Saturday, 30 April 2011

Join the Kula at Kula Yoga in Coquitlam

"From the first class I went to at Kula I felt like I belonged there, as opposed to just being a temporary guest. The yoga teachers are so friendly and approachable that I couldn’t help but want to engage in an after class chat with them. Even the students are beginning to catch on that Kula Yoga is much more that just a place to practice here to read the entire article on the Vancouver Yoga Review.

Friday, 18 March 2011

My Interview with the authour of The Happy Herbivore, Lindsay Nixon 

Lindsay S. Nixon is a rising star in the culinary world, praised for her ability to use everyday ingredients to create healthy, low fat recipes that taste just as delicious as they are nutritious. Lindsay's recipes have been featured in Vegetarian Times, Women's Health Magazine and on The Huffington Post. Lindsay is also a consulting chef at La Samanna, a luxury resort and four-star restaurant in the French West Indies. You can learn more about Lindsay and sample some of her recipes at

 How long have you been cooking for?

You know, I'm not entirely sure. I was always drawn to cooking in a way, but I was never all that good at it -- at least when I was an omnivore. In college the two meals I tried to make were so bad my roommate nearly broke her teeth eating one. Then when Scott and I were first together, he did all of the cooking because I was so intimidated by it. However, once I went vegan, I realized if I wanted to eat, I'd have to make it myself. That forced my hand, and in the process, I really fell in love with the culinary arts. I was always such a picky eater as an omnivore, that no one was more surprised than me when I turned into a foodie as a vegan.

Where do you find inspiration for your recipes?

It's sort of a mix of trying to find ways to recreate foods I used to love, responding to fan requests and inherent inspiration. For example, I might notice I've totally neglected a certain food, like say kidney beans, so I'll try to develop a recipe that uses them.
(That’s how the Rajma Masala in the cookbook was born!)

 Is cooking a full time job for you or do you work outside of the home as well?

It's a full-time job right now. When I'm writing cookbooks, I can't work because I need a lot of time to create, test, develop and photograph recipes. When I'm not writing I consult for magazines, and a restaurant locally, and work for an online company (my "day job") which is really great about letting me take time off to write. I'd love to one day only focus on cooking.

I have recently heard a lot of news that soy is unhealthy due to high levels of phyto-estrogens. What do you think about this? Do you use many soy products in your cooking?

I think it's important to remember that people have been eating soy for a really long time, and those cultures don't have a medical crisis on their hands the way we do in the U.S. Not that I think soy is a "miracle food" or anything; I just don't buy into a lot of the negativity.

Of course, I do think that excess is probably bad; no one should eat tons of soy and I think that edamame, soymilk, tofu and tempeh are way healthier than processed soy foods, which probably should be avoided anyway.

What a lot of people don't realize, though, is that soy is in a lot of food, particularly convenience foods and processed foods. Even people who swear off soymilk and tempeh, are probably eating a lot of soy unknowingly.

Half of my cookbook is soy-free (there is an icon for it) and of the recipes that do use soy, most of them use a tablespoon of soy sauce or miso paste. I have very few tofu recipes, one recipe for edamame and one for tempeh.

There is more and more publicity about vegetarianism and veganism, it seems like every week a different CEO or celebrity is becoming a vegan. What are your thoughts on this? Is veganism just a trend?

I think veganism is trendy right now, but I don't think it's a trend like a fad diet or hammer pants. I think that all the efforts people have been putting forth over the years to get the word out there, are finally paying off. I think more and more people are seeing the benefits of a vegan diet, are becoming more educated about it, and are getting on board with it. I understand the argument why all this buzz is not great, but personally I think it's wonderful. The more coverage the better. The more we talk about it, the more people can learn. A lot of lives can be saved.

 Many opponents to the vegan lifestyle claim a vegan diet is unhealthy because it is lacking nutrients that only meat can provide? How do you ensure your diet is nutritionally complete?

What people often fail to realize is that if someone, regardless if they are vegan, omnivore or vegetarian, doesn't eat a well balanced diet, they will run into health problems from nutrient deficiency. I had an omnivore friend who kept having low iron, but when she went vegetarian, she "cured" herself with diet alone. I currently have two friends that have Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 deficiencies and they are meat eaters. (B12 is the vitamin most people use to argue against veganism). Anytime a meateater asks me where I get my protien, I ask them where they get their fiber and water-soluble vitamins. ;-)

I eat a varied diet, and I do eat some foods that are fortified, and thankfully, I've never had any sort of deficiency. I know a lot of vegans and omnivores who take multivitamins, and that's probably a good practice for most people.

