Meatless Monday -Carnivores Attempting Vegan, Purple Carrot Review

I’m actually a foodetarian, I don’t believe in vilifying foods or omitting food groups completely, I do believe in a diet with a wide variety of foods, and I believe in moderation. By foodetarian I mean real food, food that rots! Not processed, artificial ingredients, filler crap, but food, real food! I also recognize that eating more whole food, plant based foods can have a significant positive impact on our health, but I didn’t want to stick to salads and rice. Even Carnivores can add more plant based foods to their diet! In my search for healthy, filling, whole food plant based recipes I found a few really great sources:

and of course – Purple Carrot. Purple Carrot is a 100% plant based meal delivery service.

We decided to give Purple Carrot a try, It gave us the ingredients we needed, new recipes and cooking styles, and experience stepping out beyond the basics of fruits and vegetables. Here is how it is going: an overall review and review per recipe.

Overall Review:

Cost – $72 a week for 2 people/3 meals which comes out to $12 a meal. Not Bad.

Would I be able to buy these things for less? Probably, but one of our problems we have is produce we let go bad before we can eat, which then ups our cost through waste. Plus, they provide the exact amounts which is helpful with items I would not normally buy.

Taste – So far these dishes have been delicious, even my meat and cheese loving man has made delicious yummy noises and with great incredulity declared them to be “really good”. Because we were unfamiliar with eating some of the items, like tofu, each meal has been a bit of an adventure, but a fun and delicious one.

Environment – My husband is an Environmental Geologist and Consultant and we are Shaklee distributors, both of which mean the impact we make on the environment and landfills is important to us. We believe we are meant to be good stewards of our earth. That said, my biggest complaint is probably the amount of waste in each box.

Per Purple Carrot “We strive to find and implement the most eco-friendly insulation and liners possible for our meal kits!During the summer months, you may see a few variations of liners, one of which is made from recycled denim. To recycle, separate the plastic casing from the inner lining. The non-woven, enhanced cotton insulation material can be recycled at any facility that accepts cotton fiber, and the outer film can be recycled as a #4 plastic”.

Some of this depends on your municipality. For people in the greensboro area I recommend the app GSO Collects. To learn more email Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor at tori.carle@greensboro-nc.gov. Side note; we republish Tori’s awesome blog filled with environmentally friendly tips and ideas. It can be found in the Forum, under The Environment, check it out.

Each item comes in a small plastic/cellophane bag, and there are several small plastic containers, which appear to be recyclable. I have been cleaning them to reuse them. There is a large plastic bag, ice pack, the padding insulation, and a cardboard box. I realize that all meal services struggle with this issue, but it is likely to be a deal killer for us.

PS – Plug for Pampered Chef, the Food Chopper, Salad Chopper, and the Simple Slicer get used every recipe!

Ease – The recipes vary in difficulty level, but are pretty simple. I love to cook and cook some very complicated dishes, but discovered that some things I’ve avoided are pretty easy like pickling items.

Other – Pay attention to the notes, some items are packaged in one bag, but are for two or more recipes, which is great from a landfill perspective, but you have to make sure to split the amount between recipes.

We had one avocado that was nowhere near ripe, nor was it ripe a week later, so we made our dish without it. We also had one recipe left out the garlic, but I had some on hand. These are pretty minor issues, and likely to happen with any service.

Summary – We have truly enjoyed this experience, the recipes, the ease, the reduced trips to the grocery store and the flavors. Our only concern is the amount of waste. We will give this a few more weeks to see, but I’m afraid the waste will cause us to stop using Purple Carrot. They are aware and working on it too, which helps. We have learned to try new foods, new cooking methods, and have discovered we can be satiated and delighted without meat. If you are considering increasing the amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes I recommend giving Purple Carrot a try. It is a great choice for Vegans and Vegetarians, but also a great way for carnivours to get a few more whole food, plant based foods into their diet.

We will still eat meat, but we are now down to red meat and chicken only one day a week each, fish 2 days and the rest vegetarian and vegan, and crazy thing….we like it! 2 Carnivores can do vegan! – At least part of the time.

Dishes we have tried so far:

Vietnamese Tofu Bowl – This was very good and filling, I admit, this was the recipe I expect my husband to balk at and I made seared tuna as a back up. But, he loved it and we saved the tuna for another meal.

