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I joined a no-sugar challenge group on FB this month and some people commented at the beginning that they spent a lot of money on groceries getting ready to eat healthy.  I haven’t tracked our grocery spending for a long time, but thought surely we don’t spend more than $500/mo., and that is with almost no meal planning, rarely eating out, shopping whenever we feel like it, buying lots of organics, good coffee, and expensive protein powder too.

So here is what we bought and ate during a recent week:

Organic Celery 2.99
Cucumbers 1.16
Avocados 2.58
Garlic 0.39
Ginger 0.8
Lime 1.12
Broccoli (2) 5.18
Bananas 3.4
Organic Spinach 15 oz. 6
Romaine Hearts 2.48
Cherry Tomatoes 2
Onions 1.24
Cheerios 1.99
Grape Nuts 3.69
Brown Rice 4
Wheat Tortillas 1.99
White Rice 1.19
Quinoa 2.96
Dried Black Beans 1.69
Dried Chickpeas 2.49
Tofu 1.99
Tofu 1.99
Soymilk 2.99
Soymilk 2.99
Peanut Butter 3.49
Frozen Veggie Burgers 3.59
Chamomile Tea 3.29
Boullion Cubes 1.59
Water Chestnuts 0.99
Coconut Milk 1.39
Pasta Sauce 1.59
Almonds 3.2
Trail Mix 2.35

Coffee 4
Protein Powder 6
Free Bread 6
Produce from G-Non 15

Total:  $111.78

I generously estimated what coffee and protein powder cost me per week, and also the worth of some gifts from my grandma – day old bread she gets free from a place by her house, and a whole bunch of fruit, lots of which I froze for smoothies.

The following is what I ate for the week, Jane and Nathan generally have variations on the same, with more rice in place of all my salads!

Monday

-Coconut milk yogurt w/grape nuts & banana

-Spinach salad w/black beans, salsa, and avocado

-Watermelon & dried apricots

Lentil Soup w/Kale

-Chia Pudding, rice cake w/peanut butter

Tuesday

-Oatmeal w/pb, flax, raspberries and some watermelon

-Lentil Soup w/avocado, then banana and cantaloupe

Orange Tofu w/coconut lime rice & broccoli

-Chia pudding and some rice chex cereal

Wednesday

-Decaf soy latte (gift from grandma)

-Smoothie (generally banana, greens, celery, raw ginger, protein powder, some fresh or frozen fruit, ice, water)

-Quesadillas w/mashed black bean, spinach, salsa, avocado mixture

-Cucumber salad

-More quesadillas for dinner!

-Toast w/pb

Thursday

-Oatmeal & yogurt w/nectarines & blueberries

Quinoa & Beet Salad

-Smoothie

-Toast w/pb

-Random dinner, I think Nathan and Jane ended up going to his mom’s:  Sauerkraut, bowl of grape nuts, chickpeas & rice, yogurt

Friday

-Cantaloupe, toast w/pb

-Spinach salad w/quinoa, chickpeas, avocado

-Stir fry w/brown rice, tofu, veggies, peanut sauce

-“Oatmeal Cookie” bowl (healthy almost sugar free dessert):  oatmeal, flax, banana, coconut, pb, cinnamon, touch of maple syrup & few chocolate chips.

Saturday

-Smoothie

-Waffles (we went to a local vegan brunch event – they make the waffles, everyone brings a topping, donation: $5)

-Chickpea/pasta/red sauce dish

-Veggie burger, salad w/quinoa, chickpeas, avocado

-Bowl cereal w/almonds & some chocolate chips

Sunday

-Oatmeal & cantaloupe

-Scrambled eggs w/foraged morels (we chicken-sat for our neighbor’s backyard chickens so free eggs too!)

-Bowl grape nuts w/banana

-Salad & Veggie burger, leftover chickpeas/pasta/red sauce

-some almonds & crackers

 

What do you think?  Is this a lot different from how you eat, do you spend a lot on groceries?

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Just a quick recap of what I eat in a typical healthy day – yesterday was one of the rare days in months with no cookies and junk.  Jane’s 5 weeks old now and I need to stop using pregnancy/breastfeeding as an excuse to eat way more crap than I should. 

Also, I’ve been asked if was going to “stay vegan” through pregnancy and breastfeeding, as if it’s somehow difficult or unhealthy during those periods, which of course I believe is totally untrue.  We had our 1 month checkup last week, she’s perfectly healthy and gained almost 2 lbs. in 3 weeks, is in the 67% percentile for weight and 92% for height!  (Which the doc says is not an indicator that we’ll have a 6 ft. tall girl!) 

Breakfast: 

“Orange Julius” smoothie with clementines, banana, splash of soymilk, and ice. 

-Toast (Trader Joe’s sprouted bread) with almond butter and jam. 

Lunch:

-Leftover soup – Nathan made a huge pot the other day, simple and hearty with boullion base, potatoes, corn, pinto beans, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts.  I added some frozen collards to mine for extra nutrition. 

-Cucumber slices and toast with homemade hummus

Dinner:

-More soup. 

