People Who Try to Derail Your Eating Plan

It seems to be particularly common around the holidays, but truthfully, this can happen any time.

You’re at an event, or a party, or a celebration of some sort, and there’s food all around.

But you’re dedicated to your healthy way of eating. You know exactly which dishes (if any) you can eat, and which fall on the “taboo” list. And you’re just fine with that.

After all, you’ve been eating this way for a while, maybe months now, and you feel okay with your choices. In fact, you’ve been celebrating how good you feel lately.

And then. . . someone asks you, “Why aren’t you eating the [insert specific food here]?”

They have a piece of chocolate cake, or some cookies, or a creamy crab dip, or something else on a plate, which they are holding aloft, looming in your face.

You try to explain, politely, that you don’t eat that kind of food. That you have a health issue that requires no sugar, no gluten, no. . . creamy crab dip.

But no. They simply won’t accept that as an answer.

“But it’s the holidays!” they insist. Or maybe, “Besides, this only happens once a year. C’mon, live a little! What is one bite going to hurt?”

It seems the more you protest, the more they shove the food in your face.

And then finally, you just take it, because. . . who wants to be the rudest person at the party?

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Macadamia-Rosemary Cheese from Vegan Mediterranean Cookbook

[A simple and delicious vegan cheese that’s sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free and low glycemic. Suitable for all stages on an anti-candida diet.]

I’m one of those people who has waaaay too many cookbooks. I mean, who needs almost 300 cookbooks?!

That said, I have my favorites. Those that I cherish and leaf through on occasion, because I just know I’ll find something I love that I likely haven’t made in a while.

On particularly serendipitous days, I happen upon a tome I haven’t seen in a while and open up to a recipe I’d forgotten about, but which brings me immense joy when I am reminded of it.

I have a feeling that the new cookbook from my friend Tess Challis, Vegan Mediterranean, is going to be one of those beloved cookbooks on my shelf.

From the first bright and cheery photo bursting with bright, vibrant colors and fresh fruits and vegetables of the Mediterranean, to the final pages with helpful resources, measurement conversions and references for further reading, this book is an utter delight. I honestly wanted to try out almost every single recipe (and that doesn’t happen too often!).

As you move into the book, Tess discusses the Mediterranean way, including principles of a plant-based “Vegiterranean” eating, and why this way of eating is so healthful. The Blue Zones, a book about the healthiest places on earth, lists the Mediterranean as one of the locales that is home to the largest number of centenarians on the planet.

When you look at the overlap between the standard Mediterranean diet and a plant-based diet, you’ll find that both include nuts and seeds, natural sweeteners like pomegranate and dates, healthy oils like olive, fresh vegetables of all kinds, pulses and beans, whole grains, pasta and some breads, various vinegars, hebs and spices, wine (in moderation) and fresh and dried fruits. Sounds like an amazingly delicious diet to me!

After reviewing the main foods to embrace and how to ensure proper nutrition, Tess moves to a list of lifestyle principles and equipment plus pantry essentials. Then it’s on to the food!

We begin with Staples–some of my favorites like Baba Ganoush and Hummus, but there’s also a Beet Hummus I can’t wait to try as well as Pomegranate-Balsamic Reduction. Moving to small plates and snacks, you can choose from Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), Tahini Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions or Traditional Spanakopita (spinach-cheese pie), plus more.

In the breakfast chapter, you’ll find a Chocolate Dream Smoothie Bowl, Mediterranean Avocado Toast or Breakfast Farro, among others. Breads, Wraps and Sandwiches include Za’atar Crisps (yum!), Eggplant Lover’s Wraps, Harissa Tofu and Roasted Vegetable Sandwich.

Moving on to Salads and Soups, I can’t wait to try the Fattoush Salad, Zesty Chickpea Salad, Lemony Lentil Soup or Summery Tomato-Basil Soup. On offer in the Mains chapter are Alethea’s Lemony Asparagus Pasta, Mediterranean Macro Plate, The Athena Pizza and Spicy Eggplant Polenta, among others.

Finally, the book wraps up with Desserts like Pistachio Baklava, Marcona-Lemon Bars, Raspberry Cheesecake Squares or Roasted Pears with Pistachios.

While the recipes aren’t all candida-diet friendly, except for the desserts, it would be easy to swap out a couple of ingredients to ensure you can have these dishes on the ACD. Today, however, I’m sharing the Macadamia-Rosemary Cheese, which is great for any stage of the diet!

I made this one evening, and the HH fairly devoured a full third of the spread before it was even chilled. By the next day, the flavors had mellowed considerably, and it was perfect on some of my Juice Pulp Crackers.

Whether you’ve been to the actual Mediterranean or not, this book will transport you there virtually, through these delicious recipes!

Connect with Tess on her blog, Facebook or Instagram.

Macadamia-Rosemary Cheese

 from Vegan Mediterranean Cookbook by Tess Challis

Tess says, “Thanks in large part to our fine friend the glorious macadamia nut, this cheese is so darn satisfing you might find it knocks out your cravings for unhealthy snacks altogether. It’s also high in good fats, with a large dose of omega-3s. . . . If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender, but you may need to add additional water or oil to achieve a velvety smooth result.” [Ricki’s note: I used my Vitamix, and it worked beautifully!]

1 cup (240 ml) raw macadamia nuts [dry]

1/4 cup (60 ml) filtered water

2 Tbsp (30 ml) nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt

2 tsp (10 ml) dried or chopped fresh rosemary [I used dried]

In a food processor, combine the nuts, water, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and process until completely smooth.

Pulse in the rosemary until it’s blended into the cheese but still visible (you want to be able to see flecks of green). Transfer the cheese to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight before serving, as the flavors are best when they’ve had a chance to mellow and marry. Serve cold or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 6 servings.

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Mediterranean Cookbook, ©2019 Rockridge Press.

Suitable for: ACD All stages; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan, low glycemic.

Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using those links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

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