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Book review: Ani’s 15-Day Fat Blast: The Kick-Ass Plan to get Lighter, Tighter, and Sexier… Super Fast, by Ani Phyo – Part 2

22 May

…continued from Part 1.

In Phase 2, the weight loss stopped happening for me. I started off at 135.2lbs at the beginning of this program, and then went down to 132.4lbs after Phase 1 (on the 4 day of the program), went down to 131.4lbs on the 5th day, and then I seemed to reach my plateau, despite exercising every day, and following the meal plan (but eating less than required every day, due to already being full on about half the prescribed amount of food). Actually, on my 6th day, I actually gained weight! Went back up to 132lbs, then down, up, down, up. So at the end of Phase 2, I was a disappointing 132.2lbs, which was pretty much the same as I had been at the end of Phase 1. The headaches started to lessen when I started Phase 2, and were gone by the end of it.

Phase 2 introduced pre-biotics and pro-biotics (which are supposed to “eat away belly fat”), plus “healthy fats” such as avocado, coconut oil, and nuts. There were a LOT of these healthy fats from Phase 2 and onward in the program, and so I wasn’t surprised that my body wasn’t losing weight due to the high caloric content of the meals. For example, after one day of Phase 2 where I actually gained weight, I calculated the caloric content of the day’s food (and I had actually eaten all the prescribed food that day, I think, or at least close to it), and it came to 1400 calories! So no wonder I wasn’t losing weight with that kind of caloric intake (where 1 tbsp of olive or coconut oil racks up over 100 calories)! With exercise, I cannot take in more than 1100 calories a day and expect to lose weight. I know other people can, but my body is weird and doesn’t work that way.

There are some desserts, too, like this yummy and satisfying Peach Crumble.

There are some desserts, too, like this yummy and satisfying Peach Crumble.

Phase 2 was Days 3-7, and Phase 3 (the final phase) was days 8-15. I was still really enjoying all the different foods in the meal plan, and Phase 3 was no exception. In fact, in Phase 3, you get to eat some yummy desserts! And this is where I want to talk about some of my favorite recipes in the whole meal plan itself.

But before I get to that, I should mention that there are a few foods that I absolutely detest and cannot tolerate, and so I omitted the meals that called for these certain ingredients (pineapple, grapefruit, and mushrooms) and substituted them with other meals from that phase or below. This was totally fine to do, according to Ani. She stresses the flexibility in this program, and also stresses that she wants you to be full and satisfied while on this “diet”. (even though it really doesn’t feel like a diet!) So it’s okay to go ahead and make more food to eat if you feel that that’s what you want – but that was never the case with me!

So as for the meals that I loved, there are a few that I want to give attention to. First of all, the beloved shakes (which I started my every day with, much like in my regular life, but with way more variety) My favorite shake, hands down, was definitely the Chocolate Banana Mylk Shake, but that’s to be expected when you’re blending bananas and chocolate together! I really enjoyed the Blueberry Blast and Orange Vanilla Shakes as well, and other shakes that followed the same basic model, that is: blend one type of fruit with some nuts, some ice, some water with a bit of matcha in it, and maybe some coconut oil or cinnamon – and you’ve got a delicious drink that will take most of the day to drink because it keeps you super satiated! (due to the fat content, I think – Ani says that these drinks are designed to keep you satisfied)

Kreamy Chipotle Salad

Kreamy Chipotle Salad – another winner.

With regards to the salads, I was blown away by the deliciousness of the various dressings, as combined with the really wholesome mix of greens (mesclun mix, romaine, cabbage, etc.) and veggies, such as cucumbers, bean sprouts, and/or shredded carrots. My favorite salad overall was the Spring Sauerkraut Salad with Thermo Dressing. I actually learned to like sauerkraut (which I had always thought I hated, but really, I didn’t) because of this salad, and the mixture of bean sprouts, sauerkraut and the creamy, tangy miso-based dressing was one of the best things I had eaten in quite some time.

Again, I must stress that you don’t feel deprived on this diet, and, in fact, the food is absolutely delicious, which is why you don’t even feel like you’re on a diet. Think of it more as just a new and exciting way to eat, rather than a meal plan of restrictions.

The Cabbage Salad with Cucumber Miso Dressing was also fantastic (another great dressing on a bed of ever-so-healthy shredded cabbage and carrots), and I loved the Corn and Basil Mesclun Salad because it taught me to eat fresh, uncooked corn from the cob – something that I had not even known before was possible, and so delicious!!

Moving on to the soups, you might think it’s weird to eat a soup that isn’t piping hot, because if it’s room temperate or cold, then it’s kind of just like a savory smoothie, right? Right – but there is really nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I would pack my soups for work in my Vitamix drink bottle and just drink it from the bottle – so delicious, flavourful, and sometimes spicy, too!

I loved the Coconut Tomato Soup. I loved its simplicity in that it was only raw tomatoes (which I am not a fan of at all, on their own), a bit of coconut oil, a bit of miso, and a bit of ginger and optional garlic. But the mélange of all these ingredients in my blender turned out one of the most delicious concoctions you can imagine! And this was the case for so many of the other soups as well: blend a handful of simple ingredients together and, in minutes, you have an amazing and filling meal to eat that is low on calories and high in nutritive value. This is a way of eating that I need to start adopting into my regular lifestyle.

