my clean(ish) food journey continues (with recipes!)

I haven’t posted in too long. I haven’t slept more than 3 consecutive hours in too long too. There is a correlation there; I’m sure.

So what am I eating these days? Lots of people wonder what I DO eat when they find out that I’m not eating gluten, dairy, or meat.

I am eating whole plant-based foods as the majority of my diet. This means that I consume LOTS of vegetables and fruits. So much that the check out people at the grocery store pretty much cringe when they see me in their line…what with all those PLUs they need to consult from that plastic binder and all that.

So, I eat all plants. I guess some would call that a vegan. Though, I eat honey. So, no dice on the vegan title. Also, the label “vegan” conjures up a lot more conceptually than just dietary habits in my opinion. So, I think I will just say that I eat food made from plants.

Taco Tuesday is a standing thing in our family now. We use tempeh instead of meat and then change up the toppings week by week to keep it interesting. Last week I made tofu sour cream and vegan melty white cheeze; this week I made black bean and corn salsa.

I never feel deprived; in fact, I think because my body is getting everything it needs, I feel really great. For example, I’m the only one in our little family who somehow didn’t get terribly sick this past month. Also, I’m averaging about 5 hours of broken sleep a night and feeling fine. Go team plant foods!

Some upcoming new changes in our family dietary habits are that Senya will now be consuming only milk and eggs obtained straight from a local, small farm.  It’s called Summer Kitchen Farms, and they sell raw milk and eggs and all kinds of non vegetarian food, too. She seems healthier already, and I don’t have guilty conscience about contributing to all those dead baby boy chicks.

The modifications that have kept me from feeling deprived and abandoning the wagon for fluffy loaves of white bread or dollops of cream or whatever it is I crave when feeling too restricted…are as follows:


  • coffee every morning
  • one or two (alcoholic but gluten free) drinks one or two nights a week
  • incorporating a few gluten free, dairy free items that substitute for their wheat or non-vegan counterparts (gluten free tortillas on taco Tuesday, making things from tofu that satisfy that need for creaminess)
  • having treats that meet the criteria (I made a pumpkin pie last week,  chocolate pudding, and raw chocolate truffles over the past month or so).


Tips from my journey so far:

Variety is KEY. If I get bored eating the same thing again and again (I was in a protein shake rut for a while) then I’m going to feel restricted and freak out. I love trying new foods from the produce aisle.

Finding new recipes and learning how to use new foods or create new foods from scratch has been both helpful (so I know what to do with those new thing I just bought from the produce aisle) and fun.

Staying stocked is crucial. If I open my fridge and see an assortment of fruits and vegetables or snacks/meals that meet my dietary criteria, I’m going to more often than not satiate that hunger AND that appetite with healthful foods. If I don’t have options, I’m going to go into survival/freak out mode and eat whatever is easy or tasty and available (cereal, snack foods, etc).

Reading about the healing and nutritional properties of foods has kept me informed and interested in what I’m putting into my body. Raising my awareness about food makes it so that I am mindful more often about my food choices.

Do what you can. Don’t stress if it feels like not much. Just keep trying and be patient with yourself. 


Here are a few excerpts from my food life (aka: recipes):


Caramelized Fennel

Take anywhere from 1-4 fennel bulbs, trim off the fronds (save a few for flavoring) and trim of a little of the bottom part. Discard or trim off any less than perfect part of the bulb.

Quarter the fennel bulbs.

Take anywhere from 1-4 Tbs of extra virgin coconut oil and heat in a big pot.

Braise fennel bulbs on medium high heat until a little golden or brown. Then cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium low or low (depending on whether you can attend to it at all or not…mine stays on low because I have little pals who wouldn’t love it if I stirred a pot for 45 minutes straight). Stir whenever you remember over the course of anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes (longer will result in a softer bulb…I prefer mine super soft but they’re good with a little more tug and crunch too).

Either eat solo with a few of the feathery fennel fronds for flavor or serve over brown rice or quinoa or something. Delicious.


The Best Frozen Margarita Ever in the Whole, Wide World

Here’s one of those aforementioned modifications, and it is amazing. Hitherto I’ve always thought of myself as a shaken drink kinda girl when it comes to cocktails (and typically have only really gone for quality red wine or microbrew beer) but upon ownership of a vitamix, we decided to try our hand at a few homemade frozen cocktails.

The limeade is the only part that takes a bit of work, but if you like perfection it’s worth it. (Tip: we make the limemade base in a large quantity and then keep it frozen in our fridge for future use. If you have the limemade base ready, then the prep is a snap).


Limeade Base:

2 1/2 cups of filtered water

1 1/4 cups of fine raw cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

1 1/4 cups fresh (don’t skimp here; fresh is best) lime juice

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. If you’ve got time, let it cool. If you’re making the drink all at once, don’t worry about it. Add lime zest and juice and pour into a jar. Keeps in fridge for 3 days; keeps in freezer for a few weeks at least).

Frozen Margarita

12 ounces of limeade base (if you made it previously and froze it, you’re in luck. Use it in as much of a frozen state as you can. If it’s not frozen, no problem. Just use it as is.).

2/3 cup silver tequila (Milagro is the brand of choice for us. Personally, I like it better than Patron).

1/2 cup Grand Marnier

3 cups ice cubes

limes for garnish if you’re into that sort of thing

salt for the rim if that tickles your fancy

If you have a strong and powerful blender such as the vita mix, then throw everything in there and blend until it looks almost frothy. I always think, “shoot, I blended it too long because it looks melty,” but it never is.

If you have another kind of blender, I’m guessing it’s the same dealo. You may need to work it in several batches to get the ice super smooth. I’m not sure. I can only guarantee perfection with a vitamix.


Lentil Paté

1 cup lentils (we prefer red, but you can use brown or green)

2 cups of filtered water

1 cup walnut pieces

olive oil

1-2 onion(s)


1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/8 teaspoon red pepper

juice of 1/2 a lemon


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse the lentils and place them and the 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and cook for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast walnut pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the oven for 12 minutes.

Sauté onions in olive oil until translucent. Press one or more garlic cloves and add that. Sauté for another minute or two.

Place everything in a vitamix or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add olive oil if needed to make it a nice, smooth consistency. It should be thick, though.


Eat as you would a dip or spread.





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