Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 4 Sugar-Free and My Tiny Kitchen

Hey there people!  Depending on when you're reading this, you're probably either wrapping up day four or getting started on day five of sugar-free week.  Some of you are reporting excellent results (over on my FB page) and I'm so happy to hear it!

Personally, I can't say I've been an angel these last few days.  I've had entirely too many chips, and I must admit to eating (gasp!) a Clif Bar today at work when I was "under prepared."  (Under prepared, my foot.  It was a six hour shift and I'd eaten a huge salad for lunch.  I surely would have starved to death without it.)  And while I haven't been having peanut butter + bread + syrup-of-choice party, I have been having a bit of a peanut butter + rice cake + banana party.  I know, I know:  shameful.   You should scowl and point and do that weird shame-shame thing at me where you brush one index with your other index finger while looking at me disapprovingly.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto (And day 3 of sugar-free week!)

Hello people.  It's a rainy Wednesday in Montreal, perfect for staying inside, reading a book, cleaning my filthy apartment, and saying 'hello' to you.  How's everyone doing?  For those of you who haven't been following along, today is day three of a individually-tailored sugar-free week for people who are tired of having their arses handed to them by sugar addiction.  Feel free to jump on the bus with us!  No matter if you're starting at a different time.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

one, two, three...GO!

Alright people, as promised - a week of good, clean, sugar-free livin'. (I've been perfecting a lemon pie recipe over the last three weeks, but promise not to post it until sugar-austerity week is over.)  I'm going to keep this short and sweet as I'm low on time and in need of a bath after yesterday's absurd Spartan race at Morin Heights.  It was good, dirty fun:  glad I did it, won't be needing to do it again.

For a wee bit of background on this week's sugar cleanse, take a look here.

Now here's what I propose:

1.  Tailor this cleanse to meet your needs.

Let this be a chance to deal with something that's been bugging you.  Perhaps you have jam on toast every day for breakfast and it doesn't trigger you, but you can't make it through the afternoon without going apeshit on a box of Thin Mints.  You tell yourself you're not going to eat Thin Mints today, but 4 o'clock rolls around and you're calling the girl scout down the street.  You might feel like keeping your breakfast routine, but cutting out the Thin Mints.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sugar Schmugar - Who wants to take a break?

Hey there folks!

Sugar seems to have me by the ovaries these days and I'm thinking about taking a break.  Truth be told, I'm always thinking about taking a break, but I have a damn hard time doing it.  I'll eat like a champ for the whole day - smoothie for breakfast, big salad for lunch, (a few coffees here and there) some kind of something special for dinner.  If I would just quit there I'd be golden.  I'd go to bed as pleased as Punch, smiling sweetly, all ready to sleep peacefully and wake up feeling refreshed.

Instead, 8, 9, or 10 o'clock rolls around and I get overcome by an insane desire to consume everything sugar within a 20 yard radius.  If I don't have anything sweet readily available, by god I'll whip something up.  It could be a peanut butter and honey on a piece of bread, followed by peanut butter and honey on another piece of bread, followed by peanut butter and chocolate chips on another piece of bread, followed by coco krispies.  (How did THOSE get in here?)  The problem is that I don't just do a bowl of ice-cream or a piece (or three) of dark chocolate.  I'll do 1000 calories of god-knows-what right before bed.  Then I either sleep like crap or sleep like the dead and wake up late feeling groggy, fuzzy, inflamed and filled with regret.

The funny part is that I also wake up filled with conviction to change - Not going to do THAT again!  That was the last time.  Today I'll leave out the sugar, FOR REAL.

So I go about my day, doing quite well, and then...return to paragraph two - the cycle continues.  This, friends, I have come to understand as the cycle of addiction, and god knows sugar is addictive.  Recent talks with friends have, once again, assured me that I'm not alone in this.  This is a struggle that a lot of people are dealing with on the daily.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

I found the inspiration for this recipe while I was looking up another inspirational topic - the first packaging-free grocery store in the US.  It's called In.gredients (does one pronounce the 'dot'?) and it opened up back in 2011 in Austin, TX.   You bring your own boxes, bags, containers, etc., and buy by weight.  No waste.  No superfluous packaging.  How cool is that?  I have fantasies about opening one up some day in Montreal.  Who's with me?!  On their blog I found a link to a beautiful Roasted Broccoli Hummus recipe.  I figured, why not cauliflower?  Roasted cauliflower suits my tastes more, and it's currently about $3 for a 3lb head at Jean-Talon Market.  Combined with chick peas, which are super cheap when purchased in bulk, this little recipe provides complex flavours and beautiful presentation, while only setting you back a few bucks.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chick Pea Salad Sandwiches (and a big fat rant)

For all you lovers of all things "salad sandwiches" out there, this one's for you!  Ham salad, egg salad, tuna salad, phooey!  Who needs all that crap when you can make a tasty, filling, nutrient packed, suffering-free, fast, cheap, bomber sandwich using chick peas instead of corpses?  (Did she seriously just say corpses?)

