Morning Start – Quinoa Breakfast of Vegan, allergy sufferers champions!

I can hear myself chewing. It’s not the quinoa as you might first think, but the sweet crunch of apple and nuts which were carefully chosen to compliment this awesome meal. Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day for me. Take away the daily routine of rush in the morning to get 2 children ready, 1 for school, and a Mr two, time is never on my side. Being a vegan with allergies and makes things a little more challenging. So what to do, what to do. Pick a meal that will give you everything you need in one sitting of various multitasking, because you only get one chance at this. So here is what you will need

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1/2 cup of quinoa – this is your super food. Great for getting in your iron, protein, calcium and carb it pretty much covers all the nutrients you need.

1/2 a medium apple – low sugar, high fiber, great for lowering blood sugar and lets face it, what fun is anything without apples

5 dried sulfur free apricots – in the winter months, I love apricots. You don’t need alot of it to get what you need. When dried, these fruits are high in vitamin A which is great for your immune system! So throw more than 5 on if you are keen on them.

1 tablespoon chai seeds – the other super food. Rich in calcium, omega 3, mucilage, fiber, manganese, phosphorus, it is up there in the comparison chart with flaxseed and sesame seed. It also decreases blood pressure and fibrinogen and C-reactive. For this reason, If you are on any anti hypertensive medication be sure to speak to your healthcare practitioner as chai seeds increase the effects of those medications.

protein levels1/4- 1/2 cup of walnuts –  High in protein, fiber, and must importantly antioxidant and omega oils

1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses – great source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, B6, potassium, manganese, and even calcium. A little goes a long way

1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 cup of warm nut or soy milk (optional)

Prep:

Cover your quinoa with water and let it soak over night. In the morning rub grains between your finger whiles still in the water. You might have noticed the foam that is on top. That is your saponins. Rub the grains to get the rest of. throw water away and rinse again. Discard water and cover with 2 cups of fresh water. Place on stove on leave to boil. let it boil till grains expand. This should take less than 10mins as you have already presoaked. Once grain is open, discard remaining water, place in bowl and began to cover this remainder ingredients and enjoy.

note: If you forgot to soak your grain, simply cover with 4 cups of water in pot, place on stove, and let it boil till the water turns yellow, form becomes visible on the liquid surface and grains have opened (this usually takes about 10 – 25 mins depending on your stove and heat setting), remove from stove, discard water and rinse under clean water. Continue the remainder steps.

Adding warmed nut or soy milk gives it a really hearty touch

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Organic solution

It arrived. The rubber tubs grey and low, easy to hold. Two of them, filled with fresh, vegetables the shine as bright as the rainbow.  Smiling I remember how much I look forward to my weekly deliveries knowing that I no longer have the worry of wondering. Wondering if my organic is safe to eat. Wondering where it came from and what it contains.

It wasn’t long ago that I had the worlds biggest rant after finding out that the USDA had approved a list of pesticides deemed safe for organic farming. Yes, that pretty much did it for me. I spoke to a few of  local grocers and Trader Joes, who could not guarantee all their foods were grown without the use of any  pesticide nor could they guarantee my food GMO free. “But ” you say ” Organic is  GMO free ” . That’s right, but there is a catch. While the seeds planted is non GMO, Some major organic growers cannot vouch for the complete absence of GMO contamination due to some wind draft etc.  It was time to wake up and find local growers that were still true to the organic growing practices  craved so much.

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The Coop

I have used food coops for the past 7yrs, as a means of getting discounts on my organic bulk foods mainly, and due to their sustainable practices. I would say over the last 2 years, I have not been as committed to them as my main source of food as I got lazy and time got the better of me. While I still purchased organic foods, I found going to my nearest grocer more sustainable and convenient .

Food Cooperatives are what you would refer to as consumers cooperatives. What that means is that it is owned by the consumers and managed in a democratic manner, by meeting and fulfilling the needs of all it’s members.  As a member of a food cooperative, you are a shareholder in the organisation and the best part, your opinions and concerns count. All food coops follow Rochdales’ Principals: Voluntary and open memberships, anti discrimination, motivation and rewards, autonomy and independence, democratic member control, concern for the community, provide information eduction and training, and finally cooperation of cooperatives with themselves.

With these values, it makes things a little easier knowing that when you pick something off the shelf or purchase fresh foods  that each item has been scrutinized and chosen with all your concerns in mind.  (see link to all food cooperatives inside and outside the USA  at end of this article)

The organic box deliveries

Local deliveries of organic produce to your door direct from local organic farmers. Now they are fantastic, they usually only supply fresh local grown but will also seek foods from other states when needed. Unlike the cooperatives, non perishable goods are rarely available, but this too can vary from country to country, so it is best to check with them. Making a decision on who to choose can be very tricky. Not all organic box suppliers follow the same policies as food coops, but many come close.  The idea is that they develop a first hand relationship with local farmers and provide on seasonal foods as they are available, whiles keeping the prices low. Some have boxes to choose from, whiles others allow individual purchases. Substitutions are allowed making life a little easier if you are not the eggplant type and would prefer more carrots in your box. Either way, it is a cheaper, easier and trustworthy alternative to the shopping cart or pick your own.

When choosing which company to go with, a good start is a phone call. Asking questions with your concerns. You can also have a look at their sites which often list their farmers whom you can call directly and speak with. This creates a direct relationship between you and your local farmers. A wonderful way to build trust.

With no contracts, you can book yourself your first box which can be delivered directly to your door or at a drop spot near you.

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Eating partially organic  

So being realistic, not everyone can do the coop or a box delivery after all or at least for now. Getting to your weekly farmers market or using a CSA  is also an alternative. You still get to know your farmers, you know what you are getting, you buy from who you feel most comfortable with and those closest to your way of thinking.

Aiming GMO free – look for the orange butterly.

I’ll make this quick. Trying to stay GMO free is harder than one might think, even with labeling. At current the main GMO plant products are wheat, sougham, corn, soybean, cottonseed and canola.  The only way to stay 100% free of GMO foods is to never eat out in your life again. A little dramatic I know.

If you are lucky enough to live outside of the United States where most foods containing GMO ingredients are labelled, than you need not worry about this, however, for those of us that call the US our home, there are options. Get to know the NON GMO project. Look for the orange butterfly. Yes, this non profit is your go to for all brands verified GMO free or in the process of verification. This way you can guarantee that you are getting clean food. Most brands do not use their labels on the shelf at your local supermarket so utilizing this site is a good way to reach for your brand that is safe of GMO products guarantee.  (see link to NON GMO project at end of this article)

As I unpack my boxes of lush greens and vibrant fruit, I feel a sense of ownership in my informed decision to keep free and clean.  Knowing that in the next 5 years things may change yet again and I will be forced to re evaluate and make new decisions on what we eat, but until than shareholding is for me.

 

Links

Food Co op Directory (world wide) – http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm

NON GMO project – http://www.nongmoproject.org/

National Cooperative Grocer Association -https://www.ncga.coop/