Living a Life of Fitness, Health and Fun

Polenta, Corn and Broccoli Bake

I first saw this dish on a Facebook page  'Food that No One Died For' Just love the idea behind this site and it is full of yummy recipes.   Based on a recipe from the book "Feel Good Food" by Tony Chiodo.  As always I like to put my own twist on recipes so they are less refined and more rustic.  I used all fresh ingredients for our local Farmers Markets.

Whole Food-Plant Based


2 corn cob, kernels removed
1 onion, diced
sea salt
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
250 g broccoli florets, blanched and sliced in half

500 g butternut pumpkin,  cut into large chunks, leave on the skin and leave in the seeds.
1 onion, cut into wedges
sea salt
2 tablespoons hulled tahini
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest
Juice of 1 orange


Bring 3 cups water to the boil in a saucepan over high heat and add the corn kernels, onion and a teaspoon of sea salt. 

Stir in the polenta, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 minutes, (or according to directions on packet.  I used a fast cooking polenta and it was ready in 5 mins)  stirring occasionally, or until the polenta comes off the sides easily. If the polenta thickens early, stir in some more water. 

Stir in the basil and pour the mixture into a lightly oiled 16 x 21 cm baking dish.

Arrange the broccoli florets over the top of the polenta. 

For the topping, roast the pumpkin and onion with a pinch of sea salt until soft. 

Transfer to a food processor and purée until smooth. Add the tahini, ginger juice and orange zest and jjuice to the processor and purée until smooth and creamy.  (add extra water or juice if necessary)

Pour the mixture over the broccoli and polenta and allow it to set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.   

Top with some toasted pumpkin seeds and serve on spinach leaves with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

You can serve this dish at room temperature as a slice, or bake it at 170°C for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned, for a more wintry meal.

The link to the original recipe is HERE

WFPB/Vegan - What do we eat?

Some people think we live on lettuce leaves and kale.  This is really what we eat.

Plant based Burger
  • Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, etc.

  • Vegetables: lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, etc.

  • Stems: celery, rhubarb, asparagus

  • Tubers and starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, winter squash, corn, green peas, etc.

  • Whole grains: millet, quinoa, barley, rice, whole wheat, oats, freekah etc.

  • Legumes: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, cannellini beans, black beans, etc.

  • Nuts: almonds, pecan, cashew, walnuts

  • Mushrooms: portobello, white button, shiitake

We eat Pizza, Burgers, Lasagna, Curries, Creamy Soups, Quesadillas, Nachos and lots of salads, char-grilled vegies, stir fries.  There is so much variety in our day to day meals and the internet is a wealth of information and recipes.  

We go to the Farmers Market every Saturday morning and source fruit and vegetables.  We are trying food we have never tried before and are loving the variety and colours on our plate.

Every week we try a new food that is in season because that is when you get the most flavor and nutritional value and when it is the most affordable. We buy locally, getting our fresh foods that are seasonal, fresh, and we support local farmers our community. We may wind up spending more to put our money where our taste buds (or personal ethics) are, but it is a trade-off that's worthwhile in the long run. eating what's in season is that you get a broader variety of foods in our diet. Those foods  expose us to dishes and ingredients we may not have otherwise explored, and it also helps us eat a more well-rounded and balanced diet as well.

How is Vegan different from Whole Food-Plant Based

Whole Foods Plant Based and Vegan are NOT the same! There are important differences you need to know. Going Vegan does not automatically make you healthy

Will put meeting time in diary, not sure what is happening yet as Becki is being scheduled for surgery


People who practise a vegan lifestyle do not eat animal-based products, including meat, dairy, eggs, or animal-derived ingredients, like honey. This lifestyle extends beyond excluding food and ingredients made from animal products and is carried over to everyday life items, such as shoes, clothes, accessories, makeup, shampoo—anything made with materials that come from or are tested on animals, like leather, silk, wool, gelatin, beeswax, personal products such as makeup and lanolin.  Preventing the exploitation of animals, having true compassion for their treatment and having an emotional attachment to them is a key reason that most vegans adopt a veganism lifestyle.