-Big bowl of steamed broccoli with nutritional yeast and spaghetti sauce (from a jar). 

Bedtime Snack:

-A few dates and a granola bar. 

Beverages were lots of water, some of this Good Earth Chai Tea I just fell in love with, and a cup of half hot chocolate, half coffee. 

K

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Vegan Pregnancy Menu Plan

I’ve slacked on doing these daily menu posts because what I normally eat doesn’t seem that interesting to me. But, two things:

1. I’ve been eating too much sugar and think this might help me be a little more mindful. Over the holidays, sweets were everywhere of course, and we got a lot for presents too. Eating cookies every day is NOT normal for me, and I shouldn’t feel entitled to do it just because I’m pregnant and not worrying about fitting into my clothes right now!

2. If there are people out there thinking of going veg and could possibly find this information useful as a resource of how it’s not hard or expensive to avoid animal products, well then it’s worth posting.

So here’s what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: Coffee (half caf!) with soymilk. Oatmeal with walnuts, earth balance (margarine), and cinnamon. (I usually add banana or dried fruit too.)

Lunch (The term lunch is relative, I tend to eat slowly all day and the following was over the course of the whole afternoon):

-Apple

-Soup leftovers from the weekend (onion & garlic, carrots, frozen spinach, instant brown rice, and miso – just what I had on hand.)

-Hardboiled egg (I’m not a strict vegan – my issue is more with factory farming than “using” animals.  We get our organic, free-range eggs from a very reputable local farm, Larry Schultz, who will allow visitors to the farm to see how the animals are treated.)

-Piece of Trader Joe’s Sprouted Rye toast with almond butter and jam. 

Dinner:

-Glass of O.J. 

-Whole grain crackers with Trader Joe’s Bruschetta (both x-mas gifts!) 

Orange Maple Tempeh with brown rice and broccoli.  This is somewhat fancy cooking for us, but only takes half an hour and a few ingredients.  10 minutes for prep, 20 to cook the tempeh.  Make some instant brown rice and heat up some frozen veggies in the meantime!  Don’t worry if you don’t have all the spices listed, it’ll turn out fine.  I’d even recommend making extra sauce, this is enough to flavor the tempeh really well and have some leftover, but there’s not quite enough to smother a whole bowl of rice and veggies too. 

K

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Week 25

Pic:  “I can still see my toes!”

This week the relative ease of 2nd trimester seems to be coming to an end.  The entire week I’ve had a lot of soreness in my right lower back, to the point where it hurts whenever I put weight on it and I walk with a limp.  My midwife said if it doesn’t go away by next week she’ll give me a prescription for a muscle relaxer, which I plan to take her up on no matter how I feel.  I’ve never tried those and heard they’re great.  😉 

We went to IKEA today and got our crib, the white Gulliver model.  We chose it because my friend recommended it, it has good safety ratings, it went well with the changing table Nathan’s mom got us, and it converts into a toddler bed so we can use it until the kid is…I dunno, 4?  And it cost exactly the amount my grandma gave us to buy a crib (Thanks Nana!).  Otherwise we probably would’ve gone the craigslist route. 

As I expected, I’m pretty bad at this Vegan MoFo thing.  If you want to see lots of great vegan recipes, check out the rest of the blogs participating.  I don’t know how some of these people cook and eat so much. 

Last night Nathan threw together a simple sort of mexican style soup with a package of tex-mex rice,vegetarian boullion cubes, pasta that looks like spaghetti o’s, pinto beans, and frozen corn.  I added some tvp for extra protein and mixed in some steamed kale from the garden and that’s what I’m eating for dinner.  Very yummy, but no fancy recipe or pic…

Breakfast was equally “boring but great to me”:  A peanut butter, strawberry jam, and banana sandwich. 

I do hope to try out some new recipes for Thanksgiving though…

K

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So I signed myself up to participate in Vegan Month of Food, which is basically an event where people make a special effort to blog a lot during the month of November all about vegan food. 

It’s a good push for me to try and post a little more about “what a vegan eats” on here, despite the fact that I don’t really cook much, but even some of the simple things I make could be an inspiration for some people to just try out a vegan meal once in awhile.

Right now I’m eating some really delicious leftovers for dinner, it took ten minutes to put together and makes at least 3 good sized portions.  Let’s be descriptive and call it:

Broccoli, Brown Rice, and White Beans with Tomato Sauce

This doesn’t even need an ingredient list. 

Directions:

1.  Make some 5 minute instant brown rice in a pot.  I made two cups dry = four servings cooked. 

2.  While it’s cooking, chop a head of broccoli and steam in another pot.  I put mine in a wide shallow pot, add a thin layer of water on the bottom, cover and cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes until bright green.  Or even quicker, defrost some frozen broccoli florets, but it won’t taste as good. 

3.  Heat up a can of white beans (make sure to drain and rinse first!) and some spaghetti sauce (make sure to check ingredients – many prepared sauces have cheese, lots of sugar, or other yucky stuff).  In the microwave, or just add to broccoli once it’s done steaming and heat through. 

