Moroccan Vegan Burger with Spicy Homemade Harissa

One of the ways I like to keep healthy by is making some of my meals with plant-based foods.

In general I try to be 80% plant-based as I feel my body thrives and feels content that way. So much so I could never go back to my old “regular” diet. I smile when I see my children eating more and more vegetables too.

Hey they do as you do, not as you say 🙂

This way of eating keeps my cholesterol levels down, naturally. I maintain my ideal weight. I have tons of energy all thorough the day. And the Meniere’s disease I once suffered from, has gone!

Yesterdays plant- based invention was this:

Morrocan Vegan Burger with Homemade Spicy Harissa

Moroccan Vegan Burger

Moroccan Vegan Burger

 

Moroccan Vegan Burger with Spicy Homemade Harissa

3 medium sized yams – cooked until tender

2 cups of cooked quinoa

500 grams dark mushrooms

3 shallots

Olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

3 spoons of flaxseed meal

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Seasoned flour

Spice mix

small 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Small 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Small 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

Small 1/2 teaspoon Allspice

1/2 teaspoon Cumin

Finely chop the shallots, rinse and chop the mushrooms – put the mushrooms into a hot frying pan with olive oil and fry until they are until golden brown. Add the chopped shallots and continue frying until they are tender. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

In the blender put the de-skinned baked yams, the cooked quinoa, the cooked mushrooms, the spice mix, the freshly squeezed garlic, the sea salt and the freshly ground pepper-blend. Put the “burger” mixture into a bowl and add 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal. The mixture is quite soft so it can be a little tricky to work with – you can put the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours before you make them into patties so they can firm up a bit. Then turn them in seasoned flour like this:

Turn lightly in flour before frying

Turn lightly in flour before frying

Gently fry the patties in olive oil until they are golden brown on both sides.

Serve on a good bun with homemade harissa sauce, slices of red onions and a handful of Arugula or mixed lettuce – (see recipe for homemade rolls here )

Homemade Spicy Harissa

Spicy Harissa Sauce

Spicy Harissa Sauce

I love this sauce on anything – the perfect dip for any vegetable! But also good with fish, chicken, lamb, – well, as I said, anything 🙂

2-3 red peppers

1-3 cloves of garlic depending on how fierce you want it

1/4 cup of olive oil

Red chilli – I use 1/2 , how hot do you like it?

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Juice of one lemon

Cut the peppers in halfs and bake them in the oven with the skin up until they are tender and the skin is beginning to get dark, actually almost almost black. Leave them to cool and then take off the skin.

Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend into a smooth sauce.

A healthy spicy bite

A healthy spicy bite

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Resetting the body-clock

A whole week on plant-based foods! Plant-wild week check it out here

  • I feel  full of energy
  • I lost 2 1/2 kg
  • my skin feels healthy
  • my eyes are clear
  • I feel in balance/content
  • my runs are easier – I run for longer without feeling the need to stop
  • cravings for unhealthy foods ceased

2 years ago I would never have believed that food matters so much! I knew that I had to eat fruits and vegetables and that it was supposed to be good for me, but I had no idea it could change my life the way it has!

For those, who are new to this blog  – I was suffering desperately from Meniere’s disease, I had terribly high cholesterol and I had put on 17 kg! I felt dreadful and did not have the will-power to do anything about it, I felt stuck!

Food changed all of that! I added green smoothies to my diet and got more energy, started to crave more green food and craved less of all the things that were not good for me. I started to run and I started to exchange some of my meals for plant-based meals. Sometimes, I would do whole days on plant-based foods – eventually eating only plant-based food from Monday to Friday, every now and then. I changed the balance of what I ate, so that I had much more fruits and vegetables, nuts, and grains, than meat and dairy. Nourishing and feeding my body – rather than filling myself up. This past week I tried an only-plant-based week and it was great.

Eating more plant-based has been like resetting my clock. Now I don’t feel hungry all the time, I feel nourished and satisfied. I no longer feel the need to fill my plate 3 times, at every meal.

I used to live to eat and I still do, but not in the same way!

I am mostly plant-based and I enjoy adding delicious fish or meat to my meals, but not with every meal. I also enjoy creme brulee and fabulous cheeses, but not with every meal.

I believe that the high cholesterol, Meniere’s disease and the 17 kg over-weight, was my body’s way of “telling” me, there was an imbalance  – something needed to change.

Today my Meniere’s disease is gone, my cholesterol is normal without medication,  I have lost 19 kg, I feel better and fitter than ever before!

This week has been like giving my body a holiday, spoiling it with foods that supports it, feeds it, and nourishes every cell.

My family supported me all the way – not everyone was plant-based all week, but I am proud of them for what they did! Loving that they tried, exchanging the majority of their meals with plant-based foods and for being so open to try. Changes do not happen over night – it happens by taking one healthy step at a time.

