In the Bag

A Nutritional Update From the Beleaguered Kitchen

Breakfast, anyone?

Breakfast, anyone? © amomnextdoor, 2013

This year I committed to completing one nutritional cleanse per season, to reset my eating habits, live longer, look better, yada yada yada. I started with the Whole Living Detox Action plan, since they conveniently publish one every January. Instead of following the plan for just three weeks, however, I have been following it since. Loosely speaking.

The detox consists of a sudden elimination of our favorite toxins: processed food, added sugar, caffeine, dairy, wheat, meat, and alcohol. Even eggs and soy are off the list in the beginning. The idea is to add food categories back in gradually, noticing how they make you feel. During the elimination weeks, you incidentally learn a healthy, alternative way of eating.

All this is great, but I’ve got two kids under the age of six. And a Husband who’s gone more often than he’s home. Plus, I’m not one of those dark-haired, beautifully curvy women who grew up watching and learning from my Nonna in the kitchen. Sure, I can follow a recipe and burn the popcorn with the best of them, but a total transformation of the way I shop, cook and eat? That’s a lot of work!

I’ll post more later on how I got started, but here’s a little tip that’s helping me keep it going.  We did get the juicer out of the garage and dust it off and squeeze it onto the counter, because if there’s one thing Whole Living does well, it’s photograph enticing recipes for freshly juiced fruits and veggies, droplets of condensation stroking their way sensuously down the side of a tall glass and everything. I just had to try some of those juices! NO WAY did I parent on juice only for breakfast, as recommended in Week One of the cleanse. But with the simple addition of my very own Pease Porridge Hot, I was good to go until lunch–no need to snack on those horrible goldfish crackers or rubbery string cheese any longer!

Pease Porridge Hot

Serves 3-4

I make a big batch of this oatmeal a few times a week and keep it in the fridge. One recipe will last 3-4 days for one person; double the recipe if others in your family enjoy it too. When I’m ready for a quick breakfast, I slice a fresh banana over ½ cup of the oatmeal (or toss in a handful of raspberries or blueberries), add a splash of almond milk, and heat it up in the microwave. The fruit gets soft and warm and mushy—voila! Pease Porridge Hot, as my son likes to call it.

  • 2 c. almond milk or soy milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 c. steel-cut oats
  • 1 T. butter substitute—I like Earth Balance (optional)
  • 2 t. cinnamon (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat almond milk and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a dry skillet, toast the oats over medium heat until they smell nutty.
  3. Add butter substitute to oats and stir to melt.
  4. When almond milk comes to a boil, add oats and cinnamon if desired.
  5. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until oats are softened and most of the liquid is absorbed.

Juicing can feel like more work than it’s worth, so over time, I’ve come up with an easy way to make keep the juice ingredients on hand and ready to go when I need a few liquid calories.

  1. On a ziploc bag, I write the ingredients for the juice with a permanent marker.
  2. When I’m cleaning up the kitchen, or prepping food for the kids, I chop and add the ingredients to the bag and keep it in the fridge. For example, if I’m slicing celery sticks, cucumber and pear for a kiddie snack, I’ll chop a little extra and put it into the juice bag. Add some ginger, and I’m all set to make a glass of Cucumber-Pear Juice in the morning!

That’s it: four months of more-or-less vegan eating, and that’s all I’ve got. But that one glass of green juice sure does slide down good!

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