A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

Happy holidays! Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week already? Where did the year go??

What are you all thankful for? I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my health and I’m also thankful for my decision to go vegan nearly 8 years ago.

I remember my very first vegan Thanksgiving. It was so depressing because I had just learned some disappointing truths about food, as I was studying at Bauman College getting my Nutrition Educator certification at the time. I had no idea what to eat as everything seemed wrong. Flash forward to this Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t be more excited!! There are SO many wonderful options for the holidays, so fear not; even if it’s your first vegan holiday! You got this!

You may be wondering what I’ll be having for Thanksgiving, and I’m happy to share! This year, we will be joining some family for an intimate gathering of vegan and non-vegan festive foods. Our host is vegan-friendly, and will be preparing some yummy options for us including mac ‘n’ cheese, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and more! It’s always such a treat when I can go somewhere for the holidays and not have to bring an entire meal for myself!

I will be contributing some additional dishes though, using some delicious recipes I’ve collected. I love experimenting with new recipes and sharing them with family and friends.

My menu includes the following:

First, our protein will come from a delicious lentil loaf, and I’ll be trying The Simple Veganista’s Ultimate Lentil Loaf.

(that’s her photo below, not mine, but isn’t it lovely?)

Secondly, I’ll be making a butternut squash casserole from Oh She Glows.

For dessert, I wanted to share this decadent sweet potato chocolate pudding, which is also from Oh She Glows, as I made this last week on a whim, and LOVED it!! It’s from her newer cookbook, Oh She Glows Everyday.

(this is my photo)

I’m tellin’ ya–you wouldn’t even know there were sweet potatoes in there, and when you top it with some coconut whipped cream, OMG. Which reminds me, Trader Joe’s just brought in their own coconut whipped cream!!! Get it while you can!!!

If you need more recipes, here are some excellent links with tons to choose from:

Oh She Glows: http://ohsheglows.com/categories/recipes-2/holiday/holiday-thanksgiving/

Minimalist Baker: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-thanksgiving-recipe-roundup/

Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/whitneyjefferson/101-vegan-thanksgiving-recipes?utm_term=.hyz5DZNMg#.wunkQxYXv

Please consider leaving turkeys off your plate, as there are obviously so many other delicious cruelty-free choices!

Wild Turkey

Consider some of these amazing facts about turkeys:

  • Turkeys are intelligent and form strong social bonds with their family and flock mates, sometimes traveling in the wild with groups of 200 or more.
  • Turkeys are very affectionate; rather similar to dogs.
  • Individual turkeys have unique voices. This is how turkeys recognise each other.
  • Three hundred million turkeys are killed in the U.S. each year, many for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving! Give thanks to all the goodness in your life, even if you only acknowledge one thing!

If you want personalized help going plant based, please reach out! I’m passionate about changing the world; one meal at a time! The future is vegan!!

Confessions of an Avid Recipe Follower

So, I have a confession to make: I am not that original when it comes to food.

am, however, a good recipe follower. I think I used to be more creative, before Alana (our 18 month old daughter) came into our world, but now, I need meals to be quick, nutrient dense, and full-proof. Meaning, I don’t have a ton of time to play and tinker around with ingredients. That’s why my mode is typically to take one of my favorite cookbooks, pick out a bunch of recipes at the beginning of the week, shop according to what I’ll need for them, and cook only those. Lately, I’ve been alternating between Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows books (there are two) and Thug Kitchen (also, two books, but I stick with the classic book “Eat Like you Give a F*ck”. It’s hilarious, if you haven’t picked that one up yet, btw…as long as you are okay with all the curse words!

I wanted to post photos of some recipes I’ve made this week since I am taking a break from social media, so I am not posting there. I know this may seem counter-productive, considering I “use it for business”, but I was finding that it was consuming a LOT of my time and energy. It’s not all bad. I LOVE social media, and I do see the good that can come out of it! I just needed to take a little break. Since not checking my phone every 2 minutes, I have found I have had more time for cooking and just enjoying my food, rather than cooking, snapping 57 photos of it, posting it and then taking all that time to include a meaningful caption for it…and let’s not forget all the hashtags! 😉 I’ll get back to it soon, I’m sure, but right now, I am enjoying my little social media “vacation.”

