Thank you for visiting! Walking the Walk is meant to be a source to assist you in your quest for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Through my own lifestyle, I hope to give you creative ideas that make adopting a healthier, more holistic lifestyle as enjoyable and easy for you as possible!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Liquid Gold (Aka Homemade Almond Mylk)

After visiting this amazing  raw cafe on the east side called Mylk Uncookies, and tasting their amazing, made-fresh daily almond mylk (pictured at left), I became inspired to make a batch of my own!

Usually, due to time contraints, I purchase my almond mylk in the box which means it is not raw, as it has been pasteurized.  When you make your own almond mylk, it is fresher, tastier and still contains all the living enzymes and nutrients that are destroyed by heating.

So, how do you make your own almond mylk? You take 1 cup of raw, organic almonds and soak them overnight.  In the morning,  drain and rinse the almonds and put them in a blender with 3 cups of filtered water.  Blend the almond mixture for 5 or 7 minutes (depending on the power of your blender) until the almonds become like a meal.  Pour the mixture through a large piece of cheese cloth over a glass pitcher so that the almond pulp is contained in the cheese cloth and your almond mylk is in the glass pitcher.  I like it like this, but some people choose to add pureed dates and some vanilla extract to sweeten it up. The mylk will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

I know it's so simple to make, but I'm so incredibly proud of my first batch that I have to show you a picture:

It was so light and fresh! I enjoyed it in my smoothies, with my cold-infused tea and by itself!  I even found a way to use up all that leftover almond pulp by making these amazing cookies by Mimi Kirsh:

Here is a picture of them "baking" away in the dehydrator, as well as what they looked like as a finished product:
Yum! Blogging is so much more fun to do while enjoying fresh almond milk and cookies! 

How to Successfully Be A Raw Food Student

I'm not 100% raw, but I have been moving towards a predominately raw food diet over the past year.  This year will be the first that I will be mostly raw while studying Naturopathic Medicine as a full time student.

One thing I've learnt over the years is that preparation is the key to success and so I've been busy making preparations for the upcoming school year that will help me to be successful throughout the whole year.

I began with spending a little money: I found a great deal from Cruda Cafe in which they offer prepared raw food for 15 days that you can pick up from their restaurant.  It includes a smoothie, 2 raw meals and a raw dessert for only $10 a day! I thought this would be great to use during my final exams because I anticipate that I will be too busy studying and stressing out to really appreciate making my own food.  In other words? This will be a life saver!

Next, I shopped around for some prepared raw food that I could keep around as an emergency stash.  Here are some of my findings, all locally made by raw Torontonians! We have Mediterranean flavoured flax crackers (Make It Raw), banana coconut wafers (Nud) and a 100% raw chocolate bar (Giddy Yoyo).

Next, I began to freeze fresh fruit so that I could have ample fruits on hand to prepare my morning smoothies.  I bought a crate of mangos for an incredible price that I cubed and froze.  Another favorite trick of mine is to buy very ripe bananas for $0.39/lb, break them into bite-sized pieces, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them.  I use them to make banana ice cream as well as in smoothies and desserts :)  I also juice tons of lemons and freeze them in ice cube trays for when I need some freshly squeezed lemon juice in a pinch.

I also decided to dehydrate some snacks, as dehydrating foods helps them to have a longer shelf life without any added preservatives.  I made cookies, seasoned almonds and cashews and tried my hand at some crackers (not to worry, all will be featured in future posts!).  I'm fairly new at using a dehydrator, so I'm still experimenting with some recipes.

Hopefully these little tricks can help all of you aspiring raw foodies in saving time and encourage you to keep being rawesome.  Have a fantastic day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jas'd Up Rawnola

I love making smoothies because they are so forgiving; you can throw basically anything into them and they will still turn out great.

I teach a Living Food Dessert Course, so I had left over raw cashew coconut tart crust in the fridge so M threw it into a smoothie for me and guess what? It was delicious!

