WIAW: Real food versus protein bars

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Is it that late already? I always forget about the time.

Are you confused? I know I would be and very much was after the theatre play I saw on Monday. That’s where the above lines come from though they probably were the easiest understandable part of the whole story. No theatre review here, though, but some much easier comprehensive food talk featuring some of Monday’s meals.  Thanks to Jenn and Laura for hosting today’s What I ate Wednesday shenanigans!

WIAW_new2015

By now you should know I’m not the person for average breakfasts. Most mornings, I don’t like breakfast at all because I hardly ever know what I want to eat. Yet skipping is no option. Luckily, Monday was rushed so I ran a few errands and then quickly packed breakfast/first lunch (?) to-go as I just got note there was a teaching assignment for me that early afternoon. Polenta had been absent from my diet for months – shockingly and not okay – so its quick preparation turned it into my breakfast savior along with Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and chickpeas, all seasoned with my favourite organic curry blend. If you haven’t tried microwaving polenta yet you’re missing out. It’s the most fuss-free/no-second-pot needed/less clean-up prep method ever.

Polenta_breakfast_tupper

 

Lunch was a two-part story as we were heading out in the afternoon shortly after I came home from teaching German. The first part was a repeat of breakfast – did I mention a slight obsession with polenta? – but as I didn’t take a picture again here’s yesterday’s candlelight lunch instead. Yes, lunch and yes, already dark. The weather hasn’t been treating us kindly this week so far. Anyway, polenta with thyme-y mushroom chickpea tomato stew was on the menu. When I like something, I really like it so polenta might very well stick around for a while.

Polenta_mushrooms

So … part two: my first ever whole Quest bar. Not my first ever Quest bar but the first I actually ate as a whole in one day. Here’s what I didn’t mention in my post a while ago. For me, Quest bars or any kind of protein bar actually aren’t safe foods hindering recovery. Eating them as opposed to real treats like chocolate that I have every day is the challenge.

I was glad to get lucky in receiving these Quest bars as it gave me two boxes of challenges. Because you might be wondering: I liked the S’mores flavor. I’ve never had an actual S’more before meaning no expectations could be met or disappointed. The con for me is that the bar overall is very sticky-sweet. Pros are the chocolate pieces [are you surprised in any way?] and what I guess are supposed to mimic graham crackers plus the cinnamony taste. More interesting for me, though, was the saturation factor. Protein is believed to be that super macro filling you up like no other after all. I was doubtful if I bar could deliver this.

Quest bar_protein_s'mores

Verdict? I was positively surprised but not overly impressed in this point. Not overly impressed because I didn’t feel full the same way I do with protein from real food sources. Positively surprised hours later when we returned home and I didn’t crave the Greek yogurt that usually acts as part of my night snack. That’s my interest in macros: I don’t prefer a certain one but will keep experimenting to see how I react to them. Neither carbs, nor fat or protein are inherently good or bad to me. In relearning to trust my intuition. I see them all as equal and try to find my happy balance. At the moment, I tend to need a little extra protein with my meals but I opt for real foods like legues, cottage cheese and above-mentioned Greek yogurt to fill the void.

As we were out and about the remainder of my meals escaped the camera or were eaten before I remembered to get it out. Life > taking pictures. Not like I wasn’t curious about everybody else’s meals, though …

Enjoy your Wednesday and eat some good food!

 

Happiness-inducing today:Editing yet another text. What can I say? It’s my element.

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I’m really curious: Do you find protein or Quest bars in specific  filling?

Have you noticed yourself gping through phases of needing more of a certain macros [even iff – like me – you don’t track them]?


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WIAW: Gone carrots

Once upon a time … I did What I at Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday posts on the regular. Yes, it seems like enough time has passed since then to justify the use of this expression. Either way, it has been a while and I’m not entirely sure I’ll get back to joining the party weekly again soon. Life is life or so they say. And who are they, by the way? [yes, important life questions to be pondered – at another time].