I also truly wanted to confess that I am an avid recipe follower, contrary to what some of you may believe regarding my talents in the kitchen. I do love going rogue and getting creative, but that hasn’t been my speed recently, since I like the idea of streamlining the areas of my life that I actually can control. You give up a lot of control once you have a child, but meal planning should be something that just happens without stress. Having good recipes and planning ahead make this all possible.

I still purchase and love recipe books! I never tire of them, and I love the idea of making something I can be confident will turn out the way it should so I can get back to being with my daughter and husband. Since Alana is eating with us full time now, and she’s also vegan, I love knowing I can make tasty, plant based foods that she can enjoy, too. Not that everything is a guarantee she’ll eat, but we at least try!

Now, obviously, these photos aren’t all I’ve cooked this week, as there are only 3 photos (and two are dessert-type foods, ha ha!), but I haven’t been obsessed with taking food photos since I’m not immediately posting them to social media.

The photos I’ve included in this post are all from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Every Day book and the recipes are:

  • 6 Vegetable and “Cheese” Soup with Easiest Garlic Croutons (pictured above) pg. 143
  • The Ultimate Flourless Brownie pg. 199
  • Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars pg. 45

Not pictured, I’ve also made:

  • Green-Orange Creamsicle Smoothie pg. 13
  • Curried Chickpea Salad pg. 113
  • Golden French Lentil Stew pg. 145 (Alana LOVES this!!)
  • Shepherd’s Pie pg. 167 (my husband LOVES this!)
  • Soba Noodle Salad pg. 183 (I didn’t exactly follow her recipe, since I didn’t plan on this one, but had *most* things on hand–I mostly just used the dressing recipe and made the rest of the recipe up)

I hope that some of these recipes inspire you to cook–whether or not you like to follow recipes, or just need inspiration for new personal creations. There is nothing wrong with following recipes and using the same ones you like over and over again! I encourage my clients to purchase some of the books I love and use them along side my personal recipes I share with them. It’s great to build up your arsenal of healthy recipes! You can never have too many, and the more you play around with other people’s, the more comfortable you get creating your own!

Need more help or inspiration going plant based, or just getting more healthy in general? Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute Skype or FaceTime appointment! I can not only help you with recipes, but create an entire personalized plan for you that will help you achieve long-lasting and sustainable results and health!

Happy cooking!

Delicious Vegan Cheeses (alternatives to Daiya)

So, you may have recently read that Daiya cheese was acquired for a LOT of money ($352.5 million CD or $406 million US) by Otsuka; a pharmaceutical company. You can read more about the acquisition here.

Many vegans (myself included) are outraged, shocked and disappointed, as not only does it kinda suck to support BIG PHARMA, but Otsuka also tests on animals. So. Not. Cool. You can read more about the reasons a petition was created to oppose the acquisition due to Otsuka’s animal testing here.

Personally, I am so bummed, as Daiya was a staple in our household. I want to be supportive of their decision, but if they knowingly SOLD OUT to a company that causes harm to animals, sadly, I don’t think I will ethically be able to support them anymore. I get that there is another viewpoint; that the bigger the company, the farther they can take the product, and the more mainstream it can be. Daiya seemed (to me) to be doing pretty okay on its own! I’ve seen it in pretty much every conventional market (but then again, I’m in hippy-dippy southern California). I have seen it in other places as well, but I get it; it could go even farther–but the animal testing thing just makes me cringe and breaks my heart!

Well, thankfully, if you agree that animal testing is not okay, and want to support more ethical companies, here are a few alternatives you can try! Just want to note that I’m focusing on the ones that offer shredded cheese options. There are more companies that make beautiful, plant-based cheeses, I wanted to present some alternatives to shredded Daiya cheese here.

Follow Your Heart

 

Talk about an ethical company! I love Follow Your Heart so much!! First off, they started in Canoga Park, CA, which is my home town! Second, they’ve been in business for 45 years!!! Their philosophy is that “all people deserve access to healthy food, that we should have compassion for all living things, and that we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.” Not only do they make shreds, but they make block cheeses, too! They have many soy-free options now (they didn’t always), that include mozzarella, cheddar, pepper jack and gouda! Yum!