In this same spirit, I decided to apply this nonchalant attitude to my breakfast Rawnola (cute, right?). I added a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Here is how it turned out:

The verdict? Super quick to prepare and a great alternative to smoothies in the morning. Why I didn't think of this sooner, I'll never know. Also cheaper and more healthful than store bought breakfast cereal!

Jas'd Up Rawnola

*handful of raw walnuts, crushed
*tsp of gogi berries
*2 tbsp shredded coconut
*2 tbsp dried cranberries
*2 tbsp other dried fruit (raisins, apricots etc)
*1 tbsp dehydrated, sprouted quinoa
*1 tbsp shelled hemp hearts
*1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and cover with almond mylk. Try it alone or with sliced bananas and a drizzle of maple or agave syrup. Yum!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Need of Nature

Most of the people I know underestimate the importance of their relationship with nature. There have been studies that indicate that when people are in nature, their stress response is instantly lowered. One particular study looked at the benefit of running in a wooded area versus simply running on a treadmill. Not surprisingly, subjects that ran outdoors derived more overall benefit from their running program than those that did theirs in a concrete gym.

When I was growing up, I was incredibly fortunate to have my house back onto a provincial park and I would spend most of my time walking in the valley, surrounded by nature. Here are some photos of Fish Creek Provincial Park:

I admit that since moving to Toronto, I'm often starved for wilderness. Walking around the city is fun, but I need some grass and trees every so often to keep me in a good mood.

That is why, this past Friday, I banished myself to the Toronto Island for some much needed nature. For only $6.50, I could regain my sanity by being immersed in nature without actually leaving the city of Toronto. $6.50 is the cost of the ferry ride and although you have 3 islands to choose from, I have found that Hanlan's Point is the most beautiful and rugged. I abandoned my mobile phone and packed a huge blanket, a good book, some fresh fruit and water and spent the whole day walking along the beach, dancing in the grass and dozing in the shade of the enormous maple trees.

Here are some photos of the trip:

The best part? I came back home completely rejuvenated and have been in the best mood since!

Do yourself a favour and get out there and rekindle your relationship with nature. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Say NO to GMO!

When people would ask me what the problem is with Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs), I could never really give them a great explanation. They would argue that the heartiness of the crops meant that they would yield more food and so decrease the possibility of starvation. How could I explain that although we get our caloric needs from GMO foods, all their selective breeding has made them seriously lacking in nutrients and thus leading to the current phenomenon of our society being overfed but undernourished?

Luckily, I found a great article about this trend that you can read by clicking here.

This article explains how taste and nutrient density were both compromised in the scientists' quest to make higher crop yields so that you really do have to eat more of today's bland foods in order to get the same vitamin and mineral amounts that a smaller serving of your grandparents' tasty food supply would yield. The way I see it, everyone loses with GMO foods.

Stop the GMO movement by voting with your dollars and try to purchase only organic and heirloom fruits and vegetables. If big companies won't respond to your desire for health, they will respond to the lack of funds.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In a pinch...

Went to a 75 minute hot yoga class this morning and since you aren't supposed to eat 2 to 3 hours before, I was starving when I finally got home.

Since the weather today was perfect for being outdoors, I wanted to whip up something quick yet satisfying so that I could spend more time experiencing the sights and sounds of the city in summertime.

Luckily, in anticipation of my busy Sunday, last night I prepared some carob flavoured chia seed pudding (recipe below). This ended up being an ingenious move as it added an amazing layer to my RAW PARFAIT pictured here:

IT'S GREEN! Now, before you think I'm some green loving hippie who drinks wheatgrass juice by the gallon, realize that the green layer tasted exactly like bananas! I pureed frozen bananas with spinach because:
1) I wanted to add some green to my meal, since we all know the benefits of raw greens :)
2) My spinach was on the way out anyway, so to make less waste I figured I'd puree it!

