The processed foods I love

July 2018?  Happy Holy Crap the Year is Half Over!

Yeah, it feels that way some days, eh?  The kids (well, adults) are getting ready for another semester of college, the dogs are practically mentilg in the summer hear, and life is life.

Since my last post, not much has changed.  My glucose is getting better but pain is not. Daily chances of thunderstorms mean daily muscle spasms and pain spikes.  It’s frustrating to say the least.  I’m pushing through, though, and working on my nutrition when my body fights.  Keeping processed foods to a minimum makes a huge difference for me, but some things will always be a part of my eating plan.  Why?  I’m stubborn.

I know I’m not the only one that deals with various health issues and know for sure there are some who do not feel like cooking or eating.  Processed foods as an occasional treat or served with unprocessed goodness is working for me.  Here are some of my favorites and how I enjoy them.

sujaWhen I’m on the run and need a drink to hold me over, I grab water and occasionally pick up a green juice.  Suja makes my favorite blends and I have yet to be disappointed.

Costco occasionally carries Suja juice cleanses and Target seems to keep a good mix of them in stock.  The new Drinking Vinegars seem to be everywhere, but I have not tried one yet.  The Wellness Shots are on my radar and I’ll let you know what I think.

Not all commercial salad dressings are junk.  While I do enjoy the occasional Just Caesar, turneric dressing I’ve been reaching for hummus with vinegar the most at home, but when I want something else, Trader Joe’s in my jam. Er, go-to.  This cold-pressed Almond Butter Turmeric blend is creamy and smooth.  I like more of a zing on my salads, so I add a little vinegar over the top.  This is fantastic on top of greens or as a mayo substitute in bean and pasta salads.  It makes a yummy ‘peanut’ sauce with a little soy or aminos added.  The other cold-pressed options are Carrot Ginger Miso and Green Goddess (with avocado).  I have not tried the other two yet, but both are only list.  There is nothing like a big bowl of mixed greens with Green Goddess dressing.  Anyway, swing by TJ if you want to give them a try.

Every once in a while, I’ll pick up a non-dairy yogurt instead of making it.  If I get in a baking mood and need yogurt, I will swing into the store instead of waiting a day for foragerhomemade to do its thing.  Yes, I’m impatient.  If I want to eat some straight up, I may choose a flavored one, but do love the flexibility of unflavored yogurt.  One of my favorites is Forager.  I have picked it up at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and Publix (at the best regular price).  While it is not as creamy as dairy, it is pretty creamy and the cashew base makes it more versatile thanks to the neutral flavor.  I’ve used it in baking, as sour cream, and as a topper for fresh or frozen fruit.  Give it a shot sometime if you’re not up to waiting for homemade.

I love making non-dairy milk.  Oat and cashew are the ones I reach for most, but when I want to bake for the family, nuts are out of the question and oat milk has a little too much flavor to most things.  I gave Ripple Unsweetened Original a try and will not go back.  This pea milk is as rich as non-dairy according to my omni family and the goodies baked with it come out perfectly.  It has no gluten, lactose, nuts, or sugar along with 8ripple grams of  protein, 32 mg DHA Omega 3’s, and 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk, there’s no reason to use dairy.  Besides, the family does not complain about my vegan desserts.  If plain unsweetened isn’t your thing, Ripple also comes in vanilla, chocolate, and half and half.  I have tried the half and half in baking and coffee.  It’s really, really good.  Omni hubs enjoyed the half ad half in his iced coffee without blinking or commenting.  That says a lot.

The hardest food to find when I first dropped meat was a substitute that really hit the spot for me.  While I enjoyed the occasional veggie burger, I did not find one that tasted better than a fast-food burger.  And I wasn’t really a fan of fast-food burgers ever.  Morningstar Farms was my go-to until I dropped eggs and dairy, and back then their vegan burger was meh.  Boca was another favorite, but it stopped going into my shopping cart when I started experimenting with homemade bean-based burgers.  When I’m with the extended family and a random burger meal is in the works, I have to find something quick so I don’t sit there starving or eating just a bun with lettuce and tomato.  While that works sometimes, it isn’t always my idea of a meal.  Enter the Beyond Burger.

beyond burger

This beast has 20 grams of protein and gives the old-school burger feel that mome meat eaters will enjoy.  This is not a daily thing, but makes a nice option for the “can you eat burgers” discussion that tends to pop up at cookout time.

I don’t use these foods as a regular thing.  As I mentioned earlier, a primarily unprocessed eating plan works best for me.  Every once in a while, these foods help save the day.  Give some a try sometime and let me know what you think.

Until next time, peace.

 

 

 

Review: Orgalif Bento Lunch Box Containers

I received these containers at a discount from Tomoson.com in exchange for my honest review.  My opinions are mine and I would not recommend anything I did not believe in.

bentos

It doesn’t matter how on point your fitness game is if your fueling game is off.  Yes, your calories might be in check, but your optimal balance of protein, carbs, and fat may not be.  I log every meal, whether on plan or not.   Why?  It helps me see why I don’t make progress.  When there are more good days than bad, I either lose or maintain.  Before I started my current food plan, I noticed I reached for fat and carbs more than protein.  A lot more fat than anything else, really.  Yes, almond and sunflower butter are good, but not at the amounts I’d reach for on a daily basis. Oy!

Speaking of, I stepped up my food prep game a few weeks ago and am seeing results.

Note:  Results include increases in energy level, change in how my clothes fit, training gains, and changes on the scale.  No one result trumps or minimizes another.

I’m following the macros from Flexible Dining for Vegans and don’t feel deprived, disappointed, or hungry. One issue I do have, though, is sticking on plan when I oversleep, have back-to-back shifts, or am running around.  One thing that does help is having meals and snacks ready to go.  Instead of relying on shakes or bars for most of it (or trying to rush and fix a plate or bowl), I try to pack individual meals.  I received the opportunity to review a set of Orgalif Bento Boxes and put them right to the test.

The boxes are a good size, dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe, and the different colored lids were a plus for me. I could reach for the meal I wanted just by spotting the lid.  You know how it is when you live with other people, the fridge gets rearranged whether you want it to or not.  Knowing that these containers are full of ‘that crazy vegan food’ tends to keep the family away.   They don’t know good eating!  I took a couple from the freezer straight to the microwave with no issues.   They washed up nicely in the dishwasher, too.  They’re about perfect.  I fill them on meal prep days and am ready to go for a few meals.  The containers are not leak proof, so I use them at home exclusively.  They do fit nicely in lunch bags, so just skip sauces and gravies and things should be golden.

Orgalif offers a five year, 100% satisfaction guarantee.  Five years!  That says a lot in this disposable world.   Go get yours, risk free, and get to prepping!