31 March 2013

Farewell, For Now!

Well, my surprising news is...

I've moved to SAN FRANCISCO!

I've started a new blog to document my adventures here and I hope you all will continue to follow me.

The new address is:


See you all over there!

25 March 2013


Part of the great thing about doing IIN is that I am going to be exposed to SO many different dietary theories.  My knowledge of the wide range of dietary theories that exist will benefit not only my future clients but myself as well!  On this journey I will be encouraged to try different diets (kind of scary for a vegan--I'll see what's entailed!) and seek out my own information as well as the supplemental resources IIN provides me.

Part of what I'm really excited about, too, is being able to share my newfound information with you all, here on my blog!  I hope to share not only objective, factual "stuff," but also my own personal experiences and discoveries, as they relate to the different diets.

That said, let me refer now to the subject of my post:  Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is, very broadly, a way of living with respect to one's dominant "dosha" as well as to the daily and seasonal cycles.  The three "doshas" that every person has is Vata, Pitta and Kapha (more information can be found about each of the doshas online), however, one or two typically predominates within the individual person.  If a particular dosha is off balance, it can lead to a whole slew of maladies.  Similarly, if a person is entirely in balance, he or she will feel optimal!

Ayurveda teaches how to balance oneself as well as how best to live in a way that supports YOUR dominant dosha[s].  Ayurveda teaches which foods to consume and which should be avoided, based on one's dosha, as well as which types of physical activities and lifestyle habits one should adopt, based also on his/her dosha.

There are numerous quizzes online you can take to figure out your dosha[s], if you don't already know it.  From there, you'll know which foods best support you and what you should do to live the happiest, healthiest life you can for your body.

I'm a Vata, which means the types of foods that nourish me are cooked, warm foods with heavier textures and added oils and healthy fats and those I should reduce are foods like leafy greens, most beans, mushrooms, cruciferous vegetables, et cetera.

Hmmmm.  The wannabe high-raw vegan in me is wondering HOW cooked foods can be better than raw and how POSSIBLY reducing leafy greens can be better for me.  Sprouts are a no-no??!

Well, part of IIN's program is being experimental and open-minded to other dietary theories so I decided, yesterday and today, to more closely follow the guidelines Ayurveda advises for Vata types and you know what?  I felt better.  Like, a lot better.  I still adhered to my vegan diet but roasted, steamed or sauteed what I might otherwise have eaten raw.  Additionally, I avoided certain foods--even those I thought I liked--based on the recommendations Vatas were encouraged to reduce.

You know what?  I felt even better there too.

So while it's weird and foreign for me to think that high raw isn't necessarily better, it isn't!  I'm talking about me, personally.  I know people who THRIVE on a high-raw or 100-percent raw diet but that's not me.  From experimenting, I've found that my physical body responds much better to cooked vegetables and warm foods than it does uncooked (for the most part) and cold.

I'm proud of myself for discovering this and being okay with it.  When I start seeing clients it will be important to keep this open-mindedness and understanding in mind.  Basically, the most important thing for ANYONE is to eat more fruits and veggies and less crap.  Saute, boil, steam, roast, stir-fry, grill...do whatever...just eat 'em ;)

Ayurveda also discourages eating raw food with cooked as well as combining fresh food with leftovers.  Similarly, it discourages eating fruit with other foods.  These relate more to food combining guidelines, though.  That'll be another post.

P.S.  Here's a little fun fact!  The five foods that BEST support me are listed below.  I found this list from listening to my body.

1.  Mangoes!!!
2.  Beets, roasted
3.  Squash, roasted
4.  Dates
5.  Almonds

24 March 2013

A Present For Me!

I forgot that when I enrolled in IIN they'd be sending me a welcome package as a thank you and congratulations for entering the program--that is, until I opened my front door today!

Immediately, I knew what the package was and with great fervor, I tore open the cardboard and removed my surprise!

