Squishyplum

All plants. All the time.

Tag: plant-based (page 2 of 2)

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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Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy: How I Kickstarted my WFPB Adventure – And How You Can Too!

Eating the WFPB way is not rocket science. Anyone can do it. Really. Case in point: my culinary-challenged boyfriend cooked the inaugural Project Squishyplum dinner in my honour. And it was damn good!

When I say this man is a neophyte in the kitchen, I’m not exaggerating. Until that day, he had never — and I mean never ever — cooked a dish from a recipe or prepared a meal that involved much more than heating something up. His culinary repertoire rested solidly on such gourmet classics as Cup Noodles and Lipton Sidekicks. Indeed, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, and small appliances frighten him. But after a quick lesson in knife skills and a tour of our spice cabinet, this fledgling cook managed to pull off a bloody delicious Three-Bean Tomato Curry Soup. (Thank you to Dreena Burton for her fabulous cookbook: Vive Le Vegan. Check out Dreena over at www.plantpoweredkitchen.com or on Twitter @dreenaburton.)

Three Bean Tomato Curry Soup

The happy chef and his delectable creation!

Kickstart your own WFPB adventure. You can do it. And you don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen. Grab a plant-based cookbook from the library (I currently have Dreena’s The Everyday Vegan checked out) or peruse the shelves of your local bookstore. Here are a few ideas that I have in my kitchen to get you started:

  1.  Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton
  2. The China Study Cookbook by Leanne Campbell
  3. The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard
  4. Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin
  5. Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas

My scrumptious Project Squishyplum kickoff meal of Three-Bean Tomato Curry Soup can be found on page 79 of Dreena’s awesome Vive Le Vegan! Simple, Delectable Recipes for the Everyday Vegan Family. (To limit consumption of refined oil products in this and any recipe, I would recommend using a splash of veggie stock instead of olive oil to sauté the veg. I’ve been doing it for all my culinary experiments with happy results.)

Give this soup a whirl! You’ll be glad you did.

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WFPB. WTF is that?!

So the plan is to eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet for one year, track the results, chronicle the challenges, and develop some sort of blueprint to help others channel their inner herbivore. Let’s get started, shall we?

Whole-foods, plant-based diet. Just rolls off the tongue, eh? WFPB. Even the acronym is awkward. But thankfully the benefits outweigh its phonetic shortcomings.

There is a difference between a vegan diet and a WFPB diet. Surprisingly, it’s very possible to eat a less-than-ideal vegan diet. Consider the possibilities: Frosted Flakes or a raspberry Pop-Tart for breakfast. Tofu hotdog with fries and a Coke for lunch. Oreos and a grande Starbucks soy coffee frappuccino for your afternoon pick-me-up. Frozen vegan pizza to round out your day — and, of course, a chocolate vegan cupcake for dessert. And maybe some of those moreish root crisps while you’re working your way through your PVR. Nutritional disaster!

So what’s a girl to eat? WFPB! All plants, all the time. That’s my new mantra. Vegetables (in everything from my soup to my smoothie), fruits (no-brainer snacks), legumes (think 3-Bean Chili or garlicky hummus), grains (my morning oatmeal drizzled with maple syrup and topped with a handful of walnuts is dee-lish), seeds (pumpkin and sunflower seeds in my salad always makes me feel gourmet), nuts (freshly ground peanut butter on my toast? — don’t mind if I do), and nut milks (I’m partial to Silk True Almond, although I need to learn how to make my own). You’d be surprised how many foods fit into these categories.

The idea is to aim for foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For all of you take-out addicts, I’m afraid the WFPB path is going to require some actual cooking — and not the kind where you shuttle something from the freezer to the microwave. But that has to be a good thing, right?

So let’s get this party started! Project Squishyplum. 365 days. All plants. All the time. We’ll figure it out together as we go. Just think how bloody fabulous we’re going to look and feel!

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