The Process of Unprocessed Shopping

I know a lot of people who want to make the change to a healthier lifestyle, but just don’t know where to start. Hey, I have been in your shoes. Changing your dietary habits can sometimes feel like changing religion or political parties. And friends and family members will often treat it as such. That’s okay. They may think you’re crazy at first, but as soon as they see your skin glowing, your hair shining, and your eyes twinkling, they may start singing a different tune.

To help take the load off of your transition, I’ve been trying to post more about how we eat and what items we buy. Overall lifestyle post. For those who wonder into their local health food store and feel like they’ve entered a foreign country, these posts are for you. I will be posting our weekly grocery shopping trip to give you a good grasp on just what we consume. We grocery shop at least three times a week, but we typically have one large purchase. That’s what I’ll focus on.

grocery

Total Purchase: $155.01      Store: Sprouts     Location: California

Procude:

  • 3 lb Brussel Sprouts ($5.87)
  • 4 Cantaloupe Melons ($6.00)
  • 2.75 lb Cherries ($8.10)
  • 2 Green Bell Pepper ($1.00)
  • 6 Hass Avocados ($5.28)
  • 6 Limes ($1.20)
  • 2 Packages Organic Alfalfa Sprouts ($3.98)
  • 2 lb Organic Broccoli ($3.17)
  • 1 lb Organic Tomato ($2.42)
  • 3 lb Organic Fuji Apples ($5.99)
  • 1 Organic Red Leaf Lettuce ($1.50)
  • 1 Pack Organic Romaine Hearts ($2.99)
  • 8 lb Organic Bananas ($7.73)
  • 2 Packs Organic Celery Stalks ($3.98)
  • 1 bunch Organic Cilantro (.99)
  • Organic Green Kale (.99)
  • 2.34 lb Red Onion ($2.32)
  • 3.28 lb Yams ($4.23)
  • 4.94 lb Yellow Onion ($2.47)

brussels

Grocery, Can, Bottle

  • `1 can 100% Coconut Water ($1.69)
  • Raw Agave nectar ($6.29)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar ($3.29)
  • Can Tomato Sauce No Salt Added ($1.49)
  • Chile Chipotle ($1.39)
  • Liquid Aminos ($3.99)
  • Braggs Salad Dressing ($4.99)
  • Organic Ketchup ($2.49)
  • Organic Salsa ($2.99)

Soy Products:

  • 2 packages Organic Tempeh ($4.86)
  • Organic Sprouted Tofu ($2.79)

sprouted tofu

Bulk Products:

  • Deglet Pitted Dates ($5.17)
  • Deglet Pitted Dates ($5.31)
  • Rolled Oats ($4.41)
  • Steel cut Oats ($1.99)
  • Whole Raw Almonds ($11.83)

Frozen:

  • Organic Corn Tortillas ($1.79)

You’ll soon see we stick to the same foods and eat seasonally. Meaning, we won’t buy peaches that have traveled halfway around the world during winter. We stick to what is available, and try to get whats on sale. For a family of five, if we cut out the organic food, we live just as cheaply as our meat-eating relatives. We buy fruits that are on sale, dice and freeze them for quick smoothies in the summer. People often associate warm fuzzy comforting feelings with food. This is why we turn to food when were stressed. It’s not the act of eating that is comforting, it’s the act of dining.  Spending an hour around the table having good conversation with the people you love. That’s what comforts us. We can still have that with a plant-based diet. We spend six nights a week gathered around our plant-based meals, listening to each other’s days. Laughing and sharing stories.  The comfort of dining paired with the nourishment from eating plant-based gives us the best of both worlds. Plus that rockin body we’ve always longed for doesn’t hurt either.

 

 

Kiss Me, I’m Plant Based

“I Can Have It, But I Don’t Want It.” 

I have a very frustrating teenage daughter. I love the kid. I do. She’s adorably, annoyingly frustrating. She’s starting her sophomore year this week and I’m bracing myself for yet another year of the battle of the grades. Here’s what typically happens each year for has long as I care to remember.

How many of you have teenagers who do this. When it comes to grades ,she’ll let them slip down to D’s and sometimes F’s (Not all of them, usually math and science) and scramble during the last month of the semester to bring them back up to passing grades (she always manages to bring them back up).

