Smoothies Galore

That’s what I’ve been eating. Especially for the first three days of “Ani’s 15 Day Fat Blast”. She calls that Phase 1, and it’s meant to be a detox. So, a few words about that, in case anyone is interested or thinking about trying it out.

Like I said, it’s all smoothies. Sweet and savory. A lot of them are really good. Surprisingly (to me) even some of the savory smoothies, AKA soups.

The only thing I had a really hard time with was Day 3. I’ve read about others’ experiences on this diet and heard problems with Day 3 attributed to being tired of just smoothies, etc. But, I don’t think that’s it. Remember I came to this from a week of fasting, and light food, mostly smoothies already. I think I just don’t like those recipes. So, I marked the ones I really like, the ones that are O.k., and then left those that I didn’t like at all blank. So that if I do this again, it will be an even better experience.

Apparently, detox symptoms could be experienced during these first three days. I didn’t really notice anything, but my diet is generally pretty clean anyway. Other thoughts on detoxing though – are that years ago when I attempted a juice fast it was really rough and I just didn’t make it. At that time I ate dairy regularly and even meat occasionally (especially bacon, the healthiest meat ;-) – yes, I am kidding about the healthy part, and yes I have actually been asked if it really is. Yikes). I did not eat refined flours or sugars that I recall, but I’m sure the animal products I consumed contributed to the rough experience. Just a thought, in case it applies to anyone reading this. I suspect a more gradual transition involving a few days to a week of whole foods vegan eating before starting a cleanse would help.

So, about cravings. Or other types of temptation to eat less than healthy foods. What I’ve noticed is a need to treat myself in ways that don’t involve food. It’s too easy and tempting to feel the need for a cookie or something and eat it without realizing why. In thinking about what it is I want to eat and why, along with taking Ani’s suggestion of a long bath during Phase 1, I realized that for me, why can sometimes be a need to be kind to myself, and maybe a little pampering can replace that snack in a healthier way.

I mentioned marking the recipes I really liked. I’ve also put some thought into recipes I would substitute that aren’t in the book.

One of them is my Blueberry Ginger Juice, which I thought I had posted before, but apparently I was waiting for a picture. (I think if I were to use this on the fat blast I would sub out the juice for water, possibly using some apple too.) Here it is, still without the photo.

Blueberry Ginger Juice

1 medium ripe banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fresh/frozen ginger root
Apple juice to fill the blender to just under the 3 cup line.

Blend well, on the Juice setting if you’re using a Blendtec.

I’m also working on perfecting a Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie, and I’ll post that when it’s ready. :-)

C

True Confessions

True Confession #1:

I have reached a time in my life when I am just sick of cooking. I think it’s the constant demand, every day, at least three times a day (or 400 if you have a starving, growing child on your hands) you need to come up with healthy, filling food. Food that hopefully everyone will enjoy. Some days you just hope they’ll eat it without complaining, who cares if they like it. Fast food is not an option for me. Frozen dinners are for the most part, not an option, and those that are quickly become cost prohibitive on a regular basis. What to do, what to do? What have you done? I know it’s not just me.

True Confession #2:

This one is a little more complex. But it boils down to the fact that I am frustrated with my weight and feeling like I should weigh less considering my diet. Whether or not this is actually true, is another story. But, that’s how I feel.
I suspect that it is a combination of not enough exercise, and too many snacks/treats, occasional emotional eating, and hormonal changes that come with age.

So, what to do?

Well, I’ll tell you what I did.

Last week I started a juice fast. I have tried this in the past fairly unsuccessfully, but I think all the years of improved dietary habits have stabilized my blood sugar to the point that I could handle it. I still cheated. But, overall I would call it a success.

The sad thing is that I was so thrilled not to be cooking that I didn’t really care that I wasn’t eating much either. I hope by the time I’m done with all this I will have recovered my ability to enjoy the kitchen.

So, how did I solve the problem of feeding my family? I told the 10 year old that he was in charge. It worked.

No, he does not really know how to cook, so really I just have a kitchen helper and I am still involved in meals to some extent. But….he is learning and it has been a really good thing.

Now for a little more detail about my plan. I had some digestive issues which triggered the decision to do the juice fast, and when I finished I just didn’t feel ready to go back to my regular diet. So I decided I would transition to “Ani’s 15 Day Fat Blast” because it is raw and involves a lot of smoothies. It took me a few days to get my supplies and in the interim I waffled between fasting, juice, and smoothies. Which really gave me a smoother transition, but went on a few days longer than I would have liked. So really, I ended up eating some pizza on the second to last day of this. I think it was a good thing.

It’s been interesting. I’ve realized a few things about cravings and overcoming them, and since this is my first experience with fasting for a non-religious reason it’s also been interesting to see the difference when your focus is introspection instead.

C

Pita Bowls

Named by my son, because all I could come up with were things like; garbanzo taco-ish things in a pita. You see why his name won. This is actually adapted from a recipe in Country Beans called “Mexi-Pita Bar”.

Here it is the way we make them.

1 can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained.

Mix together with:
1/4 teaspoon each; cumin, garlic powder, and sea salt (Real Salt at our house)
Heaping 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Heat on the stove, or set on top of the toaster oven while you use it to heat up the pitas. This last option only works if you do not need your beans to be really warm, just slightly warmed up.

Cut 3 whole grain pitas in half, and fill each with 1/6th of the bean mixture.

Top with:
Shredded lettuce
Sliced tomatoes (grape tomatoes in winter)
Diced onions
Sliced black olives
Shredded Daiya cheese substitute (optional)
Salsa
“Sour Cream” – Use one of the many non-dairy recipes floating around, or mix Vegenaise with lemon juice to taste.

