Appetizing African Flavors

San Diego is bringing smiles to those with adventurous palates – there are restaurants with everything from Persian to Mexican to Moroccan to Vietnamese cuisine.  Some of us are crazy about highly flavorful and sometimes spicy meals at local East African restaurants, most of which are in the North Park and City Heights areas.  I have long been sharing healthy Ethiopian and Eritrean meals with local friends, using the injera flatbread to scoop up delectable lentils, greens, potatoes and salads.

Recently I tried something similar, composed of lentils, collard greens, and other veggies, but with different seasonings. Also, instead of injera, the meal was served with freshly made delicious chapati bread like I had when in Uganda. The Kenyan owner and his staff are very friendly at Flavors of East Africa. If this is not the time for a vacation, we can always take one in our own town, and for a few hours, feel like we are in Africa or other foreign lands.

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January 15th, 2014 by veglady | No Comments »

Crepes and Hot Springs = Happiness

crepeTwo weeks off at the holidays gave me the freedom to take a few short road trips. First, I saw some of the huge family in L.A. and made a long-awaited stop at LA Vegan Crepe for a late breakfast buckwheat crepe with Daiya cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and other veggies. Though the meal was delicious and unique for a longtime herbivore, the restaurant seemed short-staffed and service was rather slow. However, pleasing customers at a vegan (or any) business is not a piece of cake. Overall, I support their original concept and was pleased with the meal and the ambiance.

My next adventure was about an hour East of San Diego. When I lived in Colorado, natural hot springs were a frequent jaunt, and some were gorgeously located outdoors with mountain views. San Diego doesn’t compare, but just an hour away is the tiny town of Jacumba and the laid-back Jacumba Hot Springs Spa and Resort, where I chilled out for a night, soaking in the mineral baths along with other travelers. The sulfur’s healing properties soothe arthritis and soften your skin. I suggested they have more veggie options at the hotel restaurant; luckily there is a Subway a few miles away and a little store across from the spa for nuts, drinks and so on. Enjoy!

 

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January 3rd, 2014 by veglady | No Comments »

Optimum Health Institute – A Great Resource

ohiI finally made it to a free Sunday open house tour (and dinner) at Optimum Health Institute (OHI), a gem in the Lemon Grove area of San Diego that focuses on a balance of body, mind and spirit.  All spiritual traditions are welcome at OHI. The San Diego spot has a nice relaxing atmosphere and hosts about 100 students; they also have a center in Austin, Texas, which usually has around 20 guests.

To help guests detox from numerous health issues, OHI serves raw vegan food — what they describe as light, easy to digest, and high in nutrients. OHI provides as much organic and local food as possible to the guests passing through for what is typically a three-week stay (they say it takes 21 days to change a habit). Some people attend for one week and return later in the year, depending on their schedules.

One of the first things I spotted when entering the main building was an interesting drink called rejuvelac — sprouted grains fermented with lots of digestive-healthy probiotics such as rye and quinoa. We saw the wheatgrass room where students learn to grow their own green nutritious juice, and heard about classes in digestion, gardening, and many other areas of interest. We passed a colon hydrotherapy area, along with a spa and massage rooms.

Here’s more info on the open houses on Sunday afternoons.

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December 21st, 2013 by veglady | No Comments »

Pumpkins R’Us

unnamedMy first job as a teenager was baking unhealthy but oh-so-yummy muffins early in the morning at an L.A. shop. Decades later, I am still a fan of baking and sweets. Nowadays I experiment with healthier alternative sugars like coconut nectar syrup and coconut sugar, and gluten-free flours from buckwheat to chickpea to brown rice flour.  These products feel better going down and the alternative sugars do not cause sugar crashes.

With the holidays here, pumpkins are all the rage and a flavorful addition to baking. One non-bake holiday recipe I enjoyed was this gluten-free pumpkin “fudge” by rather creative Ricki Heller. It is not a fudge in the chocolate sense, but is tasty and fitting for people who love coconuts — it’s composed of coconut butter, coconut oil, and coconut sugar, among other high quality ingredients!

Try these delicious pumpkin muffins that are not gluten-free but could be adapted. The Internet is exploding with recipes for all diets and preferences, and Google is your friend.

 

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December 8th, 2013 by veglady | No Comments »

Grateful and Healthy

1450968_421835091277145_1270584050_nIt’s the time of year for spending chilly days with loved ones and focusing on gratitude. As Oprah says, being grateful is by far the most powerful thing you can do to change your life. I keep a daily gratitude journal, noting even the small things like a colorful candle on my table or a nice compliment received. What are you grateful for?

During Thanksgiving and other holidays, it can be easy to over-indulge in all the chocolate, candy canes, and other sweets being thrown our way.  It’s important to enjoy life, but also wise to maintain a foundation of health as we are vulnerable to winter colds and flus.  Cups of ginger tea keep us warm and well; likewise, chefs worldwide are always inspiring us to eat with nutrition in mind.

