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Friday, 26 October 2012

Expanding a Pro-Life Philosophy To The Rest of My Life: Foodie Tips :)

Hi Everyone!!! I know I have been gone for a really long time, and I am SO sorry for abandoning you! However, I am happy to say that I am back! *Woot!* Though I probably won't be blogging that often this year - its been a very busy time in terms of school. Lots of exciting things are happening with my sciencey stuff, and they require a lot of concentration, time, and effort. I will do my best to blog at least once a week though, and keep up with my ____ of the Week series! :)

One thing that I have been meaning to discuss for awhile is living out a pro-life philosophy. In my view, this doesn't just involve advocating against abortion and euthanasia (though obviously those are big ticket items!). It also involves taking care of ourselves, each other, and our environment. That can include being welcoming and kind to whoever you meet, encouraging young mothers, and advocating for the oppressed both in our society and throughout the world. However, I also believe that a pro-life philosophy can also permeate the more personal aspects of our lives. And I'm not just talking about NFP (the only natural way to family plan!!! WOOT).  I'm talking about making changes in your life that support the oppressed, that foster healthy environments, and that avoid as much as possible pumping out toxins into our precious planet. One way that I've tried to accomplish this is by slowly switching myself over towards a veggie-based, local, organic diet and I thought I'd share some stuff which has worked well for me :)

 (1) Find a natural foods store and shop there!

Seriously, shopping at natural foods grocery store has been the single most important catalyst for change (the other is my health-obsessed boyfriend). Most foods at these places are labelled, and they also tend to carry seasonal, local products. Its easy to tell what is organic and what isn't, and if you're lucky, the grocery store will also sell some awesome organic, all-natural soaps and beauty products!

(2) Cook every night. Find a good cookbook and some cooking blogs to inspire you!

Good food is satisfying and makes use of a wide variety of ingredients. Find a cookbook (with lots of pictures, and lots of instructions!) that includes a variety of recipes, and you will never get sick of the food you make!

My current favourite cookbook is called "ReFresh", and it is based off of the menu of an amazing Toronto-based vegetarian and vegan restaurant called "Fresh". Seriously, this cookbook has been a life-saver. I am not a vegetarian, so I do add some meat to the dishes occasionally, but it really isn't necessary in order to feel satisfied. I also have to mention their delicious shakes (especially their espresso ones!) and desserts. If you want a cookbook to help you start on your journey towards eating more natural foods, this is definitely a great place to start.

Of course, why turn to cookbooks when there are so many people on the internet willing to share their secrets for free? Some of my favourite foodie blogs include:

a) 101 Cookbooks: A Recipe Journal by Heidi
I think the main reason why I love this blog is the pictures. Heidi is an amazing photographer and everything always looks so delicious. She organizes her recipes not only by the traditional "Appetizer", "Main Course", (etc..) headings, but also divides them by vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, high-protein and whole grain recipes for those with dietary restrictions or health needs. She also has some great articles with awesome tips for anyone trying to get away from highly-processed foods. You should definitely look at "Build a Natural Foods Pantry" before exploring any of her recipes.  

Green Olive Gnocchi

b) Fettle Vegan by Amber
The main thing I love about this site is the desserts. I never knew junk food could be so healthy but so AMAZING at the same time. I've tried a few of her recipes and I can't recommend them enough. Especially her Almond Butter Cups. Yummn. I'm sure the other food is great too, but her desserts look so mouth-watering that I haven't yet had a chance to make something that didn't include honey or chocolate.

Almond Butter Cups

c) The Kitchn
A daughter site to the popular Apartment Therapy blog, the Kitchn is a great place to browse for new recipes. They provide their own, but also include  posts from all over the internet, and a lot of my favourite foodie blogs have been found through them. If you want to waste a lot of time, get a tonne of amazing kitchen tips, and make yourself really hungry, go there!

Egg Noodles with Rich Curry Chicken Sauce

(3) Grow your own food!!

If you're like me, and are a young adult, you likely do not have access to a lawn. However, growing food indoors is not that difficult, and can be a tonne of fun! I am lucky in that my grandparents immegrated here, and in the "Old Country" they were farmers. So eating food "from the garden" has always been a part of my lifestyle. But if you are nervous about starting your own, there is a wealth of instructions all over the internet, including some great video tutorials on youtube. Pick a plant you want to grow, and search for it on Google! You'll become an expert in no time :)

Happiness is an Indoor Herb Garden, by Centsational Girl

The best part? Depending on what you grow, your apartment can smell absolutely delicious all the time. I attempted this last year, and so far have only succeeded in growing a few herbs. But herbs are extremely useful to grow, and a great way to start out if you don't have much experience with plants (like me). A lot of herbs, like basil and oregano, are hardy and just need water and sun. The best part is, buying herbs from the grocery store can be really expensive, and if you buy fresh you end up having to dry most of them out anyway. If you grow them yourself, you have constant, year-round access to (essentially) free, fresh herbs!

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