Whew! It’s been a while since I posted something legit about food here. The truth is, I genuinely love food, but I have this weird relationship with it. I’ve learned that I like real food, not the fake, chemically-derived, food-pretenders that seem to hang out all around me. And yet, that chemically-derived yuck is actually pretty tasty. Like, I could go for a hundred Marcos’ pizzas right now, you guys.
Anyway…I’ve been seeing a lot of my dermatologist these days. Turns out years of tanorexia have left me with some pretty awful souvenirs. And while I’ve seen her, I asked for her help with plaque psoriasis on my scalp (which is tantamount to torture) and the usual blemishes around my hairline, and it turns out those minor complaints that I’ve had over the last few years are **shocking!** fixable with the right diet. Let me say my dermo is NOT a naturopath- I heard her talking to the kid before me about Accutane, and I’m pretty sure she woulda been perfectly cool shooting me up with some Restylane if I’d asked her. However, maybe because I was wearing my “Peace Love Homebirth” shirt on our first appointment, or maybe because I look soooooo earth-mama (*sarcasm*), she suggested an anti-inflammatory diet to me before suggesting any medication. Because apparently anti-inflammatory drugs and foods will help with hormonal issues, asthma, skin, and digestive trouble. I’ve always gone on and off steroids for those issues in the past, and I knew long-term steroid use wasn’t good, but I’d never actually been advised by a doctor of an anti-inflammatory diet as an alternative to steroids. Her notes: “get the hell off dairy, like, yesterday,” and “really look at healthy oils like fish oil and EVOO, and include lots of nuts, mushrooms, and green leafy veggies in your diet.” The second part I could totally get with. Like, this woman couldn’t have been a better match for me if we’d met online. But… give up dairy??? Lady, do you know that’s all I have left to live for???
Well, I’ve been working on it. And you know what? It’s actually been pretty good. Not “I just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro without oxygen” good; more like “I just navigated a three-point turn without crashing” good. I’ll admit though, coming up with genuinely vegan meals that I actually like, let alone that my kiddos will like, has not exactly been stellar. The only way I’ve actually survived up to this point is with a roadmap. So here’s the guide I follow to help me navigate meal planning each week:
- Monday: Taco night- which really just means something encased in a tortilla. Sometimes it’s fajitas. This week it was bean and pepper enchiladas, with the best homemade non-MSG containing enchilada sauce you’ve ever tasted. Friends, if you don’t follow Gimme Some Oven you’re missing out. The sauce recipe is through the link. I add the juice of a lime and chipotle chili powder. It’s the BEST.
- Tuesday: Noodles- sometimes this is spaghetti; tonight it’s Soba Noodles. Totally delish.
- Wednesday: Church supper, so we take a break from clean eating. It’s fellowship for the Lord, people.
- Thursday: Rice night- again, sometimes that’s yellow rice (with real saffron!), sometimes it’s dirty rice, sometimes it’s Spanish rice. This week it’s another stir fry because I have a ton of peppers and bok choy.
- Friday: Tuna noodle casserole. I’ll admit I’m without a clue on this one. It’s a family fave, so it has to stay for the hubs and troop. Maybe I’ll do a salad. Or eventually come up with a non-dairy alternative, like a quinoa couscous tuna bowl in a zingy asian dressing. Or maybe I’ll just have one cheat-day a week because my tuna noodle is the cat’s pajamas.
- Saturday: Family pizza/flatbread night
- Sunday: Soup and salad/sandwich day (which means chili!)
Super easy, yeah? I can always come up with something that fits into these guidelines. Now I just have to cut out cheese. And butter. And heavy cream. **Sigh**
But here’s why it’s worth it:
I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat that, right??? If you don’t call it vegan, I bet a bunch of men wouldn’t even realize they were eating chick food. Here’s how easy it is:
- Saute your veggies (like as much as you want of whatever you have on-hand- I did broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and green onions) in EVOO and pressed garlic, saving any greens for the very end.
- Cook up Buckwheat Soba Noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Add sauce to veggies and reduce by 1/3 (I use 1/2 c. Tamari organic reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 c. white wine, 1 tsp. shaved fresh ginger, and 2 Tbsp raw honey)
- Throw your noodles in and add chopped greens (Bok choy for me, but kale, collards, or spinach work fine). Toss till greens are wilted and remove from heat. Easy peasy!
It’s literally a 10 minute meal and it is AMAZING. Even my little troop will eat this. And it’s vegan-friendly. Now I just have to figure out how to make the rest of it work that way… Here’s to a clear scalp, clear skin, and less flare-ups with asthma, sinus issues, and hormonal drama (just don’t expect to see before and after pics. I’m doing this for free, people).