Tex Mex Cornbread:

1 1/4 cups plain or vanilla soy milk
1 1/4 Tbsp white vinegar

Mix soy milk with vinegar and set aside.  It will curdle.  That's what you want.  This is how to make non-dairy buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Oil a 23-cm square baking pan.

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 T sugar, honey, or maple syrup, if using plain soymilk

Mix all ingredients together until just well combined.  Pour into pan.

Top with any of the following.  Don't stir in, just lay on the top and it will sink while the bread bakes.

Cooked beans
Green onions, chopped
Chopped Peppers, raw or roasted
Corn kernels
Black olives

Bake 20-25 minutes until golden and firm.  Serve wedges of cornbread topped with salsa, chopped lettuce, tofu sour cream, etc

And here we have Curry-Coconut Vegetables

1 T coconut or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch ginger, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 head cauliflower florets
1 T curry powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 dried hot pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (or soy sauce, which is weird, but worked)
1 cup coconut milk
1-2 cups frozen peas

Saute onions, garlic and ginger.  Add tomatoes and saute until they release their juices.  Add cauliflower and spices.  Saute until golden.  Add coconut milk and frozen peas.  Cover and cook 10 minutes until all is cooked.  Serve over rice

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 9: A Day Without Hummus

I was embarrased by all the hummus eating, so I made an effort to not eat any today.  ;-)

I also didn't take any pictures or cook any new food.  Boring me. Yeah, well I do have a business to run.

I woke up and had tea with almond milk and then an apple.

Then to Dance class.

I brought a giant smoothie with me to the gym which I enjoyed after class.  It was like 85 degrees F here today - eat your heart out North Americans!  My smoothie had: 

1 banana
2 kiwis
1 clementine
2 T ground flaxseed/pumkpin seed mix
1 T hemp seeds
2 cups water

Lunch was BIG and lasted for quite a long time:

Rice cakes with an entire avocado and lots of lettuce leaves
2 whole tomatoes
1 whole red pepper
The end of the tofu-broccoli leftovers
The last piece of the foccacia
Some halvah & a handful of raw cashews
A big bowl of popcorn (popped on the stove - not microwave crapola please)
More tea with soy milk this time

Whew!  I was hungry today!  But then by dinnetime, the hunger had passed, so I skipped it.  This way of eating - with the largest meal mid-day and then a light, or no dinner is a very healthy way to live.  Digestion is strongest mid-day, we are moving around the most, metabolism is burning hot.  This is the ideal time to fuel up with quality calories.  Incidentally, the Israeli way of eating mirrors this format.  Israelis will often eat a large, cooked meal mid-day and then just a light snack at night.  I guess I live in the right country!  I sleep so much better too when I don't go to sleep with a full belly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 8 & Going Great

Today I woke up and drank my lemon water, followed by this:

That's 1 apple, chopped, 1 pomegranate, about 1/4 cup granola and 1/2 cup soy milk. And cinnamon. It was yummy. It fueled a 5K jog.

For lunch I had leftovers from Shabbat:  Tofu-Broccoli-Peanuts and Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

Snacks were hummus on brown rice cakes, (now that I'm logging this food for the whole world to see, I realize that not a day passes without hummus...), dried apple slices, and lots of herbal tea.

For dinner I made White Bean Soup with Rosemary & Sage and Foccacia with Sauteed Onions, Peppers, Garlic and more Rosemary:

Dig that fancy salad I made?  Yes, it's just lettuce leaves!  I mean, how many dishes can one person make on a workday, ya know? 

I made a double batch of dough and made pizza for the kids (No picture of that though!).  Just topped the dough with jar-tomato sauce and some grated cheese.  Everyone was happy.

Vegetable Foccacia

3 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 cups Bread Flour
2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 T olive oil
corn meal or wheat germ to dust the pan

1.  Mix yeast with 1/2 cup wrist-warm water,  Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
2.  Mix flours, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
3.  Mix in olive oil, yeast mixture and remaining 1 cup warm water.
4.  Mix it all together with your hands until it forms a soft dough.
5.  Knead on the counter for 5-8 minutes until smooth.
6.  Lightly oil bowl, put dough back in a rotate so all sides are oiled.  Cover with a dish cloth and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 200 C.

