Friday, March 21, 2014
One of my friends on Facebook wrote in her status the other day that everyone is not just dieting to diet these days. They have a scientific reason why their way is right. She goes on to say that she thinks people should just say they are doing it to do it, because they want to, and not try and make a scientific argument about it. It made me laugh, and I would have to agree. There have always been popular diets that come along with cookbooks and ways to "live." I think one of the biggest changes I have noticed now though is the argument of which way to eat healthy is really right. People who are gluten free rave about how ridiculous they once were to be eating so many grains. I have seen people cooking out of grain free cookbooks and exclaiming "We don't miss the bad stuff at all." Or the Paleo people using those arguments and then saying that vegetarians and vegans need more protein over sugars like our ancestors. Okay, I am sure I don't have all the arguments right... but it is something like that.
I am going to say that I have started this vegan, whole grain, "plant based diet" because I want to. I have been an on and off again vegetarian in the last couple of years. The "off" really has always been because I am also in the baby making and nursing years and I just get so hungry! I had thought that if I could not stick to vegetarian while pregnant or nursing I probably could never be vegan. Andrew and I love to eat locally and seasonally, and with him working at Whole Foods we have always tried to eat the best quality meats when we did choose to eat them. Most of the time we would end up eating vegetarian, because when it comes to eating not just healthy but quality food, it is too expensive to eat meat every day.
I knew Whole Foods had a "Health Starts Here" program going this new year, and then I watched the documentary "Forks over Knives." After reading and watching and texting my hip vegan Aunt Larissa, I decided I had enough reason to try. Of course these resources will all tell you that this is the best way to eat and live. So, I am going to see if it is true. I am big on listening to my body. That is why I am doing this for six full weeks, like they did in the documentary, and just see how I feel overall. I am not going to a dr. to have tests done, but I do know I have about 25 pounds of pregnancy weight to loose. I also am dead tired every morning and addicted to sugar and caffeine. I think the dead tired part is about my children, not the cheeseburgers, but we will see. I am not giving up coffee, for now at least. But I am doing a strictly vegan diet for six weeks. No dairy, no meat, no eggs, no butter. The The Health Starts Here diet says meat as a condiment is okay, but I'd like to stick to fully Vegan. They also advise no processed sugars or oils, and to eat all whole grains. I officially started this on Monday, and have given in a little with the sugar (Andrew had a vegan birthday cake) and we have used a little bit of oil on our roasted veggies. I figure since I am nursing a newborn and a toddler, a little here and there is not a big deal.
I know my personality, and I know I have to often go to the extreme on things. If I was just trying to eat "healthy" I know I would continue to build my own nachos when we eat lunch at Whole Foods, rather than choosing from their two full raw and organic salad bars. I often need a push and I will say in the past five days, I have eatten a bigger variety and amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I am also so thankful for Andrew doing the meal planning, shopping, and cooking for this diet change. I hope to do more once I am not holding a baby so much of the time.
I thought I would include two recipes from a couple of things I have really enjoyed this week. Both recipes are from the Forks Over Knives book. We tried "Rip's Big Bowl" for breakfast the last two days, and Andrew made these "Chocolate Banana Treats" last night with Blanche. The breakfast bowl seems like a lot, and really it is, but it will keep you full all morning. The treats are also so yummy and perfect with afternoon coffee. I always need a little something with my coffee.
Rip's Big Bowl:
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (uncooked)
1/4 cup Grape-Nuts or Ezekiel brand equivalent
1/4 cup bite-size shredded wheat
1/4 cup Uncle Sam Cereal (we used the original)
1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal
2 Tablespoons raisins
1/2 handful of walnuts
1 banana, sliced
1 kiwi, sliced
3/4 cup plant-based milk
Toss all ingredients except the grapefruit and plant-based milk in a bowl. After cutting the grapefruit in half, use a small, sharp knife to remove the segments. Add the segments to the top of the bowl and squeeze in the juice. Top the bowl with plant-based milk.
Variation: Add any fresh or frozen fruit, such as peaches, cherries, mangoes, blue-berries, or red grapes.
*We also couldn't find unsweetened bite-sized shredded wheat at whole foods, so Andrew bought another Uncle Sam cereal, the Rye and Hemp one. It was great with the bowl.
Frozen Chocolate Banana Treats:
Makes about 50
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup plant-based milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
1. Puree the maple syrup, milk, cocoa, vanilla, and bananas in a food processor until well combined. Transfer to a bowl. Add the oats and mix well.
2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Put Grape-Nuts in a small bowl. Using the big end of a melon baller, or a small spoon, scoop up a little chocolate ball and drop it into the bowl of Grape-Nuts. Turn the ball over with a spoon or your fingers, then sprinkle Grape-Nuts onto the sides and gently place it onto the wax paper. I like to flatten the ball a little with the back of a spoon. Repeat the process with the rest of the chocolate mixture.
3. Freeze the entire pan of chocolate treats. After the treats are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container and store it in the freezer.