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Monday, December 22, 2014

Greek Chickpea Soup (Revithia)

This marks the 42nd month that the Recipe Redux has been in existence, which calls for a special theme. For all December participants, the recipe in question can be from any cookbook of our choosing! But here's the catch- in honor of the anniversary, it must be from either page 42 or 142.
Sounds like an easy task, right?
Not so much (for me, at least). 

I obviously know my way around a kitchen... or at least pretend like I do. And my mom is an ex-culinary school attendee. You would think there would be plenty of options (read: cookbooks) to choose from.

But alas, nothing was working out. Several cookbooks had no recipes on the pages I needed. And many, many more had not-so-vegan-friendly concoctions.

I'm all for a good ol' fashioned "veganize this" challenge, but there are some  that even I am not willing to tackle. Cream cheese & shrimp mold? No thanks. Pickled pigeons? Um... what?
I finally decided on a quite simple, naturally plant-based recipe from Marin's Greek Cookery. What better way to rep my heritage?

The original formula was pretty basic but I spiced it up with some extra mediterranean-inspired ingredients. The end result was a light & tangy soup that is great for chilly, winter nights. I may even remake it for Christmas Eve.
Here's the recipe after I altered it a little bit. If you have the ingredients ready to go, it is very uninvolved. Perfect for a busy night where you have to whip up something nourishing in a hurry. 
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!

  • 16 oz. cooked chickpeas
  • 16 oz. diced tomatoes 
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced black olives
  • 6 grape leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp. date molasses
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Combine all ingredients in saucepan
  • Simmer on medium-high heat for about 30-40 minutes, then serve!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday- Intuitive Eating

I hate to admit it, but I've been experiencing some health concerns lately. They are namely regarding weak digestion, skin issues, and lethargy. 
I have been so, so frustrated and have even questioned veganism very briefly. My diet is primarily an ethical choice, but the alleged health benefits are a big bonus. It's really discouraging to feel like I'm "doing everything right" without any payoff.
Yoga pants, thick socks, and my fave cat tee are the comfort staples I need to push me through this rough patch
But don't you worry your gorgeous/handsome face- I'm not about to become one of those ex-vegans that you keep reading about. I suspect that my eating disorder has more to do with my symptoms than anything.

Although I am no longer restricting, I am by no means a "normal eater". It is still hard for me to know my body's cues. I still avoid certain ingredients and I'm overly concerned with getting enough food variety each day. Additionally, I assume I am still combatting the effects of past disordered behavior. 

Considering I subjected my body to years of abuse, I cannot expect an overnight recovery. 

At the beginning of this school semester, I made a vow to be more intuitive in my eating (and exercise habits- a post for another time) in the hopes that I would suddenly become this ordinary, disorder-free person. Obviously, that did not happen. But, things have steadily been getting better.

I am much more comfortable now with eating what I want, when I want it.
My meals still tend to follow some sort of pattern, but it's fine by me if they don't! (Which, if you know my history, is a pretty BFD). 

I'm new to this whole WIAW thing, but I figured participating was a good way to share some examples of my current food philosoph- so here goes!

One change I decided to make for the sake of my digestion was bigger breakfasts and smaller dinners.
I had been eating very lightly in the morning (no appetite) and stuffing myself at night to make up for the lost calories. Going to sleep overly-full and bloated is never fun, my friends.
Smashed avo + Bragg's liquid aminos + pepper on Ezekiel bread, with fruit
I still enjoy to start the day with something light (typically some water-rich fruit), but I add extras with more substance. My breakfasts now include more grains, fats, and overall calories. 
HUGE bowl of fruit salad with lemon soy yogurt + PB + cinnamon
Speculoos Pumkin Pie (OMG!)
Dessert has also been making it's rounds at the breakfast table lately, because why the hell not?
The lovely creation above (from Easy as Vegan Pie) and my own Pumpkin Bread Pudding (which freezes quite well) have been two recent favorites.

Lunches are typically on the lighter side, but salads make an appearance far less than they used to. 
Romain, corn, LOTS o' guac, raw sauerkraut, dulse granules
I was advised against eating too many raw foods (Chinese medicine, yo) BUT when I do eat raw, I make sure it contains plenty of healthy fats and probiotics to support digestion.
Carrots + guac, apples + raw raspberry chia jam, the best stuffed cabbage I've ever had
 Another piece of wisdom is to include something warm with your raw, such as cooked food or tea.
Warm, garlicky kale salad + Whole Foods tofu scramble + homemade GF bread 
Dinners vary, but are now always hot and super comforting. When planning night-time meals, I am especially cognizant of 1) picking foods I am drawn to that will 2) comfort my brain and my tum.

 I'm also not afraid to take seconds (or thirds) if that's what my body is asking for.
Peas, squash, carrots, cauli, green bean casserole, mashed taters, & brussels
It happened on Thanksgiving...
potates + gravy, sweet potates, sauteed broccoli/cabbage, green beans, kale salad, GF bread + buttery spread (that rhymes!), boxed vino (classy, I know)
and more recently, at Friendsgiving. #sogratefulmyroommatescookveganandglutenfree

In addition to what you see above, I've been eating much more. No vegan cookie, brownie, eggnog, or muffin is off-limits. But what I love even more than all the sweets is potatoes and hummus.

Seriously you guys, TRY ASAP! I am obsessed. 

I won't lie and say that intuitive eating is easy- in fact, it brings up anxieties and discomforts for me somewhat regularly. However, it also makes me feel better (mentally)...

Because life is too short to stuff bland vegetables down my throat, or to refuse vegan treats, or to cancel plans out with friends in order to avoid restaurant food. All of that planning and controlling causes stress. And you know what? I've found that LESS STRESS has been key in aiding my symptoms.

Over the past week or so, I have noticed some of my ailments start to regress, with the help of acupuncture, a recent move to a less-stressful environment, and the shift in my eating habits.

I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing, with my fingers crossed that things keep changing for the better.

How do you deal with food anxieties and intuitive eating? Any tips, insights, or suggestions are greatly appreciated!


*This post has been linked up with Peas & Crayons WIAW.