Super Sprouting (Super Recipe Included)

SPROUT SOME GOOD

There is something so empowering about the word “superfood”. Although lately the word may have been distastefully regurgitated by health-food product advertisers, I still perk up when I hear of a new product that may give me a new “superpower”. While items like goji berries, golden berries and kombucha have all been discovered and highly promoted, I was surprised that something as power-packed as sprouted grains and legumes wasn’t already on my radar. And well, let’s just say my health food trend-meter is always on high alert.

I first came across a neatly pressed package of sprouted broccoli several months ago at a local vegan festival. After the vendor presented his pitch, I shelled out $5 and made the purchase. After the package arrived home, it sat unopened for months. Primarily because I had no idea what it was, how to eat it, or what benefits it provided. But during a sporadic kitchen cleaning, the lovely green box came back into my life. I became eager, and after a quick internet search I discovered I had a superfood in my cabinet (Yay!). To my splendid surprise I learned that adding a fabulous taste  and flavour to classic dishes, salads and sandwiches wasn’t the sprout’s only role. Sprouted grains and legumes such as broccoli, chickpeas, quinoa and buckwheat are considered to be an easy, meat-free and highly digestible protein source. They also have a distinctively crunchy texture and juicy, sweet but subtle taste. Packed with minerals, vitamins, healthy disease-averting compounds as well as protein, they are also great for overall digestion. In addition sprouts allow for better absorption of key minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. And if all that wasn’t enough, many will be glad to know that the uncomfortable, bloated feeling that can follow a meal of lentils or soy will be averted if you opt for the sprouted version!

So that’s all great right? But how do you incorporate sprouts into your diet? I brought my researching skills to the kitchen and found a DELICIOUS Broccoli Sprout Salad Recipe that seriously made me feel a little more like superwoman. This recipe makes a great side dish or main course. Try it out tonight!

Broccoli Sprout and Arugula Salad with Blackberries and Papaya (serves 4)

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons all-fruit blackberries preserves
2 tablespoon flaxseed oil (optional)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces broccoli sprouts
6 cups of baby arugula (about 3 ounces)
1 cup cubed papaya
1/2 cup chopped almonds

1 cup fresh blackberries

Preparation:

1. In a small bowl, combine grapefruit juice, blackberry preserves, flaxseed oil and olive oil. Whisk together until the well blended and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper and set aside

2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli sprouts, arugula, papaya, and almonds; toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. (Refrigerate remaining dressing for another use)

3. Divide greens among four serving plates. Top with blackberries and serve!

To find out more information about a variety of sprouted grains/legumes, and instructions on how to sprout your own at home  (as well as other delicious recipes) check out Alive Magazine’s September issue here .
 
So, the reason I love “superfoods” is this: although there is no magical potion or powder (that I’ve discovered) to give me superwoman wings, these tasty new sprouted alternatives sure make me feel pretty fly 🙂
Happy Sprouting Lovelies!
-Elina

DIY – All Natural Green Cleaner!

I recently wrote an article on how to detox your home while keeping it clean, beautiful and fresh Living Green Magazine “How to live in a Toxic Free Haven”. I singled out household cleaners and air fresheners as toxic and unnecessary items that we all harbour in our homes. Without realizing their potential harmful effects on our health. In lieu of the article I wanted to share a very simple and easy way to make an all natural, antibacterial, aromatic multi-purpose cleaner/ air freshener that is easy on our bodies and doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. Live clean and stay fresh with my version of a Witch-Hazel Lavender spray. Here’s what you will need:
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup water (purified or distilled if possible)
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 6 drops of other essential oils (lavender, lemon grass, rosemary, whatever your heart desires)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in your spray bottle, shake and clean!
Use it on your surfaces (add baking soda for a little extra scrubbing power), spray into the air to get rid of odors (or just to wake up your senses), clean windows and mirrors and even use it to wipe down and disinfect your yoga mat! The possibilities are endless. Tea tree oil  and witch hazel are both natural antibacterials, and they also have numerous healing and medicinal qualities. Breath this stuff in, its good for you! And of course just a few drops of an essential oil (I prefer lavender) will make you forever forget that artificially scented Fabreeze forever! The best part: It’s NOT expensive and you can continue to mix batches whenever your heart desires. Or your home requires!
Happy Cleaning!
Elina

Vegan Pesto Pita Pizza

Eat Your Greens!

