How we grocery shop vegetarian(ish) Mediterranean

OW_MedPyramid_612x792
Our modifications to the above chart: 🚫 meats, poultry, or cheeses. Yogurts when we have them, which isn’t very often,  are non dairy based. 

Hubby and I both did a ton of research. On my end I was checking out vegetarian, fruitarian, vegan and flexible nutrition plans and Keith was checking out keto and intermittent fasting plans. I know in the past I blogged about the direction we were headed with nutrition and food and I thought I’d update on what we finally decided works best for us and is as “clean” as possible, and steps forward as far as going vegetarian and ultimately vegan healthily. 

Vegetarian Mediterranean nutrition plans are vegetable heavy, so we experimented with recipes. Tried veggies in different ways, like cauliflower crust pizza. We eat kale or spinach salad with roasted sweet potato, eggs and peppers often for breakfast. And we have been working on making our three meals a day very balanced. I know we both used to eat barely anything in the morning and minimally at lunch, with dinner being our heavier meal. We are trying to balance that out and move towards breakfast being our heaviest meal and lunch being somewhat lighter and dinner being our lightest meal.

Think about it, we wake up after not eating for around 10 or more hours, shouldn’t our big meal be in the morning? We don’t need as much fuel when we sleep, do we? 

We’ve also been doing the intermittent fasting thing on the weekends. This where you eat your daily worth of food between certain hours and then “fast” the rest of the day/night.  On the weekends we finish your last meal at around 8pm and then don’t eat until 12 noon the next day, so we are technically fasting for 16 hours between meals. It is generally recommended that women only fast 14-15 hours, because they seem to do better with slightly shorter fasts, so I eat a small snack, like a handful of nuts, around 10am.

Taking it Vegan

Vegetarians who follow the Mediterranean diet “rarely need to worry about a deficit in protein if they eat a varied diet including nuts, beans, seeds, dairy, eggs, tofu, and high-protein whole grains such as quinoa.” ` Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN

And if you want to take a Mediterranean Diet Vegan, stay healthy with a Vegan Omega-3 supplements. Omega-3’s help with mood, eye and brain health, and can improve risk factors for heart attack. Omega-3’s are a great inflammation fighter and studies link higher omega-3 intake to decreased age-related mental decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (737475). The list goes on and on, so this is not something our bodies should be deprived of, even as Vegans, Vegetarians or humans for that matter.

ps…I’m always in search of new vegan and vegetarian tried and true recipes so if you have any to share drop the recipe or link in comments!

🥬ORGANIC VEGETABLES

  • Green leafy veggies
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Broccoli
  • Squashes (mostly winter, I think summer squashes are bitter and nasty)

🍠TUBERS

  • White potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams

🍓FRUITS

Fresh and frozen 

  • Watermelon
  • Cherries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Plums
  • Lemons
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Frozen pitaya & acaii packets 
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Melons

🌿FRESH HERBS

  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

🥚ANIMAL PROTEIN

Two or three times per week

  • Wild-caught shrimp
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Eggs

🌰NUTS & SEEDS

  • Nut butters
  • Tahini 
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds 
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Macadamia nuts

🍞WHOLE GRAINS/NO GRAIN

  • Quinoa 
  • Rolled oats 
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain pizza crust

🧀NON DAIRY 

  • Cheese
  • Milks (coconut for me, almond for my hubby and Oat for random other things)

🥜LEGUMES

  • Chickpeas 
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Peanuts

🥥OILS & HEALTHY FATS

  • Coconut oil 
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Walnut oil

🍯NATURAL SWEETENERS

  • Liquid Stevia
  • Organic coconut sugar 
  • Raw, local honey
  • 100-percent pure maple syrup

💧DRINKS

  • Water
  • Coconut water 
  • Teas
  • La Croix & Bubbly
  • Unsweetened almond & coconut milk 
  • Wine

🍵SUPERFOODS & SMOOTHIE EXTRAS

  • Maca powder 
  • Raw cacao powder 
  • Collagen peptides 
  • Protein powder 
  • Coconut flakes   

💁TIPS!

  • Eat locally and seasonally
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more beans
  • Lower meat consumption, and eat more plants
  • Reduce food waste

*”Scientists estimate that switching to a Mediterranean diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 72%, land use by up to 58%, energy consumption by up to 52%, and water consumption by up to 33%. Remember, we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. Your children and your children’s children will thank you!”

