The Lost Art of Cooking

How many times have you heard people say, “I hate to cook,” or “I don’t have time to cook,” leading to dependence on fast food or unhealthy food choices.  I’m here to tell you that cooking plant-based oil free meals can be soothing and relaxing and will contribute to your overall good health and well-being.   All it takes is a little bit of time and planning and you can have recipes ready to eat right out of your freezer for the entire week.

So let’s get specific.  Make it simple and stick to your plan.  The plan is everything.  Start off with thinking about breakfast.  One of the most healthful breakfasts you can make is steel cut oaks.  I make enough on Sundays to last me 3-4 days, storing left-overs in the refrigerator and then reheating them.  Top your oatmeal with 1 tablespoon of flax seed (need those Omega-3’s!), some frozen blueberries that you can quickly defrost (much more economical), and if you really want to go healthy, add some greens like kale or spinach, ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, and for fun, I top with cinnamon.  It’s delicious and easy to prepare. Instead of coffee, try some blueberry hibiscus tea.  I drink two cups a day as it has been shown to lower blood pressure naturally.

Lunch can be a healthy veggie wrap (like Engine 2 brand at Whole Foods), along with some homemade hummus that you make in your blender and can use all week long.  All you have to do is put your favorite vegetables into your wrap, spread the hummus on top and enjoy.   Another option is to make a large batch of soup.  I always have lentil soup in my freezer that I can pull out in individual portion sizes to enjoy.  Salads loaded with veggies of all colors and salt-free beans of your choice right out of a can, and then topped with your favorite balsamic vinegar, is another simple lunch.  Dessert can be some luscious summer fruit salad that you prepare in a large batch and use all week.

Dinner too does not have to be an ordeal.  Some whole wheat, or brown rice, or spelt pasta, topped with an oil free marinara sauce and nutritional yeast will be satisfying and keep you happy.  Batch cook some chili as well, that you can serve over brown rice or quinoa, and you’re good to go.  Tofu is another simple meal to prepare for dinner.  Making a quick marinade takes all of two minutes and you  simply bake the tofu in the oven with the marinade topping.  Serve along with steamed veggies, a baked sweet potato and you’re all set. And of course, there’s my favorite dinner, the “Bowl.”  All you have to do is start with a rice or quinoa base, and then top with steamed veggies of your choice, some beans and a quick and easy sauce to top it all of with.  So good, and so simple!

These are just some ideas to consider when thinking about learning how to cook plant-based foods.  PBNM is now offering cooking classes taught by our first class of PBNM Certified Cooking Coaches, where you will get tons of ideas about what to cook and how to do it, all the while having a great time laughing and talking with your fellow plant-based friends. Cooking really can be fun and reduce your stress and add connections with others in your life.  Won’t you give it a try?

By Sherry Shrallow, Certified Professional Coach