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!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

 Spooky gloves that I get to wear all night long
Gummy eyes make excellent distractions during lecture
 An asparagus, complete with a pat of butter
A tornado, with tiny farm animals dangling everywhere

The best thing about Halloween, other than the fantastic costumes and scary movies, has to be the treats. Don't think I was left out, just because I'm raw-I managed to whip up the most amazing raw cheesecake. No tricks here, this one is all treat.  Please note you need to soak your cashews for 3 hours prior and the recipe below makes a 4" pie, so triple the recipe if you want to make a 9".

Raw Boo-berry Cheesecake
Crust ingredients:
1/2 cups raw pecans
3 medjool dates
1 tbsp dried, unsweetened coconut
sprinkle of Himalayan salt
Cheesecake filling ingredients:
1 cup cashews (soaked for 3 hours in filtered water)
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
Fruit topping ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 medjool dates
How to make this raw cheesecake recipe…
1. Throw the pecans and dates into your food processor. (Don’t add the coconut!!) Process nuts and dates until well processed but still airy.
2. Next, get our your springform cheesecake pan and sprinkle the coconut on the bottom as your very first layer. This makes it easier to remove the cheesecake as the coconut stops the crust from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then press the pecans and dates down into the pan to form the crust.
3. Throw all cheesecake filling ingredients into your high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour it over the crust and smooth it out.
4. Place the above in freezer for an hour or so (so that it will firm up).
5. Meanwhile, throw your blueberries and dates in your high-speed blender. Blend until nice and smooth. Pour this mixture on top of the crust/cheesecake, which was just in the freezer for about an hour. Put back in the freezer for another hour.
6. Defrost this raw cheesecake recipe on the counter for about 30 minutes before digging in. Enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

This Just In: Gratefulness Not Dead

I recently read an article in Tonic magazine that addressed the concept of gratefulness.  The article outlined that with everything being so readily available in our electronic world, gratitude is a less likely practice.
"When we feel that we could possibly have anything we want without having to wait, then what is important about being grateful?"
Apparently there are some nice health benefits associated with gratefulness, like overall improved health and well-being, lowered blood pressure, reduced stress/anxiety and better sleep quality.  I'm not sure about you, but I notice that the people who look at life with a thankful attitude are often the most happy and successful people I know.

So how do we invite gratitude in our daily lives and see these health benefits? The author of the article, Sonia Byrne, said it is as easy as simply listing 3 things from the day that you are grateful for while you are in bed getting ready to sleep for the night.  It turns out that ending the day in gratitude is the ideal way to help gratitude seep into your unconscious mind.

Now, some days finding 3 things will be a breeze and some days it may take a bit of searching but as long as you cultivate awareness of what you can be grateful for, you will automatically seek it out in your daily lives :)

Have a wonderful, grateful day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: Hidden Messages in Water

Book: Hidden Messages in Water, by Masaru Emoto

Having studied and read numerous books and poems, I always have an enormous appreciation for the poetry of Japanese expression.  Not only are their poems (the haiku) beautiful, simplistic yet profound but their prose is also luxuriously poetic.

Recently, as I alluded to in a previous post, I had the pleasure of reading a book called Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto.  Not only did I enjoy the way in which Mr. Emoto wrote (think poetic prose that paints a picture of serenity in your mind) but his experiments with water crystal formation were truly fascinating.  In his book, he includes many pictures of these crystals and I was often showing them to my friends.  We were amazed to find that we all elicited a similar emotional response from the same picture, even if viewed at different times (ie. not standing near one another).  Read his quote below and look at his photos; chances are you'll rush out to grab the book, too!
"The days of believing only that which can be seen by the naked eye have passed, and we are now starting to open our eyes to the importance of the soul"

His work was also featured in the film "What the Bleep Do We Know" directed by William Arntz

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lovely things....

