Another beautiful day today – the day I get to share with you this stunning piece of work by my special friend, Somer McCowan of the spectacular vegan blog, Vedged Out.
Where to begin? I’ll begin with Somer herself. There are no collection of words to truly convey what an inspirational woman she is. She has overcome incredibly toxic health barriers and become a champion of the healing effects a plant-based diet can have. She has also ploughed through the painful torment of a hip injury after a fall which left her, a marathon runner, unable to run for years.
I still remember the day when I read Somer’s post about her injury and the serious damage caused and forthcoming surgery. Recalling it as I write, I can still feel the sorrow I felt. This woman, who I hadn’t at that point any real emotional connection with, was heartbroken that her ability to run, her outlet, her freedom and source of great pleasure had been taken from her. My heart broke with her. Somer then took a break from her blog while she had surgery and recovery time and it was during this time that the beginnings of our friendship ensued.
Somehow I had come across Somer’s Green Smoothie Challenge and tired of counting calories to shift quite a few pounds, I decided to give it a shot. Little did I know, when I sent my ‘FYI’ message to Somer on Facebook, not even knowing if she was active on there at the time – there was a group already on the challenge with a support group on Facebook! Before long, we were a close knit group and still are and many of the women have become friends who I know will be a part of my life for the long haul now.
As a result of this, I was honoured to be a part of the recipe testing for Somer’s book, a transformed and improved complete programme based on her original Green Smoothie Challenge. I even made a version of the smoothie formula that is featured in the book – the Jaffa Cake Green Smoothie – a luscious chocolate and orange delight plus the Indian spiced hummus variation!
I later stayed with Somer and her family in her home in Utah and she was even more beautiful in real life. Probably the most generous, patient, genuine and open person I have had the privilege to meet. She is someone who I know if I didn’t see her for 5 years, we could pick up right where we left off.
Besides being a wonderful person, Somer is a fantastic cook and recipe creator. She does flavour and bags of it! She surprises me with little hints and tricks and dashes of ingredients that can transform the most simplest dish into a memorable masterpiece. She is inventive, colourful and fun with her food and everyone adores her recipes!
Somer and her diet plan taught me so much about food and my relationship with it. I tried so many new foods (like laksa, pho, pudla) and techniques and I fell head over heels for these previously terrifying things called green smoothies!
I learnt that not all calories and fats act the same, and how an incredibly high amount of fibre can massively increase healthy, controlled weight loss and increase health.
I had never felt better than the months I was on the plan. My skin cleared up, I had buckets of energy, I was never bloated or uncomfortably full yet always satisfied.
Somer’s book is a diet book, yes. However it’s not just a diet book nor is it any old diet book.
This book will teach you that there’s more to salad than lettuce, tomato and cucumber with an oil and vinegar dressing.
The recipes in the book are good, delicious, balanced vegan meals, diet or not! None of the recipes taste like diet ‘versions’ of dishes because the whole point is that a plant-based diet naturally is ‘diet food’. The recipes taste like good food, end of. The book is a bible of basic staple recipes like hummus and (whoppingly delicious) lentil soup to showstoppers like spinach and artichoke dip, creamy lemon tart and Vietnamese pho and spring rolls and not to mention the only salad dressing recipes you’ll ever need.
So it’s not just your standard diet book for the above reasons and more. For a start, the clue is in the title, you get to eat loads! After just a couple of days you will find yourself in the routine of planning when you can have your snacks and afternoon smoothie!
It’s fun and exciting with so much delicious food to choose from. You won’t see calories anywhere in the book nor will you be counting them. The work has been done for you, you can eat an abundance of whole foods which are naturally low in calories within the plan and you will lose weight and look, feel and be healthier. It even has downloadable meal plans to go with the book! Oh, and did I mention you can have dessert on weekends and pancakes and waffles for breakfast?
If there are just two things you take from this review, let them be these;
- It is guaranteed to work. I lost an average of 2lb per week but unlike any other diet I have followed, I dropped dress sizes rapidly and ended up not even using the scale. I dropped 2-3 dress sizes in just a couple of months.
- I make these recipes even when I’m not on a diet!
I have reverted back to this plan numerous times when I’ve felt bloated and overindulged, wanted to lose some weight or generally needed a detox. Most importantly, I try to stick to the general principles regardless of whether I am dieting, it is a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix fad diet.
If there’s one book you by this year, make this an option! Or even better, enter the giveaway to win a copy for yourself!
I’m sharing one of my absolute favourite recipes from the book, I promise you’ll never look at kale the same again.
Rawkin’ Rainbow Kale Salad
(Recipe from The Abundance Diet, © 2015 by Somer McCowan. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press LLC.)
I call this “a salad for the kale haters” because my husband, who isn’t fond of kale, asked for seconds on this incredibly lush and dreamy salad.
Creamy Chili Lime Dressing:
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup raw cashew pieces (soaked for 4 to 6 hours
1 tablespoon tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
Juice of 1 large lime
1 teaspoon chili powder, or more (depending on your heat preference)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Rainbow Kale Salad:
1 large bunch (16 ounces) lacinato or dinosaur kale, tough stems removed, then cut into 1/4-inch shreds
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 head small purple cabbage, cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1/2 cup red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice or thinly sliced rings
1 large carrot, cut into thin 2-inch long matchsticks
1 large ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small jicama, cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
In a high-speed blender or a food processor, combine the red bell pepper, garlic, cashews, tamari, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Blend until completely smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer the kale and the cilantro to a large salad bowl and pour on the dressing. Toss until all the kale is thoroughly coated, then massage the kale with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes (Massaging kale makes it taste better!) Divide the kale salad among four large plates and top with the purple cabbage, red onion, carrot, avocado, and jicama. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Makes 4 servings