Whipped this up the other night. The combination of mushrooms, artichokes, spinach & sun dried tomatoes in cheesy, vegan yumminess was so good, I almost shed a tear. Oh, and it’s gluten free, too.
For the alfredo, I brought about a cup of almond milk to boil, then returned to simmer. Added copious amounts of nutritional yeast, sea salt, garlic and a few spoons of marinated sun dried tomatoes. Used a little NO EGG to make the sauce thick and creamy. While this was heating up, I cooked some gluten free (corn) spaghetti in a saucepan.
In a large skillet, I grilled organic mushrooms in coconut oil, then added them to the alfredo. God, it would have been incredible if I had just stopped at this point. But no, I continued..
Next, I grilled the artichoke hearts (frozen, from Trader Joe’s) and spinach, separately. I stirred some of the veggies into the sauce, but set aside the rest.
When the pasta was done, I spiced it up with lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper before unceremoniously dumping it into the mushroom alfredo. Topped with the veggies and served with prosecco..
7 Weeks in. Still going strong. Meat cravings have been on the rise, however. Driving home from work the other day I was this close to going to my old wings place. The only thing that stopped me was imagining the suffering of those exploited and tortured chickens. Came home and ate my mac ‘n cheese instead. Yesterday I was overcome with an intense desire to consume lobster tail with lots of butter and fresh lemon juice. Today, I was nearly seduced by the wafting odor of grilled meat from a restaurant while on my way to an Indian spot for lunch. I held firm and stuck to a vegetarian dish, though I did break down and eat copious amounts of naan. Cheese naan. Yum. I also passed out afterwards. It was the most wheat I’ve had since I started this transition. Body couldn’t handle it..
In other news, I’ve tried to get Zora on board by introducing raw cat food (lamb to be precise) into her diet. I try to sweeten the pot by stirring in some Kit ‘n Kaboodle, her favorite go-to-junkfood. She’s very, very skeptical so far. But she’s nibbling. Progress!
Anyway, here’s the game plan I’ve been working with this week:
Brussels sprouts, grilled onions & tomatoes in peanut sauce over red quinoa
Kale, candied carrots & cranberries over red quinoa
Mac ‘n cheese with broccoli or kale
Gluten free penne pasta with black olive tomato sauce
Butternut squash soup
Carrot/broccoli slaw w/ sweet potato pancakes & spicy Korean sauce
So, one of the most exciting things going on in my life these days has been a pretty radical lifestyle change. A month ago, I was sick. In the stupor of this illness, I realized my fridge was bare and that I’d need provisions to recover. Around this time, I also discovered that many of the folks I correspond with on Twitter — academics, nondual types, spiritually minded folks — are also into vegan and raw foods. They made suggestions for things I should add to my grocery cart. People started sharing meal ideas, recipes, books, vegan websites and even documentaries. For reasons I cannot account for, I was particularly open to these suggestions and approached it all with a great deal of enthusiasm.
First, let me explain how I was living (and eating) prior to this lifestyle change. I was drinking 2, 3 sometimes 4 cups of coffee a day (frighteningly easy to do with a Keurig machine). I had not been sleeping well for months and I was feeling very lethargic – something that’s pretty unusual for me. I had a persistent headache and I had put on about 10 lbs in the last quarter of 2012. My meals were heavy in protein and carbs. I love meat, cheese and bread — preferably French. A typical jaunt to the grocery store would have me buying ciabatta baguettes, steak, chicken, creamer (for my coffee), some exotic, expensive cheese. The only vegetables I liked buying were bok choy, brussels sprouts and cabbage. My staple meals were pasta, fajitas, Asian stirfry dishes and the like.
I thought my choices were relatively healthy because I selected whole wheat products, organic produce and grass-fed meat and dairy. I tried to match equal portions of protein and carbs in my meals, following a habit I picked up from past forays into Bill Phillip’s “Body for Life” program. But otherwise, I didn’t follow any rules. I ate whatever I wanted. And I often felt like passing out after those meals. I associated such feelings – being bloated and tired – with satiation. I didn’t know that another way was possible.
In any case, a month ago I decided to tip-toe into a veganish, raw-ish lifestyle. At first, I said I would do it just for a few days – until I got over my cold. Then I extended it for a week, then another week.. and suddenly a month had passed. In the interim, I’ve lost about 12 lbs – effortlessly.