So Delicious  

Now, I haven’t tried the shredded cheese by So Delicious, but IMO, everything they touch turns to gold. I have never been disappointed by any of their products. If you have tried it (or any of the products I’m mentioning, please let us know what you think!!)

Parmela Creamery 

Parmela Creamery  has an entire line of shredded, hard cheeses, meltable and nacho cheeses. They are artisanal and believe in the traditional ways of cheesemaking. They also believe in sustainability. Again, I don’t have much experience with this product. I have only tried their cheeses once or twice, but I plan on incorporating them more, as I’ve seen them appearing on more grocery shelves.

Trader Joe’s 

Ah yes, let’s not forget about our beloved Trader Joe’s vegan mozz! I don’t know why they don’t carry more vegan varieties. In all honesty, this cheese is good, but A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY. It’s very “melty”, and you truly only need a little sprinkle for it to give you what you’re after. Also, I wish canola oil was not the second ingredient, but meh, use it sparingly. Here are the list of ingredients:

Water, Canola Oil, Cornstarch, Vegetable Glycerin, Arrowroot Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Pea Protein, Salt, Natural Vegan Flavors, Rie Maltodextrin, Latic Acid (Non-Dairy), Sumflower Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Annatto (color), Powdered Cellulose (To Prevent Caking).

What can I say. I love Trader’s and the fact that they’ve been adding more and more vegan staples to their shelves recently! Nutritional yeast, kombucha, cacao nibs?!?! You da bomb TJ’s!!

So, there ya have it! Some ethical alternatives to Daiya, and dairy cheese, in general. …and hey, look, I am not about bad mouthing, or putting negative energy out there, and I do hope for the best for Daiya and what they hope to accomplish with Otsuka, but I do believe in putting your money where you mouth is. If you have strong ethical values, like a lot of vegan animal lovers I know, it’s important to believe that your choices matter, and that you truly do vote with your dollar.

Have you tasted any of these? What are your favorites? Do you have any to add to this list?

Are you looking to make the switch to a dairy free (aka cheese free) lifestyle? I’m here to support you! I know cheese is hard to think about giving up, but once you weigh all the positive health benefits, it’s hard to argue why you need to eat it. While we are on the subject, check out Dr. Neal Barnard’s new book on the subject, The Cheese Trap! It’s an interesting read!! Also, you can always contact me to speak more about weeding cheese out of your life for good!

Much love, cheeseheads! xo Dori

Copycat Ella’s Nibbly Fingers (vegan and gluten free)

After a long while of not buying anything for my kid that comes in a package, I succumbed to a few pouches (Trader’s has the best deal IMO and they are organic!), and a few cracker-type products. …and Ella’s. Oh, damn, they are so good (well, at least I believe this is what Alana thinks about them anyway), and although they aren’t too pricey, they seemed pretty darn easy to replicate. So, I finally went for it! …and they are probably a fraction of the cost of the real thing!

I looked around for some recipe inspo, and didn’t find much, so I truly just took the portions recommended for the flour (I used gluten free oat flour, since I try not to give Alana too many foods that contain gluten), and fruit portions, but then totally went rogue! Here’s what I came up with, and by the look on my daughter’s face (and the fact that she had one in each hand at one point) tells me they were a success! 🙂

Copycat Ella’s (Blueberry Banana Raisin)

  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 handful fresh organic blueberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 teensy pinch sea salt (optional)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp flax meal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, puree the oil, raisins, blueberries, and banana. Add sea salt (if using) and flax meal.

Move contents to a medium sized mixing bowl and fold in oat flour.

Shape about a tablespoon of your mixture into a “bar” shape (I used a little water on my hands because the mixture is a bit sticky) and line them up on your baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 min. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

I gotta say, I enjoyed the taste of them too (since I had to try them for myself). I love the feeling of making healthy foods for my daughter to enjoy. I know exactly what goes into them and I can be confident she’s eating clean and vegan!

What are some of your favorite plant based DIY kid’s snacks to make for your littles?

