Friday, August 14, 2015

What I Eat

Today, I posted this on Facebook:

"This morning I put my belt on and found that the belt no longer had any holes that fit me. So I got my measuring tape out and discovered I lost yet another inch - I'm officially the smallest I've been since I was about 16. I'm still not weighing myself, but I have a pretty good idea of what this means..."

Here was the sequence of events this week:
Monday - I feel like my running pants might fall off during my run.
Tuesday - My wedding ring is getting too wiggly.
Wednesday - My shirt definitely needs to be put in the "too big" section of the closet.
And here we are at Friday and the above results. How do I feel about it? I'm flabbergasted, even though I know exactly what habits caused this to happen. What with running 3x per week (3 miles each), yoga 3x per week (30 minutes each), and retraining my body to recognize when it's had enough food (a.k.a., my appestat). 

Anyway, now that we've covered that... I've had a lot of requests to know what I eat and feed my family. Today a good friend of mine specifically requested I post a sample week on my blog so that she could share it with others she knows who have been interested.

This blog was created with the topic of body image in mind. However, at this point I feel that most of what I needed to work through has been accomplished. So... Why not dedicate a post to discussing specifically what I eat?

We eat oatmeal every day. This takes variations. My husband does the same thing himself: he microwaves rolled oats with water, then mixes in ground flax, a little agave or Grade B maple syrup, and chooses a fruit to chop and top it with. My 3 year old eats similar. He's the only one of us who eats eggs with any regularity. Mornings are his chance to ask. Most of the time we don't have eggs in the house, and even when we do he doesn't always ask.

As for me, I do the same oatmeal as my husband quite frequently, except sometimes I top mine with slices almonds, and I skip the agave and do three pieces of fruit instead of one - I'm a breastfeeding mom, after all!

Sometimes I do steel cut oats instead. Sometimes I do overnight oat. Sometimes I make almond milk and use this with rolled oats, treating them just like boxed cereal.

My version of almond milk:
Soak a big bag of almond overnight. Drain and freeze in a Ziploc bag. When making fresh milk - use 1/2 cup soaked frozen almonds with 4 cups warm/hot water, plus 1 tsp vanilla. Blend on high in a high-speed blender. I don't strain it, but most people do.

On the rare occasion, I make pancakes:

After a few years of marriage, we figured out what worked the best in terms of lunches was for me to cook dinner for four so that we could eat leftovers for lunch the next day. We keep an ongoing list of what pre-made food we have in the fridge, and it goes in order so that we know what food is oldest and should take priority in getting eaten up.

I have two moods that I go through when I cook: the recipe mood, and the wing-it mood. With practice, my winging it has improved.

Here's what we ate for dinner in the last week:
Saturday - Potato salad and Tomato salad - bot were the wing-it sort of meals. However, they turned out so good that I wrote down what I did.

You'll notice the word "Veganaise" in the ingredients. I bought a jar of this six or so months ago, and it was still good. I had no tahini and no avocado on had, and really felt like making the potato salad creamy (which isn't always necessary in my mind). So I used this. It is a processed food free of additives, however it does include oil, which I almost never consume. We really enjoyed the potato salad, but it upset my digestive system a little, and messed with my ability to stop when full because of the lovely fat molecules.

Sunday - A tomato and parsley dish served with lentils and brown rice. The tomatoes were dry-sauteed with garlic, and the parsley was mixed in last. For some reason in the last year, my husband has come to believe that lentils are synonymous with sauerkraut (we use Bubbie's from the whole food store because it has live cultures), so we also had that.

Monday - Jungle Curry:

(roughly triple produce)
2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 green onions (sliced, reserve some dark green parts)
pinch red pepper flakes
1+ cup veg broth
1 bell pepper (seeded, sliced)
1 cup green beans (trimmed, 2-inch long)
1 sweet potato (sliced thin) or carrots
Sauce, in high speed blender:
1/4-1/3 cup soaked almonds
2 cups water
1-2 tsp yellow curry powder (or red curry paste)
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp agave
1/2 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cornstarch
Saute garlic, green onion and red pepper flakes in broth for a few minutes. Add peppers, green beans and sweet potato, and more broth as needed. Cook until fork tender. Meanwhile, blend all sauce ingredients on high. Pour over veggies and simmer until tender, and potato starch has thickened the curry sauce. 

Austin said it might be good with jalepeno instead of red pepper flakes.
My own variation of recipe from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean (I don't actually own this book, the author recently gave this recipe away for free on Facebook)

A note on ketchup: I use a "clean" brand; I prefer the kind sweetened with agave.

Tuesday: Mushroom Risotto. I'll give you the link. It was okay. I added spinach. In general, risotto takes too long for me to get very excited about it.

Wednesday: Broccoli stir-fry and baked sweet potatoes. I dry-sauteed the broccoli (I have a non-stick pan) and added this sauce towards the end:

Funny about the sauce though - I only chose that particular sauce because I had date frosting (i.e., dates blended on high with water until proper consistency is reached) to use up. Isaac loves date frosting, but I think everyone's feeling a little done with dates around here lately, so no one was eating it. Anyway, I just added the frosting in addition to the other ingredients to a mason jar, gave it a good shake, and poured it in with the broccoli.

