1,000 Cheap Plant-Based Meals You Can Make in 15 Minutes

veggie wrap 1I’m about to tell you exactly how I eat. Simply, inexpensively, and with endless variety.

Except for salad dressings, I use few recipes. (And even those, I take liberties with!) The first few years in your journey to a whole-foods, plant-based diet, you follow a lot of recipes. (Longtime raw foodies call this “transitional eating.”) It’s normal. In fact, it’s an important phase. It’s instructive, as you experiment with whole foods and ingredients.

You spend a lot of time. Then eating starts to get much easier and simpler. You have many tricks up your sleeve. You are resourceful. Missing an ingredient or two is no problem.

The key to my method is, don’t stress about it. You can’t mess this up! Eating this way is cheap, and it’s also a great way to use a hodgepodge of random plant foods or leftovers in your fridge.

Be inventive and never get stuck in a rut–anything in the produce section fits in this way of eating. I virtually never add salt (even sea salt) to my food. Many of these fillings and sauces have so much flavor, you won’t miss added salt.

Start with a base, add one or more toppings or fillings, and play with sauces or spices. I hope this helps you enjoy the magical world of eating greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds–the nutrient-dense plant kingdom of food!

 

BASE:

Bowl: brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet, lentils, split peas

Salad: romaine, spring greens, bean sprouts, or other sprouts

Wrap: sprouted grain tortilla, collard leaf, organic corn tortillas, nori (seaweed for sushi)

Noodles: spiralized yellow squash or zucchini, gluten-free whole-grain pasta, kelp noodles

 

Brown rice peas freeeFILLINGS / TOPPINGS:

Choose one or more of the following that you have on hand:

Lentils (with taco seasoning), any beans (seasoned however you like), or split peas (thick, day-old split pea soup is good!)

Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa (seasoned however you like

Hummus or baba ganoush (eggplant) spread

Sautéed vegetables (with fajita seasoning): think peppers, onions, tomatoes, parsnips, carrots, turnips

Raw vegetables: think jicama, tomatoes, any sprouts, matchstick carrots or other root vegetables, scallions

Olives of any kind, or olive tapenade

Tahini (sesame seed paste)

Avocados, sliced or mashed

Pumpkin, sunflower, or sesame seeds

Walnuts, pine nuts, sliced almonds, or chopped walnuts or pecans

 

pesto freeSAUCES AND SPICES:

Any salad dressing at all from Ch. 3 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods! They all work! Mix and match, at will!

Salsa of any kind

Pesto sauce (see 12 Steps recipe)

Mustard or Vegannaise

Sauces for Chinese, Thai, Mexican foods (avoid MSG, corn syrup, and other chemical ingredients–these are very inferior to all Ch. 3 dressings)

Have Indian, Italian, Thai, and Mexican organic spice blends on hand.

Always have ginger, turmeric, chili pepper, cayenne, dried parsley, and garlic powder, too. (I avoid pepper, as it is a gastrointestinal irritant.)A few dashes of whatever you feel like, to any of the above, and you’ve completely changed the flavor of the meal, plus added some nutrition!

You can toss into your fillings raw apple cider vinegar or miso (non-GMO) for flavoring.

Pudding candy?

puddingcandy
“Pudding Candy”

Our reader Britni wrote us:

This picture was affectionately named “pudding candy” by my 5 & 3yr old children. I just saw your blog post about the bowl of candy.I used to love all of the candies in that bowl, and peanut butter cups as well. Here’s what I do now, instead, since I’ve learned to love whole foods!

The mixture below is a spoonful of natural peanut butter next to a spoonful of “pudding”. The pudding is made from

Avocados, organic raw agave, organic raw cacao, organic cold pressed coconut oil, and vanilla. Then I added a scoop of vanilla GSG protein and a scoop of GSG Chocolate Green Light.

It’s a delicious treat that satisfies my kids’ sweet tooth.

Yum!

Robyn’s answer to a famous doctor’s anti-green-smoothie claim

green smoothiestraw berries (1)Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic is a hero of mine. Former President Bill Clinton cites Dr. Esselstyn, a proponent of a plant-based diet as a solution to cardiac problems, as one of his inspirations to go vegetarian. As you know, President Clinton was triple-bypass survivor who gave up fried foods and hamburgers to “never eat anything with a mother.”