7.  Punch dough down and knead for a few more minutes.
8.  Split dough in half and roll out into 2 flat pans or pizza pans that have been lightly greased and sprinkled with corn meal or wheat germ.
9.  Brush top of crust with olive oil
10.  Top with sauce and cheese for pizza or with sauteed veggies* or herbs for foccacia.
11.  Bake 20 minutes until golden and puffed.

*For one tray I sauteed 1 onion, sliced, 1 red pepper, sliced, 2 cloves chopped garlic and 1 stalk rosemary.

White Bean Herb Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
1 stalk rosemary leaves, minced
2 tsp dried or fresh sage
pinch saffron (optional)
2-3 cups white beans, cooked
about 6 cups water

Saute veggies in oil.  Add everything else.  Simmer 30 minutes until fragrant and thick.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

1st Vegan Weekend Report & Meal Planning

I'm still here and doing much better now.  I got over my week one hump and now things are going more smoothly.
Here are some of the yummy vegan things I've eaten in the past couple of days:

That is the juice of 3 oranges and one pomegranate which I shared with my sweet husband.

Tofu w/Broccoli in Peanut Sauce

We went for hummus in Tel Aviv on Friday.  It took me awhile to get into the whole hummus-as-an-entire-meal thing they do here in Israel but now I can't get enough.  I want to blog about the meal/experience sometime but this time we fell on our plates so ravenously that by the time my conscious mind registered "camera" "blog", we were already licking the plates clean.

So instead, I offer you, The Mediterranean Sea:

Some other yummy vegan things we ate this weekend were:
Tomato Soup
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Rosemary, Garlic and Olive Oil
Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Tahina Dressing

And I ate Challah on Shabbat before realizing that Challah is made with eggs.  Ooops.  Will have to try that again.

HEALTH COACH TIP:  Today I will spend some time menu planning for the week ahead.  I always do menu planning once a week and it's something I seriously recommend to everyone who is having trouble with food or weight, or wishing to transition to a healthier diet.  Just take an hour or so, while watching your favorite tv show or whatever.  Look at your date book and map out the week ahead. 

Which nights will you have time to cook?
Which nights will you need to have something prepared in advanced?
Who will be home for what meals?
When will you have a chance to shop for food items?

I have a blank chart that I made with slots for all the meals.  I will send it to you if you send me an email  I start with dinners and fill in those first.  Then I move on to lunches, which are often dinner leftovers.  Then I plan in snacks and breakfasts.  It doesn't matter if you stick to this plan perfectly or allow changes that come up to change your meals.  I just find it helps to have a general idea of what you are going to cook when and it's a great stress reliever to not walk into the kitchen starving at 5pm on a busy weeknight and think "WHAT am I going to make for dinner?"

Here in Israel our weekend is over tonight and we wish one another a Shavuah Tov, or a Good Week.  For those of you in countries where it's still weekend, enjoy the rest and relaxation!

Blogger has apparently done away with the spell check feature?!  I am opening an actual dictionary for the first time in about 20 years.  Forgive me for mistakes I don't catch.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Munchy Monster Arrives on Day 4

As promised:

Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Muffins
(There's only one in the picture because that's all that's left a mere 12 hours later!)

Preheat oven to 160 C.  Line muffin tray with paper muffins cups.
Place in the blender:
1 cup leftover cooked pumpkin (or squash from those cheezy potato skins!)
1/3 cup vanilla soy milk (or water or apple juice)
1/3 cup vegetable oil, I used sunflower
3 T peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 T ground flaxseeds (NOT optional!)

Blend all until smooth and light.  Set aside.

In a bowl mix:
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just mixed.  Spoon into 12 muffins cups and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean.

NOTE:  The flaxseeds are standing in for the eggs here, so don't leave them out.  When mixed with liquid, flaxseeds turn into goo and that's what we're going for here.

I tasted the muffins and they were indeed wonderful, but because I try to stay away from sugar, I concocted the smoothie in the picture above with some of the same ingredients for similar taste with a lot less damage:

Carrot Spice Smoothie
1 banana
1 carrot, grated
1 Medjool date
1 T ground flaxseed
1 T tahina or peanut butter
few dashes of cinnamon
drop of vanilla extract

Holy Beta-Carotene Batman, and your blood sugar will thank you too!

