Living among my omnivorous family can get tricky, especially when it comes to dinner time. And truthfully, it can be super frustrating either cooking separate plant-based meals for myself or adding meat and cheese to them for the rest of the fam. Sometimes we are in a good rhythm of getting dinner on the table and other times it can be downright draining. I've never been out to convert anyone. But when it comes to cooking for my family, I feel I'm wrestling this moral dilemma. That despite the personal choices I make for myself, I am still part of that machine.
It's said we vote on our food selection with our dollar and even though I’m not consuming meat, dairy or eggs, personally, I’m still voting in favor of them because occasionally I’m purchasing for my household.
I don't think I've made it a secret that my reasons for going plant-based were rooted in vanity. I wanted to be slim and look my best. But, I think there are countless reasons I have stayed plant-based for a number of years now: disease prevention, faster workout recovery time, water conservation, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, land conservation, the slowing of deforestation and species extinction, reducing marine life destruction and waste pollution, helping to alleviate world hunger, and disengaging in animal cruelty. I recently heard Rich Roll say on a podcast that he just can't think of another diet where you can check all those boxes.
That said, I’m really trying to work out a solution here, but I fear I’ll have to just wait until they all move out! When I first began transitioning to a plant-based diet I removed all animal products from our home and declared it “Plant Strong and Cruelty Free”, a home where only healthy food is served and nobody gets hurt. My kids just ended up mad at me...a hangry mob. #firstworldprobs
So I'm leaving this decision up to them. There is something to be said about putting on your own oxygen mask first.
On a positive note, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve...some recipes that work for all of us, and lucky for me this one, especially, is versatile, delicious and leaves me feeling as though I haven’t just poisoned them all. A girl’s gotta sleep at night.
This recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo is adapted from Chloe Coscarelli's first cookbook Chloe’s Kitchen. Not only does it make a rich, delicious Alfredo sauce but also a wonderful white cream sauce to toss with your vegetables or top your baked potato. I’ve tweaked it to be more healthful.. sans the oil and added vegg. I hope it brings your family to the table in a healthful and decadent way, herbies and omnivores alike!
Fettuccine Alfredo, serves 4 to 6
1 pound fettuccine
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup raw cashews or blanched almonds
1 ½ cups water
2 teaspoons white miso paste, optional
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
Red pepper flakes, optional
Bonus points- 12-16 oz frozen broccoli or vegetable medley, optional
Note: If you are not using a high speed blender, such as Vitamix or Blendtec, soak cashews or almonds overnight or boil 10 minutes and drain. This will soften them and ensure a silky smooth cream.
The interest in the plant-based lifestyle is exploding! I love how the growth of options in the supermarket has grown exponentially, just in the past year. It is so exciting! There will be a new generation of healthy people.
I get asked all the time, “What do you eat?” Everyone is so curious and I LOVE it! Their minds are blown at what I actually eat compared to what they think I eat. It can be funny sometimes. “Do you eat a lot of kale?” Haha, not really. (I prefer spinach;) “Wait, you eat hot dogs, burgers, and fries?” Yup, yup, and yup.
I'm here today to answer the top 3 questions that I get asked EVERY time someone wants to talk plant-based.
1. Where do you get your protein?
There are lots of plant-based cheese options. Some are really good and others, not so much. But, the point is you have options. You don't have to give up cheese, just dairy cheese. The nut-based cheeses are the best, in my opinion. They are less processed than the vegetable protein and soy cheeses, which, also, contain a lot of oil, but the nut cheese also taste better. You don't have to give up your pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches! It takes a little trial and error to find the ones that will please your palate.
3. What do you eat?
Tuesday: Tacos/Burritos (rice, beans, lentils/couscous or tofu, salsa, guacamole)
Wednesday: Sushi or Vegetable Lo Mein with Rice Noodles
Thursday: Rice and Beans Dish (usually with tofu...curry, general tso's, sweet and spicy)
Friday: Burgers and Fries (black bean, cashew and rice, seitan...with sweet potato fries)
Saturday and Sunday: Could be leftovers, hot dogs, pasta, rice, or whatever Mama feels like cooking! As you can see, my meals probably look and sound pretty similar to yours. It takes a bit of practice to find the things that work for you and your family.
I love running into people and they start asking me all these questions and more. I know they are excited at the idea of changing their lives...getting healthier, looking better, and feeling better! So, if you see me, don't be afraid to stop me and pick my brain! I'm obsessed and love sharing it with anyone and everyone!
