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Sunday, December 26, 2010

christmas pudding update and our christmas lunch




after all that waiting, yesterday was christmas! My daughter was so excited and woke up at 6:30am, (even though she is usually a sleepy head like her daddy) running to see if there was something from Santa!
The weather was nice and perfect for a nice family day.
Neither my partner or I have families in Melbourne or in Australia so the christmas is usually a quiet affair. This year we invited a good friend of ours and her adorable daughter and had a christmas lunch.

The menu was....
slow roasted root vegetables with whole sweet garlic.
Grilled whole snapper served with chunky tomato salsa
Green salad with roasted nuts dressed in liquid gold dressing.
kalamata olive tapanade


and the christmas pudding served with vanilla custard.

my wonderful vegan friends and readers may be wondering "fiiiiiiish?"
I suppose even though I am on plant based diet 98 percent of time I recently realised it is a positive thing to be able to share something with other people. In our society the food is such a big thing and I have to say I did enjoy the experience yesterday. there are things that I wouldn't have such as meat and dairy because of my strong belief. It is different for everyone I am sure.

Animal food is an extremely yang food. It is a good idea to balance that out with more ying food. Lots of macrobiotic people consume seafood occasionally and often served with more ying food such as potatoes, tomatoes and dessert.

The christmas pudding was a great success!
so moist and very traditional minus all the refined sugar and animal products. I have to say I was a bit greedy. ( I had the biggest piece...)

Merry christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

christmas pudding


I have to say I am not really into christmas. I suppose I am not a religious person and where I grew up the christmas was not really an important family event either. We did celebrate christmas but not like it is celebrated here.
As much as I think the whole thing can be all about commercialism and presents and etc..... I do understand christmas is the time to bring people together.
This year I decided to make a christmas pudding. Vegan version that is. Lots of vegan christmas puddings contain vegetarian suet or margarine, which I 'd rather not use. but hopefully my receipe will work.

the first thing of course is to soak some dried fruits. I used raisins, goji berries, chopped figs and apricots. along with chopped almonds and sunflower seeds, lemon and orange zest, grated ginger and spices, I left it in some freshly squeezed orange juice, rice and maple syrup and brandy. when the mix was ready I mixed the wet ingredients with spelt flour, grounded almond, sourdough bread crumbs, coconut butter and non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk). Steamed it for4 hours. It is still left in the fridge and on the christmas I will be steaming it again for about 2 hours.
I will be making worm custard to go with it. maybe flavoured with vanilla.
I just hope it's not going to be a hot day though!

frost for cakes



vegan frost that doesn't use any vegan margarine?

I found it!

I tried it with coconut butter for the creaminess, kudzu to set and coconut sugar to sweeten.
It worked really well. I suppose you can try other sweetners such as agave, maple, rice syrup or maybe stevia?
Only thing is it doesn't like the heat. It gets pretty soft when the weather is warm.

I have been using a little bit on a toast for a raw choco treat as well. Yum!

seeds



because of the weather lately my garden is loving it!

little seeds have been coming up all over the place. the ones I have put in and the ones that I haven't!

I usually wash things and use the water for the garden. When I washed amaranth seeds some must have escaped and ended up in my garden too. here are my precious little amaranth leaves!

I always thought nettle was winter veges but not in my garden. but don't tell that to my partner and my daughter. they hate the prickly things. well I don't like the way they hurt either but sure love the power they give me nutritionally!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A little thing you can do

You'd like to make sustainable choices in life. But do you think it is too hard? You are worried about the earth and think "what can I do?"

there are so many things you can do to help. Just bringing your own bag to the supermarket. riding your bicycle to a shop instead of taking your car. add tofu to your stir fry instead of having beef. these are all easy things that you can do. Imagine an entire community does it. The effect is enormous.
another important thing to do is to talk to your friends and families. inspire them to do the same.

1 home
-suitable size house for your need. (bigger house needs more energy)
-choose the location that minimises your need to drive.
-when you renovate reuse the material, select materials that are more sustainable.
-design your house so it is more energy efficient (insulation, low energy appliances, water savers etc.)

