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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Packaged Food Crutch

While I have thoroughly enjoyed my recent binge with all types of vegan comfort & convenience foods (tofu, tempeh, macaroni & teese, daiya, gardein, pre-packaged veggie burgers, bagels with tofutti - actually anything with tofutti!!) my body has not.  The past few days I have been sluggish so I started thinking about what I have been eating.  I realized that while these things tasted good and reminded me of delicious foods I haven't eaten in a while, they are also the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve when I started eating vegan a few months ago.  I did this because I wanted to feel healthier!  For me, eating fake cheese & meat was a fast track to feeling worse.  Instead of beating myself up about it, I'll call those packaged foods training wheels.  They helped me get on my way while I removed all things meat & dairy related from my diet.  
Here's my (new & improved) philosophy on packaged foods-

Don't Eat It If:
1. It has an insane amount of ingredients (I like to shoot for a max of 5)
2. You can't pronounce or don't recognize some of the ingredients - the last time I checked ethoxylated diglycerides don't grow on trees- don't freaking eat it.
3. It contains high fructose corn syrup, even if the commercials promise it's ok... it's not.
4. It contains isolated soy protein - this causes a whole mess of problems with digestion, hormonal imbalances & reproduction, not a good scene.

Ideally I'd like to not eat any packaged foods or at least consume them rarely.  If you want to be a superstar you should concentrate on eating only whole foods.  It seems like these buzz words are everywhere and they may even bring other ones to mind - like organic, locally grown, all natural, pesticide free... but the definition of a whole food is way simpler than that.  A whole food is exactly that - the food as a whole.  It's the difference between an orange and orange juice, a baked potato and french fries, an apple and apple sauce.  It's best to eat something in it's natural state, or the way it was "born" for lack of a better word.   

Here's a quick dinner I whipped up last night (after making vegan Bailey's in preparation for my cousin's St. Patty's day Bachelorette party!!) Since I haven't gone food shopping all week I needed to wing it, so next time hopefully no canned products :)

Spinach & Artichoke Quinoa


  • 1 C uncooked quinoa
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • 1 TBSP safflower oil (for sautéing) 
  • 2 minced/pressed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 C sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (I used a can since I have never prepared artichoke hearts before and I don't know how to!)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Start prepping your quinoa - bring broth to a boil, add quinoa - lower to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes 
  • While your quinoa is cooking pour safflower oil in a large pan over medium/high heat
  • Add garlic cloves and cook them for about 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn
  • Add artichoke hearts make sure you drain them well if using canned!
  • Break up artichokes with a wooden spoon and let them brown up with the garlic for about 5-8 minutes
  • Chop up your sun dried tomatoes and add them to the pan for another 5 minutes 
  • When your quinoa is done add it to the pan as well
  • Turn off the heat or down very low 
  • Add raw baby spinach and cover for 2-3 minutes to wilt it down a little without completely shriveling it up
  • Mix together and voila!
The flavors together tasted yummy and there was no faux cheese or meat in sight - score!

Happy St. Patty's Day Friends!!!

Peas & Love

1 comment:

  1. I am going to try this one for sure! Love quinoa!(and I completely agree about packaged foods! Good luck :) )