Although I don’t specifically advocate for vegetarianism, I’m supportive of Dr. Esselstyn’s plant-based diet, and none of my recipes in my own 14 books have meat in them. It’s not that I don’t think you can be very healthy eating an entirely plant-based diet. I also think you can be healthy eating reasonable amounts of organic, free range, or wild caught animal flesh. The reason my recipes don’t have animals in them is that you already know how to eat meat—I don’t need to provide you those recipes, because you already have them. We have no lack of knowledge about how to prepare meat, in our culture. My goal is to help you eat more plants—easily, inexpensively, and deliciously.

Dr. Esselstyn argues that green smoothies should be avoided, because their fiber is pureed, destroying helpful properties.

In my research published in The Green Smoothies Diet, one of the top 3 health benefits my 175 participants reported, is improved digestion. We defined that as soft, formed stool, and increased throughput. I cannot find any evidence that fiber is “destroyed” just because we blend it. With all due respect to Dr. Esselstyn—he and I are on the same team, teaching people whole plant foods!—green smoothies are a fantastic way, in a fast-food world, to massively increase consumption of greens, and plant foods in general. I’ve found that while most people won’t sit and plod their way through a plate of kale, chard, and collard greens, they will almost always drink a green smoothie.

Esselstyn also says that fructose in the fruit contributes to inflammation and hypertension.

green-smoothies-diet-book-720x720On the contrary, lots of evidence, including numbers from many GSG Detox participants (we’ve had several thousand since August, 2013) are that inflammation and hypertension often decrease by eating high-fiber, raw plant foods, rather than the many animal foods and processed foods dominating the Standard American Diet.

I just read all of the questionnaires from the past month of people completing the Detox, and one included a participant’s blood pressure dropping into beautiful normal numbers and his cardiologist taking him off meds, after only a week on the Detox. He remains in the low-normal range after completing the program. (While this is an interesting story, it is not intended as advice, so please seek competent medical advice for your own health concerns. Getting off meds should be supervised by a doctor.)

Victoria Boutenko’s research published in Green for Life, with 30 people who started drinking a quart of green smoothie daily, showed that blood pressure decreased and inflammation did, too. Perhaps Dr. Esselstyn’s claim is related to eating concentrated fructose and other sugars (like in corn syrup and agave), rather than the whole fruit, with fiber and micro-nutrients, accompanied by lots of greens in the smoothies I teach.

I calculated how much fiber is in a quart of green smoothie, and it’s about 12 grams. That’s more than the average American eats in a whole day!

Of course, if you make a fruit smoothie with a handful of greens thrown in, that’s not what I call a green smoothie. I agree with Dr. Esselstyn that fruits should be minimized. I don’t agree that fruits need to be eliminated (perhaps except for some Type 1 diabetics or very rare conditions).

I like my smoothies to be REALLY GREEN. I’m not drinking them for entertainment, after all—I’m drinking them for the health benefits. I also love to put a scoop of GreenSmoothieGirl protein, and also our TriOmega (it’s back!)–sprouted broccoli, chia, and flax seed, for their high essential fatty acid content.

shutterstock_216030343Lots of folks have major jaw and dental problems in North America and Europe, after several generations of eating so much processed food. (Prehistoric man had a wide, strong palate and teeth that could grind up nuts, greens, berries, and meat easily.) With these challenges, a pre-masticated green smoothie may be just the ticket. I love Dr. Esselstyn’s work, but I stand by my premise:

A quart of green smoothie a day increases micro-nutrients in the diet by 700% compared to the average American. And that’s almost categorically a good thing.

See my YouTube video HERE for more about the Great Green Smoothie Debate.

A Healthy Gingerbread House?

holiday houseSo much of what happens at the holidays is beautiful, and creative and fun–and brings us down, after we eat it, susceptible to colds and flu, and lower energetically.