2.Food
-Eat less meat, seafood, eggs and dairy products
-choose local and organic
-choose whole foods instead of processed
-buy bulk to save packaging

3.transport
-drive and fly less
-buy the most fuel efficient vehicles possible
-improve your driving habits,
-use cleaner fuel

4.consumption
-choose sustainable products (fair trade, local quality, recycled etc.)
-reduce your consumption
-reuse
-repair
-recycle

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

raw cheesecake goji and chocolate marble



since the purchase of my beloved vitamix this is what I have been longing to make!
Raw cheesecake!
this time I have made goji and chocolate marble cheesecake and it was heavenly!
it just melts in the mouth. it is so rich though even my daugther couldn't finish it all. One of good things about is (other than the taste of course) you can pop it back to the freezer and will last for a month or so. and you can take it out as you want to eat it. (I doubt it lasts for a month in our house hold though.)

hemaview screening

even though I am very careful with what I eat, like everyone else I have wondered if I was getting what I need for the optimal health. Last night I got this thong called hemaview screening and cellular health analyser.
tiny 2 drops of my blood from a finger was taken and after 2 minutes the picture was on a computer screen. My tiny blood circles were swimming around. so cute.
It can tell you a lot of things like a nutrient deficiencies, your immune system etc. From the diet I am on my natural path was looking for iron, B12 and folate levels. I was glad to know everything was normal for me. Very good picture.
Next It was a cellular health analysis. It will tell you your body composition, fluid distribution, biological age, energy levels etc. everything was good to excellent! except my fat mass....
I knew that I was quite thin but I will have to work on gaining a bit more fat in me I think. I was pretty happy with the overall results though. especially my energy level was indicated as more than good. (85% is good and mine was 105.8%)
I do recommend people to get this done if you are concerned or just for an interest. Even though you are not feeling sick or energy level is OK it is always an improvement you can make for your health.

Friday, October 22, 2010

my shopping spree!

I have been wanting to get a couple of things for a long time. And I finally did!

1: water purifier

I was looking for something that can reduce the fluoride in the water. There are several methods for this purpose using a carbon filter retains natural energy and does not remove healthy minerals, unlike distilled water and reverse osmosis.
It removes impurities such as bacteria, chlorine, amoeba, suspended solids, organic pesticides, heavy metals and cysts. And it tastes better!

2:Vitamix

If you want the best blender. this is it! This high power blender does almost everything (well it doesn't clean your house but we are not talking about that, are we)
It makes tahini, nut butter, creamy raw cheesecake, soy milk, nut milk etc.etc
I made this beautiful almond cheese and so addicted now. I do love nut butter that you get too but I suppose those nuts have not been soaked beforehand and proberbly oxidised by the time it's on the shelf. that is the same with Tahini. So from now on I can make it myself!
I made almond milk too. Yesterday was a beautiful warm day so a glass of homemade blueberry smoothie with hidden cholera for my daughter after school and she enjoyed it very much. and she had a purple mastache afterwards.

Monday, October 11, 2010

thought

I suppose I can call myself a vegan now. I avoid any animal products whatsoever. However my family is different. My partner eats and has a desire to have so called average western diet and my daughter too likes to have seafood and dairy now and then ( proberbly she'd like to have more if I encouraged her) I don't think I have any right to tell other people how and what to eat. Even though I know the negative things about eating any animal products environmentaly, ethically and for the health reasons it is up to them to decide. it can be hard when it comes to my own family, especially my daughter, because It is natural to want the best thing for her and want her to share my view on things. But I am working on it. I had to learn that she is not me and she is old enough to make her own decisions (to some extent....).
Although I think vegan diet can be the most healthful diet you do need more care when it comes to nutrition. B vitamins especially B12 and ration of omega3 and 6.
There are lots of fake cheeses and meats etc now. Even though it is good for some people who are just transitting to this diet (for their comfort reasons) I wouldn't feed that to my own daughter! I would rather she has a bit of rennet-free organic goat cheese (which is less mucus forming thatn cow cheeses) instead of commercially made cheese alternatives.