Wow, then the rest of the day got really wierd.  I'm having some strange physical symptoms which could just be fighting off an illness or...could I actually be detoxing the dairy?  Or maybe that bit of wheat and sugar is messing with me, or it's a lady thing....who knows, but I just sort of munched and munched on a lot of things today.  Some healthier than others:

I had mashed potatoes which I made from the leftover potato innards from the potato skins, with sea salt and nutritional yeast.  Then there was whole grain toast with olive oil, zaatar and sea salt.  I had some dried fruits, a lot of nuts, some 70% chocolate (non-dairy), more nuts...  see where I'm going with this?

Dinner was salad with leftover avocado dressing and Mudjaderra, aka Persian Rice, Lentils & Fried Onions.

and everyone ate it, kids and all, yay!

Tomorrow will be a new day and I will be spending some time working to re-gain balance with my eating.  It is important not to just look for physcial or food reasons when we become crave-y with food.  Quite often there is some sort of underlying anxiety or stress and once we get it out and dealt with, food no longer becomes an issue.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 3 and please remind me never to go to a Bnai Akiva event again

Sorry, but those Bnai Akiva shows should just be for the kids.  I am seriously wishing I had not been there to see that sort of behavior.  All the Israeli parents reading this know what I'm talking about.  The rest of you just be glad that you don't.

OK, so onto the food...

Breakfast this morning was one of my giant green smoothies (I have one of my clients to thank for the evolution of this smoothie. You know who you are!):

This one had:
1 banana
2 persimmons
1 Medjool date
5 walnuts
1 T ground flaxseeds
2 cups spinach leaves
1 cup wheatgrass
3 cups water

Was it tasty-yum, you ask?  Well, I'm not going to lie to you.  It wasn't the yummiest thing I've ever eaten, but it wasn't bad either.  The fruit keeps it sweet and the greens aren't so prominent tasting.  It's better with a mango or oranges, but all I had were those persimmons today.  BUT, look how in one meal, I have had 4 servings of fruit, 3 servings of fresh, raw green vegetables, healthy essential fatty acids and fiber from the walnuts and the flax.  If the rest of this day should happen to fall apart foodwise, I have already consumed what my body needs at breakfast.  This makes me feel really good.

Anyway, that makes an entire blenderful and it took me about an hour to finish it.  I was not hungry again until 1pm when I finished working.  I had taught another class today so I had the leftovers of a new batch of tempeh chili and cheezy potato skins.  Then I had 4 brown rice cakes with hummus.  Green Tea.

For a mid-afternoon snack I made my healthy brownie balls (recipe here ) but this time I used mint extract instead of vanilla and had a delish minty-chocolately treat!

Dinner was the leftovers from last night's rice noodles with veggies.

Rice Lo Mein
(this is so easy it's ridiculous)
Boil 1 package rice noodles per instructions on package.
Rinse thoroughly in cold water.
Stir-fry your favorite veggies in a bit of sesame oil until tender crisp.  (Here I used onion, carrot and broccoli)
Add noodles and some soy sauce and toss all to combine.
Top with mung bean sprouts.
Would be good with chopped peanuts too.

And yes, my kids will eat this!

I also made a batch of Vegan Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Muffins.  They were amazing.  I didn't photograph them yet so I'm going to make you wait for the recipe tomorrow with a picture.

Until then...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 2 and feelin' groovy

Woke up hungry this morning!  Ready for another Holistic Health Coach tip?  You know how you always hear "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?"  But then so many of my clients say "But I'm not hungry for breakfast!"  Often when that happens, it is because of a too large or too late dinner or late-night snacking.  Ideally, aim for your dinner before 7pm, (8pm latest), and then don't eat anything afterwards.  That way, you get a good 10-12 hour FAST each day to allow your body to assimilate the food you have eaten, form good stool, and then detoxify, rest and heal.  Then I bet you wake up hungry for breakfast too!

I was heading off to aerobics class this morning though, so I just had a banana and a cup of chai with almond milk.  After jumping around like a happy fool in aerobics for an hour, I sat on the grass of the club and ate this:

That's 2 little Hermon apples and an entire pomegranate.  So pretty!

I promised the kids we would go out for falafel when they got home from school at 3pm, so mid-way through the morning-afternoon, I needed another meal.

I am still eating leftovers of the Shabbos soup:  Veggies w/Mung Beans and Potatoes.

