Support a Documentary Series on Vegan Athletes

One of the highlights of going up to Fargo for the Misfit conference was meeting Kristin from the blog Will Travel For Vegan Food.

Today she shared a video on a documentary which is geared towards breaking the myth of vegans being weak and capturing the lives of vegan athletes performing in different athletic disciplines.

Strongest Hearts Documentary

I always get asked if by being vegan I am weaker or I feel weak. Reality is that even though I took a break from training in the last few months (since March), being vegan keeps me in the best possible shape and with energy throughout my days.

Support the Kickstarter

Review the kickstarter and look at supporting this unique an awesome documentary.  

San Juan Vegan Eats with Asian Flavors

Lamp - 1st Visit to Sogo Asian Bistro

When I find a place that has Vegan options in Puerto Rico I feel need to share it with you so you can help me spread the word.

I shared on my personal blog part of the awesome experience I had a few days ago during a business lunch  at SOGO Asian Bistro in San Juan.

The next day I took my family for lunch and here is a quick review of the delicious and well prepared meal we enjoyed.

My company eating at SOGO.

Lucy and Daniela ready to try SOGO.

Fast Service with a Smile

We got there during the lunch hour rush which seemed pretty packed. As the patrons left to get back to their duties, we sat and enjoyed the rest of our meal.

That said if you want a good meal at a great value and don’t have more than an hour for a lunch break, the food is served in a very timely manner.

Kahoo Yu - Owner of Sogo

Kahoo Yu, Owner, always smiling.

Vegan Asian Appetizers

We started our meal when the owner Kahoo, (a good friend of mine) recommended ordering sautéed vegetables as a side and some spring rolls. They were both great options.

We also started off with some Jasmine tea to set a relaxing tone to our lunch.

Vegan Options in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Vegetable Spring Rolls

Vegan Appetizer - Veggies

Mix of Sautéed Vegetables

Vegan Asian Entrees

When I visit a restaurant with Vegan options,  I usually ask for as many vegan food items as I can fit in my stomach (I hope my personal trainer is not reading this).

I ordered a bento box which included the following:

  • Salad with Ginger Dressing
  • Fried Vegetable Rice
  • Sautéed Vegetables
  • Veggie Sushi Roll
Part of my Huge Bento Box

Vegan Bento Box

For my daughter (and me) I ordered fried tofu with black mushrooms and Lucy ordered a few sushi vegetable rolls that where all delicious.

Fried Tofu, Black Mushrooms and Vegetables

Fried Tofu, Black Mushrooms and Vegetables

Vegan Dessert

Lychee in Martini Glass

Lychee

After our entrees, we had dessert which were Lychee Fruit in a cute martini glass.

Overall the meal was great and very tasty; something difficult for many regular restaurants when they prepare vegan options.

I am so thankful for Kahoo and how he went the extra mile to cater to our lifestyle, the attention to detail he paid to Daniela, so we could have one of the best meals in a long time.

If you are near San Juan and you’re seeking some vegan eats with an Asian, twist feel free to stop by SOGO Asian Bistro.

More About SOGO Asian Bistro

SOGO Asian Bistro
Centro Comercial San Francisco
San Juan, Puerto Rico
(787) 766-0111

1st Visit to Sogo Asian Bistro

Super Time at SuperFoods PR

SuperFoods

Since we moved to the Metro Area of San Juan, Puerto Rico, I have been on the lookout for restaurants that serve vegetarian and vegan options for lunch or dinner. Prior to Raul @rj_c becoming vegan, we would share desserts at @PFChangs if we dined there. But there are few places that offer vegan and vegetarian treats that please both our palates while being nutritious. Add to the mix our almost three year old daughter, who will try food from mommy’s plate, we want to make sure that what she intakes is delicious and healthy.

I came across the SuperFoodsPR Facebook page from someone who visited the place when we moved to the area. SuperFoodsPR creates smoothies and fruit bowls with Açaí berries as one of its main ingredients. The Açaí berry is considered one of the top ten super foods you could consume. You can find more information about this berry here.

Fresh Bananas and Granola

To SuperFoods We Go!