Are you a vegan and living with someone who eats meat? or vice versa? I would like to hear what you think....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

ume extract


I think I have talked about acid and alkaline ration in the past. I am careful with what I eat but sometimes, I feel the body is out of balance. That could be a stress, pollution, or just plain run down from the hectic everyday living.
This is a product that is my rescue remedy for almost everything! Ume (japanese plum) is known for its alkalising effect. This extract is a concentrated extract made from hand picked plums grown in the Southern part of Kishu (Wakayama Prefecture), grated by an enamel grater, filtering the juice through a cotton cloth and obtaining the extract after carefully condensing it in an earthernware pot. This is 1kg of plums condensed into 20g, a sort of clump of plums,"mumefural" also containing citric acid, and beginning with calcium, also contains minerals such as iron, potassium and magnesium. it is extremely sour. You can dilute it with water and sweetner if you like or you can use for a dressing, sauces etc. I usually scoop a tiny bit out and just lick it off the spoon....

Friday, September 17, 2010

banana oatmeal cookie


It was my daugther's birthday and she wanted to take a treat to school to share with the class. For the occasion I made banana oatmeal cookie with raw coconut chocolate icing. Most of the vegan icing use margarine of some sort but I used raw coconut butter instead. You can also experiment with cocoa butter as well to give more depth to the chocolate flavour.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

mesquite cookies



My daughter is always hungry. especially in the weekend. You will hear in her singing voice every 10 minutes "I'm hungry. I want to eat something!"
It is so easy to open a packet of pre-made snacks to give to a child. Even though I try to give her something healthy like crackers or rice cereal or pieces of vegetables, it is nice to say "ok let's make something to eat together"
We often make our own popcorn.
Yesterday we made a batch of mesquite crackers.
My daughter is older now that she can actually help and make the work easier. (Before it was sometimes easier and required less patience if I did it all myself!)

dry ingredients: wholemeal spelt flour, corn meal, mesquite powder, baking powder,grounded flax seed, salt, herbs
wet: rice milk, lemon juice, sesame oil

Rice milk and mesquite powder are naturally sweet so there is no need for an extra sugar.

A bit about the mesquite powder...
It contains good quantity of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. It is quite high in protein (lyisine). The flavour is subtly sweet with a hint of caramel.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

relationship between the diet and mind

I was talking to someone who has just started eating more in a macrobiotic way. She included brown rice in her diet and eating more wholesome foods. It was great to hear that she was feeling so much better not just physically but emotionally.
That is what the diet does to your mind.
Lots of people don't realise the connection. If you have lots of things in your food that burdens your organs it will affect your emotional health as well as your body.
For example If you consume overly refined sugar your pancreas, (where insulin is produced) kidney, (where the nutrients are triaged and glucose is stored) and adrenal glands are affected. the person is not getting any nutrients from the over processed food to compensate the extra work that the body has to do. The body may have to use more vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, E and C from the body (if any left!) to deal with it. The deficiency in these vitamins can often result in anxiety and emotional problems.

Friday, August 27, 2010

baby carrots from the garden



My daughter was complaining about eating carrots lately. coming back from school with carrots left in her lunch box.
But not these baby carrots. She pulled them out herself and washed them with rain water outside, then eating them and wanting more.
It is what is all about, isn't it? Growing your own food is not only good for reducing your carbon footprint it is so much more convenient and taste so much better.
maybe , I thought, that is why kids are not eating much vegetables these days. The most have lost their real taste and not appealing to children's sensitive taste.

We also had bok choy from our garden for dinner tonight!

Monday, August 9, 2010

nuka-pickles


If you don't take fermented dairy foods such as cheese and yorghurt like me there are other fermented foods available. Miso, Tamari, shoyu, vinegar and pickles all have healthy intestinal bacteria, which can assist you with the digestion of foods and also are known to produce antibiotic substances.

