Friday, 10 August 2012

What's for Dinner?

How many times do you come home after a long day and grumble at the thought of having to come up with something quick and healthy to make in as little time as possible? If you're like me, every day of the week! I work part-time, am physically active and always try to have a social life in between...I'm going back to school soon and I'm really anticipating having to make my quick go-to recipes most times I need to cook.

So, you have a bunch of things at home, but they're all kind of random and you have no idea what to do with them to make a proper meal. Here are some rules I live by.

1. Ask yourself what you are craving
For example, some days I'll be craving some nice, healthy, complex carbs to really satiate my hunger. I have urges for noodles a lot. So I may start my base as a noodle dish and then decide what kind of flavours I'm craving: Sweet or savory? Creamy or light? Do I want to add some protein or just some steamed veggies today? Let your tummy be your guide and then you can decide what spices and sauces to add to your dish from there.

2. But I don't have any scallions...
So, let's say you're craving one of your faaaave dishes you make all the time. Let's say it's a leek and potato soup. But you have no leeks. Well, just go for something in the same fam and you will surely still get a pleasant (maybe better?!) result! Try using green onion, add some more veggies in there and throw in whatever else tickles your fancy. If you're usually not experimental, I would say stick with similar flavours and quantities of what you're making. But if you're bold and don't mind experimenting, throw new stuff into your recipe as you please!

3. Find new uses for old faves
I love coconut. It's my Frank's - I put that sh*t on everything! So let me try weird and experimental stuff with it...maybe throw it shredded on a sweet potato, coconut water in my fruit juice, or marinating my tofu with coconut milk and some other spices. Stepping outside your box with something you already love can be a lot less intimidating and a lot more're more likely to like the result.

4. Cut corners wherever you can, sista
Like I said, you're busy, you're tired, you just wanna EAT...And this damn recipe is saying "boil for 15-20 minutes"? Oh, hell no. Just look at your recipe and see what you can do to speed it up - No time to cook the lentils for your soup? Cut twenty minutes by buying them from a can (and rinsing them to take off all that icky extra salt). If a recipe calls for something to be boiled for a while just to soften it, such as sweet potatoes, you can just steam it - healthier and faster.

5. Repeat after me: do NOT be afraid!
So let's say you make something and it honestly tastes worse than cardboard...then so what? Do you have a pet? They would probably gladly eat your mistake! (Assuming it's a healthy and unprocessed vegan mistake. :)) If not, they do have composts here which will recycle it. And you learned something. Maybe adding shredded carrots to your Cheerios isn't a great idea.

Happy cooking! Remember - ask not what you can do for your food, but what your food can do for you. ;)

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Buddy System

Support feeds motivation and really makes you more inclined to follow through with your goals. It couldn't be more true when it comes to your lifestyle choices. You could have every intention of sticking to your diet plan, but once your best bud is eating chicken wings in front of you every day, you are much more likely to cave.

If you are trying to make healthier food choices or easing into working out more, try and hang with friends who share similar goals and attitudes. You'll feel even better about what you're doing for yourself when someone else shares that enthusiasm. Tell your fitness junkie friend to ring you up whenever they're running next, or invite your health conscious coworker for a dinner at a nice veg restaurant in your area.

That being said, we obviously have friends who are not so like-minded who we can't turn our back on. It's unrealistic to think you can make everyone see the world through your vision. I find the best way to motivate friends to be healthier is to show them how much good it does for you. Pushing beliefs down people's throats is not going to make them appreciate or respect what you have to say, no matter how true it is! Just do your thing, and next time your beer gut bud is trying to get you to order another pitcher just casually say you're doing OK, and maybe he'll decide he wants to cut back on the brews too.

I recently had a lot of eye-opening discussions with people I used to hang out with, realizing they are stuck in their alcohol-fueled, smoke filled lifestyles and are absolutely not contributing positivity to my life. It sucked to think I don't want them in my life anymore, but at the end of the day you're number one. And real friends support each others goals. Above is a photo of myself and a vegan gal pal at a potluck she threw. It felt great talking and eating with like-minded individuals. So inspiring!

So get out there and motivate a buddy to be the best they can be or be motivated by someone in your own life!