*These are all pictures of food I made in the past. Nowadays I make a lot less presentation-worthy meals haha*
Last week I shared what I eat (an Anti-Inflammatory vegan diet) and explained why I choose to eat this way. This week I'm going to be sharing a few quick go-to recipes I use in my daily life. There was a time where I made my food look pretty, but that time has definitely passed haha.
As I shared last week, I live alone in a city nicknamed Raincity. I love my living situation but trying to buy organic produce for 1 (on a budget) in a rainy climate can be tricky. It involves me not purchasing a lot of variety because it'll go bad before I get the chance to eat it. When I lived at home I didn't have this problem because, when you live with six people, someone's bound to eat the groceries before they go bad.
When I moved out on my own and was first trying to navigate around a grocery store, I started abiding by the "dirty dozen" and "clean 15" rules. Slowly as I have become more efficient with my budgeting, I have started to buy almost entirely organic food. The "dirty dozen" includes 12 foods with the most pesticide residue that you should try prioritizing buying organic. While the "clean 15" are foods with the least pesticide residue so they are safer to buy nonorganic if you're on a budget.
The Dirty Dozen:
12. Sweet bell Peppers
*some lists differ and include imported grapes, papayas, cherry tomatoes, and hot peppers*
The Clean 15:
7. Grapefruit (but grapefruit interacts with medication so avoid it!)
13. Sweet corn
14. Sweet peas (frozen)
15. Sweet potatoes
These are my staple items you'll always be able to find in my kitchen:
Frozen organic spinach
Frozen organic berries
Organic almond or hemp milk
Ground flax seeds (I keep the bag in my freezer because it keeps it fresh for longer. I also keep a little bit of flax seeds in a mason jar in my fridge and keep refilling it from my freezer as I run low).
Organic frozen berries
Organic frozen spinach
What you won't find in my fridge/freezer/pantry:
Sugar (I don't want to feed any candida overgrowth!)
Meat, except what I have for my pup Fozzy
Breads (except the occasional gluten-free bread I rarely eat)
Foods I'm highly sensitive to like eggs, bananas, cilantro, mushrooms, and a few others I'm probably forgetting.
Rice because I always choke on rice (ever since a few months before I developed POTS!). I'll have rice chips and rice cakes with no issue though.
Making healthy food with little spoons is an art. I don't want to waste precious spoons creating presentation-worthy food and be in bed the rest of the day. In fact, I prefer to spend very limited time and energy on food. My future husband better like protein smoothies because let's just say, I'm no Betty Crocker. However, some people are passionate about the beautiful presentation of their food, like I used to be (a couple years ago when I first started trying to eat an anti-inflammatory diet with POTS), and that's amazing! I bet that passion will come and go in different seasons in my life but right now it's gone.
I've also been interested in eating a more raw diet. My protein recipe is mostly raw, and the rice cakes are dehydrated, but I haven't transitioned to a completely raw vegan diet by any means yet. My next bigger purchase I'm hoping to make is a dehydrator that will allow me to make raw crackers, tortillas, and the fillings for inside a tortilla. A dehydrator that uses a low temperature ensures that all the nutrients are still contained, and the end product is still raw, but it will keep longer than most cooked and raw foods. In the long-run it'll save me lots of energy, and the food items can be used in replace of lots of cooked alternatives. However, my current diet doesn't reflect a raw one.
Since I live alone, it's almost necessary for me to eat the same food items repeatedly or else it'll go bad quickly, so keep that in mind before you judge my daily "recipes."
