Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Good Friday to Next Friday

May 3rd, 2014 No comments

The pseudo lent was 50% of the time successful in that I did have several days when I just did not stay off the restricted items of dairy, caffeine, wheat and sugar. The two common breech items were sugar (highly addictive) and wheat (often made with and into sugar). It was a strong affirmation that wheat and sugar are items that I really benefit staying aware from, if only for the reason that I feel so much better when I don’t digest them.

My lenten challenge was officially broken before Easter at the post-concert late night dinner on Good Friday. Our choir had just finished a hugely successful performance of Mozart’s Requiem that evening; an accomplishment I was not about to let pass without a celebration. We ate at India Oven on W 4th Ave. in Vancouver. The $10 pitchers of Phillips beer were a great value, and just a bonus to what was already a delicious meal of freshly made Indian dishes ranging from eggplant masala to fish curry and their famous butter chicken. I still managed to remain vegetarian at this dinner, though.

That was two weeks ago and now we are one week away from the first Many Ways of Mothering: evening of songs and real life stories taking place at Dunbar Heights United Church at 6:30pm. It is my tribute to the volunteer artists/advocates who nurture the voices of the those in search of their own unique expression. I’m not a mother and though it is not my experience, I recognize that Mother’s Day, like other holidays, can be a difficult time for different reasons to be around others who are celebrating. Maybe due to loss, infertility, envy even; all these are human experiences that needn’t keep us from honouring the many ways that we do nurture ourselves and others. Because for me, the mothering spirit is not marked by the act of giving birth, it is how one chooses to remain in relationship with that which is already alive.

Many Ways of Mothering, May 9, 2014.

Categories: Food, Performing Arts, Stories Tags:

Pseudo Lent

March 6th, 2014 No comments

I am a day late for posting what intends to be a series of posts chronicling my experience of lent, the Christian season of preparation for Easter.

In my childhood home I remember lent as a time for giving up things that were really fun or delicious, like tv or chocolate. It’s a time for reflection. How giving up chocolate gets in the way of reflection, I can’t say I understand, but I do appreciate the benefits of living without comforts whilst doing activities which cultivate mindfulness and holistic serenity.

Each Spring for the last 4 years, I do a nutritional cleanse. This year I’ve decided to combine the cleanse with lent.

Comforts I’m doing without until Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014: Caffeine, Dairy, Sugar, Wheat

Practice I’m picking up until Easter Sunday: Writing daily (which is intended to resurrect this blog and find out what it wants to be) for 20 minutes. Accumulated time on text messages, emails and work documents don’t count.

Today being Day 1, it will be forty-six days of a daily writing practice and 45 days without caffeine, dairy, sugar or wheat – that’s right, I’m having a croissant and a cappuccino on Easter Sunday!

In the spirit of Jesus’ time in the desert, it is the 40 days and 40 nights that I’m going for (not necessarily consecutive). I figure this allows for human imperfection.

Why am I doing this if I don’t identify as being Christian? Well, regardless of whether or not I believe in the grand narrative of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, there seems to be some principles in how he lived that are worthwhile reflecting upon.

And I guess I do it for a ritual to make the season of Spring and Easter meaningful, the way we do with Christmas and Winter Solstice.

Hhmm, I wonder if Jesus gave up meaning-making while he was in the desert. Maybe “the devil” was really an spout of psychosis because he hadn’t had anything to drink or eat. I wonder how different our world would look today if Jesus was medicated and put in a psych ward with a diagnosis.

Categories: Down the Rabbit Hole, Food Tags:

In Search of Tao in my Tai Chi

February 14th, 2011 No comments

Last night I attended the Chinese New Year banquet of that was organized by the Taoist Tai Chi club in Vancouver.  Tai Chi-ers were there from across the lower mainland.  We occupied the entire Gain Wah restaurant in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.  Six platters of different seafood (oysters, crab, lobster, squid), chicken and pork were served before any vegetables.  I think I sat with an empty plate and a sorry little cup of tea for the first hour and a half watching the other eight people feast with regular looks and comments of concern (or other thoughts I could not interpret) for my stomach-in-waiting.

At first I was really disappointed that I was the only vegetarian there because on previous occassions at the club, there were at least 10%  vegetarians and the orders for food were made to meet that demand.  Did all those values and principles go out the window for the sake of observing a Chinese New Year feast?