I made nuka pickles the other day. It is with grounded brown rice, salt and miso that is fermented. All you need to do is bury some vegetables. root vegetables work the best. Here I have raddish, turnip and daikon.

miso making


You can get good quality miso in australia too. However there is nothing better than home made miso! (I think... this is my first time.)
I have collected a couple of recipes from different sources but they are pretty simple. I cheated by using a food processor to mash the beans so maybe this is not as traditional as it could be...
Oh well, I will see how this goes.
The miso will be rested for 3 months from now and stirred once. It will be ready to be eaten from 6 months.

All you need is
good organic soy beans
salt
koji
and
patience

One of the advantage of making your own miso (or any fermented products) is that the miso will take on and cultivates the various micro-organisms that are part and parcel of the ecological system in which it is produced. It reflects the miicroflora of those who grow it and in turn it recreates and intestinal flora that is compatible with and in harmony with the ecology of which they are part.

Friday, July 30, 2010

sprouted flour

I love baking and even though flour (any kind) is not considered ideal compared good whole grain, I do sometime have it.
I always wanted to try sprouted flour. Being soaked and sprouted the flour shouldn't contain any harmful phytic acid. I have never seen them in Australia so I decided to make it myself.

So far I have tried lentil flour which worked really well. I also did mung beans too but it didn't work so well. I couldn't hydrate them properly maybe and stuck together when milled. Anyway they are stored in the freezer to minimise the oxidisation, ready to be used. Maybe lentil pancake for breakfast this weekend?

note...you will find Phytic acid in grains, beans and nuts. It has the property of combining with minerals, especially calcium, iron and zinc to form insoluble compounds which are carried out in the stool.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tarte Tatin


For my birthday I made myself a tarte tatin.
This dessert started accidentally. One day the sisters Tatin in Paris let a pan of apples, butter and sugar too long on the stove. Harried by a hungry huntsmen one of the sisters draped the pastry intended as pie base over the pan of caramelised apples and hid her mistake in the oven.

Instead of using butter and sugar I made the caramelised apple with barley, rice, maple syrup and kuzu. Pie pastry was made with quinoa and spelt flour mixed with coconut oil.

natural sweetness of apples and sticky sauce was a perfect match for the rustic pastry.

shakhari restaurant


It was my birthday so I decided to take myself out for a nice meal. The place has to be special.... as I found that most of the time going out for a meal is so disappointing. Shakhari???? yes! And I did make a good choice!

2 and half of us had ...
avocado magic- tempura fried avocado and capsicum pieces wrapped in a sliced eggplant. The sweet coriander puree was beautiful
buckwheat flatbread - panfried flatbread with crunchy citrus cashew cream

vegetable curry cooked in coconut came with Kimchi, dhal, popodums, turmeric rice. (my favourite)
croquette with yam potato and macadamia nuts

for dessert...
apple crumble with soy chocolate ice cream (My daughter's favourite, of course)
cheesecake (I didn't, because it was a dairy cheesecake but apparently it was really good)

Most of the dishes there are vegan friendly even the desserts. We were there for about 2 hours enjoying a slow lunch in front of a fire. what more can I ask for?
Even a friend I went with, who is usually not a big fan of vegetarian food, was happy with the meal!

One of the delightful things about the restaurant is their service. We had a great waiter who served us.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

food inc




I have wanted to watch the movie "food Inc" since and before it came out and finally got around to.
The movie covered a lot of issues concerning the food industry in America. Though I think and hope that the industry here in Australia is not as bad as the american one I'm afraid there are lots of the same things happening here right now. And it will only get worse if we don't act on it.

The issues the movie talked about include

false imagery that companies use to market their products -how they use the imagery that resembles the old school farming. In reality it is a factory system that operates for the financial gain.

fast food chains offering the unhealthy meals that target low income earners, affecting their health and their families. they are the largest purchaser of many products.

the conditions of animal farming -chickens, cows, pigs
lots of the farmers were not allowed to speak to the public. what are the companies hiding from us??

the corn production. - one of the cheapest crop used in many products you see in supermarket. including in meats and fish, fast food, drinks and snack foods.

e-coli and food poisoning

alternative industry -organic

seed collecting. How a big companies don't allow farmers to collect the seeds.

