Good morning! I want to start off by thanking all of you who have commented here or e-mailed me in the past week regarding our discussion about using sweeteners (posts are here and here). It has ended up being a really big issue for me and has made me think a lot more about where I am in my healthy habits. I was awake in the middle of the night pondering this issue (I so wish my brain would wait until the morning to do this type of analysis) and realized that the issue for me isn’t so much whether to choose between using dates or sweeteners, but whether I should be using either at all. The bottom line for me is that I absolutely do have a propensity toward sugar addiction and using any concentrated sweetener, natural or not, is only driving those cravings. Damn.
So here is what I have decided for now. I will stop drinking green smoothies and replace them with fresh fruit and other non-sweet foods (like a tofu scramble for breakfast or something of the sort). This is not to say that I think green smoothies are unhealthy, but it is a problem for me that I cannot
drink enjoy them without making them really, really sweet. My hope is that if I stop drinking them for awhile, then maybe my tastebuds will adjust where I can enjoy a smoothie blended with frozen fruit and some greens, but no dates or sweeteners.
Thank you again for everyone who has helped me get to this point! At the heart of all my food decisions is my health. I looked up my fasting glucose level from my physical last year when my diet was fairly similar to what it is now and it was 89 which is in a normal range but it could be lower. In fact, I’ve heard that somewhere closer to 80 is ideal (I haven’t done a lot of research on this so don’t quote me on that). I don’t know if that has anything to do with sugar addiction, but I think it could only help me to reduce my intake of concentrated sweeteners. It also scares me that even non-nutritive sweeteners can have an effect on insulin secretion (again, I haven’t done a lot of research on this but I think it is a possibility). My dad who died in early January had unregulated diabetes which is likely what killed him. I know for certain he was addicted to sugar.
Wow, this is heavy stuff for a Saturday! I’m not saying that I will never ever use sweeteners or dates again, but I think it’s time to try living life without them for awhile. I will keep you updated on my progress.
Since I promised an ETL-friendly recipe after the chocolate mousse one I posted yesterday, I wanted to share my experience using two new-to-me green veggies! One is called joi choy and one is called broccoli rapine (I found both at the farmers’ market). I’m not exactly sure how joi choy is different than bok choy, but it looked a lot greener to me than regular bok choy (plus I just love the name joi choy, it sounds so happy!):
The rapini is a type of broccoli and looks like this:
I wasn’t quite sure which part of the rapini was edible, so I cut off the bottom 1/3 of the stems and ate mainly the leaves plus some stems.
While the veggies were the star of this dish, I also used an onion, cooked quinoa, tomatoes, spices and an amazing creamy dill sauce (see recipe below).
I used my usual technique of water-sauteeing the veggies in a large pot:
I then piled in the beans and greens and let them wilt:
The last step is to stir in the quinoa and dill sauce:
This was a HIT, I loved the different flavors and both of the green veggies are surprisingly mild. Here’s the recipe:
Dill-Creamed Veggies & Quinoa Stew – Makes 6 servings
1 bunch bok choy or joi choy, washed
1 bunch broccoli rapini, washed with bottom 1/3 of stems cut off and discarded (or saved for juicing later!)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chickpeas
3 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon each curry and oregano
2-4 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill (optional, for topping)
Bring a few tablespoons of water to boil in a large pot. Add onions and water-saute for a few minutes on medium heat or until soft. Add tomatoes and spices and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, add chickpeas and stir to combine. Turn heat to low and add green vegetables. Place the lid on the top for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables have wilted. Stir in cooked quinoa and dill sauce and serve warm. Top with fresh dill, if desired.
Creamy Dill Sauce – Makes enough for entire batch of stew
1 large bunch of dill, washed and dried (save some for topping)
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1/2 cup golden balsamic vinegar (I used Spectrum brand)
1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and whirl until smooth.
I also wanted to note here that in light of long my blog posts have been recently, I may not be posting quite as frequently as I have been. I do want to remain consistent, but it’s taking a little more time than I realized to post every day. I think a fair goal would be about four times a week as opposed to six. In fact, due to my travel schedule where I’ll be driving from the Southern California desert back to where I live on the central coast this weekend, I likely won’t post here again until Tuesday as opposed to Monday. I can’t wait to share any new savory or non-green smoothie breakfast ideas I come up with. PLEASE send me suggestions, I would love to hear them.
Have a great rest of your weekend!!!