Tag Archives: plant-based

Homemade Tahini and My New Favorite Sandwich

I use A LOT of tahini.  I need it for hummus, salad dressing, sauces and as a spread for my new favorite sandwich (that I came up with during a moment of divine inspiration.  Recipe below.)  The problem is, tahini is expensive!  The supermarket brand, which I don’t love, is $7 a can.  Once Again, my favorite brand, is $10 a jar.  Yikes!

Clearly, I needed to learn how to make my own.  The good news is that is EASY, delish and SO MUCH CHEAPER.  I found a recipe on Kimberly Killegrew’s  The Daring Gourmet website.  All you need are sesame seeds, a little oil and a food processor or blender.  I ordered a five pound bag of hulled sesame seeds… (as I mentioned I use A LOT of tahini.)  You toast the seeds until they are golden brown; let ’em cool, toss ’em in the food processor with a little olive oil and that’s it!  One thing I did do differently than Kimberly was toast the sesame seeds on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in the oven, rather than in a skillet on the stove top.

Now for the sandwich!  I invented this recipe while I was rushing around making lunch one morning,  When you are a strict vegetarian and short on time, you need to get a little creative when it comes to lunch sometimes.  You will need two slices of bread. I prefer rye.  Spread the tahini on both slices.  Drizzle Sriracha sauce over the tahini.  Drizzle honey over the sriracha sauce.  Add a slice of beautiful tomato (preferably from the Farmer’s Market or at least organic.) Enjoy with or without a pickle.  It is so good!  It’s sweet and hot with the yummy nuttiness from the sesame seeds.  Oh my goodness!

Cynthia's Favorite Sandwich

Cynthia’s Favorite Sandwich

 

Do you make your own tahini?  Would you try it now that you know how easy and cheap it is?  Leave me a reply.  I would love to hear from you.

Many blessings,

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly

My Plant-based Life: Am I Vegan?

Am I vegan?  Well, it depends on who you ask…  Many people do consider me a vegan because my diet includes nothing that comes from an animal.  The original intention of the Vegan Society, founded by Donald Watson in 1944, was in fact to coordinate non-dairy vegetarians who do not eat eggs.  So, in the classic definition of the word, I am a vegan.

Veganism, however, is a lifestyle that goes beyond just what one puts in her belly.  And this is where it gets confusing for me.  Vegans will go to great lengths to avoid anything that has been tinged by the commodification of animals.  So, vegans avoid leather, silk, wool and other products that may contain lanolin, beeswax or any other animal-derived ingredients.  Naturally, vegans are opposed to animal testing or activities that considered exploitive like the circus, horse-racing and horse-drawn carriages, etc.  (Most vegans also avoid honey but there is a small but vocal minority who believe that honey can be derived without injury to the bees.)

Honestly, I agree with the vegans on just about all ethical grounds.  While, I haven’t completely eliminated leather and wool from my life, I have made strides in that direction.  I also try to purchase personal care products that are free of animal-derived ingredients.  I don’t believe in animal-testing; animals being used for entertainment or burden.

I mentioned in a previous blog post that yoga was part of what inspired my renewed interest in vegetarianism.  The yoga sutras, believed to have been authored by Pantajali, include the eight limbs of yoga.  The first limb, also known as the yamas, consists of five ethical guidelines.  The first guideline is called ahimsa and means “non-violence” toward other.  This practice resonated with me right away.  It is difficult for me personally to be at peace while participating in something that I know has brought harm to another.

And this brings to me to where I do not feel coordinated some other vegans.  There is an approach by some vegans that I do not agree with at all whereby they want to make an impression on people through shame, illegal activities and sex.  Violence and aggression only begets a violent and aggressive reaction from people.  It’s not okay to put people down who have different beliefs than you.  It’s not okay for example to throw paint on people who wear fur.  I honestly believe that there will come a time where we all will understand that more can be accomplished by practicing love and compassion than force.

So, where does that leave me?  Well, usually when asked, I will describe myself as a strict vegetarian.  However, I am inclined to agree with Soren Kierkegaard’s quote:  “Once you label me, you negate me.”  The truth is I am a work in progress.  Like everyone else, I am doing the best I can with the knowledge I have at the moment.  I strive to be the healthiest, most compassionate person that I can be.  When I fail, I am most grateful for forgiveness and the compassion that is shown to me.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  My handle is @cynthialenz.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/naturallyhealthyhappy

My Plant-based Life: Part One

The most controversial word I have ever encountered is VEGAN.  Holy cow, if you want to see people get whipped up into a frenzy, just utter the word vegan in a mixed crowd and see what happens.  Militant meat-eaters will throw out phrases like “grazers” or make assumptions like, “you only eat rabbit food” or get ethical and say “vegans act like they are better than everyone else because they don’t eat animals.”  Militant vegans have thrown paint on people for wearing fur coats; accuse people of being murderers just for eating the way they have their whole life.   In short, it can get really ugly.