Going Vegan does not automatically make you healthy but will make you healthier than you are now.  Becoming vegan is based on ethical choices not necessarily healthy ones.  It’s easy to be unhealthy on a vegan diet. Sodas, chips, Oreos, added sugar, refined grains and oils are all unhealthy vegan foods. Being vegan doesn’t mean caring about health. Being vegan means caring about morals, ethics and compassion.

Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB)

Just like the vegan diet, people who eat a whole food plant-based diet avoid animal-based products, including meat, dairy, and eggs, but also avoid processed foods, including oil, white flour, and refined sugar. This way of eating is based around unprocessed or minimally processed veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. WFPB is also a lifestyle choice but is not based on animal ethics or emotional attachments to animals, rather it is based on a healthier lifestyle.  We do not focus on portion control but on calorie density instead.

“Whole foods” are foods made with whole plants—plants as they look when they are harvested: the whole apple, squash, bean, or grain, relatively unprocessed and unrefined. Whole foods contain all of the natural nutrients of plants. 

“Plant-based” means foods that come from plants, rather than animals. A plant-based lifestyle relies exclusively,  on whole plant foods.

We avoid all animal products including dairy and eggs, no oil even coconut oil, and no modern soy “products” such as soy burgers (some of which contain over 40% fat)

We are not keen on labels but your HideAway Haven hostesses are vegan for ethical reasons and WFPB for health reasons.

“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”

— Michael Pollan

Whole Food, Plant-Based (WFPB) Recipes

Whole Food Plant Based

By: Jane Birch

There are literally thousands of low-fat WFPB recipes online. You only need a half dozen to a dozen that you really like. Don’t get overwhelmed. Try a few here and there until you discover what you like!

WFPB Recipe Sites

Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen. Hundreds of well-organised recipes.

Forks Over Knives Recipes. Great recipes. Be sure to also sign up for the newsletter to get new recipes delivered via email.

Engine 2 Diet Recipes. Find more great recipes in Rip Esselstyn’s books.

Straight Up Food. Cathy is a great chef and a culinary instructor.

McDougall Free Program. This free program includes recipes to get you started: (see link to the “10-Day Meal Plan”)

McDougall Newsletter Recipes. This is a massive database of recipes, look for this link, along with other useful recipe collections.

The Cancer Project Recipe Index. Plenty of gems.

Center for Nutrition Studies

Naked Food Magazine. This is a new WFPB magazine.

Protective Diet. Oil, Sugar, and Nut Free Recipes (requires free registration).

More WFPB Recipe Blogs

There are many more!

WFPB Cookbooks

See this list of 19 Healthy Vegan Cookbooks You Won’t Want to Go Without.

Here are some of the best pre-2014 cookbooks. (Amazon discontinued Listmainia in 2014, so I am not longer able to add to this list.)

Post-2014 Cookbooks:


WFPB Go-It-Yourself Step-by-step Guidebooks

Structured WFPB Food & Cooking Programs


Not Free — Support Group Programs (all ones I recommend)

  • Chef AJ Ultimate Weight Loss Program. Chef AJ is awesome. She uses solid whole food, plant-based principles to help you lose all your excess weight. (I’ve heard great reports from people who have participated.)
  • The Protective Diet (free registration for many recipes but if you pay for the program you get many more recipes and great support; it costs $100 to sign-up plus $29.97 monthly membership fee for unlimited access, you can cancel at anytime). People I know love this program.
  • Bright Line Eating. This is a very strict (and expensive) support group program geared to helping people with serious food addiction to break free. It is not strictly WFPB, but you can easily combine this program with the WFPB Guidelines (there is a version of Bright Line Eating that supports this). The four basic Bright Line rules are (1) no sugar; (2) no flour; (3) eat during meals and not in-between; and (4) measure and weigh all food.

Not Free — Other Resources and On-line Courses

Pre-Made Food Delivered to you

  • PlantPure JumpStart: Affordable whole food, plant-based meals shipped to your home (in the U.S.)

Locating Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants and Stores

  • Happy Cow (ask restaurants to cook with no oil)
  • VeganXpress (if this is your only option, find vegan, though often still not healthy, options at fast food restaurants)

More WFPB Food Resources

Last updated: August 12, 2016

Allergies and a Whole Food-Plant Based Lifestyle

Maggie has had asthma and allergies most of her life.  Since switching to a WFPB (Whole Food-Plant Based) lifestyle the asthma attacks have significantly reduced from 2-3 per day to 2-3 per year and there are no signs of any other allergic reactions such as hives and sinus infections.

