Saturday, 18 June 2011
For the longest time, I've been making housemate's smoothies in big batches on Sat. morning. This week I was gone on the weekend so just made them in smaller batches and decided I like that! This is partly because I changed my schedule. I decided to work 75% time this summer, and boy is it nice. It allows me to do my food prep in the mornings and mosey on into work at 10 am. So there's time to make fresh smoothies every other day and freeze the second one.
These smoothies are good for SAD (Standard American Diet) guests who are used to eating sweet food. They are too sweet for me. I'm not sure I'd call them healthy because they are so sweet (too much fruit juice), but they are nutritious.
Ingredients for 2 smoothies (16-20 oz each):
18-20 oz (550-600 g) frozen fruit/berries
8 oz grape juice
8 oz fresh squeeze orange juice
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds or other seeds or nuts
3 oz spinach
supplements if desired (better than swallowing pills)
Blend the juice, nuts/seeds, spinach and supplements. Add the frozen fruit and blend until smooth. Pour into two tall cups. I give one to housemate and freeze the other for tomorrow. Note: don't use flaxseeds or chia seeds if you are freezing. They give it a jelly-like consistency when thawed.
Okay, so time to pick a recipe. How about Channa Saag (Spicy Chickpeas with Spinach). Now all the substitutions start because no way am I going to work hard at this, it's just lunch! And since I made so many substitutions I can call it a new recipe and post it.
Ingredients for a 1 large serving or 2 small:
1/2 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1-2 medium tomatoes or 1/2 can
1 green chili or other pepper (I didn't use any, don't like them anymore)
1/2 tsp garam masala (the recipe called for tamarind powder but my co-op doesn't have it, and I didn't want to buy a big jar of concentrated tamarind for one lunch recipe, so I used garam masala and boy was that good!)
1/2-1 tsp curry
---(the recipe called for coriander powder which I don't really like so I didn't include it)
8 oz of spinach (wo that's a lot! amazing how it cooks down though).
1.5 cups beans (recipe calls for chickpeas, who cares what kind of beans you use!)
cayenne pepper if you want (not me!)
herbs from the garden (not in the recipe, optional): I threw in a lot of cilantro and chives, and a little dill and rosemary (because they were there).
Water saute the onion and garlic until tender. Add the spices and herbs and peppers, cook for a few minutes. Add the spinach, cook until it wilts, a few minutes. Add in the beans, cook until heated. Serve.
It was a great meal after a hard mountain bike ride. Really yummy!
Saturday, 11 June 2011
I also got some mushrooms at another stand. That plus my current stock of beans, seeds, carrots, and fruit will get me home tomorrow.
I have to remember that on my next trip. Find the farmer's markets!
Friday, 10 June 2011
Here is what I'm going to do: free nutritional counseling. I can only do it for 10 hours a week, but it will be my community service project. I hope to target people without health insurance and with limited income. But I will gladly advise anyone interested to improve their health, time permitting. I'm going to start with a website. I'm hoping this will allow my 10 hours per week to benefit a larger number of clients. How will this save the world? If we all become nutritarians, we help halt global warming (eating lots of meat is our biggest contribution!), we prevent bankrupcy of governments and people due to health care costs, and we improve our lives dramatically.
So I will be distracted for the next few weeks working on the website. Does anyone know if you can get free web-hosting for community service projects???
Also, the reason I want to paint? Because sometimes it's emotionally very difficult for me to be a nutritarian in a non-nutritarian world. It's not an emotion I feel compelled to express in words or music. but painting or drawing? I can definitely see that. I just need to let the emotions out. I don't need to share them with anyone or process them. I just want to release them.
What do you think of my counseling/website idea? Good, bad? Your feedback on the website will be valuable!
Oh yeah, my other update is, I decided I shouldn't make deals with the devil. That's not good nutritarian behavior. It's one thing to slip up, or be in a rare situation where compromise is a reasonable option and well within Dr. Fuhrman's "Life Plan" (10%) parameters, but I don't think I should plan to eat SAD food just for the fun of it, should I????
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
I have a relationship with my BBQ sauce. It is delicious, and I love it a lot. But…it also contains high fructose corn syrup and modified corn starch among other things. Now, I’m pretty sure a couple tablespoons per day won’t kill me, but I’m always up for a challenge, and reducing the number of processed products I consume is a constant process.
Homemade BBQ sauce is surprisingly easy to make (recipe here), and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out; I might use a little less smoked paprika next time. I also added pineapple concentrate for a little sweetness.
I made a huge batch of this salad last week and ate it pretty much every day. It is fantastic to have a giant bowl of vegetables at your disposal after work…makes it easy to sneak in your veggie servings each day.
[In the mix]: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, olives, cucumbers, wild rice, and homemade Italian dressing (olive oil, vinegar, Italian spices).
I also made almond milk ice cubes for my coffee; I normally add a little almond milk anyway, so now it won’t be completely diluted just because it is iced coffee.
Whenever I feel like life’s getting a little too measured, I do something random like making wall art out of paper towel tubes (design sponge idea). At the rate of my paper towel usage (probably not the most green friendly), this piece has the potential to go far…
In other news, it has been incredibly hot here lately, causing two temporary power outages at the hospital (thank goodness I was NOT in the middle of writing a chart note), and making me want to eat ice cream for dinner.
What are some things you’ve done lately to make life easier…or entertaining?
