plant based diet

I've always been health conscience, and a certifiable health freak since halfway through my undergrad (when I officially became...dun-dun-dunnnn...VEGETARIAN!)  I've toyed with the idea of becoming vegan many times, but never go through with it because of the problems when eating out and going home to Missouri.  However, let it be known that about 50-75% of my meals are vegan.

Last week I watched a lot of documentaries, mostly on food, and it got me thinking about how gross I let my diet become whenever I don't have time.  When I stress, I eat candy and chips (aka, highly processed foods)  Because my main meals are always vegetarian and mostly low calorie and healthy, it never bothered me to have a brownie, a cupcake, 12 cookies...  You think I'm being funny, but I'm totally serious.  There are times when I will eat heavy delicious desserts every day of the week, multiple times a day.  Once a few years ago when I was deployed I was so stressed/depressed/lonely that I ate 2 bags of fun sized kit-kats.  Don't even look up the fat and calories that added to my system, I don't want to know.

This weekend I turn 27, and I regretfully agree what they say, with age goes metabolism.  I've always been the girl with the skinny genes, who never had to work to stay skinny.  Like I said, I eat 12 cookies in a day, the next day a few brownies.  It never affected me before.  Now I am seeing the effects of my love for sugar.  I'm not fat, and no one besides Danny and myself would ever notice, but it's there, the layer of fat over my muscles, the extra weight on the scale.  I used to pig out, gain a few pounds and some flab, then work out hard core for a week or two and look good as new, but that is not cutting it anymore.  It is time to stop eating whatever I want whenever I want.

My meals are going to have more vegetables (thanks to farm fresh to you CSA!) and I will limit my desserts to special occasions and things that are really really amazing. No more shitty M&M's, snickers, kit-kats, I'm saving myself for newly discovered cupcake and cookie shops, homemade cookies and brownies (not from tubes or boxes) and other amazing dessert creations, like Schulzie's Bread Pudding...  My mouth is watering, it's been 4 days since my last dessert fix!!  I'm eating a lot more fruit, because it helps with the sugar cravings.  I especially like a salad with mandarin orange slices on it.

Here's a creation from my latest CSA fruit and veg box, aka, last night's dinner.

Orange Quinoa stuffed Sweet Peppers with potatoes and green pepper on the side

1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 garlic cloves, minced
a little bit of olive oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
5-6 sweet peppers
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. saute garlic in oil in same pot you will use to cook quinoa
2. Add orange juice, water and quinoa to garlic and to a boil, then reduce and cover until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally
3.  In the meantime, cut tops off of peppers and clean out insides, keeping the body intact
4. roast peppers in oven on 450 for about 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally if you want an even char
5.  when quinoa is done and cools slightly, mix in cranberries, walnuts, and thyme. add salt and pepper if desired.
6. use a teaspoon to stuff the quinoa into the peppers
7. Serve over a bed of lettuce or on top of more of the quinoa filling

The Potatoes and Peppers:
5-7 potatoes
2 T olive oil
1 green pepper
1/2 large onion

1. slice potatoes and saute them in the oil for about 5 minutes
2. slice the pepper and the onions and add them to the pan, cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are how you like them
* I usually add water to help deglaze the pan because the potatoes tend to stick

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