I'm not a photographer.  All of the photos for this blog are taken with my iphone and minimal staging.  So how surprised am I when some photos tumble out that are magazine worthy? A very lovely thing, indeed: 

Both pictures taken at the Allan Gardens Conservatory

 Taken in Yaletown, Vancouver

Taken in the Musee de Beaux-Arts, Montreal 

Have a wonder-filled day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet Smell of Victory: How to Make Natural Deodorants Work for You!

For this post, I'm going to address an incredibly important topic that is both fascinating and yet seldom talked about: Natural Body Deodorant.

I bring this up because, at least for me, there was a period of time where I was frustrated with my various natural deodorants because I felt them to be less effective than my previous product (Dove Solid Antiperspirant) BUT I was also unwilling to further risk my health with the possibly carcinogenic ingredients in antiperspirants by continuing to use them.

Yep, I was in a bit of a stink (pardon the pun), but luckily I learnt a few tricks to make Natural Body Deodorants work for me (and hopefully, you too!):

1. Buy high quality products that contain essential oils.  Most essential oils have powerful (yet gentle) antimicrobial properties and if there are no bacteria on your skin, there are no offensive odours to go along with them.  Below are some photos of the products I use and some information on where to find them.

2. Buy a few different types and alternate them every other day.  I'm not sure why but your body may "get used" to one type, making it somehow less effective but if you're constantly changing things up this doesn't seem to happen.  Also, it's fun to add a bit of spice to your life :)

3. Eat a cleaner diet to have a positive effect on your overall body odour.  A cleaner burning fuel means less waste products, right?

These deodorants are from a wonderful company in Vancouver called Saje.  The scent I love is called Exotic and it is offered in both a body powder and an essential oil mist.  Although they have stores out west, they do not yet have a shop in Toronto but all their products can be ordered online and shipped out!  www.saje.ca

I found the Weleda brand in Kensington Market, after reading a glowing magazine review and have been in love ever since!  My favorite scent is the Sage, but I alternate (as per rule #2) with the Citrus scent. You can find this at any local health food store. 

Have a wonderful (smelling) day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Diwali: The Festival of Lights

Living in Toronto is amazing.  I have constantly been told that it is the most diverse city in the world, with little areas that are dedicated to a particular culture and country.  For example, I live in Little Italy which is surrounded by Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Portugal and Little Poland.

This past Friday was the India celebration of Diwali, also known as The Festival of Lights.  It is a celebration of epic proportions (the Indians I know tell me it's like their Christmas!) and everyone is dressed up in the most beautiful saris and kurtas!

My friend J was invited to a Diwali party and I got to help her wrap her sari.  We watched this fantastic youtube video that shows you how to do it:

Speaking of diversity, this year The 2011 Gathering is being hosted in Toronto (at CCNM!) because the theme fit the city so perfectly: "Diversity of the Vis".  If you are a student of Naturopathic Medicine or Philosophy, you need to check out this site and register for this conference! I'm already so excited for this incredible event where elders and students meet to share their knowledge and passion for Naturopathic principles and philosophies!

Have a wonderful day!

Midnight Snack: Gluten-Free Peanut Buttah Cookies

Now that exams are done, I have a lot more freedom with my time.  At 10 pm last night, I decided to bake some Peanut Butter Cookies for M--the only problem was this was the first batch of gluten-free cookies I have ever baked and I was worried about how they would turn out.  Good news: they were stellar and M liked them even better than their gluten-laden counterparts (and even C gave them the thumbs up)! Here is the recipe (Adapted from the cookbook "Get It Ripe" by Jae Steele):

2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Xantham Gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup organic, non-hydrogenated, smooth peanut butter
1 cup Canadian pure maple syrup
1/3 cup sunflower oil (or coconut oil)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together dry ingredients and blend with a spoon.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix until smooth and incorporated.  Drop tablespoon-fuls of dough onto an un-greased baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork, leaving 2 inches beween each cookie.  Bake for 13 minutes exactly and enjoy warm or cool.

