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Category: Snacking

Stress: That Sneaky Culprit

So Delicious Cashew Milk Salted Caramel Cluster Frozen DessertSo it happened. I wondered if it would. And it did. The stress finally caught up to me: the stress of finishing a big work project while packing to move; moving day, accompanied by the worry of how I am going to afford to buy furniture (I have virtually none); being on my own, alone, in my own place, with everything I own piled up in boxes around me, for the first time since the late 90s. I thought I was handling it. I really did. But last night I snapped and ate a whole carton of ice cream.

The entire concept of my whole-foods mission went out the window. Highly-processed with Iots of sugar and fat, you say? Bring it on. Yep, I scarfed back a full tub of So Delicious Dairy-free Cashew-milk Salted Caramel Cluster. Not all in one sitting, mind you. But all in one evening. Because that’s so much more dignified. Oh, and I quaffed a bottle of rootbeer. Artisanal, family-owned, small-batch brewed, of course—nothing but the most pretentious of rootbeers for me when I’m self-medicating with food. But I’m not fooling anyone; we all know it’s still just pop. Might as well be mainlining sugar. Sigh.

So what’s a girl to do? I thought I had the answer. My first class of Beginner’s Yoga that I had signed up for at my new community centre was the next morning. Perfect. Mitigate the damage with some soul-soothing yoga. Good plan. I hit the snooze button a few too many times but managed to finally drag my ass out of bed and get organized. Not a moment to spare. Then I looked up my registration receipt and noticed that I had the time wrong; there was no hope of making it to the class on time. Arghhh. Best laid plans. “Well, I’m up and all dressed in workout gear,” I thought. “I’ll go for a walk.” But first lemme just lay back down for a few minutes. I’ll just close my eyes for half an hour and then head out. Right. I’ve heard that one before. Finally rolled out of bed at 2pm. Yep, mid-afternoon.

So how does one rescue a shitty day? With cupcakes, of course! I spent what was left of the afternoon exploring my new neighbourhood and stumbled upon a fabulous vegan cupcake bakery. Lemon cupcake? Yes, please. Oh, and a chocolate-vanilla one too. The only saving grace is said bakery is 16 blocks from my house. So there was some walking involved.

Thankfully there is a happy ending to my story. After gobbling up the aforementioned cupcakes, I jolted my body back to a whole-foods plant-based (WFPB) reality with a big kale salad and some quinoa & black bean salad. This is the only strategy that actually works to get me back on the healthy path. Recalibrate. Pressing the reset button. Whatever you want to call it, my body is reminded of what real food tastes like. Because I never feel great after I eat highly-processed foods—whether it’s cupcakes, ice cream, fried foods, donuts, whatever my poison of choice—I’m always tired and lethargic with a slightly off-kilter digestive system afterwards.

Putting suboptimal foods in my body not only stresses my physical body but it messes with my mental and emotional health too. I sleep too much, either sleeping in or napping a lot. Negative thoughts about my body run rampant in my head. Stresses and worries are disproportionately heightened. Obstacles suddenly seem insurmountable. So it’s critical to shake the processed-food blues as soon as possible or I start spinning down a scary vortex. And the secret is a hit of WFPB foods. Kale and black beans to the rescue. Give it a try and see if you can wake up from that processed-food coma.

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The Month in Review: Confessions of a Serial Snacker

So…it’s been a month of whole-food plant-based eating. What have I learned?

Apparently I’m a snacker. A habitual snacker. The snacker who trolls the cupboards grabbing handfuls of tortilla chips because she’s bored. Not the organized kind of snacker who eats eight healthy snack-size meals a day. Nope, I’m the “I-fancy-a-cookie-with-my-latte-just-because” kind of snacker. The kind who can hoover up a package of Snapea Crisps in the blink of an eye. I simply had no idea how often I reached for “just a little nibble.” I may have a problem. 🙂 Who knew? Well, deep down I probably did, but denial is a powerful thing!

Let me just say that this WFPB thing has thrown a wrench into my usual snacking habits. And this is good thing. Really. Processed snack foods like crackers, granola bars, and chips are all off the table, literally. So what does that leave me? Nuts are good but I can easily throw back a couple day’s worth of calories of cashews during one episode of The Good Wife.

So I’ve been turning to fruit which, I’ll admit, sounds a bit lame. I mean, how many apples can one girl eat? I’m finding the trick is to have a wide variety of fruits on hand. Who knew discovering a container of melon chunks in the fridge could bring me such delight? Pineapple, mango, grapes — oh my! And oranges are particularly luscious this time of year — big orbs of sweet, juicy, citrusy goodness. Yes, I’m excited about oranges. This is what four weeks of livin’ the good WFPB life does.

Bowl of whole oranges and oranges sliced in half

OMG just look at those oranges!

WFPB Snacking 101

Fruit — Keep it interesting. Rotate through the gamut of melons and berries and citrus. Those yummy bite-size clementines are in season right now. Experiment with all the varieties of apples; smear some almond butter on a Honeycrisp apple – decadent!

Hummus and veg — Hummus is my go-to food. I just love it. All the different variations. And non-traditional versions made with black beans or lentils too, accompanied by those little cherry tomatoes, celery (the often overlooked veg – I’d forgotten how tasty raw celery is!), cucumber, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and so on.

Air-popped popcorn — The crunch of plain air-popped popcorn in front of the tv has kept me satisfied during many a Coronation Street marathon. Don’t slather it in vegan margarine or oil. Remember, we’re avoiding high-fat, processed foods. Instead, try it with a sprinkling of salt or nutritional yeast. Yes, I realize the salt doesn’t stick too well to the dry popcorn but you’ll survive.

Applesauce — make your own by peeling and cutting apples into bite-size pieces and putting them in a pot covered with about an inch of water. Add some cinnamon and a little sweetener of your choice. Simmer until the water evaporates and the apples go mushy. Doesn’t sound that appetizing but, I assure you, it’s very yummy. (Thanks to Leah @mixedbagmag for teaching me this simple but sweetly satisfying recipe.) Or pick up some jarred applesauce at the store. I keep organic unsweetened applesauce on hand in case I need to do some baking (did you know ¼ c applesauce = 1 egg in recipes?). I also sometimes use it to replace oil in baking. Very handy stuff.

Nuts and seeds — Sunflower seeds, almonds, unsalted mixed nuts. Just don’t go crazy. Keep the handfuls small and infrequent.

Please share any other unprocessed, lower-fat WFPB snacking ideas you may have. This chronic snacker is always looking to expand her snacking repertoire.

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