Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thriving for Gold

So, I don't know about you, but the Olympics have completely consumed my life these last few weeks. So much so that I nearly forgot about salad of the week. I wanted to create some kind of salad inspired by Canada's 14 gold medals.... or maybe something to symbolize both of our fabulous hockey teams that conquered their american foes. I really wanted to.... but I couldn't think of any way to represent hockey in salad form. And I don't have the money to make a salad dressing with real gold flakes in it.

So I decided to be inspired by fitness instead. One of my favourite vegan Canadians is Brendan Brazier, a professional ironman triathlete. He is living proof that you can be a top athlete and a vegan, getting all the protein and nutrients you need from plant based sources. He takes it one step further, he gets his nutrition from mostly raw, whole foods. He wrote a book on vegan nutrition, the Thrive Diet, one on fitness, Thrive Fitness, and created his own product line, Vega, of vegan meal replacement powders and energy bars. He's pretty impressive, and I may or may not have a wee crush on him. I have the Thrive Diet, and it's an excellent book, filled with the knowledge amassed by Brendan on his quest for ultimate fitness, treating himself as a guinea pig to find the best food, not only for athletes, but for all of us who want more energy and better health.

After last week's cake-filled binge-fest, I was feeling pretty lousy about myself, and decided to get inspired again, and he is usually my go-to guy for healthy inspiration. I noticed that he has a new program, called "Thrive in 30". It's a 30 day program in which you get emails, lessons, and videos featuring our favourite vegan/triathlete/hunk. I've signed up for it and I'm hoping that this will help me stay healthy, and avoid mug cake temptation. One of the basic tenets of the Thrive Diet is to have a nutritious smoothie and a large green salad every day. The book contains a number of recipes for tasty salads and dressings.

Unfortunately, I was unable to go to the store to get any ingredients I needed to make a snazzy salad because I was too engrossed in the hockey game. So, I made the one recipe that I had all the ingredients for - Creamy Ginger dressing, and put it on a basic salad of romaine, cucumber and carrots. Now I know I can't reproduce the recipe here, I will tell you it's creaminess is created by the addition of tahini, with apple cider vinegar providing zing, and of course, ginger. The recipe didn't contain any sweetness, so I added a bit of honey to take away the bitter edge that tahini often has.

I'm not going to say it was my favourite salad dressing in the world, but it did have a satisfying richness that I'm sure will inspire future recipes. It was also a fully guiltless salad, as Brendan never puts anything frivolous into his food, everything is nourishing. Now that I've eaten such a healthy salad for dinner... does that mean I get to have mug cake tonight?

This is kind of a weak entry for the salad challenge, but let's face it, I was bound to drop the ball sooner or later. I was just hoping it would be later.

Salad Challenge Countdown
Salads made: 8 Salads left: 44

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