Add to that a chopped up mango and a plum and what do you get? An amazingly quick and tasty raw breakfast/brunch option that an ND in training can be proud of!

While out today, I found a treat at M's favorite Thai place called Thai Basil, located on Bloor Street. I haven't had one of these since I was actually in Thailand more than 7 year ago! Completely refreshing and I'm sure it replenished some much needed electrolytes that were lost in this morning's yoga session.

Carob Flavoured Chia Seed Pudding

1 part chia seeds (1/2 cup)
3 parts almond milk (3/4 cup)
approx. 1 tbsp carob powder (to taste)
approx. 1 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)

Whisk all of the above together in a container and put in the fridge overnight. In the morning, stir ingredients again and layer it over fresh fruit and banana puree to make an amazing parfait, or eat it as is with fresh berries and sliced fruit. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Signs and the City

While walking around the beautiful city of Toronto (which I do a lot during the summer), I am certain to keep my eyes open for quirky, clever signage and am never disappointed.

Here are some pictures of what I found this past week:

Summer Soup

Made some raw soup from Juliano's Raw: The Uncook Book called Extra Avo Soup and was incredibly pleased with the result! I garnished it with shelled hemp seeds and fresh Roma tomato slices (the tomato had just been picked from M's parent's garden!)

I've been experimenting with raw soups lately because I love things that are fast to make and smooth to taste. I also enjoy the melodious whirl of the blender....

Shiny, Pretty Things

This Friday, I witnessed a vision become a reality.

I fell in love with a picture of a ring online and sought out a Toronto goldsmith to create it for me. I found Suzanne Crudden of Form + Flux, who is quite literally my jewelry fairy (read: possessing ample talent and the ability to make all your jewelry dreams come true!)

I showed Suzanne the picture and she made a wax mould so we could envision it in 3D. After tweaking the design and sizing my finger, I anxiously waited until 3 days later an email arrived in my inbox saying the ring was ready.

This is how my ring turned out. I fell in love instantly.

Another view:

While at the shop, which is an independent jewelry store featuring all local Toronto artists, M and I noticed this sign on the window:

This is a really cool movement going on amongst Toronto shop owners that are environmentally conscious; this sticker on their door lets people know that they can come in and fill their water bottles for free at their shops! I'm not sure about anyone else, but I've been out and about the city far too often and had to either buy bottled water or die of thirst because I had nowhere to refill my water bottle. Lets face it, having to pay for a plastic bottle of water that has been stored for years and whose source is questionable isn't really that great of an option for health minded people. I'd rather fill up my reusable Voss bottle with good ol' tap water until I get home, thank you very much!

If you're a shop owner and you'd like to add this sticker to your door, the website is www.bluew.org

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wake up, brush your teeth, run a 5 k.

I am incredibly fortunate to live near the University of Toronto campus. With its ample green space and stately architecture, a tour around the grounds can be a calming and nurturing activity.

That is why I have decided to spend every weekday morning running around it. During school, J and I were very good at waking up early each morning and running for an hour. I found that the exercise really boosted my mood and had me sleeping like a baby every night. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and helps the body expel toxins at a faster rate.

I have made myself a personal goal of running 5 k every morning before work/school until the weather gets too cool to do so. This could be in late November, judging from the last year in Toronto. Another pleasant observation; I seem to have more stamina during exercise ever since I increased the amount of raw food in my diet! Athletes, take note.

Happy running!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Documentary Review: Choosing to Die (2011)

All Healthcare professionals are required to take a bioethics course that is designed to give doctors and nurses an objective view of certain controversial topics. Doctors in the present day are more likely to act in the patient's interest than to act paternalistically, which means that all doctors should have a vast knowledge of both sides of a procedure in order to serve their patients most optimally.

