Meal Prep Monday: Raw Week 4

My “fully raw February” challenge is almost over…but I’m not done with the raw vegan lifestyle by any means! In my introductory post I said I was planning on going raw til dinnertime, but that actually turned into eating raw all day, every day since February 3 (besides a cooked dinner on Valentine’s Day) and I’ve been loving the results. I feel so light and refreshed after my meals, without any desire for cooked foods or added oil, sugar or salt (aside from a little pink sea salt added into my guacamole and kraut). This is something I want to keep up as long as possible and though I may be experimenting in the next month with high raw dinners (cooked beans with raw veggies), I feel great eating mostly raw and it’s something I’ve found I enjoy more than I thought I would!

Meals for the Week

Breakfast: This is always my most simple meal. Plenty of chia puddings, flax pancakes and I do want to try fruit+buckwheat rawnola someday if I can get out of my breakfast rut.

Lunch: I’m planning on zucchini noodles with raw marinara sauce or pumpkin seed pesto, salads and possibly lettuce wraps, with some fruit on the side.

Pesto zoodles for lunch.

Pesto zoodles for lunch.

Dinner: This is where I like to get creative and actually meal plan. I’ve got raw falafel/hummus/cauliflower tabbouleh on the lineup one night based on these recipes, pumpkin seed & garlic zucchini pasta and maybe a kelp noodle thing if I get to the store to restock them. I also will probably have more jicama chili fries since I have some leftover.

Snacks: Same as usual–snack plates with veggies, fruit and a fat source; protein banana softserve for dessert; chia pudding if I didn’t have it for breakfast.

Lean, green banana softserve packed with raw protein powder and spinach.

Lean, green banana softserve packed with raw protein powder and spinach.

Recipes for the Week

Other than the dinner recipes linked above, I’m planning on making these raw cacao donuts, a raw take on pink lemonade, spicy hot zucchini chips from Going Raw, sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator and probably more raw brownie bites. I had the best batch of them last week, but I forgot exactly what I put in them, so I’ll have to try again!

These look almost too good to be raw!

These look almost too good to be raw!

Source

Groceries for the Week

I’m including some things my dad picked up for me at Sprouts; otherwise, the rest was from Whole Foods and as usual, the produce will last for part or all of the week while other stuff may last through next week or longer.

*= organic

Produce: strawberries, baby spinach*, watermelon, cauliflower*, fry-cut yams, zucchini*, carrots*, avocados, garlic, mint*, bananas, papaya (excited to try this!), blueberries (on sale), lemons, cilantro, parsley, romaine hearts*

A little early for watermelon, but still tasty.

A little early for watermelon, but still tasty.

Bulk Bins: Medjool dates, raw mixed nuts, sprouted walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almond flour, raw cashews, nutritional yeast

Miscellaneous: raisins*, coconut aminos, pitted dates, no-salt-added tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, frozen cherries*, hemp hearts, chia seeds, xylitol mints

As usual, lotsa produce and bulk bin seeds and nuts. My Whole Foods trip cost me about $70, which is a great deal for tons of fresh fruits and veggies. My biggest tip for keeping grocery costs low is shop from the bulk bins. I always get my nuts, seeds and dried fruit from there because I get only what I need and it saves a ton over buying them prepackaged. And I can always try a little bit of something new without worrying about wasting my money!

Have you ever tried papaya? What’s your best tip for saving money at the store?

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Meal Prep Monday: Raw Week 1

Eating raw doesn’t seem feasible to most people (I’ll be discussing that in a post later this week) but I gotta say, a lot of people are interested in seeing what raw foodies eat. After all, on the surface, raw foodism seems restrictive, boring and complicated…but honestly, it’s NONE of those things! With that being said, here’s my plans for my upcoming week eating raw.

Meals for the Week

Breakfast: I plan on rotating between chia pudding, flax pancakes and possibly fruit+buckwheat granola in homemade almond milk. I like to keep things simple for breakfast, with plenty of fruit and healthy fats, usually in the form of almond butter or coconut manna.

Raw flax pancakes topped with Sunwarrior protein sauce, pomegranate and date syrup.

Raw flax pancakes topped with Sunwarrior protein sauce, pomegranate and date syrup.

Lunch: I want to switch this up every single day this week and try at least a few new things. I have a feeling BLT wraps will be back this week, as well as raw macro bowls, giant salads and protein smoothies.

Raw take on the classic macro bowl.

Raw take on the classic macro bowl.