WIAW_new2015

Unless it’s your first time swinging by here you might remember I like finding a good theme for any such food posts. Today’s happened to come about completely unplanned. Actually, I have yet to plan any WIAW topic, come to think of … Oh well. Let’s talk about what I ate … gone carrots.

Yes, carrots. One of the first vegetables every child – or is it just us over here? – is served by their parents. A good choice indeed around these parts if the intention is to get that glow without relying on the sun that can be lacking here. Additionally, though, carrots have a lot more to offer than you might know. Allow me a little nutrition nerdiness because now that I’m on a carrot kick I want everybody to join. A little bit of positive peer pressure maybe?

Want to keep a sharp vision? Eat carrots! Just one cup already provides more than 100 % of the DV of Vitamin A.  Rich in antioxidants they also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases . While I also recommend doing crossword puzzles and sudoku to keep your brain fresh ;), eating carrots may help delay cognitive decay/loss of memory.

Okay, enough of the lessons, moving onto the food already!

Breakfast_bulgur_carrots_chickpeas_tupper

What you see above is my tupper-ed breakfast. It’s both an effort to change things up from my usual one and my undying fondness of bulgur [in addition to carrots]. My current favourite grain mixed with shredded carrots, chickpeas and soy creamer plus spices. It’s the perfect no-time-but-hungry meal. Only not as filling as I hoped. Much more filling, though, was lunch …

Chickpea Carrot Stew_bulgur_lunch

More carrots! Are you surprised? I was only half-kidding about the using their wonderful carotene boost to work on my tan while the sun is only playing the occasional peek-a-boo around here. No matter what the weather is like, though, the dish above ranks upon my favourites. Non-vegan in the original recipe found in one of my family’s favourite cookbooks I tried to turn it into a fully vegan dish. As of now, it still requires some tweaking but it’s good as is already. Red onions, carrots and chickpeas sautéed with oriential spices, added raisins and – post-picture – some soy creamer.

… and because life is all about balance I certainly will never forego dessert/snack time. I like to pretend raw chocolate was healthy so that means I can eat more of these in addition to my favourite, right?! Just agree.

Raw chocolate company_raisins_snack

Whether healthy or not, though, I’ve made the decision not to count those in my intake. Yes, that habit is still hanging around most days. It’s a little step but those add up to bigger strides on the path, right?! Eating chocolate is good no matter what so in case you haven’t had any today yet I highly recommend making up for that.

Happiness-inducing today:  The huge sigh of relief after a rather unpleasant experience. Did I mention I don’t like going to the dentist’s?!

 
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Looking back [with food]

Two What I ate Wednesdays in a row? I’m surprising myself here but I really think these weekly food parties are a great way of keeping myself accountable in terms of changing up my meals and inspiring new creations. Today’s edition of looking back at how things have changed over the past years came about thanks to yesterday’s snack. You’ll see what I mean in a minute …

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Excuse the older picture of breakfast because a) I’m a repeat offender and b) while changing my go-to mixture and the toppings up lately I’m not up for taking pictures early in the day. Only you didn’t see the most important ingredient yet: nutritional yeast. It’s key. Heavy-handed is the only serving size here. What you see below is just the tame need-to-take-a-picture sprinkling …

savoury oatmeal_nutritional yeast_breakfast

Looking back: Upon first trying it I thought nutritional yeast – no, I won’t call it nooch – tasted … weird. Never in a million years would I have believed I’d become downright obsessed with it. Sometimes people ask me for my favourite uses and honestly? Cover everything in it. Or at least every savoury dish.

Because I got a last minute call asking if I could sub in for another teacher at the studying institute I had approximately 15 minutes to get ready and pack some snacks. Two of those minutes were spent trying to take a picture. #bloggerpriorities  Aside from an apple [role model for the students, obviously ;)], chocolate [nerves!] I quickly threw together a little salad to go. Salad? Me? I know. Totally untypical. My opinion on the piles of leafy greens hasn’t changed. Actually, you might not call this a salad per definition. What I did was quickly sauté some cauliflower rice with chickpeas [always!],.tomatoes and green olives. Seasoned with salt, pepper and Italian herbs. Simple but delicious.

