As for the vegan thing ... let me explain. I didn't start all of this with any intentions of becoming a vegan, nor am I at all sure that I want to make that a goal. That being said, I realized that a lot of the recipes and foods I am drawn to right now do fit into the vegan lifestyle. I have been reading about the health benefits and my interest is definitely peaked. I was a vegetarian for a year before my doctor encouraged me to add meat back into my diet to get enough nutrients. I think I can figure out how to do that now without meat, and I could give it up again. As for milk, I love almond and soy milk, so I think I could give up cow's milk without much effort. But, then we get to the cheeeeeese. I love cheese... hard cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese ... I could go on and on, but then I would start to sound like that guy from Forest Gump. After eating that amazing cashew cheese on my sandwich at lunch the other day (see previous post), I actually caught myself beginning to entertain the idea of giving up real cheese. It almost feels like blasphemy to even say that. I grew up in a house full of cheese lovers and have always happily fit in. Give up cheese? It still sounds ridiculous to even say it aloud. Like I said, I am not tied to this at this point, but my feelers are out and I am ready to explore a bit. So, for now, I think I am going to try to just go vegan for one day a week and see how that goes. I'd love to hear about any of you who have entertained the vegan idea or who are fully vegan at this point!
So, I started the day with a peach, banana, kale, and almond milk smoothie. I think I am getting addicted to these. I keep trying to add more greens and less fruit as I go, making them healthier and healthier. YUM. I did a little research on green smoothies and feel I need to share this little fact. Nutritionists and doctors recommend that you rotate your greens if you are a regular green smoothie drinker. Tracy Russell from www.incrediblesmoothies.com gives two main reasons for rotating your greens. First, rotating your greens promotes nutritional diversity. Different greens have different nutrients, vitamins, and phytonutrients. Switching them up ensures you get all kinds of good stuff! The second reason is the most important. All greens contain small amounts of toxins as a defense mechanism to protect the plants from predation. Eating only one type of greens in large amounts all of the time can lead to a build up of these toxins in your system and cause adverse effects. So, you just need to mix up which greens you use. Ms. Russell suggests rotating between the families of greens as shown below. Please see the Incredible Smoothies Website for more information.
I ate my favorite salad for lunch - spinach with blueberries, strawberries, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. I planned out my meals for the remainder of the week and hit the Fresh Market to do my grocery shopping. I do love that place. It is a little hard on the wallet, but it seems so worth it. I am working on ways to save money there, but truly, it is not much more than my old grocery bills full of junk were.
One of the things I decided to try this week was homemade cashew cheese. Trust me, you will want to read this and try this recipe adapted from www.mylifeinapyramid.com.
- 3 cups raw cashews (yes, this means unsalted and not roasted)
- 1/2 cup filtered water (use your Brita or water out of the fridge door if you have a filter)
- You will also need additional filtered water to soak the cashews
- 4 tablespoons dry white wine
- 4-5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 whole lemon)
- 4-6 cloves of garlic (I use 6 because I am a garlic addict)
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or more or less to taste)
- 1-2 teaspoons cracked black pepper (or more or less to taste)
- 4 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
5. Refrigerate over night to thicken the mixture and allow all the flavors to come out.
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- ½ large tomato, chopped
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 cup greens (I used more like 2-3)
- 10 leaves fresh basil
- ½ large avocado, chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp white miso
- ¼ tsp salt
- Dash of cayenne
- 1 ½ cups water