A recipe for a super delicious, nutrient dense, high-alkaline, low-glycemic, protein-rich salad coming up, but first.
A few random thoughts.
(It’s been awhile.)
A new vegetable market opened up just a few minutes from my house.
It’s located on the pier, the marina right next to it & the ocean right there. I love going there because I’m usually the only customer & whomever is working there is anxious to help me. I also get to try out my Japanese, & without fail, flub up & realize I don’t actually know much. But it’s enough to communicate, & if they know any English at all, they want to speak it to me. This is where I got all the awesome veggies for the salad I’m excited to share with you.
So, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be a blog more regularly.
But here we are, middle of January & this is my first post.
Salem started a new preschool this month.
It’s a private, Japanese Christian school.
She’s the only American, & aside from the principal & two Philipino students, she’s the only English speaker.
It’s been interesting to dive head first into this world of Japanese education (which is very, very different from American & deserves an altogether different blog post). It’s all day, & she seems to be doing great & doesn’t mind the language barrier, but she’s at an age where language is still developing & that part of her brain is still quite malleable. Plus she is an independent spirit & up for the adventure.
My other kids are involved with dance, karate, baseball, cub scouts, & piano lessons. Plus there are playgroups & storytime for Tyndale, in addition to bills, laundry, grocery shopping, dates, & of course sex (yes, I just said sex–it’s important too!)
Life is busy.
I know I have said this before, but I *really* mean it this time. I feel so blessed that we are able to do all of these extra-curriculars (I explain in this post how we’ve been able to fit it into our budget) & love that my kids have the opportunity to pursue skills & hobbies, but it doesn’t come without a cost–both in terms of time & financially.
I guess I’m writing all of this to explain why I’m finding it so hard to pursue my hobbies–primarily recipe development, writing, this blog! But, I’m not going to give up–I will find a way to continue to share with you on a regular basis.
I actually have a stack of recipes & photos just waiting for me to do something with them. I even have another ebook & meal plan that have been sitting on the back burner for over a year now. I have so many blog post ideas, that are already written in my mind but not the time I need to execute it all. But you know, sometimes things take longer when you’ve got other things going.
Like, this little man.
Can you believe it’s been 2 years since this happened?
Here’s the crazy thing. I’m still nursing him. He LOVES nursing.
I only nurse 2 or 3 times a day & keep telling myself I’m going to wean, but every time I try, I cave because he still wants to nurse, I don’t want to force it, & you know, it’s just easier.
And, of course the nutritional components of breast milk still kick the pants out of any other food he’s getting.
I know plenty of women have breastfed toddlers, but the idea seems a bit foreign to me, if I’m being honest. Culturally, it’s not just something Americans do.
But here in Japan, apparently it’s quite normal to breastfeed until 2 or beyond (& I think I mentioned it before, they’re big co-sleepers, which if you’re wondering, is something I would personally never do–I like my husband, my sleep, & bed too much, in that order).
With Tyndale, I feel like I’m a new mom all over again, but in the best way. He really lights up our life. Every day his curiosity & fun-loving spirit just makes us all so happy. He is such a cuddle bug (he gives hugs that last minutes). He makes me love being a mom more than I thought possible.
So here’s another thing.
You know last month I had a miscarriage, & I mentioned that of course, I gained weight with that pregnancy. So I’m trying to get back to square one. And it hasn’t been easy.
I never had a follow-up appointment with my physician after I had gestational diabetes, which as a gestational diabetic I was “supposed” to. Anyway, the long & short of it is that I am at greater risk of developing diabetes because of the G.D.
Exercise & eating a “balanced diet” along with returning to my pre-pregnancy weight (you can follow that long weight loss journey here) was the prescription my OB gave me after I had Tyndale. Yes, yes, yes, blah, blah blah. I exercise! Even if I didn’t exercise, I’m an active person! I eat a mostly whole foods, plant-based diet! I’m fine.
But the thing is, the past six months, particularly the past month since I’ve been trying to lose weight & the scale hasn’t budged. In fact, I’ve gained a few pounds (& no it’s not muscle!) since I had the miscarriage. This has been incredibly frustrating.
Believe me, I have been pulling out all the tricks & eating super de duper FSL–low calorie density, nutrient dense, plant-based. Getting 15K steps a day or more + strength training. You guys, I have done the weight loss thing so many times, I know how to do it like the back of my hand.
But it doesn’t seem to be working this time around.
Maybe I need to give it more time (I know this one to be true from past experiences).
Maybe my scale is broken? (Hahahahaha.)
Maybe I’m not actually creating the calorie deficits I think I am.
Maybe I just need to focus on consistency & be patient.
I know I’m getting old (we all are), but I’m only 32 & I’m pretty sure the weight loss wall hits at 40, or 35, but not 32 (said slightly tongue in cheek here).
