Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vegan Journey Continues Week 3 Day 4 - Thursday August 14, 2014

Last night I made another stir fry, and I think I'm getting better at it...


serves 3

2 cups kale, roughly chopped
2 cups bok choy, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1" ginger, finely chopped
2T canola oil (or peanut, or olive)
1T mirin (sweet Asian wine)
1T low sodium soy sauce
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, seeded, sliced and halved
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 pound (block) firm tofu, drained and cubed

3 cups brown rice, cooked

Sesame seeds for topping (optional) toasted (optional)

Prepare tofu by draining, cubing, and marinating in low sodium soy sauce.
Heat oil, add garlic and ginger to season oil, then onion, then other vegetables and mirin, then toss in tofu cubes with soy sauce to warm.  Serve over steaming hot brown rice.  Top with toasted sesame seeds.

This has benefits of heart health and helping the body defend against cancer.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

pesto day 12 vegan challenge 8/7/14


psst pesto on Day 12 Vegan challenge 8/7/14

I read a great article about the health benefits of nutritional yeast.
I bought some last week, but wasn't sure what I was going to do with it.
The article suggested using it like parmasean cheese in recipes.
So I made some pesto. Normally, my pesto does not contain spinach, but I took all the leaves off of my little basil plant, and only had about 1/2 cup, so I improvised. The result was a tasty sauce that was still vibrant green with a more subtle basil flavor.

Pesto Improv, Vegan Style

1/2 cup freshly picked basil
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1 garlic scape (like green onions, but green garlic top)
1 clove garlic (if you can find the German hard neck type its divine)
3T nutritional yeast
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pignoli pine nuts (or walnuts)
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed

Blend all items in blender. Serve over steaming hot pasta, with an extra sprinking of nutritional yeast on top.

Ideas for future research include adding fresh parsley in place of the garlic scape. It would also be interesting to add a new category of pizza; instead or red or white (which refers to the color of the sauce on pizza), green pizza could be added to the house menu!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 2 - Day Two 07/28/14

I expected dreams of oil laden salty foods, but there were none.  I find myself craving farm fresh eggs.  Too bad its not on my plan for today or the next 26 days, but I have the feeling some time this year I'll be having those eggs. 

I must admit my energy levels are through the roof.  I feel in some ways leaner, but in some ways bloated due to the high fiber.  I have faith my body will adapt.

Breakfast:  3/4 cup Rip's big bowl Engine 2 cereal, 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup blueberries
Lunch:  Leftover beans and brown rice, spring mix, raw red bell peppers
Dinner: Whole Wheat thin spaghetti, tomato sauce with basil, baby bella mushrooms served whole like meatballs, and chopped onion.
Snack: potato chips and dark chocolate. (not diet food but at least its vegan)

Day One

Sunday July 27, 2014

I woke up today eager to focus on making the right choices.  I think my kitchen is looking better already!

I went to the local healthy grocer armed with my list.  I never tried to buy so much health food at one time in my life!  People were helpful, both customers and staff, which was great because I was so clueless!  I felt very frustrated with the fresh produce bags that are even harder to open than in the traditional grocery stores.  I suspect these are better for the environment, but I wish there could be a more customer friendly design.  I don't think I ever spent so much time in a grocer store as I did today!  But it was worth it, I got everything on my list, and nothing that was NOT on the list.  I purchased fewer bags than usual, and it cost more than usual, but I'm trying to weigh the health benefits against the financial concern.

My food:

Breakfast:  Oatmeal, cinnamon, mashed banana (at home)
Lunch:   Big bowl of salad with balsamic vinegar and roasted vegetables. (at home)
Snack:  Cucumber fresh from my garden, sliced, and a peach  (at the movies)
Dinner: Spring Mix Salad, black beans with cilantro, onion, cayenne pepper, long grain brown rice

I crave oil.  And salt.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I always try to accept myself as I am.  Part of being myself is being a middle aged fat woman, a yoga teacher, and art teacher, and a mom.  I have concerns about a recent weight gain, about being a good role model to my daughter, about negative comments I've received, about the concern shown to me by people who care about me.

So, to address these concerns, I became willing to change the way I was eating.  Through a process that slightly escapes my consciousness, I found myself buying junk food out at restaurants and grocery stores.  I put it in my body and somehow deceived myself into thinking this would make me happy.  It did not, but I still repeated the process.

WEEK ONE   July 20 - July 26, 2014

I started to listen to my body, and notice how I felt after I ate different foods.  After a week, I noticed that foods with meat and dairy left me feeling full of remorse;  foods from plants left me feeling energized.

I started to read abundant literature on the benefits of a diet free of animal products, a vegan food plan.  I was concerned that if I kept white flour, white sugar, or corn syrup in my house, I would slip into an unhealthy spiral of poor food choices.

I created a plan and a food list.  I took a day to clean out my pantry of any sugar or animal products..  I read expiration dates, and was surprised I had a few things that actually expired.  I discarded those.  I packed up everything that was left into two categories; unopened items for donation to a  food pantry, and opened items.  The town food bank was so grateful for the donation; I felt wealthy and proud I had items to share.  Fortunately, this was a day my eight year old daughter was going to visit her father, so I put all of her sugary candy in a bag, asked her to bring it with her to her dad's place, or do what she wanted with it, but warned her I would throw it away if it came back in the house, as it is not healthy for me.  She seemed to understand, and brought her small bag to her dad's willingly enough.  I baked her cupcakes and cookies from mixes I found; I let her and her dad have some of those, too. Ok, I ended up sampling one of each of them, and they were delicious going down, but I did not feel energized afterward, I only felt guilty.    I gave her dad the items that had white sugar or flour that had been opened. I felt emotionally lighter.

I went out to eat that night, but found the willingness to try a local health food store for the first time.  I was dismayed that their kitchen was closed, but happy they had hummus wraps and side salads.  I gobbled down one of each. It was delicious!  While I was out at a party, I had a serving of corn chips.  I had more energy than usual.

The next day, I went through my fridge.  I was again surprised to find expired items, but threw them away.  I put aside bags of food not on my plan, and washed my refrigerator clean.  I put only the items on my plan back in, and gave away all the other unopened items.  I washed a lot of leftover containers!

I went out to eat again, having checked the website of the place for their menu and making a plan.  I made a reservation, and commented that I needed to know the vegan options on the menu.  Upon arrival, I asked the waitress what vegans typically ordered there, and she replied exactly what I had planned to order: roasted vegetable sandwich, no cheese.  They even had a pita for me instead of bread!  I also had another side salad, with another balsamic vinagrette dressing, and some spicy cajun fries.  I am not typically up late at night, but I was perky later than usual.  I stopped by a party and had a handful of tortilla chips with salsa, and a bowl of fresh fruit.  I felt phenomenal!

I am glad I made so much room in my cabinets and refrigerator for my healthy lifestyle!  I can't wait to go start the next week!