This article from Vegan Mainstream features a new e-book, Twelve Terrific Thanksgiving Recipes by Stephanie Weaver, filled with some veggie-friendly and gluten-free ideas for late November feasts. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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November 27th, 2013 by veglady | No Comments »

Support Refugee Causes, Especially at Holidays

jalI had the pleasure of seeing Emmanuel Jal (pictured) speak and perform last weekend. A refugee from Sudan, he tells powerful stories of growing up in a war zone and refugee camp, losing relatives, and suffering from starvation. He motivated the crowd to make a difference through local youth programs and activism.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a well-known humanitarian nonprofit organization supporting refugees around the world. Sunny San Diego is a main hub for refugees, and we are lucky to have an active branch of IRC.

IRC is having a Peace on Earth Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 7. from 10 am- 2 pm.  Another  wonderful way to support some of these refugees who start their own businesses once they come to the U.S. is to purchase their veggies, fruits, crafts and other products at the City Heights Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 9 am- 1 pm at Fairmount Ave. and Wightman Street in City Heights.

 

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November 16th, 2013 by veglady | No Comments »

Special Weekend for San Diego Veggie-Lovers

orblogoIt’s an exciting time in San Diego for herbivores and their friends.

For years, many other cities have had vegetarian festivals; it is wonderful to see San Diego catching up with the trend. This weekend is the second annual San Diego Veg Festival in North Park along Herman Ave between University Ave. and North Park Way. The main event is Saturday, Nov. 9 from 10 am –  5 pm but there is also a Sunday brunch at Casa de Luz from 10 am – 2 pm. Saturday’s gathering will have speakers, food demos and samples, an eco-friendly fashion show, and even features as specific as making your own dog biscuits and vegan cheese making!

Also, Moncai Vegan is opening a restaurant any day in North Park and fans are eagerly awaiting.  Their spot will be 3131 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104. Their brunches at San Diego Public Market and food at other farmer’s markets receive raves.

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November 6th, 2013 by veglady | No Comments »

Bad Ass Power Cookies Spice Up Life

badassInspiring people in the worlds of fitness and healthy eating for years, John Lewis aka Bad Ass Vegan has done it again. Now this motivational man offers us a nutrition-conscious cookie. Read more of his personal health transformation story here.

Like many health nuts, John would love how he felt eating spirulina, the green superfood powder full of minerals and protein. However, he was not alone in finding the taste of spirulina unpleasant. He creatively threw some into his oatmeal raisin cookie dough, and the Bad Ass Power Cookie was born.

Vegan cookies sometimes turn out hard or have strange flavors, but these are soft and tasty, as well as being organic. The cookies are not gluten-free, but use spelt and oats as well as healthy pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. As John develops his brand, he is looking into additional cookie flavors and other products. For now, the Bad Ass Power Cookies are sold online individually or in packs. They would make great holiday gifts!

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October 27th, 2013 by veglady | No Comments »

Chocolate for a Cause

rc_jess_Peanut_Butter_1_1024x1024Rescue Chocolate is not only organic, vegan, fair-traded and certified kosher — all the things conscious shoppers want in their treats — but it’s delicious and the company gives 100% of the net profits to animal rescue groups around the U.S.! Each flavor represents a different rescue issue, and the chocolate bar names are creative: Fosteriffic Peppermint, educating people about the need for pet foster homes, and Mission Feral Fig, highlighting that feral cats need a humane solution, for example.

Within the eco-friendly packaging you’ll find some crafty snacks. The Mission Feral Fig bar has big beautifully visible pieces of almonds and dried figs. Since I haven’t been eating chocolate much lately, I definitely got a little buzz off the 66% dark chocolate. Rescue Chocolate can cater baby showers, weddings or other events. To see if the bars and other products are available in your city or to shop for the chocolate online, click here.rc_jess_plain_11_1024x1024

Sarah Gross, the founder of Rescue Chocolate, is also actively planning events such as the New York City Vegetarian Food Festival to be held March 1-2 of 2014. Last year over 6,000 people attended and they hope for an even larger turnout this time in the city that doesn’t sleep.

 

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October 12th, 2013 by veglady | No Comments »

The Power of Enough – Alchemy of Presence

shapeimage_2I wanted to share an article written by my lovely friend Parminder Randhawa. She is a Certified Usui/Tibetan Reiki Master who also leads women’s healing circles, dance events, and personal growth workshops.  

For more info on Alchemy of Presence, contact Parminder at (858) 444-7993 or email parminder@alchemyofpresence.com

In an age constantly pushing us towards more, I am beginning to think that any hope for lasting peace and happiness will only come once we––individually and collectively––learn to live by the principle of enough. In so many different ways, I find myself easily and repeatedly getting sucked in by the allure of the “more is better” mantra. This is the principle our whole economic system seems to function on––a  constant striving for more profit, more growth, more productivity. It’s the principle our advertising and media industries teach us––spend more, have more, consume more. It’s also the principle many of our social structures and institutions inculcate in us––study more, achieve more, be more, do more.

This constant push for more is a recipe for disaster, both personally and socially. On an individual level, it promotes a constant dissatisfaction with our lives and sets up unhealthy comparisons and expectations that leave us feeling more alone and discontented. Socially, it has led to the destruction of natural resources and many other forms of life. What’s even more dangerous is that the push for more is accompanied by a belief in the scarcity model, which teaches that there is not enough to go around for everyone. This sets up unhealthy competition between individuals and societies as we all try to make it in a world that has become full of uncertainty, insecurity, and fear. No wonder so many experience anxiety and depression!

Read more…

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October 3rd, 2013 by veglady | No Comments »