Tips For Eating A Plant Based Diet + Super Easy Nori Hand Rolls

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The year was 1990 and I was 10 years old.

It was the middle of summer and the New Mexico heat was baking me, not unlike the baked potatoes that my mom was making for dinner that night.

Growing up, I had no TV, no video games and definitely no computer. My parents didn’t get a telephone until the early 90’s and when they finally did, they were charged per call so the telephone was used as needed, not as wanted.

I didn’t care that we lived like Amish people – since it was the only way I knew.

So my days of growing up were spent outside, until of course it got dark out or dinner was ready, whichever came first. And it didn’t matter the season, I would spend just as much time outside during the snowy cold winter as I would in the blistering hot summer.

I remember my fingers and toes being numb from the cold, and being totally okay with that. I would lie to my mom and tell her I wasn’t cold so that I could continue to play in the magical white powder (I’m talking about snow, not blow).

Playing outside was the best. Why would I want to go inside and fuck around when I had 5 acres of land to facilitate my imagination?

During the peak of summer, it would get so hot that all I could do outside was read a book under our huge weeping willow tree, escaping the harsh desert sun.

This specific day in the summer of 1990 was particularly hot. The breeze was more like a blow dryer blowing directly at my face than something refreshing that’s usually associated with a breeze.

The ground was so hot that I had to wear shoes (which I hated) and the sound of cicadas was thick, reminding us that we were in the peak of the summer heat.

The sky was electric blue with a few clouds in the distance, but not close enough to cast shadows for my benefit.

As I stood outside, getting more pink by the minute, I looked up towards the sky, closed my eyes and I made a vocal wish.

I wanted rain, and I wanted it right then and there.

The next moment, and I swear this on my dead cat Mr. Socks, there was a huge bolt of lightning followed by roaring thunder. Five minutes later it was pouring rain, washing away the heat of the day and leaving glorious mud puddles to call my own.

I stood in the rain, dumbfounded by the wet drops cooling my warm skin.

The only thing running through my head was this:

You’re kidding me?

My wish was actually granted and I wished for rain? Why the fuck didn’t I wish for The New Kids on the Block to show up at my house? What a stupid waste of a wish!

The thought of this event bummed me out for years. I had convinced myself that we were all granted one immediate wish in our lifetime and I blew mine on a fucking rainstorm.

Twenty five years later, I have a deep belief that anything we wish for is possible. Every wish might not be immediate, but if you really want it, it’s yours for the taking.

My current wish isn’t for a surprise visit from The New Kids on the Block, though I hear they’re back together, so this isn’t entirely out of the question.

My grown up wish is for people to start preventing illness and disease by making lifestyle changes instead of seeking care after the diagnosis. And having societies that fully support and nurtures that.

That’s my wish, and I’ll work at it with everything that I have in me to help get us there.

Today I have some tips for you that will help make my wish come true.

And for whatever reason, when I wrote that last sentence I pictured myself closing my eyes and blowing fairy dust from the palm of my hand into a flowery meadow, where you happen to be standing.

I’m going with it – onward with the fuckery.

1: Breakfast – what’s going on here?

First, let’s look at what a handful of other countries are eating for breakfast:

Japan: Miso soup, rice, veggies, a small piece of fish and green tea.

Korea: Rice, kimchi, spinach and cucumbers.

India: Flat bread with potatoes and chutney.

Mexico: Beans, corn tortillas, rice, chili and egg.

Myanmar: Sticky rice with boiled yellow beans

Malaysia: Flat bread with veggie curry.

Do you notice a theme here?

All of these breakfasts could easily be lunch or dinner. And this is because most countries don’t differentiate between breakfast, lunch and dinner like we do in the U.S.

If you offered someone who eats the Standard American Diet (SAD) a bowl of beans, rice and veggies for breakfast they would look at you like you were bat shit crazy and book it for the pancakes with sugary syrup and a side of bacon as fast as their legs could take them.

It’s not that a savory breakfast is out of the question though. It’s that eating something that’s not in the “breakfast” category is out of the question.

This is what I’m suggesting. Let’s take a step back and rethink breakfast.

Here’s why.

The more nutrient dense food we can get in our body each day, the better. And breakfast can be a slippery slope full of processed sugary foods, which leads to missed opportunities to fill up on nutrients every single day.

If you start your day by eating a bowl of pinto beans with avocado and spinach, a bowl of homemade soup, or sweet potatoes with berries and cashew cream, your entire day will feel different.

You’ll have more energy, you won’t fall into the 10am slump or hit that 2pm wall. You will crave less sweets and processed carbs throughout the day and you’ll have better focus all day long.

It’s 2015 – gay people can get married in all of Ireland. Is eating a bowl of beans for breakfast really that much of a stretch? You can do this!

2: Salad is for rabbits AND humans. Viva la bunnies.

You know that raw salads are important to add to your diet. I know that raw salads are important to add to my diet. I don’t think anyone needs convincing of this.

It’s kind of like miniature horses, you can’t tell me those fuckers aren’t cute.

Salads are healthy and miniature horses are cute. These are two universal truths. End of story.

Let’s stop the bullshit and up the salad game – are you with me?

A great place to start is to have one raw green salad with both lunch and dinner. It doesn’t have to be huge and it doesn’t have to be the entire meal. Think of it as a side.

