Siobhan started us on this brilliant topic with this post. I loved reading her story, as well as yours in the comments. Here’s mine.
1. An epiphany. I was an overweight kid and an obese young adult, until I pulled my head out of my butt and made a commitment to being healthy over a decade ago. It started with yoga. I wanted to try it because I felt like my body/mind/spirit were broken and scattered, and I thought yoga might help. I was putting out so much nurturing energy as a new mom and in my teaching job that I had nothing left for myself. Yoga changed everything. I was able to see my body as truly the temple of my soul, and thus worthy of care, whereas before I valued only mind and spirit. “Our body creates our soul as much as our soul creates our body,” my yoga teacher quoted from David Spangler one day, and I believe it. I cannot value myself without valuing the earth I come from, so, fundamentally, this is where my devotion to a path of clean living originated. I had a push to go further when I heard Siobhan interviewed on a local radio show a couple years ago. I rushed out to buy the book, then plopped myself down and got comfy in this wonderful NMDL community.
2. I was raised in Michigan on red meat and Twinkies. I hated vegetables, mostly because until I was an adult living on my own I had barely eaten a fresh vegetable. My mom did insist we eat vegetables, and on a good day we had frozen, but mostly they came from a can. A salad was iceberg lettuce with perhaps a sad looking tomato, covered in Wishbone Italian dressing. When I moved to California for graduate school, a new world of eating opened up for me. I was surrounded by fresh food, and though it would be a long time until I came to be truly healthy, I knew then I had been raised on crap and was never going back.
3. Strokes, death and whatnot. Eating poorly, smoking, and very little exercise or care for toxic exposure has caught up with my family members. I do not want to let my own health deteriorate, or set a bad example for my own child. Plus I’d like to live to enjoy some grandchildren.
4. My own delicate constitution. A lifetime of digestive issues and autoimmune problems pushed me to find the best way for me to eat. Things flew out of control when I hit perimenopause at the ridiculously young age of 37, and every health issue I ever had began to overwhelm me. That was when I figured out I’m gluten intolerant. Then a few months later I got a really nasty case of food poisoning (Salmonella – I don’t recommend it). I couldn’t eat anything for days, and when I could eat again, for weeks all I wanted was fresh fruit and vegetables. I discovered that eating raw is, like, a thing. My body is so strong and resilient when I’m eating vegan, raw, and gluten free. I doubt I would have made a commitment to this fairly extreme diet without the push of illness.
5. My super sensitive skin and picky sense of smell. I have to use clean products for my skin and home because of my sensitivities. I get pimples and rashes from preservatives and other toxins in products. Synthetic fragrance typically makes me physically ill and emotionally overwrought. I can taste dish soap in my food (no, it doesn’t matter how well I rinse). I am a total canary.
6. Being a sucker for pretty things. When I was growing up my mom would not have dreamt of leaving the house without full make-up and curled hair with roots freshly touched up from a box of L’Oreal. I remember playing with her make-up, which was drugstore dirty, but what fun! Those familiar cosmetics didn’t do my skin any favors though, and as a grown up I used just a few clean-ish products – until I recently discovered a whole world of clean cosmetics. Now I am hooked.
7. It’s all connected. In spite of my conservative, entirely non-hippie upbringing, I am deeply pagan and cannot disconnect my self from my son or my community or my planet. It’s all one, and all motivate me to be on this path, doing the best I can.
Good Monday everyone. Today we have a menu from Germany, with love. While this sounds like a regular old day for Miss Carly, we think her peanut butter dressing and crispy chickpeas sound downright inspired. Question: Has anyone made chickpeas like this? Are they fresh or out of a can?
Hometown: Leipzig, Germany
My dietary leanings: I turned vegan a bit more than a year ago. Cold turkey style – I’ve never looked back.
My favourite vegetable: Aww, I love them all. If you’d make me pick: probably carrots.
