Two posts for you lovelies today (keep scrolling for today’s OOTD post) because I’m excited to introduce my friend, Erin, who will be joining me on the blog from time to time! This year I’m determined to make a shift in my diet as last year with all the traveling I was doing, I felt incredibly low energy, gained weight and my skin reflected all the horrible habits I had undertaken. Erin will be blogging about her healthy lifestyle habits and without further adieu, I’m passing it over to her! Enjoy :).
It was April 2014 and my best friend from back home (Victoria, BC) was in Toronto to visit me. I announced to her that I had become vegan upon her arrival, and that it might change our dining plans. A little sauvignon blanc later, and she had coerced me to have “my last meal” at least. I took her to Sotto Sotto and the Tiramisu was the ending to many years as a vegetarian. I have been 100% plant-based since that day, and I feel amazing. Both fitness and cooking have become a passion of mine that I share on social media in hopes to encourage others to eat more plants. I am also currently in the Registered Holistic Nutrition program at CSNN.
Whether you are wishing to try #meatlessmonday, incorporate more plant-based meals in to your diet, or transition fully to a vegan diet, it can be intimidating initially. Luckily, there are so many resources available. Some of my favourite books are: Whole Foods to Thrive and Thrive Fitness by Brendan Brazier, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, and Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health by Gene Stone.
My favourite cookbooks are Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon, Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier, Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck by Thug Kitchen, PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell. Some documentaries that I have found inspiring are Vegucated, Forks over Knives, Hungry for Change, and Cowspiracy.
I created the Instagram @theveganvirgin because I would call myself a “vegan virgin” to friends because every day it seemed I was trying a vegan alternative or substitution for the first time! I loved the creativity in the recipes and the flavour influences from around the world. Now, I am coming up on my 2 year vegan birthday and I still maintain the instagram handle because I offer assistance to other “vegan virgins” who are new to eating plant-based meals.
Fitness is a huge part of my life and below I share “What I Eat in A Day” which I feel supports my workouts and recovery. Also stay tuned for my most popular recipe, Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos.
Upon waking I drink a cup of warm lemon water. This is an excellent habit to get into as it is great for your organs and can aid in digestion. I then pop my O’doughs Gluten Free Flax bread in the toaster and begin to prep my avocado toast. I like this particular brand as they are quite small slices, so you can have 1 slice as a snack or 2 as a meal. I also have this with either an almond milk or matcha latte.
2 slices of bread
1/2 avocado pitted
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
pinch of Pink Himalayan salt
Mash or slice avocado and place remaining ingredients on top and enjoy!
I love using Vega Sport Protein powder and I alternate between the chocolate and vanilla. This particular recipe is using the vanilla. Majority of days I will have just completed my run or workout, and I consume this immediately after to aid in muscle recovery.
Berry Vanilla Maca Protein Bowl
1 scoop of Vega Vanilla Protein
1 cup frozen strawberries
1.5 cups almond milk
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp maca
1 tbsp raw almond butter
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
Blend all your ingredients together. Top as you like but I used raw shredded coconut, muesli, and blueberries on mine. You can add sliced banana, hemp hearts, cacao nibs, goji berries, granola, etc.
For this kale caesar I used my favourite store bought dressing that is the Sea-zar serenity by RawFoodz. It is a raw dressing that has great ingredients in it like apple cidar vinegar, dulse, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and nutritional yeast. I also add It’s Not Bacon by Everyday Superfoods in the Canadian Maple flavour. The “bacon” is made from coconut and gets it flavour from tamari and maple syrup. Both of these items can be found in Toronto at Metro and Whole Foods.
2 cups of kale
2 tbsp of dressing
2 radishes sliced
1/2 cup of chickpeas
1 tbsp of Its Not Bacon
1/4 cup of spouts
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. For crispy chickpeas lightly coat in olive oil and squeeze lemon on them. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp garlic powder and a pinch of sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, rotating pan every 5 minutes. Cook longer if you wish them crispier.
Mid day snack is often a green juice, or Vega Sport Protein bar. My favourite is the chocolate peanut butter!
Red Pepper stuffed with Spicy Quinoa
1 tsp of olive oil or use vegetable broth to saute quinoa and vegetables
1 red pepper
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1/4 cup of diced onion
1/2 cup of sliced tomato
1 garlic clove
1 diced jalapeno
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of chilli powder
1.5 tbsp Frank’s Hot Sauce
1/4 cup black olives
1/2 cup of black beans
1 tsp of fresh lime juice
pinch of pink Himalayan salt
*salsa and cilantro to garnish (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the top of your pepper and slice in half. Cut out the seeds and veins. I prefer to not use oil and I place face up on the baking sheet. Bake the pepper for 25 minutes flipping every 5 minutes. While the pepper is cooking you will prepare the quinoa stuffing, and return in to the pepper for another 5 minutes.
For the quinoa stuffing heat a pan over medium high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic first in either a little oil or vegetable broth until translucent. Next add your tomatoes, quinoa, spices, and hot sauce and lower heat to medium. Cook together a few minutes and then add the remaining ingredients. Remove and use a spoon to stuff your pepper. Return to oven for the remaining 5 minutes. Top with salsa and cilantro if you like. Salt to taste.