Monday, March 19, 2012

Veganized Lentil Soup

Just a quick post because I have about four minutes before I have to be off my electronics. I just made this lentil soup from my other blog. But I made it vegan which was so easy to do. I forgot how delicious, quick and easy this soup is to make.

As a hint in case you're like me and don't use all your ingredients quickly. You can buy small chilies (like Thai or serrano) and freeze them. They're easy to chop that way and throw in any soup or hot dish. You can throw them in uncooked food too but the texture is a little soft. I also freeze ginger root to grate at any time I need it. It's so easy to use that way and easier to grate too.

I didn't have that many lentils so I had to do a half recipe. This is the half recipe. I would double it if you think you'll eat it a lot. And it would freeze well too.

Vegan Lentil Soup

1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed 
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 serrano chili pepper, chopped (remove seeds for less heat) 
1 large tomato, roughly chopped 
3/4-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated 
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 
1/8 teaspoon sea salt 
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping 

Combine the lentils, water, and vegetable broth in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Add the chili pepper, tomato, ginger, garlic, turmeric and sea salt. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Thin with water to desired texture. (I didn't thin it because I like it thick.)

Easy, huh? Well, I hope you enjoy. It's really delicious and takes no time at all to make. Truly. And it has that excellent vegetable protein for all of you that think you can't get enough protein with veggies. This was the perfect dish for the cold weather we're having here in L.A. I was cold all day so this was just the ticket for me.

Hope you're all doing well. School is going well. We learned a lot of different strokes in class on Saturday. I have class again tomorrow and I can't wait. LOVE my class, instructor, and environment! So awesome!

Have a great week!

Vegan Korean Food (Thanks Ani Phyo!)

Mmmmm...Korean food! That's the most Korean part of me is my love for Korean food. I love the flavor and I was missing the Korean BBQ. But thanks to finding this recipe from Ani Phyo I have found a new happiness! I made these Saturday night and they are just to die for! So delicious and EASY! It took me about 15 minutes to make total time including julienning the vegetables!

And while my food right now is mostly vegan, you could easily add some meat to this and it would be tasty as well. But the vegan version is really tasty, I think! Here's the recipe (and sub-recipes) and the links to the original.

From Chef Ani Phyo
Makes 4 servings
This is a traditional style of sam, a Korean lettuce wrap recipe. The lettuce and Gochujang sauce are what tie this dish together. The lettuce wraps are filled with sliced garlic and pepper for savory flavors that pair with the sweet and salty marinade of the Mushroom “Bul Go Gi”. Cucumber and carrot add color and texture. 
1 batch Gochujang, see recipe below
1 clove thinly sliced garlic
1 Korean pepper, or jalapeƱo, sliced
1 cup julienned cucumber
1 cup julienned carrot
Bul Go Gi
1 batch Mushroom “Bul Go Gi”, see recipe below
8 red lettuce leaves, or more
To serve, place fillings and Mushroom “Bul Go Gi” into individual bowls. Place lettuce leaves in a stack on a plate.
Allow everyone to make individual wraps by placing a lettuce in their hand and stuffing with Gochujang, fillings, and Mushroom “Bul Go Gi”. Wrap and eat immediately.
Will keep for several days in fridge when all ingredients are stored separately.
Makes 4 servings
Bul Go Gi is all about the sweet and salty marinade. The beef recipe is popular in the West and is typically barbequed at the table in restaurants. Bul Go Gi is served with a stack of red leaf lettuce used to wrap namuls and kimchi. This wrap is called sam in Korean.
Many people have requested a raw vegan “Bul Go Gi” recipe, so I’ve created this version for them. I substitute beef with mushrooms marinated with the same traditional flavors.
My recipe calls for Asian pear, but you can use any ripe pear instead.
Use marinated Mushroom “Bul Go Gi” in lettuce or daikon wraps, on top of noodles and salads in nori rols, on its own, and as an accompaniment to any dish.
3 tbsp Nama Shoyu or tamari
2 tbsp agave, maple, or brown rice syrup, to taste
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
½ tbsp minced garlic
½ cup Asian pear, microplaned or pureed in food processor, from about ½ medium pear
4 cups sliced shiitake, miyake, oyster, or portabella mushrooms
Whisk marinade together in mixing bowl. Then, add mushrooms and massage with hands to mix well. Set aside to marinate for about 20 to 30 minutes, until softened. Squeeze liquid from mushrooms before using.