Now – the nutrients in raw greens are easier for the body to access when they are eaten along with some fat because the fat helps the body absorb the nutrients.

So, I don’t want you to eat your salads without dressing, but I also don’t want you to pour on a bunch of olive oil and vinegar and call it a day. Oil is a highly processed food with a high amount of fat and minuscule amounts of nutrients, if any. This makes it low on the nutrient density chart.

Getting our fat from unprocessed plant sources is boss.

Yummy oil free dressing is super easy to make, so chill and make the following dressing to throw on those greens.

1/4 cup tahini
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Throw it all in the blender and blend until creamy and smooth.

One of my readers emailed me from Kenya, offering a great tip. She starts out every dinner with a big salad. After the salad, her son and husband go outside to play while she puts the finishing touches on the main meal.

This is brilliant because her kid and husband actually eat the salad since there’s no other food to distract them. And when they come back inside, her kid is more focused to eat the the main meal because he just got done playing outside. Plus, everyone eats slower because they’ve already had some salad.

I thought this was awesome. If I had kids, I would totally do this.

Before I wrap this one up, I urge you not to overthink this.

Your salad can be a bowl of romaine and some shredded carrots; it can be some red leafy lettuce with garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds; it can be chopped kale with red onions and avocado, or it can be whatever you have in your fridge at the moment.

Just make sure that the base is some type of lettuce or leafy green.

3: I know you’re not 10 anymore, but I want you to keep a journal anyway. Start each entry with the date, the time and “Molly is making me do this. I think it’s stupid, but she’s pretty rad, so here goes”.

Starting today or tomorrow, I want you to write down every single thing you eat, what time you ate it and how you feel after. Do this for a week or two and then look back and see if you can spot some patterns.

This will accomplish three things:

  • It will help you become more mindful about when and what you eat. Sometimes we grab food out of habit, without even thinking about it. When we write it down, it forces us to think about it. Maybe if we have to write down that bowl of ice cream that we’re about to call dinner, we might just skip it and make a big salad instead.
  • It will help you spot patterns about how you feel after you eat certain things. If you feel like shit after every pasta dish, it’s time to look at what kind of pasta you’re eating and consider a switch. If you feel energized and happy after each plant based meal and sluggish and bleh after each processed or meat heavy meal, maybe it’s time to think seriously about making a solid switch to plant foods.
  • It will help you get a clear picture of what’s missing from your diet. Did you go an entire week without a piece of fruit? Did you go four days without eating a green veggie? Once you have a week or two worth of data, you can take a really honest look at your diet and what tweaks need to be made.

Okay! Breakfast, salads and a food journal – GO!

Wait – check out today’s recipe before you go.

This is super easy to make, and it’s especially good for when it’s hot and you don’t feel like cooking.

Nori Hand Rolls (not to be confused with hand jobs)

Author: Molly Patrick of Clean Food Dirty Girl

Ingredients

  • Cooked brown rice at room temperature
  • Toasted Nori Sushi Sheets - you can find these at any health food store or Asian grocery store.
  • Thin cucumber slices
  • Thinly sliced radish
  • Thinly sliced or shaved carrot

Avocado Dressing

  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/2 lime
  • a few drops of rice vinegar
  • White pepper

Instructions

  • First you want to get your rice to room temperature. If you already have brown rice in the fridge, just heat some up and then let it cool to room temp. If you need to make rice from scratch, make sure it cools to room temperature before you make these rolls. If the rice is too warm it will make the nori sheets soggy and hard to eat.
  • Next, make your avocado dressing by scooping the avocado into a bowl, mashing it with a fork and then adding the lime juice, rice vinegar and white pepper. You can also add some sea salt if you like. Just add enough of each ingredient until it’s delicious to you.
  • Now, cut all your veggies, and make sure they're relatively thin. The combination of radish, cucumber and carrot is really yum, but you can use whatever veggies you happen to have and make your own ridiculously yummy combinations.
  • If your nori came in large sheets, you will need to cut them in half (see pictures).
  • Take one nori sheet at a time and place it on a dry, clean cutting board and spread some avocado dressing on half of the sheet, followed by some rice and then some veggies. Don't add too much rice and veggies or it will be a bitch to roll.
  • Take the bottom left corner of the nori sheet and bring it to the middle top edge of the sheet. From here, roll it to the right so that it forms a cone shape (see pictures).
  • You will have to do this a few times before you get the hang of it, guaranteed. It takes practice and your first few rolls will be messy. Messy is okay - they will still taste good. Practicing is half the fun of doing this. Just keep rolling until you get the hang of it.
  • Add a few drops of soy sauce or coconut aminos to your roll before you bite into it.
  • Repeat until you’re full, and post a #shittyfodpic in our private Facebook group.

Notes

Okay - let’s work this out. The measurements in this recipe aren’t super specific. This is on purpose because it all depends on how many rolls you’re making and how much of what ingredient you want to add. Just follow my general guidelines and then do as you like.

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I hope that you have a happy week. May it be filled with yummy prevention and your wishes coming true.

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Written by ex-boozer, ex-smoker, Co-founder, and CEO, Molly Patrick. They will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.

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1 Comment

  1. Jill Kiesow on April 22, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Viva la bunnies. ❤❤

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