G-E crops -Can you believe that 75% of all supermarket food is GMO??



after all the depressing(:-() information the movie does finish with the positive message to the viewers.


you can vote to change this system - Three times a day - Buy from companies that treat - Workers - Animals - And the environment - With respect - When you go to the Super Market - Choose foods that are in season - Buy foods that are organic - Know what is in your food - Read labels - Know what you buy - The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to the super market - Buy locally grown food - Shop at farmer's markets - Plant a garden (even a small one) - Cook a meal with your family and eat it together - Everyone has a right to healthy food - Make sure your farmer's market takes food stamps - Ask the school board to provide healthy lunches - The FDA and USDA are supposed to protect you and your family - Tell congress to enforce food safety standards and reintroduce Kevin's Law - If you say grace, ask for food that will keep us, and the planet healthy - You can change the world with every bite - Hungry for change?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

friends of the earth in epicure

Friends of the earth, where I work, was in epicure this week. It was the green issue.
When they came to interview it was the day I happen to be cooking. (tuesday).
Here is what they said about the lunch that day.

There"s no menu, rather an organic, vegetarian "message on a plate". On the day I visited, the plate ($9.50 for large; $8 for small) is colourful - rocket, broccoli and beetroot salad with brown rice soaking up the sauce of creamy satay lentil hotpot and tempeh and atuage (tofu) bolognaise, with a dollop of nutty cream on top

come and have lunch soon!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

seminar with David Briscoe

I went to a seminar with David Briscoe on Tuesday night. He is an experienced macrobiotic and wholefood
educators and counsellor from USA.

He talked about the way to re-balance your health through acid and alkaline balance.

Acid producing food (highly concentrated protein, fat foods and refined carbohydrates, especially sugar) can affect your health quite negatively. lots of common western diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, arthritis, diabetes, obesiity, allergies, immune disorders, osteoporosiis are said to be related to consuming the food that contributes the acidity in your internal fluid.

so what is an alkaline forming food?
vegetables!
so it is another reason to include more of it in your diet.
Another useful food to remember also is Umeboshi. This tart tasting pickled fruit is a superfood from Japan. you can also get a concentrated ume extract as well.
I use it to make a dressing, spread and it is great with any grains. When I make a rice ball to take with me I often put umeboshi with the rice because of its anti bacterial properties.

Friday, June 11, 2010

aromatherapy


This is the book that inspired me to use more aromatherapy more in my life.
Like chocolate for woman



Now I have a collection of several essential oils.
Jasmine -exotic oil with a sensual aroma - helps you to move forward
Lime -zesty and refreshing aroma - helps you feel uplifted and light hearted
Lavender - universally loved oil- excellent for skin care, mental conditions and first aid for headaches, burns and stings.
Rose otto - queen of all flowers - nurturing the famine spirit
Tea tee - cleansing aroma - antiseptic. great for cleaning as well
Rosemary - brisk and refreshing aroma - great study aid
Frankincense - rich, strong and woody aroma with a hint of spice - like an armour. great for meditation
Bergamot - delicate citrus, floral aroma - great complement to any blend. keeps "butterflies" in your stomach
Geranium - green and floral aroma - helps restore equilibrium to body and soul.

holistic nutrition

I have started my correspondence study on nutritional study.
As you readers know I have always been interested in nutrition and believed that what you eat does affect you mentally and physically. I considered about doing a normal science nutrition but it wasn't really what I wanted. I wanted to see people as whole and that is what holistic treatment is all about.
It keeps me very busy now. Only time I get is usually an hour or so before everyone gets up in the morning and weekend. But I'm loving it! it is so much more than I thought. I finished an assignment on Reiki treatment and now I'm doing the next module which is Biology. It is hard but also very fascinating to learn about where you and things around you have come from.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

first day of winter

1st of June today. already the first day of winter.
Even though I do complain about how cold or hot it is I like having 4 seasons. It makes you appreciate and look forward to more comfortable seasons.
And also you will always find positive things about any climate.
In winter I like the warm snuggly bed. I seem to sleep deeper and more soundly in winter. I love warm soups and stews with ginger. more creamy , well seasoned comfort food can be tolerated in this sort of climate. seeing the shiny frost in a morning sun. pressure cooked brown rice. clear crispy air. lots of reading and quiet times at home.
what do you like about this weather?


