Humans are truly miraculous beings, composed of complex and intricate structures that allow us to live and walk this earth each and everyday. Our bodies need to be nourished and cultivated from the day we are born till the day that we die. What you put into your body can dictate the life you live. Your health, mood, energy, weight, and longevity can all be influenced by your diet.
Food is what my world revolves around. Understanding how different foods affect your body has always been a passion of mine. The possibilities are literally infinite on the dishes you can prepare and what you can use to prepare them. We are truly blessed with the bounty the earth provides us, it is pure and natural in it's unrefined state. What the earth provides is what we as humans are designed to eat to sustain us, to help us thrive. The evolution of humans has taken a toll on the earth. As our race evolves and expands our delicate balance is slowly being disrupted. We can no longer deny the effects of climate change. How we grow and produce our food has taken a toll on our environment and our bodies. Mine intrigue in the relationship between food and the environment has only grown as I get older. I feel more how things affect my body, my longevity and the future of our race.
Choosing to live a plant-based diet is something I have often considered. I was a vegetarian for 3 years and a vegan for four months. A plant-based diet is comprised mainly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. Wikipedia (2018) retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org. This diet eliminates the consumption of meat and any product derieved from an animal. Evidence has shown that a plant-based diet has extensive health benefits.
- Aids in combating chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Low Blood Pressure and Cancer
- Lowers Cholestorol
- Increased Energy, Clear Skin and Better Vision
- Brain Function
- Gut Health and Weight-loss
Plants are nutrient rich and vitamin dense and are essential for our diet. A plant-based diet is high in potassium and vitamin B6 which have been determined to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. McClees H. (2014, September 16) 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Living a Plant-Based Diet, retrieved from onegreenplanted.org. Cholesterol, a fatty lipid that leaves deposits in your blood clogging arteries has been linked to heart disease and stroke. Plants, unlike animals do not contain cholesterol. Mayo Clinic (2017, August 15) retrieved from mayoclinic.org. Antioxidants such as vitamin A, C & E increase energy, detoxify and promote clear skin, weight-loss and even better vision. As humans we do not secrete these vitamins naturally and therefore can only achieve the desired nutritional intake through our food. These vitamins are not found in meat products only in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. Huang, Dejian (2018, Jan 7) Dietary Antioxidants and Health Promotion, retrieved from, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Gut health is easily achieved on a plant-based diet with as many are high in fibre, in turn promoting weight-loss or management with increased energy. Seeds and nuts which are often used as substitutes for meat or dairy products while cooking and preparing vegan meals are rich and B12 which has been known to increase brain function and is linked to Alzheimers. Debert, Chelsea (2017, December 4) How Plant-Based diet Rejuvenates the Brain, retrieved from, onegreenplanet.org. We are all striving for healthy long lives the evidence supports that a plant based diet can improve the quality of life. Increased mortality rates can be directly related to the consumption of meat and animal products. Sinha R1, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, Leitzmann MF, Schatzkin A. (2009, March 23) Meat intake and mortality, retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.gov.
Being healthy can only truly be achieved if we are living in a sustainable environment. A quarter of all green house gas emissions are a result of the food production industry, livestock contributes a staggering 80%. Shifting the global eating habbits to a plant-based diet could decrease GHG emissions anywhere from 29-70% by 2050. Marco Springmann, H. Charles J. Godfray, Mike Rayner, and Peter Scarborough (2016, April 12) Analysis and Valuation of the Health and Climate Change Cobenefits of Dietary Change, retrieved from www.pnas.org.
In my pursuit of a vegan diet I tackled many recipes at home. The cultural awareness of the indisputable benefits of a plant-based diet has made sourcing products locally quite easy. There are few vegan grocers in the city and commercial grocers such as Loblaws are also carrying vegan-friendly products. I did however find that it did cost more for processed items such as veganaise (vegan mayo), rice syrup, and cashew cheese to name a few. One of my favourite vegan cookbooks is Oh She Glows. In it you can find a variety of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and even snacks. Having a big sweet tooth one of my favourite things to make was vegan desserts. A clean plant-based diet is free from alot of unnatural things and helps detox your body. I found I craved sugar because I wasn't consuming as many "bad hidden sugar foods". Remarkably delicious treats can be made without the inclusion of butter and eggs. This recipe was one of my favourites from OH She Glows.
Nut-Free Vegan Dream Bars
Angela Liddon - Oh She Glows Everyday
photo by: Melissa Wood
- 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil melted, plus more for the pan
- 1 ½ cups crispy rice cereal
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa/cacao powder
- 2 tbsp + 1½ tsp brown rice syrup
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 cup sunflower seed butter homemade
- ¼ cup plus 1½ tsp pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup virgin coconut oil melted
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 pinches of fine sea salt
- ¼ cup hulled sunflower seeds
- ¾ cup non-dairy chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
Grease a square pan with some coconut oil. Combine all base ingredients in a bowl mix together thoroughly. Using a spatula spread the base evenly in the square pan.
For the filling using a food processor blend sunflower seeds till it becomes a paste. This should take approximately 15 mins. Scrape the edges continually to ensure it is well blended. Transfer to bowl and combine all remaining ingredients and mix throughly. Spread mixture on top of prepared base evenly.
In a double boiler melt non-dairy chocolate with coconut oil. Spread melted chocolate over filling. Top with sunflower seeds.
Freeze bars in dish for minimum 1 hour. Cut and serve. Bars should be stored in freezer. ENJOY!
As a restauranteur its imperative to comply with sustainability standards. To ignore climate change and the direct relation it has to food production would be irresponsible as a chef. My dream as a chef is an entirely farm to table restaurant. A menu focused on clean, environmentally responsible, moral and ethical food production would be the ultimate goal. The influence of seasonality, what is fresh and readily available would shape what the menu would reflect each and everyday. It is our duty to protect and do our part for our planet. I believe it starts at the source. It starts with our food.