Sunday, September 30

Think you're not lactose intolerant? Think again!

As discussed in this post, I found a very interesting book, Issues in Society: Vegetarianism. It is a book compiled of published material from all different sources. One of them had an interesting little section on the side effects of dairy consumption.

I already knew, and have already discussed on this blog, that 80% of humans are lactose intolerant. This is because only baby animals need lactase (the enzyme that digests lactose) to digest their mothers' milk, and at weaning age the body stops producing it because it is no longer needed. This is true of all mammals except for a freaky 20% of humans who continue to produce it. Why do they continue to produce it? Because humans are the only animals perverted enough to drink the milk of another animal, beyond weaning age I might add. It really is gross.

Anyway, so when people started drinking the milk of other animals, children started dying. This wasn't weird because most children never reached adulthood. However, children who had a mutation that allowed them to continue to digest lactose had a better chance of survival (if they weren't killed by something else) and so some descendants of these people can digest lactose beyond weaning age. The other 80% can't.

Then why aren't 80% of people up to their knees in vomit and diarrhoea? That's what people with a lactose intolerance are like isn't it? Well that's what people with a severe lactose intolerance are like, for the rest of us, we don't know that we're being negatively affected by the dairy we're eating because we've been doing it our whole lives. If someone who had never eaten dairy started to eat it, they'd tell you straight away how crappy it made them feel. We start feeding dairy products to our children when they are babies though, and they can't tell us that it makes them feel bad. We don't feel any different because this is all we've ever known. I didn't think I was lactose intolerant until I went vegan. The dramatic changes in my body assured me that I was, and had been all my life, I just hadn't known.

Anyway, this book discussed some of the side effects of dairy consumption. There were the ones we think of when we think of lactose intolerance, such as "chronic or occasional diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence and abdominal pains", but then there were the others. The ones we think are just part of the way we are, or due to some other cause, not our life-long consumption of something we are not made to eat:

"Intolerance to milk is the most common food allergy. Symptoms include asthma, eczema, skin rashes, chronic nasal and sinus problems, tonsillitis, ulcerative colitis, bowel irregularity, hyperactivity, depression, migraines and some forms of arthritis. Cow's milk can cause gastrointestinal bleeding in infants leading to anaemia and there is a proven link between milk consumption and cataracts in older people. Dairy products can account for half our saturated fat intake, making them a high risk factor in heart disease - [Australia's] biggest killer."

So there you go, scary stuff, but from my experience I can say that it's absolutely true. If you want to cut anything from your diet to improve your health, dairy would probably bump even meat down to second on the list (and meat is pretty #$@!* bad for you!). Try it and feel the difference!

Happy eating! :)

A very interesting read

At uni the other day, while looking for a completely different book, I came across Issues in Society: Vegetarianism. I flicked through and it looked interesting so I borrowed it for Jeff to read (I get angry with him for not caring about animal welfare, he gets angry with me for trying to make him care. That doesn't stop me from trying though! Chisel and a stone...).

I think that this is a great book for someone thinking of becoming veg*n, interested in knowing more about veg*nism, or someone trying to nudge someone else into either of the first two categories (i.e. me). This book is part of a large series (it is volume 339!) and the blurb describes the series like this:

"Issues in Society is an invaluable series of books which contain previously published information sourced from newspapers, magazines, journals, government reports, surveys, websites and lobby group literature. The series offers up-to-date, diverse information about the social issues shaping our changing world. Each book explores a range of facts and opinions, providing the reader with a concise overview of the topic."

There are so many other interesting titles in this series so I'm sure there's something for everyone but I think that everyone should start with this one! It was only published this year as well so it's really up-to-date. See if your local library has it or buy it online. Here are the details:

Healey, J (ed) 2012, Issues in Society: Vegetarianism, Spinney Press, New South Wales.

Happy eating! (and reading!) :)

Monday, September 24

New Pasta with Lentil and Vegetable Sauce Recipe

I've made the original recipe a few times now and I'm just not happy with it. Cooking the sauce for so long in order to cook the lentils ruins the other flavours and there is way too much oregano in it. So I've modified the original and made my own recipe, which is better and much much quicker.

Serves 4

Olive oil
2 carrots
1 onion
2 sticks celery
400g tin lentils
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste
Around 200ml water
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1-1 1/2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Cooked pasta for 4

1. Peel and dice the carrot and onion, dice the celery. Fry in olive oil for 5 minutes or until vegetables have softened.

2. Add lentils, stir for 1 minute, then add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and bring to the boil.

3. Remove from heat. Add the parsley and stir until combined. If there is too much water then return the sauce to the heat until it has reduced. Spoon over pasta and serve.

Happy eating! :)

What I'm eating: crack in cereal form

I have just bought a box of this cereal, Cookie Bitez, and it is amazing. Definitely not for those without a sweet tooth (or those who want to keep their teeth!) this cereal is totally addictive. I wouldn't recommend it for breakfast, because I believe that breakfast should be healthy, but it's perfect for a naughty between meal snack. This stuff is like crack for kids. I got it from the 'health food' aisle at Coles, though I'm now doubting the health benefits of the food stocked in this aisle. I don't think it will last long in our house.

Happy eating! :)

Sunday, September 23

Bryan Danielson and my PETA Vegan College Cookbook

As I was going through old posts this morning, I realised that I never blogged about a certain exciting thing!

