Book review: The End of Dieting (hooray!)

No, The End of Dieting it’s not about being vegan or vegetarian. Yes, you’re at liberty to eat animal-flesh. No, it’s not about lettuce leaves!

The End of Dieting by Joel Fuhrman M.D.

My diet background

Apparently my Grandmother was always on the latest fad diet. After some turbulent teen years of diet rejections her daughter, my Mother, found some peace in her own “everything in moderation” assumption*. No 3-day pineapple diets, no restricting superior carbohydrates (a body’s vital energy source), no counting calories, not even regression to paleolithic times.

So while I too didn’t fall for promises of short-term weight loss, I spent an unnecessarily long time idly wondering if the answer to healthy habits could simply be drinking plenty of water, regular exercise, a positive mind-set and enjoying whole foods, majority plant-based meals.

Joel Fuhrman M.D. confirms so. As a family physician and nutritional researcher, who specialises in preventing and reversing disease through nutrition, he knows best. And now you can too!

M.D. Joel Fuhrman

What to expect

By reading and following the advice in ‘How to live for life, The End of Dieting’ you can benefit from this brilliant, science-backed, information-packed guide on how to set yourself up for a deliciously tasty path to disease prevention, vitality, longevity and maintaining an ideal weight.

Dr Fuhrman goes into detail about why some of today’s most popular diets are detrimental to our long-term health, shows us the short-comings of misrepresented skewed research, offers testimonials and gives plenty of easy-to-follow tools and delicious sounding recipes for weight loss and gratifyingly healthy living.

At the centre of this simple core concept is “the nutrient density of your diet.” It’s all about feeding our bodies what it needs to serve us well!

We surely must all see sense in the belief that ‘the most effective healthcare is self-care’, right? Well, Dr Fuhrman believes that a diet can only be considered successful if the food we eat supports longevity, promotes ideal weight and protects us against heart disease, stokes, dementia and cancer. Sounds good to me, but it’s for ….

Dr Joel Fuhrman

… you to choose!

So if you periodically battle the bulge, are hopelessly resigned to genetic disease or illnesses, feel sluggish or ponder just how much animal-protein is too much, then find your courage, because Dr Fuhrman challenges you, “I am not asking you to diet. I’m asking you to change your fundamental beliefs about food.”

*My mother, at the age of 68, found the courage to relinquish her food beliefs and now re-educates and up-dates her nutritional knowledge. It has led her to an abundance of healthy and delicious plant-based foods!

So it’s never to late to learn and change habits!  The End of Dieting is available in an easily downloadable ebook format at Kalahari.com, while also available in several formats at Amazon.

So happy to announce my partnership with Esse Organic Skincare

esse_range_lab_plant_300dpi

I have to admit my skin care routine has been a little erratic for some time now simply because, with my change to using animal friendly options, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to sample what’s out there!

During the last 18 months I’ve creamed and lathered, patted and gently scrubbed with a variety of luscious, eco-friendly brands. It has been an adventure especially experimenting with some South African choices.

Now at last I’ve found ‘the one’!

Esse Organic Skincare (pronounced “S”) has a full skin care range readily available through salons and stores nationwide, and internationally. I was introduced first to their moisturiser, and then treated myself to a full Esse facial.  I was hooked. Intrigued to find out more, I contacted their head office.

As of this week I’ve readily agreed to be a part of a year-long collaboration as an Esse brand ambassador.

Although this partnership does offer me a small compensation, in the form of product, for acknowledgments of their brand, I’m only too happy to show my support as Esse had become my first choice when it comes to my own skin care.

Esse_logo

Using Esse products really does bring the fond South African term, ‘Local is Lekker

‘ to its rightful meaning.  They’re tapping into Africa’s abundant biodiversity of plants to bring the benefits of these African extracts to your skin. Check out this quick video

Rest easy though, because taking from our local natural resources is done responsibly by being an accredited partner of PhytoTrade Africa.  For you and I this means that by Esse buying PhytoTrade Africa’s ingredients, our skincare choice support women to send their kids to school, visit the clinic, invest in local credit schemes or even build a house. That’s so lekker!

So I’m ready to settle down into this win-win relationship with like-minded innovators whose products underline a vision for a beautiful sustainable life for all species.

Now that’s where ethics run far beyond skin-deep. Kudos to Esse!

I especially look forward to your feedback and involvement along the way!

Boots glorious boots, but do I really need them?

The change of season can be felt from head to toe, and it’s my toes that I intend keeping really warm during my first Cape winter!

Carly boots by TivydaleSo you can imagine my delight when I ‘cyber met’ Susannah Wright, founder of Tivydale. She led me onto her online footwear boutique, where her Carly boots instantly warmed my fashion sensibilities!

Not only are these wedge heel boots made from natural and man-made materials, Susannah has entrusted their makings at family run factories in the UK and Spain.  Susannah aimed “to create styles which are beautiful, on-trend, elegant, edgy and sexy,” which she most certainly has done!

It just so happened that my hubby was in the UK at the time of delivery, but I needn’t have worried as my new Carly boots could also have been delivered to my door via post, thanks to Tivydale’s worldwide shipping service. These boots fit true to size and they’re vying for the position of, not only my most liked but also, my most comfortable pair!

Carly boots by Tivydale

Which brings me a step closer to my quandary. During a recent trip to Cape Town, I popped in to see South Africa’s first eco-footwear brand, Grandt Manson Originals. Visiting them in Woodstock, being in this hands-on atelier, had me itching to hand over my credit card in active support of their responsible design and manufacture.  Each shoe is made to measure, of high-quality workmanship and fabrics can be individually selected.

 

Grandt Mason Originals

 

 

 

 

With functional sustainability as the heartbeat of the design process, Grandt Mason Originals makes no use of animal products, using up-cycled materials and upholstery sourced from local distributors. That’s what the future of footwear should be all about!

Marc Mason doing my custom measuring

Marc, one of three Mason siblings in the business, measured my feet, showed me an endless array of textiles from which to choose and made this custom service offering a delightful experience.

Now I’m left with choice, and plenty of it! Not only choice of style and colour, but the choice as to whether or not I buy another pair of boots. Perhaps I feel more deliberated and conscious of my next potential purchase because I’m more aware of what and why I’d be buying them. How empowering! What I am sure of is that both Tivydale and Grandt Manson Originals are footwear suppliers in whose products I can find integrity.

P.S. Tell you what else I know; if I were to teeter on heels one last time, it would be in Tivydale’s 10 cm stiletto heels, named Olivia! Alas, my days of such height elevation are over! So the sexy Olivia remain up for grabs! So too might the gorgeous Short Minx Boots if, that is, I live by my own 10-tip advice of “less is more”!

Olivia by Tivydale

 

Part 2 of eating healthily around Holland & Belgium

Belgium

It was a whole lot easier to find healthy food-on-the-go in Holland than in Belgium. Goodness I couldn’t live in Belgium if the absence of whole foods in restaurants and eateries is any measure of what they eat on a daily basis!

Belgium

In fact if I see another cone of french fries within 5-feet of me I’ll be running in the opposite direction. (As an aside, I was interested to learn about an ongoing, highly contentious dispute between the French and Belgians about where they were invented, with both countries claiming ownership.)

Belgium fries

We found soya milk was more infrequently offered in Belgium too.  In fact, even Exki, a ‘healthy’ take-out and sit down eatery, doesn’t offer plant-based milks.  While passing through Antwerp, I ran in to buy a quick sandwich for hubby, found only a vegetarian option, which was apparently dry and less than tasty.

We hit a couple of great high notes in Bruges though. For starters our hotel, The Duke’s Palace, was truly exceptional! Great position, super gardens and a gorgeous patio out back provided a quite retreat after being among the bustling crowds a stone’s throw away.

Only topping that for our daughters’ was the fact that a couple of steps away we found what they deemed “the best sorbet parlour ever!”  Gelateria Da Vinci had, I have to admit, the most authentic (read not synthetic tasting) sorbet. The pure chocolate being my favourite!

gelateria da vinci

On the occasions I did forgo this delight, I took myself off to a sweet little coffee shop, owner-run (love that!), called Michello’s Coffee. Yes, they apparently always have soya available.