This morning I ate…
Porridge made from millet flakes and oat bran, cooked with some home-made almond milk and water. I always add a small banana right away and stir till my biceps hurt. As it cooks up, the banana becomes all gooey-marshmallowy. After about 5 minutes, I turned the heat off and added carob and two chopped apricots. A dollop of soya-yoghurt and a tablespoon of ground flax (hello omegas!) and breakfast’s served. I also had a mug of ImNu (malted coffee substitute) with a splash of soy milk to wash down my B12 tablets.
A nice salad made from left over brown rice (weekend batch cooking ftw) , mango, cucumber and peas. I just tossed everything together and seasoned it a pinch of sea salt. I whipped up a dressing that included peanut butter, sweet chili sauce, lime juice and a bit of water to thin it out. This was actually done in the morning, pre-breakfast, and devoured in the library between page 59 and page 60 of writing my seemingly endless thesis.
As dinner time rolled around…
I reheated some carrot and sweet potato curry soup that survived the party on Saturday night. I topped it with a lot of parsley that currently inhabits my window sill. As I still felt peckish afterwards, I oven-roasted a large handful of chickpeas tossed in a teaspoon of coconut oil, a bit of sea salt, a pinch of cardamom and much more cinnamon. After 45 min of waiting and watching them turn crispy in the oven, I gobbled them up while burning my tongue big time. So worth it.
There you have it, pretty typical, a bit uneventful but yummy and satisfying nonetheless. Who needs meat and dairy anyway? :)
Thanks Carly! And good luck with the thesis! Will you try something off this menu? And don’t forget to send in your menu!
I’m on a big green smoothie kick, which is something I have a weirdly hard time admitting in public. I’ve already gone on the record saying I’m not into cleanses, and as a food lover who adores cooking, I prefer to get my nutrients from whole foods—not ones pulverized into a convenient melange from the blender. I’ve had many green juices in my time, and I like them fine, but I know plenty of people who go gaga for smoothies and juices of all kind.
Me, I like water, tea and coffee. (Oh, and wine.) Those are basically the only things I enjoy drinking on a regular basis.
And yet! A couple of weeks ago, on a particularly sluggish morning, I wandered into a smoothie spot on the way to work. Looking at the assortment of fruit and veggies in front of me, I picked what I like best, not really thinking about whether or not those things would taste good together. “Kale, blueberry, and half a banana please,” I said. They asked if I wanted almond milk or yogurt, soy or apple juice as the base. “Um, could you just do those three things and see what happens?” They agreed, and the resulting “drink” (cutesy quotes because the stuff barely comes up the straw) was incredible. I’ve had some version of the same every day since. It’s my breakfast along with a handful of nuts, and sometimes some toast. It’s been two weeks and I feel good. Also, my skin is sort of glowing. Nothing crazy or dramatic, but there’s a slight difference, I think, and people have said as much to me. This is not something I would have believed if I’d heard someone else say it.
I guess seeing is believing.
Yesterday I made my first one at home, knowing if I keep up the $10 a day habit I’ll be kicking myself. I was inspired by this recipe, which is where I borrowed the picture up top from, but I also had some raspberries on hand, some new raw honey from Stone Barns and a bit of rice milk that I wanted to use up. I blended it all together in my old-school Cuisinart. The consensus? So tasty!
So do you go the green smoothie thing? And if so, have you noticed any changes in how you feel or look?
We know that many of you are seasoned vegetable eaters and all but this challenge is about sneaking in MORE fruits and veggies: like ten servings. That can be a lot even by our crunchy standards.
So, since we’re all in this together, let’s share our best tips. And while you’re at it, tell us how the challenge is going for you (and tell the truth!). Recipes are always welcome, of course.
If you’re having trouble staying motivated, remember the Japanese farmers (!), and also this sort-of-silly-but-also-awesome “study” of how vegetables actually make you look glowy and tanned.
Here are a few ways I’ve been upping my number of servings, and a few other ways I plan to in the coming days (and weeks and months, because the point of these challenges is to help create better habits, right? Right.) Nothing groundbreaking here, and a few things we’ve harped on before, but voila:
- Salads: This is a total duh but I often make pretty simple green salads. You can get five fruits and veggies into a salad in a blink, watch: cucumber, tomato, avocado, grated carrot, artichoke hearts. Done.
