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‘Cheesy’ Chick Peas

I haven’t been blogging lately. We went away and now we’re painting every room in our house, and refinishing furniture, and organizing. Usually, I just crash into bed at night with enough energy to read for about five minutes before I’m off to dreamland. One thing that I’ve found is that this sort of diet/lifestyle can be tough when you’re the only one in the house eating like this and when you’re busy. I’ve become the queen of quick vegan meals, though, and sometimes I’ll throw them against the wall and they stick, metaphorically speaking. My typical breakfast has been a kale smoothie with some rice protein powder added. Lunch is a salad and a quick soup of some sort (usually with beans and some sort of greens). Dinner is usually some sort of veggie medley served on either zucchini noodles or mashed cauliflower, and I make enough for at least two meals so I won’t have to cook the next day. The upside, is that even with all this labor intensive work, I haven’t been achy or overly fatigued. This way of eating is working well for me.

So, back to the cauliflower: I love cauliflower, not so much raw, but cooked. I have a dirty little secret. I grew up in the 70’s. No, that’s not the secret. If you grew up in the 70’s, the only people that ate all natural / organic were either granola crunchers or farmers. We had a small farm and did a lot of canning, so we did have mostly all natural produce, out of thrift, not for health. My mom would try to be with the times once in a while, which meant using processed anything in meals, like Velveeta or canned soup. It was a big thing in the 70’s to have everything processed. I don’t know why. I guess people felt like they were being innovative. Anyway, my dirty little secret is that I loved cauliflower with canned cheese soup on top. Ugh! Even to think of that now kind of turns my stomach. I don’t know: something about the saltiness of the soup with the mushiness of the cauliflower. Yum! But, there is something nice about the taste of cheese with cauliflower. It must be some scientific reason behind that.
So, the other day I made a quick chick pea dish that was all the things I need right now: it was quick (took about 15 minutes to throw together); it was tasty; it was comforting (which is great for these days when the arctic cold blast is invading our neck of the woods). Without further ado, here’s the recipe:
Cheesy Chick Peas

‘Cheesy’ Chick Peas

Ingredients:
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Teaspoon Arrowroot Powder
3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 Cup Chopped Cauliflower
3/4 Cup Cooked Chick Peas
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Chopped Kale
Salt, to taste

Directions:
Whisk together the vegetable broth, arrowroot powder, and nutritional yeast. In a skillet, add the cauliflower, chick peas, and garlic. Pour the broth mixture over the vegetables and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the cauliflower becomes slightly translucent. Add in the kale and cook until cauliflower and kale are fully cooked and the broth is thickened. Salt, as needed, but if you have salted the chick peas, you probably won’t need any salt.

Hope you enjoy it! Blessings…

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Miso Crazy

Ha – I just found a new love of my life: miso.  I can’t believe it’s taken this long.  I’ve had it before in Japanese restaurants and have always wondered what that wonderful taste was.  Try as I might, I could never reproduce that taste, that is, until today.  Before, I would try combinations of soy sauce and ginger and it just never had that same umami taste.  I was at the food co-op last week and bought a tub of miso, kind of on a whim.  I had heard about the digestive benefits of it, but never bit the bullet in buying a tub.  It’s pretty pricey.  I actually bought it to make some miso soup with, but today I made a miso ginger dressing, which I could actually drink straight from the jar.  I also made a vegan Bolognese sauce (it’s a modified Fuhrman recipe – I’ll post the recipe later on) and added some to it to give the sauce a little depth of flavor.  I stopped short of eating it straight from the tub.

Here are just some of the benefits that I could find of miso:

1. It’s a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids.

2. It’s a good source of B vitamins, which is hard to get as a vegan, and being that I have pernicious anemia, that’s pretty important to me.

3. Can increase your immune system.

4. It stimulates the digestive system.

5.  It just really tastes good.

 

I’ve also heard before that fermented foods are just plain good for your gut.  I’ve always been in search of things to improve digestion.  I used to have a lot of heartburn issues and other digestive issues, before I went gluten-free last year.  Even though my digestion seems to have turned around, I’m still conscious of taking care of my digestive system because I’m trying to turn around the years of damage that my system underwent because of gluten.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s my simple dressing recipe:

Miso Ginger Dressing

 

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons Miso Paste

½ Cup Rice Wine Vinegar

½ Cup Water

3 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Ginger

2 Large Cloves Garlic, chopped

 

Here’s an update on what’s going on with my diet:  Well, for the last two weeks, I was kind of on again and off again with the diet.  I was still eating vegan, but I just wasn’t following the formula.  I’ve been really tired.  For some reason, I tend to get that way this time of year.  I hurt all over and just get really fatigued.  I don’t know why it hits me this time of year, but it always does.  It’s a little frustrating because I just don’t have the energy to do anything, which makes it tough to do the Fuhrman diet because it takes a bit of energy and time to make the food.  Everything’s homemade and it’s tough when I feel like this when I’m still trying to have the energy to take care of my family and teach my kids their schooling as well.  Really, for the last two weeks, all I’ve wanted to do was go back to bed almost as soon as I get up.  Today, I decided that I had to be determined to get back on track with the diet.  I realize that some of the pain issues could subside once I lose weight  and I also think that this vegan diet may help with the fibromyalgia.  So, instead of teaching in our classroom today, everyone sat at the kitchen table while I made enough food for me for the week.  I didn’t lose any weight in two weeks, but I did stay steady.  I have been diligent in doing yoga and stretching even though I’ve been so fatigued.  That helps with the pain during the night.

So, here goes again….

