How To Turn Down Foods You’d Rather Not Eat

Yesterday my coworker brought some dessert thing made out of cereal covered in peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar.  It looked yummy and the coworker raved about how delicious it tasted (and how I should really try some), but I knew it in no way fit with my current eating choices.  Today a plate of beautiful brownies appeared in the kitchen, born on the triumphant hands of another co-worker, who encouraged us to dig in.  What do you do when in this kind of dilemma?  I vacillate between explaining the whole “I’m not eating processed foods right now” story and just eating a bit of what’s offered.  You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, but you also don’t want  to compromise your standards unnecessarily.  Is there some of kind of rule you can use to decide what to do?  And if you do decide to turn down goodies, what’s the best way to do so?

If you decide to turn down proffered foods, make sure the person knows you are turning down their food, not them.  Maybe a few compliments would help (“Not right now…. That looks delicious, though!  You are such a great cook!”).  You could just explain that you’re trying a new way of eating (and feel great, by the way, thanks), or you could choose less sharing and say that you’re really full from lunch, that it looks delicious and you’ll maybe have some later….  The great news is that once people start to know you as someone who cares about healthy eating, you might not have so many awkward turn-down moments.

Alternatively, sometimes you may feel that your diet principles aren’t worth hurting someone’s feelings.  This doesn’t mean you’re a health failure.  Just make sure the following isn’t true of you: you are using this as an excuse to compromise your standards, you care about saving face or avoiding awkward situations more than you care about your health, or you are being too hard on yourself in the first place (some lifestyle changes can benefit from transition phases).

How to Replace Eggs When Baking

courtesy of karmafreecooking.files.wordpress.com

Apparently I have become somewhat known at work for my healthy diet (or attempts at least).  Today someone let me know that there were some vegan muffins in the office.  “What does vegan mean?” they asked me, and when I told them that it meant no meat, dairy, or eggs, they wanted to know what is used in place of egg as a binder when baking.

What do you use anyway?  Well, there are actually quite a few options out there.  Some popular ones are applesauce, other fruits like mashed banana, and tofu (it won’t fluff, but it does have the right texture and can take on any taste).  You can also use flaxseeds and water.  I have never personally tried the flaxseed one, but it looks interesting and I really should.

One thing to consider when deciding on an egg replacement for a recipe that calls for eggs is what the egg was needed for anyway.  Is it binding, fluffiness, taste?

What eggs do:

Provide fluffiness in cakes

Moisten and bind in muffins and cookies

Provide consistency and flavor in quiches, omelets, fritata, etc.

In a savory recipe, things like mashed potatoes, oats, tomato paste, breadcrumbs, cornmeal and flour will help to bind and thicken your dish.  Below are some egg replacement “recipes” that you can experiment with.

General egg replacers:

  • 1 T whole flaxseeds (or 2 1/2 T ground) + 3 T water = 1 Egg  (let it gel before using or trying simmering the mixture to thicken)
  • 1 T plain agar + 1 T water = 1 Egg white  (whip, chill, and whip again)
  • 2 T water + 1 T oil + 2 tsp baking powder = 1 Egg

For desserts and sweets (add an extra 1/2 tsp. baking powder when using fruit substitutes because they will produce a heavier product):

  • 1/4 Cup mashed banana, applesauce, pureed pumpkin, prunes = 1 Egg

For relatively flat baking products, like pancakes (just to replace the moisture):

  • 1-2 T water = 1 Egg

When egg is the main ingredient (as in a quiche):

  • 1/4 Cup pureed soft tofu = 1 Egg

When you need a binder for a savory dish:

  • 2-3 T tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, mashed potatoes, or whole wheat flour = 1 Egg

E-mail me your favorite whole food vegan recipes that use egg replacer and I’ll add them to this page!

What Exactly is a Vegetarian? Vegan? Omnivore?

There are many different ways a person can be classified based on the types of foods they choose to eat.  It can get a little confusing, especially if you’re new on the scene.  The great thing is that there is a name for just about every type of diet choice, as new words are being coined with relative freedom.  While researching this topic, I found some that were even new to me.

I have a degree in biology.  I mention this because I’m thinking of one of my favorite parts of science classes where identifying the scientific name of a plant or animal is required-  using a dichotomous key.  It’s so much fun.  I made you a key for deciding which category you belong in so you can share in the fun. 🙂  Just answer the questions and follow the directions.  If you already know where you fit in, click here for eating style definitions.

  1. Do you choose to eat animal products?
    • If yes, go to #2
    • If no, go to #5
  2. Do you choose to eat red meat?
  3. Do you choose to eat either fish or chicken?
    • If yes, go to #4
    • If no, go to #5
  4. Do you choose to eat just fish, just chicken, or both?
  5. Do you choose to eat either milk or eggs?
    • If yes, go to #6
    • If no, go to #7
  6. Do you choose to eat just milk, just eggs, or both?
  7. Do you choose to eat cooked food?
  8. Do you choose to eat processed foods?
  9. Do you choose to eat either milk or eggs?
  10. Do you choose to eat processed foods?
    • If yes, you are Your Own Kind  🙂
    • If no, you are a Macrobiotic

I’ve probably forgotten some.  If you belong to a group of eaters that isn’t recognized here, feel free to let me know and I’ll correct my key!

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #2- Baby Poop Smoothie

I went shopping today for all the recipes I plan to make this week.  It definitely takes a little longer when you have to get certain stuff, especially when some of that certain stuff you’ve never actually bought before- like arugula.   Along the way I found some rhambutan, a cool spiky fruit I ate a lot the summer I went to the Philippines.  I bought a couple for my husband to try.

Rhambutan, inside and out

Tonight I made Smoothie #1.  Basically it has spinach, banana, carob powder, ground flaxseed, and mint leaves in it.  I had to substitute a baby salad mix for the baby spinach, simply because all the spinach in the store looked really really bad, like on the verge of being rotten.  I suppose we might not have noticed since we were just going to blend it, but I still didn’t get it.

My husband rated Smoothie #1 a 4 and I rated it a 6. I suppose that it might taste just a tad different if there had been more spinach and less of the other greens (you know how sometimes those salad mixes have some bitterish greens), but I thought it was pretty good.  We renamed it Baby Poop Smoothie because with the carob and greens mix it ends up being a nice greenish brown color 😛

Baby Poop Smoothie

Whenever we come across a recipe that gets a 8 rating or higher, I’ll post the whole recipe on here.  If anyone wants another recipe, I’ll be happy to e-mail it to you!

This next paragraph is sorta embarrassing, but I’ve decided to be as honest as possible here about my whole foods journey.  Hopefully seeing me fail and keep trying will serve as encouragement to at least someone.

Tonight I began cooking up some sauerkraut mushroom pierogies from the European foods store that we’ve had in the freezer for awhile.  There isn’t anything really objectionable in them, except that they’re made with white flour of course, but as I was cooking them I began to realize more and more that this definitely isn’t a whole food (duh, right?) and I probably shouldn’t eat them.  Also, they fell apart in the pan.  I thought they weren’t done yet because they weren’t floating, but they were actually stuck to the bottom and then they just fell apart….  Anyway, I ate a few but was disappointed in both the taste and my own failure to stick to whole foods today (My husband, meanwhile, is eating them with A1 sauce and loving them).

I think I’ve realized that I’m going to have to crank out more than one recipe in a day since some of them are just, well, smoothies like today.  Either that or I’ll have to plan to supplement this menu with other dishes.