Worshiping at the Alter of Althea

Guru. Pioneer. Celebrity. Savant. God.

Matthew Kenney is many things to his multitude of fervent followers, but one thing cannot be denied: The man knows how to cook. Well, more accurately, he knows how to treat his vegetables right, heat need not be applied. He is not just a chef, but a brand in and of himself. Commanding the table at over two dozen fine dining establishments worldwide, he’s arguably the trailblazer at the head of the raw food movement. These days, his formal education from the French Culinary Institute manifests in less rigid preparations, mandating minimal processing, rather than a complete abstinence of heat.

Three Beet Carpaccio

As a prominent figure in the plant-based movement from the days before it was cool, his name hit my radar sporadically, but my experience with his food has been limited. Only once before, over a decade ago, was I fortune enough to dine at Pure Food and Wine before its scandalous closure. Thankfully, the man is unflappable, soldiering on with new projects seemingly sprouting up everyday. Althea in Chicago offers a compact menu of re-imagined classic dishes spanning numerous global cuisines, along with Kenney’s own fusion creations. The only knock against the place is location. Completely hidden away on the 7th floor of Saks Fifth Avenue, you must navigate through racks of stiff men’s suits and deftly dodge the perfume counter to earn your meal.

Kimchi Dumplings

Stemming from the Greek name that can be applied to either a woman or a man, Althea means “wholesome,” from the verb althos, meaning ‘to heal’. Fittingly, the mission statement of the eponymous restaurant is to meld plant-based culinary art and ultimate nutrition.

Mightyvine Tomato + Zucchini Lasagna

Most raw approaches treat food only as fuel, leaching out all the joy and whimsy from the act of eating. This was one of the rare instances I can look back on the concept and it has the potential to compete with any Michelin-starred cooking.

Kelp Noodle Cacio E Pepe

Truly alive in more ways that old-school “uncookery” would imply, colors vibrate off immaculately plated dishes, flavors explode with incomparable intensity; the full essence of each vegetable is celebrated. You won’t find dehydrated planks of flaxen juicer pulp here. This menu is designed from a place of joy and abundance, from a creative food lover unleashed from traditional culinary boundaries. Defying easy explanation, this is an experience that you simply must enjoy firsthand to properly grasp. Book your table, book your tickets, get yourself out there; it’s worth traveling any distance to enjoy.

Althea
700 N Michigan Avenue
7th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

Supplements Get Personal

Isn’t it time that nutritional recommendations got personal? Wellness is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but should give you the same comfort as your favorite pair of stretchy sweatpants when tailored properly. Vegans especially need to be cautious of common dietary shortfalls, such as Vitamin B-12 and Omega-3, while steering clear of fishy sources or bovine gelatin capsules. Unless you’re a doctor, it’s pretty overwhelming to navigate the sea of supplements alone.

Meet Persona Nutrition, your new ally and advocate. They don’t just bundle together a bunch of popular pills and send you on your way. Recommendations are made based on an in-depth assessment of your existing conditions, lifestyle choices, concerns, current prescriptions, and health goals. Beyond the science-based, doctor-approved algorithms, a genuine human touch is what sets this service apart from the rest. Private consultations with qualified dietitians are there to answer questions, provide support, or help adjust your program as needed. Health is a moving target, so whenever your circumstances change, Persona has the agility to adapt to your needs.

I’ve been through the ringer trying to piece together a patchwork of appropriate supplements over the years. Customer reviews on massive online shopping websites can only go so far, though, which leads to a whole lot of trial and error. It’s taken the better part of two decades to find some suitable regime, and even then, I don’t have complete confidence that I’ve gotten it exactly right. After a month using Persona, I discovered that the answer is obvious: You really can feel the difference.

Truth be told, I didn’t want it to be quite so effective. It’s definitely more expensive than my previous regime, but this is a case where you do get what you pay for. Beyond the actual supplements, you get the backing of a full support team when you need it. I had questions right away about the sleep pack, since I had been taking a mega-dose of melatonin for years, and was concerned about transitioning down to 3mg. There’s a nutritionist waiting to talk to you for just such an occasion. No wait, no bad hold music, and no more confusion.

