Week 1: Meatless Monday Challenge

Welcome to the first Monday of your 6 week, Meatless Monday Challenge.  We are so glad that you decided to join us and take the first step towards a healthier YOU!

Here is how it will work:  Each Saturday, we will post tips and recipes to both our blogs (Perks of Cancer and The Savvy Sister).  That will give you a chance to get all the ingredients you need to make your meals on Monday.  If there is not something on our menu that appeals to you, we will also post links to other sites which offer plant based meals.   It will be practically impossible NOT to find something that you like!

You may notice that we often use the term “plant-based” as opposed to “meatless”.  There is a good reason for that.  Let’s say you get up and gobble down two gooey deep fried doughnuts for breakfast; followed by a super-sized McDonald’s fries for lunch; and then a big bag of Lays chips washed down by a coke for supper……technically you had a meatless day.   But we love you so much, that we don’t want you to just have a meatless day.  We want you to feed that beautiful bod of yours the delicious plant-based nutrition that it deserves!

As a side note, technically dairy is NOT plant based, so please try to eliminate dairy, JUST FOR ONE DAY!  But this is supposed to be fun…….so if you’re not ready to ditch the cow just yet, that’s OK ….we still love you.

Breakfast:

Unless you are a person who has bacon and eggs every morning, breakfast will be a breeze!  Whole grain toast with mom’s homemade jam, rolled oats, rice pudding, and berry smoothies are among Flo’s favorites.   However, you will likely find Susan munching on a banana, apple or similar fruits, almond butter on whole grain bread, or a vegan waffle with 100% pure maple syrup.  (Look in the frozen section for waffles made with real ingredients like Vann’s or use this easy recipe:   http://artofdessert.blogspot.com/2012/12/best-vegan-waffles-ever.html )

If you are a little more adventurous, here is a delicious granola recipe you might like to try. (But if you are not up for making granola today, that’s okay, skip ahead to our lunch suggestions.)

granola

Ingredients:

* 3 cups (300 grams) of old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

* 3/4 cup (75 grams) of sliced or slivered almonds or chopped walnuts

* 1/2 cup (45 grams) unsalted sunflower seeds…raw or roasted * 1/2 cup (45 grams) raw, shelled  pumpkin seeds (also known as Pepitas)

* 1/2 TBS (5 grams)wheat germ or almond meal (optional)

* 1/2 TBS (5 grams) ground cinnamon

* 1/4 tsp (60 mg) salt

* 2 TBS (28 grams) canola or similar oil * 1/2 cup (120 ml) pure maple syrup (Grade A amber organic  if possible)

* 1 cup dried fruit such as cherries, cranberries, apricots, dates, figs, etc.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 C)

2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Mix oil and maple syrup in a smaller bowl and blend well.

4. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix to coat thoroughly.

5. Spread on cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or rubbed with a light coating of oil

6. Bake 30-40 minutes mixing the granola 2 or 3 times to brown evenly.  The browner it gets, the crunchier it will be.

7. Remove from oven and let cool.  The granola will be soft and sticky when it first comes out, but will crisp as it cools.

8. Once it has cooled add your dried fruit and mix

9. Makes 5 cups. Store in an air-tight container. It will keep for several weeks.  You can double this recipe to make more.  You may find you need to bake an additional 5 – 10 minutes and stir more often to brown the whole pans worth.

(Nutritional data per 1/2 cup serving :  calories: 330,   fat: 16 g,  fiber: 4.3 g,  carbs: 40 g,  protein: 7.3 g)

Note: Try to use a plant-based milk like almond milk or almond/coconut milk combo. You can also try rice milk.  Stay away from soy milk if you can as it is the least healthy when consuming “milks”.  Consider your creamer for your coffee to. (There is a wonderful product called “Mimicreme” if you can find it that tastes just like thick sweet cream, but is all plant based.  http://www.mimiccreme.com)

Lunch:

If you are looking for easy, a leafy salad topped with your favorite nuts or seeds is the way to go for lunch.  Remember, the more colorful your salad, the better.  If you are craving something a little “meatier” you might want to try beans.  They are high in protein yet low in calories and fat!

However, if you are ready for something a little more exotic, you might want to try this delicious hummus recipe.

mm2

Hummus is a great substitute for meat in sandwiches. It offers the protein and filling satisfaction that you need from lunch.  You can always buy pre-made hummus if you don’t have time to make your own. If you shop in a healthy supermarket you will be able to find variation on the hummus made with chickpeas (standard).  We like this option taken from “Simply Scratch”.com   Tahini is sesame paste.  This ingredient makes the hummus richer, but is optional if you just can’t find it. We would suggest including the parsley for its abundant health benefits and Vitamin K.  This is also one to have sitting in the fridge when you want a snack as it’s great as a dip for fresh veggies.

(http://www.simplyscratch.com/2013/01/roasted-lemon-white-bean-hummus.html )

Ingredients:

A Lemon

2 cans {14.5 ounces each} Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons Tahini (optional)

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon Cumin

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt or sea salt

1 Garlic Clove, pressed through a garlic press

2 tablespoons Pine Nuts {optional}

1 tablespoon minced Fresh Parsley {optional}

Olive Oil {optional}

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Half the lemon and trim off the ends so they will lay flat in an oven-safe dish. Roast for 20-30 minutes then remove and let cool.