Then here is my falafel.  I was already in the middle of eating it when I remembered to snap the picture.  Sorry if that's kind of gross.  Falafel is just the tastiest dang thing.

After that I had a cup of coffee with soy milk and a few vegan cookies for dessert.

I'm totally stuffed, so will be skipping dinner tonight.  (We ate the falafel around 4:30pm)  The dinner I made for my family was vegan too:  Stir-fried veggies with rice noodles.  But I am too ensconced on the sofa at the moment to take a picture of it.  I'll snap it when I eat the leftovers in the days to come.

Over and out!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day One of a Hundred

DISCLAIMER:  I don't want people to think that to work with me as a Holistic Nutrition Client you must pledge to be a vegetarian or listen to me prattle on about animal rights.  I believe in Bio-Individuality, which states that one person's perfect food could be another's poison.  The hallmark of my private nutrition work in fact, is helping each client figure out for herself what foods work with her body/life and what does not.  Vegeterainism is good for some, but not so good for others.  The important thing for EVERYONE though is to decrease the amount of animal protein eaten while increaing vegetables and plant matter.  Pretty much every diet plan agrees with that.

With that out of the way, let's talk food:

On Friday I went to the shuk (outdoor fruit and vegetable market) near my house and took a picture of all the beautiful things I bought:


For breakfast today I had a BIG GREEN Smoothie.  I didn't snap a pic but I eat this almost everyday so I'll get it tomorrow.  In it was:
1 banana
1 mango
2 handfuls spinach
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 T ground flaxseeds
3 cups water

Sounds gross?  It looks bit gross too, truth be told, but it is DE-LISH.  Seriously, it just tastes fruity and sweet and it is just packed with energy, fiber, and nutrition.  It makes a full blenderful so I drink it over time.

I was teaching a class in Raanana at lunchtime, so I saved a bit of the lunch I served at class to eat when I got home.  I always serve food to the weight loss groups I teach.  I think it's very important to show people how to make things and to let them taste it as well.  I also find that it's a real treat for women to be fed.  We spend so much of our time feeding others and then stuffing something icky or unsatisfying in our own mouths.  Like we don't deserve to take the time to make our own healthy food and eat it.  Let's just turn that on it's head already, shall we?

This is Tempeh Chili, Cheezy Vegan Potato Skins and a salad with avocado dressing.

I had two helpings of that and then some chai tea with almond milk so I wasn't so hungry when we got to dinnertime.

Leftover Vegetable Mung Bean Soup from Shabbat and a few brown rice cakes with hummus topped me off for the evening.

Sundays are the first day of the work/school week here in Israel and they always feel like a full-out sprint from sun-up to sundown.  I'm heading off to bed with my bookclub book.

Here's the recipe for the Potato Skins.  If you want any of the other recipes, please leave a comment below or email me at

Cheezy Vegan Potato Skins
inspired by recipe of the same name on Compassion Over Killing

4 baking potatoes
1/2 butternut squash
1 head garlic (you will only use 4 cloves, the rest can be saved to spread on bread or use in recipes)
cumin or shwarma seasoning to taste
1-2 T olive oil (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C.  Wash and prick the potatoes.  Place them in hot oven.  Place the squash, cut side down in a pan with a bit of water.  Place it in the oven also.  Lastly, slice off the top of the garlic head, wrap it in foil and place it in the oven with everything else.  Bake all for 1 hour or until soft.

When everything is cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes in half and scoop out the innards, leaving a potato skin shell.  Put the potato innards in a bowl and mix in the squash innards and 4 cloves of the now soft, roasted garlic which will squeeze right out of it's skin.  Add the oil if using and the seasoning to taste.  Mash it all up smooth.

Spread about 1-2 T of the mashed potato-squash-garlic filling back into the skins.  Place them back in the oven for about 15 minutes until crisp and golden.

These LOOK cheesey and they TASTE cheesey but they don't have any artery-clogging, zit-producing, cow suffering dairy.  Yay!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

100 Days of Vegan Yumminess

Today my blog takes a turn in a different and more personal direction. I hope you don't mind! Contrary, I hope this will make for interesting and hopefully inspiring reading.
First of all...quick trip through memory lane:

I have been a vegetarian more or less since high school. There have been periods of meat-eating thrown back in there, but mostly just lacto-ovo vegetarianism. I initially became a vegetarian "because of the animals" blabitty-blab, but continued on, not just because of the animals, but because I learned that it is a healthier way of living, it's better for the environment, it's easier to control my weight, it makes me feel like a better person.