Celery Almond Pate

The Celery Almond Pâté – I can eat this forever!

As for the recipe section in the book entitled “Rolls, Wraps, Noodles, Patés”, I certainly do have some favorites from here, even though I didn’t eat everything from this section (avoiding the mushroom meals, and seaweed ones as well – another food that I can’t stand). It was from this section that I fell officially in love with kelp noodles, and that is because of the amazing Marinara Sauce that I made to go with them, which was incredibly simple to make and I’m flabbergasted at how blending together so simple ingredients (cherry tomatoes, a few herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil) can make one of the tastiest sauces ever! I loved this dish so much that I made it 3 times over the course of the program.

I was also blown away by the deliciousness and simplicity of the Celery Almond Paté, which was so good on its own, I thought. I just ate it straight with a fork – no wrapping or dipping accompaniments needed. When you mix together chopped celery, ginger, garlic, raisins, miso, some herbs, and almond meal, this happens to create an amazing “paté” that I could eat forever.

By the end of the 15 Day Fat Blast program, my total weight loss was a paltry 4.6lbs. After the initial weight loss in the “liquid only” part of the program, the remaining daily meals in the program allowed me to only just maintain my weight (all while exercising daily as well). But while I didn’t lose anywhere near the promised 15lbs as I had hoped for at the beginning of this program, I feel that what I gained was so much more valuable, which was the introduction of a true transition to 100% raw plant-based eating. As I said at the beginning of this review, this is something that I had been striving for for the past few years, and now, I’ve finally accomplished it! I’ve been completely raw now for the last 18 days!

Fudge Brownies w- Fresh Berries

Fudge Brownies with Fresh Berries – simple ingredients, satisfying flavour.

I would like to see this “Fat Blast” program touted not so much as a way to lose weight, but more so as a transition into an extremely healthy (and new) way of eating. I was able to experience so many good things from carrying out the meal plan of this program. I learned how to make (and enjoy) so many new and healthy foods; my mindset has now shifted, I believe, to want to eat fully (or at least more) raw in the future; and I learned the practical process of how to actually “go raw” (and to do it the right way).

When I went into a supermarket the other day to buy some peaches, I looked along the middle isles of the store and it seemed really weird to me to see that these aisles consisted of “food” that was mostly all in boxes and plastic packaging! I feel so much more removed from these processed products now and really have no desire to have them back in my life. What’s in these boxes and plastic bags is not food. Food is the variety of fruits, vegetables and greens that we have abundant to us (at least here in North America), and there are so many combinations in which to eat these that you can never get bored from it. Food is deliciousness that grows on trees or in the ground. Food is not something that has multiple ingredients written on a label, and packaged with preservatives and a big fancy colourful label!

It is fully my intention to continue to incorporate many of the recipes in this book into my regular lifestyle, and I am so grateful to have been introduced to these delicious and super healthy recipes that utilize solely whole plant foods. I plan to continue on this path as well in discovering more delicious things to eat by buying Ani’s other books and tackling the raw food books that I already own. So thank you to Ani Phyo for this book! I may not have gotten lighter, tighter and sexier, but I ate delicious, wholesome, and healthy food for 15 days, all made from pure ingredients, and that is what I ultimately value and take away from this experience!

Indigo Food Café: Raw Crackers with Coconut Cheese & Double-Layered Mousse

10 Mar

I love Indigo Café! Having just opened in Kitsilano (Vancouver) in 2011 by local raw chef Lovena Galyide (whose raw un-cooking workshops I’ve had the pleasure of participating in in the past), I am so pleased that there’s another restaurant in town that offers a whole menu of raw vegan food – and delicious raw vegan food, at that. I need to get there more often, and, in fact, have plans upcoming to go again next week.

I was at Indigo in January and revisited Lovena’s Zaatar Crackers and Golden Tortilla Chips with No Milk Coconut Cheese, which I had been craving since the previous time I had been there, months before. Demonstrating the virtues of using a dehydrator (of which the ownership of one I want badly), the crackers are crispy and delicious and make a perfect compliment to the tangy coconut cheese, which seems too daunting to me to make myself, so I’m glad to have this café to go to to get my fill of yummy and healthy non-dairy coconut cheese coming straight from the raw coconut itself.

Zaatar Crackers and Golden Tortilla Chips with Coconut Cheese

And then I had to have dessert, of course, because Lovena’s desserts are amazing! Touting a variety of delicious desserts (all with accompanying food porn appropriate photos on display), this was not an easy choice. This is another reason why I have to go back – so I can eventually try them all! I opted for the Double-Layered Mousse with Berries and Chocolate and savoured, with euphoria, every morsel of every bite of this delectable wonder. Raw desserts are the best, I am always saying. Please give me more.

Double-Layered Mousse with Berries and Chocolate

Indigo Food Café is only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at this time, with private classes and special events being held the other days of the week. Get there when you can.

Indigo Food Café
2589 West 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
604-568-6549 or 604-537-7288