The Economics of Eating Healthy

So, an update on the Fuhrman diet.  He really does have the right formula, at least for my body.  Last week, I was really sick of salads at every meal, and beans, and salad dressings.  I stayed on the vegan, whole foods type of diet and I lost only 1 pound.  So, the total lost so far is 16 pounds, still going in the right direction.  But I think that the addition of the salad and beans is really a good fat mover, so I’m back on the salad and beans this week.  I also made another one of the Fuhrman dressings:  his healthy thousand island dressing.  I really like the Dijon date dressings, but I think one of the reasons that I got sick of salads is because it’s a very intense taste.  I’m a salad lover, but it was just too much twice a day with the nut dressings.  Anyway, back on track with the two salads a day and we’ll see how the scale moves this week.  The healthy thousand island dressing is not as intense, so it’s a good break from the other dressings.  It has cucumber in it, which mellows the taste.  And it tastes really fresh too.

Now on to the economics of eating healthy:  it’s expensive.  I know that you can’t put a price on health and having something, like cancer or some other chronic disease, is a lot more expensive than eating healthy.  But, it’s very costly and if you don’t have the money, you just don’t have it.  I’m learning to be more frugal in how I prepare dishes.  Also, things like kale and cabbages can really stretch a dish and bring down the overall cost.  I limit the organic produce I buy to the “dirty dozen.”  This is a list of produce put out by a group called the Environmental Working Group that ranks produce according to pesticide residue.  They say that you can reduce your exposure to pesticides by 80% if you buy organic produce according to their list.  Here’s the list (by the way, I found this pretty picture on fullcircle.com):

dirty-dozenIn brief, the ones with the most pesticides are apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, potatoes, and they added green beans and kale to the list (but still kept it at ‘the dirty dozen’ because that just sounds a lot cooler).  If you have to pick and choose, like I do, try to buy these organic.  The produce that is lower in pesticide residue are these:  onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, cabbage, sweet peas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, kiwi, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and watermelon.  Also, if you go by what Dr. Weil would say about eating produce, you should peel all of your fruits and vegetables when possible because that’s where most of the pesticides are concentrated.

Today, I was reading about a girl who did this experiment with fruit flies and organic produce, trying to determine if organic is better.  Now, granted we’re not fruit flies and our bodies seem to be more resilient than your average fruit fly, but her findings were pretty interesting.  Here’s the link to the article:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/is-organic-better-ask-a-fruit-fly/?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=HL_IOB_20130418

Basically, the fruit flies that lived on organic produce had longer life spans and reproduced more prolifically than the fruit flies living on non-organic produce.  Like I said, we’re not fruit flies, but it’s interesting anyway.

The moral of my story:  it definitely doesn’t hurt to go organic.  If you can’t afford to go completely organic, try just buying the important ones organic.

Until tomorrow….

Day 1 – Oh, my! All those veggies

Okay, day one is past.   I enjoyed the variety of dishes I had today.  There are some great Dr. Fuhrman recipes in the book and on pinterest.  Back in the day of being a vegetarian, I didn’t have a lot of resources for recipes so I did a lot of stir fries (which is funny, because that’s what I chose to do for dinner tonight).

Breakfast:  a blackberry / chia / kale smoothie that I made (with the aforementioned ingredients) plus coconut water, banana, and cinnamon.  It was very yummy and filling.

Snack: apple

Lunch:  Broccoli with sesame ginger sauce and an enormous salad.  The sesame ginger sauce is pretty good.  I didn’t have any miso, so I skipped it, but I think the miso would mellow the taste of the tahini a bit.  It had a bit of a bitter taste to it.  The dressing for my salad was amazing.  It was a Fuhrman dijon date dressing.  Wow!  What an amazing depth of flavor and no oil added.  I could eat that dressing all of the time.  Here is the recipe:

1 cup water

1/3 cup cashew butter or 2/3 cup raw cashews

4 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s Riesling Raisin Vinegar or balsamic vinegar (I used balsamic)

2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest or other no-salt seasoning (I used Spike, that I found in the natural food section of my grocery store)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4– 6 dates, pitted

1– 2 cloves garlic, minced

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until smooth and creamy.

Snack:  Banana w/ some almondsAsian Stir Fry

Dinner:  Asian Vegetable stir fry and another salad.  I used some mini bell peppers and asian pear on my salad and used the Fuhrman caesar dressing, which is another amazing dressing.  I know the Eat to Live book says to have big salads before you eat your meal, but I kind of went light on the salad.  It was just a regular bowl of salad.  I like salad a lot, but I’m more of a large salad at lunch and small salad at dinner sort of person.  I guess I just prefer warm food for dinner.

This all was a lot of food today.  Well, I guess you can say it was a lot of veggies.  A Lot.  Really, I like veggies.  I’m an adventurous eater.  Even as a kid I like veggies.  I forgot how many veggies I used to eat when I was vegetarian.  I feel pretty good, though, and satiated.  I didn’t even feel like dessert, but decided to make it anyway.  It’s baking right now and the aroma of cinnamon is amazing.  I’m making the apple strudel.  I think I was just being a little lazy.  But, the good news is that I made my salad dressings yesterday for the week and I’m freezing 2 portions of the stir fry for next week and the other one I’m using on Wednesday, so those are some time savers for me.  And, if I can beat back my family from eating my dessert, I’ll have three more nights of that as well.

Day one done.  I haven’t had any cravings for anything.  I have had a bit of a caffeine withdrawal headache, but that should be gone by tomorrow.  I wasn’t a huge coffee drinker anyway.  I was able to do some yoga today and walking.  Tomorrow I plan on more yoga but no walking – we’re supposed to be getting a major snow storm tonight.  I did pretty well on nutrients today, but I realized that I forgot to have some beans at lunch, so I’ll make sure to have them tomorrow.  I definitely got a lot of fruit and veggies in.

So, onward and upward (or, hopefully downward – the scale, that is).  Until tomorrow…..