The Balanced Diet: Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Red Curry

Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Red Curry -- a super healthy non dairy option with roasted cauliflower florets

People always freak out about summer in the blogosphere. But as much as I love fresh corn and tomatoes, fall is really my favorite time to eat and cook. For one thing, I prefer it when my sweat glands go into overdrive from the neck up, which they definitely do from this vegan cauliflower soup with spicy red curry, rather than from the waist down like when I’m sitting on a sticky plastic chair in 90 degree New York City humidity trying to house a smoothie. I won’t even get into what my grey T-shirts look like after an afternoon of cooking in a not-so well ventilated studio apartment in the summertime.

So now that things are cooling down, I’m excited to switch on my oven and turn up the heat (spice-wise) on some of my go-to fall soups and stews. I got the idea for this curried cauliflower soup from one of my favorite vegetarian bloggers, Kate. I loved the idea of roasting the cauliflower until sweet and caramelized and then pureeing it with Thai curry paste. The resulting color is so much more exciting than regular cauliflower soup, though I’m sure there’s a paint chip named after it somewhere.

cauliflower head for my roasted curried cauliflower soup recipe cauliflower florets pre-roasting - in preparation for my vegan healthy cauliflower soup recipe cauliflower florets pre-roasting - in preparation for my curried healthy cauliflower soup recipe Roasted cauliflower, about to be a vegan healthy soup with red curry paste panang curry paste for my vegan cauliflower soup recipe with dairy-free coconut milk and Thai flavors

There’s a great little Thai takeout place in Chelsea Market that also has a wall of grocery items. I usually try to stock up there on condiments and rice noodles, since their brands are so much more authentic in flavor and texture than what you’ll find at Whole Foods (no offense, Thai Kitchen and Annie Chung). The curry pastes with primarily English lettering tend to have half the heat of some of these other products, so keep that in mind when adding more or less to this vegan cauliflower soup recipe. You can use any flavor you like. I decided to go with a Penang curry instead of regular red. Continue reading

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Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils and Mushrooms

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils and Mushrooms | Gluten-Free + Vegan | Irish Pub Food

Last week, despite my jetlag from Jackson Hole, I spent my Monday preparing vegetarian shepherd’s pie and playing hostess. Usually, the idea of getting friends together over good food is enough to motivate me beyond the worst post-wedding weekend fatigue. And this gathering was extra energizing in that the occasion was not just that I had 10 types of casseroles to test that day, but to raise money for a good cause.

A few months ago I was asked to help spread the word about Lauren Bush Lauren’s new FEED Supper initiative. Over the course of one month, leading up to World Food Day on October 16th, the initiative is trying to raise money for 1 million meals. Instead of a series of big benefit galas, the power of FEED Supper lies in community gatherings for good. To participate, all you have to do is host a dinner. Instead of bringing a bottle of wine, ask guests to give $11 to FEED, which amounts to 10 meals donated. The math is easy and empowering—with just a table of 7 girls (and a few other generous no shows), we were able to raise nearly 4,000 meals.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils and Mushrooms | Gluten-Free + Vegan | Irish Pub Food Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils and Mushrooms | Gluten-Free + Vegan | Irish Pub Food Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils and Mushrooms | Gluten-Free + Vegan | Irish Pub Food Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils and Mushrooms | Gluten-Free + Vegan | Irish Pub Food

I had been looking forward to the dinner for weeks and wanted to design a menu that was easy to transport, since my friend Sophie volunteered her beautiful terrace as the venue (which is a lot more worthy of the price of admission than my coffee table). I also wanted to choose a main course that was affordable for people to replicate as hosts, leaving more money in the budget for donating meals or feeding additional guests. Continue reading

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6 Strategies to Stop Feeling Crazy Around Food Today

Isabel Foxen Duke - Stop Fighting Food - Self Help Advice on Eating Disorders and Body Image | How to Break the Diet Binge Cycle

Last week, to kick off the Fall season of my Wellness Wednesday series, I sat down with Isabel Foxen Duke, the founder of Stop Fighting Food. We talked about emotional eating, the diet-binge cycle, and what it takes to finally stop eating an entire jar of nutella at 1am when no one’s looking.

I think there are very few women who can claim that they haven’t been touched by disordered eating at some stage of their lives—even if it was just by way of watching a friend struggle through a troubled relationship with food. It’s certainly not something I’ve openly touched upon on this site, though my philosophy on food—eating a lot of nutritious ingredients, while never depriving yourself of your cravings—certainly stems from a very anti-diet and self-restriction standpoint. But it’s hard to talk someone into adding 1/4 of olive oil to their eggplant, if there are so many questions about food sapping their mental energy.

“We usually define clinical eating disorders, as you know when you get to the point where you’re engaging in really physically self-harming behaviors, right? When you get to the point of throwing up your food. When you get to the point of being so clinically underweight that it’s dangerous for your health. But in reality, there’s a lot of shit that happens before that,” Isabel said during our interview.

These are all the issues Isabel’s program Stop Fighting Food deals with. If they sound at all familiar to you, read on for some strategies that I pulled from our Wellness Wednesday hangout on how to start having a healthier relationship with food. And for more, definitely sign up for the Stop Fighting Food Video Training Series to get Isabel’s 3 free videos!