My friendly consultant gave me the rundown of what to expect and outlined a long term plan that would eventually wean me off of melatonin altogether. Having used it as a crutch for so long, it seemed impossible… Until I went to bed that night. Despite cutting my typical load by 1/4, I was out like a light.

It’s not magic; it’s science. Supplements designed to work with your unique body chemistry via customized vitamin packs delivered to your door every 28 days. No guesswork, no bottles, no refills, and absolutely no stress. Start the new year strong and finally take control of your health. Try Persona Nutrition now and get 30% off for 2 months. Rest assured that you’re in good hands here, because peace of mind is an important part of wellness, too.

This review was made possible as a collaboration with Moms Meet and Persona Nutrition. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Drop Acid

‘Tis the season for excess. Extra dollops of whipped cream, second helpings of stuffing, more generous pours of gravy; the general consensus is that if your dinner plate doesn’t look like your final meal, trying to cram all things edible into one last hurrah, you’re not living your best life during the holidays. I’m all for seasonal indulgence, especially when celebratory moments feel far and few between, but sometimes that extravagance comes back to bite you later.

Heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, and bloating are all symptoms of a revelry gone awry. Call it a “food hangover” that doesn’t wait until the next morning to hit, taking swift revenge on immoderation. Little can be done to alleviate the pain until it passes, unless you have a homeopathic helper on your side.

Boiron Acidil meltaway tablets are made with plant-based active ingredients and can be taken on a full or empty stomach. Gentle and natural, there are no side effects nor drug interactions to worry about.

It’s important to note that as is the case for any supplement like Boiron Acidil, every person will have different results, because everyone’s body and digestive system is different. As an over-the-counter medicine, it’s not a gastrointestinal panacea, but a promising option that’s helped ease the suffering of many. There’s nothing to lose, since the key players A-galacto, Carbo Vegetabilis, and Lycopodium Clavatum have been proven safe and effective.

Finally, you can dig deep into your favorite comfort foods without any discomforting symptoms afterward! For me, that means another bowlful of Mac and Cheese, or if we’re getting fancy, an extra-large serving of Truffled Brussels Sprouts Gratin. You’ve got nothing to fear, except a food-induced nap later on! Enjoy the moment, the holidays, the memories, and the food, to the fullest.

This review was made possible as a collaboration with Moms Meet and Boiron. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Bundles of Joy

This blog post is sponsored by iHerb but as always,the opinions and experiences expressed in this post are my own.

Pandemic or not, the holidays must go on. They may look a bit different, but the sentiment is all the same. We’ll spend time together, even if we’re physically far apart, spreading joy, creating memories, and of course, giving gifts. The beauty of online shopping is that your selections can arrive on your loved ones’ doorsteps with contact-free, hassle-free delivery. What can you send that will satisfy the foodies in your life, and where can you find it all? Consider iHerb your personal Secret Santa, or perhaps, Mystery Maccabee.

Delivering holiday cheer to over 180 countries across the globe, iHerb boasts over 30,000 natural products, from supplements to pantry staples, guaranteed at the highest quality and lowest prices possible. Free or discounted shipping ensures that your presents will arrive on time for the big event; no excuses, no empty stockings. If you ever need help, you can talk to customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in 10 different languages. Plus, do I have to remind you that all this shopping can be done from the comfort of your own home, happily ensconced in fuzzy slippers and warm pajamas? That’s a big present you’re giving to yourself right there.

After almost a full year under varying degrees of quarantine, we’re all getting a bit restless. Anyone who enjoys spending time in the kitchen is undoubtedly clamoring for a new project. After you’ve made your hundredth batch of banana bread and thousandth dalgona coffee, what’s left to try? Here are some fun foodie bundles to kick start brand new edible adventures.