Latco-ovo vegetarianism means eating no lamb, chicken, beef, fish or pork, frogs, snails, dogs... ack, ok whatever, but it does include consumption of dairy products and eggs. I have known for sometime that the dairy and egg industries are also brutally cruel to the animals and that both feed directly into the beef and poultry industry, but yet I was never really able to motivate myself to stop eating them, save for two 30-day long Raw Vegan Challenges I did a few years ago. I have been edging ever closer to Veganism in recent years and now have decided I am ready to take the plunge.

In fact, I bolted awake at 4am this Friday morning past with the words "100 Day Vegan Challenge" on my lips. And "blog about it" was thought #2.

So here we are. I am starting, tomorrow, Sunday, November 15, 2009, a 100 day Vegan Challenge where I will do my best to not eat anything that came from an animal. I'll post here anything interesting, good recipes, tips and all sorts of vegan goodness.

What are my objectives for undertaking this challenge? (Holistic Health Coach long-term motivation tip: It's always important to know WHY you are doing something and even better to be EXCITED about why you are doing something.)

1. The animals, the environment, my physical health, my spiritual health. I plan on talking more on each of those subjects in the days to come. (But not in a self-indulgent, boring, navel-gazing way!)

2. Dairy is gross. It's cow breast milk. I'll say more about this later, but basically, Ick.

3. Eggs are chicken periods. I mean seriously. WHY are we eating the product of their reproductive cycle?? I wouldn't eat something that came out my own hoo-haw, so....

4. You still with me? Good, stick around. I promise this will be fun and non-preachy scary. Most of the time.

4. I'm ready to lose a little more weight. I have been holding steady here for almost 7 years now, after losing 70 lbs. It's fine, I'm a normal weight and my blood sugar numbers look good, but I am finally ready to get a bit leaner. I have a feeling this is going to help me get there.

5. I have lactose intolerance. I contiually play Russian roulette with my digestive tract and that's just dumb.

6. The last and potentially most exciting reason for me, is that I am finally in a position to influence a larger audience of people. Already many of my nutrition clients are embracing vegetarianism in their lives, from going all the way, to eliminating dairy, to just including more vegetarian dishes now and then. It's all good. Every little bit we do helps. Every animal we don't eat is...well, an animal we don't eat. And an artery in our own body that doesn't get more clogged.

So please, stick with me here, check back often, be inspired by a recipe, enjoy my writing, challenge some of your own ideas about the food we eat. I promise to make this FUN! Or funny. Or embarrasing, which will be funny for everyone except me. So still funny for you.

I'll see you all tomorrow armed to the teeth with Tofu!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Junkfood as "addictive as drugs"

I have been saying this for a long time and am thrilled that the scientific community is finally doing some research in this area!

November 6, 2009 - Source:

New research by US scientists will strengthen evidence that junk food is addictive and that prolonged consumption turns fast food eaters into junkies.

It has already shown that many commonly eaten junk foods can become a substitute for happiness. The latest research will show just how dangerous the junk food addiction can be.
The soon to be published study by Paul Kenny and his team at Florida’s Scripps Research Institute found that a diet of burgers, chips, sausages and cake will programme the brain into craving even more foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat.

The Scripps team fed rats either healthy food, a diet containing restricted amounts of junk food or a diet with unlimited amounts of junk food. They found that the rats that ate as much junk food as they wanted quickly became very fat and started bingeing. There were no adverse effects on those fed the other diets.

The researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, and found that rats on unlimited junk food needed more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets.

After just five days the bingeing rats showed “profound reductions” in the sensitivity of their brains’ pleasure cells. They had quickly become used to the unhealthy food and, although they didn’t need it, ate more to make themselves feel happy.

The Scripps team believe theirs is one of the first studies to demonstrate brains may react in the same way to junk food as they do to drugs.

“This is the most complete evidence to date that suggests obesity and drug addiction have common neuro-biological foundations,” said Paul Johnson, a member of Kenny’s team told the Daily Express. He added: “You lose control. It’s the hallmark of addiction,” he said.