Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats from Around the World Cookbook Review

When I started looking I was surprised at the number of vegan gluten free cookbooks on the market. I was worried my niche of reduced dairy and gluten would limit by choices but they were actually quite overwhelming. I was drawn to Allyson Kramer’s books by the gorgeous photos. I was drawn to the colors and textures coming alive in the pages before I even had a chance to read the mouth watering recipe descriptions.

Brian gave me her book, Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats from Around the World, last Christmas but I admit I hadn’t cooked out of it a great deal. The year kicked off with a flurry of new clients and projects (such is the life of a fitness professional). When busy I stick to my favorite tried and true quick dinners like the taco recipe from Tosca’s Eat Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook or this great lentil sloppy joe recipe that makes plenty of leftovers. Both recipes are done in 30 minutes or less.

In what may be my biggest criticism with the cookbook, most of her recipes appeared more complicated than I wished to attempt on a busy Wednesday night. For example, the English Cottage Pie is seemly simple dish but the multi step process requires at least 45 minutes of preparation time before it even hits the oven. I save it for Saturday nights when I have more time and need leftovers for the week.

Also, with Brian traveling a lot, I also haven’t cooked as much because I am trying to avoid leftover overload. When he’s gone, they just start to pile up. I’ve also been cooking less when he’s gone to just give myself a break.  I cook simple things like eggs or making dishes he doesn’t have a taste for like Instant Potato Soup from another of my favorite vegan cookbooks.

But the cookbook has been calling to me, begging me to experiment with ingredients like jackfruit and dulse.  As I made meal plans I consciously included recipes that I promised myself I had to try. In the last couple of weeks here are the recipes from the book I have tackled:

Spiced Lentil Harira

Pain Ordinaire

Veggie Frittata (without the Salsa Verde)

Save the Fishies Cakes

English Cottage Pie

Farinata Pizza


Banana Nepalese Pancakes with “Bacon”

Big winners? The Veggie Frittata and the English Cottage Pie. They passed the leftover test (if they leftovers move I know Brian liked it, if they didn’t I shouldn’t make it again any time soon). Both take extra prep time but are worth it when you can.  The pancakes were okay but I like my protein pancakes better. I enjoyed the side of bacon more and see myself using it for more than just breakfast.

I can’t say the Save the Fishies Cakes tasted like fish (it’s been a loooong time since I’ve had fish) but they did taste pretty good. The biggest disappointment? The Pain Ordinaire. I must have done something wrong because it was runny like soup. Yet I baked it anyway. It tasted a bit yeasty but actually created a decent loaf, albeit a somewhat crumbly one. I do intend to try it again in hopes it was just operator error.

And I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the amazing collection of recipes she makes with no gluten or animal products. I haven’t even touched the sweet treats, soups and salads.  I’m sure you’ll see pictures of future experiments on Instagram or during What I Ate Wednesday on Facebook.

I’m always looking for new recipes to play with. What’s your favorite gluten free and dairy free cookbook? Have you tried Allyson Kramer’s recipes out?

Kiwi Cooler Post Workout Protein Smoothie Recipe

Kiwi Cooler Post Workout Protein Smoothie RecipePhoto by Pamela

My husband and I don’t like to use the phrase “trip of a lifetime”. There are very few places you can’t revisit if you really want to. However you can have an experience that may be exceptionally rare or hard to recreate.

Such was our flight to Hong Kong. We used frequent flier miles to travel in style via the first class experience on Cathay Pacific. For the 15 hours (each way) we spent in the air, we were treated like royalty. We had our own pajamas to lounge in our lay flat beds. Brian was able to join me in my “suite” for meals that we ordered from an actual menu at an elegantly set table. The food was beautifully presented and tasted delicious. The bathroom was clean and stocked with lotions and hydrating mists. When I needed another pot of tea or to have my bed made all I had to do was buzz and one of the amazing flight attendants was there to assist me.

In this luxurious setting I also came to love their signature mocktail – the Cathay Delight. Served both in air and in the first class lounge at the Hong Kong airport, the Cathay Delight is a delightful blend of coconut and kiwi juices with some refreshing mint. I later found out that they rotate this drink with another signature concoction, adding to the uniqueness of the experience. If we had chose to fly at a different time I might have missed it altogether.

Luckily I was able to recreate some of the experience at home by lounging in my Cathey Pacific pajamas after a workout and enjoying my own protein packed version of the Cathay Delight. I call it the Kiwi Cooler.

Kiwi Cooler Post Workout Protein Smoothie RecipePhoto by Pamela

Kiwi Cooler Smoothie

  • ½ cup kiwi juice (juiced from 3-4 fresh kiwi)
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey French Vanilla
  • 3-4 mint leaves.

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve poured over ice or by itself.

Yield: 1 Smoothie
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 0 Minutes

Per Serving: Calories 205; Total Fat 2.1g; (Sat Fat 1g, Trans 0g, Poly Fat 0g, Mono Fat 0g); Protein 18g; Carb 29g; Fiber 0g; Sugars 20g; Cholesterol 55mg; Sodium 90mg

The coconut water is refreshing and a great source of post workout electrolytes. The kiwi and mint add a smooth and subtle flavor if you’re not a fan of plain coconut water. It’s everything you need for a great recovery shake.

Do you use coconut water to recover from a sweat session? Plain or do you need a little flavor kick?

Making Sense of Protein Powders – Pea, Hemp and Brown Rice Vegan Protein Powder

Making Sense of Protein Powders - Pea, Hemp and Brown Rice Vegan Protein PowderPhoto by Caroline

Soy is a vegan protein but many people cannot consume it for a variety of reasons: allergies, breast cancer history or medication interactions are the most common. But if someone is interested in eating a plant based or vegan diet, where do they turn to for a protein supplement?