You and me, we’re not militant, right?  So, let’s avoid all that today, shall we?  I am going to tell you my story and what I have learned over the last 10 and a half years of being a vegetarian and living a mostly plant-based lifestyle.

I remember very distinctly the first time I considered becoming a vegetarian at seven years-old.  We were at my grandparents’ house for a barbecue and I suddenly became aware that the cheeseburger I was enjoying used to be a living, breathing animal.  I told my family that I didn’t want to eat animals anymore.  Mom informed me that I would be a vegetarian then.  “Yes, I will be a vegetarian!” I decided.

Grandpa said, “Why draw the line there?  You have to kill plants to be a vegetarian.  Why is it okay to murder plants?”  I said, “Grandpa! Plants don’t get hurt the way animals do!”  He insisted that they did.  He went onto say that whenever he mowed the lawn that he could hear the grass screaming.  Everyone (except me) had a big laugh over this and it was clear that my vegetarian goal was not going to be supported.  So, I released the idea into the summer night and didn’t think about it again for over 20 years.

All through my life, I was plagued by digestive issues ranging from gas, severe bloating, bad bouts of diarrhea, nausea and cramping.  It always seemed like something was going on but no doctor could get to the bottom of it.  Almost always I was told to use antacids or given a script for whatever new drug was out that year and sent on my way.  Complicating my digestive discomfort, I have suffered with bouts of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) on and off since I had a severe case of mononucleosis my freshmen year of college.  I also struggled with nasal allergies and chronic sinus infections.   It seemed like something was always wrong with me and it sucked because none of the traditional treatments ever seemed to work.

When I was 29, I went through the worst bout of CFS I had ever had, and was sick and tired of being sick and tired, all the time.  And for the first time in my life, I had gained a lot of weight from the lethargy induced by my illness.  Nothing I had been given by western medical practitioners had worked.  I knew that if I wanted a different result I would have to find a new way of doing things.  The two areas I had yet to delve into were diet and exercise.

To be continued…

Please check back next week for Part Two of My Plant-based Story…

Love and many blessings,

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  My handle is @cynthialenz.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/naturallyhealthyhappy

My First Blog Post: A New Beginning …

May I just say, starting a new blog is a little intimidating!  My mind is swirling with so many thoughts: 1. Will anyone read it?  2. If they do…will they like it?  3. And the most frightening thought of all: What should my first post be about?  Hmmmm…

Then I came across this quote:

And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings…

Meister Eckhart

So, that’s what my first blog post is about: A new beginning!  What could be more appropriate?

Cynthia Lenz’s Naturally Healthy and Happy Blog is a new beginning for me in so many ways.  Starting this blog today begins a new life purpose for me… but please allow me to back up for a moment and tell you about some recent endings.

Like so many people who lived along the waterfront in the Northeastern U.S, my home was flooded by Hurricane Sandy.  Thankfully, I had a warm, safe place to go and stay with family; where I currently still reside.  Then in December, after six plus years, I decided to close my business, Chickyrhumba.  It was an emotional decision but selling my handmade jewelry has been a struggle in the current economy.  So, suffice it to say, selling it, wasn’t nearly as joyous as making it.  Although I still really love making jewelry, I feel called to a higher purpose which is helping people get fit, happy and healthy in a natural way.  And this blog is where I shall begin.  Thank you for joining me!

So, what can you expect to see here on weekly basis?  Essentially, all things in regard to health, happiness and living more closely aligned with nature (have I mentioned I can be very literal sometimes?) If you are a girly girl or a metro-sexual male, don’t worry!  I won’t be writing odes to living on a hippie commune or coming up with little ditties on and when not to flush the toilet to save water.

Life is about growth, not perfection.  I will be sharing information I have found over the years on how to feel great, look great, be kind, eat well and take better care of Mama Earth while you take care of yourself.  We’ll be getting into all the different facets of wellness in the weeks, months and hopefully years to come.  From time to time, I’ll include some of my own struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as, the solutions I have found to alleviate it over the last twenty plus years.   And, of course, there will be much MUCH more but let’s keep a little mystery for now, shall we?

Thank you for reading my first blog post.  I appreciate your time and would love to hear from you as this journey continues.  What would you like to get started? Let me know what you plan to begin and about the magic comes from it.

Love and Blessings to all,

Cynthia

Follow me on twitter! My handle is @cynthialenz.  Please LIKE my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/naturallyhealthyhappy