When I first became a vegan, pizza was the one food I truly missed. But I was fearless and determined. Thus, I found amazing new ways to create vegan versions of my old favorites while experimenting with new topping ideas. Rewind to 7pm last night; I was hungry and frankly a little lazy to cook a real meal. Naturally pizza was a tempting fast food option. But dough and time were items I did not have. So I adjusted accordingly. The result was a chewy “cheesy” , tangy and fresh new take on a regular gourmet pesto pizza.  Easy to assemble, and ready in 10 minutes. Best part: Yummy and good for you! Here is what you need:

Ingredients:

2 white or whole wheat plain pitas

2 Tablespoons of vegan basil pesto

1 yellow zucchini, thinly sliced

Half a small tomato, sliced

1/4 of a red, orange or yellow bell pepper

BBQ flavoured organic tofu, cubed

1/2 cup of Daiya dairy free shredded “cheese”

1 Tablespoon pine nuts, crushed

handful of chopped parsley

handful of green olives

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 C

2) Place the pitas on a flat oven pan or cookie sheet

3) Evenly spread the pesto over the pitas

4) Sprinkle the “cheese” over the pitas

5) Evenly top the pizza with zucchini, tofu, peppers, tomato, olives

6) Sprinkle with chopped parsley and pine-nuts

7) Place in oven for 10 minutes

VOILA! Easy breezy and deliciously cheesy. A pizza that takes vegan gourmet to the next level. Shhh…don’t tell anyone the crust is pita bread! With pizza like this, slices from local pizza stores will never tempt you again.  Prepare with LOVE for even better results 🙂

Happy Pizza-Making!

Elina

Express Yourself!

Style Meets Compassion

As if waiting for the perfect owner, it just sat there. On the shelf it looked perfectly pretty, but lonely. Surrounded by the typical brand name labels and tacky sparkly attention-grabbers, I knew this one was different.

Strolling down the purse aisles at a Winners in Montreal, the last thing I expected to find was a beautiful, trendy and Peta friendly clutch. But tucked away behind Coach and Guess was this Urban Expressions gem. Spring/Summer 2012 has brought back big oversized clutches and this one couldn’t be more perfect for dressing up for late nights out or dressing down for casual strolls. Completely ecstatic about my unexpected shopping find, I wanted to know more about the products this brand offered. Turns out this certified Vegan purse was just one of many trendy, sustainable and affordable products that Urban Expressions has perfected.

Perfectly compassionate, and perfectly high-fashion, these purses are allowing eco-conscious shoppers like ourselves, to meet our style needs while being environmentally and socially responsible. And of-course if clutches aren’t your thing, there are are plenty of other options. From coral totes, to classy evening handbags, to fun and colorful over the shoulder satchels, there’s something in the mix that is bound to suit your style. L-O-V-E (Let Out your Vegan Expression)!

Check them out : http://urbanexpressions.net/

Happy Eco-Conscious Shopping! XOXO

Elina

The Down-Low on GMO

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I’ll make this simple, short and sweet. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are bad. Research has shown GMO products are dangerous to our health. The unpretty results have created much controversy and debate regarding the actual dangers. Food companies and agencies are defending their modification process as “genius technology”, while some researchers are saying that GMOs are the single biggest threat to human health. I’ll side with the researchers. Plus, in my experience, anything that doesn’t beat to the tune of nature is usually harmful in one way or another. I also don’t like the idea of my tomato looking and tasting like plastic.

In our savvy tech world, food has become the main experiment. Avoid being a guinea-pig by choosing to buy ORGANIC, especially when buying these top 10 GM foods:

1)  Soy – Yes tofu, is healthy. Yes, soy milk is good for you. But beware, and make sure your products contain soybeans which are organic.

2) Corn – Corn is rich in its taste and in its historical recipe uses. We love corn but it’s better to love organic corn.

3) Tomatoes – Basically the poster image for GMO foods, tomatoes were one of the first products to be modified. Let’s take back our tomatoes. Take them back to real.

4) Papayas – GMO papayas are banned from the European Union, yet marked safe for consumption in North America. If you can can find an organic papaya, you’re lucky there are not many out there!

