Simplifying a plant-based Easter

In my family, a big part of the excitement at traditional holiday time is the food. But I am the only one who follows an oil-free plant-based diet. So how does this plant-based girl feed her family of omnivores at Easter?  

When I first started following a plant-based diet it was a bit tricky maintaining my food values on major holidays. My omnivore family looks forward to a traditional feast on special occasions, and by that I mean the meat and the usual slew of side dish they have grown to know and love over the years. It is definitely OK to add new side dishes and change things up but some of our family favourites only come out once or twice a year and they are longed for, which just makes them harder to pass up or tweak to make them healthier.  They say that old traditions die hard and there are certainly some traditions around food that my family wants to keep. I think we’re pretty normal in that regard – that other families feel the same way. Happily, I have come up with a solution that has worked beautifully with the fam and requires almost no extra time and effort on my part. I do not have to prepare a bunch of new and separate dishes just for me. Watch my interview with Kate McGoey-Smith of Forksmart where we talk about plant-based food-related challenges. I also share my solution to staying true to my plant-based values at holiday time, and other times too. It’s a simple strategy that would work for anyone and it isn’t as hard as you might think!

Tune in here:

 

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Banana Milk

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When I ditched dairy a few years ago, I gave up having breakfast cereal too because I didn’t always have a dairy-free milk on hand to pour on top and frankly, I didn’t always have the time or inclination to make  my own. I was trying then, and still try to limit my use of the alternative milks you can buy because most of them are loaded with additives, including oil and sugar. Nut and seed milks can also be pretty high in fat whether homemade or store-bought so they are not something I want to indulge in everyday. Rice milk and oat milk are  a bit lower in fat but they require the same amount of time to make from scratch.

So …. naturally, I jumped all over the idea of banana milk!

Banana milk is low in fat, nut-free, grain-free and it goes perfectly with cereal! It will definitely revolutionize your mornings! Who knew the banana was so versatile? Bananas don’t need to soak like nuts do and you don;t need to strain it either. It isn’t really a milk, per se but it is a great sub for one.  Just peel it and throw it in your blender with some water and flavourings and Bob’s your uncle! It’s perfect for anyone on an all-raw diet or anyone concerned about watching calories or monitoring their fat intake because it is much lower in fat than nut milks. Do you need more reasons to try it?

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On the subject of healthy breakfast cereals …

I grew up with parents who believed that everyone should start their day with a “good” breakfast. I have vivid memories of one or the other of my parents preparing a full sit-down hot meal on weekends, consisting of bacon, eggs, toast and sausages, and sometimes blood pudding (not my favourite). Week-day breakfasts were less elaborate – (oh, my dad tried to get my sister and I to eat something substantial but neither of us had an appetite that early). Nope, week-day breakfasts were usually a glass of orange juice and a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal with milk. There were always a few different cereal choices to satisfy a family with different tastes but my parents were generally uncompromising when it came to the less healthy, sugar-laden varieties. They weren’t completely oblivious to their children’s pleas for the sugary cereals they had seen advertised on tv or tried elsewhere though. I can remember lighting up when a box of Captain Crunch arrived home in the bags of groceries as a special treat for me and Lucky Charms for my sister. But these occasions were pretty rare and more often than not the only way to sweeten a bowl of cereal in our house was to add a handful of raisins or slices of banana to the bowl.  

Knowing what I know now, my idea of a healthy breakfast is vastly different from that of my parents, although theirs changed with the times too. And happily, I haven’t given up all  breakfast cereals either. I make my own sugar-free granola and top it with this banana milk or  a homemade alternative milk when I have the time and inclination. 

To get you thinking about healthier breakfast cereals, I am providing a link to a list of oil-free cereals you can buy, at the end of this post. The list was created by Dr. McDougall, who only recommends cereals that are natural, made from whole foods, and are oil-free. However, not all of his recommendations are sugar and gluten-free. You’ll have to check the ingredients for sugar and gluten on all of them to know for sure. But at least they’re oil-free. You can also check out my older posts for  cereal and granola, which are of course gluten-free, vegan, oil, soy and sugar free.

Banana Milk

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large banana
  • 1 – 1 ¼ cup cold, filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional
  • Pinch pink Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt

Make the banana milk just before you intend to use it. Place the banana in a high-speed blender with the half the water to start, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth.Add the remaining water to thin the consistency. It is not necessary to strain the milk; just pour over a big bowl of cereal. Banana milk is best consumed right away. 

Notes:

For really cold milk, use a frozen banana or remove a little of the water and throw in a few ice cubes to make up the difference. 

Link to Dr. McDougall’s approved  list of cold cereals.