tag: health

*hey friends! this post is part of the VEG articles- inspirational stories from around the globe. today, the most lovely natalie lynn borton of thoughts by natalie is sharing her story with us. i find it so inspiring to meet other people eating a plant based diet, and feel incredibly lucky to have this amazing online space to meet, greet and discuss with others about the issues we care about. this series is meant to inspire you and enlighten us on how people from all over the world make eating this way possible. please read on, grab a few recipes and join the conversation! xo, bonnie

the VEG articles on Going Home to Roost (4)

My husband and I started eating vegan in September 2011. We had just returned from a week-long trip up to Northern California—complete with a shrimp boil and a couple of trips to In-N-Out Burger—and wanted nothing more than to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie. After scrolling through Netflix options, we discovered Forks Over Knives and pressed play. Our lives haven’t been the same since!! That very night, as the credits rolled, we decided to start eating vegan.

Though I’m a HUGE animal lover and really against factory farming (it’s not only bad for animals, but really bad for people, too!), the key driver in our decision was health and disease prevention. We’ve lost so many loved ones to cancer, and have many relatives and friends suffering from other health issues that could be prevented or kept at bay through a plant-based diet. We know we can’t keep ourselves 100% healthy and perfect forever, but we do know that what we eat hugely impacts our risk for disease. For us, the “sacrifice” of eating plant-based is well worth every ounce of extra effort it takes compared to those without dietary restrictions.

the VEG articles on Going Home to Roost (1)

Though it can be tough to eat out sometimes, the hardest thing about eating vegan has probably been the judgement of others. A lot of people don’t respect the choice, feel threatened by it, think it’s some weird diet, or think we’re high maintenance. One day, I hope eating vegan will seem as normal as going for a daily jog.

Overall, we are so glad that we learned about the health benefits of a plant-based diet in our twenties! We have more energy, sleep better, have an easier time exercising (even when we’ve taken several weeks or months off), and maintain our weight without thinking about it or dieting. Personally, I’ve experienced huge benefits for my skin and also in regards to my view of food. The anti-inflammatory properties of plant-based foods have been immensely helpful in keeping my eczema at bay. Additionally, as someone with a history of eating disorders, I’ve found so much freedom through eating this way—I used to judge food as “good” or “bad,” and now I simply eat what I want, when I want because plant-based foods are truly nourishing and I can trust my body to tell me when I’m hungry or full.

An average day of eating for me might look like this: green tea to start the day (coffee and almond milk for my hubby!), oatmeal or a green smoothie for breakfast, apples and nut butter for a morning snack if I’m hungry, bean soup and salad or a vegan pesto & veggie sandwich for lunch, veggies and hummus for an afternoon snack, and a hearty meal for dinner like vegan lasagna with a side salad.

the VEG articles on Going Home to Roost (3)

Though it’s tough to pick just one, my favorite vegan recipe just might be the Engine 2 Raise The Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna. It has about a million ingredients in it, but it makes TONS of food so you can eat nutrient-packed and tasty leftovers all week long. This is definitely my crowd-pleasing recipe. Among my other favorites include Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie, Almond Butter Granola and Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies. Vegan food is delicious!!

the VEG articles on Going Home to Roost (2)

Much like Stephanie suggested in her VEG Article, my biggest tip for making the switch is research! When my husband and I were transitioning, we found the documentary Forks Over Knives and the book Veganist by Kathy Freston to be the most helpful and informative. I also started following several blogs that shared vegan recipes so that meal preparation was much easier. My favorites include Oh She Glows, Wolf and Willow, Scaling Back, A House In The Hills, and of course Going Home To Roost!! Pinterest is also a great source for vegan meal ideas—I keep track of what I find (and make!) through my good eats and my weekly bite series on my blog!

Overall, eating vegan has been one of the best choices my husband and I have ever made and we don’t plan on ever going back :)

a huge thanks to natalie for sharing her story and recipes with us! if you’re interested in sharing your story about eating a plant based diet with GHTR, i’d love to hear from you. just email me!

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*hey friends! today i’m so excited to kick off a new series on going home to roost: the VEG articles- inspirational stories from around the globe. i find it so inspiring to meet other people eating a plant based diet, and feel incredibly lucky to have this amazing online space to meet, greet and discuss with others about the issues we care about. this series is meant to inspire you and enlighten us on how people from all over the world make eating this way possible. please read on, grab a few recipes and join the conversation! xo, bonnie

the veg articles: inspirational stories from around the globe

Being vegan in a country in which the main industry is farming, New Zealand has quite a few challenges for someone like me who is vegan. I have been vegan for almost two years and made the transition from consuming animals to veganism after investigating the link between the uses of animals and the treatment of these animals in Western society. This was when I really started to learn and understand how my own actions influence the lives of not only my own, but others too.

The benefits from becoming vegan have been absolutely amazing. Firstly, I feel better ethically. In terms of my health, I have experienced more energy, stronger hair, longer and healthier nails and fewer breakouts on my skin. The main thing that has surprised me about this is the amount of energy. I used to suffer from extreme exhaustion, often causing days where I would miss University. Now, I’m more alert, exercise a lot more and I generally feel more energetic and vibrant!

The hardest thing for me about veganism was dealing with the comments about how my diet misses out important vitamins and minerals found only in the body of an animal. If the comment arises (which it does almost once a week), I always refer to the food pyramid and how plant-based eating is the most important food group and I discuss how the process of keeping a food journal has helped me keep track of my vitamin and mineral intake.

The easiest thing for me about becoming vegan was finding recipes to experience. Vegan recipes are everywhere nowadays; just look at your local bookstore or online for recipes that are vegan and start experimenting! You’ll find that the foods you already eat are able to be adjusted to become more yummy and healthy, just without animal products.

An average day for me eating is full of yummy foods! Breakfast is my own muesli which is made with oats, dried berries and nuts with some almond milk. Lunch is often a simple green salad with a bean salad. My afternoon tea is always either pumpkin seeds or homemade chocolate chip cookies. Dinner is quite varied; tofu, edamame and vegetable stir-fry, vegetable curries or a tofu and vegetable soup is often what makes my dinner special. I drink water, chai tea or green tea.

the veg articles: inspirational stories from around the globe

Vegan food; it is more about salads and leafy greens. Living in New Zealand, foods that are made specifically for vegans are 99% non-existent. Major supermarkets and even specialty produce stores do not have products for vegans. (Vegetarian food, yes.) Therefore, I make 99% percent of the food I consume and the 1% is for special stuff. If you don’t have access to readily available vegan foods, think about foods you already consume and make them vegan. Something as simple as a fresh salad is beautiful anytime. If you don’t like salads, try finding pasta that doesn’t contain egg or milk, add some kale or spinach, add tomato and zucchini with some pasta sauce and you’ve got a lovely dish. Tofu is not everyone’s taste but it is definitely something to try at least once. Almond, hemp, soy or any other milk is a yummy alternative to dairy; I drink almond milk and I never feel ill like I did with cow’s milk. The important thing is to not rush the process – it is important to take notes and find out what works best for you and your taste.

My favourite recipe is; Tomato and Eggplant (or anything) Linguine.

1 large eggplant (if in season) thinly sliced.
1 lemon.
375g dried vegan pasta.
2Tbsp olive oil.
250g cherry tomatoes.
Any other vegetables you want; zucchini, capsicum, spinach, kale.
1 bunch of parsley.

Cook vegetables except tomato on medium heat. Grate lemon over vegetables and add juice. Cook pasta following packet instructions until tender. Drain water completely. Cook tomatoes on medium heat until they start to soften. Add other vegetables and cook for a further five minutes. Add parsley and serve!

My advice for anyone who is thinking about becoming vegan is RESEARCH. Books and the internet were my greatest resource for finding out information about becoming animal-consumer free. “Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet” by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina is a book that helped me understand the different types of food that I could eat. Organizations such as Leaping Bunny and PETA both have lists on their website of products that do not test on animals and do not contain animal derived products. This list has changed my life; veganism is not only about not consuming animal products through food choices but also being aware of daily products that can be made using ingredients of an animal. The idea that being vegan only means not consuming animal products through food is the most common misconception people have assumed throughout my veganism.