From the outside it looks like a small store, but when you enter, there are plenty of stools and three counters for clients to sit and see how the smoothies and Açaí bowls are made. There is a table in the middle with another seat made from wood pallets.  There other tables in the back, the music is relaxing, and it is always filled with customers. The menu is listed on a chalkboard, reducing paper waste. Their bowls are made from wood and they use eco-friendly cups for their smoothies.

Açai blended with...

Christmas Coquito Bowl

They have seasonal bowls and recently  Raul had the vegan version (sans Gingerbread cookie) of the Christmas Coquito Bowl. The açaí is mixed with coquito, topped with pomegrante, granola, banana, and coconut shreds. Our daughter enjoyed this bowl with her dad and she can help eat half of the bowl. If you need to pick-up some organic foods or vitamins, you can find a variety of items for purchase.

Christmas Acai Bowl Vegan

You can look at their menu to see other options available along with a list of organic ingredients you can add to your bowls. We will definitely go back and try other bowls.

Have you gone to SuperFoods Puerto Rico?

 

Rellenitos de Papa with Daiya Cheese

Relleno de Papa

We all make more mashed potatoes than we would like and that is exactly what happened to me yesterday. Our daughter likes potato wedges, fries, and chunks but mashed, not so much. I don’t like throwing left-overs away and decided I would put them in the fridge and eat them the next day.

Snack Time with Rellenitos de Papa

Snack time is around ten thirty and I decided that instead of re-heating the mashed potatoes for lunch, I would make Rellenitos de Papa with Pepper Jack Daiya Cheese. I had already incorporated the Daiya Cheese into the mashed potatoes from the night before and I decided to fill the small little potato balls with more Daiya Cheese.

I remember trying to make Rellenos de Papa with my grandmother one time and I failed miserably. Her Rellenos de Papa were much bigger (tennis ball sized) and stuffed with ground meat. When we fried the ones I made versus hers, mine turned into fried mashed potatoes. Of course her’s stayed in the shape of a ball.

My mistake was that I handled the potato balls too much and my hand warmed them up. Forming the ball and filling them has to be done quickly. My grandmother used canola oil that covered the Rellenos de Papa in a deep pot, at medium to high heat. She has over 80 years of experience making them. She just celebrated her 90th birthday this past July.

This is a vegan version and you could find faux meats to fill  them with or any leftover veggies from the night before and of course make them much bigger. I also did not deep fry but pan fry in olive oil and did not move them around. I browned each side and then with a spoon coated the entire rellenito with olive oil whilst leaving them in place.  These were small appetizer size (golf ball size) and were made pretty quickly.

Rellenitos de Papa

Left over mashed potatoes (cold preferably)

Pepper Jack Daiya Cheese

Olive Oil or whatever oil you use for frying

2 tablespoons of Flour with a sprinkle of salt and pepper (this is to coat the balls)

Dipping Sauce Mayo-Kectchup

1 tablespoon of Vegan Mayo (any brand we used Earth Balance)

1 tablespoon Ketchup (we used Woodstock Organic Tomato Ketchup)

1 garlic clove peeled and shredded (raw not cooked)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking the Rellenitos de Papa

I made the mayo-ketchup sauce after I had given Raul a test rellenito. He thought it would be a good idea to use this as a dipping sauce. Next time, I will make the mayo-ketchup first so it could really have that garlic taste.

My leftover’s allowed me to make seven, cheesy filled, balls. I quickly formed each ball leaving a little hole in the middle, I put the shreds of Daiya that could fit, closed up, and rolled in the flour. I made sure to coat all sides of the ball. I  heated up the olive oil in a small frying pan (medium heat) and did not turn the rellenitos over until I saw one side was brown. Once both sides were brown, I used a spoon to drizzle the hot olive oil over the rellenito to make sure the flour was cooked. (If you cook the rellenitos too low, they will get mushy. One of them got too soft.)

This really took about twenty minutes to make; this does not include the taste testing in between. This might be something you could do for a party instead of making the huge rellenos that would fill anyone up in no time. We ate them pretty quickly. If you are a vegetarian, you could use regular cheese and mayo.

I really don’t use exact measurements in this recipe, but I am sure that trial and error won’t hurt. The key is not to move the rellenitos too much while frying or you’ll end up with fried mashed potatoes.

Book Review L.I.V.E. Latin Inspired Vegan & Vegetarian Eats

 

LIVE Book

I was provided an abridged version of L.I.V2.E. (Latin Inspired Vegan & Vegetarian Eats): Local & Organic Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle as a book review by the author, Melinda Gonzalez. Although it was a review of the abridged version, the opinions expressed are solely my own. 

