A high point in our quest for a kinder diet.
If you haven’t already heard me raving about these, hear me now. These nut burgers are fantastic (thank you, Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian!). As Mike said, “I can’t believe how long this recipe has been sitting in our house unmade!!”
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews—whatever nut tickles your fancy (we use walnuts and they are awesome)
- 1 cup cooked brown rice or raw rolled oats
- 2 T ketchup, miso, tomato paste, nut butter, or tahini (we use tahini)
- 1 t chili powder
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- 2T EV olive oil (or other neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn)
Here’s how you do it:
- Chop the onion in a food processor. Add the nuts and rice or oats and pulse to chop, but not too finely. Add the binder (ketchup, etc.), spices, and egg. Process briefly. Add a little liquid (e.g., water, stock, soy sauce, or wine) if necessary; mixture should be moist but not loose.
- Let the mixture sit a few minutes if you have the time, then shape it into 4 to 6 patties. Put the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the burgers to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, more or less undisturbed, then turn. Lower the heat a bit and cook on the other side 3 or 4 more minutes, or until firm.
- Serve on buns, with your sauce or fixings of choice! (We use a raspberry chipotle sauce—yum!)
Vary these by substituting up to ½ cup sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds for half of the nuts. Or make it vegan by omitting the egg and adding a ½ sheet of crumbled Nori Chips to the food processor (use miso or nut butter instead of ketchup, and soy sauce for the liquid).
A couple weeks into a kinder diet: a check-in
There are a bunch of new foods in my life: so which ones get the thumbs up so far? Yay for Vegenaise. It’s pricey, but so worth it. Real mayo is pretty sketchy, but Vegenaise has substance and flavor, and of course, is dairy-free! Big huge thumbs up for Whole Soy yogurt. Mmmmmmmm. Love. And oh my gosh, try Trader Joe’s Cherry Chocolate Chip Soy Ice Cream even if you don’t care at all about dairy. It is deLIcious.
As I dabble in the dairy-free cheese category, I’m not quite so dazzled. First we went through some products that were deceptive—we learned that just because a food says soy-based does NOT mean it contains no dairy (why? really—why?). So then we moved on to rice cheese slices and 100% dairy-free shredded cheese. I’m okay with them, but certainly not wowed. I’m tempted to let those slide in future. Dairy-free milk I can do. I’m loving all the different options: rice, soy and almond. I think I’ll stick to rice milk, though, since it’s one thing that’s NOT soy, and it’s made of such basic ingredients. It also tastes very yummy in my oatmeal.
Now we’ve expanded our “kind diet” to phasing out white sugar products, too. Whole wheat graham crackers: yum. Agave syrup: yum. I think our taste buds learn to wrap themselves around the whole wheat, whole grain, brown rice type flavors, such that the old-school, easy and cheap stuff simply doesn’t hold the same place on the flavor pedestal any longer. There is just such an amazing heartiness to the whole grain flavors. I swear I’m not brainwashed, I’m just really tasting things these days! Stay tuned…
Oy. The soy. Now that I’ve started to bring in a few non-dairy “dairy” products, I’m wondering if it’s possible we’ll be taking in too much soy. What to do? Even the vegan babysitter struggles with this dilemma. Now she tells me.
As usual, our answer in this household is moderation. We have decided to be moderate with our use of soy-based products. So if I use soy milk for my coffee and oatmeal, and have tofurkey and soy cheese on my sandwich, I might skip the soy meat product at dinner and just count on my grains and veggies to fill me up. Something like that. It’s working so far, and I’m enjoying the flavors of the new foods I’m bringing into the house very much. This isn’t just about buying soy milk instead of cow’s milk—it’s not so simple. Soy milk is far from perfect. This is the middle ground between cow’s milk and something like rice milk, which is basically shifting from dairy to grain.
This is good. I can tell already. I feel so amazing about what’s going into my body, and about the fact that animals aren’t having to give up their lives to sustain me. Every time I eat a slice of soy cheese, that’s a little less demand on the livestock industry. A little less need to cut down trees to give that livestock a place to graze. But I might switch to rice cheese next week.
Or: My relationship with my abs and beyond
It’s not easy to plank, but it’s one of the best exercises you can do without any props. Just you and the floor and your focus. That’s the hard part, the focus. I always say that exercising is not just physical, it’s also mental, and the plank is a fantastic example. When I plank with others, I often say “go to your happy place.” That’s my way of saying, take your mind off the exercise itself because your body can do it—it’s your brain that’s saying “I’m tired, I’m bored, I’ve done enough for today…” Transport yourself through conversation (as we do in class) or reading (as I sometimes do alone) or thinking about something other than holding yourself up in an admittedly uncomfortable position, and you CAN do a plank for a minute, or two, or even three.
Since I love to plank (or rather to have planked), and I certainly love to make others plank, I intend to share here 100 things to busy your mind so it won’t sabotage that wonderful plank.