I often propose what seem like common sense questions to her: Why don’t you just keep steady with your good grades throughout the entire quarter? Why do you wait until the last-minute to get your grades where they need to be? Haven’t you learned that it’s so much easier to just stay on top of your grades during the semester and not have to stress about failing? She really doesn’t grasp that when so many F’s and D’s have accumulated against her, it doesn’t matter if she gets one or two A’s at the end. It isn’t enough to makeup for a semester worth of damage. What she ends up doing is gambling with her academic future.

Doesn’t that just sound irritating? Ugh! The trials of parenthood. But you know what irritates me even more than that? Adults do the same thing with their lives. Unless we live a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle we choose to accept D’s and F’s in ‘health class’.  The only difference between that and what my daughter does is we’re gambling with our lives.

Every year we live, is a semester where we either acquired a passing bill of health, or we failed miserably. Every meal is a pass or fail, and there is no grading curve. Every bite takes you one step closer to sickness or health. And the longer we make deposits in the bank of sickness, the harder it is to make a transfer to our health account.

PassFail-Small

We do this for 30, 40, or 50 years. Then the report card comes. We find ourselves with Cancer, Degenerative Diseases, or even a Fatal heart attack. C’s D’s and F’s for a life time of poor eating choices. We scramble, much like my teenage daughter to change our fate before it’s too late. Sometimes she does extra credit, sometimes it’s coming in to make up work on a Saturday, and sometimes it’s praying like heck getting an A on the final will bring her to a passing grade. Sometimes she cries, begs, and barters with teachers,aiming for just enough to get her through until the next year.

We get equally desperate. We cry, beg and barter. Maybe with our doctors, health professionals, and even God. We try chemo (a carcinogen to get rid of cancer? Who thought that up, and more importantly how did they convince us to use it!), radiation (who thought that up and… you see where I’m going), and we cut out important internal organs (who thought…..).

Not so fun fact: Did you know that Doctors receive incentives for prescribing chemo therapy to patients? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay for some Doctor’s tahitian vacation with my health, do you?

hodang

Even at this point it’s not too late to nutritionally save your health. But why wait until it gets this dismal? Why gamble with the most precious and valuable thing you have? Your health. Keep steady with good nutrition during each semester (or phase) of your life and watch how you shine! Don’t be that silly teenager that lives as if her actions will never catch up with her. Make the best choices everyday. There is no makeup test in the game of life. We don’t get held back, we can’t retake a class. We get cancer, we get heart disease, and we get sick. Make choices as if they will impact your health later in life, because that’s exactly what happens. We are not victims of fate or chance. We are active participants in deciding our health destiny. Don’t gamble on ‘good’ genes. Get the A’s all year every year. You’ll never worry about failing again.

It may seem overwhelming to begin a plant-based diet and I often get asked “Where should I start?” So here are my five best tips for leaning into a plant-based diet.

mp

 

1. Educate yourself. 

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘knowledge is power?’ Well, it is. The more you educate yourself about the benefits of a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle to more likely you’ll be to make long-term changes. Without educating yourself your resolve will start to crumble under the first sign of pressure. Read as many books and watch as many documentaries as you can on the subject. Here are a few of our favorites:

Books: Eat to Live, The End of Dieting, Super Immunity, The China Study, The Food Revolution, and Crazy Sexy Diet.

Documentaries: Hungry for Change, Forks Over Knives, and  Fat Sick and Nearly Dead.

2. Have a solid support system.

I’ve heard it be said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Choose wisely. You want to surround yourself with people who support your healthy lifestyle. Misery loves company. People will try their best to derail you, because they wish they could do what you’re doing. Find a buddy who’s willing to make the changes with you. You can share the journey and lean on each other if you feel overwhelmed.

3. Have a pantry overhaul.

If it’s in the house, you’ll eat it. Even if you think you have an iron will of plant-based resolve, keeping tempting food in the house is asking for trouble. I’ve been plant-based for many years. It took about five years to be able to keep a treat in the house without feeling the slightest tug of temptation. Stock your fridge with an abundance of fruits and veggies. Have your pantry overflowing with superseeds, nuts, and beans.

pantry

4. Plan, Plan, Plan ahead.

If you couldn’t tell from the title, planning ahead is key. When hunger sets in and there is nothing on hand, bad decisions happen. If you know you’re going to be out running errands, grab an apple and a handful of nuts before you walk out the door. If you know you’ll be at work late wrapping up a last-minute project bring extra food along to keep you satisfied. Remember fruits and veggies are the original fast food. Prep meals and snacks the night before, boil beans and make chilis over the weekend. Pack five salads on Sunday night in individual Tupperware for easy morning grab and go. Make it a priority to commit 100% of yourself to the new healthy lifestyle.  If you start to feel deprived tell yourself I can have it, I just don’t want it.

shift

 

5. Take it one day at a time.

Isn’t it funny how we never live in the present. We’re either longing for the past, or looking forward to the future. Just think about today. Today I’m going to make the best food choices. Today I’m going to have a fresh, vibrant salad instead of a burger. Today I’m going to grab an apple and peanut butter instead of snuggling up to the company vending machine(which will only lead to heartbreak). Thinking about long-term eating habits can be daunting enough to make you run back with open arms to that comforting bag of potato chips or tub of Ben and Jerry’s. In just a few short weeks you’ll find that a sweet banana date smoothie makes your mouth water. You’ll look forward to foods you never imagined liking. Food will start to smell and taste better. You’ll look better. All of those things will come, in time. Let’s just worry about today.

 

 

 

Double Nut and Seed Moist Peanut Butter Cookies

Double nut cookie

I am addicted to two things and two things only: peanut butter and Game of Thrones. Enjoying these two simultaneously makes for one fantastic day. Hunky-fit has been trying to convince me to watch this show since it aired over three years ago. All it took was one scene showing a man with a blade through his neck and I was out of the room faster than you can say, “When the hell is Joffrey going to die already?”

joffrey

I am going to say this and I am only going to say it once. So pay attention. He. Was. Right. Excuse me while I go rinse the smell of defeat off me. Having only four weeks left until I graduate, I have been cramming day and night: cramming as many Game of Throne episodes into my day as I possibly can. I had a midterm this past Tuesday. Instead of studying, I enjoyed yet another episode of GOT. I knew my grade was going to suffer but I threw my GPA concerns to the wind and indulged.

The midterm was to be taken online during class and we would receive our scores immediately after submitting. I  prayed to the seven gods, (A little GOT humor) crossed my fingers and hit the submit button. 79%. Not too shabby for major loafing. Pleased with my mediocre -deserve what I was getting grade- I exited the classroom to indulge myself in a little conversation with hunky-fit. As I was walking passed the other students still testing I noticed one in particular. The student in question had been using the PowerPoint’s from lecture to search for the correct answers while taking the test. The nerve of that bitch!Joffrey would behead her for such an offense I am sure!  When I got to the door, I turned around before I opened it and looked back at her. She raised her eyes from her computer and looked up at me. She knew that I knew.

Our lives consist of neatly (or not so neatly) stacked blocks made from every choice good or bad that we have ever made. We can place strong stones made of integrity and good choices or weak stones made of deceit and poor choices. I know she was wondering if I was going to tattle to the teacher. The thing about weak foundations is they tend to crumble under their own weight. I will take my 79% and keep my integrity. I do not know if she will take a lap around the karma track for that indiscretion, but it is not my place to judge, nor is it my place to send her to the track.

While she stresses about whether her secret will come out, I will be at home watching Game of Thrones ,munching on delicious double nut and seed peanut butter cookies, C and all.

double nut cookie1

These are not your typical dry peanut butter cookies. These are the most moist, gooey and chewy delicious, wholesome goodness , rich in peanut butter cookies you have ever sank your look at me I’m a carnivore because I have small canine teeth into.

Just a note. I added Buckwheat to this recipe. Buckwheat is actually a seed, not a grain!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 cup date crystals
  • 1/4 cup uncooked buckwheat
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup salted creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup agave or organic maple syrup

Directions: 

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a high-powered blender or food processor add 2 cups raw almonds, 1 cup date crystals, 1/4 cup buckwheat, 1/4 cup quinoa flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend into a fine flour.
  • Pour into mixing bowl and add peanut butter, agave, and water. Mix to combine.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon cookie batter into palm and roll into a ball. Repeat 14 times. With the back of a fork press down cookies. Cook for 17 minutes on top rack.

double nut cookie 2