I started the GSG Detox early, on Dec. 27, due to my upcoming travel schedule. The live event starts Jan. 5! I eat healthier than 99% even during the holidays, but gosh, this year, so many parties, and so much temptation! (I still have four parties and business dinners in 2 weeks, even starting AFTER Christmas!)

What indulging I DID do, changed my energies. And after 36 hours on the detox, I texted my buddy, Melinda–always do the program with someone, for support and sharing the work–and said, “I feel like ME again!” She wrote back and said, “Me too! I woke up after 6 hours feeling awesome!” She lost 4 pounds in the first two days. WE LOVE THE GSG DETOX and hope you participate with us!

I was delighted to see this posted on my facebook page, from Village Green Network. Who says doing something yummy and fun, together as a family, can’t be good for you, too?

15 Ways I Optimize Health and Energy Every Day—Besides Good Food! (part 1 of 4)

Optimize your healthAt our Paracelsus retreat in Switzerland (I miss those lovely people who came, already!), we had a few evening seminars where I and Dr. Jared Nielsen (from Utah) spoke on a variety of topics. I asked those who attended to write down their questions. One was, “Besides good nutrition, what do you do to stay healthy?”

What a great question! I’m going to answer it in my next few blogs. I am nearing 47 years old, and I have strong energy from early, until late, virtually 100% of the time, with no symptoms or diagnoses except some mild anxiety sometimes, and some dental issues resulting from my poor habits early in life.

I do not believe that this situation is due to luck, nor is it explained by good heredity. Twenty years ago, I was in terrible health, with two dozen diagnoses, when I made radically different daily choices. I had a number of strikes against me, starting with a childhood where I was not breastfed, and then was on frequent antibiotics.

And my heredity isn’t particularly great either—cancer on one side, Alzheimer’s disease on the other. Nor is is just short-term luck, as my excellent health has been a fact for many years, since I began safeguarding it. Even through some very stressful life events.

Eat a healthy plant based diet most of the time.
Eat a healthy plant based diet most of the time.

Of course what we talk about most, on this blog, is the critical role a consistent, three-meals-a-day healthy diet is. Whole, plant-based, clean food is the bulk (90-95%) of what I eat. Yes, I eat “play foods,” too. I make sure they’re kept to 5 percent of the diet—maybe 10 percent on vacations. My core value, when it comes to food, is to be disciplined, without being obsessive.

And I truly believe that diet is one of two foundations. (The other is good emotional health and maturity.) It is inescapable that one is highly unlikely to be truly healthy, long-term, without focusing on it: learning and practicing principles of eating clean, high-vibration foods.

game-changerBut there is much more that I do, besides eat good food. I think that the things I’m about to explain are common practices, too, from my observations of people late in life who are in optimal health—compared to most of their peers whose main focus in life is surviving their many disease states.

The things on this list don’t even take much time, most of them, and many of them can be done while doing the dishes or driving in the car. Many of them are more about emotional than physical health—but is there any differentiating them, really?

Both my academic training, and my life experience, tells me that these 15 things are game-changers. Every single one is important. My next three posts will reveal all of them.

 

More Treat recipes from the GSG Coaches’ Retreat!

Here are two more super-yummy treats Melinda made for the coaches’ retreat that I think you’ll love!

 

Key lime trufflesKey Lime Truffles

1 c cashews

8 large pitted dates, chopped small

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/4 c unsweetened coconut

1/4 c hemp seeds

juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

1/4 c water

Toast coconut under broiler just until edges are browned (watch carefully). Blend cashews into flour in turbo blender. Add coconut and hemp seed.  Add dates, vanilla, lime juice, zest, and water.  Blend until you achieve dough consistency. Roll. into 1 inch balls (they may be sticky, and if so, you can refrigerate for 30 mins before rolling). Roll in toasted coconut and refrigerate a few hours before serving.

amareto Fudge Truffles

1 c almonds, refrigerated (to achieve flour consistency more easily)

16 large pitted dates, chopped small

1/3 c cacao powder

1/2 tsp almond extract

Blend almonds into flour in turbo blender. Add all ingredients and process until dough consistency is achieved. Refrigerate for 15-30 mins if dough is sticky. Roll into balls. Optionally, you can roll in shredded coconut. Refrigerate  until ready to serve.