I find it's generally only acceptable these days to make a case for vegetarianism/veganism by playing up the health benefits of animal-free dining, or the environmental toll of animal agriculture.  These arguments appeal to logic and people tend to (kind of) listen, or at least not shut you down completely.  (You mean there's something in it for ME? Do go on...) I'm usually happy to play that card, but today I'm feeling surly.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Quick Smokey Tempeh

This recipe will probably not knock your socks off, make you pee your pants, or inspire you to call all of your friends.  It will, however, help you to get a high-quality protein into your face when you're hungry and pressed for time.  It's simple, versatile,  and quick to prepare.  Put this tempeh in a wrap, on a salad, as part of a TLT, or alongside a whole grain and steamed veggies.  What I like about this preparation method is that it requires zero foresight.  You don't have to marinate, don't have to steam and then sauté, you can just cook it up and eat it.  One pan, 10 minutes, done like dinner.

BBC Two - Blackberry Banana Coconut

Another BBC Smoothie!  How many more will there be?  Only time will tell.  This smoothie boasts high fiber, high protein (10 grams per serving) and loads of anti-oxidants.  It also contains, (gasp!) fat from coconut.  There are plenty of people out there who poo-poo coconut for being high in saturated fat, I say hooey.  If you're eating a plant-based diet you're eating zero cholesterol and very little saturated fat.  You can afford to have some coconut oil in your diet, and while I don't recommend eating coconut oil by the spoonful like they do in this video, I would recommend watching that video to see what it says about coconut oil and brain function.  There's also some pretty compelling information here: Reasons You Should be Using Coconut Oil, and Brenden Brazier (vegan athlete extraordinaire) regularly promotes the use of coconut oil to maximize athletic performance.  (There's a pretty interesting interview here, at No Meat Athlete.)  I love the taste of coconut and work a bit of it into my diet at least a few times a week.

BBC One - Beet Banana Chia

Breakfast for beet lovers.  This smoothie was born of a simple desire to name something "BBC One" because I had this stupid song stuck in my head.  (Thank you, Mike Myers.)  Stay tuned for BBC Two!  The one downside of this recipe is that you probably can't pull it off in a regular blender, you'll need a high-powered blender to sufficiently pulverize the beets.  (That's right, we're putting beets in a smoothie.  You'll thank me later.)  This is an energy packed smoothie, a great way to start the day;  sweet and smooth, high in fiber, omega 3's, protein (10 grams per serving), manganese, magnesium, selenium...the list goes on and on.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Green Banana Pick-Me-Up

It's Thursday, 4:30.  I'm just home from work, tired from a night of little sleep, and feeling an overwhelming urge to dive into a bag of anything chocolate and lie down.  Sugar comas, however, have been my BFF for a little too long and I'm really trying to clean up my act.  So rather than lie on the couch with a tub of peanut butter and a bag of chocolate chips, I'm having this delicious banana smoothie.  The maca is kind of a fancy-pants ingredient that you might not have on hand, so feel free to leave it out.  However, I strongly recommend that you look into incorporating maca in your diet, as it is known to help nourish the adrenal system, increase vitality, improve sexual function (hello!), and promote hormonal balance.  It's also rich in iodine and B12.  Not too shabby, maca, not too shabby.  If even one of those things is true, I'm in.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Avocado Chimichurri Wrap

Hey there folks.  It's May!  The season is finally changing in Montreal and I couldn't be happier about it.  I'm ready for spring, ready for blue skies and green grass, ready for the Jean-Talon Market to transition from indoors to outdoors (as it is in the process of doing TODAY!), ready to play outside without heavy boots and five layers, and ready to eat some feel-good food!  I must admit to having been in a rut in the kitchen for the last month (or three).  Fingers crossed, it feels like the slump is over and I'm looking forward to getting back to the kitchen.

The kick-off recipe for this month is a versatile Chimichurri sauce that you'll soon see paired with tempeh, portobello mushrooms, and all sorts of delectable savoury things.  Chimichurri is a zesty, spicy, pesto-like sauce that hails from Argentina.  It can be used as a marinade, a spread, a dip, a sauce, I'm sure the list goes on.  If you're one of those people who typically turns their nose up at cilantro, I encourage you to try this anyway.  You just might be surprised.