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

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31 Days of Menus: Start with what you already have

In planning our menus for this last week I took into account both the leftovers from the week before and our fresh garden produce.

For instance, we had leftover refried beans as well as olives in the fridge from last weeks tostadas, so I decided to make Navajo Tacos since I needed to make bread anyway. I just use dough from what ever bread I am baking for the scones and fry it in coconut oil, but if you want more precise directions check out Tammie’s blog post on this topic.

We have broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, lemon cucumbers, and zucchini among other things growing in our garden right now.

So I made plans for the week that would take all that into account. Our dinner menus looked like this:

Monday
Navajo Tacos

Tuesday
Creamy Potato Soup with salad

Wednesday
Mongolian BBQ

Thursday
Monk Bowls from the The 30 Minute Vegan

Friday
I had planned on a lasagne recipe, but due to life we ended up with last minute spagetti instead.
Go backup plans!

Saturday
Panzanella from the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
with fresh fruit

Sunday
I had planned to make Homey Vegetable Stew with Dumplings from The 30 minute Vegan. But, it was too hot for such a filling dish so we had canned Amy’s brand minestrone soup with toast and fruit (should have had salad too, but I was too lazy).

C

A Good Basic Pantry List

I’m thinking about what I would want to have around at a bare minimum that would still enable me to cook a variety of tasty, healthy meals for our family.
Here’s what I have so far:

Grains & Beans

Brown Rice (stored in the fridge or freezer)
Black beans (canned and/or dry)
Lentils
Quinoa
Whole Wheat flour, stored in the freezer
Whole wheat pasta, spaghetti, macaroni, spirals, etc.
Additional grains and beans; such as barley, spelt, oats, pinto beans, etc.

Canned Goods

Shelf stable milk substitute; rice, soy, almond, etc.
Canned tomato products, diced, paste, sauce, etc.
Canned pineapple
Black/green olives

Fats & Oils

Extra Virgin Olive oil
Coconut oil, & or Palm oil shortening

Seasonings & Spices

Onions (I consider these along with garlic to be a pantry staple)
Garlic, fresh
Vegetable broth or bouillon (cubes or powder – homemade version works)
Basil
Oregano
Thyme
Arrowroot powder or organic corn starch
Sea salt
Black pepper (preferably in the form of pepper corns and a grinder)
Apple Cider Vinegar, raw
Soy Sauce, or Nama Shoyu

Sweeteners

Honey
Agave nectar, preferably raw (because I like it better, that’s why πŸ˜‰ )
Sucanat

Miscellaneous

Yeast

Nuts, such as: almonds, cashews, and walnuts
Seeds: sesame and sunflower seeds

Frozen

Frozen juice, such as orange, and apple
Frozen corn
Frozen peas
Frozen blueberries &/or other fruit for smoothies, muffins, pancakes, syrup, etc.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Assorted fresh fruits and vegetables, these will vary seasonally. Try to have at least 5 varieties of each on hand.

Spring: Greens (spinach, lettuce, etc.), New potatoes, peas, carrots, beets, strawberries, rhubarb, watercress

Summer: Tomatoes, summer squash/zucchini, eggplant, corn, raspberries, peaches, plums, apricots, Asian pears, cucumber

Fall: Beets, potatoes, kale, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, apples, raspberries, peaches, broccoli

Winter: Potatoes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash, apples, cabbage, greens

Some things like potatoes, onions, garlic, winter squash, and apples will keep well for months when stored properly.

I think that’s about it.
I do keep a more extensive supply on hand, with extras like coconut milk (can you be addicted to coconut milk? I just might be), chocolate chips (grain sweetened), and numerous spices and herbs.
But, this list is more about what to stock if you’re just starting out, or have a limited budget but still need to eat ;-).

With these items on hand (depending on the produce selection), I could make:

Stir-Fry with brown rice (lots of variations possible here, including sweet and sour sauce, if you have canned pineapple on hand)
Rice and bean salad with assorted vegetables and a vinaigrette (olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt & pepper)
Lentil soup (without the mustard, or add that to the pantry)
Lentil rice casserole (use dried basil, I did)
Fresh homemade bread
Pizza
Black bean and rice burritos with fresh veggies added (salsa extra for this, unless you made it fresh from the produce available)
Tortillas
Tomato-Basil pasta (needs cashews)
Oatmeal
A Variation on out of the cupboard soup (depending on what’s in your cupboard)
Hummus (need a lemon for this)
Fruit Smoothies
Quinoa salads

And numerous other options depending on the produce available, such as:
Hashbrowns
Salad
Veggie sandwiches
Cabbage salad
Sauteed greens
Baked potatoes with steamed veggies and vinagrette dressing
Mashed potatoes

C

Ode to Blendtec

O.K. I’ve only had it for 1 day, not even a whole 24 hours. And I’ve only made a smoothy and soup, but I love it! Clean up is super easy, and if only my family was happy eating soup 24/7 we’d be set.
I just dumped in roughly chopped tomatoes, avocado, carrots, cucumber, some onion, vegetable broth powder, black pepper and 2 cups of hot water. And instantly, 4 cups of hot and tasty raw soup! My dh commented on how great he felt after eating it. And he’s not generally a soup fan. In fact, you’ll notice he commented on how he felt and not how the soup tasted, lol.
My favorite part is that it took me about 6 minutes total, start to finish including cleanup.

C

Convenience Food without the convenience food

Say, it’s been awhile since you went on a major grocery shopping trip, say June. And let’s just say that there is no quick convienience food option available in your house. And you wait until 6 p.m. to think about fixing dinner, because that is the smart thing to do when everything in the house needs to be made from scratch, right?
So, you start to think about dinner. And fast food sounds like the only option, except it’s not an option. What do you do? Well, I’ll tell you what I did, I mean what I would do if such an unplanned crazy thing ever happened in my life. πŸ™‚
Quinoa to the rescue! That’s right, I happened to remember my trusty-cooks in only 15 minutes- stash of quinoa. So, I washed some and popped it onto the stove to cook. Then started chopping the vegetables I would need to add towards the end of the cook time, yellow squash (wouldn’t be summer without it) and carrots. Once that was done, I got out a bowl and started adding the veggies that don’t need to cook, onion slices, cherry tomato halves, and a bit of diced garlic (of course). The rest of the garlic went into a jar, so I could mix up my Standard Viniagrette to toss onto this creation. I added the zucchini and carrots to the quinoa, when there were 7 minutes left on the timer. Then I grabbed a cup of frozen peas from the freezer and set that aside until the quinoa was done, and finished mixing up the dressing.
When the veggie/quinoa mix was done to my satisfaction (it took a few extra minutes to get the carrots softened up a bit), I added it to the bowl and stirred in the frozen peas and dressing. This took about 1/2 hour, start to finish. Of course, our dinner was delayed another 15 min. or so while I scavenged in the backyard for some fresh fruit. It was a successful trip out back, I came in with ripe Asian pears to serve with our quinoa salad. Which by the way, had a confetti-like appearance with the tomatoes, carrots, yellow squash, and peas popping up all over the quinoa. It was pretty tasty, and definitely better than a pre-packaged dinner!

C