Peace, Love, Plants,
Let's set the scene. Cool kid sits down at cool table at lunch, surrounded by cool friends and unzips cool lunch box revealing a mountain of...SCARY TOWN inside. Colorful packaging of cookies, candy, energy drinks and snack packs cleverly graffitied with the latest marketing craze. Having worked in our schools, I see it all the time. Our kids are up against it all in the school cafeteria, let me tell you.
Let's be honest. I fight a sometimes winning and sometimes losing battle with this one. It can be daunting to pack a healthy, energy sustaining, nutritious lunch that will win over our kids' taste buds yet not make them feel like all they’re missing is a sign taped to their back that says “kick me”.
I find having a stocked pantry, the right hardware and some good preparation help me stay on the winning team of packing healthy lunches. It might help empower your kiddos to seek their help with lunch packing. If you’re struggling with what to pack, I’ve scoured the internet and come up with some ideas that might help you out...see if they can pick out a few things to try from the list below.
Pancakes and maple syrup
Crepes with their favorite nut butter- check out regular, whole wheat & gluten-free from thevegancorner.com
Chocolate Peanut butter Overnight Oats- see recipe below
Mock Tuna Sandwiches
Noodle Bowl- whisk soy sauce with rice or apple cider vinegar and maple syrup to taste and add to hot noodles
PB & J Donut Sandwiches- like these from Fork & Beans
Bagels and vegan cream cheese with optional sliced cucumber
Vegetable Sushi -I’ve done my homework and found this is all the new rave at the lunch table, even in elementary school. Watch Cristy's video on how to make you're own!
Soups in a good thermos & crackers
Catsadillas- Check out a cute creation from Fork & Beans
Ramen noodles such as Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods or Lotus Foods
Beans & rice (or quinoa)
Pasta and marinara sauce
Vegan cheese/veggie quesadilla
Vegan grilled cheese
Cucumber & hummus sandwich
Apple & Nut butter sandwich
Nut butter banana rolls- Spread nut butter on tortilla, add thinly sliced banana, roll up and cut like sushi
Veggie Pinwheels- Spread vegan cream cheese on tortilla, add small diced vegetables, roll up and cut into pinwheels. Alternatively, add layer of salsa for a Mexican kick.
Bean burritos- or try this one with an Italian twist from veggiesdontbite.com
Bagel sandwich- load up with your favorite fillings such as vegan cream cheese and vegetables, guacamole or avocado, lettuce, tomato and vegan mayo, hummus and veg, precooked pizza toppings or your favorite nut butter and jam
Breadsticks & marinara for dipping
Wraps- load up with fillings such as shredded vegetables, baked beans, refried beans, lentils, chickpeas, corn, whole grains, roasted potatoes, hummus, guacamole, vegan ranch, cherry tomatoes, tahini, ect.
Fresh cut veggies and hummus
Salad on a stick- favorite veggies cut and threaded on skewer; serve with vegan ranch or favorite dressing
Easy to eat fruit (grapes, berries, pre-cut & peeled fruit) and non dairy yogurt for dipping
Muffins- try these blueberry oatmeal Muffins from Happy Herbivore!
Wholly guacamole minis
Individual hummus containers
Snack bars- Lara, Clif bars, Luna, Kind (check labels to be sure they don't contain dairy)
Roasted chickpeas - try these from Dreena Burton's Plant Powered Kitchen
Pretzels and nut butter
Homemade trail mix- dried fruit, nuts & seeds, granola, Oh’s cereal, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, pretzels
BPA free water bottles
Bento boxes, planet box, tiffin boxes or other safe reusable lunch box with small compartments
Thermos containers usually around $15
An assortment of packing containers
Smaller containers for dips and sauces
Wax paper sandwich bags, reusable snack bags or other collapsible snack bags
3 TIPS FOR LUNCH PACKING SUCCESS
Ugh food rut! Have you ever been stuck in one? It’s frustrating and depressing. Kinda makes you feel like, “What’s the point?!” and “Just grab whatever and eat it”! You keep eating the same things over and over and eventually they don’t taste as good as they used to. It’s especially hard when life gets busy and you can’t find time to eat let alone cook! I could easily get by on a routine of pastas and salads, but these pesky boys of mine like to make my life difficult and require a little more sustenance.