Cauliflower rice salad_snack_tupper

Looking back:  Several years ago this would have been lunch. The amount times three or four maybe. But still: carbs? Hardly any. While it satisfied me in the snack department and until I got home to have a proper lunch yesterday it’d never have been a substantial enough lunch. Eat your vegetables but don’t forget grains, potatoes or your favourite kind of starch, either.

Speaking of grains: Let’s talk rice! Short-grain brown rice, to be specific. I’m not a fan of white rice – the one my parents prefer and have on the regular – so for a long time it was couscous, bulgur, polenta, wheatberries or any other grain for me but never rice. Then I had my first taste of short-grain brown rice and it was the beginning of a love story. Or along those lines. Either way, the even more exciting part of lunch was the return of my cooking mojo. For some reason, I haven’t felt too inspired to get creative in the kitchen the past weeks. On the weekend, however, the mood was on. Say hi to my wannabe-Indian food: Cauliflower Chana Masala. This. Was. So. Amazing. So much so I figured I’d share the recipe with you. Be back on Friday if you like cauliflower, Indian food and quick meals.

Cauliflower Chana Masala_chickpeas_rice
Looking back: It’s funny to think how much things can change. Like I said ## macros are not a concern for me ## yet I can’t deny that there still is a fear holding me back from certain foods – including grains. It’s always been all about calories for me and grains are naturally denser in nutrients than, say, vegetables. See the cauliflower example above. I’m working on increasing my amounts of grains and all I can say is it’s a newfound obsession. I’ve been batch-cooking brown rice these past weeks and: can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Cauliflower Chana Masala_chickpeas_rice_2

Ending on a sweet note – that one will probably never change for me. Rather than talk about my daily chocolate, though, how about changing things up seasonally today? Ice cream. If you caught my post last Thursday you’ll know about the decision I made. And if you’re on Instagram you might have also heard of #pintpartyfriday before. Long story short: I bought my first pint of ice cream in for-ev-er. Or at least in a year and that’s essentially the same thing. After years of getting cherry 90 % of the times I’d buy ice cream at scoop stores now mango is my go-to. This organic mango sorbet didn’t disappoint.

Ice cream_mango sorbet

Looking back: It was amazing to just scoop it out of the tub rather than measuring a serving beforehand like I used to do. I’ll admit I didn’t eat the whole pint but that’s because I was satisfied before and there’s no point in forcing down food we don’t enjoy anymore merely to reach a calorie target. One day I might eat a pint. Or maybe I never will – this is what intuitive eating means to me.

And with that I’m off to grab a snack …

Happy [What I ate] Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Walking through the garden and enjoying the beauty of the flowers all around.
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How have your views on food changed in the past years/months?

Have you ever eaten a whole pint of ice cream before? I don’t remember doing it pre-ED, either, but the idea of a pint just to myself? I could get used to it.

 

Bowl-ing in Berlin again – the intuitive way

It’s time to talk about food again! But before we get to The pictures I feel like I should open up more again. As long-time readers will know I’m in recovery from an eating disorder and have been for far too long already. While I’ve made noticable progress since starting my blog these past months have shown me how much I still need to work on reestablishing a healthy relationship with food. It’s only become that much more apparent in my current situation. Traveling has proven to help once before and it did again this time. That realisation alone is huge for me because it was leaving my routine that scared [and still scares] me the most. Yet it’s true that growth occurs outside our comfort zones. And it can be delicious growth as today’s What I ate Wednesday will [at least partially because we know I never manage to take pictures of every meal and snack I eat] show. Thanks to Jenn as well the Vegan Wednesday team for coming up with awesome parties catering every blogger’s food curiosity.