Pea Protein Powder

Fortunately, there are as many options for vegan protein powders as there are vegan food sources of protein. Vegans can get plenty of protein via peas, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. Vegan protein powders include some of these same food sources, like pea protein for example. Pea protein powder can be an excellent stand in for whey when baking protein pancakes and muffins.  Sun Warrior is a popular brand of vegan pea based protein powder. You can add it to shakes like this Cacoa Cherry Power Smoothie from Lindsey at Itz Linz or to make these energy boosting Pumpkin Spice Protein Truffles from Sarah Jane at FitBetty.

Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp is another great source of protein that we might surprise you. Hemp is very close to a complete protein, making it a great alternative for those with who can’t tolerate soy. It contains all the essential amino acids but in limited quantities. This means blending it with other proteins to give your body adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. This also helps improve taste. Personally, I can’t do hemp protein powder all by itself. It has a very “earthy” taste that I don’t find very appealing.  I personally consume it in a protein powder blend called True Vitality. True Vitality also has algae based DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid that is hard to get if you don’t consume fish.

Brown Rice Protein Powder

Another surprising protein source is brown rice. When I say rice you think of carbs, right? Brown rice protein powder, however, is manufactured to separate out the proteins to create a powder that is about 70% protein. Rich in glutamine, which promotes muscle recovery, brown rice protein powder can also make a great post workout shake alternative. Brown rice powder can be a bit gritty so it works best in shakes you actually put in a blender. I also like to blend it with the “sorta homemade yogurt” (from the Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions) book I make to boost the protein level before adding my blueberries.

While those are the three most common plant based protein powders, there are others to experiment with. With all protein powders, taste is also a big factor. If you can buy a few single serving packets to try out before you invest in a large tube or ask to borrow a scoop from someone when they extol the virtues of their favorite brand.

There are new protein powders and protein products (protein pudding anyone?) hitting the shelves all the time. What new protein powder have you tried with great success? Which ones are you curious about?

Making Sense of Protein Powders – Egg and Soy

Making Sense of Protein Powders -  Egg and SoyPhoto by N. Feans

Whey isn’t the only game in town when it comes to protein powder. You can still get a protein supplement that is considered a complete protein (containing all the essential amino acids) without dairy. My two favorite options are soy and egg protein powders.

I think eggs are great in all forms so why not try an egg based protein powder? Did you know that as many as 40 different proteins are present in egg whites? Drinking a shake with egg white protein powder can be an easy fix for those too busy to cook eggs but still want the benefits of this “moderate” digesting (not as fast as whey but not as slow as casein) protein.

I wouldn’t recommend drinking it on it’s own with a cup of water or almond milk, but it blends well a variety of food ingredients. You can try blending egg protein powder with fresh fruit or frozen berries for a non-dairy post workout treat or a quick breakfast. Or you could give this scone/muffin hybrid called Sneaky Scuffins from Kaila at Healthy Helper blog a try.

Soy protein powder is another non-dairy complete protein option. Soy can be a controversial subject and the research is varied on its risks and benefits. A recent comprehensive literature review in the journal Alternation Therapies in Health and Medicine found soy consumption may provide relief from menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer and heart disease. Soy does not appear to provide any protective benefit against osteoporosis and the jury is still out on it affect on the thyroid. (Note: talk to your doctor about soy consumption if you are on thyroid medication).

From an exercise perspective, a 2004 study at the University of Ohio indicated that soy could be better at protecting against oxidative stress than whey, making this easily digestible protein a great alternative for your post workout shake. You can try it in this Banana Smoothie from Vegetarian Times or for a treat try their No Bake Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies.

But what if you’re vegan or soy is not an option? Not to worry. There are plenty of plant based protein powders with some unique benefits you won’t find in whey or egg. Next week, we’ll talk vegan protein powders.

Ever tried soy or egg protein powders? What do you think?

Morning Mug Souffle Recipe

I don’t like to eat a big breakfast. It’s not that I am not hungry. I move a lot in the morning and I don’t like a big meal sitting on my stomach. My blood sugar also tends to go low in the morning. Regardless of how much I eat for breakfast, I will still need a snack somewhere between 9-10 am to keep from crashing. Eating too much for breakfast (and thus giving myself a bigger bolus) only makes the problem worse. My preference is to have around 200 calories for breakfast with some date balls after my first training session or a protein shake after my workout.

When one of my clients shared a wonderfully easy protein rich and dairy free mug soufflé recipe I was excited to try it out. I really liked it but it was a little too much for my morning meal.

However, the concept of breakfast in a mug is one I like very much. All you do is throw everything in a microwave safe mug or bowl and heat it up. I can let it cook while I empty the dishwasher, make my tea or pack my food for the day. So I took the original recipe and adapted to make it lower in calories while still keeping it protein rich and delicious.

Morning Mug Soufflé

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp milled flaxseed
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp PB2

Mix all contents in a mug (or small glass bowl). Microwave 4-5 minutes (stirring once during that time). Serves one.

Yield: 1 Mug Soufflé
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes

Per Serving: Calories 222; Total Fat 8.8g; (Sat Fat 1.5g, Trans 0g, Poly Fat 0.5g, Mono Fat 2g); Protein 16.4g; Carb 22g; Fiber 6g; Sugars 11g; Cholesterol 210mg; Sodium 230mg

Do you do mug soufflés? What’s your favorite recipe?