Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Clean Food Challenge Sumary + Chunky Potato Leak Soup - Vegan-

Clean eating may feel a little overwhelming at the beginning, especially if you have a lot of changes to make. My best advise is if you make make little changes everyday, eventually your body will get used to it, and this will become your new more healthy lifestyle.

The focus on eating clean is not to lose weight, but to focus on overall good health. If we get used to eating wholesome, healthy, and fresh foods our skin will glow, and we gonna just feel better. It is best to avoid processed foods of any kind, and become accustomed to real, fresh, and if possible organic food.

On a side note: If you have tasted organic produce before, you will know the difference in taste between organic and non- organic. I am lucky to be able to grow my own fruits and vegetables, but there are times out of the year when I have to buy my produce at the grocery stores.

I am not Vegan, however with so many vegan dishes floating around the Internet these days, very scrumptious looking ones too, I thought I give it a try. And who doesn't want to do good for their body, and live a healthier lifestyle. Right? Everyone... especially at New Years... :)

So, a few weeks ago, I bought this lovely cook book. "Isa does it" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Isa makes flavorful and satisfying vegan meals from scratch every day, mostly in 30 minutes or less.
This book is over 300 pages, hardcover, and packed with over 150 recipes.  There are loads of cooking tips and tricks, a section on stocking a pantry, and lots of helpful pictures for those visual learners amongst us. I have tried many of her delicious recipes, which were a hit even by my most discriminating little eaters, and I will be making these more often. 

You can check out my 5 day eating plan with MY OWN Recipes here Clean Food Diet - Day 1, here  Clean Food Diet - Day 2- , here  Clean Food Diet - Day 3-,  here   Clean Food Diet - Day 4-, and here   Clean Food Diet - Day 5- 

However, for me, here a the pros and cons of going completely Vegan:


1. For me the biggest win, because of the radical change of the diet, one learns not only new  wonderful Ingredients, one also learns about wholesome and healthy diet altogether.

Even though I always try to cook for my family a well balanced meal with fresh varieties,  and mostly Organic. With this book, however, I got more aware of wholesome foods.

The Cons: 

Regional Organic made products have a higher significance then before, but they are hard to find in most grocery stores. My nearest Whole foods market is 40 miles away from were I live. The markets nearby offer very little Organic products, even the produce is 90% processed. 


2. We got to try and love new Ingredients like Quinoa, Amaranth, Goji Berries, Accai, Macca Powder, and soy yogurts.

During the challenge, I did not feel I was deprived of eating meat, even when the rest of the family ate meat.
I swapped Milk out for Coconut and Almond Milk, and ate Soy based Yogurts. 
I didn't really needed anything else, surprisingly.

The real challenge is how to cook practically for a family of 7 from now on only vegan?

It is not easy!
My husband and I are working mostly from home. The older kids leave to school about 7:30 am, and the two small ones are home with me. That means I have to cook Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner every day. The Cook book is great, however that means cooking several meals daily. As I mentioned earlier we are limited with grocery stores that carry wholesome organic products. That means planning ahead for the meals, and buying them seam' t to be to much hassle,  and I couldn't do it time wise. Usually, I don't have problems with preparing healthy meals for us. I'm pretty creative, and can whip up in short period of time a quick and healthy meal, without big planning and trying to get the ingredients.

Most of the dishes my little ones did not like, and offering them sandwiches all the time was not going to work , so I found myself cooking alternative meals. I cant starve the kids, right. That was a extra hassle.... every time!
Another Con is that if you have little kids it proves to be challenging. It is very time consuming, and for working Mommy's it's hard to manage.
Maybe for 2 people it is easier, I'm sure.
Altogether, it feels like the whole family is on a diet.

Also, I like to add. I did not feel any more energetic than usual. 

My kids love fruits of all kind. I could have a grocery assembly line directly from the supermarket into our kitchen, that's how many masses of produce gets eaten in our house. The kids alone eat about 8  Bananas daily, that makes 56 organic bananas a week. And those are only Bananas! :)
  I need a Semi Truck to go shopping, otherwise the food only lasts 2 days :)

Of course it has nothing to do with the book, it was clearly unrealistic time- wise for me during the clean food challenge.

For me alone, I'm happy with just bread and good piece of cheese, some grapes,
together with a glass of wine! 
However, I am more aware of the quality and the source of the things we eat.

I definitely try to be more conscious of eating healthier foods,  even when traveling and organic is not possible, I'm fine with that - I still try to enjoy my food.

I want to share this recipe from the book. Among other dishes, I really enjoyed this one.

Chunky Potato Leak Soup

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Leek (white and light green parts, thinly sliced)
1 small yellow onion (finely diced)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cashews, (soaked for at least 2 hours)
1 1/2 cups Water
2 lbs russet potatoes (cut into 1 inch chunks)
Freshly ground Pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (finely chopped)
4 cups vegetable broth

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat, add the oil. Saute the leaks, and onion until softened.
Meantime make the Cashew cream. Drain Cashews and place into Food processor. Add water and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Back to the soup: Add potatoes, salt and pepper, thyme and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

With the soup on low heat, use a potato masher to mash the potatoes (I only did it with half of the soup . My kids love it a little chunky). Add the cashew cream, stir and heat through. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Get the Book here: Isa does it

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