So I found out that I am taking this Smart Start Program to the umpteenth level – I am going full force Whole30 (as a vegetarian, sticking to the no legumes/quinoa rule) and that is not required of me (proof in point: I was handed a box of Perfect Bars as part of the program as OK to eat as a snack. The first ingredient is peanut butter.)
But I enjoying being strict, paying attention to every bite I put in my mouth for the first few weeks. I am seeing habits and patterns that I have noticed, but never fully acknowledged contemplated or dealt with. For example, I never realized how much I snack off the baby’s food. If she doesn’t finish something, I just stick it in my mouth, mostly to free up my hands which are always full with her or things for her, but all that unconscious eating is surely adding up. So despite the loosening of the reins, I will continue to gallop forward chomping at the bit until I feel like I have mastered some control and consciousness. Besides the whole point I began this program was for me to reconnect with my good old friend Will Power to help me relight that self-control pilot light I have let flicker out over the years.
I finally went out with friends for a meal that I was going to eat – first time really trying to enjoy food not made by me. And this was after CrossFit so I was ravenous and would not settle for a salad with no protein or dressing. Luckily we have some healthy places here in LA LA Land and right around the corner from us. I was able to order a veggie scramble with no cheese, cooked in coconut oil (well they said they would), with a salad and yams on the size at Cafe Vida. It was a plate full of veggies with some eggs on the side.
But I realized how limited the selection was for me and how little, even at the healthiest of places, I could eat. If I ate meat, no problem, I could order bacon with a side of eggs anywhere. So I decided I needed to make brunch items more interesting for myself. I wanted bacon because it is one of the most common brunch items. I couldn’t eat my typical tempeh fakin because of the no legume/grain rule. So it was time for coconut bacon.
Yes, coconut bacon. A food item I discovered at Gracias Madre. For the omnivores out there, it’s not supposed to be bacon replacement. It’s coconut flakes cooked to give it that salty, sweet smoky bacon flavor that adds to the distinct taste of a food. You can buy them at Whole Foods or online here, but the packaged flakes had maple syrup and tamari on them, and all the recipes I found were the same (I recommend this one from Cookie + Kate if you are not Whole30 compliant).
Well that only meant that it was time for kitchen sorcery and recipe magic. I came up with one using coconut aminos. And because I did not want to use woodchips and smoke my coconut flakes, I used Colgin liquid smoke (I know probably not compliant, but something’s gotta give for this veghead, sigh). They taste great!
A great addition to scrambles and salads. I could imagine them on top of ripe banana frozen and pureed into an “ice cream”, or with a piece of chocolate.
I used them to top my kale veggie egg scramble. That hit the spot after a grueling workout.
I am eating a lot of eggs right now, as I don’t have many other sources for protein. I know that eggs are not a concern for cholesterol as once thought, but still the recommendation is about seven a week. I have definitely topped that, so I need to look into other sources of protein.
But in the meantime I will use what I have in the fridge to make my meals for the day.
I received a bunch of turnips in our CSA (community supported agriculture) box this week. I have used turnips to make root vegetable mashes in place of potatoes, so I thought, why not turnip fires? They are starchy, low in calories and carbohydrate. I peeled and cut them into fry like pieces, then coated them in ghee and a spice mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper and baked them at 400 degree F. They were very very tasty but soft and soggy – they are more watery in content than I expected so they did not crisp up as I hoped. I think I need to cut them smaller and shake them in a bag to evenly coat them with the fat and spice. I ate them with a very tasty salad topped with coconut bacon.
Why include it? Because I want to encourage you to use the food around you to think creatively. Discover new ways to eat common or unusual foods.
Let’s get to the recipes.
- 3 cups coconut flakes
- 3 Tbs coconut aminos
- 1 tsp salt (I used Himalayan pink)
- 1 date blended with water
- 2 1/2 Tbs liquid smoke
Mix all everything except the coconut together, add the coconut and coat evenly. spread evenly over parchment and bake at 350 degrees F for about 12-15 min, and let cool to crisp.
- 1 small garlic diced
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and shredded by hand
- 2 small carrots, evenly sliced
- 3 crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small zucchini sliced
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbs tumeric
- 1 large pinch cayenne
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp brown mustard seed
- salt and pepper to taste
Put a Tbs of ghee into a skillet and melt. Add the spices. Cook the spices until fragrant – about 30 sec-1 min. Add in eggs and scramble in the spices, about 3 min. Add in the mushrooms and cook another 2 min. Add in the rest of the veggies, salt and pepper, cover and cook for about 3-5 more min.
Serve and garnish with sprouts and coconut bacon.