The Institute included such nice, thoughtful tokens of encouragement for me as I embark on this exciting journey.  They included a bumper sticker, lavender-scented heart pillow, a water bottle, a waterproof bag (I'm assuming for transporting groceries), a journal in which to write my daily goals, intentions, reflections and gratitudes, two DVDs with helpful cooking and grocery shopping tips, Joshua Rosenthal's book and an accompanying course workbook.

 I feel spoiled!

Also, I have some potentially HUGE news to share but you all must stay tuned...until Friday...

19 March 2013


I thought I would dedicate this post to some of the things that are inspiring me right now!

First of all, I love the podcast, The Splendid Table, with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and there was a really interesting segment on the 3/1/13 podcast, "Dinner with Churchill," where Lynne had on a photographer who photographed refrigerator interiors.  So interesting!

Another newfound inspiration of mine is my good friend, Katie's, blog.  She recently moved to the area and started teaching some classes at my yoga studio and that's where we met!  She's vegan, a total foodie and super, super sweet.  I love bouncing food ideas off of her, perusing her blog and chatting about yummies!!!

Ashley's blog is another of my favorites.  I REALLY want to make this.

And this??!  Are you kidding me?  Can someone make this for me please?  ...and serve it on this plate please?

Aside from my food inspirations, I am also inspired by a lot of artists.  I earned a B.F.A. in Art and Design, and during my schooling I learned about hundreds of artists.  Certain ones stuck with me and continue to inspire me.  Some of my favorites are Henri Matisse, Maurice PrendergastFrida KahloRomare BeardenKara Walker, M. SasekHannah Höch, Joyce KozloffJane Hammond and Joseph Cornell.

Alright, well that's all for tonight.  Wishing my loyal readers a happy, healthy Wednesday.  If you're in Michigan, stay warm!

18 March 2013

My St. Patrick's Day Feast

As promised, here is my feast from yesterday.

My mom prepared tempeh piccata from Chef Chloe's cookbook with oven-roasted brussels sprouts.  The meal was divine.  She even bought a special bottle of wine as a holiday treat!

Dessert was, um, ridiculous.  It was a cobbler with a salty,buttery, pecan-y streusel topping atop a spicy, juicy fruit compote, of sorts.  She bought my FAVORITE (brand, not flavor, although the flavor was good) Vanilla Island Coconut Bliss non-dairy treat to pair with the already decadent dessert.

As is our custom, we rounded out the night with what is becoming a more and more lackluster game of Scrabble.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by Green Kitchen Stories' Green Lentil and Yellow Beet Salad recipe.  However, in mine I used red beets instead of yellow because that's all Whole Foods had;  I left out the pea shoots since I polished mine off the other day;  I definitely left out the raw onion because first of all, yuck, and second of all, my stomach would hate me;  and I omitted the poppy seeds from the dressing (I thought I had some on hand but I did not).  Other than those few alterations, I kept my salad pretty true to the original recipe.

The result?  

This salad was, like, one of the loveliest things I've eaten in awhile.


Since becoming vegan, I have grown to adore beets.  I used to abhor them but now, serve me a beet, roasted, and I'm in heaven.  I will definitely be making this dish again.  It was so easy, satisfying and flavorful!  Additionally, I love that it introduced me to a new green:  beet greens!  They were surprisingly delicious--soft, not too bitter and not too chewy!

I had a little too much fun arranging my beet greens...ha!

And aren't the illustrations for this recipe adorable?

17 March 2013


First of all, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My mom gets me a card for every holiday and St. Patrick's Day is no exception.

 Papyrus, as always :)

 Love this lady ^

Isn't she sweet??!

I also came home from my yoga class to the smell of toasting pecans, one cookbook splayed open on the kitchen countertop and, like, five others sprawled out on the kitchen table.  As I sit typing this now my mom is making not only a special St. Patty's Day dinner but dessert.