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Breakfast went unpictured and not as planned. The reason? My train was leaving at shortly past 8 AM with a 45 minute drive to the station. Safe to say that being the polar opposite of a morning person I wasn’t keen on getting up even earlier than I already had to rush down breakfast. The solution? Trusty old Tupperware. While not really meal-prepping I’ve been pre-cooking brown rice to have on hand for quick meals lately. So short-grain brown rice with shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and fresh parsley it was. Only it wasn’t a timely breakfast. Thanks [or not] to a major soccer game taking place in Berlin that day – and me obviously being completely unaware … – the train was more than crowded. Long story short: I spent 1 1/2 hours standing and NOT eating.

Tupper lunch_wheatberries_stir-fry[No picture of my actual breakfast but it was similar to this recent lunch]

Luckily, everything was forgotten when I arrived at my aunt’s appartment. And here’s where relaxation set in out of the blue again. Unexpectedly, my aunt and her boyfriend hadn’t had breakfast yet, either, so invited me to join them. Previously: anxiety!  This time, I ate my prepped meal plus some of their spread, too. Because that’s what intuitive [read: normal] eating includes. For somebody like me used to control just about every morsel the change was incredibly freeing. I’ll admit I still roughly track my calories in my head – it’s not as easy to give up as macros – throughout the day. However, by far not as strictly as in previous years.

Whenever I take a trip and leave my daily grind, though, I’ve noticed myself naturally becoming more intuitive in the way I eat [hence the title]. Whatever is the reason for this, I’m embracing it because regaining an intuitive way of living is my ultimate recovery goal.

Blueberries

After strolling around on a flea market, sharing a pint of blueberries [served up in a bowl] and chatting we set out to have lunch. Inspired by somebody on Instagram I’d taken notice of a new restaurant that had opened up just a few weeks ago. The Bowl – as the name suggests – serves clean [I don’t like to associate this term with food but it’s their self-description] vegan food exclusively in bowls. No sugar, gluten or any other nasties. Just delicious real food.

Needless to say I was in from the very first moment. I wish they provided their full menu online because the descriptions of every item sound too good to be true. Picking a bowl*proved to be way more difficult than expected because trust me you’d have wanted to order everything, too! How could you not with items like cashew cheese – covered Brussels sprouts, beet carpaccio or pink kimchi?

Clearly, going to Berlin means breaking out the bowls for me.

The Bowl Berlin_Mexican bowl

Ultimately, I reminded myself I could come back again and chose the Mexican Bowl Just a funny recovery note: I dismissed one bowl right away because it sounded like it was lacking carbs.Not too long ago that exactly would have made me pick it. These days? No way. Even not working out I know I need my grains for energy and – despite not counting macros – they are packed with wonderfully satisfying carbs.  My bowl containing a brown/wild rice blend, Mexican beans, grilled corn on the cob, guacamole, homemade tomato cilantro salsa, some kind of unknown dip [delicious!].  As well as a side of [refined sugar-free] ketchup and mixed greens with a creamy avocado dressing.

The Bowl Berlin_Mexican Bowl_close-up

No dinner picture because we just kept having random bits and bites – including an impromtu tomato soup [another meal from eaten from  a bowl], crackers, chocolate and fruit – throughout the evening due to our fairly late lunch. Instead, I’m offering you my aunt’s choice at the restaurant: the Falafel Bowl. Beet falafel, cashew cheese sauce, raw tabbouleh, turmeric chickpeas with miso hummus, fried eggplant and carrots as well as the complementary mixed greens.

[Snacks escaped the camera again, too, but be assured there were plenty. ]

The Bowl Berlin_Falafel bowl

All in all, this short trip enhanced my happiness level to the max and got me excited for recovery. Which sounds a little ridiculous typed out but oh well. I’ve already written half a novel of a WIAW post here so if you’re curious to hear more recovery rambles be back tomorrow.

