Monday, June 3, 2013

Sugar-Free Week Wrap-Up + A Few Dinner Ideas

Well everyone, the sugar-free week challenge is over.  I don't know about you, but I learned that cutting out the usual sugary junk from my diet isn't actually that hard.  I did just fine not having tons of Dyno Bars, chocolate bars, or after-dinner ice-cream.  I cut out pasta, which I hadn't originally intended to do.  I even survived the week without peanut-butter brownies from Le Cagibi.  (If you're in Montreal and you don't know what I'm talking about, go to there and get them in you ASAP.)

What I also learned is that I have a hard time not substituting.  The first two days I went nuts on potato and corn chips, something I rarely do, and the third and fourth day I may have taken a nap in a pile of stevia-sweetened brown rice pudding.  I caved and ate bagels and baguette on day 6, observing that my love of bread bears close resemblance to a crack smoker's love of the rock, as I pillaged the cupboards eating any and all sad bread remnants in my path.  A bread addict in her flour bin is an unlovely creature.

Still, even after such episodes I got back up and tried again the next day.  For the second half of the week I cut out the chips and peanut butter, and all in all I did quite well.  This week was just a beginning, and it helped to stop a downward sugar-spiral before it got too terribly out of hand.

Finally, I reinforced my knowledge that I need to have high-quality, nutritious food on hand that I can reach for when hunger strikes.  Being unprepared or having too much processed (junk) food in the house sets me up for failure every time.

With that in mind, I'd like to throw out a couple ideas for quick snacks/meals below.  A few of you have asked what I normally eat for dinner.  These are ideas that haven't been formulated into recipes, or they aren't particularly well photographed.  They're just ideas for simple week-night meals that can help to crowd out sugar and as you stay filled up on the good stuff.

Steamed winter squash and swiss chard with left-over green lentils, hemp seeds, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

Vegan Salad Nicoise:  Steamed new potatoes, broccoli and green beans, fresh sliced tomatoes, green olives and chick peas mashed with capers and some left-over quinoa. 

Sautéed mushrooms and greens with herby polenta balls and tomato sauce. 

Swiss Chard sautéed with toasted coconut and chili garlic sauce, served with quinoa.

Red Salad:  Shredded cabbage, beets and red onions with rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil

More herby polenta!  Just prepare quick polenta according to package instructions, then stir in some fresh basil and garlic at the end.  Spoon into muffin tins to make individual servings.  Then, when they've set up, you can move them to a sheet pan and briefly bake or broil to heat.  I served these with mushrooms and a picatta sauce.

Rice noodles with chili garlic sauce, chopped seasonal veg, rice vinegar and a bit of toasted sesame oil.

Alright folks, I hope that provides a bit of inspiration, or at the very least answers the question of, "What are you eating?"  I'd love to hear how the week went for you.  If you have a moment, drop me a line!

All the best,


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