I have been trying to flow with some creative energy lately; especially, with new recipes as we are developing this new website. I was feeling pretty tapped out for a while, but as with everything else in life it “ebbs and flows”. Side note: I love that: “ebbs and flows”. It came from one of those conversations with girlfriends about life and everyone just pauses and nods their heads…I love it! Anyway, back to food…I’m feeling out of the rut. In fact, I feel like I’m on top of the mountain!! I’ve come up with some pretty kick ass recipes lately! *pats self on back* Lucky for you, I like to share. If you follow us on Facebook you’ve probably seen some of my recipes, which have gotten some good feedback!
The recipe I want to share with you today was a home run in my house! I freaking love these things! I was craving something cheesy and my mind kept gravitating toward quesadillas. I wanted a dang, cheesy quesadilla (I’m saying this in my Napoleon Dynamite voice right now!). So I created one! I’m cool like that!
Cashew cream spread/sauce is one of those foods that blew my mind when I first started eating plant-based. I was like “Huh?!”, “WTF?!”, “How can nuts taste like cheese?!”. My mind was blown. But they do and I love them for it! So, this is where my quesadilla began…I knew I wanted to use the cashew cream spread, but what to put inside…*grabs megaphone* Cue the zucchini!! Yup, it’s that time of year! Zucchini time! Of course, between my garden and my mother-in-law’s we’ve got vegetables coming out the wazoo; especially, zucchini! (Ok, technically a fruit, but I don't want to go there!) So I sliced some of those up with some onions and peppers…are you getting excited for this recipe or what?!?!
These are so good! You have to make these. Psst they are easy, too!!
The first thing you’re going to want to do is sauté some veggies. Thinly slice zucchini, bell peppers, and onions. Toss the veggies with the spices and maple syrup and sauté until they are soft. While those cook, whip up your cashew cream spread by putting those ingredients in your blender and blend until creamy (you may have to add small amounts of water to reach your desired consistency).
Turn off the heat. Add in the black beans and stir it all up. Set that off to the side while you get the tortillas ready. Spread cashew cream spread onto one tortilla. Place it in a hot pan (cream side up); then, top with the veggies. Add another tortilla to the top and press it down so that it sticks to the bottom layer (don’t burn yourself!). Cook each side about 4 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted.
Serve with pico de gallo, your favorite salsa, guacamole, hot sauce, or whatever your heart desires! I know you are going to thank me for this so YOU’RE WELCOME!! Recipe Below!
Peace, Love , Plants,
Cheesy Veggie Quesadilla serves 2-3
So, a few weeks ago, I was sharing with you a struggle I was having with being in a bad place, for lack of a better word. I put a strategy together in an attempt to feel better (FYI a daily gratitude list is the quickest shortcut). Honestly, writing the blog post was cathartic in and of itself. In many ways, writing weekly articles has become my new journaling practice.
In an effort to kick the whole thing up a notch I read a book I’d heard about on a recent podcast called The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight. Sorry about the F-word. I promise not to say it outloud...mainly because my mother will be reading (something I do give a f**k about).
You might think this title sounds familiar and reminiscent of a book I’d talked about at the beginning of the year called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This particular book was a key tool I used in my letting-go efforts of half my possessions through the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing my stuff. Yawn. I know, I'm so over it, too.
When I heard Sarah Knight’s interview on the podcast, I was really struck, not by the title of the book, surprisingly, or her brilliant humor, but of Knight’s subsequent decision to give up her New York City career, home and basically life-as-she-knew-it and trade it in for year-round Caribbean living in the Dominican Republic. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Right there.
That. Is. What. I’m. Talking. About.
By looking at the familiar cover and style of the book itself, one can see that this is written as a parody to Kondo’s book (wonder how she got away with that?) of getting rid of not only things that don’t "spark joy", but Knight says it’s written for those of us who want "to stop spending time we don’t have with people we don’t like doing things we don’t want to do". I’m all about getting better at that.
Some of us think we’ve already taken care of that aspect of our lives...but have we really? When was the last time you tidied up your f**k drawer? Have you mastered the art of mental decluttering? Assessed your f**k budget? Knight helps us divide all of our f**ks into 4 categories (things, work, friends/acquaintances/strangers and family) and teaches to masterfully implement the NotSorry Method along with what we can learn from those mythical creatures who quite, naturally, don’t give a f**k:
2. The Enlightened
In her book, Knight shares her personal f**k budget which inspired me to come up with my own. It consumed me for 2 solid days as I filled up pages in a notebook of all those things I may or may not give a f**k about. Just remember...my list may contain things you DO care about and that’s ok! I’m sure there are many weeks (most?) you read my blog posts and think, “Jeanmare, I really don’t give a f**k.”
