1. Teach yourself to cook
When I was struggling with disordered eating, I barely cooked. I didn’t experiment with trying new foods. I had a very strict regimen about what I ate, sticking to diet foods or frozen dinners. Part of my getting on track involved branching out and teaching myself to cook and use new plant foods. I read hundreds of cookbooks. I watched cooking shows and read food blogs. I remember searching ‘how to roast butternut squash’ on YouTube and watching a tutorial. YouTube tutorials were so helpful. Eventually cooking turned into a very positive hobby and then a career. I started channeling positive energy into my recovery and my cooking techniques and everything changed for the better.
2. Pre-chop veggies and soak nuts
I pre-chop carrots and celery and keep them in water in the fridge. I will often soak a cup of raw almonds — just throw them in a bowl and cover them with water before you go to bed — then in the morning give them a rinse and drain. You can make your own delicious, creamy almond milk by blending them with water then straining.
3. Try one new vegetable or vegan dish
I didn’t go vegan overnight. At first it wasn’t even on my radar. I just began experimenting with some plant-based recipes I saw online. The more I tried them, the more I realized how good I felt eating this way and that’s really what guided me to keep making those foods and experimenting.
4. Designate a prep day
Sunday is the day I do all my grocery shopping. I take time to chop a lot of vegetables, putting them in containers with water. I’ll also prepare a big pot of beans and cook grains like quinoa. Without a prep day, I feel like it’s easy to throw vegetables in the crisper and forget about them. It helps to stay on top of things.
5. Sweeten your food naturally
Instead of refined sugars, I use dates or low glycemic coconut sugar. Making substitutions like this is one of the best ways to eat clean.
6. Welcome challenges
I heard a quote recently from a sports broadcaster during the Winter Classic. He said, “When life knocks you down, make sure it knocks you forward.” It resonated with me so much that I wrote it down and later shared it on my blog. That’s how I try to approach difficult times in my life.
7. Partner up
When my husband and I first started dating he ate fast food almost every day — no vegetables at all. For a while we had two opposite diets. But I asked him to make a promise to try one bite of whatever I made, and he would. Over time the small bites grew on him and he started eating more. It’s been five years now since I started getting into the recipes and now he eats hundreds of new foods — even ones he hated like mushrooms and kale. The secret I think was just the exposure over time and the willingness to give it a try. Now our main problem is fighting over the leftovers.
8. Make over your burger
Lately I’ve really been into veggie burgers, and I love my Thai sweet potato patties with a spicy peanut sauce. The patty is made with a base of shredded sweet potato and chickpeas with garlic, ginger, cilantro, basil, lime juice and sesame seeds.
9. Season with herbs
When I stopped using herbs as a garnish, it helped me cut out a lot of salt. My advice is to use herbs with abandon. Throw in a cup of basil or parsley and see what happens. Trust me, it’s going to be great. (For more on the health benefits of parsley click here.)
10. Turn your fridge into the produce section
My fridge is always overflowing with vegetables. Kale, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, some oranges, whatever is in season. I’m really big into sauerkraut right now. I always have a homemade salad dressing ready to go, with balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil or flax oil, some lemon and seasonings. Hummus and almond milk are staples. I rarely buy processed foods
11. stock your pantry with the new essentials
My staples: raw almonds, rolled oats, lentils, vegetable bouillon powder, tomato sauce and dried pasta.
12. Cook with coconut oil
It’s my new favourite ingredient because it has so many health benefits — it’s such a good fat to add to your diet and it has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It’s a great butter replacer and I like it because it has a high smoke point so it’s great for high-heat frying, roasting or grilling on the BBQ.
For more recipes from Angela click here.