Makes 4 servings
Gochujang is a traditional Korean hot chile pepper paste made by adding powdered red peppers to miso soybean paste and then aging and fermenting this mixture in earthen pots outdoors under the sun.  The resulting flavor is a mix of hot, sweet, salty, savory, and sour.  Gochujang is the sauce used to tie together vegetables with rice to make Bi-Bim-Bop and is also used in noodle recipes and wraps.  My recipe keeps for weeks in the fridge, so keep extra on hand to dress up salads and lettuce wraps and to use as a dip, too.
If you have access to a Korean market, you can always buy real Gochujang, which usually contains sugar.  Or, make your own healthier version by following this easy recipe.
2 1/2 tbs unpasteurized miso, red, yellow, or brown
2 tbs toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 tsp Korean chile powder, or cayenne pepper powder, to taste
Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl, and mix well.
Will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

These were so yummy and I liked that I had leftovers so I could eat them again during the week. Although Ani Phyo touts raw food she also talks about not being too strict with that hence the toasted sesame oil.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Well, it's official...I'm a STUDENT again! And plant-based eating!

Sorry I've been MIA for a while! For some reason I seem super busy and this month is going to be general craziness so I'll do what I can but April will be better! At any rate, last night was my first night of MASSAGE SCHOOL!!!!! And I LOVED it! It was cool and the vibe in the class is good. It's fairly small. There are only nine students, including me and one instructor plus two teacher assistants. That's a good ratio to me.

So, what did we learn last night? Well, important things like class and school conduct, how to set up a massage table, how to drape a client, and how to have them rollover without seeing their nakedness. These are all important things. I think what I like best is the way the class is taught. Sit down and learn a little then get up and move while learning more. Take a short break then back to the floor for more "book" items then maybe do some hands on, etc. That's the perfect learning environment for me. It will be different when we are on the massage table and then have to get off the massage table and practice what we're learning. But it's all good.

My friends and family are going to benefit here because I need to practice often so I'm going to need to get that practicing going. If you are my friend or family and I haven't already asked you to be my guinea pig, feel free to let me know. I need as many bodies as I can get my hands on...literally! Haha!

As for other news in the plant-based diet world, I made the yummiest meal last weekend. I'm going to do a separate post for it because it was that tasty. It was Ani Phyo's Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps. You know me. Representing! For the K's! (That means Koreans for you that aren't in the know!)

I feel like I'm finally getting in the swing of eating mostly plant-based whole foods. It's not an easy undertaking, in my opinion, but I've definitely felt better since eating this way. These are the benefits I've seen so far for me:

  • Constant energy throughout the day - no afternoon lull or post-meal comas
  • Deeper sleep
  • Increased clarity
  • Little or no sinus problems
  • Cleaner feeling mouth (who knew?)
  • Few to no cravings
These are what I would consider hints for introducing more plant-based meals into your life if you have any inkling to go this way:
  • Start small - one meal a day (or week if day is too much) have a big salad with lots of fun seeds and/or nuts, add some brown rice or grains, and beans
  • Have a "Meatless Monday" (Tuesday, Wednesday, etc) one day a week
  • Find a recipe with no meat that sounds divine and make it (maybe try the Black Bean Hemp Patties by Julie Morris...they are soooo yummy!)
  • Add a great dessert like Julie Morris's No-Bake Brownies
  • Add a side salad to whatever your animal protein dish is and keep increasing the size of the salad and decreasing the size of animal protein
These are the challenges I've faced in this shift:
  • For me it was an overnight change so that was more challenging than starting with one meal at a time
  • Getting carried away with all the yummy raw vegan desserts you can make (and apparently consume in my case)
  • Eating much more carbs than greens
  • Eating much more fat in the way of nuts, seeds and avocados
  • Eating enough - simply because I didn't know what to eat sometimes or had nothing made. It's like any other way of eating. You have to be prepared to eat right.
I'm very happy with the way I'm eating. I know it's weird to a lot of people because it's unknown and "extreme" to some. To me, the more I learn about the health benefits of whole food plant-based diets the more I never want to eat animal protein again. Some of you may be wondering what am I eating these days and/or what am I not eating. It's going something like this:
Eating: any vegetables, any fruit, any nuts and seeds, whole grains, pseudo grains, legumes, super foods, yacon syrup, agave, coconut palm sugar, whole foods
Not Eating: animal protein including fish and seafood, dairy, eggs, processed foods
So that's about it. I don't like to put myself in a category nor would I say that I will never eat meat again, but if I had to I would be leaning toward Whole Food Plant-Based. I'm not really a vegan per se because I still wear leather and such. It's also not to say that I won't at times eat cheese or butter. The biggest thing that I almost forgot to mention is that since starting this I haven't craved french fries! Those of you that know me know that this is huge! In all honesty, I haven't had much cravings for anything out of the ordinary. I haven't any huge salt OR sugar cravings. Hmmm...I should put that in my bullet list above. Let me do that now...okay...I'm back.

And as a funny note to end on, this is how focused I am on "plant-based". The other night I was playing games on my computer and I looked at my houseplant and thought, "Hm, I wonder if that would be good to eat." Hahaha! Yes, I clearly am losing it but it truly was funny to me and I truly DID have that thought.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Superfoods make me feel SUPER!

No joke! So this morning I knew I was feeling a little less than my best me. I ate my Lemon Coconut Breakfast Bars but I still felt like I needed something with a little oomph! So I checked out all my superfoods and made my own little concoction. Either it was pretty tasty or I'm getting used to the taste of earth and grass! Probably the latter to be honest! HA!

I had some leftover Synergy Guava Goddess Kombucha tea so my fancy concoction went something like this:
4 oz. Guava Goddess
1 scoop acai powder
1/2 teaspoon gelatinized maca
1/2 teaspoon chlorella
1/2 - 1 tablespoon yacon syrup

Shake it all up together in the blender bottle and drink. So I thought that was a good idea to get in a bunch of superfoods before my day began. But I truly didn't think it would do what it did. It's now 5:00pm and my energy is awesome! Not only that but I actually woke up early this morning. I could have gone back to sleep but I took that time to make the Lemon Coconut Bars and I'm so glad I did! YUM! LOVE those things! So anyway, it's either the superfood concoction that has me buzzing or it's my natural high. But either way I have no complaints and I'm feeling good!

I also had a great workout yesterday. I've been slacking in the strength training department. I really have no reason but sheer and utter laziness. Yep, that's my reason. But now I'm coming back and it's going to be a slow process. But I need to be okay with that. So yesterday I decided I was going to go back to basics and do an almost completely bodyweight circuit workout. It turned out to be a great workout for me and my hammies and quads are actually feeling it today. It also makes for a nice chance to really focus on form. My form is usually pretty good but I think often I'm focusing on pushing the weight over maintaining great form. Kellie Davis over at wrote a post about that just today! She's reading my mind...I'm SURE of it! Below is my workout:

Lower Body Bodyweight Circuit
Prisoner Squats
Walking Lunges
Good Mornings (bar only)
Single Leg Hip Thrust
Glute Ham Raise Machine

5 rounds of 12 reps (for each leg on unilateral exercises) each exercise

The first 3 rounds I was good but the fourth was tough and the fifth was really hard for me but I pushed through and got it done! Baby steps is what it's going to be. I need to be okay with that and I almost am!

 Don't you find it hard to accept where you are? I had a hard time accepting where I was when I was super teeny for my comp. And now I'm having a hard time accepting where I am since I'm now the opposite of super teeny. But I need to accept. And be grateful for what I have and all that functions well. Yep, I definitely need to start from a place of gratitude on this one. And so I am and will.

That's about it for now. I'm ready for the weekend. And it's less than 2 weeks till I start massage school! Can't wait! Wahoo!!!!