Are you a plant based mama, or want to be? Want to transition your family to become plant eaters? Are you pregnant and want to confidently grow your baby on a purely vegan based diet? Need guidance? Contact me! Alana is living proof that kids THRIVE on plants! Just look at those rolls! 😉

 

 

 

RAWsberry Cheesecake – Raw Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake

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For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll remember that I told you that making a raw vegan cheesecake was on my goals list. Not only was this recipe super easy, it was so delicious! I totally recommend investing in a spring-form pan, which you can easily purchase from Amazon for about $13.

I served this to some friends who came over for brunch, so it was my first time to try it, along with them! I always get a little nervous about these things, don’t you? Like, “here’s something I’ve never made, and it’s our only dessert, so I hope it doesn’t suck.” I *have* made things that suck (if anyone at Lotus is reading, how about that fiery chocolate pudding, lol!!) as I am not perfect and we all have kitchen fails once in a while. …but this, this did NOT suck. This was vegan cheesecake heaven. Light, not too sweet, not too dense, creamy, tangy, and just…you have to make it! Promise me you will!!

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RAWSberry Cheesecake (Raw Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake)

Ingredients:
Crust:
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp. sea salt

Filling:
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract
1/3 cup virgin, raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup coconut nectar
1 cup fresh, organic raspberries (thaw completely if using frozen)

Directions:
1. Place nuts, dates and sea salt in a food processor and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base even throughout.
2. Warm coconut oil and coconut nectar in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
3. in your food processor or a high powered blender (such a VitaMix) place all filling ingredients (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes, so be patient).
4. Pour about 2/3 (you don’t have to be exact–hard to mess up this recipe) of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid.
5. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer.

For more delicious and guilt-free recipes such as these, or for personalized coaching, contact me! I look forward to being of service to you!

 

Macadamia Fig Smoothie

FigShake

Fig season!!! Isn’t it the BEST???

I just picked up some organic figs from Whole Foods the other day, and woke up this morning and thought, “I need to make a fig-centric smoothie”. I typically use a chocolate flavored plant-based protein powder, and I didn’t want a “chocolate/fig” thing goin’ on, but I definitely wanted protein, so that’s why I thought macadamia nuts would be a good pair!

Figs are naturally high in fiber and potassium. They are also helpful for fertility as they contain a lot of iron, which are important for healthy eggs and ovulation.

I also sweetened this with yacon syrup, and if you don’t know much about yacon syrup, let me tell you about how wonderful it is!

Yacon syrup is extremely low GI, and safe for diabetics AND for candida! It won’t feed bad bacteria. Also, it contains fructooligosaccharides, which are PRE-biotics (food that feed GOOD bacteria). It has the consistency kind of like a thinner molasses, I suppose, and it’s rich in flavor, as it comes from a tuber native to South America.

Behold–the Macadamia Fig Smoothie!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 4 fresh figs
  • 2 tbsp. macadamia nuts
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tsp. yacon syrup

Blend away and enjoy!

Tell me…what is your favorite way to enjoy figs?

For more delicious recipes or personalized nutrition plans, contact me! I’m happy to be of service to you! xo-Dori

Dori The Healthy Donut Baker

AshleyDonut1

Hey all!

Wow! I feel like a jerk for not blogging regularly, so I apologize for that! I know it’s been a while, but hopefully you’ve been staying in touch on my social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

If you’ve been kind enough to follow me there, you may have seen recently, that I’ve taken up baking healthy donuts! Kinda random, I know, but it’s been super fun, and those babies have been keeping me pretty busy! Last month, I was honored to participate in a Lululemon event in Brentwood for the Manta Movement bracelet launch, my buddy’s open house for his amazing natural therapy clinic Pure Vitality Rejuvenation Center and a Meatless Monday event in Long Beach where my donuts were in the swag bag with some delicious vegan fave samples provided by Beyond Meat, Daiya Cheese, Upton’s Natural’s and Field Roast! I was blown away and so stoked to have my little donuts handed out with such BIG names in the vegan world! #grateful

I just wanted to tell ya about the donuts since I don’t have an official website for them, so you won’t find much about them online, unless you’re following my social media.

The donuts are vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free. They are made with gluten free oat flour and contain chia seeds, for added protein. They contain roughly 10 g of sugar per donut (varies on the topping choice), and the sugar source is a teensy bit of pure maple syrup. They are all topped with a chocolate glaze, and that is sweetened with malitol, which is a sugar alcohol (and thus, less than 1 g of sugar and zero calories).