1. Break the diet-binge cycle by eliminating ‘fuck it’ eating.

When women are obsessed with food they often find themselves trapped in the diet binge cycle. They’ll be really “good” one day and then fall off the wagon and all of a sudden there goes the whole box of chocolate chip cookies when no one’s looking. “There’s a lot of this sort of secretive, hiding behavior, lots of shame around food, particularly when we’re not eating perfectly—which no one ever does.” The guilt perpetuates itself and can further more negative and self destructive behaviors, says Isabel. “It’s like oh my gosh I feel so guilty that I broke my diet or broke the way I’m supposed to eat. Now screw it.”

“I call it ‘fuck it’ eating. I’m going to eat the whole thing and then tomorrow I’ll be good again. It’s a cycle that women find themselves in and most women feel really alone in that cycle. They don’t realize that this is something that huge numbers of women to some degree or another are dealing with because there’s so much pressure on women and food in our society.”

2. Change your language and remove the morality from food.

My ex-boyfriend used to get mad at me when I would call my gluten slip-ups “cheating.” And now I see his point. I was fully aware of the consequences of eating something that my body couldn’t process. It wasn’t a matter of gluten being good or bad by nature.

“Traditional diet culture basically gives certain foods morality,” says Isabel. “It’s righteous to eat one way or another. And it’s that righteousness, that morality around food that ultimately ends up creating this diet-binge cycle, right?”

This is an important mind-set shift that I’ve had to work on within the framework of my own dietary constraints. I can eat gluten, but I know that the result will make me sick. There’s no morality around that choice—I’m not a bad person if I eat gluten. I’ll just be an increasingly less fun one as I retire to the fetal position after dinner. Continue reading

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Eat Yourself Pretty: Healthy Raw Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

Raw Cookies! The best healthy oatmeal cookie bites with chocolate chips, nuts and fruit

I introduced this Eat Yourself Pretty column when I first launched the site and then promptly forgot about it. But I was recently given these raw oatmeal cookie bon bons and thought they’d be perfect to share here. These incredibly addictive yet beautifying bites have since become a staple in my pantry and a healthy justification for feeding my sweet tooth.

But let’s back up a bit. You may remember that I did a little detox in the spring that included going off sugar, coffee and alcohol for 30 days. Though I think this is probably a healthy thing to do once a year (I had mine coincide with Lent), I would never have been able to part with all my vices if not for a much more superficial motive: my skin.

raw pumpkin seeds for my healthy oatmeal cookie recipe - non dairy and packed with fruit and nuts diced apricots add to the sticky sweetness of these healthy raw oatmeal chocolate chip cookie balls shredded coconut is another healthy ingredient in these raw oatmeal cookies. Replace the honey with maple syrup and they are vegan. Super healthy dough for my raw oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - they come together like cake balls! raw cookies - so quick and easy! these ones have oatmeal, chocolate chips, and tons of healthy seeds.

Last fall my skin started to go rogue on me. When numerous visits to the dermatologist, and the subsequent antibiotics and steroid injections, did nothing to make me look less like a hormonal teenager, I ended up seeing a strange healer to address the root cause of my recurring skin woes. She said that the real problem was stemming from my liver. Continue reading

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Video: How to Stop Being Crazy Around Food

I think there are very few women who could claim they’ve had a perfect and uncomplicated relationship with food. I know that I certainly haven’t. And the times when I’ve been at my “healthiest” haven’t always been the healthiest emotionally. If you’re obsessing over what you’re eating all the time, no amount of kale salad can make you healthy. This week, to kick off the Fall season of my Wellness Wednesday series, I sat down with Isabel Foxen Duke, founder of Stop Fighting Food. We talked about emotional eating, the diet-binge cycle, and what it takes to finally stop eating an entire jar of nutella at 1am. For a quick taste, check out her great 4-minute videos here – she has an incredibly interesting take on eating behaviors and body image. For the longer 30-minute WW interview, watch above.

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Wellness Wednesday is Back This Fall!

unnamed In case you thought I’d gotten sick of this whole wellness business, I’m letting you know that my Google hangout series is officially back as of today at noon!

With all my summer travel and the world being away from their desks, I thought it was best to take a little break over the last couple months and recalibrate. Luckily though, this gave me plenty of time to plan out an amazing line-up of experts for the fall.

To jog your memory, in case your head got as fried as mine did at the beach this summer, I started this series in March to start talking about all sorts of balanced lifestyle choices beyond food. The kind of healthy comfort food I preach on this site is a great first step to start living better. But diet alone is only one piece of the puzzle. There are so many other things that contribute to not just to being healthy on paper, but to feeling well.

The purpose of these interviews is to hone in on easy tactics to do right by your body without giving up your life. I take a similar approach to my food—eating a lot of good with a little bad—that I do to these “life recipes.” But I couldn’t create them without the help of amazing experts in these other fields. So get ready for more great conversations and takeaways coming your way this fall!

altversion1 For my first hangout post-summer hiatus, I want to tackle a very sensitive and challenging issue. I see so many women in my life and work constantly struggling with food and their weight.

As someone who has learned to turn a love/hate relationship with food into one of pure pleasure and respect, I want to talk about the emotional side of eating. If you’re someone who feels like dieting or weight management are a full time job and a constant form of stress, no amount of hemp seeds in your fried rice is going to be enough to make you feel “healthy.”

So for today’s hangout, I’ve got Isabel Foxen Duke, my friend and founder of Stop Fighting Food, joining me to talk about how to break out of this tiring cycle. She spent years studying women’s eating habits, and discovered that it’s our beliefs and thoughts about food and weight that keep us stuck in the diet-binge cycle — and it’s in changing our thinking that we can find a way out. Continue reading

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