Veganlosophy’s Recipes

I have a new blog just for my recipes ❤

Go and check them out – lots up already and will be updated regularly!

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The Problem with Time Bound Goals

The other day I found an old notebook that I took with me to a lecture to take notes. Flicking through my old notes I discovered in the back a list of goals I was aiming to complete by the end of 2012!

The last time I had looked at that piece of paper I had only ticked off one or two on the list of goals, and it was very rewarding to see that I could now tick off another four that I had completed without even realising that I had completed them, and without even referring back to the list.

This got me thinking…

In my profession as a PT we of course put a great emphasis on goal setting – and it IS important. Specifically we put an emphasis on making sure our clients have SMART goals which means they must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound.

I would agree that goals need to be SPECIFIC and I think that this is the main problem – most people are far too vague with their goals. But these days I am reconsidering how important the time bound aspect is.

This is because, to be completely honest – a much greater percent of the time people do NOT achieve their goals within the timeframe they have chosen. Sometimes it’s because they were unrealistic about the timeframe. Sometimes it’s because life got in the way. Life is unpredictable, and goals and their importance can fluctuate over time.

The problem with this is that when people realise they haven’t achieved a goal, such as to lose a certain amount of weight by the end of six months, for example, this can be more detrimental to their health than if they hadn’t put a time frame on it. People say if there is no time frame then no one would put in enough effort which is the reason we need a timeframe. But from what I’ve seen having a time frame isn’t what motivates people or gets people to achieve their goals – what motivates them is independent of time – it is a desire to get healthier, a love and enjoyment for the exercise or a very big life change coming up (.ie. a wedding) that they can focus on. Time alone is not enough of a motivator.

Now of course we all begin with a motivator – a desire that makes us want to achieve a goal. If it’s the desire to stop other people pressuring us who want us to achieve the goal, already we are unlikely to have the level of commitment that is needed to achieve that goal. On the other hand even if the desire comes from within, many times this desire is not STRONG at the beginning of the journey. After all if it’s motivating for you to work towards your goal of losing 20kg so you can be a healthy weight, would you have put that 20kg on in the first place? Often times we do have a strong knowing and a longing to improve our health but if we become so unhealthy in the first place it’s usually because there are many other factors in our live that provide a bigger pull i.e. the satisfaction gained from eating junk food. It is often only once we start out on goal journey using at first a lot of self will and a working on self confidence that we truly discover what will and can motivate us.

When people set out to achieve a goal and do not have a strong force behind them or are in the ‘development’ stage of working on their confidence of achieving that goal, and then they see that they have not managed to achieve their goals by their predetermined time this can act as a huge blow to their existing effort. They may have been exercising regularly all the time but haven’t achieved their goal because they haven’t fixed their diet. Do you think seeing that they haven’t achieved the goal will shock them into changing their diet? Maybe. But emotional reactions aren’t usually like that. Often it will turn the other way with an attitude of ‘why am I even bothering? All this hard work for nothing!?” and so on.

Success breeds success so we should avoid highlighting failures with time bound goals. This is another reason why it’s good to make many small goals rather than one big goal.

So what do we do?

  1. Make specific goals
  2. Make a bunch of small goals (in addition to a bigger goal if you have one)– depending on how achievable they are between 3-5 o4 5-10. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with too many to work on at once.
  3. Review the list often write a reminder in your diary/phone to review the list every week, every fortnight or at the very least and the end of each month
  4. Don’t put a time limit on the goals but ask yourself every time you review the list, what am I doing (daily or weekly) to contribute towards these goals?

Number four is the most crucial step that I have found from my own experience. The reason that I completed those goals was that I never stopped working towards them, event though I forgot to review them. Luckily my job supported that, but if it didn’t that’s where the reviewing the list often would be very important.

The most important thing I have realised is not time, but that we are continuously working towards those goals for as long as they are important to us. What you can do might change, how you get there might be slower than you thought but crawl, walk, or run as long as you are moving forward you are still on the path and getting close and closer to your goals. Let each small success become more motivation, do it right at this will naturally increase, as well as the speed towards which you achieve those goals.

