What Vegans Eat - Summer

My philosophy about food is pretty simple - nourishing, healthy, vegan foods. I try to eat seasonally as much as I can, so this is what my meals are looking like lately. 

5.30AM - The first thing I do in the morning is oil pulling. You read that right! It's basically taking a tablespoon of melted organic coconut oil and swirling it around in my mouth for about 10 minutes, then spitting it out. Next, I slowly drink a glass of organic aloe vera juice. It's packed with minerals and vitamins and great for the digestive system. I wake up pretty early because I love the stillness of early morning, so once the kettle has boiled, I slowly sip on about half a litre of warm water while I read, water the garden, or watch the sun come up. Some days I may add the juice of half a lemon for some extra zing. Once or twice I week I also take a B12 supplement, as I haven't eaten red meat for a long time now. 

6.30AM - Breakfast time! In warmer weather it's usually either a smoothie or a smoothie bowl. What's the difference? Smoothies are made in the blender or juicer and really only include fruit and liquid (usually water for me, I find flavoured plant milks dilute the taste of the fruit). I usually make at least one litre of a smoothie or juice to classify it as a full breakfast meal. Smoothie bowls are made in a small handheld food processor with minimal liquid, so the consistency is thicker, making it easier to add 'toppings' without them sinking to the bottom of the bowl. I change up the ingredients all the time depending on what fruit, cereals, or desserts I have on hand. A recipe for a typical smoothie bowl is here

9.30AM - If I feel hungry after breakfast I usually stick with fruit - maybe a few medjool dates, if that. I actually try and consume only liquids between breakfast and lunch, so filtered water or some kind of herbal tea (I love peppermint or nettle). I think it's important to realise it's ok to feel hungry by the time we eat lunch. If we're not hungry, our body is telling us we don't need food at that point in time. Listen to it! So many people are constantly snacking throughout the day but I think it makes our digestive system work harder when it doesn't need to. Kimberly Synder has a great blog article about the importance of eating light to heavy and the benefits of this philosophy. Read it here. 

12PM - 1.30PM - The time I eat lunch varies depending on how hungry I'm feeling during the day. I try to eat a mix of raw and cooked food. Usually a couple of pieces of fruit about half an hour before the main meal, which is usually starch based. My tomatoes are going gangbusters in the garden so I have this meal on high rotation - homemade basil pesto, avocados, and heirloom tomatoes served on sourdough bread. Sometimes I drizzle cold-pressed olive oil on top, but if I have a really nice avocado I will skip this step. Add some salt, pepper and lemon juice and I'm pretty happy! If I'm eating out for lunch I might go with vegetarian sushi (no mayo), a vegetable focaccia, or roasted vegetable salad. Sensing a theme here? Get them veggies in!

2.00PM - No matter what I've eaten for lunch, I always have a peppermint tea afterwards. It's great for digestion and gets me out of the habit of chewing gum because it's so refreshing naturally.

4.00PM - Cucumber o'clock! I am like clockwork here, I love eating raw veggies at around this time, especially cucumber because of its high water content. I'll follow that up with a piece or two of fruit, if I feel like I need it. At the moment I have blood plums, peaches, and new season apples on high rotation. Sometimes I will have a handful of almonds or walnuts too. 

6.30PM - This is really the only meal I eat together with my family. They've been pretty accommodating with my food choices, so I can usually eat whatever they're eating, minus the animal protein. Mum even makes pizza without the cheese - best! Lots of starches at dinner usually - it's the last meal of the day so I feel like I can eat a denser meal and not be concerned about how well my body digests it. It's literally twelve hours until I eat again so that's plenty of time for my body to get its shit together (pardon the pun). Things like risotto, pasta, roasted vegetables with a green salad, vegetable-based soup with fresh bread, quinoa, pizza, or rice with vegetable stir fry are what I usually go for.  

8.00PM - A little after dinner I'll have a ginger tea. I skip the packaged tea bags and instead peel and cut up a knob of fresh ginger, pour in hot water, and leave it in the water as I drink it. The benefits of ginger are well documented - it's high in vitamin C, magnesium, and helps absorb and digest food. Because I wake up pretty early I'm generally in bed by 9.30pm. I usually nod off thinking about what I'll be having for breakfast the next day...

Written by Aishe Besim
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