Where Have All The (Vegan) Recipes Gone

(That title is supposed to be sung to the tune of that one song by Sheryl Crow.  You know which one!  Just saying.)

My husband and I are both dentists.  This last September, after showing signs of burnout, he was kind enough to give me two days off a week to find myself again.  I had grand plans: the revival of my blog, writing at least once a week, recipes to be posted, no excuses for exercising again, photos to share!

That worked well for a couple of months.  I was running regularly again, our house was clean again, I finally had the time to concoct excellent vegan dishes on a regular basis, I was making time for myself and my hobbies.

IMG_2898Roasted yams and sweet potatoes with crispy caramelized bottoms, no added oil 

The only problem?  My clothes were getting slightly tighter and tighter and I couldn’t figure out why.  The last thing I’ve ever wanted to be is that fat vegan or vegetarian that makes others question how your diet can possibly be healthy if you’re overweight.

Naturally I turned to the internet.  After browsing and looking at websites of whole foods vegan crusaders (which is how my husband and I have been eating at home for years), I ended up ordering The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall.  There’s more of a back story to this, but I’ll plow right ahead for now.  The long and short of it?  Starches (aka complex carbohydrates) are good, and it’s really the fat–whether it be animal- or plant-based–that is bad.  As Dr. McDougall is known to say, “The fat you eat is the fat you wear.”

After thinking about it, I realized I had been cooking more during my spare time, not to mention cooking with a lot more fat than usual.  Sure, I used plant-based fats–olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, lots of ground cashews to make vegan creams and cheeses (FYI, I’ve never gone through our cashew stash so fast as during those two or so months), lots of nuts in our foods, a lot of tofu dishes–but they are still fats.  (Did you know tofu is almost 50% fat?  I’d never looked its nutritional label before!)  And since our bodies are wonderfully efficient at converting fats into storage, hence my tight clothes.

Side note: Nothing against plant-based fats, but if I’m trying to get back down to my usual size of clothes, then absolutely no added oil, nuts, and tofu are best for me for the time being.  It’s different cooking without added fat but it’s doable and, truly, things taste much cleaner this way.  Parchment paper and non-stick cookware are my dearest friends. Dishes are really easy to clean now, too!

What I’ve been eating the past month has been a lot less fancy than what I’d been previously posting before.  I’ve been eating a lot of potatoes, rice, beans, greens, hot sauce, sambal, salsa, and the like.  It sounds boring, but it actually is very satisfying to eat this way.  The unfortunate side effect of all of this is that I don’t often make foods that look worthy enough to be posted on a blog!

IMG_2895Our simple, no-added-fat Christmas dinner of wild rice soup, scalloped potatoes, roasted bell peppers, chickpea cutlets, and gravy

I’ve stopped gaining weight over the past month and I’ve started to run again this week.  I’m looking forward to having my clothes be more than comfortable again.

The other day I made my split pea and barley soup, one of my “more involved” dishes these days.  Tonight, it’ll probably be yukon gold potatoes in some form with green beans and sambal.  Tomorrow morning?  Steel cut oatmeal with bananas and a little bit of brown sugar.  Sounds boring, but I promise you that it actually is very filling and it is kind of nice to not have to cook elaborate dishes.

Here’s to more potatoes and rice!  Because when you have as much snow as we do right now, that’s really all you want to eat anyway!

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