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 πŸ˜‰ – 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. πŸ™‚

C

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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. πŸ™‚

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

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 πŸ™‚ ) 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

Losing Weight On a Plant Based Diet – Part 2

What really got me thinking about making changes was reading Chef AJ’s story (here). (For a story with more detail, try this) I started debating about whether or not I should be cutting out nuts, and then reality hit, ;-). Umm, shouldn’t I worry about the excessive sugar (see previous post), or the oils I cook with first?

I have since read a few things that have tweaked my ideas on the changes I need to make in my life. The first was some advice from a French doctor specializing in nutrition. (In “Forever Chic” by Tish Jett) He, Denis Lamboley points out to the author that there are only two reasons to eat, “hunger and pleasure”. Well, yeah, duh! But, wait. Is that always why I am eating? Or, more to the point, do I eat unhealthy, fatty foods when I am hungry rather than the nutritious foods my body needs. And so, when I am eating these things that should be treats, am I really enjoying them? No, often I am not.

Back to a basic premise I had when I very first started to cut sugar out. I was cutting it down, not out. And my rule was, if I ate sugar I should enjoy it. Desserts only, nothing hidden in the main course, etc.

I kind of modified his statement in my thoughts. It became, “there are only two reasons for eating, nutrition and pleasure”. And again, that made me think. If I am eating for hunger, it should also be for nutrition. If I am eating for pleasure, well then, I should be enjoying my food, right?

Perhaps this isn’t helpful if you feel you enjoy EVERYTHING you eat, but I think for most of us, focusing on why we make the food choices we do is extremely helpful. In the long and short run.

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So, as a second step, I need to make sure I have healthy options available so that when I get hungry I can eat those instead of looking for a quick snack. Right now I have a big bowl of my favorite salad in the fridge and the dressing to accompany it right there too.

C

Losing Weight on a Plant Based Diet – Part 1

Sounds like a no brainer, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Many years ago, I gave up sugar. I really cut it out, everything except fruit sugars, and milk sugars (because at the time dairy was a regular part of my diet). I tried stevia and concentrated fruit sweeteners, and I lost weight. It was pretty simple and straight forward. Then it started to creep back into my diet. Honey was fine. Meaning, I noticed no ill effects adding that in, I may have even added in in while still losing weight. And I know that a good friend of mine ate a ton of honey in her weight loss journey. (Read her story here.) This aided her in cutting out other sweeteners.

However, adding other options in has not been a good plan for me. I have for years bought into the idea that natural sweeteners are fine and not harmful. And I suspect that for a lot of people that is true. But, in my case the weight has crept back on, and even more telling, sometime subtle hints of the problems I used to have with blood sugar. Needing to eat right away, or even every few hours. Getting shaky, etc. Nothing huge, not as bad as it was, but obviously there is a problem there.

So, I am going back to my stricter regimen, cutting out sucanat, and agave. And for the most part maple syrup, because as great as this is supposed to be, I have always been able to tell that this affects my blood sugar almost as badly as refined sugar. (I should say that even with my sensitivity to sugar, there is a difference when cutting out refined sweeteners. Whether that is in volume eaten, or affect on the body is harder to say and probably individualized to some extent.)

This will be my first step towards getting back to a weight where I am comfortable.

C

Pressure Cooking 101, the final

Having successfully cooked something, in your pressure cooker, you are now ready to move on and branch out in your pressure cooking experience.

If you purchased The New Fast Food, finish reading it.

Recipes start on page 29, but the there are two sections following this which talk about cooking grains and beans in more depth. Definitely worth a read.

Try cooking other things.

What not to do:

Do not decide to impulsively convert your lentil soup recipe. Actually, this would have probably been fine except too watery (turns out you reduce the liquid when converting recipes). However, if you also at the same time decide to double the recipe, and then after adding nearly everything (except some of the water) think about how you are supposed to only fill the pressure cooker 1/2 to 2/3rds full, and then decide to try it anyway minus some of the water (which was a good thing). Β Then when it’s cooking freak out and do a quick release resulting in undercooked soup. And then because you’re still worried about it being too full, ladle out half of the soup and cook the other half, eat dinner, and then cook the rest. Don’t do that. Just in case you were thinking about it. πŸ˜‰

Instead:

Cook more than one recipe already converted for pressure cooker use. Try some beans, after all that’s what pressure cookers are for, right?

C