Saturday, September 22, 2012

Eating Better: Breakfast Edition

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I'm trying to eat better.  Lower fat, fewer processed grains and sugar, many more veggies.

To start with, instead of my usual carbalicious weekend breakfasts, or instead of just skipping breakfast like I usually do and going straight to lunch foods, I made myself some scrambled-tofu, and I didn't even have it with toast like I normally would have.  I'd been to the farmers market and I had fresh sweet corn that I cut off the cob and some spinach and an onion, so I made the Tofu Scramble in The Happy Herbivore.  I still couldn't bring myself to cook the veggies in water and then DRAIN them, though.  So, frankly, I cooked them with the residual oil left in my cast-iron skillet and added just a tiny bit of water.  In the future, though, I'm going to make some veggie broth and and freeze it in ice tray cubes and use the cubes of broth for sauteing veggies instead of oil.
Scrambled tofu with onion, garlic, spinach, and sweet corn
Can I just say?  What an enjoyable breakfast!  I'd been eating the sweet corn raw off the cob unadorned for days, ever since these cute young organic farmer guys gave me a sample at one of the farmer's markets, and I'd taken a great deal of pleasure from eating it.  But cut off and put into the scramble?  Man, it just gave it an oomph like I've never gotten from a tofu scramble.  I didn't even drown it in sriracha for once.  I basically followed Lindsay S. Nixon's recipe except that I greatly reduced the cumin.  I almost always greatly reduce cumin, but especially in tofu scrambles.  Also, I didn't put onion powder or garlic powder into it, opting instead for, you know, onion and garlic.  Hmmm, I guess I actually didn't follow the recipe that closely. 

During the week for breakfast, I've been juicing.  I know, hardcore, right?  I've had this juicer since this past Christmas.  My ex-boyfriend gave it to me, and after we broke up, I considered smashing that juicer a few times, I really did.  Luckily, it survived unsmashed, because now I'm finally using it every day. 
It's much easier to eat raw veggies when they're in liquid form and all mixed together with some fruit, in my opinion.  I struggle to eat salads sometimes.  I dislike many dressings, and I never really make my own dressing like I should.  And dressings are not really healthy anyway.  This is not to say I've given up salads--I haven't.  I'm eating one every day recently.  But I definitely need to figure out how I can make them more enjoyable.  Juices, on the other hand, are easily enjoyed!
Here is what all this particular juice contained: some kale, collard greens (which do not seem to be visible in the picture), a handful of parsley, three carrots, an apple, and half of a pepper.  You guys know I cook from books, so I'll be honest.  I didn't come up with this mix, it came from The Complete Book of Juicing: Your Delicious Guide to Youthful Vitality, which I bought for myself after I received my juicer this past December. 
Tips for juicing!  You want some?  Cool, here's what I've learned so far.

  1. Put the greens in first, followed by not-leafy stuff.  The not-leafy stuff seems to come out more green after the leaves have been put through, which means some more of that green juice is coming out as a result of having been put in first.
  2. Roll your leafy greens into a big mass of greens, like a snowball, and PUSH them through your juicer with the pusher lid thing.  Don't just let them fall.  More juice seems to come out this way if the greens cannot escape by falling onto those swiftly rotating blades all haphazard-like. 
  3. You need not peel carrots!  But you can, especially if you're really sensitive about wanting this to taste extra-delicious.  At first I peeled mine, but then I stopped.  Same with the hard stems from the greens.  It makes it taste a little better not to have those things, but it really doesn't bother me to include them.
  4. Washing!  It's super-important to wash your leafy greens really well.  You are going to eat them raw!  Raw greens can equal bacteria awfulness like salmonella.  I intend to avoid salmonella for as long as possible, personally.  So I wash everything really well with a fruit and veggie wash, sort of like FIT, but actually I've been using this one made by a natural/organic company called Celedon Road that my friend Kate hawks wares for. 
  5. Prep and clean-up!  Yeah, OK, this all involves some prep.  I've been drinking my juice in the morning and if I was trying to wash everything in the morning, well, I just wouldn't do it.  So I prep exactly what I'm going to juice the night before, and I put it all into one of those plastic baggies that you get from grocery stores to hold your produce.  I don't know about you, but I habitually retain and reuse those baggies for everything.  Free baggies, folks, don't waste 'em!  And clean up.  My Breville juicer is really easy to clean.  The trick is, you must do it right after you drink the juice.  Don't let it sit and dry out.  Just rinse it off entirely right after using it. 

The only other juicing advice I have right now, I guess, is that while it is nice to get organic veggies, that may not be possible for you.  It's not very possible for me.  The fact is, I want to eat veggies, not junk, and in order to afford it, I am going to buy it as cheaply as possible.   I bicycle through the Strip District every day on my way to work, so it's really easy for me to stop at Stan's Market and buy a pound of carrots for $0.79 or three peppers for $1.68 or whatever.  So I do.  I stop there every few days.  They recognize me there!  It would be so awesome if I could buy organic, and I'd love fewer pesticides, but currently, I take what I can get and wash everything as well as I can and hope the micronutrients will prevent cancer.

I have one more delightful breakfast item for you.  It's an Apple Pie Smoothie from the book Practically Raw, which I am so happy I bought, because I love it so far.
Yummy!  The blue you see is part of my wine glasses, not mold or anything.  The only problem with this was that I had the worst blender ever!  It was given to me for free and never worked.  All it ever did was get everything put in there to hang out against the walls of the blender while the blade turned, unimpeded by stupid FOOD.  So, I made this with my food processor, which also isn't particularly amazing, and is not ideal.  However, since then, my friend Mary gave me a blender that her aunt was selling at an estate sale!  I can't wait to try it.  And I shall.  I think it's clear that I'm on the road to green smoothies here.

I cannot believe I'm becoming one of those people, with the health food, and the juicing, and the RUNNING.  Did I mention I've taken up running?  I can't believe it either.  It's like, do you remember in the show Parks and Recreation when Anne tells Chris that when she was dating him, she found herself doing things she never expected to do, like jogging?  And Chris says, "Jogging is amazing!"  And Anne says, "Jogging is the worst, Chris!  I mean, it keeps you healthy, but at what cost?"  Well, I was always more like Anne before, but now that I'm living in a Chris kind of way, I find myself having his style of energy more and more, and wanting to do things like run.  So I have been.  I know.  WTF.


  1. Oh god, having a juicer is a wonderful thing, something to be savored. And with salads, it really is all about the dressing, or else they're just boring. Homemade dressings are so easy, and can be really healthy! One of my favorites is a tomato-basil dressing, or anything tahini-based. It is a high-fat food, but it's a whole food and dressings are served in small amounts, so there's that.

    Good luck with the running, I always try to get in the habit and then fail, ha ha! Maybe I'll try again soon. :)

    1. I'm definitely going to start making dressings more soon. My friend Kate turned me on to these recipes here that use chia seeds as a base, which I think is brilliant since it gets thick just by adding moisture without using a lot of fat. Kate turns me on to all the things that used to sound too healthy for me.

      The running I've been doing somewhat lazily, using one of those phone aps that tell you when to stop and start running and has you doing, like, intervals to start with and builds you up to running more. It's only 1/2 hour, so it's not, like, a giant committment. So far, I haven't struggled with it. It's certainly no more difficult than my uphill bicycle ride home from work every day.

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