Farmers Markets Produce at HideAway Haven

Alternative health practitioners are agreeing that nature’s top edible antihistamines are found in foods containing Vitamin C, and Quercetin (a powerful flavonoid, sometimes called bioflavonoid). Additionally, there is much evidence that eating foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids reduces allergic symptoms.  We eat a variety of plant based food that contain natural allergens. 

In a one-year study,  significant improvement was found in lung function tests and a major reduction in medication use when patients switched to a vegan diet. Why do vegetarian and vegan diets help? Researchers first attributed these benefits to the absence of common food triggers, such as meat, dairy and eggs. After all, if you’re not eating troublesome foods, you can’t have an allergic reaction to them. But there’s probably more to it. Repeated studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have reduced risk of asthma, presumably because these foods improve immune system functions.

Some natural antihistamines:

Vitamin C - Allergy relief is among the many miraculous uses of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that stops histamine from forming. It also helps balance the immune system by functioning as an anti-inflammatory.

Good food sources of Vitamin C are guavas, blackcurrants, red bell peppers, kale, parsley, green sweet peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, mango, watercress, cauliflower, red cabbage, strawberries, papayas, green and white cabbage, spinach, citrus fruits, elderberries, calf liver, turnips, peaches, asparagus, cantaloupe, cayenne pepper, green onions, new lima beans, black-eyed peas, green peas, radishes, raspberries, yellow summer squash, sweet potatoes, loganberries, tomatoes, new potatoes, lettuce, bananas, kiwi, honeydew, pineapple, cranberry juice, vegetable juice, tomato juice, rutabaga, and kohlrabi.

Quercetin - is a type of flavonoid antioxidant that’s found in plant foods, including leafy greens, tomatoes, berries and broccoli. It’s technically considered a “plant pigment,” which is exactly why it’s found in deeply colored, nutrient-packed fruits and veggies.

Omega 3 - Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to reduce allergic reactions through their anti-inflammatory properties.  Found in seeds (Flax, Hemp & Chia), Leafy Greens, Beans and winter squash. nuts - particularly walnuts and pecans


Source:  GAIAM, One Green Planet, Forks over Knives, True Activist

Health Benefits of Buckwheat

Buckwheat – a nutrient-packed, gluten-free seed abundantly consumed in Asian countries for centuries – is now becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., Canada and Europe due to its many health benefits.

While most people think of buckwheat as a whole grain, it’s actually a seed that is high in both protein and fiber. It supports heart and heart health and can help prevent diabetes and digestive disorders. In fact, buckwheat seeds, also called “groats,” are so packed with nutrients and antioxidants − like rutin, tannins and catechin −that they are often called “superfoods.”

Despite its recent rise to nutrition fame, buckwheat is actually an ancient grain with a long history. Today, buckwheat is a favorite amongst plant-based and gluten-free eaters alike since it provides a high source of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – all with relatively few calories and practically no fat.  

Despite its name, buckwheat actually doesn’t contain any wheat or the protein gluten..

As a vegn, buckwheat is a great food to regularly include in our diet because it provides two types of essential amino acids — types we cannot make on our own and must get from the foods we eat. Buckwheat nutrition contains essential amino acids called lysine and arginine. What’s important about this? These specific amino acids aren’t found in many other common cereal or whole grains, so getting them from buckwheat ensures you cover the full range of essential proteins your body needs.