“How long have you been vegetarian?” one woman asked me.  “Since October,” I said, “about the same time I started Tai Chi.  By the silent response and gaze down, I take it that my fledgling status as either or both were not substantive enough to be taken seriously.  In her senior position (as tai chi student and by age) I bet she was thinking, ‘Why don’t you just eat something?  It’s not going to kill you!’  In fact, that’s what my mom’s says in an effort to get me to eat her cooking with fish or chicken in it.  And it’s true, it wouldn’t kill me on the spot, but nothing about it would feel good.

I enjoy the challenge of refining the moves of Tai Chi and meeting people in the club.  I enjoy the challenge of eating a plant-based diet in a culture addicted to animal products.  And both of these lifestyle choices support each other and me in my constant movement towards optimal health.  Learning about Tai Chi principles and practicing them requires attention, and in a similar manner, so does eating a plant-based diet.

It felt a bit lonely for the first hour and a half being the only one not feasting, but not one moment passed that I wished to join the meat feast.  “You’re demonstrating a lot of discipline, Janice,” another woman said.

I replied, “I started Tai Chi to help me with my discipline, so I guess it’s working.”  In actuality, there was no temptation so it wasn’t much of a demonstration of discipline.

Call me crazy, but to exercise in a practice like Tai Chi and then feast out on loads of animals seems like a sanity I would rather not be.

Breakfast Bowl

January 30th, 2011 No comments

Bowl of Earth, born of fire
holding sweet morning’s desires
Warm stone round, yellow and blue
steaming Oats
topped with fruits, sun-dried to chew
My constant bowl of wholesome goodness
Nourishment to my body, back to the Earth
through me shall it ritually return.

Fridge Cleanse – Day 3 of Big Green Challenge

September 1st, 2010 No comments

Today was the big fridge cleanse. I replaced the mayonnaise with vegenaise, replenished my almond milk supply, and went to the Japanese food grocer to get miso soup base and mochi for the dairy free dessert recipes in The Kind Diet. It felt great to explore the aisles of the local health food market and see how many delicious options there are for dairy free meals.

I brought the new ingredients home and made a delicious variation of Kim’s Red Radish Tabouleh. It was beautiful to look at and delicious to chew. My version used limes instead of lemon, green onion in place of scallions and I added a bit of heat with a sliced jalapeno pepper. Healthy for mind, body and wallet!

I was so excited to share this meal and my accomplishment of having made it, that I did a video chat with a friend as I prepared and ate my dinner. After showing off my bowl of tabouleh, I asked him to help me get over a communication breakdown that I am experiencing with a co-worker. In short, we (let’s call the other person, “A”) were working together, and then it became difficult as we learned of our differences of opinions and modes of productivity, at which point we decided that it would be best not to work together. Person (A) then started working with someone else (B), and I shifted my focus to continue working solo. A few weeks pass and then recently, I was approached by person B requesting that I return to working with person A. My friend listened to a longer version of this summary and he asked me some fundamental questions which I reluctantly considered. And then he made the statement that brings me to write half of this article, “So basically,” he speaks with a low and deliberate tone, “we’re talking about you doing something that you don’t want to do, to get to where you want to go.” I want to work with person B, but working with person A is part of that package.

And so I started thinking about how this also applies to making fundamental lifestyle choices that are difficult to change, like what we eat. We want to be healthy and vibrant and physically fit, but are we willing to do the things we do not want to do in order to create the desired results? We do not want to get cancer, but are we willing to make the lifestyle choices that will prevent us from doing so? Most people want clean drinking water and green spaces to play and a balanced eco-system, and just as many people do not want to make the changes that will sustain those precious things. And denial, by it’s nature, has no awareness of its danger or power. So how will change occur? A few optimistic and brave people begin to try new things, or try old things with a new perspective. In my case, the old thing I’m trying with a new perspective is a meat and dairy free diet. And with a bit help, reaching deep down for humility and grace, new possibilities may emerge with peoples A & B. Experience tells me that I can try again.

I have been a vegetarian before and I found that it was difficult to sustain due to my tendency towards iron deficiency. This time around, I am using Isagenix nutritional supplements and cleansing products so I feel confident that I am getting all my minerals and nutrients. I think the Isagenix supplements are helping with my cravings, making it easier to stay on track and feel satiated with less food, because my body is getting all it needs for balanced nutrition.

Big Green Challenge 2010 – Day 2 (or 29 days left)

August 31st, 2010 No comments

I suddenly feel nervous having started the count. As soon as I begin to apply measurement to my achievements, my awareness of what I’m doing gets magnified and inevitably, I sabotage success. So to take the edge off, I’m going to say that I absolutely grant myself permission to miss a day, miscount or completely cave and have a burger followed by an ice cream sundae.

