My love for brunch and Sun in Bloom

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brunch is quite possibly one of my favourite meals of the day. Usually later in the day, with a good mix of sweet or savory options, brunch often feels more luxurious than its earlier and later counterparts. In Toronto we're lucky to have a great selection of veg friendly brunch options (including Lady Marmalade, Live and Grapefruit Moon), but when I'm in New York, brunch feels extra special because I can go to Sun in Bloom.

Sun in Bloom is the kinda place that I wish was around the corner from me, and if I lived in New York, it likely would be (Park Slope is pretty neat). It feels warm, welcoming and cozy, without feeling too small. I adore the giant windows where the sunshine beams in, the exposed brick and its large wooden tables complete with fresh blooms. The gluten free vegan fare is innovative and delicious, with many options for people with all types of dietary restrictions and palates.

The very first time I experienced Sun in Bloom was in June, when I was in New York for the Jonathan Reid Gealt workshop series. The restaurant came highly recommended, so I trekked from Spanish Harlem to Brooklyn on a Sunday morning before class to finally experience it. 

It was absolutely worth the trip. While everything on the menu looked incredible, I opted for the 'staff favorite' BLT, complete with avocado and shitake bacon. Wrapped in a collard leaf, with no meat in sight, it was definitely different than the traditional incarnation of the sandwich, but still amazing, especially when paired with yummy greens and parsnip hash. 

With a banana cupcake to go? Holy awesometown. It didn't even make it to class with me, I definitely ate it on the subway, because I'm classy like that.

After raving about Sun in Bloom to everyone who would listen, I knew that I had to bring friends there on my next visit to NYC. Enter: Rebecca!

In addition to being another redheaded, singing lass, Rebecca is also gluten free and vegetarian, which made Sun in Bloom the perfect place for her too. On my second visit, I tried the gluten free brunch tart filled with shitake bacon, butternut squash and caramelized onions

Just fantastic. Seriously. 

The gluten free crust was delicious and flaky, and the highlight ingredients of the tart were generously distributed amid the dish. Once again, the greens and parsnips were a yummy touch and I left brunch a very happy girl. It was great to be able to introduce Rebecca to such a magical place and it was a lot of fun to catch up with her in a whole other city. 

And of course I had to get a strawberry shortcake cupcake for later.
Probably one of the best gluten free vegan cupcakes I've ever had.
I kid you not. 

It's been a couple of months since I've been in New York and as I write this I'm longing for the buzz of the city. Sun in Bloom has become a familiar, comfortable place, and I can't wait to get back. 

Where do you like to go for brunch? Any fav spots in New York?

30 Days of Compassion

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Compassion isn't some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we're trying to live up to. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don't even want to look at." ~Pema Chodron

My beautiful friend Dani from Enlightened Life is currently hosting "30 Days of Compassion", and I've got to say there's some pretty fantastic stuff happening on that page. Dani has started this movement to encourage others to find compassion in their daily lives, both towards others and themselves. 

Everybody has a story, and 30 Days of Compassion is encouraging all of us to stop making negative assumptions about those around us, to show kindness to one another and also show ourselves the respect we deserve. 

So proud of Dani for putting this out into the universe and would love for all of you to pass it along as well!

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The holiday season is upon us once again. The days are getting chillier...

earmuffs required
Holt Renfrew and The Bay's holiday windows are installed, Starbucks red cups (and Joy tea!!) are in full force, Christmas music is starting to pop up (everywhere but Shoppers Drug Mart) and finally last weekend, the Santa Claus Parade made its way through the streets of Toronto.

I kinda love the holiday season and I'm getting excited for some great events happening in the next few weeks, including some events where I'll be singing!

I'm thrilled to be participating in another Singing Strong 'Cabaret for a Cause'. Proceeds from this holiday themed evening will be donated back to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and I'm looking forward to sharing the stage with an amazing group of talented performers, including the lovely Lindsay!

Linz & I at last year's Cabaret for a Cause
Thursday December 13th - HoHoTO 
HoHoTO is a huge holiday-themed party to raise funds for the Daily Bread Food Bank. This annual event has been going on since 2008, and has raised more than $165,000 and collected more than four tonnes of food for Torontonians in need. I think it's pretty amazing that something that started as a conversation over Twitter has turned into such a successful fundraiser for an incredibly worthy cause. 

I'm really excited to be a part of this amazing project that Tara has been working on. William Finn writes insanely beautiful and moving music, and Tara has collected a stellar group of performers and musicians to bring his music to life. It's sure to be a wonderful evening and we'd love to have you there. 

I love singing Christmas carols, and last year I had the most wonderful time sipping a warm beverage and singing carols in harmony alongside a brass quintet and organ. Canada Sings is a really neat organization that encourages people to partake in the joy of music, and the holiday season is a ridiculously fun time to do so!

Links include more details and ticket information. I can't wait for all of these events and would love to see you there too!

What are you looking forward to over the holiday season? Do you have any events that are now a tradition for you to attend?

Drumroll please...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

and the winner of the giveaway for a spot in Meghan's new Foods for Healing course is...


Congratulations! I've sent your details along and you'll get information about the course soon from the sweet gals over at Meghan's.

Still interested all the goodness packed into Foods for Healing? Don't forget that you use the code "dancingthroughlife" to get 10% off your registration! Today is the day, go check it out!!