5) Potatoes – Delicious and filling, but only if they’re not killing. Studies have shown adverse effects on mice consuming genetically modified potatoes. Steer clear and once again, purchase organic.

6) Cotton – For food purposes, the emphasis is on cottonseed oil. Avoid the regular versions and watch out for it as an ingredient in many dressings, baked goods and snack foods.

7) Sugar Beets – Watch your sweet tooth. When it comes to sugar beware and be smart, choose sugar alternatives or buy organic.

8) Canola – Often over-processed and altered for pesticide resistance, canola is another typical ingredient in many foods. Avoid it by reading the labels.

9) Salmon (for all the non-vegans out there!) – GMO salmon was called “monster fish” by some European fishermen, and for good reason. It can survive during any season and grow to full size twice as fast. Fishy business..

10) Zucchini– I love this green cucumber-looking vegetable! It goes so well with so many foods, and it can be used in an variety of recipes! It’s also really good for you…when organic.

Be safe, eat an assortment, and opt for organic, especially when purchasing the products on this list. Value your health and if required, shell out the extra dollar.  Most importantly say “NO!” to GMOs!

Happy GREEN Grocery Shopping!!! 🙂

Elina

Happy Monday!!!

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Well folks, another weekend has just ended and we are starting a new week. So instead of sulking in the Monday blues, look forward to all the wonderful things you are going to accomplish! Recognize all the opportunities that will come your way and take advantage of them! Remember there are “NO ACCIDENTS IN THE UNIVERSE”, so observe everything that happens and make the best of every situation!

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas A Edison

Here is a funny video that puts everything in perspective:

https://www.youtube.com/v/J7Y6WXioVnw?version=3&hl=en_US

Happy Monday Everyone, Namaste!

-Elina

Yummy Apple Pecan Maple Pancakes (Vegan Of-course!!)

I stumbled upon this apple pecan pancake recipe a few months ago. However since I’m not a big “breakfast-food” type, I never got around to trying these out.  As luck would have it , this cloudy Sunday afternoon fate stepped in. As my i-pod shuffled to Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes, I remembered  this recipe and decided to give it a go. Weekend brunch will never be the same (this is how food addictions begin). Try them with some strawberry garnish for an extra boost of flavour. The combination of berries mingling with the maple syrup and pecans create an amazing crisp texture and fresh taste. Yum-factor was a 10 and they were pretty simple to make 🙂

Here is what you need:

1 1/2 cups soy milk

1/2 cup soft silken tofu

1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and quartered

1/4 cup pecans, coarsely crushed

Vegetable oil, for frying

Earth-Balance margarine, as a condiment

Maple syrup, as a condiment

Strawberries (optional, as a condiment)

• Put the soy milk, tofu, vegetable shortening, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and apples into a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are blended and the apples are finely chopped. Fold in the pecans.

• Heat a griddle or large frying pan coated with a thin layer of vegetable oil over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear then flip the pancake and cook it until it is lightly browned.

• Serve immediately with earth balance margarine,maple syrup and strawberries. Enjoy!

Makes 8 to 10 pancakes

Happy Breakfast-making!!

Elina 

Happy Monday!!!

This week I encourage everyone to let go of any fears of the unknown and go for it!  Make things happen!

“If opportunity doesn’t knock – build a door.”

-Milton Berle

A cute and hilarious video to start the day with a smile on your face. Just one of the wonders of the world..

 

Happy Monday Everyone!

E

Love Life, Love Yourself & Yoga On!

Ever since I started to incorporate yoga into my life, I cannot imagine a day without my mat. Not only is yoga a complete workout for the body, it is one of the best remedies for our fleeing minds. The wonderful thing about yoga is that with every practice, you discover something new about yourself. It could be simple or completely life altering. Over time you also become friends and foes with various yoga poses. But no matter what your relationship is with a certain asana, you can’t deny the healing that they bring to our physical and spiritual selves. Each one works a different aspect of our being and helps us deal with things like stress, anxiety, and tension. On that note, I wanted to share some of the poses that helped me deal with the common obstacles of daily life. May they be just as helpful to you 🙂

1) The pose for Letting GoSeated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Sometimes letting go (of whatever it is we’re holding on to) is the toughest obstacle we face. It seems easy in theory but hard to accomplish in practice. Use this pose as a tool to release old tensions. I find deep breathing deeply to the count of 4 makes this pose even more effective. Especially if you use your exhales as a vessel for the clearing all negative thoughts and emotions.