When we started our journey into healthier eating (not just vegan or vegetarian), we had to play a guessing game of what to do and what not to do. Since I was the cook, I did not know that buying and cooking whole foods was better than buying processed vegetarian foods. We are always looking to connect with people who have gone on a food journey similar to our own. Being a vegetarian & vegan Latino family  is strange to some folks in our own families and connecting with folks all over the globe makes us realize that we are not alone.

We recently had a person join our Latino Vegans & Vegetarians group on Facebook. Melinda Gonzalez, who has a blog called Organic Melinda, introduced us to her blog and also made us aware that she had written a book called, L.I.V2.E. (Latin Inspired Vegan & Vegetarian Eats): Local & Organic Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle .  She asked if any blogger would be interested in reviewing her book and I signed up. I was interested in reviewing the book because any recipe that I can veganize for my partner that has a Latin twist, is something I keep on hand and forward to other’s looking to go meatless for a day or for life.

Meal Plan and Exercise Plan

The book is so much more than just recipes; it starts off with the reasons Melinda went vegetarian, to eating super healthy with the birth of her daughter. I can relate to her in the sense that I really did not go vegetarian or eat whole foods until our daughter was born.

For those who don’t know where to start when choosing a healthier meal plan, there is one for you with recipes from the book. If you are a busy family on the go or you are considering incorporating more vegetarian meals during the week, then the meal plan takes the guess work out of your cooking. Exercise is also important and I force myself to move out of the house with my dog at least twice a day, go for walks with our daughter, and swim with her to do exercise. Melinda’s book also provides an exercise plan that was created with the help of a certified personal trainer and registered holistic nutritionist.

Staple Foods for Latinos and Caribbean People

There are foods that have been a staple in many Latino and Caribbean homes that are now considered super foods and are being consumed by those looking for healthier food options.  Melinda explains how foods such as Amaranth, Cacao, and even Avocados have been in the diet of Latinos for many centuries.

If I look at my mom’s recipes, we always had avocados when they were in season and if someone was going to Puerto Rico, my dad always had to have one from the island if they were in season. Living in Puerto Rico, we are lucky to have family members and friends with all sorts of root vegetables and fruit that you can’t find in the states. Ever had Grosellas for dessert? 

Organics on a Budget, GMO’s, & Farmer’s Market List

We buy local organics from El Departamento de La Comida in Santurce, Puerto Rico and we don’t look at price unless it is a tight week budget wise. Melinda has some tips for those looking to purchase local organics on a budget and suggest growing your own or buying at certain times of the month to save some dollars.

Nevertheless, if you are looking to purchase fruits and vegetables that are not Genetically Modified Organisms, then the book also provides an insight on her reasons she avoids GMO’s for her family and offers other alternatives such as growing your own veggies or going to coops.

Since Melinda lives on the East Coast of the United States, she provides a list of Farmer’s Markets in New York and New Jersey. If you purchase the book,you can read more about her conversations with farmers and why sometimes getting labeled as a USDA Organic farm can be costly and lengthy process .

Recipes

This section gives a wide variety of recipes not just Latino dishes. She offers recipes for the entire day; breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts. The recipe that I wanted to try was the Vegan Veggie Mofongo for one simple reason; I wanted to see how baking the plantain in the oven would really taste and come close to deep frying. I have my own way of doing the mofongo which is closer to making Mangú, a Dominican dish that has one boiling the plantain instead of deep frying pieces.

Melinda provided me a tip about not over baking the plantain pieces or they would be hard as sticks. I cooked the pieces, took them out just in time, and mashed them in my mortar and pestle. I served this with mixed vegetables and an avocado salad with spinach and tomato. My partner and I agreed that texture was close to that of deep frying and was actually better than my boiling technique. It is also healthier than deep frying and gives you that bit of crunch that you find with deep frying.

Melinda offers her experience and knowledge in this book and the reasons she chooses to be a tree hugging hippie (she writes that she literally hugs trees and goes barefoot to be grounded with nature.) Purchasing the book would be a good jump start for those who are considering going vegetarian or vegan.