Today I bought one of my favourite fruits in three different variations: the bright green Italian figs, the deeply purple Turkish figs, and the third has escaped my memory at the moment. In addition to a few pieces of figs, my late afternoon munch consisted of almonds, pistachios and sesame wild rice sticks, all from the bulk section of the Whole Foods Market on Cambie. Yum!

However, I confess an impurity in today’s intake. Just before noon, I was at my brother’s house where the nanny of his children offered me fried rice. I had just mentioned as an update of latest news that I am not eating meat or dairy. There was pizza out and she offered this to me. I explained that I can’t because it has cheese on it. Keeping with the filipino custom or never taking no for an answer when feeding a guest, she offered an alternative, “Do you want fried rice?” as she put out cauliflower and broccoli for me. “Does it have meat in it?” I asked. “Just smoked sausage.” I smiled and so appreciate how the amount of meat can be translated into meaning that a dish has no meat. So I made a choice to eat a small portion of the rice, leaving out the sausage bits. I did this partly because I just really like fried rice and I was hungry, and also because I have a really hard time rejecting food offerings from Filipino women. When I have turned down a food offering in a Filipino home, it’s often been followed by insistence that lasts hours, or criticism of my weight alluding a risk of malnutrition, or guilt elicited simply by the tone of the voice when the reply is, “Oooh Kaay,” paired with averting eyes and an immediate distraction, followed by another offer of some other type of food 5 minutes later.

While I like nuts and beans, the pull to eat familiar foods from childhood is strong!

Categories: Food Tags: , , ,

Big Green Challenge 2010 – Vegetarian Adventures

August 31st, 2010 No comments

I had a dream this morning that I was killed like livestock. When I opened my eyes, my conscience said, “You are going vegetarian!”

A compelling feeling that I will eliminate meat from my daily intake first emerged when I sat down in a Vegan eatery called Loving Hut on Broadway near Cambie. I tasted the Ocean Love pizza, my first slice of vegan pizza! While I chewed the delicious pesto on crispy crust with melted cassava cheese, I looked at the wall of pictures featuring famous vegetarians and felt a compelling urge to join them. I thought, if people like Ghandi, Einstein and Edison considered it important to keep meat off their plates, there must be many good reasons to do so. I had been thinking of making this change for quite some time and have previously been on a plant-based diet 15 years ago. The most difficult times that I can remember was confronting the social gatherings with family and friends. Fortunately, I now associate with more vegetarians and people who appreciate my choice to eat plants.

The affirming wave of conviction to go veggie washed over me while reading the first 30 pages of Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet. I am so inspired by her writing and excited to try all the recipes.
To kick start this exciting change, I’ve decided to write about my Vegetarian Adventures. Yes, I know…I’ve attempted something like this before when I set out to blog about learning how to swim last year. But here goes another try anyway, to try something new and write about my experiences and discoveries. I will set out to have my meat and dairy intake levels at zero for the next 30 days. God help me! I love ice cream and my mother’s cooking, which almost always involves pork, chicken or shrimp.

I realize this will take a great deal of effort and commitment ( two things I have demonstrated poorly as a blogger), but I am optimistic about overcoming these shortcomings along with the inevitable cravings for meat and diary because, the more I learn about their effects on the Earth and their connection to disease, the temporary pleasure at the plate quickly loses its appeal.

Categories: Food Tags: , ,

Waffles and Tea

June 4th, 2008 No comments

Monday of this week, Yumi had me over for waffles and tea.  She put out all the accessories for dressing our warm fluffy waffles that she made with her handy electric waffle-maker.  “I think everyone should have one of these,” she said with a deep appreciation for her kitchen gadget.  I was very excited about sharing this afternoon snack with Yumi.  It is not often that we are able to take a couple of hours in the middle of a weekday to share in a sweet treat and chatter.

I enjoyed my waffles and tea with Yumi so much that the very next day, I phoned her up and asked to borrow her waffle-maker.  I had the idea that I could make a batch of waffles at home and freeze them for a later date.  This way, I could enjoy homemade Belgian waffles at home too.  So I did just that.  I spent part of tuesday afternoon making waffles, packaging them for the freezer and eating a few too.  This morning, I delighted in taking a waffle out of the fridge, warming it up in the oven and having it with strawberries and bananas for breakfast.  Late last night, I also invited Christina over for a waffles and tea session, since I still have the waffle-maker and enjoy making them so much.  So at 3:00pm today, we took joy in making more waffles, with strawberries and bananas and whipping cream and maple syrup.

