Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eat! #1 Vegi Face

One of the first books I remember reading on yogic lifestyle referred to food.  Right up my alley! Written by the controversial Da Free John it was called The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace.

I've since come to my own philosophies and guidelines for living a spiritually driven life, but never moved one inch from the recognition that a relationship with food IS spiritual and the way we approach it, embrace it, embody it and appreciate it is a spiritual discipline meant to be enjoyed.

I was recently asked to write a regular column for the holistic magazine Vitamin - the premier issue will be launched in August.  My column will offer tips, philosophy and examples of Conscious Eating and it got me thinking - how can I make the juice of this fabulous topic come alive in simple ways that can make an everyday difference to busy multitask-loaded people (like myself :)

I decided to take the next several posts here on Mystic blog and devote myself to the subject through a series called "Eat!"  I'll post some gorgeous pix of fresh fruits and vegis to get you in the mood - then go into tips about how it works for me in my household. I've literally devoted my kitchen life to thrifty, healthy, time saving ideas, and I definitely speak from experience. We've all been through hard times and some of mine are doozies.  My friend Heather reminisced with me the other day and made me laugh out loud.  She said "you can take a nickle, stretch it into a dime and make it look like a quarter."   I didn't realize it was so obvious!! I do have a passion for food though, especially whole grain, organically grown, feel good, great smelling, fabulously nourishing, awesome tasting food - and I can't remember a time when I wasn't devoted to it.

I have also been a busy multitasker since...forever...and some of the go-to qualities I take for granted in slinging food around the kitchen and having it turn out well might be a hard won victory for someone else, so I've decided to share some of what I do.

Comments are totally welcomed!!  I'm here to offer some thoughts and share with you what my own Spring menu is looking like as we go.  I've also got some travel on my calendar, so that will be an interesting perspective...

To get started, these are just some of my own ground rules:
  • mixing prepared foods (canned or jars) with fresh food makes sense
  • always read the labels; if you see preservatives in there, put it down.
  • mixing cooked food with raw food (like salads and fruit) also makes sense
  • mouth feel and texture do matter
  • so does color - the more the merrier!
  • buy a crock pot
  • add veggies whenever and wherever to whatever you can (called "add-ins" - more on that as we go...)
  • if you eat meat, make it the side instead of the main event
  • keep it to fish and fowl for the most part, or consider going veggie for a while
  • educate yourself about complete proteins 
  • if you do go veg... I did for 16 years and I was happy, healthy and strong...check out the attached article from Saavy Vegetarian and others like it:  "Vegans and vegetarians can't help getting all the essential amino acids, through eating different combinations of grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, vegetables & fruit several times throughout the day. Read more...
  • buy fresh - make plenty - freeze liberally
  • forget the concept of "leftovers"... pre-cooked food = "ingredients for the next meal"
  • think like a sous-chef and prepare lots of ingredients at one sitting
  • there is always enough time, enough choice and enough in the budget to eat extraordinarily well
  • if you can make it yourself, you can probably make it better :)
Once you give up the nasty habit of semi-nutritious eating, or plain old bad food eating (God forbid!) your body actually does know what it needs to nourish itself with.

Ok so here are my bon mots for today illustrating the "some prepared/some fresh concept"- as well as the add-ins which boosts interest, nutrition and variety.

Note - never turn on the oven for just one thing.  Scout around for what else you can prepare while the oven is on.

Main meal:
Chicken pieces marinated in a jar of Trader Joes Curry Simmer Sauce. (This sauce is particularly good - but you can find your own version most anywhere in the Thai section of your grocery - or your own cookbook.)

Add-ins - pineapple chunks, green peas and water chestnuts.  Cover and bake.

Brown jasmine rice. Make enough for more than one meal, divide and freeze.

Green salad with pumpkin seeds and raisins.  Oil and vinegar dressing.

Extra in the oven:
Frozen corn with a dab of butter, salt and pepper.  Bake until slightly browned. Unbelievably sweet.

Bonus meal:
Crock pot lentil soup - or stew - depending on how much water you add.

Rinse a bag of lentils, add twice as much water, can of tomatoes, any number of green fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, basil) chopped potato, garlic, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of sriracha hot sauce.  Pass the EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) over the top and go.  Add a splash of red wine vinegar when it's all done and stir around.  Serve with a good fresh grated locatelli romono.

Sage advise for the day:
Know what you can skimp on.  Don't make it the cheese :) 

Bon appetit!

What's on your plate??


Lenny Bierstein said...

Hi Gael,
This is Lenny from Florida. I am a Vegan for many years and I would like to share one of the great staple foods of my diet. It is cheap, nutritious and delicious.
In my family we always called it tofu mash. I buy a pound of firm, non gmo tofu for $1.79 then I cut a liberal amount of celery and green, red, or yellow peppers because I like crunchy. Put it all in a big bowl squeeze the water out of the tofu and just mash it up with a fork. Dont mix yet. n Next we use some Veganaise soy based "mayo" more if you like the texture to be thinner less if you like thicker. Then come the spices, Garlic powder, Jamaican curry powder ,reds pepper, black pepper. This will be spicy, this is the creative part you can use any spices or herbs or other vegetables to make it taste anyway that you like. It also can be lightly cooked into a casserole and have soy cheese (or regular if you are not vegan) added on top.
There you have it. Tastes good, low calories, high protein and all for under $3.00 a lb. Great sandwiches, with chips or mixed with salads. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Yokibics said...

Lenny! Thanks for posting! Your tofu dish sounds delish. Always good to hear from vegans as well who have made it a sound healthy lifestyle. Glad to share :)