It was easy to use and the way the tofu was cooked took care of my isssue, which is the feel of tofu in my mouth. This almost felt meaty in my mouth. This will be a repeat!

Kimchi Quesadillas – I wasn’t too sure about this dish. Kimchi is something that can be a little overwhelming and I was afraid it would rule the dish. It didn’t, the black beans worked nicely with it giving this dish a nice overall flavor. It can be tempting to leave out parts you think you may not like, but encourage you to resist the temptation. The flavors blend well together and each dish should be made with all components.

To call this dish a quesadilla is a stretch, if not an outright misnomer. The ingredients include a tiny packet of soy cheese that is to be split between the “quesadillas”. I mean tiny! The recipe says 1/4 cup, but I think that is a generous description. Because I’m easing my husband into the vegan and vegetarian foods Used actual cheese and 1/4 cup for one quesadilla just for him. I was able to make 3 quesadillas with the ingredients and used some extra tortillas I had on hand to make this work. I have to give him his props, he tired the vegan one first and really liked it! So, quesadilly…meh…bean & kimchi burrito? Maybe. Good – YES!

Superfood Bowl – I really like this dish, but it is a different palate of flavors, more umami or a blend of salty and umami with touches of sweet. It is packed with protein and very filling. I encourage you to give this a try and be open minded.

Tortilla Soup – This was the first dish we tried and I was skeptical. I was tempted to use chicken broth, but I was steadfast to my goal and wanted to have the full Purple Carrot and WFPB experience, so I resisted. Verdict – OMG, this is soooooo goood!!! We will have this often! It was easy to use, but you will need a blender or stick blender. This was the recipe that had the hardest avocado I’ve ever seen and I was a little disappointed to eat the soup without it, but even so -YUUMMMM!

Socca Pizza – Remember I said to give things a chance? This is one of those times. This recipe is an interesting blend of ingredients and flavors and has a wonderful taste when combined. The sweet pear balance the savory crust and toppings very well. It was a very happy meal and yet again husband approved!

#environment #vegan #vegetarian #pamperedcheff #review #mealservice #delivery #mealdelivery #wholefoodplantbased #wfpb #hairybikers #meatlessmonday #purplecarrot #theminimalistbaker

Making It Through The Holidays

When we are trying to be healthy the holidays can feel overwhelming, so many office parties, snacks, family meals etc. It doesn’t have to de-rail your plans.

Quick Tips:

  • Enjoy the sweets and snacks that come your way, just choose wisely, eat mindfully, and use wisdom and moderation
  • When faced with nerve racking events remember to take a minute to find a place of calm inside, make a decision ahead of time to avoid emotional eating, breathe and look for the positives
  • Plan ahead for big meals, ask yourself what things you think will be there and what you would like to splurge on – treat yourself, then fill in with healthier options.
  • NO GUILT! Shaming yourself, eating in guilt, and berating yourself does not help your overall wellness. Remind yourself that you are on a lifestyle of health adventure and that includes special meals and holidays where you treat yourself guilt free. This doesn’t mean go wild, but give yourself a break.
  • Gratitude is a huge part of wellness, remember to be thankful.
  • Just have fun.

#holidays #behealthy #health #fun

Sunday Splurges & Fridge Dump Dishes

We eat pretty well all week long, but Sunday is Sunday Splurge Day a.k.a “cheat” day and a good day to empty out the leftovers. A friend of mine introduced me to the idea a long time ago and a few of us share a Pinterest board with ways to bring the other down with really rich, decadent foods!! (Insert maniacal laughter here). One of the advantages of having a day where you don’t worry about diet/what you eat is to help you not feel so deprived. Do your best for 6 days and eat what you want for the 7th and do it guilt free. WAIT! This doesn’t mean gorge yourself, just don’t worry about your choices as much. Enjoy! No shame! Shame and guilt can keep us in vicious cycles of self destruction, let it go!

Is this a trick? Yes….The truth is that the more accustomed you become to eating healthy meals the more your body craves it. Healthy eating is eating in moderation, eating a variety of wholesome foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, (fish, lean meat if not a Vegetarian of Vegan), and being mindful and wise about your choices. You will find that cheating isn’t as yummy as it used to be and “decadent” starts to mean something else. Like lusting after a bowlful of delicious berries and turning down the banana split!

