-By Suzanne (AKA “Nana”)
Usually when I prepare for a vacation, I head to our local natural food store and stock up on good-for-you groceries that I know might be hard to find in an unfamiliar town. Okay…I also usually stop at a local brewery for a few six-packs of organic beer and the wine store for a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne.
A Sober, Sprouted Vacation
This year, while getting ready for our annual week at the beach in Rhode Island, instead of packing the usual fare, I decided that it would be a good time to up the ante. Soon, I found myself loading the car with coolers of sprouted flour and quinoa flakes instead of beer and wine.
After blogging about sprouted flour and Essential Eating two weeks ago, I was re-inspired to cook and bake and try another diet that promises health–and a flatter stomach to boot! Up until then, I’d used plenty of sprouted grains for baking, and eaten loads of Ezekiel breads and pastas to good results, but I’d not yet seriously tried the Essential Eating diet.
Essential Eating’s Basic Balancer Diet
The Essential Eating plan recommended by Janice Quinn involves several different diets, depending on your present health condition. The diet is broken into phases, which you move through as you experience improvements in your health and/or weight. Basically, the diet begins with the foods that are easiest to digest, gradually adding back harder to digest foods.
Based on my health assessment from Quinn’s Essential Eating Cookbook, I fell in the range of the Basic Balancer diet, which means I could eat:
• 60% vegetables, 20% fruits, and 20% everything else
• no alcohol, coffee, or vinegar (no vinegar means no mayo, catsup, many salad dressings, or mustard)
• no nuts or seeds
• no sweeteners except maple syrup/sugar or stevia
• 100% sprouted grains and quinoa, their flours and pastas, quinoa flakes
• limited fruits ( only dates, apricots, avocados, bananas, figs, and coconuts)
• almost all vegetables, including potatoes and corn (no cabbage family veggies allowed)
• no beans unless sprouted ( so no tofu or tempeh)
• only butter and olive oil for fats
• certain dairy products only (eggs, yogurt, and kefir, kefir cheese, sour cream)
• fish or chicken as the only meats (no shellfish)
What I Cooked
Our vacation was rainy, so there was a lot of time to cook. I made many batches of sprouted pancakes, French toast with yogurt instead of milk, and quinoa date bars for Felix (my grandson). We also tried quinoa stuffed peppers (delicious!), and even made some kefir cheese (which I have to admit was somewhat bland). My favorite treats were a few batches of carob brownies with a sour cream icing. My next blog post will talk more about carob and provide a recipe for these brownies.
Essential Eating Fatigue
Like all diets I’ve tried, (such as raw food, macrobiotic, or vegan), doing any phase of the Essential Eating plan requires a fair amount of time in the kitchen, and a lot of mental energy to remember what to eat and what not to eat! I enjoy the process of these new health kicks, but often find my motivation waning after a week or so and want to just eat whatever! Generally, I’m really strict for a time and then slowly come to a place of moderation, incorporating some important aspects of the new diet and abandoning those aspects that feel too restrictive.
For this go-around with Essential Eating, I stuck to Phase One for a week and then fell from grace and had a little wine and some homemade pasta at a great organic farm-to-table restaurant in Newport. Perhaps starting a new diet on a vacation was setting myself up for failure, but I was just too excited to wait! I am re-entering Phase One again now that I am home—just as soon as I wean myself from coffee….again! I am allowed black and green tea only during Phase One.
Sprouted Flour Makes Me Happy
I must say that the sprouted flour part of the Essential Eating diet is entirely manageable, controls my belly fat, and gives me peace of mind on those weeks when I don’t eat as many veggies as I’d hoped. I’ll keep everyone posted on how Round Two of Phase One plays out!
Have any of you tried a new diet—whether for weight loss or general health—and been able to maintain the initial zeal and motivation for the long haul? Please share your stories!