*Excerpts from: SUSTAINABILITY TIPS FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Grilled-Vegetable-Pasta-Salad-H.jpg

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

I tweaked this recipe to make it more keto and vegan friendly. Great summer dish!

GRILLED VEGETABLES

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch Sea Salt and Pepper

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper

SALAD

  • 1 lb chickpea pasta
  • 1/4 bunch Italian parsley

 

  1. Wash the zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper. Remove the stems, then cut them into large slices or pieces (remove the seeds from the bell pepper. Slice the red onion into thick slices.
  2. Place the zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, red onion, and grape tomatoes on a large baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over top. Gently toss the vegetables until they are well coated in oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over top. (Grape tomatoes are generally too small to place directly on a grill, so if using a grill just add the tomatoes to the salad fresh.)
  3. Grill the vegetables over an open flame until they are charred and tender. OR, adjust your oven’s top rack to be about 6 inches below the broiler unit and turn the broiler on to high. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and watch it closely until the vegetable become charred and tender (about 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven and distance from the broiler).
  4. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly after grilling or broiling. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and boil for 7-10 minutes, or just until the pasta is tender. Drain the pasta in a colander and allow it to cool slightly (until it’s no longer steaming).
  5. While the pasta is cooking and the vegetables are cooling, prepare the creamy balsamic vinaigrette. To a jar or bowl add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients together or close the jar and shake until combined.**
  6. Once the vegetables are cool enough to handle, chop them into smaller, 1-inch pieces. Roughly chop the parsley leaves.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, chopped vegetables, and parsley. Pour the vinaigrette over top, starting with half and adding more to your liking. Gently stir the pasta and vegetables until everything is coated in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

 

Adapted Recipe From: Budget Bytes

Warm Brussels Sprouts and Pear Salad

This Warm Brussels Sprouts and Pear Salad combines winter flavors in a warm and filling side dish, all in about 15 minutes. Step by step photos.

Recipe Here: Warm Brussels Sprouts and Pear Salad

Chickpeas & A Recipe

0001dx

 

Chickpea & Aubergine Dip

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water for 6-8 hours and drained

1 carrot, peeled and cut up

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 eggplants, cut lengthwise in half

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Harissa

1 tsp ground cumin

Combine the chickpeas, and carrot in a medium saucepan, add 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 1.5 hours. Drain, and reserve 1 cup of the liquid.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Toss the garlic and eggplant with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and arrange on a roasting pan, eggplant cut side down. Roast for 50 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Scoop the flesh from the eggplant and transfer to a blender. Add the roasted garlic, chickpeas, harissa, cumin, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved liquid. Puree, adding more of the cooking liquid 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time as necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Cool & serve with veggies or pita

 

 

Carrots & A Recipe

13892333_10210351273958041_8304770367169744204_n

 

Aromatic Carrots

Ingredientsaromatic-carrots-1-l

4 lb thin carrots
3 tbsp earth balance butter
1/2 cup  orange juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp  ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 tbsp toasted  sesame seeds
Instructions

Peel carrots and trim ends. They should all be the same thickness, so you may need to slice some in half lengthwise or quarter them. Place earth balance, juice, maple syrup, cumin a in a wide saucepan. Set over medium heat. When butter is melted, stir in carrots.
Cover and cook, turning carrots often, until almost tender, from 12 to 15 min. Uncover and bring to a boil. Stir frequently until carrots are richly glazed. Serve sprinkled with parsley and toasted sesame seeds.

Adapted from : http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/vegetables/aromatic-carrots/

 

Quinoa Pizza Bites with Summer Vegetables

Recipe From The Amazing: She Likes Food

Please stop by her website and try some of awesome recipes!

Prep time:Quinoa-Pizza-Bites-with-Summer-Vegetables-5568 15 mins

Cook time: 30 mins
Recipe type: Snack, Gluten Free
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quinoa, dried
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup small diced zucchini
  • ⅓ cup small diced summer squash
  • ⅓ cup small diced red pepper
  • ⅓ cup corn kernels, frozen or fresh
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. While quinoa is cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and onions. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the rest of the vegetables, ¼ teaspoon salt, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Cook mixture until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the quinoa, cooked vegetables and remaining ingredients to a large bowl and mix until combined. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and then scoop the quinoa pizza mixture into each tin using a tablespoon. Sprinkle the top of each with a small amount of Parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake pizza bites for about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!