Mother’s Day Buffets and Recipes!

Last Sunday was Mother’s day. I decided to treat my mother and the family to not one, but two buffets, with the idea that she would not have to step into the kitchen at all during the day – and so that we could try out ethnic food at its best – when there is a variety of flavours and dishes.

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I do enjoy the opportunity to have a themed buffet and what might seem like a challenge at first – to find traditional vegan foods or veganised versions turns out to be more of a challenge deciding what to make and what to save for another time. Indian food is close to my heart as it is the first type of food I ever began to cook for myself when I was young, even though I didn’t grow up eating a whole lot of it.

 

Lunch: Indian Buffet 

On the menu:

Sambar (Indian soup)

Mungbean Curry 

Saag Aloo (potato and spinach)

Pumpkin Masala 

Indian Spiced Cabbage 

Served with: Chapati bread, mini papadoms, mango chutney and cucumber raita!

 

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It certainly was a lot of work just making lunch – but  luckily my partner helped. Throughout the years as I was  growing up everytime there was a family gathering  where we would have a big meal together, my mother did  almost ALL the work, and I was amazed how she managed  to cook so many dishes on her own, and also amazed that  the other people who ate there didn’t help clean up (often I  was the only one). Still she does all the cooking and  cleaning for my father. Which just seems really unfair to  me.

 

 

 

 

Mung Bean Curry! 

 

The Indian buffet took quite a bit of preparation as I needed  to use many pots and pans on the stove, but we got  everything ready in time and had a delicious lunch!

All the food was tasty, but everyone’s favourite was the  Saag Aloo  which I got from Chef Chole’s book – Chloe’s   Kitchen and which I will share below.

 

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Saag Aloo (potato and spinach)

I have made this recipe a number of times and it’s always turned out beautifully – it sounds plain but making a cashew cream brings together the flavours and textures wonderfully.

The only tweaks I make is that I often use more than 1 potato (usually I use 4-5) and sometimes this means needing to thin down the cashew cream a bit more.

 

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

1/2 cup raw cashews (if you are not using a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix you will need to soak cashews overnight or boil cashews for 10 min and drain).

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon canola oil                                                                                                                                                       Saag Aloo, Chapati and Pumpkin Masala

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger                                                                                                                                   

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander 

5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon tomato paste 

 

1. Place potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and let cook until fork tender. drain and set aside.

2. Combine cashews and water in a blender and process on high until very smooth, about 2 min, set aside. (It may help to dry blend them first to a fine powder before you add the water, depending on what type of blender you had. It took me a lot longer than 2 min to get the milk smooth).

3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high head and add ginger, curry powder, cumin and coriander. Let cook a few minutes until fragrant. Add spinach, garlic, cashew cream, and potatoes, and let cook a few more minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the tomato paste. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve warm.

 

Dinner: Greek Buffet

 

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Dinner: Greek Buffet

The Greek buffet was significantly easier to make as most of the food just went into the oven after the initial preparation. It was really nice to enjoy this cuisine, being so different from the Indian which relies on so many different spices, the Greek in comparison focuses mainly on tomato and heaps and heaps of garlic – but if you get it right it is just as flavourful.

On the menu was:

–        Spanakopita

–        Roasted Butter Bean Casserole

–        Classic Greek Salad with herbed “feta”

–        Greek Chickpeas and Rice

–        Roasted Brussels sprouts

All these dishes were great compliment’s too each other, so I was really pleased with the result. The “feta” was made out of tofu, a recipe I got from a VegNews magazine a while back, which basically involves boiling tofu in a salty brine with some herbs and letting it sit in it overnight then draining and adding to classic Greek salad ingredients such as tomatos, capsicums, olives etc.

I served all these dishes with some lemon wedges which really brought out the garlic, olive, tomato flavours.

My favourite dish was actually the rice, it looks so simple and basic but is very addictive, I could definitely eat it just on its own and be happy. I can’t even really explain why it’s so good, it’s just something you have to try! And it’s really easy to make too. While researching the Greek menu I found this awesome website called The Greek Vegan, and this is where I got the recipe from!