4.  Combine everything in ratios suitable to your liking and mix in some nutritional yeast.  Really, this stuff sounds strange but it’s so good, TRY IT!  It really makes this “dish”.  Start with about a tablespoon.  Even my non-veg husband is hooked on this stuff now.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

This dish has everything – protein, carbs, veggies, calcium, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin C to help you absorb the iron (and I’m drinking some o.j. for even more!)  and it’s cheap and easy. 

This is the sort of “cooking” I usually do, throwing together some simple things, but this combo is especially good. 

K

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-The usual, 1 part 100% juice, 4 parts water

-Coffee Mix (1/5 packet of hot chocolate, half decaf, half regular coffee – all free in our breakroom – except the splash of soymilk I add!)

-Apple & granola

-Pasta & veggies (one of my rare visits to our company cafeteria – these were both sides to a piece of salmon so I just asked for the sides).

-Banana with almond butter

-Dark chocolate milky way mini (out of someone’s candy jar – no matter how shitty this stuff tastes compared to good quality natural chocolate, I still eat them every once in awhile!)

-After work I went to an open house for Compassionate Action for Animals, a great organization I just started volunteering for. They had a vegan spread including bruschetta, salad, spring rolls, and cookies, all delicious – so nice to go to an event and be able to eat everything, knowing there’s nothing nasty in it.

I raved about the spring rolls so much that Nathan decided to make some of his own for dinner. We just bought a big bag of pre-shredded cabbage & carrot mix, some bean sprouts, rice noodles, spring roll wrappers and cilantro. One package of the wrappers makes a lot so the whole thing is pretty cheap and easy once you get the hang of wrapping them.

We kept all our veggies raw. Nathan made his standard simple peanut sauce with PB, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, and spices. He doesn’t have a recipe, but it’s probably something like this one (minus the lime juice, but that’d be good too.)

I also had a big bowl of frozen veggies (corn, carrots, green beans, peas) with a little olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt & pepper.

And a square of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate truffle for dessert. Yum.

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This is part of a series of occasional posts showing what I eat all day. Even simple “vegan meal plans” I’ve read seem like too much work and on a lot of other food related blogs the authors are constantly cooking and making up their own recipes. Not me. Cooking for me usually means minute rice and heating up some beans. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating peanut butter toast for dinner.

I don’t count calories or grams of anything. My general philosphy is eat when you’re hungry and eat what you feel like. (Well, I guess not if you’re pregnant and always craving crappy food, but I’m already used to eating healthy so even my “crappy” cravings are not that bad for me.) I believe if my body needs more protein, I’ll feel like eating protein rich foods, etc.

Monday, August 23rd

-Big glass with 1/4 100% juice and 3/4 water. I always drink this mixture before eating in the a.m. Juice on its own is too strong for me, mixing it makes it easy to drink a big glass of water.

-Plain unsweetened soy yogurt with granola, banana, and hemp seeds. This yogurt on its own is way too tart for me, but it’s healthier than sweetened yogurt and tastes great with fruit & granola & some cinnamon. You could add a little honey or agave too. If you’re unfamiliar with hemp seeds, this is the kind I buy.

They’re a good source of protein and you can’t really taste them mixed into yogurt or smoothies. They also mix well into a lot of savory dishes.

-Lentil Stew (Recipe Below)

-Ezekiel english muffin with peanut butter

-A few prunes and a few handfuls of chips

-Burrito: Whole wheat tortilla, vegetarian refried beans, tomato, corn, and avocado

-A big chocolate covered pretzel stick

The lentil stew I made Sun. night on a whim with ingredients I had on hand. One of my more adventurous solo cooking experiments and I ended up really loving it. It’s very thick, if you want soup add more water and spices.

Basic Lentil Stew Recipe
Total time: 35 minutes
Makes about 6 big bowls

-1/2 onion
-1 large garlic clove, minced
-4 cups water
-1 cup lentils
-2 carrots
-3/4 cup green beans
-2 T textured vegetable protein (TVP)
-1/2 t cumin
-1/2 t coriander
-6 large kale leaves, stems removed, leaves chopped
-splash of lemon juice (less than 1 T per bowl?)
-salt & pepper to taste

1. Sautee onion in oil for about 5 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and cook for about a minute more.
2. Add water and lentils. Cook for 10 minutes, then add carrots, beans, TVP, and spices, cook 10 more minutes or until everything is soft.

3. Add kale right at end and let cook for about a minute until just wilted. Supposedly if you just cook it very gently it retains more of its many nutrients!

4. I added a splash of lemon juice just to my own bowl, it really adds to the flavor.

Note on TVP: Another ingredient foreign to most non-vegetarians. Here is some info. I just threw it in because I saw it in the pantry and now that I’m in my 2nd trimester am trying to get extra protein. It is tasteless and I couldn’t even tell it was in the stew.

Note on spices: This dish is not heavily spiced! I’m sensitive to strong flavors and also was experimenting so didn’t want to over do it. If you love cumin and coriander, double the amounts in this recipe.

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