It’s all good.
Though the items listed in my f**k budget may seem unconcerning and irrelevant in the scheme of things, I can assure you they have been carefully considered and do have a direct correlation to time, money and energy, which are, basically, the only hard limits we face each day. Trimming the fat in those areas can free us to do more than we might imagine.
If there is the slightest possibility you might be a “yes” person or it's been way too long since you've snorted while laughing, definitely go straight to Amazon and order this book immediately. Or you can borrow mine. Not only does it guide you to enlightenment and free you of your f**k-giving, but this book is absolutely hilarious!! Laugh-out-loud, downright funny.
Scratch that. I don’t want to build up your expectations. Oh what do I care?
Barahona, here I come!
Hear the author in her own words- uncensored non-symbol swearing because she really does not give a f**k-
Sara Knight's TEDxCoconut Grove.
One of the first things you might notice when you start to eat healthier is your skin and nails. Healthy skin starts from the inside, just like a good personality…you feel me? You’ve got to do some work on the inside to shine bright on the outside.
A plant-based diet provides all the nutrients needed to get glowing skin, nourished, beautiful hair, and healthy nails! To be honest, I really couldn’t care less about my nails. I rarely paint them and cut them girly-short (it’s a thing) because I don’t like the feeling of long nails. But, I am all about that glowing skin and shiny, bouncy hair!!
The only way to achieve healthy skin from the inside is to eat more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and greens. These foods are packed with the vitamins and minerals necessary to create health on the inside and GLOW on the outside. The major play’as in the healthy hair and skin game are Vitamin A, C, and E, and fruits and vegetables are loaded with ‘em, among other healthy foods.
An important fact to consider when trying to clear acne is that a chief factor in breakouts is inflammation. Dairy and meat consumption has been proven to cause inflammation in the body and has a huge impact on acne formation. Dairy is filled with hormones that can wreak havoc on your skin. It is best to avoid these foods completely to achieve optimal health.
So, what are some of the best foods for getting that OUTER GLOW to match your INNER GLOW?
What we eat has a direct impact on our skin and eating a diet of healthy plant foods can dramatically change our skins appearance. These foods have the potential to eliminate acne, remove tired, puffy eyes, reduce the signs of aging, and get you that shiny, bouncy hair that we all covet. Get started to today, your INSIDES and OUTSIDES will thank you!
Peace, Love, Plants,
Initially, we often lose weight easily after switching to a plant-based diet. This is typically due to the natural caloric deficit that is created by eating plant foods in lieu of calorically dense foods such as meat, eggs, dairy and oil. But after a while we might find ourselves leaning too heavily on simple carbs and vegan junk food in an effort to feel normal again.
Or maybe that’s just me.
I’ve been at this weight loss thing for nearly 30 years so believe me when I say, I know what foods I need to eat to be slim. It’s one thing to know what to do….we all know what to do! But if you’re susceptible to overeating and emotional eating, as I am, we often need to look to our behaviors around food and our environment to support the overall efforts of a lifestyle change. To wave that final goodbye- or middle finger- to those last 10 lbs.
I recently participated in Lindsay Nixon’s Slim Team through her Meal Mentor program and while I lost a few more pounds, I also learned a few tips, or heard them in a different way, that helped me turn another corner. I’ve also been fan-girling out on Chef AJ recently after my friend turned me onto her Weight Loss Wednesdays she hosts on Facebook. I’ve been following Chef AJ for years and have enjoyed using many of her recipes overtime, but unbeknownst to me, she has maintained a 50 pound weight loss for 5 years! So, I stand on the shoulders of these two women as I pass on what might be new ways to think about how we eat.
Brian Wansink, PH.D, author of the book Mindless Eating and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, says his research shows we make well over 200 food decisions a day! In this country, we seem to have constant and unending food messages in every direction cueing us to eat. Billboards, television commercials, social media, well meaning relatives and social gatherings, advertisements pasted to the backs of trucks passing us on the interstate and even our very own kitchens are beckoning us to soothe our downtime with food. We are up against many persuaders each and every day, often without knowing it , and making a few modifications and rules for ourselves can help tighten the screws and put us back in the driver's seat on our journey to a healthier weight. Here are a few ideas we can consider:
Bonus Tip: If we are feeling bored with our "healthy" food- if we are eating to be entertained by food- we are probably eating outside the parameters of our true hunger. It can be helpful to consider that when hunger is the problem, then any food will satisfy and taste good. And we can also turn this around when we contemplate eating mindlessly!
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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