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Q: I am struggling with sticking to a plant-based diet. I can eat really well for about four days, and then my body makes me feel like I NEED processed foods. I realize that's just the addiction aspect of it, but I seem to give in each time and it's always so hard to get back on board. Any tips for resisting the urge?
A: Make all your meals ahead using our meal plans . If you can't make everything for the whole week in one sitting, then do it twice a week, prepping a few days at a time. If you have a healthy meal already there and waiting for you, you will be more likely to eat it, even if you have bad cravings. You’re absolutely right — you’re battling an addiction, and the only way to break the addiction is stay off processed foods and fight it out. (It gets easier, be strong!)
Next, don't have junk in the house or at work — make it really difficult for you to have processed foods, so that you would have to leave the house and make a special trip.
Finally, when the craving kicks in, examine it and see if there is something you can make that is healthy but will appease it. For example, if you’re dying for french fries, bake some potato slices instead. If you’re going nuts for ice cream, make banana ice cream (pictured above). Also see my post about dealing with food cravings and my post on understanding food cravings and addictions.
Q: I'm about to make your pasta sauce with the sun-dried tomatoes and realized I have all ingredients but the miso. Can I use tofu?
A: Unfortunately, there is no substitute for miso. Tofu definitely wouldn't work as a substitute. I've never made that sauce without miso, so I'm not sure how it would taste. I personally would hold out for the miso :)
For more info, see our post about miso.
Q: Do you peel your bananas before you freeze them? And if so, do you put them on a piece of wax paper? How do you freeze your bananas?
A: I peel them, then place them in a container I keep in the freezer, but you could also put them in a Ziploc bag or wrap them individually in plastic wrap — it doesn't really matter. If you forgot to peel your banana before sticking it in the freezer, see my video on how to peel a frozen banana.
Q: Since I've made the transition to a whole foods, plant-strong diet, I occasionally find myself craving a good old-fashioned bowl of cereal — which is a double whammy for the milk and the highly processed cereal. Of course, I can use a nondairy milk, but are there any cereals you would recommend for the occasional bowl of cereal?
A: Try puffed brown rice — it’s just brown rice puffed with air, no sugar or anything else added. It’s not the sexiest option, but it should do, especially if you add some sliced fruit like bananas or strawberries to it (banana slices in cold nondairy milk might also be a good way to scratch the itch).
If you must have cereal, look for brands that 1) use whole grains (i.e., brown rice); 2) have no sweetener, or if they use a sweetener, it’s a wholesome one (i.e., brown rice syrup); 3) have very few ingredients (I’d say three or less); and 4) look like the grains they came from — they aren’t in any funky shapes. Engine 2 recommends Grape Nuts and Shredded Whole Wheat. Erewhon seems to be a pretty decent brand as well.
Q: I remember reading that you love nuts but can’t have them, so you do something with chickpeas? Where can I find the recipe?
A: Here is my recipe for “honey” roasted chickpeas .
For a savory/non-sweet version, use spices like garlic and onion powder, instead of the sweetener. Basically, I just roast chickpeas until they’re crunchy like nuts.
You can also try roasted chickpeas that are sold at the store.