- Smoothies: Another no-brainer, but if you really don’t enjoy eating fruits and/or vegetables this is the easiest way to slam a bunch down in one sitting. Spinach, berries, weird stuff from your CSA box, not much can’t be blended into smoothie submission.
- Soups: A.k.a. winter’s smoothies, especially for this girl who can’t stomach too much raw food in the colder months. Even if you’re all thumbs in the kitchen, you can throw some spinach, cauliflower, broccoli (or all!) into a pre-made tomato soup and call it four servings.
- Omelettes: Onions, spinach, red peppers, zucchinis and any veggies that don’t necessarily sing on their own, can be julienned into an omelette for guaranteed deliciousness.
- Snacks: Precut veggies—especially good when dipped in Dijon—are an easy way to veggie-load. Carrots are delicious right now, and so are radishes and broccoli. When it comes to fruit, don’t forget your old schoolyard friends: apples and oranges. As an adult I’m always surprised by how delicious these are when I think to eat them (not often).
That’s all I got! Now, how are you guys getting more of nature’s treats in your tummies?
What’s a CSA, you may be wondering? Well it stands for “community-supported agriculture” and it’s when a bunch of folks get together to support a local farm by subscribing to a service whereby they receive regular fruit and/or veggie boxes of whatever may be in season. It’s a pretty awesome alternative food system—one we’re both satisfied participants of—especially if you’ve ever stood at the Whole Foods cash cursing the cost of your organic veggies. (For the record I still do, but not as often.)
In short, CSAs are the shizzle. A truly great idea for anyone trying to eat healthy on a budget, and support their local community.
My veggie box, which costs a reasonable $25, is delivered to me every other Friday, making it ridiculously convenenient. While sometimes it’s more veggies than I can handle, which then makes me feel awful about the fact that I don’t compost yet, it usually forces me to come up with new ways to trick my husband into eating vegetables and has been the catalyst behind many an unexpected culinary creation.
Many of you are surely already CSA subscribers and we’d love to hear about your experiences: Do you find it hard to eat your veggies? Has it forced to you get creative in the kitchen? Below are some of my best hits for veggies that could currently be in your box.
- Avocados: You can’t ever go wrong with an avocado, but if you’re looking to cut back on butter or mayo, this fruit-cum-veggie makes for an excellent vegan fat substitute. Try it blended into salad dressing like this one instead of mayo, or spread it on toast instead of butter. So. Good. (Especially with salt, pepper, and some sliced tomato.)
- Beets: Even LA is feeling wintery right now, so while I’m still wild about this skin-loving raw beet soup recipe, I’m craving something warm. Ever had a traditional borscht? Delicious. Here’s a basic vegetarian recipe that is close to what I do, though I recommend vinegar instead of lemon as the acid.
- Brussel Sprouts: To me there is one way to do brussels best, and it’s this way.
- Carrots and Baby Potatoes: This idea came to me last week. I was craving something kind of Greek, so I roasted rough-cut potatoes and carrots in olive oil (same way as the brussels), and when they got good and brown I took them out of the oven and tossed them in lemon juice, salt, pepper, adding chopped green onions and dill. I served them with a garlicky Greek yogurt dip too. Nom nom nom.
- Cabbage: I love cabbage and lately I’ve been treating it as the ultimate wrap vehicle. Trying to avoid gluten or corn? Concerned about spiking your blood sugar? There’s not much you can’t wrap up in cabbage, whether it’s a stir fry, some egg salad, tofu, fish, avocado, taco filling, whatever. Softer stuff pairs especially well with the awesome crunch of the cabbage.
Happy cooking, chickens.
P.S. It’s Siobhan’s birthday today!!!!! Three cheers for Siobhan who is so special and awesome. I know I’m not alone when I say I’m happy this girl was born. :)