Italian food is often a great fall-back for us vegans who are sometimes hard pressed for good food abroad,  yet it seemed egg made it into most of their pasta. We would have struggled for lunch venues had it not been for Salade Folle.  Not vegan nor vegetarian, yet they offered egg-free pasta topped with tasty roast vegetables or a deeply satisfying pomodoro sauce.

Salade Folle

Salade Folle

 

For dessert do visit Pur Chocolat, just around the corner from Salade Folle.  While this store is one of many chocolate shops, I found their designs and service of high quality, as is great Belgium chocolate.

A quick look at online restaurant directory, happy cow, seemed to confirm what we’d surmised; Ghent is Belgium’s hub for vegan eateries. We stopped there briefly, popping into Lekker GEC for a quick takeaway of pasta, milkshakes, coffee and sweet treats (why more pasta?  We had just missed their lunch plate-by-weight options).

Chocolate pumps - what more could a girl want!

Chocolate pumps – what more could a girl want!

Although Brussels didn’t capture our imaginations, over our two-day visit, we did enjoy what’s rumoured to be Brussel’s best Thai cuisine at Narai Thai.  The waiter was quick to confirm that all oyster and fish sauces would be left off our plant-based dishes. The food, gloriously divine!

Also well within walking distance from our hotel, Steigenberger Grandhotel, we enjoyed a variety of small dishes at Al Bacha, a Lebanese restaurant offering all the tasty vegan choices one expects from this middle eastern cuisine.

With Holland (see Part 1) and Belgium under our belts, it was then time for more of Paris!

 

Eating healthily around Holland & Belgium (part 1)

First off, it needs to be said that both Hollanders and Belgians know exactly what vegan food is. Life-giving foods free of animal flesh and their secretions. While this, (and the fact those whom we interacted with defaulted easily and fluently into English) helped make our dietary preferences heard, it still wasn’t necessarily easy to find wholesome, whole plant-based dishes.

Holland intro

Amsterdam

We touched down in Amsterdam, where we stayed at the nicest and funkiest of hotels, Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht. Known as a hidden gem is no exaggeration. In close proximity to “de 9 Straatjes” (the 9 Streets) the most trendy shopping area of Amsterdam (Dutch fashion being a little too conservative for my liking), it also offered many little cafés and restaurants from which to choose.

Amsterdam

The culinary highlight of our Amsterdam visit was the unassuming, authentic Nepalese and Indian restaurant, Kathmandu Kitchen. A super experience all round!  A popular, albeit tightly packed, Indian restaurant worth a visit is Koh-I-Noor. They willingly prepared some of their vegetarian dishes, vegan style for us. I did, though, find their regular lamb and chicken flesh delivery to neighbouring tables somewhat off-putting. The low point was, very disappointedly, the intentionally vegan eatery, Terra Zen. It was too ‘alternative’ in ambiance (read run-down and not too clean). I’m also not crazy about a menu where most options are ‘mock’ animal meat based. Lovely family who run and own it though.

Koh-i-Noor

We had several supermarkets in close proximity to the hotel, like Albert Heijn and Marqt, which become our daily shop for our self-made in-room breakfasts.  There’s plenty of organic foods in Marqt’s upscale grocery offering and we picked up some great vegan treats by way of waffles, biscuits and much sought after cake sprinkles.

homemade breakfasts

our breakfasts

 

If there’s a Le Pain Quotidien within smelling distance I’m sure to find it – which we did, one of four.  Their bread is always a treat, soya always on offer and occasionally vegan muffins up for grabs. In the heart of the beautifully affluent area of Oud Zuid.  Just across the road, in the square, there’s a Saturday morning fresh foods market which we ambled through and found the nicest variety of mushrooms, among other delicious fresh foods.

Le Pain Quotidien

meaty mushrooms

 

 

Much to our daughters’ delight we also found IJsboutique, a sorbet and ice-cream parlour which serves delicious sorbet and soya-based milkshakes to go. In Amsterdam’s busier streets, there’s also Maoz vegetarian for vegan falafel on the go.

A dog-friendly country

It’s common place to see dogs in eateries, at bars, on sidewalk cafés and in hotels (even the Andaz, a 5-star hotel, invites dogs!) Heartwarming to see.