One such controversial subject is euthanasia. An excellent documentary I found was Terry Pratchett's Choosing To Die, in which the director, Pratchett, follows 3 people in their dealings with terminal illness. The film is incredibly moving, but may be very uncomfortable for some to view. Although not all 3 of Pratchett's subjects agreed with the appropriateness of euthanasia in their own lives, they all seemed to agree that everyone should have the right to die with dignity. You can watch the entire film below.

***Warning: Not all may find this film easy to view***

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thai for Dinner!

M made me this amazing dinner tonight that was inspired by the green mango salads that most Thai restaurants serve. It's surrounded by 4 slices of toasted olive foccacia drizzled in olive oil (not raw).

It was missing something, so we garnished it with hulled hemp seeds and voila! Perfection!
The verdict? It was absolutely incredible; the freshness of the ingredients with the sweetness of the mango and marinade were perfectly balanced and the perfect summer supper.

Thank you, M!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What's for lunch today?

Today is a full day. I need yummy food that can be prepared in a hurry, but I'm not feeling like a sweet smoothie and want something savoury and satisfying. Here's what I came up with:
YUMMY! The middle is a fresh green pepper from M's parent's garden that has been stuffed with my Seed Pate that I always keep ready made and on hand in the fridge (recipe follows). Surrounding the pepper masterpiece are Cucumber Bites, a favorite go-to of mine when I'm strapped for time (recipe follows). For my afternoon snack, I plan on enjoying the local seasonal fruits: peaches, golden plums and cherries! All were procured during a recent trip to the Niagara Falls area in which I scoured a few Farmer's Markets.

Fast doesn't have to mean unhealthy!

As promised, the recipes!

Seed Pate

1/2 cup sunflower seeds (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked overnight)
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (this is not raw)
5 sun dried tomatoes
1/2 clove garlic
1 tsp dulse flakes

You have to soak the raw seeds overnight to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors that prevent proper digestion. Blend in blender until smooth and spreadable. You will most likely have to scrape down the sides with a spatula in order to get all of it blended together. Spread inside a halved green bell pepper and enjoy!

Cucumber Bites

1 cucumber
1 to 2 avocados, cubed
1 to 2 tsp dulse flakes

Slice cucumber into discs (I removed the skin today, but you can also leave it on if the cucumber is organic). Place 1 to 2 cubes of avocado on top of the cucumber discs and sprinkle with the dulse flakes. I like to put a lot of dulse flakes on, but you may find you prefer less. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Banana Split Smoothie

Do not be fooled by the photo: what would appear to be a mere homemade chocolate milkshake is, in fact, the most delicious Banana Split Smoothie which happens to be both 100% Raw and 100% Dairy-free!

Having just visited the Ryerson University Farmers Market (open every Tuesday from 4:30PM to 7:30 PM) and purchased an enormous jar of raw, un-pasteurized 100% Canadian honey, I was feeling a bit decadent and wanted to create a sweet treat that was still healthy and good for me.

So, I took advantage of strawberry season (I brought home a pint of strawberries from the Niagara region that tasted absolutely phenomenal!) and the fact that I have 5 bags of frozen bananas in my freezer and put together this smoothie to satiate my hankering.

The verdict? Easy, delicious and a new favorite!

Banana Split Smoothie

1 frozen banana, broken into pieces
6 ripe, organic strawberries
1 cup almond mylk (you can use store bought almond mylk, but it will not be raw as they are required to pasteurize all processed liquids sold in Canada)
1 tbsp raw cacao powder (I used the brand Navitas Naturals)
2 tsp raw un-pasteurized honey (The brand I buy from the farmer's market is called Leitch's Honey)
1 tbsp hemp protein powder (optional)

Place bananas in Magic Bullet cup and allow to sit for 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and use the flat blade to blend them until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Find a sunny place to sit while you sip your smoothie and are transported back to the days when you would visit the ice cream shop as a child.

If you live in the Toronto area and would like to try Leitch's Honey, their information is as follows:
39 South Park Dr.
Orangeville, ON
L9W 1R7