Dinner: This is where my creativity and plenty of bookmarked raw recipes come in. I plan on making the Asian noodle “stir-fry” from my Going Raw book, this fettuccine alfredo, lettuce taco wraps with my raw taco filling and possibly this raw vegan poutine if I can figure out how to make sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator. I’ve got a full week of meals lined up, and since I went fully raw last week, I think I can do it again this week…though I am giving myself the freedom to eat a plant-based cooked dinner if I’m feeling it.

Snacks: Snack plates, chia pudding, banana softserve…all the usual suspects.

I love my random, nutrient-packed snack plates!

I love my random, nutrient-packed snack plates!

Recipes for the Week

Other than the ones linked above, I’m planning on making more coconut bacon, these superfood cups, these sprouted raw buckwheat bars (like rice krispies but better!) and another batch of date syrup.

Groceries for the Week

No pictures this time, but here’s some of what I stocked up on for this week. Note: most of what I bought this week will last for just this week, but a lot of raw food staples (like coconut aminos, raw nut butters, superfood powders, etc.) will last a lot longer, and even though they may be expensive upfront, they’re worth it to keep around in your pantry for future use.

Produce: blackberries (on sale), yams, romaine hearts, spinach/arugula mix, bananas (always bananas!), orange bell pepper, avocados, ginger, cilantro, pineapple (on sale), zucchinis, rainbow carrots

Bulk Bins: dates, dried Turkish figs, raw mixed nuts, raw cashew pieces, hemp seeds, Himalayan pink sea salt, coconut flour

Miscellaneous: nothing this week

What’s always on your grocery list? Do you like to stick with the same things for a certain meal or switch it up? 

Friday Five: Foodie Edition

Thanks for all the helpful words on my last post! It’s hard to deal with well-meaning but unhelpful advice from family and friends, but it’s a good reminder that we have to take those words with a grain of salt and do what’s best for our health.

I wanted to bring back the Friday Five posts again and this week, I’m focusing on some fun food things for all my fellow foodies out there!

1. I found some new Larabar flavors…at Target!

You all know my love for Target and Larabars…so put the two together and it’s a perfect match! I actually generally don’t buy my Larabars from Target since they don’t usually have a huge selection like Whole Foods and Sprouts do. But since they have a lot of New Years resolution health stuff right now, they had some Uber bars on sale for $1 each, including 2 new-to-me flavors! You definitely can’t beat that–and they sound downright delicious too.

Ummmm, yum!

Ummmm, yum!

2. I’m obsessed with making grain-free flatbreads. 

First, it was this flatbread made into grain free stuffing. Then it was my staple socca. Now it’s this focaccia, which happens to be egg-free also! If you think grain free baking is hard, try it without eggs. It’s really fun to experiment with grain-free flours and when something turns out delicious, it’s even better.

3. I’m really craving the produce of spring and summer. 

Winter is hard enough as it is, with plenty of cold days, snow and the general feeling of blah-ness once the holidays are over. At least I didn’t get hit with the crazy cold weather here in Colorado (we’ve been in the 40s and 50s, which I can’t complain too much about) and we get over 300 days of sunshine each year, so my mood stays the same. The one thing I crave (other than warmer weather) is spring and summer produce. I miss all the berries, the watermelon, the peaches and cherries, the asparagus and the artichokes. Winter produce just isn’t cutting it–I’m already sick of squashes and citrus. At least I still have my beloved pomegranate…only 68 days until spring arrives!

I miss having fresh berries for my breakfast!

I miss having fresh berries for my breakfast!

4. I haven’t had peanut flour in over 6 months…and I kinda want it again.

Remember when I was addicted to ordering food from iHerb? Yeah, me neither since the last time I ordered from them was last May! I don’t know what happened, but I guess I got more budget-conscious and my monthly orders stopped happening. I used to eat peanut flour AT LEAST once per day, and I haven’t had it since June. I just miiiiight end up ordering some more with some of my graduation money, but then again, it might all go towards clothes #sorrynotsorry

5. I’m debating going back on the raw foods train.

I actually did this for quite a while last summer and then I stopped once school started back up and fall came and there was less good produce around. I’m not planning on going 100% raw anytime soon, but I’d like to reincorporate more raw foods into my diet. I’m a big fan of eating whole, minimally-processed foods and this just takes it an extra step. This might be more realistic once spring happens, because there will be more produce, and I love loading up my plate with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, but in the meantime, I’m going to be buying more raw things, like nuts/seeds and making my own almond milk and stuff like that. I have a lot more time on my hands now that I’m just looking for a job, so I have tons of time to experiment in the kitchen!

I'm going to be making more recipes from this book.

I’m going to be making more recipes from this book.

Anyone else missing the warm weather produce? What’s a food you haven’t eaten in awhile that you want to start eating again more often?

Why I’m Still a Vegan (Or, the Failed Egg Experiment)

You might be more familiar with posts of the ‘Why I’m No Longer Vegan’, or ‘Why I Eat Meat Now’ variety, and my post may seem obvious to a lot of you who’ve been following my blog since I decided to go vegan just over 2 years ago (I still ate Greek yogurt on occasion for a few months following that post, though).

However, I mentioned in a recent post that I had been experimenting with eggs lately. I bought organic liquid egg whites 2 weeks ago and local, free range whole eggs this past weekend. I used both in a few recipes, namely some coconut flour flatbread and some chocolate protein pancakes, as well as some failed experiments like plantain donuts. I liked the way the eggs worked with coconut flour (it’s a finicky flour, and doesn’t always hold together well with vegan egg replacers) but that was where the benefits ended. For starters, I wasn’t fond of the taste or texture of either the egg whites or the whole eggs in things. They made everything so moist (I prefer things like pancakes and breads dry), and I could definitely detect an eggy aftertaste, even with the whole eggs. I wanted to like the local eggs, because I like how the hens were raised and the fact that these were produced near me, but I just didn’t. To be fair, the whole eggs did taste more mild and less eggy than the whites, but they didn’t make the texture of things any better. More than that, though, my body rejected the eggs. Ever since I reintroduced eggs (somewhat when I bought paleo bread 3 weeks ago–made with egg whites–but more so when I used the egg whites/eggs), my acne’s been flaring up, without any other changes to my diet or facial routine. My usual tea tree oil remedy hasn’t been helping at all, and it’s been hurting my self-esteem to have this awful acne, especially in places where I rarely get it, like on my cheeks and chin. And, I noticed after I had the protein pancakes made with a whole egg that my stomach was really off. Total TMI, but I had bathroom issues and gas for a lot of the afternoon after eating it. Also, my energy’s been lower than usual since I reintroduced eggs. I haven’t even been eating a lot of them, probably 1 per day at most, but it’s just thrown off my energy levels, my digestive system and my facial oil production.

Cute lil egg. Didn't work for me though.

Cute lil egg. Didn’t work for me though.

Let me be honest, I really wanted eggs to work for me. I know that eggs are basically a superfood, with all sorts of health benefits, not to mention a great source of vegetarian protein. I’ve literally never been a fan of eggs since I was little–I always hated the texture and taste–so I rarely ate eggs growing up, aside from when they were baked into desserts. I wanted to try them again to see if my tastebuds had changed, and I was excited to experiment with recipes I’ve never been able to try because they rely on eggs. However, I think my body is telling me that it does NOT want me eating eggs, and I need to respect that. I think it’s very possible that I developed an intolerance or sensitivity to eggs, since it’s been so long since I’ve consumed them in any form, let alone as the main component of a dish.

These looked and smelled good, but they didn't taste great...or make me feel great.

These looked and smelled good, but they didn’t taste great…or make me feel great.

So what does the failed egg experiment mean for me? It means I’m returning to veganism. Veganism for me does mean consuming raw honey on occasion, but other than that, I’m 100% plant based. I want to go back to eating more fresh produce (I still do that, but I want to keep it up), mostly beans and legumes for protein along with raw protein powders and sticking with a high raw approach to veganism (with plenty of raw fats from avocados/coconut/nuts). I was following this for most of the summer, and I had so much energy, my skin was clear and my digestion was great for the most part. I’m a true believer in different things working for different people, and I want to make it clear that just because eggs didn’t work for me doesn’t mean they aren’t a beneficial food. If you like eggs, and they make you feel good, more power to ya. I think my body just wants to stick with a vegan diet for now, and I’m choosing to listen to that!

I'm going back to eating more of this, and less of what doesn't agree with my body (recipe to come soon).

I’m going back to eating more of this, and less of what doesn’t agree with my body (recipe to come soon).

I also want to mention that I’m not using this failed experiment as a way to be restrictive. I’ve finally moved away from calorie/macro counting, I’ve been actively trying to eat more to fuel my daily workouts and busy school schedule, and I’ve been getting better about not being so rigid with my eating routine. I’ve also been feeling less guilt over missed workouts, and going out to eat. My family’s coming up to visit me this weekend, and I know we’ll be eating out a couple times. I’m actually really looking forward to it, because I’ve missed my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants and it’ll be nice to get a break from cooking for myself. Basically, going back to veganism doesn’t mean I’m being stricter, it’s just me listening to my body’s cues!

Have you ever experienced negative effects from eating a certain food?