Jeff, my partner, went to the US in April this year to go to WWE's Wrestlemania (we're both big wrestling fans). I wasn't able to go though, we won't go into the whys, wherefores, and how it came about that he went by himself as it's still a sore point for me! So when he was packing his bags and collecting things from around the house that he wanted to get signed, I gave him my PETA Vegan College Cookbook and asked him to get vegan wrestler and, at the time, current World Heavyweight Champion, Bryan Danielson - or Daniel Bryan as he's billed by WWE - to sign it.

Guess what? He did! This is how it went:

Jeff goes up to the signing table and puts down the book.
Bryan Danielson: Now that's what I'm talking about!
Both Laugh.
Byran Danielson signs the book.
Bryan Danielson: So are you vegan?
Jeff: No I'm not but my partner is
Bryan Danielson: Right on
They have their photo taken together.
Bryan Danielson: Tell her to keep up the good work!

My cookbook today:

Bryan Danielson/Daniel Bryan:

And that's the story of how my cookbook got touched and signed by a world famous vegan.

Happy Eating!

What I'm eating: fruit salad anyone?

This is a lovely fruit salad that I made for breakfast. I used orange, honey dew melon, strawberries, golden kiwi fruit, and passionfruit. This was actually the first time I've ever used passionfruit in my life. I've had it in restaurants and things of course, but I've never actually bought one and prepared it for some reason.

Well, the fruit salad is wonderful, I'm eating it as I type. With it, I'm having a glass of Nudie Nothing But 21 Oranges (with pulp) Juice. No sugar, additives, or even added water, in this baby! Just the good stuff. I always buy my orange juice with pulp because you get the added fiber, without that it's really just sugary water! Note of interest: juice is now considered to be only slightly better for you than cordial. Water is the only thing you should really drink on a regular basis so if you find yourself guzzling the juice, try swapping a glass for a piece of juicy fruit instead. Whole fruit has much more fiber, and in some cases more vitamins, than just a glass of juice.

Now that we're heading away from winter, all of the nice fruit seems to be coming back. Strawberries in particular are excellent at the moment. Maybe you should make a fresh fruit salad too?

New addition - 'What I'm Eating'

I was looking through all the blog posts, doing some renovating, and I noticed that the food diary entries were suprisingly popular. Maybe people were finding them a good way to get some cooking inspiration, or maybe they were just nosy.

Either way, they were popular and this got me thinking, now that I have ended the food diaries, is the blog failing to satisfy this need in my readers? Maybe recipes aren't enough, they're not as frequent as the food diary entries were because I just simply don't make new food that often. Recipes for most of the food I make has already been posted. However, I just don't have the time for food diaries at the moment; I currently work over 50 hours a week with two jobs and university study. Plus, there's only so many times you can be interested in vegemite on toast isn't there?

For these reasons, I have decided to start a new post label (or tag), 'What I'm Eating'. Posts under this label will show food that I'm currently making, eating, and enjoying, but won't show every single thing I eat in a day. Posts will not be daily but should be more frequent than new recipe posts. I'll also be able to post the same food more than once, unlike in the recipe section where each meal is only posted once.

So, dear readers, I hope that this addition satisfies your inspiration/nosiness yearning. I'm sure that it will satisfy my yearning to share with you all.

Happy eating! :)

So Do You Just, Like, Eat Salad live on your radio tonight!

Something very exciting has happened! I have been asked to be a special guest on radio show The Sunday Session on local radio station WOW FM 100.5. The show is on tonight 6-8pm and I'll be talking all things vegan. It's great that people are interested in veganism and if they want to listen, then I'm happy to talk!

Tune in if you can or stream online at tonight between 6-8pm (I think I'll come on around 6:15pm).

Happy listening! :)

Morning smoothie

How about a delicous smoothie to start the day off? This one was made with soy milk, agave syrup, strawberries, prunes, chia seeds, and half a frozen banana. The frozen banana gives it thickness as well as a lovely chill, and the chia seeds do their gelling-thing and make it really thick and satisfying with a great, smooth texture. A wonderful start to the day!

Happy eating! :)

Monday, September 17

Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Risotto Recipe

This risotto is divine, and though it sounds fancy, it's actually pretty quick and easy to make. The fresh herbs make all the difference so don't skimp on them!

Serves 4

6oog butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp golden syrup
25g fresh basil
25g fresh oregano
1 tbsp Nuttelex
2 onions, finely chopped
450g arborio rice
175ml dry white wine
1.2L vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius and put the pumpkin into a roasting tin. Miz 1 tbsp of oil with the honey and then spoon it over the pumpkin. Mix the pumpkin around so that it is well coated. Roast in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, put the basil and oregano into a food processor with 2 tbsp oil and process until finely chopped and blended. Set aside.

3. Heat the Nuttelex and the last tbsp of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 8 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the grains in the oil micture.

4. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook until the wine is almost absorbed. Add the stock a little at a time and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 20 minutes.

5. Gently stir in the herb oil and pumpkin until thoroughly mixed into the rice and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the rice is creamy and cooked but still retains a little bite. Season well with salt and pepper before serving.

Variation: I have also added a couple of handfuls of baby spinach at the same time as the pumpkin and herb oil, which is very nice.

Happy eating! :)