In Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live book, he stresses that it’s import to Simplify, Simplify, Simplify! I couldn’t agree more. The best way to do that is to prepare as much food ahead of time as possible. The basics include having plenty of fresh fruit available for breakfast, salad with beans and more fruit for lunch, and another salad with cooked vegetables for dinner, along with a fruit dessert.
Before I get into what I cooked today, I thought it would be helpful to let you know what kind of equipment I have in my kitchen to make meal preparation as easy as possible, so here’s my list of the most basic kitchen essentials:
Kitchen Equipment: high speed blender (I use a Nutribullet), food processor (I have both a large and small version), hand blender/immersion blender, coffee grinder (for grinding flax seeds and spices, which can also be done in a Nutribullet), food scale, measuring cups and spoons, large and small good quality non-stick frying pan with lids(I have a large and small ScanPan – pretty expensive but worth its weight in gold as far as I’m concerned), large soup pot with lid, small and medium sauce pans with lids, Vidalia Chop Wizard (to easily dice veggies and fruits), steamer pot or basket, colander or strainer, wooden spoons, baking sheets, parchment paper
Now for the recipes. I find it helpful to have a large bowl of salad made ahead of time, as well as a large pot of soup and some cooked and seasoned beans. Although I sometimes cook oatmeal, amaranth or quinoa ahead of time to have ready to make breakfast, I usually make it fresh that morning. Here is what I cooked tonight to get ready to start the program tomorrow.
Basic Salad: 5 ounce bag of mixed greens (I used Trader Joe’s Herb Blend), 3 vine-ripened tomatoes (diced), 3 large carrots (sliced), 3 large celery stalks (sliced), 3 red bell peppers (diced), 6 green onions (sliced), 1 large English (seedless) cucumber (diced).
This makes a very large salad – about 6 good-sized portions. It fills a 5 quart mixing bowl. I scoop out as much as I want to eat and then add black beans or chickpeas, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, diced avocado, hemp seeds, and top it with vinegar dressing.
Vegetable & Bean Soup: 1½ sweet onions (diced), 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (diced), 1 pound white potatoes (diced), 2 large carrots (about 2 cups diced), 3 large celery stalks (about 2 cups diced), 1 can low-sodium pinto beans (washed and drained), 1 can low-sodium white beans (rinsed and drained), 1 6-ounce can tomato puree, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1 bay leaf, ½ teaspoon chili flakes, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 6 cups water, 6 large kale leaves (washed and thick center stem removed, cut into bite-size pieces).
To make the soup, place everything except the kale in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes until all vegetables are cooked. Then turn the heat off, add the kale and stir so all kale is submerged. Cover and let sit for 7 to 10 minutes until kale is cooked and bright green. To serve, add a SMALL pinch of salt.
How I Use Salt: Dr. Fuhrman discourages the use of salt (I highly recommend reading his Eat To Live book for the reasons why), but he says that if you are going to use it, DO NOT add it while food is cooking, as it gets absorbed and requires more to achieve the desired taste. Instead, add a small pinch of salt on top immediately before serving.
I actually keep a small dish on the counter with 1 teaspoon of salt in it. Throughout the WEEK, I use a pinch at a time to flavor dishes that need a little extra seasoning (like soup, cooked bean, stir fries, etc.). It takes me an entire week to go through that teaspoon of salt, and often there is extra left over at the end of the week. Use salt at your discretion. If you have high blood pressure or other health conditions that could be adversely affected by salt, don’t use it or consult your physician.
Curried Red Lentils with Carrots & Onions: 1 cup dried red lentils, 2½ cups water, ½ sweet onion (diced), 1 cup diced carrots, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala.
Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to simmer and cook 12 – 15 minutes until lentils and vegetables are cooked. To serve, add a small pinch of salt.
This has been a long day of preparation for me, and I had hoped to include more helpful hints in this post. But keep tuning in every day and I’ll eventually get all of the information out there.
In the meantime, tune back in tomorrow morning as I begin the Eat To Live Challenge! There’s a LOT more to come!