Being vegan in New Zealand is not as easy as some other countries such as the US. We do not have faux meat or specialty stores stocking vegan items. Often, I purchase vegan food and household items online from animal rights organizations in New Zealand and cosmetics from my local drugstore. I travel to Australia about 6 times a year and finding vegan products is completely the opposite of New Zealand. There are many vegan restaurants and specialty health/vegan stores in the cities. When travelling to new places, I will ask around or research specialty stores that may have products for vegans. If both fail, I always have my go-to food; salads, tofu, vegetable bakes and other yummy food.

The inspiration that keeps me from returning to a life of animal consumption is the knowledge that the treatment of animals in society is cruel and unfair. I’ve learnt a lot since becoming vegan and I know that I could never go back to my previous lifestyle. There are challenging times but I always think about how people before my time such as Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin and Franz Kafka all advocated a plant-based diet. Knowing that people from centuries ago believed in the same thing I do today, has helped me continue this inspirational journey.

a huge thanks to stephanie for sharing her story and recipes with us! if you’re interested in sharing your story about eating a plant based diet with GHTR, i’d love to hear from you. just email me!

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Posted by in simple living

10 grocery shopping tips for a whole foods approach by now, you probably know that i eat a whole foods, plant based diet (especially if you follow the dinner ideas posts or recipe page!). one of the ways that i make eating this way possible, is by following a few rules at the grocery store and farmers market. some may seem obvious, others a little wacky, but below are the top 10 tips i follow when shopping for grub.

10 reasons to blog ahead (1) buy whole ingredients. look for items that contain only one ingredient in them (squash, polenta, quinoa, soybeans). if you must buy items that have more than one ingredient, look for a short ingredient list (6 or less ingredients) that contain nothing but whole foods. basically, if you can’t pronounce or grow it yourself – then don’t eat it.


10 reasons to blog ahead (2) stay on the outskirts of the store. buy shopping the outer edges of the store, you’ll be much more inclined to pick up fresh ingredients, and steer clear of the packaged and processed foods.


10 reasons to blog ahead (3) buy a foreign ingredient. i seriously do this nearly every time i go to the store! pick up a new fruit or veggie that you’ve never cooked with before, and i promise you’ll find some new favorites.


10 reasons to blog ahead (4) go to the farmers market. do the bulk of your shopping at your local farmers market and use the grocery store to supplement it.


10 reasons to blog ahead (5) check the country of origin. most fresh produce and packaged goods will let you know where it came from. the closer the better!


10 reasons to blog ahead (6) look for color. the more colorful your cart the healthier you’ll be (and colored cardboard doesn’t count!).


10 reasons to blog ahead (7) shop organic. you, your family and our planet will be much healthier for it.


10 reasons to blog ahead (8) shop what’s in season. know what’s in season in your area and eat locally. watermelons should only be eaten in the summer, and butternut squash only in the winter.


10 reasons to blog ahead (9) minimal packaging. look for items that either have no packaging (fresh produce and bulk items) or come with minimal packaging.


10 reasons to blog ahead (10) 10) look for alternatives. start noticing the alternatives that your local store or health food store carry. do they have almond milk? coconut creamer? earth balance butter? coconut oil? research the healthier alternatives and start using them.


do you have any favorite shopping market tips? i would love to hear them, i’ll meet you in the comments section!

download the pocket guide

download the pocket guide

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the 2012 blend retreat

April 16, 2012

Posted by in lifestyle

blend retreat

i know i don’t usually post about having kick-butt workouts or running miles on end, but the truth is that taking care of my body (heart, soul and mind) is one of the most important things to me. not only for me, but for my family and my future- it’s so important to stay healthy! here to help motivate us is my dear friend, lindsay.

lindsay is one pretty awesome gal. she’s not only the buffest momma i know, but is also incredibly sweet, kindhearted and genuine. anyone who has her in their life is blessed, and you might just have that chance!

she’s recently started a super-kick-butt-blog (literally) called lindsay’s list, and is hosting a new retreat this spring called blend- a weekend retreat where bloggers and friends become blends!

if you need a little motivation, love to workout, or just need a little pick-me-up and chance to meet and greet, then this retreat is for you!

the blend retreat will be a relaxed, laid back retreat for healthy living, food and fitness bloggers from all over (though you don’t have to be a blogger!). to learn more, check out the about page and then scurry over to registration- retreat is in 3 short weeks!