 

 

A Nuttzo Nut & Seed Butter Experience

Nuttzo CHOC and NuttZo original

I have always been a fan of Peanut butter but not almond butter or any other nut butters.

When I was sent Nuttzo, I read that the product was vegan friendly, kosher, and organic. I started adding Nuttzo to my protein shakes (made with  which I drink after training or when I am about to miss a meal.

NuttZo CHOC in a Protein Shake

Going into my Protein Shake.

NuttZo significantly improved the taste (with added on nutritional value) of my vegan protein shakes (I prefer Vega Sport Performance Protein).

Satisfying My Chocolate Cravings

The Chocolate version of NuttZo really helped me satisfy my chocolate cravings.

Since I am a fan of chocolate and at times I don’t have a vegan chocolate options or products, I opened the jar of Nuttzo Choc first and consumed it a lot quicker than the regular jar.

Unique Packaging

I am a big fan of simple and fun packaging. NuttZo is placed inside a jar but the labels are inverted than what we normally see on jars.

I really fell in love with the packaging especially when the ingredients can be easily found on the main label. Later when editing this post I reviewed the website and there is a practical reason why the label is upside down.

Who would of a thought an upside down Jar could easily trick the mind?

Ingredients

Being Vegan I have to make sure I consume protein and other great nutrients such as Omega 3; ingredients found in Nuttzo.

In trying to learn more about Nuttzo, I looked at their site where they provided 8 reasons to eat NuttZo CHOC. The reasons they provided where all tied to health and other benefits such as improving your mood, skin, and why every ingredient makes NuttZo such a great product.

More info on ingredients found here:

I had these two samples of NuttZo delivered to my home in Puerto Rico where I enjoyed them and hope the product becomes available to ship to the Island.

If you want to find out more on where to find, try, and buy Nuttzo visit their cool website.

Disclosure: Even though our two Complimentary Samples where sent to our house on behalf of Nuttzo and Smack Media, we don’t feel that this influenced the writing of this post in any way.

Review

Zest Restaurant at @SanJuanWBC Hotel Caters to Vegetarians!

Raul and I are always looking for local places to eat that can cater to both of our palates.

We recently were hired for @CIMAPR to help a local boutique hotel, San Juan Water & Beach Club with telling their online story. One of the most exciting things that happened with our new client is that their Executive Chef, Raúl Correa, was nominated for @FandW Food & Wine Magazines People’s Best New Chef Gulf Coast region. 

When I sat down to talk to the General Manager, José Torres, he told me they had a complete vegetarian menu and not just one for omnivores.

Vegetarian Menu Zest Restaurant San Juan Water & Beach Club

Anytime a restaurant can accomadate our family, that is a place that we can support. With a little help from our community, we are asking for you to vote for Chef Raúl in the Gulf Coast category and read more about his inspiration for cooking.

We are rooting for Chef Raúl and hope that if you are vegetarian or vegan, stop by Isla Verde and have your meal at Zest!

The Way Life Should Be

Qué Linda Está La MañanaThat’s the start of an old song from Mexico. I say that today. Almost out loud. Before the sunrise.  Before the storm picks up again.  Before my power outage is restored. Before the cars slosh through the wet streets.

 

I love the mañanas. They are so peaceful.  The Way Life Should Be.

 

You can hear the birds chirping.  The crickets creaking.  And, even the train’s whistle miles away. The Way Life Should Be.

 

In the morning, I am closer to nature. Closer to the peace that eludes far too many of us during the day.  Or evening. The Way Life Should Be.

 

In the mornings, I can soak in prana.  Breathe the fresh air. Feel the cool breeze on my bare arms. Wiggle my toes in the sand — without burning them. Or ground my feet in the grass, and feel the dew tickle the souls of my feet.  The Way Life Should Be.

 

Being at one with nature seems so inherent. Yet, nature is almost invisible, today, in my culture. We shut out the nature that is all around us. We destroy our forests and jungles and enclose ourselves inside concrete blocks with windows that are sealed shut. Curtains and blinds further insulate us from our natural surroundings.

 

People prefer to spend hours and hours in the mall, or surfing for sales electronically.  Our fields are tended by mega-monopolies. Not mom and dad.

 

As we evolve into supra-material beings, we set aside our personal lives. And our interpersonal lives. Relationships are fleeting. Or flittering. Or twittering. We no longer stay with our flocks. Our herds are herd-less.