Sourdough is almost too obvious to include, but still, too good to ignore. There’s a reason why this once uncommon approach to bread baking has risen to mainstream fame in recent months. The satisfaction of cultivating wild yeast, kneading dough by hand, watching it slowly come to life and rise of its own accord; the whole process is incredibly soothing, gratifying, and of course delicious in the end. Sometimes it’s not easy to create your own starter though, which is where the handy Cultures for Health Sourdough packets come in. They have options for Whole Wheat, San Francisco-style, and even a Gluten-Free blend! Pair that with some fun flours for your budding baker to experiment with, like rustic spelt or rye from Arrowhead Mills. Don’t forget to include primo sourdough food, since these yeasty beasts thrive on sugar. Consider Madhava agave nectar to develop a greater depth of flavor while fueling that starter the right way. Accessory options are endless, from nice bread knives to cutting boards, but you can never go wrong with a nice pack of colorful Full Circle dish cloths to both cover the growing dough and clean up after. Bonus points if you can rustle up a proper banneton bead proofing basket for fun and functional packaging.

Cheese making may not be the first activity to have crossed your mind, especially if you too have vegan leanings, but fear not! The handy Real Cheese Kits from Cultures of Health can be made with dairy-free milk, too! Take your pick from Paneer & Queso, or Mozzarella & Ricotta, or both, because you can never be too cheesy. Make the process foolproof by including Now Foods Soy Milk Powder, so your lucky recipient doesn’t need to worry about schlepping home a few gallons of liquid before getting started. Soy is also a great option for this kind of application, since it has more protein to better mimic that of cow’s milk, creating better curds. Add in a lovely cheeseboard or slate along with a cheese knife to really fancy up the package, along with snacks to pair with the completed cheeses. I happen to love the contrast of sweet, chewy dried fruits, particularly Made in Nature Dried Apricots, but do cater to your beneficiary’s tastes. All-fruit preserves could be a nice alternative, as would a bottle of tangy pomegranate nectar for a bolder acidic hit. Crackers are mandatory; Simple Mills makes a variety of flavors, but I happen to love the basic Sea Salt variety to let the cheeses themselves shine. Now that’s a [small, outdoor, socially distanced] party waiting to happen!

Kombucha is also bubbling up to greater acclaim lately. Every state can boast local, micro-batch brewers, and your lucky friend could soon be one of them! Procuring a proper scoby is more than half the battle. Happily, Cultures of Health has got this one covered too, with a Kombucha Start Culture to begin the process from scratch. Every bit as easy as making pickles, it doesn’t take much to kick off a bubbling batch of fermented tea, though there are certainly some particular additions that can make the process even easier. Simple cane sugar is essential; no fancy alternative sweeteners need apply. Go for Wholesome’s Organic Sucanat to take advantage of the rich molasses flavor and trace minerals to bolster the brew. The options for tea are truly limitless, so it’s nice to include a variety of options to provide a range of different tastes to try. The Fruit Tea Sampler from Celestial Seasonings is a great place to start, offering five distinctive herbal teas to chose from. Contain your excitement, and presents, in a handy Now Foods Sprouting Jar, which is ideal for housing the budding beneficial bacteria, too. The mesh top will allow the scoby to breathe while keeping bugs out, so there’s no risk of infestation.

Make a list, check it twice, and then visit iHerb. Shop now to get 5% of your purchase, no minimum order. Spread joy, not germs, and give a gift that everyone will happily stay at home to enjoy.

Enticing Spicing

Supplements are vital for filling the gaps, ensuring a well-balanced diet, but it’s a simple fact that nutrients are best absorbed through food. “Food as medicine” is far from a fringe movement, though that doesn’t mean it should taste medicinal. If we can have cake made of cauliflower and noodles made of zucchini, why can’t we turn everyday meals into more flavorful, more powerfully nutritious dishes? Enspice is on a mission to end childhood malnutrition by putting essential vitamins and minerals back where they belong: In food.

We’re talking about naturally sourced, plant-based seasonings and spices enhanced with a boost of potent superfoods, not synthetic supplements. Things like maitake mushrooms, kelp, chlorella, kale, sunflower seeds, and more are what bolster the profile of these spicy sprinkles. One teaspoon of any of the six bold, piquant blends contains 50% of the FDA daily values.

Unlike more fragile, volatile ingredients, these spices are designed to withstand the heat of cooking or baking, so you’ll get the full benefit of those nutrients no matter how you put them to use.

Their statement about eradicating malnutrition is more than just hot air, too. The Enspice Children’s Foundation was created first to feed malnourished children around the world. Each purchase donates one meal for a child in need. You’re feeding yourself and your family well, AND making an impact on those less fortunate at the same time- As if a nourishing, flavorful home cooked meal wasn’t enough to feel good about.

Open up your spice rack to make room for the full fleet. Use them just as you would to season any of your favorite recipes. If you’re not sure where to start, aside from the obvious here are some of my favorite uses so far:

Cinnamon:

  • Snickerdoodle Cookies
  • Overnight Oatmeal
  • Cinnamon Sugar Toast

Black Pepper:

Taco Seasoning:

  • Pozole
  • Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
  • Tex-Mex Rice

Chipotle BBQ:

Cape Cod:

  • Corn on the Cob
  • Potato Salad
  • Jackfruit Crab Cakes

Seasoned Salt:

Variety is the spice of life, but spices themselves can enhance the quality of your life, too. Shake things up, and shake it on everything! What’s your favorite way to get spicy these days?

Right now, you can get 10% off Enspice seasonings & spices with the code MOMSMEET. This offer expires 12/30/20.

This review was made possible as a collaboration with Moms Meet and Enspice. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Budget Crunching and Munching

No longer a fringe movement seen as extreme, veganism has reached mainstream acceptance, if not full understanding. Misconceptions still plague the movement, like the lingering, misplaced concern about getting enough protein, iron, or whatever the trending nutrient is of the moment. Topping the list of these persistent fallacies is that it’s expensive to eat plant-based. Taking a glance at the fancy prepared meals, processed meat alternatives, and gourmet dairy-free cheeses, it’s easy to understand the concern, but it really misses the bigger picture; no healthy, happy herbivore really eats like that.

Busting myths while boosting your bottom line, Vegan on a Budget: 125 Healthy, Wallet-Friendly, Plant-Based Recipes by Nava Atlas goes well beyond the predictable PB + J sandwiches or bland rice and beans. In fact, Ms. Atlas doesn’t just stick to plain recipes, offering indispensable advice for maximizing your grocery dollars via couponing, bulk buying, scratch-made staples, and more.

Speaking from experience, Nava knows her way around the kitchen AND supermarket. I’ve had the great fortune of working with her regularly for the better part of my career, though she got started in the cookbook industry before I could even reach the stove. Author of well over a dozen published works, prolific artist, and loving mother, her diverse passions coalesce into an invaluable resource for anyone seeking a more affordable, flavorful way to eat vegan.

Secretly thrifty, overtly delicious, everything from breakfast to dessert tastes downright luxurious. We’re talking Yellow Curry Rice Noodles better than takeout, for pennies on the dollar. By employing common pantry staples and simple fresh vegetables, this dish comes together faster than you can dial in an order; a huge savings when you consider that time is money, too.

Don’t overlook the humble sandwich, which is much more than a bread-based gut bomb in Nava’s capable hands. Portobello & Seitan Cheesesteak Sandwiches bring an authentic tasty of Philly to the table, no matter where you live. Seven simple ingredients are all it takes to make this meaty, umami meal come to life. Hearty slabs of seitan join forces with tender mushroom slices and crisp bell peppers, smothered by gooey melted cheese in a satisfying handheld package.

One of my personal favorites has been the Barbeque Tempeh Salad, lavished with creamy ranch dressing, ideally. The protein itself is so well-seasoned and flavorful though, it hardly even needs additional embellishment. I made the mistake of only preparing a half-batch when I first photographed the recipe for Ms. Atlas, which I immediately remedied with a double the next day. This is a recipe you’ll want to eat on repeat, too, which is why I’m thrilled to share it after the jump.

Before you run off to the kitchen, tempeh at hand, I have an even more tempting offer for you! To save you the already low price of this cookbook, which will pay for itself after a single meal, I’m thrilled to give away a brand new copy to one lucky reader! To enter, hit the comment section below and tell me about your favorite budget-friendly foods. What are the staples you go to again and again, that have withstood the test of time? Don’t forget to go back and register that in the giveaway widget, along with additional opportunities to win.

The whole concept of Vegan on a Budget is a solid victory across the board; your wallet, stomach, and taste buds will all be glad you cracked open a copy.

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