While we sat at the table enjoying our waffles, Christina mentions a place in the US that serves chicken and waffles.  I thought that sounded odd.  But I guess I can appreciate savoury and sweet combos.  And then we talked up a vision of an eatery that served only waffles and teas.  I like pancakes and I really enjoy crepes too.  And thanks to Yumi and her waffle-maker, I’ve discovered that I also love waffles and tea!

Categories: Food Tags: , ,

A good Sunday

April 15th, 2007 No comments

Today, I was filled with and surrounded by food; and when I wasn’t eating of making it, I was thinking about it.  I love food.  The food network is always the first I check if I don’t have a particular program in mind. 

This morning, I made an omlette with Indian spices topped with peach yogurt.  Mmmm, the spicey and the sweet combo were delicious.  Me and Kiran lazed around a bit and left for Kitsilano beach to sit in the sun and watch the people with their dogs and babies.  We had a very satisfying lunch on a log consisting of burger, fries and a spritzer.  Then we walked to Capers ( I could spend thousands of dollars in the store!) and had a tea and bought some groceries.  Then we came back to Main St. and bought more groceries for the vegetarian chilly and cupcakes we spent the evening making. 

Sun, good company, and good food.  Mmmm, that’s a good Sunday.

Categories: Food, Uncategorized Tags:

Good Friday

April 6th, 2007 No comments

Traditionally, a solemn day to give thanks for the sacrifice made by Jesus when he died on the cross to “save” us.  When I was young we were taught to also sacrifice something on this day and spend some time giving thanks and meditating on our blessings.  Now that I’m not surrounded by Catholic influences but it had crossed my mind to go to a church and just sit there and smell the incense and marvel at the pretty stained glass windows and towering architecture. 

But instead, I checked my facebook page, my blog comments, my email, I watched the Food Challenge where culinary/pastry artists made huge sculptures out of rice puffed cereal to compete for 10,000.  Then I decided, upon seeing the winner’s check for 10,000 that I deserve to get a cheque of $10,000 made out to me too.  So I’m just going to stay on that vision and I’ve gone on to enter contests from the newspaper.  So far, I’m entered to win tickets to the ballet, to Il Divo, and I entered my brother Jonas in a contest for a golf getaway for 4 which includes a BMW rental.  I’m not an avid golfer but I felt like entering for a chance to feel like a winner so I put his name down.

Now it’s almost 2:00pm and I’m still in my nightie on the laptop at our dining table facing the tv that is showing the food network.  The woman on 30 minute meals is saying ‘worstershire’ in a really annoying way.  I prefer Jamie Oliver and his show on school dinners.  I think it’s really important work he is doing, changing the school meals served in public schools in England.  It was devastatingly tragic to see the children recognize and name corporate fast food symbols more easily than a celery.  It was astounding when one boy in elementary school, after eating freshly cooked chicken and a green salad said, “It’s my first time eating salad.”  It made me wonder about children here in Canada.  Jamie went to a home of one family who were challenged with children who had hyperactive and aggressive behaviour.  Jamie guided their diet with recipes and a grocery list that eliminated fast food, refined and heavily processed food.  The mother looked at the list and she said, “Basil.  I don’t know what that looks like.”  What?!!  The amazing thing is the immediate result on the children’s behaviour. Only 30 minutes into being off the sugar and refined processed food, and the children were noticeably calmer. 

In recent years there seems to be a rise of diagnoses of ADD and ADHD (attention deficit / hyperactivity disorders).  There must be a connection to what we are feeding our children.  And it’s not just what parents are keeping in the fridge, but what the corporations are permitted to market to sell to children.  In my mind, that’s about being socially responsible for the health of children which, in the long run, will result in far more abundance of wealth than the conventionally narrow definition of “profit”.

So on this Good Friday, I’m not doing so well on the sacrificing of food.  I love food.  So I’m into the practice of loving.  But next week, after eating some cake this weekend, I’ll do a cleanse; wherein, I’ll only be able to eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains and only organic meats – so salt, so sugar, no flour, no dairy….which means, do ice cream.  boo.  But I know my body will love me for it later.  I did my first cleanse last May and I told myself that I’ll aim to do a cleanse every 4 months, with the change of the seasons, because it felt so refreshing.

Categories: Down the Rabbit Hole, Food Tags: