This morning, I awoke before my alarm, padding out into the soft morning light. The Christmas tree still sat in the corner, unlit, both of us not yet wanting to take it down. Every year, I get a little "blue" after the holidays, saying goodbye to my parents and letting that natural high from the build-up of Christmas, the movies, the food, the music, the lights, the family and friend gatherings, the parties, the gift-buying and giving swiftly fade away into the returning to-do lists and that dreaded six-letter word of reality: Monday.
Deciding to start the week off right, I made buckwheat pancakes this morning, packed full of flax, hemp and carob powder, along with a giant cup of coffee. I've realized that coffee has become my single vice, and while with every cup, I realize I am attacking my adrenal system - stressing my body and creating energy it doesn't readily have, so that I will most likely pay for it later by becoming tired - I don't really care. There's something about pouring the hot, thick liquid into a fine white cup; something about drinking it by the window and staring at that soft layer of snow still evident on the tables, chairs, and the wooden planks of our balcony, that is timeless to me. Coffee=comfort. Coffee=morning. Coffee=awesomeness. So no matter how "healthy" I become on my vegan journey, that one solitary cup of coffee will remain, I'm afraid.
After a decent workout, we had a VEGA shake (a true whole foods supplement, again full of EFAs, chlorella, maca, and a million other goodies), blended with fresh spinach, banana, kiwi, goji berry juice and 1/2 a grapefruit.
Then, off to Whole Foods for a massive shopping trip, where we both had a salad from the salad bar (not always my first choice, but I can't ever go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If so, we end up with a gallon jar of peanut butter, waffles, cereals and desserts. Never shop when you're hungry!) We stocked our cardboard containers full of romaine, kale, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, red quinoa, pumpkin seeds, red onions, parsley, ginger and many other raw foods.
As we munched, Alex was talking about vegetables. "It's funny how plants don't have arms and legs to defend themselves, so they have to in turn be able to defend themselves internally." (He didn't say it that formally, but I can't exactly remember what he said... so you get the point.) And indeed they do. Plants are amazing. They have amazing fighting and survival capabilities, as they go through photosynthesis are packed full of chlorophyll, vitamins and enzymes. Every time you eat a plant-based food in its natural form, you are getting all of these defense mechanisms that immediately start going to work in your body - attacking free radicals, eliminating toxins and stocking your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
We feel tired because we eat nutritionally devoid food (i.e. processed foods) and we are asking our body to break down food that has no nutrition; therefore, our bodies have to work hard and you get tired. Digestion can be hard on the body. When we give it natural plant based foods, though, digestion is easy. Energy sky rockets. It just takes a bit of an attitude adjustment and a palate adjustment. But, the rewards are astounding. I've found that just by incorporating a healthy shake or a salad to your diet can work wonders. Start slowly and keep adding whole foods.
Back home to the little pup, unloading and getting back to the minutiae of the day, I find myself nestled in front of the computer, the sun leaking through the window. Alex works on websites and graphic design projects in the other room, and I, having finally finished my book (set to release by Adams Media in June!), find myself working on a giant to-do list that has nearly been forgotten about over the holiday.
Rising for a snack, I look at my new kitchen aid mixer, so excited to bake later this afternoon (all gifts for other people, of course. I am trying to not eat cake, even though I love cake possibly more than coffee). I think about dinner, and am anticipating the yam oven fries and almond burgers we will eat with green soup.
But, for you, for now, I want to share a recipe for quinoa cakes, a delicious, hearty snack that is packed with flavor and has 6 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein per serving. The fiber, protein and complex carbs will help you stave off those holiday blues, as well as the ground flaxseeds, which boast the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid, a healthy fat that is especially good at lowering inflammation and helping keep you clear-headed for all the New Year's resolutions you have to set for this week.
Happy Monday, everyone!
1 cup dry quinoa
1 tsp. hemp or olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. ground flaxseeds mixed with 6 tbs. water (this is an egg substitute)
1/2 cup whole grain flour
1 tbs. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook quinoa according package directions (make sure to rinse first). Heat oil in a skillet and saute onions, carrots, red pepper and garlic for around 8 minutes. Place veggies in a large mixing bowl to cool. Add cooked quinoa and all remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
Use clean hands to roll the mixture into small balls, placing each one on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to press the balls into patties. Bake for around 15 minutes per side!