A New Way of Eating

Eating the way my wife, Holly, and I do is strange. I can’t find cookbooks, recipes, or websites that truly capture our healthful eating style, probably because it is so boring.  I love what we eat, but put my recipes against a buttery cheesecake, and see what you want to make. I have found some Vegan, Clean, and Paleo recipes that get close, but a lot of what I find has to be modified for fat, sugar, and calories. Also, EVERYTHING I make gets weighed, measured, and calculated for calories at a minimum and more often protein, fat, and sugar too. Most recipes don’t go into that level of detail.

Holly and I thought someone might be interested in seeing how I cook and what we eat. Like Holly’s mom. And maybe some friends. And hopefully someone else might find an interesting recipe or technique here.

I’ve been trying to think of a condensed way to define this diet. What it comes down to is eating whole grains, lean meat, a lot of vegetables and fruits, almost no added sugar, a little dairy, and good fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocado. This is how we eat 99% percent of the time. The other 1% is for the occasional dessert, pizza, etc. However, we don’t eat anything considered junk food or highly processed, so no McDonald’s, Krispy Kreme, packaged cookies, packaged bread, except maybe on a very rare occasion at a party.

Making the transition took time and adjustment because those foods are good and very addictive.  We found, though, that once we had moved away from that diet, eating something processed made us feel ill for days. We wouldn’t have energy to work out, and we would be wildly hungry.  It sucked.  

We also found that our taste buds changed, so the food we ate tasted better. For example, one day Holly was eating raw almonds and said for the first time ever, she could taste the essence of almond you taste in almond extract. Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots all had more interest and complexity. Brown rice tasted nutty and mildly sweet. 

On the flip side, processed food smelled bad, like chemicals with cloying sweetness. The bagged bread aisle was especially offensive. At one point, I smelled Krispy Kreme and where before it smelled like heaven, it just smelled artificial and unappealing. So, not eating that stuff became easy.

Still, it took months for us to get there, so unless you have a medical need to change everything overnight, I suggest making the gradual transition, as long as you make changes everyday.

How about a recipe? First and foremost, you will need a digital scale. You will also need to fall in love with math and reading labels to calculate calories. I’m starting with a breakfast staple, Vegan Whole Wheat Oat Quick Bread. This started as an attempt of a no added fat biscuit. You can make a sandwich muffin or pancakes by adjusting the liquid measurement, so it’s easy.

  • 90 grams whole wheat flour
  • 30 grams oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 ounces unsweetened vanilla almond milk (×2 for pancakes)
  • 100 grams puree of carrot, pumpkin, or sweet potato (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp. monkfruit extract (for pancakes, optional)
  • for pancakes, you can add 90 grams of fruit like blueberries,  blackberries,  etc.
  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add almond milk and blend.
  3. Add puree and blend until fully mixed.
  4. To make sandwich muffins, spray hands with cooking spray and shape into 4 discs.  Cook on medium low  griddle until brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip.  Cook until brown, another 3 minutes or so.  Remove from pan and finish by baking at 350 F for 10 minutes. Slice in half and serve.
  5. To make pancakes, cook on medium griddle until brown, about 4 minutes.  Gently flip, and cook another 3 minutes. 
  6. The base recipe has 109 calories per muffin, 113 calories per pancake.  If you add pumpkin puree, the pancakes will be 121 per muffin, 125 per pancake.  

To give you an idea of what to expect,  here is the pancakes batter, with pumpkin puree, before I added cherries.

    photo of whole wheat oatmeal pancake batter in silver bowl with silver whisk in the batter
    no complicated folding or blending, just whisk together

    In the skillet, now with plump, amazing cherries.

    photo of vegan whole wheat oatmeal pancake with cherries in dark, cast iron pan, before it is flipped, a few bubbles show on top of pancake
    look for slight browning and drying around the edges, then flip
      Photo of lightly browned vegan, whole grain pancake with cherries in a skillet
      vegan, whole grain, low calorie, and no added sugar!

      For reference, here is the dough for the sandwich muffins. Remember,  the only difference between the muffins and pancakes is the amount of almond milk.

      Photo of whole wheat oat sandwich muffin dough in silver bowl with yellow spatula
      I made this one with sweet potato, but you don’t really notice the flavor, so it is a good way to sneak vegetables into meals for picky eaters.

      The cooked sandwich muffins look like this. I guess you could also call these griddle cakes. They are a staple around here for breakfast, served with lowfat sausage.

      Photo of golden brown whole wheat oat sandwich muffin on griddle
      Perfect for breakfast sandwiches or hamburger buns!
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