While we learn to eat better because we start eating better, sometimes you still like the ooey gooey foods, and thats ok. Treat yourself and enjoy.

What is a Treat?

I can’t tell you if something is a treat, it’s different for everyone. For example, if you eat ice cream every night before going to bed and decide to change this, than a treat may be a bowl every couple of nights, than maybe once a week, and later maybe once a month. Defining a treat is up to you and the frequency changes with your lifestyle. Just be honest and remember to take your time, savor the flavors, slow down and enjoy; treats aren’t treats if we don’t experience them.

What’s for Dinner in the Burbach house this week? A Fridge Dump Dish!

A couple of weeks ago our Sunday Splurge was crackers served with cheese dip while at a Blues concert:

4 ounces cream cheese

8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese

4 ounces grated Pepper Jack cheese

2 Tablespoons Spinach and Herb mix from Tastefully Simple

1 Tablespoon Fiesta Party Seasoning from Tastefully Simple

Blend in the food processor and add

Equal Parts Mayo and Sour cream until the consistency you like. 1-1/2 cup total

Another night we had Chili from The Pioneer Woman. I often alter recipes to make them more healthy and if it’s a Sunday Splurge sometimes I don’t. These flavors work nicely with your favorite vegetarian chili base (I like lentils and bulgar).

These items were in our fridge and still good- DO check this when make creative meals from leftovers; when in doubt, through it out! Then make Fridge Dump Dishes.

Leftovers:

1 Cup chili, 1 1/2 cups cheese dip, 2 half bags of tortilla chips

Sounds like Nacho Night!!

Cheese Sauce:

Add 2 tsps of olive oil to a sauce pan and heat it up then stir in 2 Tbsp flour. Mix until smooth and gradually pour in 1-2 cups milk, stir as you ago and allow to thicken. Then add the leftover cheese dip and allow to fully melt. Stir constantly and watch the heat. Because my grated cheeses already had cream cheese in it (low fat), it melted nicely and was smooth.

Nacho Topping

1 cup chili

1 can beans of choice, rinsed

Heat together until warmed through. Then layer the beans and chili over the chips and top with cheese sauce and your favorite nacho toppings.

It’s one meal all week long where you just splurged. It won’t destroy your hard work and it will be yummy! Each time you do a Sunday Splurge ask yourself if there is a more healthful choice or ingredient you’d like to use. Check in with your body and see what it tells you.

Caveat – If your self discipline is a problem and one dish leads to a week of poor choices please step back and ask yourself if you are ready and can handle it and if not, wait until you’ve practiced a little more mindful eating and self discipline. It can change, just give yourself time and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Enjoy!

#sunday #splurge #cheat #nachos #mindfuleating #treats

Meatless Monday A Review: Mushroom-Nut Burgers Over Greens – Mark Bittman

Mushroom-Nut Burger by Mark Bittman from VB6 Cookbook

You don’t have to go vegetarian or vegan to enjoy the benefits of adding more plant based foods to you diet. By adding little bits to each meal you will become accustomed to healthier foods and barely notice the change. Really!! Eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and legumes can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, help maintain or lose weight, help with mood and over all sense of well being. Small changes can have a big impact on our health. For example, losing 20% of the size of your waist can reduce your chance of a heart attack by the same amount! Moderation combined with good quality food choices added to an active lifestyle is key to a healthy life.

Ways to add in more whole food plant (WFPB) based foods:

  1. Go Meatless Monday – Try skipping meat one night of the week and let us know how it goes!
  2. Smoothies – toss it in and enjoy. I found that Shhh b-e-e-t-s taste good in a smoothie!!! Try adding spinach, kale, butternut squash, oats etc.
  3. Grab fruit or nuts as a snack
  4. Add veggies to every meal
  5. Don’t forget to add veggies to your sandwiches. I understand meat likes peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. Think of your meat
  6. Add fruit to your cereal
  7. Keep a bowl of fruit on the table or counter, where there is the most traffic. You’ll be surprised how many times someone grabs a piece
  8. Try adding grains like quinoa, bulgar, amaranth etc. to your salads. It will help you feel more full and add more fiber.
  9. Puree vegetables and sneak them into your sauces

What ways do you add more WFPB foods into your diet? Feel free to comment.