This past Friday, I also had another treat: Me and J visited Vegetarian Haven and had a wonderful time! The staff was hilarious and so friendly and the food was exceptional.  They have plenty of gluten-free options and they are incredibly good about substitutions  (ex. no nightshades? no problem!).  Check out the pics:

My meal!
J's meal, with mine in the background

Vegetarian Haven
17 Baldwin Street
Toronto, ON

P: 416 621-3636

Friday, October 21, 2011

Foraging for fresh herbs...

If you've read my blog over the past 3 months, you may have noticed that I love to walk around the city of Toronto.  You may not have noticed, however, that I also love to harvest fresh herbs from the various places I walk to.  At the beginning of the summer, it was only fresh mint from a wild patch near the lakefront but lately I have been more adventurous with my foraging (thanks to the Botanical Medicine walk with Dr. G) and I have since begun to pick a few more things....

Fresh sage! Smells lovely and can be eaten fresh or hanged to dry and burnt to 'cleanse' the house.

Garlic Mustard! Has a nice kick to it, like mustard greens, and grows in abundance in the Ravine (and apparently all over Toronto!)

Mmmmmm fresh, free and oh-so-tasty! Go get them while you still can.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spicing Things Up...

After making the Cucumber Basil Lime Juice the other day and tasting how refreshing adding some herbs to fresh juice could be, I decided to see if spices would work just as well.

The difference between an herb and a spice is that basically an herb is the part of the plant that is above ground (like the leaves) and a spice is made from the more hearty parts of the plant (roots, bark, seeds).  Spices also have a much more concentrated flavour, so you need a lot less of them to get that punch.  I learnt this recipe from Natalia Rose, a famous holistic nutritionist from NYC and it has been a real hit in my morning repertoire!

Pumpkin Pie In a Glass

1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 ounces of freshly squeezed carrot juice (I usually use 2 kg of organic carrots for this)

Put your spices in the bottom of a glass and mix them together.  Juice your carrots directly into the glass, stirring the mixture as you go until the glass is full of orange goodness.  Enjoy immediately. 

This juice packs a ton of beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in your body and helps support your skin.  Since your skin is your first line of defence against pathogens, adding this delicious juice to your diet will keep you healthy (and gorgeous) this winter!

Happy Autumn!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What are you listening to?

"Jas, I'm addicted to music these days.  I mean, I don't even want to go to sleep at night because I want to hear just one more song."
My fantastic colleague, F, enthusiastically relayed the above quote to me as we were simultaneously eating and studying in the Cafeteria.  Music has been a favorite form of human expression for many generations and certain types of music have been proven to have a deeper effect on a person's brain wave activities (Didn't your English professor ever tell you to listen to Bach while you studied?).  Considering we're right in the middle of midterms, I'm not surprised that music seemed to have such an uplifting effect on F and escaping to your own personal symphony every so often can be a great way to diffuse stress.

If you're in the mood for some highly diverse and amazing styles of free music, you can check out the following sites:

www.stereomood.com (music to suit your mood!)
www.thesixtyone.com (music by independent artists that is constantly being updating!)

As for me? I'm a little more hands-on and I was fortunate enough to have an amazing colleague, M, who lent me her violin to play away my pre-exam jitters.  After 30 minutes of Mozart, I'm feeling quite a bit better and up for another round of studying!

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Things I Love

Still studying for midterms, so this post will be short.

When I visited Montreal, I bought this locally made, raw chocolate.  I loved it because it was so beautifully packaged and was pleased to see that actual chocolate was gorgeous as well:

It was almost too beautiful to eat.  Almost.  Yum.

Earlier today, a very talented TCM doctor showed me some baby things that she knit herself.  They are absolutely adorable:

I honestly think she should sell them on etsy.com.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How 'bout them apples?

It's apple season in Ontario!

M's parents are so sweet; they are always bringing up fresh produce from the fruit belt when they come to visit.  This time they brought 2 different apple varieties: one of which is Cortland (the other has slipped my mind).

I was amazed at how wonderful they smell when they are fresh; the entire kitchen was swimming in this sweet, crisp smell of apples when I got home.  I was also very appreciative that these apples did not have that wax coating that you tend to find in the store-bought varieties, even if you buy organic.