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eat your sea vegetables

February 28, 2012

sea vegetables

you’ve probably been told to eat your veggies, but what about sea veggies? it might come as a surprise, but sea vegetables are among the most nutrient-dense plants on earth. popular in macrobiotic diets, ocean plants support thyroid function, detoxification, and hormone balance.

seaweed has many of the minerals we need in our daily diets, including iodine, sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and selenium. it’s also incredibly rich in a variety of vitamins, including B, C, D, E and K. sea vegetables are some of the best plant-based sources of calcium, as well as good sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene and some seaweeds, (such as wakame), are also a good source of protein.

many people associate seaweed as a foreign idea, fishy and a little slimy. but cooked properly, they can be a really delicious addition to your meals! the key to learning to love sea vegetables is preparing them properly. most sea vegetables are best if you pour boiling water over them and let them soak for 10 minutes before use. for the more chewy types, such as hijiki, it’s best to then drain and simmer the sea vegetable in water—how long depends both on the specific variety of seaweed being used and the dish it’s intended for. for example, if you prefer the delicate flavor and texture of the seaweed itself not be overpowered by ocean flavors that may have intensified during drying, you can soak or boil them to remove the briny flavor.

sea veggie savvy 

here’s a list of the most popular and commonly available sea veggies and how you can incorporate them in your meals.

• agar-agar—derived from a very mild-flavored red seaweed that is processed into translucent flakes or a powder and is then used as a vegetarian gelatin or binding agent. agar-agar is also sometimes found in bars that must be crushed before being used. two tablespoons of agar-agar will firmly gel one cup of liquid. To use agar-agar, warm it in the liquid, stirring constantly until it dissolves, then simmer for about 10 minutes.

• arame—derived from a large-leaved, brown seaweed that is parboiled, then shredded and dried. the resulting thin, black strips are mild in flavor and delicate in texture. It should be rinsed well, then may be used in salads, stir-fries, casseroles or soups immediately, or after very quickly stir-frying or simmering.

• dulse—a thin, delicate, leafy sea vegetable with a beautiful purple-red color. It can be eaten dried as a salty snack or added to soups and stews for its gentle salty brine flavor and thickening quality. it’s also available powdered, to be used as a salty condiment. dulse is the most commonly eaten sea vegetable in europe and is often the first sea vegetable many people try (i just bought some this week!).

• hijiki—similar to arame, but thicker, chewier, and slightly stronger in flavor. it should be rinsed well, then soaked for about 20 minutes before cooking lightly. because of its thick texture and pronounced flavor, hijiki should be used prudently, in stir-fries, casseroles and salads.

• kelp—usually powdered and may be used as a salt substitute that is rich in trace minerals.

• kombu—found in wide, stiff strips measuring from 3-10 inches in length. a strip of kombu serves well as a flavoring, which also adds a gelatinous quality to soups, stocks, stews, and when cooking beans. some find that cooking beans with kombu makes them more digestible. the kombu itself is seldom eaten, because it is quite tough.

• nori—sheets of nori are most commonly used as the wrapping for sushi rolls. nori is also sold as a snack, in prepackaged 1-3 inch spiced strips. the dried sheets improve in flavor when lightly toasted. to toast, hold a sheet a few inches above a flame and allow it to shrink slightly, then toast on the other side. use nori crumbled over rice, in salads or in sandwiches.