Buckwheat Salad

Buckwheat Salad


  • 1 small zucchin, cut into ½-inch dice (substitute or add other vegies)
  • 1 cup  buckwheat


  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ onion, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • 1 cup baby rocket
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice


1. Place the buckwheat and 1¾ cups hot water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft but chewy. Drain any excess water. Fluff the grains with a fork and set aside to cool.
2. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3.. In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, buckwheat, onions, tomatoes, and coriander . Add the dressing and mix well.
4.. In another bowl, toss the rocket and baby spinach in the orange juice. Place the greens on individual salad bowls, and top with the grain mixture. Serve garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

Buckwheat Benefits

1. Improves Heart Health By Lowering Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels

2. Contains Disease-Fighting Antioxidants

3. Provides Highly Digestible Protein

4. High Fiber Content Helps Improve Digestion

5. Can Help Prevent Diabetes

6. Doesn’t Contain Gluten and Is Non-Allergenic

7. Supplies Important Vitamins and Minerals


It's a soup day

We are really feeling the cold.  It hasn't been a super hot summer anyway, but what used to feel warm, feels cold now.  The last of the fresh Asparagus was at the markets today, so we decided a soup lunch to warm us up.

Creamy Garlic and Asparagus Soup

Creamy Garlic and Asparagus Soup


  • 2 pounds green asparagus
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 1 hour 
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste


  1. Cut asparagus into ½-inch pieces.
  2. In a large pot, heat margarine over medium-low heat, and cook the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until softened.
  3. Add asparagus pieces and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add cashews and purée soup using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender) until smooth.
  5. Season with lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

HINT:  We always have a supply of soaked cashews in the freezer.

Nutritional Value Of Asparagus

Asparagus is a nutrient-packed source of vitaminsminerals and essential proteins. Asparagus is rich in vitamin Avitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, folate, vitamin Cvitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K (phylloquinone).

The mineral treasures that are stored in asparagus include ironcalcium, phosphorous, magnesiummanganesezincselenium, and potassium.

Asparagus contains a very low amount of calories with no cholesterol and is low in sodium as well. Along with this, it is also a rich source of dietary fiber, which is essential for the body.

We are Sprouting

They’re delicious, nutritious, and easy to grow at home. What are the health benefits of eating sprouts? Sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse living super-food! When a plant germinates, its vitamin content can increase twenty-fold, making sprouts a good source of vitamins A, E, B, and C. The seeds’ proteins also change remarkably. Sprouts also tend to be very full of enzymes, which are specialised proteins that your body needs for all of its critical processes with a high protein content ranging from 20-35% protein.

We are adding a nutritional punch, colour and texture to every meal with our home grown sprouts using our new Kitchen Seed Sprouter.  Most of our sprouts are ready within 4-5 days and are super crunchy and fresh.

Sprouting at HideAway Haven

Asparagus and Strawberry Salad with Maple Vinaigrette and Candied Pecans

I love our Albany Farmers in the Spring.  So many colourful fruit and vegies for our meals.  I am glad the produce knows it is Spring, because the weather certainly doesn't.  The last two weeks the farmers had to sell their produce in the rain and cold.  I am glad they are committed every week.

I used two of my favourite Spring ingredients for our salad this week.  Asparagus and Strawberries.  "Spring on a Plate" 

All measurements are approximate.  I don't normally measure just adjust and season to taste.

Roasted Asparagus

Prepare asparagus and roast your favourite way.  I like to toss in a little oil, salt and pepper and then in the oven for 10 - 15 mins, so they are still crunchy.

Candied Pecans

2 tablespoons Organic MapleSyrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Smokey Paprika
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Splash of Olive Oil (or try Macadamia Oil)
Cup of Pecans

Toss together and bake in 185 degrees C oven for 10-15 mins

Maple Vinaigrette Dressing

1 tablespoon Olive Oil (or try Macadamia Oil)
1 tablespoon balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Organic Maple Syrup

Whisk Together and drizzle over salad

To assemble salad, arrange the roasted asparagus on top of English Spinach. Toss sliced strawberries evenly through the salad and top with pecans.  Drizzle with the dressing when ready to serve.

Enjoy and know that it is good for you as well.

Nutritional Facts

Maple Syrup - contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus sodium, potassium, and zinc. Vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6

Strawberries - rich in the essential nutrients vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fibre. One cup of fresh strawberries contains 160 percent of the daily recommended quantity of vitamin C

Asparagus - excellent source of vitamin K, folate, copper, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It is a very good source of dietary fibre, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, potassium, choline, vitamin A, zinc, iron, protein, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid. (listed as one of the worlds healthiest foods - World Health Organisation)

Spinach - excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. It is a very good source of dietary fibre, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, protein and choline.

Pecans - contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness. The nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants.