brown bag monday: food focus tip

brownbagmonday

As I’ve made a major switch in my diet four years ago by choosing to eat a plant-based diet and then tweaking that to reduce my sugar intake a couple years later, I’ve come to appreciate just how closely food is tied to our emotions, memories and sense of community.

Suddenly, many of our go-to foods are off the list and we may need to learn new cooking techniques or try new foods that are foreign to us. Depending on the dietary change, it can be a small or steep learning curve. And if you’re making these changes for health reasons, like discovering a gluten-intolerance  or cancer or heart disease or diabetes, you also may be dealing with emotions and frustrations related to the diagnosis.

So here’s the tip that you can take with you for this brown bag monday:

focus brownbagmonday

Whenever we focus on what we can’t eat…a list that may be quite extensive…it’s easy to become frustrated and even depressed. Focusing on what you can eat frees you up to be creative, to appreciate the variety that is available to you and helps keep your outlook positive.

I learned the value of this tip two years ago when I did the anticandida diet for the first time, especially during the strictest part. By switching my mindset, I was better able to come up with a solid meal plan that didn’t make me feel deprived.

If you’ve had to make a change to your diet, what was the hardest part? If you know you need to make a change and haven’t what is one thing that is holding you back?

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raw rutabaga pizzas (vegan, gluten free, anticandida diet, paleo, raw)

raw rutabaga pizzas The hardest thing about modifying your diet can be figuring out just what the heck your now going to eat. This month, I’ve been following the anti-candida diet which cuts out all sugars and drastically cuts carbs among other things to address the problems that come with a systemic yeast overgrowth.

Since I’m a big fan of hummus which is not ACD-friendly, I needed an alternative for a hearty and satisfying snack. And thankfully I found it in baba ganoush. I also had to switch out raw carrots for the first couple of weeks and replace those with rutabaga – a veggie with strong anti-fungal properties.

I came up with this snack to satisfy my usual carrots + 100_4865hummus cravings. Usually, I’ll just slice it in rounds and pile on the tomatoes, but it can also be down-sized by cutting the rutabaga into smaller circles or fun shapes with cookie cutters. If you do this, just be sure to eat the scraps instead of pitching them because #zerofoodwaste.

 

The baba ganoush recipe is inspired by Minimalist Baker and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve typed “baby” instead of “baba” while writing this post. LOL

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of th raw rutabaga pizzas recipe

raw rutabaga pizzas

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Cool Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

    For the Baba Ganoush

    • 2 medium eggplants
    • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 lemons, juiced
    • 4 T tahini
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • water

    For the rutabaga pizzas

    • 1 fresh rutabega
    • cherry or roma tomatoes
    • fresh basil (optional)

    Instructions

    For the Baba Ganoush:

    Peel and slice the eggplant into disks about ¼’ thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and if desired, drizzle with avocado oil. Bake eggplant in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Cool slightly.

    Place eggplant and remaining baba ganoush ingredients (except the water), in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides a couple of times. Add water to thin if needed.

    Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

    Baba ganoush can be kept in the fridge for several days if stored properly in an airtight jar.

    For the Pizzas:

    Peel rutabaga and slice thinly (about 1/8” ). If desired, use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes for smaller, bite-sized appetizers.*

    Spread baba ganoush on the rutabaga slices and add a piece of basil if desired, plus a slice of tomato.

    Recipe Notes

    *Baba ganoush recipe is inspired by Minimalist Baker

    *If making these into bite-sized appetizers, use cherry tomatoes.

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    tutorial: soaking gluten-free grains

    May is Celiac Awarness Month and today I’m sharing a video on one my favorite gluten-free breakfasts for on-the-road or when I’m following the anti-candida diet.

    As an encouragement to anyone who is making a significant change in their diet, this mix took me several weeks to enjoy the first time I did the anti-candida diet. Sometimes it takes our taste buds a little while to catch up with what we know is right for our bodies, so give it some time to adjust to new flavors or textures before you decide a certain food is just not for you.

    What are you favorite gluten-free breakfast options to take on the road?

     

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    6-ingredient Cauliflower soup (vegan,anti candida, gluten free, paleo) 

    cauliflower soupToday is Day 4 of the full Sugar Detox Challenge. I’m also adding the twist of following the anti-candida diet which you can learn more about here.

    One of the keys to succeeding with any diet change, is preparation. Mental and physical.

    So much of what and how we eat is tied up in our emotions, our memories and our culture that breaking from your traditional diet can be tough. I’ve found the best way to mentally prepare for a diet changhttps://shebloomflourish.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1024&action=edite is praying about it and leaning on God to get me through. But I also put that faith in action by researching recipes and articles…you could say it’s “thought for food.

    To prepare physically, there are several practical steps to take to increase success:

    • Remove the foods that are a source of temptation: This is key if you really struggle with giving into cravings. If it’s not in your cupboards or fridge, it’s not very likely that you’ll run to the store to feed the temptation.
    • Meal planning: Although I always recommend planning meals -including snacks – because it saves time, mental stress and money, this step is especially important when you are following a new diet and dealing with foods that may be unfamiliar to you.
    • Meal prep:This is meal planning’s often overlooked partner and an area I still need to grow in. Meal prepping, especially for snacks that require more than grabbing a handful of something, helps avoid the pitfall of reaching for whatever is most convenient, but not diet-friendly.

    Four days into the anti-candida diet and I’m grateful for taking these steps. The hardest part so far is not reaching for my usual standbys of raisins or carrots and hummus. All healthy, but the higher sugar and carb count counts them out for the strictest part of the anti-candida diet.

    Now on to the cauliflower soup…

    As part of my meal prepping, I made a HUGE pot of this over the weekend, which takes care of my lunches for this week and most of next.

    It’s simple to make but packed with flavor and other goodness that eating cauliflower, onions, garlic and curry bring.

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the cauliflower soup recipe

    cauliflower soup

    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

    Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

    Serves: 6-8

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 heads of cauliflower, chopped
    • 2 onions, diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • ½ tsp curry powder
    • 1 ½ tsp salt
    • dashes of freshly ground pepper

    Instructions

    Saute onions and garlic in a little water in a large stockpot until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

    Add cauliflower and seasonings and add more water until it’s not quite covering the cauliflower.

    Bring to a boil, then simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, about 35-40 minutes.

    Cool slightly and add to a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. You will probably have to do this several times, so make sure you have an extra pot on hand to transfer the blended soup into.

    Recipe Notes

    *Eliminate pepper if following the anti-candida diet

    *Freezes well.

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    Leng’s salad (vegan, gluten-free, peanut free option)

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    As promised, here’s the post I promised which features one of my favorite sauces that pairs well with many dishes. Although the National Day of Peanut Butter may have passed, peanut butter lovers know that any day is a good day to enjoy this nutty legume. (For those with allergies and non-peanut butter lovers, you can sub in almond butter).

    I call this recipe Leng’s Salad in honor of a woman our family got to know a couple of years ago. She and her family were refugees we had the privilege mentoring for a short time. While they’ve since moved away, every time I make this salad, I think of how much they enjoyed it at our home. Given that they’re Asian and this is an Asian inspired recipe, I wasn’t sure if it would fly or flop. But it was a hit. 🙂

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    As with most salads, this is a mix-and-match, add-what-you-like-best free for all. When I want a super quick version, I’m even content with two of these ingredients – usually kale and cabbage. This usually is a crowd pleaser (unless you have a picky crowd or your “crowd” includes humans under the age of “skeptical about most vegetables), so be brave and try it out at your next potluck.

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Leng’s Salad recipe

    Leng’s Salad

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

     

    Ingredients

      For the Salad

      • kale, destemmed, roughly chopped
      • red or green cabbage, roughly sliced or shredded
      • carrots,peeled into strips or shredded*
      • green onions, finely sliced
      • sunflower seeds

      Additional mix-in/combination options:

      • cauliflower, roughly chopped
      • sweet potato fries, diced*
      • rutabaga, diced
      • raw brussel sprouts, finely sliced or shredded
      • brown rice pasta*
      • red pepper, finely sliced

      621 Thai Dressing (makes 5-6 servings)

      • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
      • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
      • 6 tablespoon coconut aminos
      • 5-8 tablespoon almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
      • 6 tablespoons peanut or almond butter

      Instructions

      For the Salad

      Chop all ingredients into bite-sized pieces. If using cabbage, slice thinly. Mix well.

      For the Dressing

      Add all ingredients to a jar and stir or shake until thoroughly mixed. Add more almond milk if needed or for desired consistency.

      Recipe Notes

      I didn’t list quantities with the salad ingredients because salads are so flexible. Just adjust your portions as needed. Generally, one full handful of combined ingredients = 1 side salad portion and two-three handfuls work for a main course salad portion.

      *Omit these options and sub in almond butter in the dressing for the strict portion of the candida diet and/or for a paleo-friendly salad

      I opted to create this dressing recipe using garlic and ginger powered because it’s quick and easy. Most days I would not have the patience to mince the garlic or ginger for the dressing. I recommend using organic powdered ginger or a brand that does not add sulfur.

      You might want to start with adding 5 T of your non-dairy milk to start and then add more until you get the desired pouring consistency. This dressing will thicken as it sits, so you may need to add a little more milk the next day. I’m not sure how another type of non-dairy milk will affect the taste or consistency.

      When I sub in almond butter, I usually use roasted almond butter, either chunky or smooth. Raw almond butter would work too, but it might affect the taste/consistency.

      The dressing keeps well for several days in the fridge. I often will make up a jar and then pour it over my salads all week.

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      marinara sauce for pasta or pizza, oil & sugar free

      100_0929For the longest time I could not bring myself to eat pasta with sauce on it.  Chalk it up to getting the flu after eating spaghetti for dinner. Instead, I requested my spaghetti be served with Italian Salad Dressing.

      Years went by until I worked up the nerve to start eating pasta with a little bit of sauce, but it wasn’t until I went to Venice, Italy as a senior in high school that I finally understood why people love pasta.

      I started making my own sauce a few years ago when I switched to eating vegan and also cutting back on oils (most store bought sauces contain oil and many also contain sugar). The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease book which also inspired my change in diet.

      Since we are a family of six and this sauce freezes well, I make a large quantity. That way, I only need to prepare this about once a month. It makes enough to fill about five large mason jars plus a few smaller jars for pizza sauce.

      When I don’t have tomatoes on hand from my garden, my favorite brand of canned tomatoes are Muir Glen’s organic diced or whole tomatoes because 1. they’re organic and 2. Muir Glen took the BPA out of their can lining. Thankfully, I can buy these in bulk at BJs to save money.

      marinara sauce collage

      CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the marinara sauce recipe

      oil & sugar free marinara sauce for pasta or pizza

      Prep Time: 10-20 minutes

      Cook Time: at least 30 minutes

      Ingredients

      • 2 medium-small onions, diced
      • 15-20 medium-large garlic cloves, minced
      • 5 28-oz. canned tomatoes
      • ½ c. fresh basil
      • 3 tsp. dried oregano
      • 2 tsp. salt
      • Dashes freshly ground black pepper
      • 1-2 6-oz cans tomato paste (optional)

      Instructions

      In a large stock pot, sauté onions and garlic with a little water to prevent the vegetables from sticking.

      Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, blend tomatoes in batches to desired sauce consistency.

      Add blended tomatoes to stock pot along with other ingredients except the tomato paste.

      Simmer at least 30 minutes or longer to let flavors develop.

      For pizza sauce, set aside several cups of the pasta sauce and stir in tomato paste until thoroughly combined. Doing so in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat helps with this process.

      Recipe Notes

      I use Muir Glen’s organic whole or diced tomatoes and blend them to a fairly smooth consistency.

      Garlic is the key to a tasty sauce, but if you’re not a big fan of garlic, start with a slightly smaller quantity.

      This recipe makes a lot and it freezes well. One batch usually yields enough sauce for 3-4 pasta meals plus 3-4 pizzas.

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