Saturday, October 13, 2012

Guest Post by Lindsay!

Today we continue our theme on how to be a vegan on the go! Below is a post written by a fellow vegan who lives in New York. She's a busy artist in graduate school who doesn't have time to fuss with complicated recipes. Lindsay proves that it's easy to be a vegan on the go if you put a little thought and planning into it.

Being a gluten-free, soy-free (even coconut-free) vegan is not always the easiest thing
when you are out and about all the time. Plus, I am a full-time student commuter. Fast
food or even supposed “health food” venues are not always friendly to my way of eating.
I have, however, come up with the perfect way to pack food and prepare for the day that
stays within my restrictions, tastes yummy, and treats my body right…in just one hour (I
do a variation of this EVERY morning…so if I can do this, so can you). Think of it as a
morning food meditation. If you set your alarm one hour earlier tomorrow, and continue
to do it one day at a time, by the end of the week you will be used to it, and you will
naturally start going to bed earlier. This way, you won’t be grabbing unhealthy
snacky foods, wasting money on food out, or wasting time trying to read every
label in a store to find something you CAN eat.

Let’s go through this step-by-step.

1) Put brown rice and water into rice cooker (this takes one hour). I cook 2 cups of dry
rice (with 4.5 cups of water) at a time, and it stays good in my fridge for 3-4 days. I can
eat brown rice (in lieu of oatmeal) as a breakfast cereal, add it to my salads, or throw it
into an evening stir-fry to make fried rice. I can even make a quick rice dessert pudding.
It is ridiculously easy and good for you. Make sure you always have some on hand. To
make it extra delicious, soak the rice overnight, and the texture turns out creamy. You
wont be able to go back to using non-soaked rice. It also adds to the nutritional value of
the rice and ensures that it is clean (we’ve been hearing in the news about all that arsenic
in rice, so it’s never a bad idea to do an overnight soak). In an extra hurry?? Put on rice
first first thing before you even brush your teeth, and it will be done before you know it.

2) Put on oatmeal water. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Oats. One
serving needs one cup of water. When it boils (after about 3 minutes), I add ½ a cup of
oats, and let it cook until most of the water has evaporated. Then I let it sit for 2 minutes.
While this is cooking, I prepare my fixings. I add these things to a bowl: 1 tablespoon of
chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of ground flax, 1 tablespoon of cacao powder, 4-6 strawberries, a
banana, two tablespoons of SunButter, and a sprinkle of salt. Then when the oatmeal has
finished sitting, I add it to my bowl, add a little almond milk, and the effect is divine. It’s
like dessert for breakfast, but every ingredient is good for you. I use Himalayan sea salt
and unsweetened almond milk. Take your vitamins with this and drink some green tea,
and you will be ready to face even the toughest of days.

Note: If I’m really in a rush, I eat my breakfast while I am preparing my food for the day.
The macrobiotic people would censure me, but we’re talking about efficiency here!

3) Packing snacks. I need to pack at least 2 snacks each day. Usually I pack some
conglomeration of: raw nuts and dried fruit, an apple or any other fruit (sometimes with
nut butter), some carrot sticks or other vegetables (sometimes with hummus), a health bar
(the brands that I like are Macrobars, Luna Bars, Pulsin' Bars), and rice, corn, or kale chips.
And the amount that I need depends on whether I make a smoothie or not as I leave the
house…I’ll get to this in step 8.

4) A cooler and lots of food storage containers. You are going to need a cooler of some
sort if you are going to be gone all day with no access to a refrigerator. As a student I
don’t have any fridge access. I use a cold compress and an aluminum water bottle filled
with ice inside of a soft cooler that I got at Whole Foods. It keeps the contents cold and
food safe for at least 8 hours (as long as there’s no dairy or meat…but if you are vegan,
you have no need to worry).

5) 2-4 BIG salads at once. Always make more than one salad at a time. Salads take a
long time to prepare, and it’s way easier to just cut up a few extra vegetables than it is
to pull out all the vegetables again and again. If I have leftovers from the night before,
I only need to pack one salad for the day; otherwise, I eat one for lunch and dinner. To
put into your salads: any kind of vegetable that you want. Be creative. If you aren’t
creative and need help, today my salad consisted of: mixed greens, chick peas, avocado,
red onion, kalamata olives, carrots, and cucumber. Anything goes. Dressing lately has
been balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and flax oil with a few herbs from my spice rack.
Simple yet delicious.

6) While you are waiting for your rice to finish: read the newspaper, empty the
dishwasher, check email, write out your to do list for the day, check your Facebook, go
to the bathroom, take a shower, put on your makeup, brush your teeth etc, etc. Pack up 2
servings (3-4 cups) in a preferably glass container and continue to step 7.

7) Putting it all together. So, today, you are going to eat:
breakfast: oatmeal and fixins
snack 1: green smoothie (step 8)
lunch: fun salad with brown rice and balsamic vinegar, an apple
snack 2: raw cashews, raw almonds, dried figs & gogi berries (or any other snack
from the list)
dinner: leftovers from last night OR fun salad #2, with brown rice and balsamic
vinegar, and an extra fun snack.

Put all of these things into your cooler. Pack a fabric napkin and metal silverware (let’s
be good to the environment too). And you are almost ready to go.

8) Just before you head out the door, make a GREEN SMOOTHIE. The most efficient
way of doing this is buying a pre-made green drink (my favorite is the Bolthouse Farms
Green Goodness, but Odwalla and other companies make them too), and throw it in a
blender with a serving of protein power. This becomes your morning snack that you can
sip on for an hour or so while you are commuting, or in my case during my first class of
the day. There are thousands of green smoothie recipes to be found online if you feel
more creative or have 4 extra minutes (I don’t always).

Please note: If you are sick of brown rice, you can use other grains to supplement,
such as making a quick cold quinoa salad with chick peas, red onion, cherry tomatoes,
cucumbers, turmeric, and cumin.

There are thousands upon trillions of variations to my morning routine and food listed here, but this serves as a basic day. Sometimes I buy a veggie sushi at a local supermarket for my dinner and eat it with a bag of chips.

Also, please note: If you are wondering about all the dishes this creates, sometimes I
have time to wash them and throw them in the dishwasher right at the moment, and other
times I don’t, so I fill them with water and leave them until I get home at night (at 10pm
sometimes?!?). I tell myself that soaking the oatmeal pan, oatmeal bowl, and blender is
the best way. How you do your dishes is up to you, but if you do this every day, you’ll
find the dishes do themselves.

9) Go about your day as usual and wait for people to be impressed with how prepared
you are for your life! Remember efficiency is key. Time is money.

Lindsay Garcia

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