Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Build me up buttercup!

One of the Vegan Era Crew has started chemotherapy and so we've been very interested in how the vegan diet can support the body during this time. The usually high-raw vegan diet that we have become accustomed to, is not adequate for putting on the weight and protein that the body needs to handle periods of sickness and excess weightloss. Of course most doctors believe lots of dairy and meat are the key in this situation, so we have been researching ways to put on weight, vegan-style.

According to The Vegetarian Society, "In order to gain weight it is essential to increase the energy content of your diet. Also, in order for your body to make proper use of protein, you must ensure sufficient energy. The most concentrated form of energy in the diet is from fat. If you can tolerate fat then try and increase the fat content of your diet."

Have an Avo: Avocados are creamy and high in calories and nutrients. They are also soft and easy to eat during times when mouth ulcers and other nasty side-effects take hold.

Get Smooth: Smoothies are a great way to add extra protein in the form of a protein powder, and calories with the addition of soy or rice milk, soy yoghurt or ice-cream, nuts, seeds, bananas and even soft silken tofu.

Get Saucy: Have meals with a good sauce, made with pureed fried onions, perhaps with tomatoes or mushrooms. To increase the energy density of sauces use vegan margarine and add soya milk or silken tofu.

Beans: Cooked beans can be added to soups, stews, pies, salads, etc as well as being able to be pureed or used for dips such as hummus.

Soy Soy Soy: All of the over-processed soy products that we usually steer clear of are full of calories and protein. If you are looking to bulk up, delicious products such as Tofutti cream cheese will certainly help!

Go Nutty: Nut butters are a great way to get lots of the good fat and nutrients from nuts in an easily digestible way. Choose raw almond butter, sunflower butter, tahini, or hazelnut butter and add them to crackers, vegetable crudites, salads, deserts, baked goods or have them on toast.

Oily Goodness: Extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, etc are a healthy way to add good fats to the diet.

Rice, Pasta, Gnocchi, sprouted bread, vegan custard and yummy vegan cheese are some of the other things that spring to mind if you are looking to put on weight.

Unfortunately, there are not many vegan meal replacements, such as Sustagen, which offer all of the nutrients that the body needs in a liquid form for times when patients cannot eat. Vega Complete Meal Replacement is a powder that was formulated by a vegan triathlete and is available at, but it contains some natural products that pharmacists and oncologists may not agree to.

If you are looking to put on weight as a cancer patient, then there will likely be other challenges that need to be addressed also, such as dry mouth, loss of appetite, sore throat and mouth ulcers, nausea, constipation or diarrhea and loss or change of taste. The most important thing is to get some form of nutrients in to the body each day, so whatever is tolerable and appealing is often the only consideration.

While some of the Crew are enjoying pigging out on all of these vegan delicacies, we are looking forward to the end of treatment when a return to a healthy RAW vegan diet will help to detox the body!!

Here is a lovely recipe for Lemon Poppy Scones to get your taste buds drooling...

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup margarine
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut in margarine until the mixture is the consistency of large grains of sand. I like to use my hands to rub the margarine into the flour. Stir in poppy seeds, lemon zest and lemon juice. Combine the soy milk and water, and gradually stir into the dry ingredients until the batter is moistened, but still thick like biscuit dough. You may not need all of the liquid. Spoon 1/4 cup sized plops of batter onto the greased baking sheet so they are about 3 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes the preheated oven, until golden.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's All About the Dog!

Hallo Readers,

Have been away in the lush green organic countryside of Northern NSW, enjoying some great vegan restaurants in Lismore and Byron Bay. If you are looking for animal friendly vegan eating, then "Sweet Peas" is a great place in Lismore to eat with a friendly relaxed vibe as well as "Cardamon Pod" in the centre of Byron Bay! We stayed at an eco resort which I read about here on Veganera where our pooch was allowed to roam freely right behind a dog friendly beach. It's a great place for families with dogs to much so that our "Odie" is now officially depressed, after spending a week living right on the beach.

Dogs have feelings...and he really is a very sad city dog this week...just lying around with a look on his face like, I have no beach, I have no sand, I have no sticks, I have no surf, no nothing, my life is over!! This is a dog who gets walked at a leash free 3 km creek bedded park at least once a day, played with in the backyard constantly and pampered to every stretch of the word, but he is just in dog heaven at the beach! When he arrives, he runs up to strangers barking madly in excitement, as if to say, "I AM AT THE BEACH!! CAN YOU SEE ME...I AM AT THE BEACH!!"

People become frightened of his excitement mistaking him for a viscous hound, understandably not realising he is trying to tell them only of his fortune! After he calms down from the mere arrival, he then finds the biggest stick he can possibly find, and digs it around in the sand, carries it to the water, pushes it back out to the sand...over and over! When my partner surfs, he is not sure who he likes the most, so he runs between myself and my book and the edge of the water...of course "Bottom Feeder" as Odie and I like to refer to my partner, both know he loves me the most, however we like to humour "BF" into the illusion that he may be "Top Dog."
Enough said of my little family idiosyncrasies, here is a new recipe for the week for you all to enjoy. It is a vegan pooch recipe this week, that my Odie loves.
1 cup cooked Brown rice
1 Grated carrot
1 flower Broccoli cut up very small
1 fat clove of garlic
1 can (400gms) bortelli beans, or chick peas, or lentils
1 zucchini grated
handful fresh basil
1/2 cup pinenuts
Smash pinenuts, garlic and basil in a mortor and pestal. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and warm in a frypan.
Lightly fry broccoli and carrot until soft, drain beans in collander then add beans and raw zucchini. Mix around and add rice at the end. Serve in your animal friends bowl with a blessing of love!! hehe
It's all about the dog!!
Over and Out