Tip: Go slowly, if you aren’t used to the added fiber it can cause a little discomfort. Gradually increase your fiber content over a period of several weeks.

The Review:

Time: 30 Minutes (includes 10 minutes chilling time)

Ease: Moderate. It is simple, but some people will be intimidated by the food processor. Just toss it in and relax!

Review: I was a little skeptical as I read the recipe for Mark Bittman’s Mushroom-Nut burger, it seemed too plain and I was doubtful that the lemon sauce would work. I was wrong! The flavors were very nice together. They are subtle and I suggest you resist the temptation to punch it a notch, at least the first time you make this. Just enjoy the simplicity and flavor, but play around the next time. I think this recipe has a lot of seasoning possibilities. Mark Bittman gives a couple of variations in his cookbook.

Caveat: If you don’t like mushrooms be forewarned that it still tastes like mushrooms. I however do like mushrooms, so it was yummy!

Tips: I want to encourage you to take your time and be patient with this dish. It is important to let the burgers cook slowly so that they cook long enough to be firm. This means keeping the heat lower and taking your time. Not long, 3-5 minutes per side, but don’t rush it.

Overall this recipe is a nice way to add more plant based foods into your diet and a great Meatless Monday meal. This recipe had grains (oats), vegetables (mushrooms, greens, tomatoes, onion), and nuts (pecans or you choose)!

I try to be careful about copyright information, and as a result I have not published the recipe here since I don’t have permission from the author or publisher. However, I recommend The VB6 Cookbook where the recipe is found and if you Google the Mark BIttman Mushroom-Nut Burger over greens you will find some copies out there.

Enjoy!

#meatlessmonday #vegan #vegetarian #mushrooms #burger #wfpb #wholefoodplantbased

I Like to Move it; I like to move it, move it..

You sang the title when you read it right? I did when I wrote it. I hope you are now smiling and I hope you will feel motiviated to be phy-si-caly fit.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the fourth leading cause of death is physical inactivity! They define physical activity as : “Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure.” Plus, studies from the Annals of Internal Medicine have determined that “Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity.” Meaning that our current sedentary lives increase our risk for diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers even if you do exercise. In other words, get moving and keep moving! No worries, it is easier to fix than you think.

What do we do about it?

  • Be mindful of how much you sit, for starters.
  • At the top of the hour stand up and stretch and walk around the room
  • Park farther away from your destination
  • Ditch the car and walk or bike to nearby locations
  • Add fun activities to your daily life such as kayaking, hiking, biking, volleyball etc. Don’t count these as exercise just remember to play!
  • Try using a desk designed for standing
  • During commercials try stretching, squats, or walking around the room
  • Walk to work
  • Use a tracking device or app to help you see how you are doing
  • Get a buddy involved. Accountability and partnership help us stay on track
  • Exercise is cumulative. Try taking 3 -10 minute walks. When I’m short on time I set my phone alarm for 5 minutes, then turn around and head back, boom 10 minutes.

Daily exercise is an important part of our lives, but use it to change your thinking and make you into a mover all day long. Your exercise regime should only be a portion of the movement you do throughout the day. You can do it and so can I, really it is about changing our minds first; our bodies will follow!

What do you do to keep moving? Respond in the comments to share your ideas.

#exercise #moving #fitness #physical #health

Recipe Review: Spelt Blueberry Muffin -Whole Foods Market

Spelt Blueberry Muffins – Whole Foods

Time: 40 minutes (prep + cooking)

Ease: Simple

Review: I like having a good muffin recipe to turn to, the kind you can just whip up on a whim, BAM! This is the muffin. This was as easy as using a box mix, but so much better for you. Spelt is a species of wheat and has been cultivated for at least 5000 years, it is considered and “ancient grain”. Spelt is also packed with nutrients and though it has gluten, it is often better tolerated.

There are a lot of blueberries in this recipe, which really brings out sweetness and provides a nice flavor. If you aren’t used to spelt the texture is slightly different from flour, but close. Over all, I would say this was a very successful recipe and one I will make again, and probably again and again.

Note: If you are from the Greensboro, NC are you can purchase spelt at the Guilford Mill on HWY 68. Whole foods is also a great choice and while there, check out the many different types of grains they carry. – Enjoy!