Dutch dogs

 

The Hague

The gourmet highlight in The Hague was certainly Veggies On Fire!  This gem of a restaurant was everything an intentionally vegan establishment should offer in the competitive world of cuisine.  It’s spotlessly clean, full of modernity, a warmly welcoming co-owner, cum maître d’, cum waitress. The food fresh, seasonal, innovatively served and unashamedly named as 100% plant-based cuisine i.e. no mock animal meats.

Veggies On Fire

Veggies On Fire

 

Oh, and for cake, glorious, glorious almond-flavoured sponge cake, visit Baklust.  With friendly service this vegetarian bakery has plenty of vegan options and a wonderful indoor and small outdoor seating area.

Baklust

Both these eateries, and a large Marqt are within walking, or cycling, distance from where we stayed, Hilton The Hague.  Having let them know we’re vegan, prior to our arrival, the hotel chef made us a lovely dinner on the first evening there.

Keukenhof Gardens & Delft

The food facilities within Keukenhof Gardens seemed dismal in terms offering animal-free foods.  We went to the Beatrix Pavilion only to find even their falafel are animal-flesh based. So unless you’re willing to eat more french fries, for which you’re charged per finger-sized packet of tomato sauce, pack your own snack or lunch!

Keukenhof Gardens

We hit on a lovely cafe style eatery while in Delft.  Lunchcafé VIRJ also has a great outdoor area, ideal to idly watch the comings and goings over a coffee (yes they have soya milk) or a full lunch. They happily juggled some menu options to make a delicious caper and rosemary infused veggie-strong meal for us.

Lunchcafe vrij

Lunchcafe vrij

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan patrons, forewarned is forearmed

Just as with Belgium, we found that plenty of the breads, pasta and some falafel are made with cow’s milk and eggs. It also seems butter is used where oil would be common place in other countries. Yet when all is said and done, we found the Dutch happy to accommodate our compassionate cuisine choices on request.

More doggie captured moments to enjoy!  Look out for Part 2 on my Belgium finds!

Faster, faster

say what?

A Poem for Mummy, written by ‘yours truly’ (in audio too)

I began writing this poem in 2009, forgot about it, then finished it this year. Inspired by our darling daughters, Isabelle and Lillian, my teachers of love!

I dedicate it to all mothers and their children, knowing full well that each mother/child relationship is unique and special.  For easy listening to the poem click on the below 

A poem for Mummy, writen by Lynette Cowie

Please share if this touches you.

She’s such a cow!

Yes, I’m a cow!  Well if not one, I do feel a deep affinity to these docile, beautiful, and maternal animals.  So it seems natural that my surname is Cowie!

By the time our first daughter was born I felt proud and rather cow-like. I was feeding my hungry little baby the best of what a mother can offer her own offspring; her breast milk.

As most mothers can attest to, the act of giving birth, then nurturing one’s young is life’s greatest gift, a God-given right.

Fast forward 11 years, now that I’ve taken my blinkers off, I see how consuming dairy was contributing to the cruelty of my namesake, and that it’s not necessary, natural or normal for myself nor my children!

Wouldn’t you agree that…

  1. All mothers would feel violated, mutilated and severally physically and emotionally scared by being repeatedly raped. Cows are artificially impregnated 10 months of the year. Cows have to be pregnant and birthing to produce milk. They don’t ‘give’ milk, we take it away from them and their young.
  2. There’s not a mother out there who wouldn’t flinch, let alone fight, for her right to keep her new-born close, safe and naturally fed. Yet the cries of the cows, being separated their calves, are apparently among the most harrowing to hear.
  3. No mother would willingly go into slavery, nor would want this for her young daughter, yet cows are forced to. While male carves born to dairy cows are sold off to the veal industry or immediately slaughtered.
  4. These mothers are killed after four to five short years of producing milk for their captives. While cows, in their natural habitat, live to about 25 years they’re rendered unproductive after ‘giving’ their milk. Their tired bodies are then eaten, as 80% of dairy cows are slaughtered for the burger mince meat industry in the USA.
  5. Watch Emily Deschanel’s, in association with PETA, 2.40 minute factual milk industry video.

For me, as a woman and mother, I don’t want to be a supporter of such cruelty, enslavement and the ultimate demise of the feminine reproductive system. Do you?

A mother's baby