Continue reading “100 Things to Think About While Doing a Plank”
Dig deep–in the dirt, that is–and you might just find a way to get in shape.
Everything is cyclical—we hear that all the time, but I do believe I am now witnessing it. I live intown, and have neighbors who have chickens. Gardens are flourishing (or languishing, but at least they have been planted) in front yards, back yards and anywhere sun gets there right here in the city. One of my neighbors is making a good side job of building garden boxes for city dwellers. The people have spoken, and what we want is wholesome, organic, do-it-yourself foods.
The reason I love this growing trend is, well, take this direct quote from my 3-year-old daughter yesterday: “I wanted more arugula.” I think it’s easy to look past the grammar issues to the word “arugula.” When I told my husband about it, he said, “I don’t think I even said the word ‘arugula’ until recently.”
Continue reading “Farm to table to…your best shape ever”
Sapped of energy and with only an hour to spare, which would you choose?
To nap or to work out? Both rejuvenate the body and mind, but only one burns calories. For me, it’s a no-brainer.
If you said “nap,” you’re not unhealthy for it–a nap is definitely worthwhile as long as you’re not one of those who wakes up in the middle of the day grouchy and wishing they hadn’t napped–but I love the idea of inspiring you to choose “work out” over time.
Continue reading “A Nap? Or a Workout?”
On Getting Your Pre-Baby Body Back
The star trainer of “The Biggest Loser” says she won’t have a baby because “I can’t handle doing that to my body,” and much debate on the topic followed that comment. Though I don’t know that it’s worth worrying over–if one thing in this world is ours and ours alone to do with what we like it’s our bodies–but I do have an opinion about the body’s resiliency.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’m having a tougher time getting my body back after the second baby. But I’m not discouraged–I’m challenged. I wonder that Jillian Michaels wouldn’t see the “fun” of the challenge, too…after all, wouldn’t it give her career a tremendous lift to show that she can grow big, give birth, then get fabulous again? That’s what I’m after. Working toward my pre-baby body, my determination is greater, and I’m pushing the limits of my energy and endurance. To me, this is fun. I’m so proud of myself when I can a) make the time to work out and b) work out hard even when I’m worn out from night feedings and the simple fact of having 2 young children. I get to get my fabulous back AND have little ones say, “Good night, Mommy.” That’s having my cake and eating it.
Truth be told, I’d happily forgo a two-piece swimsuit for the rest of my life if that were the tradeoff for having my amazing kids.
Did I say I was cutting OUT wine? I meant to say I’m cutting DOWN on wine. I think that with a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, I should be allowed one glass on Saturday night…
The experiment is affecting me in more ways than I expected. Just as working out in the morning can make you feel like eating a big salad for lunch, I’ve been much more vigorous in my exercising as a result of choosing water over wine at night.
Oh, I’m so over the extra belly fat! But it was such a long day…. Mommy deserves cabernet! Moderation….
My own fight to lose the final five
So now I get it–this is how it feels to be THIS close to pre-baby body. It seems like my body had more snap-backness after the first baby…this go-round I feel the pain of so many of my clients. I fit into my old clothes, but my shape is just not yet my own.
If it’s true that breastfeeding is making me hold on to that last bit of saggy skin, I’m willing to put up with it for the next year. But I’m not thoroughly convinced that’s all it is. So… even though I live by the words “everything in moderation,” I’m going to do an experiment: I’m cutting out wine for two weeks. It’s the one vice I have that I believe may in fact be a culprit in this battle, so I want to see if there’s a noticeable difference.
Continue reading “Battling the Baby Bulge”
Could you give up dairy?
Are you up for the challenge? Could you give up dairy? I’ve started to read up on Alicia Silverstone’s Kind Diet. It’s “kind” to your body, to animals, and to the earth. I can’t find anything wrong with that so far. I’m already a pesce-vegetarian, so it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to cut out the other animal products, but I didn’t set out to be a vegan, so I’m not sure about all this. I like being able to find things to eat on any menu without having to ask for special treatment. And I don’t want to give up dairy, really. I just want to see if it’s true that I’ll feel lighter and have clearer skin and more energy… Sounds like it could be worth a try.
The good news: Mike’s into doing it with me. Whew! That will for sure make it easier. We’ve decided to try it for two weeks. Our babysitter is vegan; she says it will be easy. They make it all dairy-free now if you want it—we just have to get used to the taste and texture. So we’re cleaning house now. This is a home where every single person has our own special yogurt, including the baby. So we’re eating up the Greek yogurt (oh, how I shall miss you!), the snack cheese, the plain yogurt for cooking, the (already cage-free, vegetarian-fed) eggs…
As I get more into the book and the ugly truth behind why I’m trying this out, I’ll write about it. For now, I am interested because of how a dairy-free lifestyle supposedly makes you look and feel. (My life with two kids could certainly use a boost in the energy department!) I’ll let you know when we say “go”!