#spelt #blueberry #muffins #wholefoodplantbased #recipe #review #wfpb

Meatless Monday: Orange Soup with Black Salsa – Mark Bittman

We are making an effort to eat more whole food, plant based foods i.e., nuts, legumes, grains, fruits, and veggies, and I have to say we are loving it. After all we’ve been told “Eat food that rots, just eat it before it does” – Dr. Forrest Shaklee. I have also been reading the Blue Zone book by Dan Buettner and learning about the longest lived people in the world, who eat meat more like a garnish or accompaniment to the main meal. A pretty crazy concept for most Americans. The more we learn the harder it is to deny the benefits of good, real, unprocessed, fresh food.

There are so many ways to cook foods, especially vegetables, that no one should be able to say “I don’t like veggies”. Even if you don’t you should keep trying them, over time your taste buds adapt and your body knows you’re giving it good stuff and starts letting you know it needs more – you crave good food! You will also find that sometimes you don’t feel so great after a greasy, processed meal. This is again, your body letting you know it really likes the healthy stuff. Some simple ways to add veggies to your day: smoothies, add them into sauces, puree them, roast, bake, grilled…. MMMmmMMM. To learn more about Whole Food, Plant Based eating visit Eating you Alive or Forks over Knives. and check out Monday.com for some great vegetarian ideas.

Another way to learn about Whole Food, Plant Based eating is through the book VB6 and the VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman He discusses being Vegan, kind of, Mark Bittman is Vegan before 6pm and then eats whatever he would like, within reason after 6pm. The change has still made a huge impact in his health and has become a lifestyle. I like the concept. During the day you get your full share of fruits, vegetables, grains etc. without all of the saturated fats, processed food and bad stuff. If you choose wisely that is. If you want to make a change, but don’t think you can go whole hog, eh hem…whole cauliflower, then VB6 might be a good fit for you.

This review is of his butternut (or pumpkin) soup, a great Meatless Monday meal.

The Review

Time: 60 Minutes

Ease: Simple

I wasn’t sure how well this would turn out at first, just being honest. Every butternut squash soup I’ve ever made had coconut milk or milk in it. I was afraid it would be to thin and watery, but I was wrong! My other hesitation was how was my husband going to handle this vegan dinner? Before I had a chance to ask him what he thought I heard those lovely yummy noises we all love to hear when we cook for someone! Success.

The soup was easy to make and very good. I have a submersion blender, which I highly recommend, but you can use a blender to puree it too. It is creamy from being blended, but is not going to have the exact same consistency as a milk based soup, but I don’t think you’ll miss it.

The salsa is tasty and went very well with the soup. We ate it in our soup as well as with flax chips and I was tempted to top it with sour cream, but didn’t.

This recipe took about an hour, but if you used canned pumpkin or pre-cooked butternut squash you could do it in 30. Enjoy!

#vegetarian #meatlessmonday #wholefoodplantbased #wfpb #butternutsquash #blackbeans #soup

Breakfast from Around the World

As a Health Coach I hear people’s struggles over what foods to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, how often to eat etc. and one of the big complaints is breakfast. “I can’t eat first thing in the morning”, “I can’t eat sweet stuff in the morning”, “It is so carb heavy”, It is so fatty”, it goes on and on. The key is to eat well and learn to listen to your body. Gradually you will learn to eat when you need to eat, for you breakfast might be 11:00 am, but for your friend it might be 6:00 am. Learning to be aware and mindful while also choosing healthy foods will help your body get in the swing of the right timing for you.

As far as what to eat, sky’s the limit, be creative and think outside the box. If you live in America you may feel obligated to bacon and eggs, pancakes, or cereal; there is a whole world of foods awaiting you. I give you permission to eat what you enjoy and not what the “rules” say you have to eat. Well, within reason, I am still a health coach!

Here is a selection of options from around the world, note that it doesn’t represent all of the regions, just some general ideas. It is good to note that not many countries eat a particularly “healthy” breakfast, but most countries eat in moderation which helps balance things out.

Whatever you choose remember to take a minute to set the tone for your day and enjoy your meal. Be aware of the food and don’t just scarf it down. This is a good time to set your attitude for the day as well and think of the positive things you’d like to accomplish, take a moment to breathe, meditate or pray, focus of something good before you start your day. It will be just as important as the food that fueled you body, you can fuel your mind too!

Enjoy!