For a gluten free version, leave out the pita and use a bowl instead. Still delicious!

Kid-Friendly Version

Fill pita halves with the garbanzo bean mixture. The seasonings called for work in our house. If you need to, use smaller amounts of the spices on all or part of the garbanzos. I suggest using some of the seasonings if possible, just to work towards more possibilities in the future.

Top with any of the above options that will be eaten without too much complaint. Here, that meant lettuce and black olives. My son does not love lettuce, but he doesn’t hate it either, and it’s good for him, so on his pita it goes.

Grated carrots are another option for getting more veggies onto a child friendly version of this dinner.

Another option for younger children would be to serve this all separately. A pita, garbanzo beans, & veggies in separate piles.

C

Kid-Friendly Food

I’m adding a new page to this blog (as you can see above). Just thought I would publish this as a regular post so it doesn’t moulder unoticed by any interested parties. :-)

Some people seem to think that healthy kids should be willing and happy to eat exactly what their parents are eating. Well, some of them are willing, and some of them probably enjoy it too. Depending on their ages, foods they were raised on, and how adventurous their parents taste buds are.

What is kid-friendly? That of course will depend on the kid. If you have consistently used the same taste palate for your child’s entire life, they will probably happily eat anything that contains. Once when my son was about three we had some young missionaries over for dinner. I made a pasta salad and had a bit of extra garlic, I decided to just throw it in. (We ate a lot of garlic, often raw or lightly cooked.) Well…it was a little strong. I apologized, they said no problem (as missionaries are prone to do) and one of them ate it with no problem. The other one seemed to struggle a bit more, and periodically glance in awe (or shock) at the three year old next to him gulping down his extremely garlicky pasta and proclaiming it delicious. So, yes it is possible for kids to like things not traditionally considered “child-friendly”. Households that consistently use the same taste palate are the likeliest place to find kid’s labeled “not picky”.

If however, you’ve become healthier over the course of your child’s life, or you tend to use a lot of variety when you cook, there may be a problem. For instance, I have several times made things that I know my son loved, three years ago, but…he doesn’t remember ever having eaten them before. Usually in that case he doesn’t HATE the food, but is often not crazy about it either.

I’m finding that in the world of plant-based eating there is less out there directed at children, or feeding them, than there is for adults. Probably because in our culture today, adults with health problems are the vast majority of people switching to whole foods plant based diets. But, what about their kids? When you start to feel so much better, you want your children to be healthy and energetic too. (Well, maybe not too energetic.)

So, I’ve decided to label/tag the recipes on this blog that I consider child friendly, with notes on what works in our house and possible suggestions for kids whose taste buds are in different stages of development.

Be patient while we work through the previously posted recipes/ideas, but I think it will be worth it.

C

Losing Weight on a Plant Based Diet – Exercise

I am so not an expert on this. In fact I view it as almost a necessary evil. However, since it is important…

Find some type of physical activity that you enjoy. One of my favorites is hiking/walking. To be truthful, I enjoy walking MUCH more than hiking, as long as hiking means a trek uphill.

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But, here in Michigan, hiking is great!

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C

Non-Queso Quesadilla

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Lunch today.

Inspired by the deliciousness of the refried beans for last nights’ burritos. I knew I did not want another burrito for lunch, but I did want those re-fried pinto beans. And so, this particular non-queso quesadilla was born.

It’s just refried beans, sliced avocado, thinly sliced onions, and sliced grape tomatoes layered between two tortillas (rice flour in this case) and warmed through on the stove-top.

Served, of course, slathered with salsa.

C

Losing Weight on a Plant Based Diet – Enjoy your food!

I think this is key. Key to resisting cravings and not feeling deprived. When we eat things that feel like a luxury or an indulgence, but are also healthy, it’s possible to lose weight without a constant internal struggle with food.

Additionally, this strategy makes lifelong change much more attractive and do-able.

So, what types of food fall into the healthy indulgence category? I’m sure that depends on who you are, what your childhood foods were like, how you feel about spending money on food, etc.

Personally, Pomegranate seeds fall into the indulgence category for me. I don’t happen to live anywhere they grow (although I did at one time), and so they tend to be on the expensive side. So, buying and enjoying a few (or more :-) ) pomegranates in season definitely falls into the healthy indulgence category for me.

The same could be said for any fruit or vegetable that you enjoy, but for some reason tend to feel is too expensive, or whatever your personal road block is.

Kumquats are another fruit that I feel this same way about. I’d really like to grow some in a greenhouse or something because these are just plain hard to come by, but I love eating them!

Additional examples are: Artichokes, French sorrel, fresh off the vine tomatoes, and in general – picked at it’s prime produce.

Aside from eating our favorite fruits and veggies straight up, what else can make a healthy diet feel indulgent?

Main courses that we love! These of course will vary a bit depending on who you are. I love crunchy raw salads with great dressings. Like my favorite salad, and The Seasoned Chickpeas over Kale & Avocado Salad from the OhSheGlows blog (which, try as I might, I cannot find the link to).

And of course, fun desserts that are as healthy as can be. What works for you will depend on your particular dietary demons, but one recipe that I found enjoyable was Raw Chocolate-Swirl Cheesecake Bars. I used honey instead of agave in the filling, and found that blending really well was key, but these turned out to be delicious.

This is my new approach. In the past I’ve focused more on strict discipline, but at this time in my life I find the need for a better motivation to a healthy diet. I’ve realized that I, at least, need a positive approach that focuses on the good things still available rather than what I need to cut out.

Have you noticed this in your own life?

C