I haven't really had time to make anything fancy out of them and have just been eating them plain or adding them to my favorite juice combo; carrot-ginger-apple.  For all you people who may be coming down with a bug, the kick of fresh ginger in your juices can help you warm up and expel any of the congestion your body may have.

Still studying for Midterms, but took a quick break to find this cute lil guy in the pet store for some puppy therapy:
Have a great day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Being a Carrot is Rough

Studying for midterms, so I may be posting less frequently for the next few weeks.

Found this video from one of my favorite youtube channels (ironically, as I was drinking carrot juice this morning)


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Problem with Pink-washing

Did you know that the pink ribbon campaigns for breast cancer are actually a for-profit industry?

Not a lot of people do.  I found an amazing article about this that you can read here.

This leads to the bigger question: if a 'cure' for cancer will put you out of a job, would it be in your best interest to push for one?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Last Meal

Ever play that game where you decide what your last meal would be?  I was never very good at it, but it turns out that's because I had never been to The George.  I went for a birthday celebration of a close friend last night, and it was the best meal I've had to date.  

The Birthday boy, P, has exquisite taste in both food and drink, so when he expertly suggested the 7 course taster dinner we knew we were all in for a treat (The George's chefs are also exceptional at preparing vegan cuisine).  P is an excellent story teller, so the evening was filled with so much laughter and amusement that even the maitre d' got in on the fun.  As a result, I missed a few courses but please enjoy my pictures from last night:
The amuse-bouche (highlight: the grilled heirloom tomato)

First course

 Second course (hightlight: the wasabi quinoa)
 Third course (highlight: brussel sprouts)
 Fourth Course (highlight: the skewered artichoke)
 Finale (highlight: the mission figs)
 A nice touch from the staff

My first fine dining, 100% vegan experience was a definite winner.  As you can see from the above, the chef put an emphasis on fresh and local food, opting for heirloom options (tomatoes!) and fresh herbs to add the flavours in place of heavy sauces.  Figs are always a palate pleaser for me, but my favorite taste of the evening? The wasabi quinoa was a total winner!


George Restaurant
111C Queen Street East
(416) 863-6006
*Reservation required*

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dancing is good for your health

As it turns out, dancing is great for your health.  Dancing, while wearing styles from the various decades is even better.  Watch this short film and get inspired to move!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nuit Blanche Exhibit

Yesterday was Nuit Blanche in Toronto.  Nuit Blanche is an incredible event where the entire city becomes an outdoor gallery from 7 pm to about 4 am.  Various artists are stationed in and around downtown and display performances, audiovisual art, or sculpture and literally everyone in Toronto walks around to see them all.

Although I really enjoyed it last year, this year I opted to stay in and hang curtains with M.  M joked that we might be mistaken for an installation piece by art watchers and that we would look up from our work to see a small crowd gathered outside the condo, trying to decipher the meaning of the piece.

The curtains were quite a lot of work (we ended up hanging 10 of them!), but they look phenomenal.  I thought I'd multitask and bake an acorn squash for dinner so that by the time we were done, the whole condo smelt  deliciously of autumn and it was the perfect accompaniment to my "Curtain Hanging Salad" (recipe follows).  The salad is topped with Terra Stix, which give it a nice crunchy element.  I got this idea while perusing Pusateri Market for inspiration.

Curtain-Hanging Salad
1 head romain lettuce, chopped
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 pear, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tbsp dulse flakes
1 tbsp raw, shelled sunflower seeds
2 tbsp Terra Stix

Combine together and toss with Dijon Mustard Dressing (recipe follows)

Dijon Mustard Dressing
1 part apple cider vinegar (raw, unpasterized)
4 parts oil (Udo's or evoo)
Dijon mustard, to taste

Put all ingredients in a small glass jar and seal with a lid. Shake vigorously and pour over salad. Serve immediately.
The Olive Oil Selection at Pusateri's