I started playing around in my kitchen, and posted a photo of them one day, and it all started with one friend asking me to make her a batch and then POOF, it’s now “my thing.”

You can find them weekly in my office at Lotus East-West Medical Center, and they can be ordered privately via email: healingthrufood@gmail.com. Currently, I am only servicing Los Angeles, and this helps to keep them local, fresh and “eco-friendly”. 😉

My philosophy behind them is that you do not have to give up tasty, fun food if you want to eat healthy. Eating healthy *should* be FUN!

Speaking of fun–it’s 4th of July weekend!!! Hope you have plans to do something SUPER fun (and healthy). A few healthy tips:

  • Stay hydrated (travel with a refillable water bottle)
  • Bring your own food to parties (something fun to share–a big salad, a gigantic watermelon–it doesn’t have to be complicated to be great)
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Graze all day–even if it IS a holiday–especially if you *are* drinking

Stay safe and have fun, you guys!! …AND, if you’re local and would like to order donuts, shoot me an email! I’d love to connect with you over some truly healthy, delicious, guilt free treats!

 

Plant-Based Protein Sources

eatmoreplants

The majority of people I come across and work with do not always understand where they can find alternative sources of complete plant protein and some will argue that a plant-based diet is lacking and one cannot survive without eating animal flesh. Hogwash!

Also, in my humble opinion, I think we are truly a bit “protein obsessed” in this country! On average, we only need about 20-30% of our calories to come from protein and our bodies can really only absorb about 20 grams of protein per sitting, so consuming globs of whey powders of pounds or grilled chicken breasts won’t do us any good since the body does not maintain a store of excess amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Once your daily protein needs are met, your body has two options for dealing with any excess protein. Option 1: If your calorie intake is low that day, your cells may convert it into fuel. Option 2: If you’ve had plenty to eat that day (i.e. met your caloric intake), your body will convert the extra protein to fatty acids (a.k.a. FAT).

Many argue that plants are not a source of “complete” protein. The term “complete protein” refers the building blocks of protein: amino acids.  There are 20 different amino acids that form a protein molecule, and there are nine that the body cannot make on its own. These nine are called essential amino acids and since the body does not produce them, we need to get them from food sources. In order to be considered “complete,” a protein must contain all nine of these essential amino acids in mostly equal parts.

So, animals products such as meat and eggs are naturally complete proteins, and plant sources such as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are not. But I’ve got news for you; we don’t need every single essential amino acid in every bite of food in every meal we eat; we only need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day. So, if you are consuming a diet rich in nutrient dense plant-based foods, and grazing all day, your body in its infinite wisdom, is smart enough to do its own combining and you’ll get what you need! So don’t worry too much about that and get your butt to the farmer’s market!

As you browse the list to follow, you can see there are plenty of healthy, nutrient dense, plant-based protein choices listed (that are not just soy-based—with the exception of organic tempeh, which I like on occasion!). A lot of these things can be thrown into smoothies, which I believe is the tastiest way to consume things like blue-green algae, for instance.

Most supplements can be found at your favorite health food store, or online.

POWER PACKING VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES

  • Green-leafy veggies (spinach, kale, bok choy, collards, green cabbage, arugula)
  • Good quality plant-based protein powder (my fave is Sun Warrior)
  • Goji berries
  • Mulberries
  • E3 Live (amazing blue-green algae product-this can be extremely powerful for mental clarity!!)
  • Blue-green algae such as chlorella and spirulina
  • Hemp (raw hemp seeds and hemp protein)
  • Pea protein
  • Rice protein
  • Fresh olives
  • Grass powders (wheatgrass, barley grass, etc. I like Amazing Grass’s products)
  • Maca powder
  • Brewer’s yeast (not recommended for people with candida)
  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Raw almonds
  • Sprouted grains
  • Sprouted wild rice
  • Sprouts of all types
  • Nut butters
  • Beans (garbanzo, kidney, black, adzuki, etc.)
  • Lentils
  • Organic, non-GMO tempeh

As you can see, there are plenty of foods to choose from! If you need more specific help incorporating them into your diet, contact me! I can help you come up with some very tasty ways to start consuming more plant-based protein, and I promise, you won’t even miss that burger!