Happy [What I ate] Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Spotting an article by a friend of mine currently interning at a huge national news agency in our local newspaper. Even if it wasn’t me I’m super excited about seeing his name in print.
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What’s your favourite bowl [as in: combination of ingredients in a bowl]?
Do you consider yourself an intuitive eater?

WIAW: Bring it back!

Oh, how I like me some good themes for What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday. This week? Well, you saw the title already so let’s bring it back! Old favourites or rediscovered food, that is. Because sometimes changing it up just means going back to former favourites or giving dishes a second chance. And for the jive Tupperware is making a return in today’s post, too.

WIAW_new2015

Starting with a recent new discovery, though. Or not completely new but finally successful. See, I’d  tried savoury oatmeal before  but it was … less palatable. I wasn’t going to give them another go but cravings are cravings. And cravings aren’t to be ignored, am I right?! So savoury oats have been on the breakfast menu almost every day for the past week. The key are enough add-ins and toppings to create a perfect bowl. My go-to combination is a base of carrot oats with nutritional yeast, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and mashed chickpeas. The bowl pictured below was my try at changing up the legume with kidney beans but it wasn’t as satisfying as my lovely garbanzos.

savoury oatmeal_breakfast

While my current job search has yet to come to fruition I’ve been giving private lessons to students at an institute in town every now and then. I won’t whine but yesterday was proof I’ll never become a teacher. Not like I had ever intended to, actually, but have you ever tried to get a bunch of seemingly hyperactive nine-year-olds to do simple math when they can’t even sit still for a minute? Let’s just say I have a newfound respect for elementary school teachers. You’re superheroes.

Tupper lunch_wheatberries_stir-fry

What that all had to do with my lunch? Well, since I was helping the kiddos from 12.45 to 4.45 PM I needed to bring some food with me or else I’d have risked eating somebody. I kid, I kid. Either way, I precooked some wheatberries on Monday night and topped a serving with a simple vegetable and chickpea stir-fry. Fun fact and one of those old favourites leading to today’s post title: Prior to eating this I hadn’t [consciously] eaten soy sauce in months. Why? Not for any other reason but the fact I’d bought a one litre bottle of the one and only brand [Kikkoman] but didn’t want to break into it knowing I’d move again rather soon. Why yes, I’m cautious enough – or anxious enough? – to worry about soy sauce spilling in the condiment box packed for the move. I make myself laugh. Anyway, now that we’ve been reunited I see myself eating simple stir-fries on end. Sometimes the simple dishes are really the best.

apple_peanut butter_snack

I’d actually packed an apple as a snack, too, but given it was a struggle to squeeze in eating my lunch I ended up eating it at home. Which was probably better in anyway since that’s where I was able to pair it with the best dip ever: Peanut butter. No, I haven’t abandoned my declared favourite but crunchy salted peanut butter has made its comeback in past weeks. Good for my wallet, too, because dang is my obsession expensive.

Because I came home ravenous after work – I told you it was strenuous 😉 – I snacked pretty much all afternoon while writing a letter. Before we talk about one of those snacks remember what Jenn stresses: WIAW is not about judgement. Okay? Good. Meet my favourites: chickpeas. Yes, you knew that already but did I ever mention I’ve been eating them straight from the can? What can I say: Roasting takes too long if I want food fast and they’re just so satisfying. Go judge – or try it yourself the next time you crave a savoury snack in an instant.

chickpeas_snack

Dinner … once more escaped the camera [as well as about 394948596 more snacks]. I’d tried to remind myself to take a picture for blogging’s sake but in my defense: I got a call shortly before, was distracted and then remembered when I was almost done eating. It was cocoa banana oat bran with almond butter if you were wondering, though. Actually, that’s my go-to  dinner and I’ll probably keep eating it until I’m getting really bored.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Smelling the flowers while being cyling into town. There’s one field that

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Have you recently eaten any foods you had unconsciously neglected for a longer while?