Thursday: Corn on the cob, cauliflower stir-fried with tomatoes and jalepenos, and leftover lentils.

"I didn't realize I was craving brown rice until I saw it." -This is what my husband said as he started chowing into his second serving. By the way, these were huge plates. All our other plates were in the dishwasher:

This was a hodge-podge of things that needed to be eaten up, combined with things that we have in plentitude: onion, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, olives, and spinach. I know, very random. It turned out very tasty though, surprisingly.

The sauce recipe I used was from this, though you might not be able to read it:

Here's a close-up of the sauce part. Um, I took my leftover stir-fry sauce from two nights ago and added the vinegar and ketchup. . . It truly turned out fantastic, and now there is absolutely nothing else that needs to be used up!

So, that's our last week of dinners at a glance. Roughly once a month, this will also happen:

Those are Native Fries, from Native Foods, which is a 100% plant-based restaurant. I took the boys here a few weeks ago. My eldest ate fries, I ate salad, and my baby ate both (though I had brought freeze-dried mango so that he wouldn't get too attached to the fries; he ended up only having four fries, which I felt was success). The salad was way too greasy. Their dressings always sound good, but they are never worth the yucky feeling in my stomach afterwards. I need to remember to ask them for no dressing, and then get some balsamic vinegar instead.

My eldest son does not usually eat what we eat at dinner. The starch tends to be the only sell for him. He loves brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. If he does not want what I make, he has two other options: fresh fruit, or a can of beans. These are both options that he loves, and means I'm not cooking a second dinner.

Snacks for the kiddos and me include the following:


Ice cream - roughly four or five bananas, a little honey, a little vanilla, and then whatever flavor or color additions that my eldest requests. Here we have "pink" ice cream:

(a.k.a., triple berry)

And "green" ice cream (a.k.a., peas). It's important to use honey as the sweetener of choice here, because it lends flexibility to the ice cream when refreezing.

Fresh fruit:

Fruit is always the most ideal snack because it's tasty (obviously) and convenient. It takes little to no preparation. We go through around three bunches of bananas a week, and a couple Costco boxes worth of other fruit (though this isn't always the fruit's origin).

We will also occasionally make a "treat." Yesterday we made carrot muffins:

I added less sugar (coconut sugar), used oat and einkorn flour instead (I have a modern wheat sensitivity), and didn't do any frosting or glaze.

This has been a tough one. I have gone through many habits here, but have finally settled into eating fruit as my evening treat. It took a while for this to truly feel like a "treat," but now it does. My go-to evening fruit treat is melon. When I eat melon alone, I just cut it in half and use a grapefruit spoon, no matter the type of melon. It's so much easier than when I have to cut it up for the kids, and thereby I enjoy it more. All the other fruits I can easily eat throughout the day, and so melon has been my favorite in the evening.


Baby's 1st birthday were banana blueberry muffins:

As always, I subbed the flours - this time I used einkorn combined with almond, which made it taste practically like wedding cake :o

This was my birthday cake:

It was utterly delicious, and meant I didn't have to do baking only two days after my baby's birthday. Fruit = convenience, remember? ;)

Since moving to our newest home, a lot of our produce has come from a local provider who sells the items in bulk. This makes it extremely cheap to eat the way we eat, as long as we're doing it seasonally. When you eat plants all the time, you can handle buying 20-40 pounds of the same thing all at once.

This was my dill for the year. I froze most of it:

There are several things I do each week that carry through for most of the week. This week, I batch-baked sweet potatoes twice. We have 40 pounds of them from our produce guy, and they go like hot-cakes around here. One night this week, my husband opened the door of the fridge and was disappointed to discover the pre-cooked sweet potatoes had been eaten up. I made more the next day.

I also made some delicious pickles:
The first time I made them, almost the entire jar was devoured by the four of us within one meal. Yes, both kids loved them!

A note on our plant-based status:
We are not 100% plant-based. We're about 98%. My husband and eldest son occasionally have a dab of butter. My baby and I are dairy-free, but both my husband and I eat chicken, fish, or eggs a few times a month. Like I mentioned in the breakfast section, my 3 year old eats eggs with semi-regularity, but animal foods still make up less than 10% of his diet.

Through my own study, I have determined that eating animal foods is okay within that 10% confinement. If you eat at least 90% of your diet as whole plant foods, you should be able to have all the benefits of full health.

When we began this journey, my husband really couldn't afford to lose any weight. I proceeded with our diet change anyway, feeling his health would benefit in too many other ways to be concerned about his weight. He lost about five pounds at the beginning, two years ago. This was a real stress point for me, but he's maintained ever since, and his appetite is actually growing now, he's begun craving real food for the first time in his life, whereas before it used to be a chore, even if it was a treat like pizza or ice cream.

There might be more I missed, and I know this post probably could have been done better - there was so much to say! - but I think you've gotten the gist. Below are some resources you might like:

Websites: (also check out the documentary) (recipes)

The China Study
Healthy at 100
Super Immunity
Disease-Proof Your Child
Discovering the Word of Wisdom
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition