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Monday, January 28, 2013

The truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth

Sooooo...there's this 8-week Biggest Loser competition starting at work.  I am on a team of 3.  It doesn't begin for another 2 weeks, so I have been a BAD GIRL.  I will be posting more when the competition begins.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

School started...

Sorry I'm so busy!  I'm eating about 80-90% vegan right now, but I didn't take the time to buy groceries before the week started last week, so I ate a lot of convenience foods.  Not too much overly processed stuff, but salad bars, veggie wraps, etc.  Two things stood out.

This hummus veggie wrap at the Boar's Head deli on campus.  $3.50.  I don't know if the tortilla is truly vegan, but this is one of the tastiest options I have had on campus.  Others include a couple of questionable salad bars and veggie sushi rolls.  I had them put all veggies on there...tomato, lettuce, onion, olives, cucumber, bell peppers, pickles, jalapenos, banana peppers, plus the hummus.  It was awesome!  That night, a professor had ordered herself a pizza, and it smelled sooooo good.  I heard her order spicy sausage over the phone, and I drooled.  So, this was also a big win for not succumbing to an unhealthy dinner.  (Although, I did eat a cupcake from someone's birthday that day...)

Last night, I made the soup in this video:

My version had a roasted acorn squash, about 10 roasted roma tomatoes, 2 sweet potatoes, 5-6 carrots, 3-4 celery stalks (just leftover in the fridge), 1 onion, 3 shallots, some garlic, 2 green peppers, 1 box veggie stock, a little water, salt and pepper.  I simmered all this until the carrots finally got tender, then I added half a bag of "super greens", which was a mix of spinach, swiss chard, red chard, and bok choy, along with a can of coconut milk.  I seasoned it with a couple teaspoons of garam masala, then let my roommate do the immersion blender honors.  This required great restraint on my part, because I dreamed so long of making soups with an immersion blender, and I have only done it once since August, before last night.

Guys, this soup was KILLER.  I was floored by the amazing flavor.  I say this all the time, because I love soup so much, but this might have been the best soup I have ever made.

My roommate loved it, too.  Good thing, because there are 12 cups of leftovers in the fridge.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Detox Derailer

I went to the doctor today with bad cold symptoms and a fever that just won't quit.  She didn't think I had the flu, so I guess that's good.  She said it was some kind of upper respiratory infection and prescribed an antibiotic, but said it may or may not help.  The whole time I waited for her, I was reading a poster about how antibiotics are overprescribed for URI's, which are normally viral and won't be helped by antibiotics.  When she came back with the prescription, I said, "Would YOU take this?  You said it may or may not you think I should just wait it out?"  She said since I'd had a fever so long, she'd probably take it if it were her.

So, I got the prescription and am hoping to be well very soon.  I have no energy to cook.  Thomas made me a nice vegan meal tonight, though.  :)  Spaghetti with veggie pasta sauce, and a salad with dijon vinaigrette.  It was awesome.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Detox Day 1

I'll start with the good news.  The first day of the detox was full of AMAZING food.  Don't forget you have to sign up here to get the recipes.  Jennifer Moore was generous to offer the program for free, just go sign up!

Breakfast was Cinnamon Apple Oats.

Lunch was Kale Salad with Chickpeas...the best kale salad I've ever had, and probably one of the best salads period.

Dinner was Latin Grains, Beans, and Greens.

The food has been incredible.  The downside of Day 1 is that I'm having bad caffeine withdrawals.  I'm finding little spurts of energy throughout the day, but overall, feeling pretty foggy.  I haven't had to take anything for a headache though.  I wonder if tomorrow will be the day it hits me.  

I took an hour nap at about 2pm and woke up with that cold feeling in my chest and throat.  I've had cold symptoms on and off for about a month, but now a cold, dry cough.  I could be sick or it could be a detox symptom.  Who knows.  I am sure that keeping up with the detox is the right move, though.  Good, healthy food will hopefully get me right fast.  And keeping it up will hopefully KEEP me well.

Tonight, I'm drinking lots of herbal tea with lemon and watching The Biggest Loser.  I have a scale from Tony Little, and in the box was a list of weight loss tips.  Much to my surprise, there was one on there I hadn't heard before.  Limit condiments on your food, especially when eating out.  Not because of all the fat and calories in sauces and dips.  But because, without condiments, you will quickly notice the quality of the food.  How true is that?!  Watching the restaurant and fast food commercials during this show, I notice that everything is about some special sauce or seasoning.  Don't get me wrong, I like sauce AND seasoning!  But most of the crap at restaurants would be completely unappetizing without the condiments they put on them.  Makes me not tempted by restaurant commercials.  

Day 2 tomorrow!  Heaven help everyone at work dealing with me without caffeine.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year 3-Day Detox

I signed up for a 3-day detox from Jennifer Moore, "Holistic Health Coach and Natural Foods Chef".  You can read more about the detox plan and sign up for free here.  And you want to, because even if you don't do the detox now or ever, signing up is the only way to get the plan, and the recipes inside look amazing!  Check it out.