In winter....
it is time to rest, meditate and restore your energy
Food should be...
cooked longer.
promote centering and sinking quality by adding bitter and salty foods to your dishes.
warming grains like quinoa, amaranth and oats

The china study




This is an amazingly well-reserched and important book on the connection between nutrition and many diseases and illnesses. Dr campbell shows that People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. The whole plant based diet even has an ability to reduce or reverse the risk of effects of these illnesses.
you ask why this information is not well known. He also explains why in the book. How lots of information we hear about is controlled by powerful government and lobbies and misguided by some scientists.

Dr Campbell is a well respected professional in the field. The study presented in this book is so compelling If you need legitimate scientific reasons to change the way you eat this is a must-read.

palm oil 2

I thought I will put an update on palm oil issue.
If you have thought that a little thing you do does not really count. read this
Over 23,000 Australians recently contacted global food and beverage giant, NestlĂ©, asking them to stop using palm oil linked to rainforest destruction. And Nestle has committed to identify and exclude companies from its supply chain that own or manage ‘high-risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation’. This exclusion would apply to companies such as Sinar Mas, Indonesia’s most notorious palm oil and pulp and paper supplier, if it fails to meet the criteria set out in the policy.
It also applies to NestlĂ©’s business with palm oil traders such as Cargill, which continues to buy from Sinar Mars.

Hope other companies will come to their senses as well.
In a meanwhile we will do something we can do. It all makes a difference.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

choco cake



My partner's birthday cake!
He did ask for a chocolate cake and that's what he got. I have to say my daughter was as excited as he was. (maybe even more)

The sponge cake
dry ingredients: wholemeal spelt flour, tensai sugar, baking soda, powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt
wet ingredients: grated zucchini, stewed apple, rice milk, sunflower oil, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar

chocolate frost: raw cocoa butter, raw cocoa powder, raw cashew, avocado, agave syrup, maple syrup, vanilla,

My daughter got to lick all the spoons and utensils after making the chocolate frost! and she didn't know about the avocado...(unfortunately she is not a big fan of the nutritious fruit)

The note on Tensai sugar... It is an unprocessed sugar that is derived form beet grew in Hokkaido. (north of Japan) The most of plants grown for sweeteners are grown in warm climate therefore it has a tendency to cool the body. Tensai sugar grown in colder region is not as cooling as other sweeteners. Also it has more nutritional content than white sugar and has a bit of lactobacillus as well.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The ethics of what we eat



Today I'd like to mention about this vital read. The ethics of what we eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason.
I have personally listened to Peter Singer talk at a sustainable festival one year and it is not an exaggeration to say that the day changed my lifestyle completely.
I have a deep respect for what he has done and continues to do for animals, environment and human rights.

This book is well researched and without being preachy it gives a very important message. Yes. what you decide to buy and eat does make a greater impact than you may imagine.

The issue "ethical eating" is raised following three families in America. One follows the Standard American Diet [SAD], which contains high levels of meat consumption and fast food. Their primary consideration is availability and cost. The second, although aware of more ethical option their purchase is influenced by the available time and convenience due to their busy lifestyle and family demand. The third, a "vegan" family has managed to shun all animal foods and seek out organically grown food whenever possible. Their greatest problem is acquiring foods that meet their standards and not being able to fit in to their "average" community.

It covers factory farming, labelling, seafood, local eating, fair trading, vegan and vegetarianism.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested to know more about where our food comes from and how we could help ethically.
Our food choice is a form of political action. why give money to those who are doing unethical things in the world?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

friends of the earth

I don't know why I haven't written about FOE before. I have been working there for a couple of years now. I cook there once a week. (mainly tuesdays)

The shop has food co-op, book shop and people work for campaigns etc upstairs.