What I eat in a day:
Every single morning I eat steel-cut oats with fruit. Every. Single. Morning. I do this because steel-cut oats make my digestive system happy like no other breakfast-food. In fact, my breakfast is always my biggest meal of the day. Steel-cut oats in the morning will regulate my blood sugar for the rest of the day. Not rolled oats, or pre-packaged gluten-free oatmeal, just steel-cut oats. So 1-2x a week I make a big pot of steel-cut oats and keep it in the fridge. It takes around 20-25 minutes to cook a pot of them. Then each morning I pour some hot water from my kettle over it with an apple and cinnamon and I'm good to go. Oats are a big source of nutrients in an anti-inflammatory diet as well. Sometimes when I have ran out of my leftovers and don't have the energy to cook some more, I'll make overnight oats in a mason jar. I use the recipe below (but I use one kind of fruit instead of bananas + another fruit because I am sensitive to bananas. I also don't add a sweetener):
Every single day I eat a protein smoothie. Why? It's the easiest way, low-energy way to consume a bunch of nutritionally-dense, raw food without compromising on taste. Seriously! I've been trying to eat more raw food, but chewing a huge salad for 25 minutes makes me resent the taste of spinach pretty quick haha. Two of the cookbooks I mention below have great smoothie recipes: the "Lookbook Cookbook" and the "Oh She Glows Every Day" cookbook. One recipe I use that I made myself is:
-1 cup raw spinach
-around 1/2c water
-1 scoop of Vega Mocha protein powder (I get mine from Vitasave.ca because it's cheaper than Vega's website or any other store I've been to). Vega's Mocha flavour does not have caffeine in it.
-Then I mix it all up in my Ninja Bullet
-Then I add 1 cup blueberries or mixed berries
-1 tbsp of ground flax seeds (ground flax seeds are more nutritionally-dense than whole flax seeds)
-2 tbsps of chia seeds
-1 tbsp of hemp seeds
-Sometimes I add 2 tbsps of dehydrated peanut butter (so little calories and fat compared to regular peanut butter)
-Then I blend it all together again.
It may look like something you'd pump into your car but it tastes great!
I also make a lot of quinoa salads. One recipe that I looove, but rarely make, can be found here.
When I don't have the spoons I want to dedicate to making the above salad (although it's great for when you have company), I usually just toss quinoa, onions, spinach, and some kind of sauce into a bowl. I eat a lot of onions, garlic, and turmeric because of their anti-inflammatory properties. I mean, a lot. I feel as though my fingers are permanently stained yellow because of the turmeric (which is why I use the ground spice more nowadays).
For snacks I will often eat veggies and hummus, fruit, salty rice chips, or rice cakes. For a salty vegan snack I often crumble up 2-3 rice plain, organic rice cakes (so it kind of looks like popcorn) in a bowl and put organic garlic spice, pink Himalayan salt, and nutritional yeast on top!
I don't have much of a sweet tooth but when I do, I might eat some Medjool dates. Deliciously Ella also gave me the idea to stuff Medjool dates with some organic nut butter for a snack. It's delicious but I can't keep nut butter (unless it's dehydrated) in my fridge anymore because I will eat it all during a candida cleanse when my sweet tooth is out of control! And since I don't have much of a metabolism anymore, foods high in fat (even healthy fats) don't agree with me.
Another snack I recently tried (and loved) was a homemade, low-calorie and low-fat Nutella on rice cakes. I mixed 2 tbsps (45 calories total) of dehydrated peanut butter in a bowl with water and 1/4 tsp of raw cacao powder (5 calories) and put on 2 rice cakes (35 calories each). 120 calories total, plus it tastes delicious! I'm not one to count calories at allll. In fact, I used to believe that if you eat nutritionally-dense, plant-based foods then you don't have to worry about calories. This is usually the case, however, once I developed a thyroid tumour and gained 50lbs (I lost it due to a ridiculously-intense low-caloric HCG diet but don't think this is the safest way for most people), I temporarily learned to count calories. I no longer do, but I still have to be careful with high-fat foods. Which is why I love dehydrated peanut butter- it has 5g protein per 2 tbsps, it has 90% less calories than regular peanut butter, and SO much less fat! It's perfect for smoothies too.
I often also make an anti-inflammatory slushie I originally found on Pinterest for relief of cold symptoms. This slushie helps my sore throat (when I have a cold) better than any throat lozenge ever has! It involves ginger root, water, ice, 2 tsps raw apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and honey or agave syrup to sweeten. I also add coconut water for the electrolytes. I hate the taste of coconut water on its own, but the taste of the slushie hides it well. This slushie can become very bitter so only add as much ginger root as you can handle.
In the beginning of the week, I also often brew a bunch of immune tea, let it cool, then pour it in a jug with water and ice to drink throughout the week. I have heat intolerance and hot tea often makes me overheat for the rest of the day so I find this really helpful!
Food resources I love: