Food Exploration: Vegan Food, Fighting Fatigue with Chef Jason Wyrick

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In the effort to broaden my horizons, as well as up the ante on my health and wellness, I attended a cooking class this afternoon.

This happened to be out of the ordinary for me, as I am rubbish at cooking or anything having to do with the kitchen. But, it’s a new year and a new me (maybe).  The class was offered by the Cancer Support Community- Arizona and was led by Chef, NY Times Bestselling Author and vegan genius, Jason Wyrick.

Over the years I have been an on and off again vegitarian and have always had an interesting and psychological relationship with food.  Nowadays, I often lack much of an appetite and when I do, it’s usually all of the terrible foods as opposed to the proper, nutritious meals that my stomach can handle due to my colon cancer.

Prior to today, I had zero knowledge of Chef Jason, or the benefits that a vegan diet can bring.  This class was specifically built around fighting fatigue and understanding on a high level how to retrain your palette to the different compounds within organic foods, as well as the antioxidants and super foods that are best to boost your energy.  Seemingly, all of the things that I am clueless about, yet happened to find incredibly interesting and eye opening after today’s course and the three recipes that Chef Jason shared.  Delectable and mouthwatering seems like a cheap shot, considering just how appetizing and healthy his recipes were.

Here are the vegan soup recipes that Chef Jason shared.  I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Green Tea and Shiitake Noodles

  • IMG_56752 to 3 cups of brewed green tea
  • Salt to taste
  • A sprinkle of five spice (Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Fennel, Cloves and Sichuan Peppercorn)
  • 8 to 10 small shiitakes, sliced
  • 1 small package of ramen, udon noodles, or thick rice noodles
  • Cubed extra firm tofu
  • Keep brewed tea warm and add the slat, five spice, and sliced shiitakes
  • Bring to gentle simmer and add noodles, cubed tofu and cook noodles al dente.

Chilmole with Sweet Potatoes and Beans

  • IMG_56764 to 6 guajillo chiles, toasted and rehydrated
  • 3 cups of water
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of masa harina
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of rinsed beans
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • Puree chiles and water, transferring to a pot
  • Add pinch of cinnamon and salt to taste
  • Bring to simmer then add sweet potato until al dente
  • Slowly whisk the masa in until the soup thickens
  • Add beans, spinach and serve

Avocado Roasted Garlic Soup

IMG_5673

  • 1/4 cup of roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 large avocados
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of water
  • Puree all ingredients
  • Serve room temperature


Be sure to check out Chef Jason Wyrick and sign up for free recipes, videos and tips to a healthy vegan diet at www.thevegantaste.com!

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Love and yum,

Britt x

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12.02.15: Night Before Surgery Video Update

12.02.15 BKO.mp4 from Britt Ochoa on Vimeo.

Tomorrow is the big day and we’re feeling super optimistic and hopeful.  I’ve been in a considerable amount of pain over the last few days and have been pretty medicated, but each and every message has warmed my heart and touched my soul.  I will never be able to put into words just how much I (we) appreciate all of the ridiculous amounts of kindness, thoughts, prayers and so much more!  Knowing that we are not at this alone builds us up for the road that is in front of us.  Things may get worse before they get better, but I’m pretty relentless and I won’t leave this earth without putting up one hell of a fight.  After all, I am a Scorpio.

Always love,

Britt x

▲ Tricks & Treats ▼

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Halloween, the time of year for jack o’lanterns, tricks and treats and the portrayal of frightening creatures.  It is said that jack o’laterns on All Hallows Eve is set to represent a soul that has been denied entry into both heaven and hell.  Last night at a Halloween bash, I questioned my current standing as to whether or not I was trapped between heaven and hell.  For some this confession may come as a shock, based on simple religious beliefs or the triumphant ring of ra-ra that surrounds cancer and cancer patients.  But, for me, last night was far from celebration of remembering the dead, whilst parading around in face paint and costume, for me it was a trap between “I want to be normal” and “How has this become my reality?”

For the most part I have taken cancer with a sense of stride and procurement.  I have viewed it, in its entirety as a gift of clarity and realization of what is important in life, how to live, love and see things for what they are.  The past week has been particularly difficult for me, with up’s and down’s measured in goliath forms.  One day being on the upside and the next day questioning survival and my new(ish) reality all together.

When Saturday evening rolled around, despite my marathon of a week, I wanted to attend the spectacular Halloween party with all of my friends, enjoy dressing up as something, someone else for a night and partake in the creativity behind costume’s galore.  During the day I was feeling unusually weak, but given the few days that proceeded before it, I didn’t give it too much thought and figured I would be fine to go on about the party and enjoy the evening of guising.  It was unclear at the time, but I was ultimately tricking myself into thinking I was able treat myself to a night out and the events that took place atop the roof of a Downtown Phoenix hotel would prevail me.

As we arrived to the social, we were met by all of our closest friends; ready to celebrate another Halloween and conjoin in having a night to remember.  Attempting to be as “normal” as possible, I ordered a drink and mingled about.  The tricking to my treating was paying off, I was having fun and nearly forgot how ill I had been feeling just an hour prior.  Suddenly, less than an hour into the party, I found myself being unusually distant from the crowd and in desperate need of my bed.  Finding my way to Steve across the rooftop, I alarmingly let him know I wasn’t feeling well and that we needed to make an exit immediately, even without time to say goodbye to our friends.  In typical Steve form, he swooped me up and before I knew it, he hit the elevator button, arranging our quick exit to head home.

All I remember after that is coming to on the ground, right outside of the elevator.  There was an intimate circle around me; all faces that appeared familiar, despite their Halloween disguises.  I could hear my name being said repeatedly by Steve and my head being tilted to the side as I began to get sick all over myself.  In and out of consciousness, I recall pondering if I was situated between heaven and hell.  What kind of reality was I living in, that I collapse, blackout, convulse and spew in the company of the public? My treat of a night out turned to be anything but, and my continual tricking into thinking I can be perfectly normal began to become perfectly obvious.

After what seemed like a lifetime, I awoke from my folding and was propped up in the elevator and we hurriedly exited the building.  Thankfully those who surrounded me during my plunge were all wonderful friends, whom by all regards know and care what I am going through and I was rest assured that no judgment was passed.  However, once again I passed it on myself.  Questioning the reason and the why’s behind my life and frustrated with the obstacles that stand before me.   I was wavering from the ideal that cancer was a gift of clarity and more like a destination between heaven and hell.

When I awoke today, my face was clear of any disguise and the reality of my life set in once again.  The reality being that life is not fair sometimes, but things happen and without question we have to trust that there is a plan in motion, one that regardless of how difficult it is to march forward, we must not give up on.   This week has been a hell of a week and next week just might be a slice of heaven.  If I give up, I will never know what the future has in store for me.  It’s time I stop tricking myself into thinking that I am fully okay.  I need to respect my body, trust what it’s telling me and treat it a bit better; even if that means missing out on jack o’lanterns and the parading of costumes.

Happy Halloween…🎃

Love,

Britt x