Monday, 6 June 2011
If you don't want to read any and just want a 3-sentence summary it is this (see below for another useful take-home point #4): 1) There are no excuses. 2) Just do it. 3) Happiness comes from overcoming challenges, not from pleasure-giving activities (such as watching tv or eating ice cream). Regarding point #1, Get off your but has lots of inspirational stories. Regarding point #2, You can read all the books you want but it finally has to come from you. Regarding point #3, you will be very happy when you do make the changes. It is very hard, no doubt about it, but you will overcome and that will bring you GREAT satisfaction and ultimately happiness.
If you want to read just one, I think I recommend Get off Your But. It is very inspirational and has lots of activities to help you on your journey.
If you want to read more, I have them ordered by how I liked them but it is very personal, so you may not agree with my ordering. I also would like to point out The Pleasure Trap, which is more science and psychology but it shows why we desire processed foods and why we should avoid them (this is available in both book and DVD). It helps you understand that this isn't about you being weak and bad, but about the food being bad and dangerous. Let me emphasize this as take-home point #4) The food is bad, not you!
If you like to learn and to stay motivated, then I recommend all of these books. What I do is buy the audio versions and listen to them on my ipod while doing my food prep. I think this is fun. And then I save my other enjoyable books for my night-time reading.
I went to the Jolly Pumpkin, an Ann Arbor craft brewery with some friends this weekend. Definitely a fun place; they have a rooftop deck that is perfect for summer nights. And they use ingredients from sustainable farmers, organic growers and artisan producers, which is pretty fantastic.
[photo via b.rostad]
Sunday is always a big food prep day because I have pretty much zero energy to pack lunches or cook during the week. I experimented with this recipe for tahini curried carrot salad.
I’m not crazy about sweet vegetables, so I had to do a little improvising. I left out the raisins and added some spiralized cukes (this is the spiralizer I have). I think next time I’d leave out some of the maple syrup, too.
The recipe also calls for nutritional yeast, which is big in the vegan world because it contains vitamin B12.
- required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis; plays a role in fat and protein metabolism
- bound to protein in animal products and is released by the activity of hydrochloric acid and gastric protease in the stomach; however synthetic vitamin B12 (aka that in nutritional yeast) is already in free form and doesn’t require separation
- the body needs very little B12 on a daily basis; B12 is stored in the liver, so unless you have been a vegan for a long time without supplementation or have digestive issues or kidney disease, you don’t likely have a deficiency.
- amounts listed on a nutrition label are based on 6 µg/day; the nutritional yeast I have contains 40% of the daily value for B12 or 2.4 µg per tablespoon.
- it is beneficial to get B12 from a variety of fortified sources because absorption can vary.
Sunday, 5 June 2011
Update a week later: I've had this feeling the last week that this deal with the devil idea is a really bad idea. First there's the obvious reason that each time you eat SAD food, you may never return from it. Talk about a slippery slope. And second, it's just not good nutritarian behavior. I think we should not give SAD food to ourselves as a reward. I'm not saying I won't ever slip up in the future, but it should be my aim to not slip up. I shouldn't plan to slip up. I've also realized that you have to say no a lot, even in the nutritarian universe. You have to say no when you've eaten enough, you have to say no to too many dates and nuts and fruit and beans, and even carrots. You can eat too much of anything. Once you have been off SAD food for several weeks, I'm not sure it's any harder to say no to that than to say no to too many pieces of corn on the cob, or cherries, or strawberries. My SAD deviations the last few times started out as nutritarian deviations--too much of a good thing.
Saturday, 4 June 2011
spiralized salads: cukes, carrots, red onion, feta cheese + balsamic vinaigrette. you can get a spiralizer here.
waldorf salad: try the vegan-friendly homemade mayo.
classic potato salad: picnic staple…and not like the weird potato salad at the grocery store that looks unnaturally yellow. ugh.
black bean salad: tomatoes, corn, black beans, cucumbers, red onion, and cilantro + olive oil and red wine vinegar.
apple and cherry salad: this one is a hit at dinner parties; the dressing is pretty fantastic.
cherry tomato couscous salad: adding whole grains to vegetables is an easy way to make a side dish into a main course.
5 week fennel salad: this is called such because I made it 5 weeks in a row after discovering the recipe. It’s pretty addicting.
And I’m sure that most of you have seen My Plate, which replaces the former (and incredibly confusing) My Pyramid.
While it’s not perfect, I think it’s a big improvement over My Pyramid. At least vegetables and fruit are given more of a presence. However, I like this model by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) even better.
Half of the plate is composed of vegetables, which I think would be very beneficial for most of the population. You’ll also notice that there is not a protein group, which is due to the group’s conclusion that animal products are not needed for a healthful diet, and observation that protein can be obtained from grains and vegetables. I agree with this; I don’t have a problem with including meat in moderation, but as factory farming makes ethical meat less available, alternative sources of protein are definitely more attractive and affordable (read my thoughts on protein here and here).
This report by the PCRM is pretty interesting. Although the government is encouraging us to eat more servings of fruit and vegetables, more than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies in recent history have directly and indirectly supported meat and dairy production. Less than 1 percent have gone to fruits and vegetables.
So in other words, eat more vegetables and fruit but don’t expect the government to make them more accessible or affordable. Go figure.
Thoughts on the new plate? And any good salad recipes? I’m always expanding my recipe file in the name of creative vegetable dishes…
Hope it is warm + sunny wherever you are…