Meniere’s Disease – My way out

Yesterday someone told me her dad had been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease.  I was reminded and felt so sad for the dad, having been there myself.

According to statistics 3-5 million people suffer from Meniere’s disease in the United States alone. 100.000 new cases are diagnosed every day!

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that affects the balance and hearing. Fluid accumulates in the inner ear and creates a pressure that affects the balance. Usually only one ear is affected.

Let me rewind and go 3 years back. I had been in Europe visiting my family in Denmark and on our way back we had a stop in Paris. We booked in to our hotel and decided to go down to the a little cozy restaurant, just around the corner. There we were totally excited that we were together in beautiful Paris! We ordered some food and a glass of wine. The next thing I knew was, that I thought I was having a heart attack. It came out of the blue, happened instantly and it was something I had never ever tried in my entire life before. I was terrified to say the least. The whole world was spinning, I could not walk, I had cold sweat and I felt sick as a dog. All kinds of things were going through my mind, it was THE most scary thing I had ever experienced.

My family almost carried me out and the waitress was told we would not be having dinner. The family took me up stairs to the hotel room where I collapsed on the bathroom floor and was sick for hours – it took 2-3 hours before the spinning stopped and I could crawl in to bed, completely exhausted.

The next day I was exhausted and thought that perhaps it had been a bad case of food poisoning – even though I have never reacted like that to food poisoning before.

Back in Canada – 2 months later. I am doing my usual things and all of a sudden “IT ” happens again – out of the blue, no warning signs  – cold sweat, spinning and sick as a dog – it is not just dizzy, it is spinning like crazy. This time I think – “What is happening to me???” I am totally defeated – on the floor, not able to do anything – sick sick sick, again!!! The same things happen,  2-3 hrs before I  exhaustively can climb in to bed and fall asleep. Even 2 days after an attack I am really tired and worn out.

Between the attacks I notice that I have a “fullness” in one ear,  a pressure and my hearing is bad.

At this point I am still not connecting the dots – I think I am in denial.

A dear friend of mine who is a nurse – says to me “Next time you get it, go to emergency while you are having the attack!”

A month later – it happens again – and with the family’s help I manage to get to the doctor’s office – while the world is spinning.

He says – “I think you have Meniere’s disease – but I want you to have a brain scan to make sure it is not a tumor”.  I crawl back out of his office and I am devastated!! What has happened to my life? I cannot believe it.  Is it a tumor? If not, then what – do I have to live with this and how do I do that??

I did not have a tumor, thank God! – “only” Meniere’s disease  – the specialist said “We don’t know exactly what causes it. There is no cure and you will have to live with it. Be careful about your sodium intake,  caffeine and alcohol. See you in 2 months”. This goes on for the next year with more scary attacks.

I have never heard about Meniere’s disease before. All the information I found online was “Bad” news – no cure, stories of how people have become house bound having these scary attacks all the time, stories about how your hearing is badly affected every time you have an attack. Stories of people giving up work – not even being able to drive!! I was terrified and I was anxious most of the time scared about when the next attack would happen and also terrified that I could have a tumor in my brain!! I was depressed and felt my whole life was coming to an “end”.

Perhaps you have read my story and thereby know that a friend gave me 2 bottles of green smoothies and a book called “Green for life”. “What the heck!” I thought, I’ll try anything!! So  I began to drink liters of green smoothies – over a very short time my taste buds changed and I felt that things I would eat before was too salty or all of a sudden too sweet. Instead I craved more green food. I did not think this would make a difference on my Meniere’s disease –  but I felt better, had more energy, my depression went away and I even felt a bit of hope.

That was 2 years ago and I have not had a single full-blown attack since!!

I believe the reasons to be:

  • Less sodium intake – both because many of my meals today consist of plant-based foods – there is no salt added to a green smoothy! And because my taste buds changed and I don’t crave salty foods anymore.
  • I have much more energy – I started jogging and that has had a great effect on my stress level as well as improving my blood circulation
  • I eat less fat – in particular animal fat – which clogs up the arteries.  Clogged arteries means that the blood flow be restricted in and around the ear.  According to “the Meniere’s disease help blog” – High Cholesterol could be making things a lot worse for patients with Meniere’s disease.

I am neither an expert nor a doctor – all I have is my own experience! However, I strongly believe there is a connection between the way we live, what we eat and diseases like Meniere’s disease. I am certain that my change in lifestyle and eating habits have had not only a positive effect on my overall health, but also on my Meniere’s disease. Today, I have no more scary attacks, only pressure on my ear some days – and that I can live with!

I am sharing this story in the hope, maybe there are others out there that can find relief as I have.

This is a great source of information:

http://www.managemenieres.com/