I'm guessing that the garlic is a dinner ingredient.  I have no idea what my mom's making though.  She wanted to keep it a surprise!  

The clues!!!  And there's the Snoopy I got for my birthday!

It looks like spoiling myself with good food ain't gonna stop today!

Entirely unsuited to today's holiday, I thought I'd do a post about sprouting, specifically, about sprouting buckwheat groats and lentils.

Why those two foods?  Well, because they're virtually fail-proof.  They're cheap to buy and super, super easy.  They require neither a Mason jar nor a sprouting lid.  I sprouted both in a vintage Pyrex dish I had on hand.

Before I delve into the "how to," though, let's ask the question: why sprout?  Well, certain foods have these things called enzyme inhibitors, which our bodies have a difficult time digesting.  Sprouting them, as in a Pyrex dish, for example, simulates the process seeds undergo when planted in the ground.

Seeds planted in the ground are surrounded by dirt.  The dirt acts as a moisture barrier, which creates an environment in which they can sprout and grow, and when it does, the seed also releases these enzyme inhibitors.  It becomes a living food!

This process, as I mentioned, can be simulated.

Buckwheat groats after, like, 12 hours!  They already have little tails!

Start by placing the "seeds" [note: I say seeds for lack of a better word.  I'm referring to buckwheat groats and lentils in this particular case] in a covered container and allow them to soak in filtered water overnight.  In the morning, drain the water and rinse the seeds thoroughly.  Return the seeds to the dish, cover and continue to rinse and drain the seeds until their tails (yes, these little guys will start sprouting tails!!!) reach a desirable length.

Buckwheat groats after a day, if memory serves me correctly.  See how long their tails already are??

That's IT.

The process is the same for both the buckwheat groats and the lentils.  I let my buckwheat groats sprout for maybe a day and a half (they sprouted SUPER fast) and my lentils for maybe three days.

Lentils after two days.  I, personally, do not want their tails to get much longer so I'm going to spread them out to air dry and then refrigerate them soon to stop the sprouting process.

It's important that the groats/lentils stay moist so rinse and drain accordingly.  You can't do it too much.  Whenever I was in the kitchen I checked on my little guys and if they felt kind of dry, I rinsed and drained them.  This averaged about three times per day.

Buckwheat groats can be dehydrated and stored in a glass jar in the fridge for weeks and lentils can be stored, fresh, in the fridge for one to two weeks (I kind of made this up but I imagine it's about right...haha!).

Have fun sprouting!

16 March 2013

My Exciting New Journey

I am so, so, so excited.  On Monday I begin a yearlong schooling program through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to earn my certificate to become a health coach!  This is going to be the perfect career for me.

The program is entirely online, which at first I wasn't geeked about because I like human interaction but actually, this way I can still work part or full-time (if I find a job this year) AND it allows me to choose my schedule.  The program is very comprehensive--its founder, Joshua Rosenthal, has a PhD in Education and Nutrition--and includes not only nutritional training but business training.  The latter is invaluable.  IIN will provide me a website, business cards and other literature as well as necessary paperwork for when I start seeing clients.

This last part brings me to another respectable aspect of this program.  I can start seeing clients halfway through my training!  Similar to an internship, this will give me real world experience, not to mention boost my confidence and know-how in the field.

I've decided to keep a journal as I embark upon this journey so that I have a place to document my thoughts, passions, intentions, inspirations, knowledge learned and anything else!  In my zealous state, I rushed out to the store yesterday to buy a journal.  I've already filled up, like, five pages...ha!

I've also decided that I'm going to make a relatively modest-sized recipe book of my favorite salad creations and illustrate the book using cut paper.  I have the initial goal of doing one illustration per weekend and I hope I can stick to it!  It took me nearly all of today.  It was a ton of work.  Enjoyable but kind of exhausting.  It took me back to my senior thesis project, which consumed ALL of me.  I don't want that again, which is why I think one illustration per week is a manageable, but still challenging, goal.

