So if I’m being completely honest, I started the vegetarian diet February 14th. I wanted to make sure it was something I was going to stick too, before I decided to share my journey.
I love to cook, but for some reason the first few days seemed like all my culinary skills were no longer useful. (For my vegan/vegetarian followers– think about it, you’ve been eating vegetables for years and all of sudden you’re told to cook with numerous meats you’ve never even tasted.) I felt like the recipes I had grown to love didn’t have the necessary nutritious (especially protein) if I didn’t include meat.
As the days went on I decided that if I was going to make my vegetarian diet into a lifestyle I needed to accept that it would take time and practice.
I needed to put effort into finding new recipes that offered my body all the nutrients, minerals & vitamins it needed.
I decided to embrace it by jumping in the car and heading to the nearest book store. I spent hours looking at all the different plant based vegan/vegetarian cook books. The more I began to read, the more I was inspired by the lifestyle. Being a real foody, I was scared that I would have to eat things that may not necessarily please my palate. The more I read, the more I realized just how delicious plant based meals could be.
I think discovering new recipes that taste good in addition to make you feel good, are the ones that are going to make the transition easier. I think it’s unfair to expect your body and mind to embrace every raw flavour overnight. The journey takes time- keep some sort of comfort food in your diet to make the journey easier.
If pasta sauce is your go to (it’s probably one of my favs) find one that is better & more nutrient dense but that offers the same great comfort.
I think its also SUPER important to plan before going grocery shopping. The first few days, I thought going to the grocery store would inspire me but it actually ended up doing the complete opposite. I felt frustrated and discouraged by all the meat products and byproducts. When I began to pick recipes and shop based on the ingredients I needed for the week, I began to enjoy grocery shopping again. I discovered items I had never purchased before; it almost felt like a new adventure.
Immunity boosting tomato sauce with mushrooms
(“Oh She Glows” Cookbook I’ve modified it to my liking)
Makes 5 to 6 cups
- 1 tbsp (15mL) extra virgin olive oil (I used avocado oil because I ran out of olive oil)
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic (I love garlic so modify to taste)
- 3 cups of mushrooms (I don’t love mushrooms so I blended mine on high for about
- 20 seconds- the mushrooms turned into a ground beef texture)
- 1/2 cup of basil leaves (I threw mine in the blender with the mushrooms)
- 1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes (I had a bunch of left over fresh tomatoes so I used those and they worked just fine)
- 8 tbsp of tomato paste (I like my sauce a little thicker so I used the whole can)
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of pepper (I added more before I served it)
- 2 tsp of dried oregano
- 1 tsp of thyme
- 2 tsp of red pepper flakes (If spice isn’t your thing- put less or none at all)
- 2 tbsp of chia seeds (optional- I put more because I didn’t have any lentils)
- 1 cup of lentils (optional- I didn’t include any)
- In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stir and combine. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the *blended mushrooms and basil leaves* and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for 10 minutes or so. Let the mixture cook until most of the liquid released by the mushrooms has cooked off.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes if desired, and stir to combine.
- Stir in the chia seeds along with lentils, if desired.
- Enjoy on top of your fav noodles (zucchini, spelt, GF, chickpea, etc)
So I kinda slacked this morning. I wasn’t really hungry so I had a green juice. I mixed a couple handfuls of kale, about a cup of pineapple, a cup of water and a sprinkle of chia seeds. I blended it for about 30 secondes, since the pineapple was fresh it was very liquidly.
I had about 10 raw almonds before heading out to run a few errands.
I had leftover chickpea curry and green beans. After I reheated it, I added some fresh sprouts for some extra crunch and nutrients.
I was feeling some sweet so I had a couple tbsp of sea sweet chocolate chips.
I made the pasta sauce featured in my “Daily Recipes.” Honestly, I think I like it more than my old go to ground beef one. My non-vegetarian followers should even give it a try. The mushrooms give the sauce a great flavour (and I do not like mushrooms.)
I ate it with some chickpea pasta since I didn’t add any lentils to the sauce. I think it would also be good with zucchini noodles just make sure your noodles aren’t too wet. After I spiral them I always throw them in a hot pan to cook some of the moisture off of them.
I was kinda busy today so my snack game was not very strong. I ate an apple with some PB2 powder peanut butter (sometimes I mix it with a little honey if I’m feeling sweet.)
I was in a coffee shop and the smell of the donuts got to me… I couldn’t resist, fresh donuts are a weakness. I had a chocolate donut. *I just want you to know a treat here and there is okay- don’t let food become a thing of anxiety. It is important not to use food as a reward or punishment. When I put on nearly 30 pounds do to cancer treatments I began to hate food. It became a source of anxiety and frustrations. I was lucky enough to lose the liquid weight I had gain. I still have a few extra pounds but with good diet and frequent exercise I know it will come off. *
“FOOD IS NOT THE PROBLEM- FOOD IS THE SOLUTION” -The Girl in Pink