Here’s an overview of the changes I’ve made. In parentheses is the percent of the time I follow these guidelines on a daily basis:
Replaced coffee with alternative drinks like hot lemon water and ginger root tea (100%)
Cut out all meat and seafood (100%)
Cut out all wheat (95%)
Replaced dairy with vegan products (90%)
Introduced raw meals and juices (100%)
Introduced gluten free products (100%)
Replaced sugar with honey and agave (97%)
Added superfoods green drinks (50%)
Finally started taking the vitamin supplements that had been sitting idly on top of my fridge (95%)
Other than meat, dairy and most gluten products, I can eat whatever I want. When I tell folks this, most of them snark “But there’s nothing left!” Oh, but that’s a myth! There is LOTS and lots of food I can and do eat. I’m having so much fun with discovering new, delicious recipes. I do not feel like I’m on a diet. I am often full and nurture myself with hearty meals. I feel free to do whatever I want (and this sense of liberty is important to me). If there are donuts at a meeting, I will have a bite. But overall, I find myself naturally choosing to make healthier decisions – not because I want to lose weight or reach a certain goal – but because my body feels better when I feed it with raw, vegan, gluten free goodies.
Not all of my meals have turned out well. The whole guacamole-over-cabbage idea was certainly a mistake. But for the most part, I have found it easy and exciting to come up with creative, delicious and nourishing things to eat.
Side effects of this new lifestyle:
I feel GREAT!
I’m sleeping better. I wake up early, without the need for an alarm. I have more energy.
The headaches are gone.
My digestion is great.
After meals, I feel energized and happy. No more lethargy or bloat.
My body is naturally losing weight
My appetite is decreasing
My eyesight seems to be improving
Pain and tension in my neck and shoulders has decreased
Things I typically buy now:
LEMONS! Can’t get enough
Daiya vegan cheese (a revelation.. absolutely incredible)
Lifeway probiotic kefir
Boston lettuce (for lettuce wraps)
Gluten free bread
Gluten free pasta
Vegan / gluten free sauces
New information I’m learning about myself:
I don’t like salads, but I love lettuce wraps
I like cooking some vegetables, so a completely raw lifestyle is not for me
I feel more energetic now that I’ve cut out coffee
Hot lemon water – or just hot water itself – is very internally soothing
I love the taste of lemon juice on just about anything
A sprinkle of “real” cheese or a serving of 99% lactose free kefir agrees with me, but any substantial serving of dairy upsets my stomach
I absolutely love eating (and making) fresh guacamole
I’ve learned that giving up meat is relatively easy, because I’m such a condiment girl. If I have the right spices and sauces, I’m good to go.
Staple meals and snacks for me now include:
Raw juice (especially apple, carrot, ginger)
Gluten free pasta with vegan cheese
Spinach sauteed with garlic and grilled onions (I actually eat this for breakfast sometimes)
Eggplant burgers (Dominex brand.. incredibly good, and a nice gluten free alternative to veggie burgers)
In terms of fast food, I find myself attracted to Thai and Japanese takeout. I’ll get vegetarian sushi (I’ve just discovered sweet potato tempura.. amazing!), dumplings or vegetarian pad thai.
For now, I don’t have any grand goal, but my plan is to pretty much stick to this for the time being. I’m sure I’ll have meat again one day, but that day is not to day.
Whipped this up last week. Sad to say, I made enough for a family of 7 and ate the entirety of the batch myself. These few pieces are all that remain, and I don’t think they will survive the weekend.
Raw chocolate, made with coconut oil, cacao powder, sea salt and agave is an incredibly easy, decadent, mouth watering concoction that also has all kinds of health benefits. Coconut oil helps stimulate your metabolism and is fabulous for you skin, hair and nails. And chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Need I say more?
The basic recipe can be found here. I added the raisins, nuts and chili powder. Next time, I’ll drop in candied ginger and pistachios.. Yum!
For this, I used half a package of House Foods shirataki angle hair tofu pasta. I’m not even a fan of tofu but these noodles are great! I used the other half of the package for miso soup. Be forewarned that it smells really bad right out of the package. This is typical for tofu noodles. But follow the directions for rinsing, draining and heating.. You’ll be just fine. The extra steps are worth it for this low carb, low cal, low fat, gluten free delight.
Prep pasta according to package directions. Heat up a quarter cup of marinara sauce. Toss pasta with minced garlic, capers, freshly ground black pepper, grated parmesan. I added a dash of hot sauce because I love spicy food.
Slice half a cucumber. Drizzle with Braggs apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Garnish with minced garlic, freshly ground black pepper, lemon juice, sea salt & scallions. Top with a scoop of something delicious – I chose red pepper and feta spread. Enjoy!
Wash lettuce. Peel banana. Spread almond Butter on the lettuce and put the banana on the almond butter. Drizzle with honey, a sprinkle of chili powder, a touch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wrap it up and devour.