The food co-op is an ethical trader that has been going in Melbourne for more than 30 years. It provides affordable, low packaged (bulk) food, fruit and vegetables, health and eco-cleaning products. The particular emphasis is to provide natural, organic produce that is grown and prepared locally - preferably by small companies and producers.
It has a cafe and serves lunch from 12pm till it runs out. We mainly use fresh organic produce to create mixed lunch plates from monday to saturday. The menu changes everyday, using the freshest seasonal ingredients. On sunday we have vegan pies and salad. Tempting cakes, muffins etc and fair trade coffee and teas are served all day.

The Bookshop provides a diverse range of information on environmental and social justice issues, as well as wide range of eco-friendly and fairly made products, including stationery, clothing, footwear and bags.

FOE is open
10am - 6pm Monday to Friday

10am - 4pm Saturday

11am - 4pm Sunday

By shopping there you will be helping not only FOE but the environment too. It is a great community shop.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

palm oil

Palm oil is something that I try to avoid all the time. It is pretty easy for me because I hardly buy any commercially processed food and when I do I buy organic or biodynamic products as much as possible.

why avoid palm oil?

Because today, the most common cause of deforestation and fragmentation in Indonesia and Malaysia is related to palm oil development. This is costing our environment and lives of creatures who live there.
In SE Asia alone, the equivalent of 300 football fields are deforested every hour for palm oil production and typically costs the lives of up to 50 Orang-utans each week.

Australians unknowingly consume on average 10 kilograms of palm oil each year because the manufactureres do not have to label the oil in theire ingredients.

We have a right to know if the products you buy contain palm oil. However without legislation change, palm oil will remain unlabelled and you just won't know if the food products you are buying are pushing orangutans to extinction.

there are a few organisation which are trying to stop this.
Please visit their websites and sign the petition.


http://www.zoo.org.au/PalmOil
http://www.orangutan.org.au/palmoil.html
http://www.palmoilaction.org.au


Meanwhile next time you go to a store to buy a product have a look at the ingredients. If it contains vegetable oil there is a good chance that contains palm oil.
If not it proberbly GM corn, soy or canola oil anyway.
avoid the products if you can.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

tonight's dinner-seitan cutlets


here is tonight's dinner.
I made seitan yesterday. I always made them myself with wheat flour but today I tried half wheat and half spelt. It did work!
Spelt flour does have gluten but a bit easier to digest than wheat gluten. I will try to make it again with 100% spelt next time to see if it works...
Seitan is not a great thing if you are intolerant to gluten but if you are not it is a great alternative to meat. the texture adds a satisfying depth to a meal and high in protein. you can purchase it at a health store etc but it is simple to make. (though takes a bit of time..)
the sauce is barley miso, kombu stock and rice syrup.

sprouted grain bread sticks

I often make my own sprouted essential bread. these bread are so nutritious as only sprouted grains and no flour is used.
Because the weather is getting colder I used oats and rye this time.
as much as I love these bread my daughter is not a big fan of it. so I decided to make a breadstick instead.

I added some wholemeal spelt flour to the sprouted grains which were mashed up in a food processor. mix with enough water to make a non-sticky dough. rest a little and bake till light brown and crispy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

omnivores dilemma by michael pollen 2



I have finished reading "omnivores dilemma".
No wonder it is one of the best selling books on the industrial food issues. The book is well written and contain lots of (scary) informations.
He mentions three options in the book.
1) look away
2)be a vegetarian/vegan
3)look and obtain yourself.
I can't look away and pretend that it is not happening. I don't think I can go and hunt my dinner. (though I do and will grow and gather) So my choice was quite obvious.

