I’ve been AWOL for awhile from this blog. It’s a response I seem to have to getting overwhelmed by restrictive diets. I go through resentful, miserable, depressed spells, where all I want to do is eat chocolate and sleep. I usually manage to keep on going, though; my husband may eat a rotation of the same few meals over and over again each week, but we eat.
The great news, though, is that my little experiment with the migraine elimination diet has ended. I’ve tried to go as slowly as the doctor recommended when going back to foods I couldn’t have. But for me, it’s pretty easy; I know from experience that dairy and yeast are my main headache culprits. This diet seems to have pointed to a few other irritants, like egg whites and possibly peanuts and onions. So I will limit my exposure to them, and can go back to eating the rest. All the beautiful bounty of nuts and beans and fruits and veggies. Because this means I no longer have to eat oodles of meat. I have never been a huge meat eater, and I’ve always preferred it as flavored and processed as possible (gross, right?)–sausages, corned meat, pickled, dried, marinated, drowned in sauce…I could go on and on. Basically I don’t like big chunks of unflavored meat, and I am really happy to have all my alternate sources of protein back.
Especially because my husband and I just watched a bunch of documentaries on food and diets, and we are horrified. Have you seen Forks over Knives? Food Matters? Food, Inc? Hungry for Change? Even Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead? They all point to some serious flaws in the current conventional American food system. Dr. Campbell’s studies in the USA and China showing the links between animal product consumption and health problems like cancer were especially convincing.
And so we’ve decided to go plant-based. I’m not saying vegan right now, for the simple reason that we are going into this calmly. Reasonably. The goal is to be positive (eat more fruits and veggies and nuts and whole grains), not negative (don’t eat meat.). By focusing on adding things, we start to notice the many delicious options open to us when we don’t just settle for meat and dairy, and already we can tell you–we feel a lot healthier. Friends who have started this same journey with their families around the same time are noticing dramatic weight loss. I may not have lost weight yet, but when I avoid dairy and meat, I feel better. Happier, more energetic, lighter. No headaches. No brain fog. Just good.
Being gluten free does make what’s essentially a vegan diet a lot more challenging. But it certainly isn’t impossible. Cookbooks like Clean Food by Terry Walters are full of recipes I can eat (a welcome change of pace for me, I can assure you.). and recipes I WANT to eat! I can’t wait to try so many of them! My husband got me a lot of cookbooks for our new way of eating for my birthday this week (My request–don’t worry.) , and last night, for my birthday dinner, we made our first meal from one of the books. It was tasty and healthy and so filling. Even my carnivore brother enjoyed it! So I decided to share this with you, and hopefully, as I continue to try these recipes, I can continue to share them with you. Come enjoy healthy eating with me!
Trinidadian Curried Cauliflower, Potatoes, and Peas from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Neal Barnard, MD
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 habanero or jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 2/3 cup canned tomato puree
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 head cauliflower, separated into florets
- 2 cups fresh or frozen green peas, thawed
“1. Heat broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Put in the onion, garlic, ginger, and hot pepper. Saute for 5-6 minutes. Stir in 3 tbsp water and cook for 3 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato puree, raisins, coriander, cumin, tumeric, cilantro, soy sauce, and sweet potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes.
3. Add the cauliflower, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add peas and cook for 5 additional minutes.
Makes 4 1-cup servings.”
I picked this recipe as my first one from the cookbook not only because it sounded bright and flavorful, but also because I had all the ingredients on hand. Well, OK, it turned out I had to substitute canned tomato chunks for tomato puree. But I had everything else on hand.
My husband helped me chop up all the vegetables. I recommend you get them all chopped BEFORE you start cooking–we didn’t, and we ended up cooking everything much longer than was called for. That was OK, because we had decided to double the recipes, and it took a LOT longer to cook. Probably because, although this recipe sounds small, it takes up a lot of space. A double recipe was almost more than my large stockpot could hold.
We used a jalapeno pepper because that’s what we had on hand. and I had minced ginger in a jar. Next time I want to try it with freshly minced ginger. Otherwise, we followed the recipe exactly.
And we were delighted with the results! If you’re like me, you may want to add a little salt to your serving, as the recipe doesn’t call for any. But this certainly isn’t a bland dish–the spices give the already flavorful vegetables a boost, and the jalapeno adds heat as well as flavor. This is also a very filling dish–we usually both get second servings at meals, but this time we were too full. And we stayed full all night. Thank you, Fiber! Aside from the chopping, this was a very easy dish to make, and since it turned out to taste good as well, it’s a dish we’ll be making again. I am eager to try more recipes in this cookbook, and to share with you as I do. Enjoy!