Meghan Telpner's Foods for Healing

Monday, November 5, 2012

I was talking to some people in my office the other day about the way that I eat and the reasons why I do it. As I was talking about getting rid of gluten and dairy, I realize that it has been 4 years since my diagnosis with Crohn's Disease and more than three and a half years since I transitioned my diet to a version of what it is now.

Food has played a huge role in my healing, and I know that I wouldn't be where I am today had I not made the decision to start seeing a naturopath rather than injecting myself with lots of medication. Along the way I had people tell me I was crazy, making restrictive choices and that I should probably eat a steak once in awhile to stay healthy. I decided to ignore those people and do what made sense to me, and four years later, I am symptom-free. Not too shabby for a disease that has no cure. 

As I've mentioned many times before, someone who has played a HUGE role in this journey has been my favourite nutritionista, Meghan Telpner. I discovered Meghan's blog soon after my diagnosis, treated myself to some cooking classes and she's been a wonderful, sparkly fixture in my life ever since. It's been incredible to watch and be a part of so many of her amazing projects and initiatives, and I was even more excited for her to announce her brilliant new Foods for Healing course.

Foods for Healing details from Meghan:

1 in 5 North Americans suffer from serious digestive distress. Most of our modern health challenges have some level of inflammation involved. I personally, spent years suffering from serious digestive issues until in 2006, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.

I have heard from so many of you asking what I did, what I ate, how I healed, and then how I worked with my dad to help him kick cancer, and how I have worked with hundreds of clients to get them on their own health train. I am thrilled to be able to share this information with you!

 Foods For Healing is a course I began teaching here in my kitchen to groups of 20 at a time. As the demand grew, I couldn't stretch my kitchen any further and so we have created this unbelievable course. We had people flying in from across North America to get to this workshop as there is currently nothing like it available.

This course will explain from start to finish the path of disease, how these imbalances can take over in our mind and body and then what you can do about it. The information included empowers you to take ownership over your health, and learn how with certain foods and specific nutrients, you can play an active role in your own healing- or simply in maintaining optimal health.

The course includes: 
Over two hours of lecture style teaching with images, diagrams, and incredibly easy to follow explanations.
Accompanying handouts of the slides to follow along and take notes.
Additional documentation offering detailed information on specific healing protocols.
8 cooking demonstration videos showing how you can put what I share in the lecture, into practice in your kitchen and in everyday eating.
A full 7 day meal plan + over 30 recipes.
A full transition plan to help ease your way into a foods for healing mind set.
Options to upgrade and get consultations and amazing kitchen equipment.
Completely secure access to all your course materials.
Flexibility to watch the videos and download the print materials at your convenience.
Lifetime access to the course materials.

This course is suitable for: 
Individuals dealing with everyday common/acute conditions like frequent colds/flus, PMS, headaches, low energy, insomnia etc.
Individuals facing long term, chronic health challenges including inflammatory conditions like arthritis, asthma, IBS and IBD as well as heart disease or cancer.
Individuals looking to build up their farm based medicine cabinet, looking for natural solutions to common health challenges.
Natural health practitioners wanting therapeutic foods to play a more powerful role in your patient’s protocols.
Students or recent graduates of nutrition programs who feel there was a healing foods component missing from the curriculum.
Yoga teachers, osteopaths, chiropractors, trainers and other physical health experts looking to better support the progress of clients.

The Curriculum:
This program literally covers the full spectrum of information including the physical aspects of health and disease, the emotional connection, and how food and lifestyle can play an important role in the healing. Divided into nine modules with a bonus section of “Tools”, the course materials has been broken down in easy to follow parts.

Module 1: My story and how I healed.
Module 2: Understanding the root of inflammation, food as medicine.
Module 3: The role of the digestive system in total health, managing stress and it’s impact
Module 4: Making the connection with food, conscious eating, assessing common dietary recommendations.
Module 5: General guidelines for eating for health and healing, the universal approach to health.
Module 6: Specific therapeutic foods for healing, dietary recommendations for the three stages of healing, specific nutrients for healing.
Module 7: Lifestyle habits and natural solutions.
Module 8: Healing beverages, therapeutics foods in practice, cooking demos
Module 9: Healing meals, therapeutic foods in practice, cooking demos
Tools: Meal plan, recipes, transition guideline.


Whether you have a specific health concern or just feel like you need a bit of a tune up, this course has the potential to be totally game-changing for you. Meghan's style is ridiculously fun and easy to follow, the recipes are delicious (recipes from Meghan's classes are still staples in my kitchen), and you'll feel inspired and motivated to change your life. As someone who has healed a disease through diet and lifestyle, I can't recommend this course enough. Now is the time. No day but today.

Registration for Foods for Healing begins Friday November 9th, and as one of Meghan's affiliates, I'm able to offer you a 10% discount off the price of the course when you enter the coupon code "dancingthroughlife" at the checkout! So happy to be able to make it more cost effective for you to register and get your healing going. What are you waiting for!?

I'm also giving away one registration for the course!! For a chance to WIN, leave me a comment below telling me who has inspired you in your life so far. This is open to anyone worldwide. Contest closes at 11:59pm EST on Saturday November 10 and the winner will be announced on the blog on Monday November 12. Good luck!
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