So if you would like to give it a try head over to:  The Greek Vegan – Chickpeas and Rice. The Only difference is that I didn’t have fresh dill so I used a couple of teaspoons dried dill.

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Roast Butterbean Casserole

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Wedges 

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                                                                                                                      Classic Greek Salad with “Feta” 

 

Finally, I would love to share with you our dessert – Gluten Free, Vegan Baklava Cake!

 

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I wanted a Greek style dessert but looking at the amount of sugar and fat most recipes had really took away my desire to make anything like that. Finally I found this cake, which is far lower on sugar (compared to 1.5-2 cups for the other deserts amongst other unhealthy additions), which is Gluten Free is a small cake – perfect for a group and a little something sweet at the end of a big meal.

The cake was so moist and the flavour of the rose water and almonds was just beautiful! We made our own applesauce from apples and I ended up using 1 cup instead of 1/2 because it was very thick so I’m not sure how much that would have changed the recipe, but it was delicious and you can find it here:

Baklava Cake 

http://byebyegluten.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/baklava-cake-grain-free-egg-free-dairy.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Rose Pomegranate Dream Cake

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 About a year ago I was very fortunate to come across Fragrant Vanilla Cake’s blog.  Now I no longer have to look anywhere else whenever it is time to make a cake,  each birthday celebration I will chose another one of hers to make. I have never  seen another blog that has such beautifully decorated raw cakes, or such amazing  combinations of flavours. I guarantee there will be something there you will like.

 Usually I would go for something chocolaty, but on this occasion (my father’s  birthday) it was just after Easter and I had already been stuffing myself with  homemade vegan easter eggs. So I chose the Raw Rose Pomegranate Dream  Cake http://fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/raw-rose-pomegranate-dream-cake.html. 

 This beautiful cake get’s it’s colour from a cup of beetroot, but you can’t taste the  beetroot at all. The predominant flavours are fresh coconut (from the meat of  young coconuts), and rose (from rosewater). Cardamom in the base compliments  the rose and coconut perfectly, and fresh pomegranate adds a contrasting zing  adding depth of flavour.  The texture of the cake came out quite soft only just holding together. If you want a more firm cake you may need to add more coconut butter or keep it stored in the freezer (though keep in mind this will change the colour of the pomegranate seeds).

Minty Pina Fresca

 

So this year, I’m trying to eat healthier, and that mainly includes the snacks and drinks I have with my friends. The hard part is trying to find something healthy to eat when you go out to catch up with mates. This Summer we were in the habit of hanging out at Gelere and I liked their Pina Colada Smoothie with it’s refreshing flavours of coconut and pineapple, but alas that Smoothie is not as healthy as it seems for I know it’s filled with icecream and processed sugar. 

Try this recipe at home, which combines the refreshing flavours of coconut, pineapple, and lime with an added flavour of mint for an interesting twist. You can be sure all ingredients are raw, fresh and pure! 

This recipe is from Balanced Raw – Tina Leigh 

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Yes we are also treating ourselves to a small square of raw mint chocolate as well. It’s so good just one square is satisfying. 

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (235ml) coconut water

1 cup (165g) fresh or frozen pineapple chunks 

1/4 cup (24g) mint leaves, packed

Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons (28 ml)

4 or 5 icecubes

 

In a Vitamix or other high-speed blender, combine all ingredients, blend for 30 seconds and enjoy. (I had to blend for a bit longer to get the consistency smooth.) 

Fresca may be blended, refrigerated in glass, and enjoyed within 24 hours. Alternatively, pour into ice pop molds for a healthful frozen desert. 

The Dangers of Taking Supplements (all kinds)

This is an issue that I have known about for a while through my research, and while I think there are times when supplementation can be helpful and important (ie. over the short-term to help restore and in-balance, when it is impossible to get a good variety of food, and the exception of vitamin B12 for most people and Vitamin D in winter months with little sunlight) over the long term supplementation can be doing your body far more harm than good! It’s scary how many people include daily multi-vitamins as part of ‘keeping healthy” and looking after yourself. 

While reading “Ayurvedic Healing for Women” by Atreya which emphasises treating illness and disease at their root not just the symptoms, the author gives a good explanation of how supplements actually work in the body: 

“Let’s look at a simplified version of how synthetic pharmaceutical products work in the body. These products are made to achieve quick, standard, consistent results. This means something that can be measured in one way or another, over and over again. If a substance can be manufactured or isolated ot do this, then it becomes of value to science. These products have to be separated and isolated from other substances in order to measure them effectively. It also allows science to observe the effects of the isolated substance.

Through this process, the substance is rendered inert, dead. It is rendered inorganic (i.e. no longer occurring in it’s original state, as in nature). Its chemical structure remains the same, or extremely close, but it is considered dead by the human body. This can best be defined  by its action in the body. They do not work with the body, but rather in spite of it. This is why these products have achieved miraculous effects against disease. 

This however, always has a price. This invasiveness – or breaking-and-entering – action always creates side effects. These secondary effects can be known or unknown. Modern science mainly uses one criteria for determining if a substance is safe or not: Is it carcinogenic? The question of whether a substance causes cancer is thus the primary factor in determining if that substance is safe for the treatment of disease. The other side effects are often not measured or investigated due to a lack of time and money. In fact, to know all the side effects of any given isolated substance, one would have to test each system, organ, and gland, and their functions in the body. And you would still never known how the total organic whole would respond to the isolated substance……..

These substances do not have an innate intelligence that tells them which things belong in the body and which do not. They flood the cells (which cells depends on the medication being used) and enter forcibly to do their job……Vitamin C can serve as a valuable example here. Vitamin C is known to be safe and beneficial when used correctly. In this example, we will use a synthetic vitamin C, which is the most common form of the vitamin in the United States. The synthetic form must first confront the digestive tract in order to be dissolved and reduced to a usable form that can be absorbed into the plasma via the blood to nourish the cells. After all, everything happens in the cells. But does your body have the enzymes necessary to break down and digest this man-made vitamin? Certainly a portion is able to be used, because laboratories have been able to observe the effects. So why is your urine always so yellow when you take vitamins? Because you are either unable to use, or do not need, this portion of the vitamin. (Many people find it illogical to think that humans have the inherent enzymes to digest the many synthetic products that appear each year in our food chain. This is definitely worth considering, especially for those who have food allergies or sensitivities.) 

When the vitamin (or a percentage of it) is broken down and absorbed into the blood, it eventually reaches the cell, the core metabolic building block of the body. The cell has a wall made up of lipids and proteins that control the absorption of nutrients into the cell. Within the cell wall, there is a jellylike fluid called the cytoplasm. Within this fluid, hundreds of activities take place, according to the function of the cell and its location in the body. In this process, the cell wall or membrane plays a critical role. It allows certain things in and keeps other things out. It allocates certain openings to certain nutrients. This means that vitamin C has special openings and that, when you eat an orange, the vitamin C zooms through the plasma until it finds a cell opening for vitamin C that is free. it then enters and aids the metabolic process for the body. 

Unfortunately, the synthetic vitamin C that we are using doesn’t have a clue about these rules and it just pushes its way into the cell wherever it can find an opening. Being man-made, it has not received the instructions from Mother Nature but is either ignorant or inert. This is what natural medicine calls a dead substance, because it does not know how to function with the body; it does not know its natural role. It lacks intelligence. It lacks life. Intelligence and life are two principles that occur together throughout nature…

When the vitamin C floods the cells – as in a high does to fight a cold, or because you think it is good for health – the openings for other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients become blocked. This prevents the other nutrients from being absorbed for as long as the cell wall is flooded with vitamin C. …..

Studied have consistently shown that large, regular intakes of any vitamin actually case a deficiency of that vitamin. Why? Because the body is continually flooded with it and loses the ability to produce it or utilize it from natural foods. 

What if we were to substitute the birth control pill for vitamin C? what might be the effect? Or an estrogenic substance/ The target of these synthetic pills is the endocrine system and the cells that life there. Is your body able to effectively use or eliminate this pill year after year? what effect will this drug have on the cell membranes? What other hormones or nutrients is this medication preventing from entering the cell? These are legitimate questions for every woman (and man) to ask herself with respect to all synthetic products – everything from asprin to antidepressants.” 

Words on the Ego (The Mirror of Yoga)

I would like to share with you today some notes on the ego from an excellent book called “The Mirror of Yoga” by Richard Freeman in which the author gives an enlightening overview of the many teachings, practices and scriptures that serve as the basis for all the schools of yoga – hatha, bhakti, jnana, karma, tantra and others. 

In the quote below, Richard describes the reasons for and the dangers of the Ego: 

“…the elusive ego is fed by a need for certainty; thus even within a well-intentioned yoga practice the ego can easily surface if we transform any aspect of the practice into a formula we know.

 

The ego desperately wants to do this because its entire function is to reduce everything, including the whole yoga tradition, to a formula that it can grasp and know definitively in order to say, “I know it! That way I don’t have to do it. I’ve been there, done that. What’s next” It wants to reduce the truth; it even wants to diminish God to a simple idol in order to be able to say, “i got it!” In this way the ego can reign supreme over all creation.

 

This, of course, is a perverse extension of what the healthy, beneficial process of ego actually is, which is to give us a reference point from which to begin observation and to maintain the health of the body and mind in relationship with the environment. But with the blink of an eye, the distorted ego is ready to lord over the body, the mind, all others, and eventually all of creation, which is the ultimate goal of every ego run amuck and which, as history has shown us time and again, can become a bit of a problem.” 

Awesome quick skipping workout!

 Skipping is one of my favourite  ways to add a cardio burst between exercises. It is great for really working the calve muscles and even the biceps and shoulders from holding the rope and making little circles as you spin the rope. To skip the most efficiently keep the feet close together, land lightly on the balls of the feet, keep the upperbody relaxed as possible, with the elbows kept close to the body. 

The skipping rope is one of the most light weight easiest pieces of equipment to carry around and can give a killer workout! Below is one I have been doing lately with my group personal training classes:

The skipping/pushup pyramid 

10 skips (turns of the rope)/ 1 pushup

20 skips/ 2 pushups

30 skips/ 3 pushups

40 skips/ 4 pushups

50 skips/ 5 pushups

60 skips / 6 pushups

70 skips / 7 pushups

80 skips / 8 pushups

90 skips/ 9 pushups

100 skips/ 10 pushups

Done! 

How long did it take you? If you get 10 min or under you are doing good.  If you want to make it a 15-20 min workout go back down the ladder or add more pushups if you have the upper body strength. 

But let me remind you that the workout above equates to: 55 pushups and 550 skips! Not bad for 10 min of work 🙂 

Leave a comment below if you try this with your time, and I would also be keen to know hr/calories burned if anyone has something that measures that. 

 

 

 

 

Yoga, the mind and breath connection

Found this photo on google, obviously not mine, but just thought it was breathtaking so had to share it. Meanwhile I have been reading “The Mirror of Yoga” by Richard Freeman and thought Id share a few words from that to accompany the photo:

“It is said that the mind and the inner breath move together like two fish swimming in tandem; when the mind moves in a particular pattern, the fish of the inner breath moves along with it through the core of the body, hitting deep sensations and feelings as it moves. Likewise, if that inner fish of the breath moves in a certain way, it stimulates or wakes up association patterns of thought or imagination within the mind. The connection between these two fish forms a basic axiom that we use for yoga practice: the joining of opposites. One fish is called prana, the inner breath. Prana is the way we pattern sensations and feelings into recognizable forms. The other fish is called citta, or the mind. It is said that when either prana or citta vibrates, the other does so equally. If we are able to become aware of the vibrations of either prana or citta, or better yet if we can control one of them, then we can have a handle on the other one. This relationship between the mind and the breath is the most elemental trick, the “secret”, of the deep, bodily oriented practice called hatha yoga because by shaping and stretching and thereby freeing the breath we can liberate the mind.”