Here's what I worked on today:


14 March 2013

Inn Season Cafe

I have been so spoiled in the way of food lately!  Truly!  Tuesday I had Cacao Tree, yesterday I had Inn Season and today I had Inn Season.  My stomach better not get too used to this!

Inn Season is similar to Cacao Tree in that it is very health-minded but it does not boast a strictly raw, or even vegan, menu.  It is a vegetarian restaurant where one can find things like cheese, eggs, ice cream and honey (to some vegans) on the menu.

Boy, oh, boy is it wonderful though.  The menu has its stand bys but it also features a different specials menu every day--every day, mind you!--with seasonally inspired ingredients.  The flavor magic and creativity that goes on behind Inn Season's kitchen doors never ceases to amaze me.

Unlike Cacao Tree, where I always get the same thing despite its other tempting offers, I ALWAYS get something different at Inn Season.  I've had a gluten free spinach and butternut squash quiche with cashew gravy, mushroom and asparagus ragout, leek and white bean cakes with garlic-saffron aioli alongside spicy pear compote, mushroom bisque (I like...okay, love...mushrooms) and their Mediterranean Grain Salad.  The last is what I had yesterday.

Let me describe it:

A bed of mixed Mesclun greens with THE freshest sunflower sprouts and an organic brown rice mixture with very thinly chopped celery (*crunch*), pistachios (*crunch*crunch*), sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, avocado and fresh basil in a garlic-lemon vinaigrette.



Obviously, I ate it all.

My friend, Gracie, joined me for lunch, and ordered their famous "Inn Season Salad."  I've ordered it in the past too and it's another excellent choice but I know it's something I can order anytime.  I even thought, Maybe tomorrow (today, as I sit typing this) I'll get the Inn Season Salad.  But nope.  Again I ordered a special, selected from an entirely different specials list than yesterday.

Tonight I ordered the Curried Bean Cakes with Spicy Pineapple Chutney and Sprouts.  It was so unbelievably, ridiculously, outta this world good.  The cakes were like fat, savory, Indian-inspired pancakes sent down from heaven.  They were über moist and flavorful like whoa.  Packed full of chickpeas and kidney beans, leeks, maybe shredded carrots and who knows what else, and doused in chunky spicy-pineapple-y chutney with pops of cardamom seeds, the dish worked together flawlessly.  The simple addition of fresh sunflower sprouts was even perfect, as it helped balance out the richness of the overall entree.

In addition to the cakes (because I didn't already have enough food), I also ordered a side of steamed kale.  I tend to do this when I order heavier entrees (this was actually considered an appetizer!) from Inn Season because, like the sprouts, it lightens up the meal, not to mention, makes for an excellent sauce sopper-upper.  Furthermore, it loads me up with some happy, healthy calcium!

Trevor, who joined me for dinner tonight, ordered the Big Baprowski.  Like me, he licked his plated clean AND ordered a hot fudge brownie for dessert.  He polished that off as well.  While I did not indulge in any post-dinner brownie demolishing, I did order a scoop of Coconut Bliss Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge ice "cream" because a). it's one of my few weaknesses that I really cannot resist and b). Trevor is so much fun to go out and eat with that ordering dessert really just becomes a "must," regardless of one's fullness level.

I think tomorrow I'll be back to my old ways of making my own breakfast, lunch and dinner, but fully enjoying the two days of AMAZING eats I had this week with even more amazing friends <3

**Side Note:  When I was at Whole Foods the first time today (yes, I was in there twice...not an unusual day...), I noticed they now are labeling EVERYTHING that is non GMO.  Awesome!  I was so excited to see this progressiveness.  I hope it brings greater awareness to people and teach those who might not even know about GMO foods to be aware of them and encourage them to inform themselves.  Yahoo!

I swear these labels went up overnight because I was in the store yesterday and they did not exist.

 For more info: http://www.nongmoproject.org/