 What is next for The Happy Herbivore? TV show? New cookbook?

I just signed on two write two more cookbooks, but I still want my own show!

Recipe from The Happy Herbivore

Red Lentil Dal (serves 4) - Dals are essentially thick stews made with lentils and traditional Indian spices. This dal is easy, delicious and cheap. Make it once and it will never leave your regular rotation, I promise.
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp turmeric 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 c dried red lentils
2 c vegetable broth
1 tomato, chopped (save juices)
3 ounces tomato paste (5 tbsp)
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp garam masala
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
Line a medium pot with 1/4 cup of water and cook onions and garlic until translucent. Add turmeric, cumin, paprika, and ginger, and cook for another for another 2 minutes, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking and burning. Add lentils, broth, tomato, tomato paste, and coriander, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils are cooked and orange-ish. Add garam masala, stirring to combine, and let rest for 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
Note: if tomatoes are out of season, use 1/4 cup tomato sauce or two peeled canned tomatoes.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Healthy Treats from The Happy Herbivore
The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
I have become a huge fan of The Happy Herbivore,, all of the recipes are healthy, easy to make and look delicious. Today I tried the Black Bean Brownies and Butter Bean Cookies.. mmmm delish!!!

Black Bean Brownies from The Happy Herbivore


15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
2 whole bananas
cup agave nectar (I used brown rice syrup)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup raw sugar (optional)
¼ cup instant oats
I also added vegan chocolate chips and chopped walnuts and drizzled the baked brownies with melted chocolate.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and 8x8" pan and set aside. Combine all ingredients, except oats, in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed. Stir in the oats and pour batter into the pan. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing. Chef's Note: if you find these brownies are too soft or too fudge-y, add another 1/4 cup oats or flour.

Butter Bean Cookies from The Happy Herbivore
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
a dash of ground cardamon (optional)
½ cup canned white beans, liquids reserved
(I used chickpeas)
½ cup raw sugar
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup vegan chocolate chips
a dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a large cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer 3/4 cup of the oats to a food processor and pulse, about 15x, until crumbly but not powder. Transfer to a mixing bowl and combine with flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamon. Whisk to incorporate and set aside. Transfer beans to processor then add applesauce, sugar, vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of the bean liquid. Whiz until smooth. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir about 10 times. Add chips, remaining 1/4 cup oats and the rest of the bean liquid, stirring until combined. If the mixture is too wet, add more oats. If it's too dry, add a little water. Drop tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet, leaving an inch of room between each. Bake 15 minutes, until edges are just turning light brown and middles are firm. They will firm a bit more as they cool. Check the bottoms to make sure they are golden brown. 

Per cookie: 61 calories, 0.7g fat, 12.4g carbs, 1.4g fiber, 5.2g sugar, 1.3g protein

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Physics of The Quest

"I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call 'The Physics of The Quest' -- a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum.  And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: 'If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared - most of all - to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself... then truth will not be withheld from you.'  Or so I've come to believe.  I can't help but believe it, given my experience." - Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

What is Yoga? Assignment #1 for Semperviva Yoga College

When most people refer to “Yoga” they are actually referring to the physical practice and not Yoga in its entirety.  I started practicing yoga for the same reasons most people start, and that was to reap the benefits of the physical practice (strength, balance, flexibility).  Over the past couple of years my practice has deepend knowing that Yoga is composed of 8 limbs and the asanas, the physical practice, is only one of them.

The other 7 limbs of yoga act as a spiritual and personal development guide, similar to that of religious bibles, but without the gods. Instead the “god” in Yoga is often referred to as being within.  The “god” within is realized when we get closer to who we actually are. I believe this is one of the many reasons Yoga has become so popular in the western world, as it offers a spiritual path for individuals seeking spiritual growth and realization but do not find a fit within the existing organized religions.

The term “Yoga” is Sanskrit for union.  This can be translated as the union of mind, body and soul. I also often think of it as the union of our own being with the universe or “god.”   Through Yoga and meditation I feel more connected with who I really am, which promotes a much stronger and compassionate connection with all living beings around me.