One of the very interesting topics that he talks about is a industrial organic businesses. Personally I always try to buy from small organic businesses. Though I have to admit without these industrial businesses the whole organic and sustainable industry would not have become as mainstream as it is today. Because if it is a choice between a conventional and organic/bio dynamic I will always choose latter option.

there will always be a tricky situation. conventional and local or organic and overseas? how about low quality organic products or high quality small conventional businesses?
Question I always ask myself is if I really need it. For example you want to make a lentil soup. You go to a shop and see there is a bag of organically grown lentil from china. do you really need that lentil? or can you replace that with australian organic chickpeas instead?
Do you need to have a banana that has traveled from Queensland or can you eat a local new-season crispy fuji apple? (I am in melbourne)

remember we have a choice...



Here is a picture of these beautiful fuji apples. it must be the best apple season this year
... sorry I couldn't help myself




Friday, May 14, 2010

nightshade vegetables

today I would like to talk a bit about nightshade vegetables. They are members of the solanaceae family and include tomato, potato, eggplant and peppers. Yes they are one of the most popular vegetables in the west!
They contain lots of good nutrients however also have toxins such as saponines, phenols, enzyme inhabitors and alkaloids.
Solanin, found mainly in green potatoes and in unripen tomatoes are found to have a toxic effect on digestive system, causing stomach aches, cramps and loose bowls. Combined with saponines they are found to have an ability to block activity of enzyme in nerve cells. If the activity is too strongly blocked the nervous system control of muscle movement can be disrupted.
Another main alkaloids found in nightshade vegetable is steroid alkaloid. The problem with this is the alkaloid involves damage to the joints caused by inflammation and altered mineral states. Some researches found that nightshade alkaloids can contribute to excessive loss of calcium from bone and excessive depositing of calcium in soft tissues.
For these reasons many individuals with joint problems and concern for their wellbeing avoid these foods.
If you suspect if your consumption of nightshade vegetables are contributing a health problem, try eliminating them for 2-3 weeks and see if it improves.
Even if you are not currantly experiencing any effects form these foods, it is a good idea to cut down on the amount and especially careful with potatoes.

Make sure you are not consuming any of the green spots and they had not been waxed. (waxing the potatoes can increase potato decay by cutting down on gas exchange in and out of the potato.)
Cooking the nightshade vegetables is a good idea, reducing the amount of the toxic alkaloids. (though only 40% or so)




Wednesday, May 12, 2010

chestnuts

Autumn is my favourite season. The leaves on the trees are turning colours and the air is fresher and crispier. And of course this is the season for chestnuts!
There are a few ways to prepare the little sweet delights. My usual way is to boil them whole and peel them when they are done. Just to make sure to peel straight after cooking otherwise it becomes harder to peel. you can also roast them in the oven.
I like them as simple snack, addition to my soups or with any grain. You can make a sweet tasting pate as well.
Even though they are called NUTS. they contain little fat and calories. the carbohydrate amount is quite high, having as much starch as potatoes.



Sunday, May 9, 2010

raw vegan food

Raw foods are increasing popularity. It is a diet based on fresh vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains and legumes and raw seeds and nuts.
Because the food is not cooked all the enzymes, vitamins and minerals are left. Especially by sprouting the grains and legumes you are increasing the nutritional content drastically and also making the grains more bioavailable.
And by not heating you are avoiding potential harmful effect of cooked food.
For example - heterocyclic amines (possible cancer causing by heating muscle tissues)
-advanced glycation end products (contributes to ageing and diabetes related
diseases
Lots of people decide to be on this diet for a short while for de-toxing.
It can be a great diet but also can be very unhealthy if not careful. (that of course is for any diet)
You have to make sure you chew the food very throughly to increase bioavailability of the food and also be careful with food-poisoning. More care is needed for children and pregnant, lactating women. Make sure you are getting sufficiant calories.
experimanting with Superfoods (such as maca powder, spirulina, bee-pollen etc.)can be a good addition to the diet as well


mother's day



today is mother's day.
I think my daughter was more excited than I was.
When I came back from my morning walk she had left a big sign that said "happy mum's day" and was hiding in the bed to surprise me.
She made me beautiful presents too.
I got myself an aromatherapy vaporiser and some essential oils too. The aromatherapy is one of the things I'd like to get a habit of using more this year.