• wakame—this versatile sea vegetable is tender and delicate. its leaves may be added for flavor and texture to soups, salads or stir-fries. first rinse, then soak for several minutes, and cook for about 10 minutes. wakame is the familiar leafy sea vegetable found in many miso soup recipes.

finding sea vegetables 

finding sea veggies is easier than you might think. health food stores always carry high-quality sea vegetables are you can find commercially harvested seaweeds in most asian markets. look for sea vegetables that are grown wild and harvested from the ocean.

resources and image:the vegetables that came from the sea and the healthiest vegetables
forgotten ingredients

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forgotten ingredients: pumpkin

November 16, 2011

{pumpkin patch}

the pumpkin. we often decorate with them, pick them out at the local punkin’ patch or grab a can of it at the store for making pies. but how often do we grab a whole pumpkin and use it in our recipes? turns out, we should probably be doing it more than we actually do (especially since pumpkins are only in season during the fall!).

the nutritionally robust pumpkin boasts loads of fiber, potassium and iron. the pumpkins bright orange color is also a giveaway that it’s loaded with beta-carotene, a very important antioxidant. studies show that a diet rich in beta-carotene reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer and protects against heart disease.

pumpkins are also very low in calories, so let’s get to cookin’! here are a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes. do you have any? please share!

pumpkin recipes


leaf learn how to roast a pumpkin and toast their seeds

leaf pumpkin pizza wreath

leaf cashew, coconut and pumpkin curry

leaf pumpkin pasta sauce

leaf pumpkin spiced latte

leaf roasted pumpkin with sage

leaf homemade knekkebrød (crackers)

and make sure to keep you pumpkin seeds, they are full of health benefits as well!

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Posted by in simple living

the huge variety of oils at the store have always put me on overload. which ones are the best? why? what are they all for? well i decided to put my research hat on and find out a little bit more about them. here is a quick overview of the best oils, and some resources to boot. which oils are your favorite?

Art for Kitchen - OLIVE OIL

art for the kitchen – OLIVE OIL

extra virgin olive oil

this one is the big winner, woohoo! that’s good, because this is the one i use the most. evoo is a less processed and (therefore) more flavorful oil than other oils and wins for best oil because of it’s monounsaturated (that’s the good one) fats and plant compounds that protect against heart disease and cancer. lucky for us, it also tastes oh-so-good.

sesame oil

i’ve started to incorporate this one more and more into our diet (mainly because of this amazing recipe) and i have to say, it adds a powerfully yummy taste to many dishes. it is derived from toasted sesame seeds and may help to lower blood pressure. it’a also great in asian inspired dishes.

flaxseed oil

since we don’t eat fish, flax oil is a big component of how we get our heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids in each day. these essential fatty acids protect against bone loss and reduce inflammation in people with arthritis. heating flaxseed oil will destroy it’s nutrients, so keep this one in the fridge and use on salads or in smoothies. (hint: we also add about 1 tbs to toaster’s food each day! it keeps his coat shiny and skin extra healthy.)

walnut oil

i haven’t used this oil very much, but i know one thing, i do love walnuts! walnut oil contains a specific antioxidant that helps prevent cancers (say no more!). it turns bitter when heated, so this is another one to keep in your fridge and drizzle over salads or pastas.

peanut oil

this nutty tasting oil contains resveratrol (the same antioxidant found in red wine) which helps to prevent blood clots. it can take extremely high temperatures, so this one is best for pan frying.

sunflower oil

you got it, this one is made from sunflower seeds! it has a light taste and contains vitamin e, which reduces your risk for heart attack.

did you know?

it’s best to store your healthy oils in a dark, dry cabinet away from heat or sunlight (preferably, in the fridge). nut based oils such as walnut, flaxseed and sesame need must be refrigerated as they can turn rancid at room temperature.

for a more in depth look at oils, read this great article on cooking oils.

simple living

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known to many as a miracle superfood, green tea contains one super ingredient after another, specifically catechin. this antioxidant helps to fight cancer in a number of ways, but most importantly has the ability to shrink tumors and slow tumor cell growth. elevated levies of a special chemical called egcg stymies tumor growth as well as aids cells in avoiding damage and premature aging. with plenty of varieties and blends of green tea to choose from, there are no excuses to not make a cup a part of your daily routine! if you’re a coffee drinker (like me), try subbing a cup a day with green tea. supposing the flavor isn’t exactly your ‘cup of tea’ you can always doctor it up with ginger, lemon or honey.

you can also make your own green tea right at home! follow these easy instructions and have your own homemade supertea right at home (and let me tell you, this was the best tea i’ve ever had!). here’s to being happy and healthy!

resources: the whole person

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