In the bowl of your food processor, fitted with the blade, add the beans, tahini, garlic, cumin, salt, olive oil and a tablespoon or so of juice from a roasted lemon halve.

Secure the lid and process until smooth. Taste and check for seasoning.

Note: To toast pine nuts, simply toss them into a dry pan and heat over medium. Toss every so often until they are fragrant and golden. This should take about 5 minutes.

Spread the hummus on whole grain bread or a soft tortilla wrap.  Add slices of your choice of veggies.  Here’s where you can customize it to your liking.  Hummus is great with thin slices of fresh red pepper, spinach leaves, red onion and cucumber.  Sprouts also go very well.  Try not to just resort to the same old “iceberg lettuce and tomato” for you sandwich toppings….please.  Fresh veggies offer the most potent disease fighting factors, so pack them on!  Have it with a side of fresh fruit or grab an apple or orange.  (Try to avoid canned fruit as they often are packed in sugar even if it is “its own juice”.)

Dinner /Supper:

For your first Meatless Monday, we want to provide you with a recipe that is tasty, yet does not require a lot of time or ingredients to make.   This is Flo’s take on a Newfie favorite: fries and gravy.

 DSCN2999

Fries and Gravy the Healthy Way

 

Pictured here is everything you need to make meatless gravy and fries:

DSCN2992

-Olive oil

*-I large sweet potato (per person), cut into wedges (or a combination of sweet potato and white potato wedges)

-1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

-1 small onion, finely chopped

-2 large portabello mushroom caps, cut into cubes

*- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

-3 tbsp soy sauce

-1 tbsp cornstarch

-water

-your favorite seasonings….I like sea salt, pepper and “garlic plus”

Here is how you make it:

Fries:

-Place potato wedges in a roasting pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle on your favorite seasonings.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, turning once.

Gravy:

– Sauté in 1 tbsp olive oil for 2 minutes: one finely chopped small onion, one clove of finely chopped garlic, and cubed mushrooms

-Add two tablespoons of nutritional yeast, three tablespoons of soy sauce,  two cups of water, and a dash of your favorite seasoning (I use Club House Garlic Plus OR Italian Seasoning and pepper)  Simmer for five minutes.

-Dissolve one tablespoon corn starch in a half a cup of water.  Use this to thicken gravy to desired thickness.

It’s that easy!  Add your favorite steamed /roasted/sautéed veggies (preferably two different colors) on the side and you are ready to eat.

Notes:

*-Sweet potatoes are a much better choice for you than white potatoes as they provide you with an abundance of Vitamin A (384% RDA) …an important antioxidant and they are also a potent anti-inflammatory food (inflammation is the root of most chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer)  White potatoes on the other hand, offer the same amount of calories and carbs,  but no Vitamin A and are a potent inflammation promoter.  But if you have not yet acquired a taste for sweet potatoes, it’s okay to have both sweet and white (but not JUST the white ones, ok?)

*-Nutritional yeast is not cheap but it is tremendously nutritious (hence the name) and it gives this gravy its spectacular flavour!  Don’t scrimp on the nutritional yeast.  You’ll have plenty of opportunity to use it in other plant based recipes over the next 6 weeks.

And now for the best part:

Dessert!

mm3

Healthy Fudge

1 cup of almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp fine salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Melt coconut oil (It’s solid at room temp) in the microwave on medium heat for 30 seconds or until liquid

-Mix with all other ingredients.

-Place in wax paper-lined 8 x 8 dish (It won’t fit completely, it’s ok, just spread it out best you can) and place dish in freezer for 1 hour.

-Cut into 9 pieces and enjoy.  Keep in fridge or freezer to keep solid

(Each piece has 278 calories, 23 grams of fat and 7.4 grams of protein.)

CAUTION! This is addicting! You will find yourself going to kitchen for “something” and ending up with a piece of fudge in your hand!

Enjoy this treat! You deserve it!  Cut into 9 pieces, each piece has 278 calories, 23 grams of fat and 7.4 grams of protein

If our menu just doesn’t do it for you, create your own.  Here are some of our favorite sites:

The website for The Engine 2 Diet:

http://engine2diet.com/recipes/favorites/

Good Clean Food

http://goodcleanfood.wordpress.com/under-construction-recipe-page/

Straight Up Food

http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/

There are virtually hundreds of recipes on these sites. Take your time and check them out!

Your food should provide you with health but also happiness.  When they provide both it’s pretty sweet.  Try to drink mostly water this day.  While soda pop and sports drinks are technically “non-animal” they are considered a “beast” and will ruin an otherwise healthy diet.  Your body can utilize water immediately.  Any other “drink” has to be broken down first and that takes time and energy away from what your body needs to do to stay healthy.

OK…now we want to hear from all of you……was it as hard as you thought? What were the best/worst part of your day?  Post your comments below, or go to our Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/100PerksOfHavingCancerPlus100HealthTips

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