Are you a Tupper fan? If not: how do you transport your food to work?

Savoury oats: yes or no? Share your favourite add-ins!

Very vegan at Vengo and with Vivani

Why is it always so incredibly hard to start a post??? How about this: it’s a happy day, the sun is [hopefully as I’m writing this the night before] shining and we’re about to talk about food! What a surprise on the day of the week that combines both the What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday shenanigans. Oh well, at least I didn’t even pretend I was feeling the creative intros today. (:

* a note on that title: I was no paid by either the restaurant or the company [see further down below] but I’m a sucker for alliterations. Sue me.

 

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Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact I ate out again? I wasn’t expecting to return to Vengo this soon again but Monday saw me and my mum spontaneously meeting up in Bremen again. I wish I lived there! Not just for the food but because we spent some time touring the city and it’s really beautiful. I might just need to take some time to sort through the 384756746 pictures I took and give you a little glimpse into our stroll. For now, however: food. Blogger food: hummus.

Bremen_Vengo_hummus_March 2015

Regarding the food, however, I was slightly disappointed. After my  last visit I had high expectations. Sadly, the Brussels Sprout and Beet Curry with turmeric rice was only sub-par. The taste was deliciously spicy but the vegetables were cooked to almost mushy consistency and that’s a huge minus in my books. Also, the amount of beets – not a favourite food of mine at all but I want to like them hence why I picked this dish – was lacking.

Bremen_Vengo_brussels sprout and beet curry_March 2015

My mum’s stuffed eggplant was infinitely more pleasant, though, so I can forgive that one low. I may ro may not have considered this my second plate and stolen more than one bite. My mum loves me for that ;). Clearly.

Bremen_Vengo_stuffed eggplant_March 2015

There was a reason today’s WIAW started with lunch because breakfast is about to get classy right here. Tupper-style. Going from breakfast phase to breakfast phase I can safely say the oatmeal kick is back. The past few months were decidedly savoury but these last weeks oatmeal has been the name of the game again. I can’t say I was complaining. Others would probably talk about how they craved carbs first thing in the morning but I prefer to see it this way: I crave sweet, filling and fluffy oats. With almond and peanut butter, please.

Oatmeal_tupper_blueberry sauce_almond butter

What has changed compared to my last long oatmeal-for-breakfast stint, though, is my preferred way of preparation or better yet way to enjoy it. Still cooked stovetop but  not eaten hot. Rather, I’m all about the mock overnight variety. Read: cook oatmeal with extra chia seeds, let cool down, put into the fridge overnight and have a delicious cold pudding-like concoction waiting for you in the morning. Try it! Along with nut butters I’ve been adding fruit sauces on top. Fresh berries might cost a small fortune but frozen are a decent enough sub.

Keeping up with my favourite endings I’d like to introduce you to a new discovery in my world*. Vivani is a German company making a genuine effort to broaden vegans choices on the chocolate market. Part of this are a number of snack-sized bars in enticing flavours. I’ll try to hunt down the other ones, too, but for now I can only speak about the White Nougat Crisp. Unlike you’d expect it’s not actually a white chocolate bar but has a delightful hazelnutty taste and creamy meltiness. It’s a huge difference from my usual choice of darker chocolate bars but quite good nonetheless. A bit too sweet for my taste so it might not become a regular purchase but the next time I’m craving a milk chocolate-like treat I know how to satisfy it. So if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant longing for dairy chocolate this one’s for you!

* Disclaimer: I bought this chocolate bar with my own money and without the company’s kowledge of me mentioning it in my post. – or even knowing I purchased it altogether.  All opinions are my own.

Happiness-inducing today: My grandma being happy about me calling her after she had a rather exhausting day. It made me feel a tad guilty for not doing so more often.

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How often do you eat out?

What is your favourite bar of chocolate? Details! Dark? Whole milk? White? Which add-ins or fillings?