2)The pose that alleviates Stress and Anxiety: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Our daily lives don’t always go as smooth as we’d like them to. In this sense, stress and anxiety slowly become a part of our lives. This is how all of our mental and physical health problems begin. The bridge pose is great as it calms and slows down the mind. I love to take this pose if I’m feeling restless or anxious, as it really has soothing effects on the brain.

3)The pose to Renew and Refresh: Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)

The Shoulder Stand is one of my favourite poses because you can feel it’s effects immediately. Our body is not used to being upside down, but it loves it! While giving your feet and lower part of your body a break, this pose is great if you’re feeling tired or need an extra boost of energy.

 

4) The pose that Sets an Intention: Lotus (Padmasana) 

Focus and clarity are important in setting goals, and achieving the things we want out of life. Yet somewhere in between shopping carts, laundry baskets and deadlines we lose sight of what’s important. The lotus pose (modifications include half-lotus or even cross-legged with a pillow to prop you up) is an amazing pose that centers and clears the mind of all junk. It is also a great way to control of your thoughts and set a daily intention. With this pose we can return to our priorities and set our goals on the things that matter.

 

5)The pose that alleviates soreness and physical tension: The corpse (Savasana)

If physical relaxation is what you are looking for, then there is probably no better pose than Savasana (in my opinion). This pose is great for releasing muscle tension and tightness in the body. To achieve the best results, stop your mind from wandering by focusing on your breath and allow yourself to sink into the ground.If you enter into the pose for a long time and are able to fully release your muscles, you’ll actually feel like you’re floating 🙂

 

6) The pose that alleviates Headaches: Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Unfortunately headaches have become an all-too-common part of our lives. While regular yoga practice can definitely help with long term effects, I find this standing forward bend can sometimes be a quick fix. While it’s not guaranteed to make your migraine  magically disappear, this pose can definitley help by  improving circulation and inducing a calm state of mind.

(To learn how to do these poses correctly I recommend checking out The Yoga Journal website. They have quite the archive of information on everything yoga!)

So why do I yoga?  I do it because I love it!  What’s your reason?

Happy Stretching & Healing! Namaste ❤

E

Live Beautiful, Live Clean!

The search for great beauty products is never easy. Some can dry out, others can be too fragrant, some don’t live up to their claims while others are filled with harsh chemicals that are dangerous and sometimes even carcinogenic. So I made the choice to be conscious of my purchases.

However, when I started experimenting with organic and natural products, I often found they didn’t work at all. My blonde hair was washed out and brittle, my hands were always waxy and my soap didn’t foam. But Live Clean products definitely came to the rescue. I first picked up a bottle of their body-wash from a local drugstore as a desperate attempt to avoid the name-brands. The “Green Earth” 600-ml bottle was the only natural option available at Shoppers at the time, but at a mere $5.99, I decided to try it out.

That evening my quickie shower turned into a lathery, 30 minute soak-fest. Quite frankly I was very satisfied with the bubbles, fresh scent and level of cleanliness this body-wash brought me. I also didn’t have to use half the bottle to achieve this result. My skin felt baby soft and totally refreshed. So I jumped to find out more about the brand, and the products that they carry. I discovered that the company is Canadian and that they are quite dedicated on keeping their products affordable and completely sustainable. Almost all of their products contain 98% natural derived ingredients, are completely vegan, and are not tested on animals.

So I must say that ever since that fateful shower, I’ve been addicted to their entire line of products including their super-hydrating shampoos, conditioners and body lotions. These range from yummy berry scents to warm aragon oil(all natural of-course). Lovely ingredients such as Eucalyptus, Aragon oil and Lavender also provide amazing results.

I’ve discovered that Live Clean products are readily available throughout Canada, so if you check out their website you can find out where they sell in your area. Their website also features local “green events” and conservation tips (pretty impressive for a beauty line). I really like these guys, their message and what they are doing! Definitely a thumbs up!

Here is their website: http://live-clean.com/

 

Happy Hydrating and Clean Living!

E