20 days down, 20 more to go

IMG_20130226_102142Twenty days down, twenty more to go of my meatless challenge. Meal plans this week were repetitive and slightly uncreative. My breakfast was the usual: yogurt, granola, goji berries, blueberries, hemp hearts and chia seeds. The first couple days of work I brought leftover Butternut Squash and Almond Butter Soup (since I made a huge batch). I guess you can say I was a bit lazy. Along with the laziness I also felt the craving for a pick-me-up cup of coffee to get me through the day. The temptation was strong but I quickly reminded myself of my caffeine withdrawal experience – never again. Instead, I opted for a fresh hot cup of Teeccino; herbal coffee substitute. I am not a coffee connoisseur so the mixture of carob, barley, dates, figs, chicory, dandelion root and roasted almonds did me just fine.

The biggest difference that I notice is that I never have a heavy, sluggish feeling anymore. I attributed that feeling to post-meals and thought it was ‘normal.’ I always had the inkling that I had a weak digestive system thus supplemented with digestive enzymes but since going meatless my digestive system is back on fire and there is no need to supplement. But then again it could be that I am chewing a lot more, consuming a lot of soups/juices and sprouted whole grains. But either way, I feel great. I have not weighed myself since starting my 40 day challenge but do notice that I am standing/walking taller and my clothes are not as snug.

If you have been following my blog posts you may recall that I am struggling to achieve balance with traditional Filipino foods, my meatless challenge, belief system and overall health. This past week my husband prepared the traditional Filipino dish, Sinigang. It is a soup/stew-like dish that is characterized by distinct sour flavor coming from a tamarind base. Vegetables and choice of protein are usually incorporated and eaten over a bed of rice. Taking my 40-day meatless challenge into consideration my husband prepared this meal in two separate pots: the sour tamarind broth with vegetables in one pot and the meat (pork) in the other. It was so delicious I literally ate leftovers for three days. During this time we had family over for supper and when we served the dish in two separate pots there was no questions about it. It was a nice realization that I do not have to sacrifice eating traditional meals that remind me of my upbringing to be healthy. I love Filipino foods.

It was actually a busy week for me. We were invited over for dinner at a few friends’ places and I had a much needed catch up lunch date with friends. I didn’t want to make a big deal that I have been going meatless and suggested that I could bring my own dish – but since we have awesome friends they made vegetarian meals for all of us to eat. My taste buds were spoiled with Quinoa, veggies and ginger (I never thought of adding ginger but the pop of flavor was very pleasant), roasted chickpeas, eggplant parmesan, roasted veggies, sprouted risotto with mushrooms and a vegetable casserole. Everything was delicious.

IMG_20130228_121332Since our friends made dinner I decided to try making some raw desserts I came across on http://www.sweetlyraw.com. I changed the recipes a bit as I did not have all ingredients on hand but the final product was a hit. Well at least I think they were, our friends enjoyed them but they could have just been saying that to make me feel good…haha! To make these delicious and healthy treats I made some coconut butter in advance. I never knew how easy it was. Basically add your shredded coconut into a food processor (I used my vitamix) and blend till you reach a liquid. Transfer it to a jar and let cool, as it cools it will harden and voila you’re done.
Here is my version of Avocado Lime Cheesecake and Pumpkin Cashew Lucuma Cheesecake. I used the same crust recipe in both desserts.

¾ cup almonds
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup dates, pitted (I chopped and soaked the dates for a bit)

Grind the almonds to flour in food processor. Add the shredded coconut and dates – grind into a dough. Add a bit of water if needed to hold mixture together.
Press into the bottom of mini or 6” spring form pan and set aside

Avocado Lime Cheesecake Filling
2 medium avocados
3 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
½ cup lime juice
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp melted coconut oil
3 Tbsp coconut butter*
lime zest, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Pour over crust and allow to firm in the fridge for 8 hours.

Pumpkin Cashew Lucuma Cheesecake Filling
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup cashews
½ cup water
3 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp Lucuma powder
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground chia seeds
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
2 Tbsp coconut butter

Blend all ingredients except ground chia, coconut oil and butter in blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to combine. Pour over crust and allow to firm in the fridge for 8 hours.



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