 

Our youth seek the packs to stay connected. So they join gangs. Or armies. Or navies. Or seals. They carry weapons. Our kids must pass through metal detectors to go to the classrooms.

 

In my state, you can vote with a gun license, but not a student ID.  War and murders are headlines and story lines in the media, but you have to do a google search to learn about philosophy, love, or how to plant a garden.

 

In some neighborhoods, you can buy beer around the corner, but no fresh vegetables.  It’s easier to join the military than get a full time job.  In many big name big box stores, you can buy ammunition, but not an organic apple.

 

I never understood why Adam and Eve couldn’t eat the apple. Nor why Cain killed Abel. Or was it vice versa? Or am I off a generation? I never understood the bible. But I understood that it sounded like paradise. Adam and Eve … naked … surrounded by nature.  In the beginning. The Way Life Should Be. Qué linda está la mañana.

Decisions in Vegan Nutrition

Many of us have the bad habits of trying to eat things that might not be as healthy as we think they are. In the perfect world everything edible, with moderation, would bring nutritional value. Reality is everything, edible by humans does not necessarily mean nutritious.

I have been vegetarian for 6+ years and at almost one year of being vegan, I can say that I can still find many ways to improve what I eat.

My enemy Sugar

Every once in a while my archenemy, Sugar, starts to battle with me and more times than I want to admit, she wins.

I have found many healthier options when it comes to cookies, but I can still eliminate those options completely.

Vegan Beer and Spirits

Every once in a while I will have a drink or two making sure it is a spirit or beer that is made in a vegan friendly way. I use the Vegan is Easy app to help me decide which ones are vegans and which ones are not. But I would be better off not having any drinks.

To learn more about Vegan friendly spirits and beer, feel free to go to Barnivore Vegan Alcohol Directory and download their iPhone app.

Organic Farmer’s Market is Very Important

For quite some time we have been visiting the local Organic Farmer’s Market and making sure we get as much fresh, organic foods while supporting our local farmers.

My biggest commitment to nutrition is tied to giving a good example for my daughter to follow. In her case at 21 months old she is still breastfed and vegetarian.

As individuals we are prone to take the less healthy route when eating. But when we think about our role as parents, our minds shift and make sure we make the best choice; not only for our daughter but for ourselves as we are the primary caregivers.

Our biggest Challenge is the Family our Dog

I also see the importance in keeping our dogs healthy and the great options of dog food that are available for them. I started thinking on how to improve the quality of lifestyle of my Labrador Juanga. What I find curious is how people would sometimes feed their dog a more strict and healthier diet than what they feed their kids and themselves. In our house it is the opposite and we might need to fix that.

Nutritious and Healthy Drinks

At our local farmer’s market, we purchase juices from Martin and Itege, our Rastafarian Vegan Friends, who are encyclopedias of nutrition. Martin and Itege have a unique way of offering vegan and even medicinal drinks that have great taste and are nutritious.

Leading by Example

As parents we need to lead by example. Seeking options for kids that are fun to eat, with a high nutritional value, and with great taste is a challenge everyone should sign up for.

I try to give my daughter the best and there is a lot more to learn. I think we have done a great job, but we still have many more years of learning and exchanging information with those who care about nutrition.

In what ways do you identify and find great tasting food options that are healthy for your family?

Join @peace_n_loaf for a Slice of Hope

The ladies at @Peace_n_loaf are teaming up with an industry magazine called, Pizza Today, in a charity  event called Slice of Hope. Slice of Hope is dedicated to raising money for breast cancer awareness and is counting with the donations made at participating pizzerias in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Look for participating stores near you.

I spoke to Stephanie and Vanessa at the Organic Markert, (Isa was home sick with a cold)  regarding the Slice of Hope charity event for this coming Friday, October 12. They will be open from 3-9 p.m. (their usual hours) and will be donating 15% of their sales to the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation.

You will be able to purchase your regular sized pies and if you don’t want an entire pie, you can purchase a nice sized piece of pizza with a drink for $5.00. I have eaten at @Peace_n_loaf on several occassions and their slices are not small at all.

Besides who wants to cook on Friday after a long day of work?

 

If you need further details, you can contact Stephanie or Isa regarding this event on Facebook , via Twitter, or Website.