I'm beginning tomorrow.  The official dates were supposed to be today through Monday, but I wasn't ready to get going today.  This detox goes far beyond eating vegan meals.  Here's the list of what we aren't eating: caffeine, gluten, sugar, alcohol, and animal products.  Caffeine is going to be a REALLY tough one for me.  Last time I quit caffeine, the headaches didn't last long, but I felt like I was in a fog for a long time.  I originally planning to ignore this part of the detox, thinking it wouldn't make sense to suffer through 3 days of withdrawals only to start chugging coffee again in the end.  But, I have since decided try quitting caffeine again.  I would definitely like to get through this semester without EVER having a Monster in my hand.

Gluten is another one I don't think much about on a regular basis.  I know many people have discovered gluten sensitivities and adopted gluten-free diets they have found improved their overall health.  I have been having serious attention issues, the further I go and the harder it gets in school, and I've heard that gluten-free diets are sometimes successful in treating ADHD, and though I don't know exactly how "diagnosable" my attention issues are (and not sure I want to know), it's worth a shot.  I could say the same things about alcohol, too.  Using it more and more the harder school gets, and I can't be sure how much of my attention issues are related to that.

Cutting sugar and other sweeteners shouldn't be too big of a deal.  I won't be tempted to sweeten the coffee I'm not drinking. ;)  And no animal products is a breeze.  I'm very comfortable with that and convinced of the benefits.

But I've been yo-yo-ing on caffeine and booze for quite a while, manually revving myself up with caffeine each morning, and manually shutting myself down with alcohol many nights.  Cutting both will be the hardest part of the detox, but probably the most beneficial.  If I am serious about wanting balance in life, hopping off this yo-yo ride seems a logical move.

So here I go tomorrow!  Be sure to sign up for the detox to get your hands on those recipes.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Leftover Barley Dilemma

I cooked a cup of barley last night, but I only ate about 1/3 of it.  And naturally, tonight, all I could think about was junk food.  I wanted fast vegan splurges (curry takeout or salad bar gluttony) were totally unappealing.  Not to mention that cold leftover barley sitting in my fridge.  UGH.

I overcame my cravings, but I would need to cook something that made me feel like I hadn't given anything up by skipping the junk food.  Snow is in the forecast tonight, so I decided that some roasted veggies and a fire would fit the bill.  Somehow, that idea morphed into cooking up a yummy mushroom gravy to put on the leftover barley.  Based loosely on this recipe, here's what went down.

First, to compensate in my head for not giving into the fast food temptation, I bought my first vegan substitute.  So far, I have avoided buying vegan cheese, fake meats (not counting tofu), etc, but the recipe called for vegan margarine, so I decided to go for it.  Why not.

I started by cooking down 1 lb of mushrooms.

After they had given off a good bit of their liquid, I added a chopped onion, some garlic, and a couple tablespoons of the Earth Balance.  After the onion cooked down a bit, I added 2 tbsp of soy sauce and a bit more than that of sherry.  Finally, I added about 1 cup of veggie stock and 3 heaping tablespoons of flour. I let the mixture (below) cook for 6-7 minutes.

Then I added a couple more cups of veggie broth, salt, pepper, and thyme, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.  Served over leftover (i.e. not wasted) barley with a side of asparagus and a crackling fire, I call this a success.


Healthy food is the prettiest, no doubt. Lunch from The Cupboard (my local health foods store) salad bar. Spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, olives, squash/tomato salad, a couple vegan potato salads, green peas, red peppers, and edamame hummus.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Grain Train: BARLEY

I am still not very adventurous when it comes to grains.  I have only had quinoa and rice, I think...I eat both pretty regularly, but I could do better.  Starting tonight, I will diversify my grain palette.

I've had this barley for at least 6 months.  I bought it to put in a salad and chickened out of making it for some reason.  Tonight, I wanted something different to accompany my New Year's Day chili, since we devoured the amazing polenta I fried to accompany it last night before even our second bowl.  I was going to do rice.  Ever since I had rice with a Creole chili recipe a few years back, I realized I'd underestimated it as a tasty, filling addition to chili.  But no...I was just saying today I wanted to try new grains!

So, I consulted the internet, rinsed the barley, and chunked (or as my boyfriend insists is correct, "chucked") 1 cup of it in the rice cooker with 2.5 cups water and some veggie bouillon.  I know your mouth must be watering.  haha

About 30-40 minutes later, it was finished!  The texture is firm, and it tastes good.  It would be perfect in a salad - go figure.  ;)

Goes great with the chili, and makes me hate myself substantially less than I did after eating that greasy fried wonderful polenta.

Barley, we will meet again.

Click here to read more about the nutritional characteristics of barley.  Yay, fiber!!  #gladmyboyfriendisgoneforafewdays