The thing is, this is not just quibbling over a few pounds. My BMI is now 25 (typically 21), which puts me in a less ideal place for pregnancy. It’s not just a few pounds I’m worried about. It’s my health, particularly in light of my last full-term pregnancy.
I’m not sure what is going on, but I met with an R.D. & she suggested that I have my primary care doctor (which in the military, is an endless rotation of M.D.’s) run some tests to make sure I’m not insulin resistant (which I should have done after I had Tyndale), pre-diabetic, or have any thyroid issues.
I gawked at that suggestion.
But I also gawked when I had to take the glucose test when I was pregnant with Tyndale (& avoided taking the test until I was 32 weeks & found out later than I should have taken it when they wanted me to). I’d like to think I’m above these things. I admit, I know that’s a form of snobbery that only hurts myself.
So I went to the doctor.
Explained my situation.
Also mentioned that we’d like to try getting pregnant again sometime soon & wanted to just make sure things were in good order for that.
She ordered some labs. I got my blood drawn, & in 3 weeks (that’s medicine on an island–they have to ship everything to the states to be analyzed) I’ll have a follow-up & we’ll see how things stand. She also is testing my B-12, vitamin-D, & iron levels so I’ll be interested to see those.
Anyway, I don’t have answers right now.
But I know I’m not going to throw in the towel.
I’m going to keep on doing what I know is both healthy & compassionate & good for weight loss–a nutrient dense, low-calorie plant-based diet.
Which brings me to the recipe.
This is something I actually made for a client. Did I mention I’m doing a little free lance work too?–making meals 3x’s a week for a client. I love cooking for other people!
Anyway, I do all of my produce shopping at the above mentioned vegetable stand & love to see what they’re going to have. The vegetable stands are nothing like American supermarket produce sections.
There is typically a smaller selection, smaller inventory, & everything is seasonal. I can get a lot of greens, cauliflower, & broccoli, something I wasn’t able to do a few months ago.
→ Need some inspiration in the kitchen?
Check out my 28 day vegan, gluten-free, whole-foods based meal plan!
The Okinawan purple potato, or beni imo, is a local staple here.
(They actually have several varieties of sweet potatoes.)
I roasted the potatoes (you can do this with or without oil), served with a plethora of greens & veggies, & paired with the sweet basil dressing with a drizzle of lemon–it’s a satisfying FSL meal.
I love cashew based dressings (one of my fave’s I use on my classic sweet potato & kale salad). This one is addictively yummy, the basil really adding a pop of flavor.
- 4 small/medium purple or sweet potatoes
- 1 TBS. olive oil (optional)
- 5 different types of greens (spinach, sweet potato greens, spring mix, romaine lettuce, kale, green lettuce, cilantro, etc.)
- radish or alfalfa or other type of sprouts
- 1-2 carrots shredded
- ½ head large cauliflower, chopped
- 6 stalks celery (including leaves), chopped
- ½ head medium cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 English or regular cucumber, cubed
- ½ lemon
- ¼ c. sunflower seeds
- ¼ c. pumpkin seeds (or more sunflower seeds)
- FOR THE DRESSING:
- ¾ c. raw cashews
- 1 c. water
- 2 TBS. agave nectar
- 1 TBS. raw apple cider vinegar
- pinch salt
- small handful fresh basil
- The fun part about these kinds of recipes, is it's very hard to mess up! The key is this salad is in making sure you properly wash & dry (I use a salad spinner) your greens. Also, use a variety of greens--whatever variety you can get your hands on. We're all used to the predictable blanket of romaine. It does make it a lot more interesting when you use several types of greens as your base.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Peel, wash & cube potatoes. Toss in olive oil, or if going oil-free, make sure you're using a non-stick baking sheet. Spread potatoes on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing half-way through using a spatula.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Peel & shred carrots, chop cauliflower (into bite sized pieces), chop celery into small pieces, thinly slice cabbage, cut cucumbers into cubes. Wash, dry, & cut or tear greens. Toss all greens with cabbage.
- Once potatoes are done, remove from oven & let cool for 15-20 minutes.
- Assemble remaining ingredients on top of greens.
- When ready, drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon & dress with sweet basil dressing.
- TO MAKE THE SWEET BASIL DRESSING: Combine all ingredients into a high powered blender (you may reserve a few basil leaves to mince & throw into the finished product). I put it through 2 cycles of the dips/dressings settings on my Blendtec. Blend until smooth. IF you don't have a high powered blender. Blend cashews & water first, chop basil finely, then add the basil & rest of ingredients & blend until smooth. For a thinner dressing, add 1 TBS. of water at a time, until you get the desired consistency.
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