Curly Hair and the Magic Refrigerator

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I am now four weeks into plant-based eating, and aside from some sleep deprivation due to the kids taking turns with the midnight flu, I’m feeling great.

You may object, and point out that my plant-based eating experiment isn’t all that scientific, and my increased energy levels may be attributed to my increased mileage in running.

However, even after a long day, I don’t have to drag myself begrudgingly into the cold, gray winter, or banter with the demon on my shoulder about whether I should run or bake cookies. Instead, I find myself asking, “When can I run and for how long?”

This is something new for me, and it seems to have a direct correlation with what I have for lunch, or more specifically, what I’ve been drinking for lunch. You see, I’ve started supplementing my diet with freshly-pressed juice. And although I never thought I would be one of those granola-crackpots drinking spinach juice from a plastic cup…here I am.

Take Tuesday, for example. After getting up at 5 am, tidying up, feeding people, getting everyone out the door, having a full morning at Bible study, two hours of driving, and feeding people again, I found myself bursting with energy. I couldn’t wait to take a short run, which ended up to be six miles. Instead of sprawling on the couch afterwards, I still had energy to attend to my usual duties around the house.

Can energy be bottled? Apparently so!

Joe Cross, from the documentary “Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead” made up a juice called “mean green,” the primary ingredient of which is kale. But since there is only one kale farmer in Germany, and it is not currently kale season, I’ve opted for spinach instead.

The recipe: I put 2 granny smith apples, one cucumber (or two), a stalk of celery, a thumb-sized piece of ginger, one lemon, a few leaves of romaine, and 4 to 6 cups of spinach (one big bag) into the juicer, and out comes something I like to call “Lean Green,”  which my son says it tastes like grass. However, his taste buds have been chemically altered by 14 years of macaroni & cheese, so he’s not a very good judge. I think Lean Green belongs in the lemonade family; and it gives me a real boost–no artificial ingredients required!

There have been other changes in my physiology besides increased energy. I’ve also noticed I’m not using as much “firming” cream on my face; nor do I need the special tube of eye de-puffer for those big, black bags I normally wake up with. (Yes, the closer I get to 40, the more of this junk I seem to purchase).

But perhaps the strangest thing that has happened this month is that my hair is curly. I’ve always had enough natural wave in my hair to make it frizzy, and I usually have to blast it with various forms of heat to tame it. But lately, I simply wash it, add a little mousse, and let it dry, which results in some nice wavy locks. I’m not a nutritionist or a beautician, but this seems to indicate my hair  wants to be vegan.

While I can’t guarantee you can forego that next permanent wave, I can heartily recommend investing in a plant-based diet. Produce, especially organic, can be expensive. But it is worth it when you think of the money you’ll save by not having to do things like buy heart medication or anti-aging cream.

Some juicers on the market cost as much as a SmartCar, but we opted for one with enough horsepower to do the job without having to rob our life savings–and it didn’t cost any more than a few fancy tubes of eye serum.

The Magic Refrigerator

With all of this juicing going on, and considering the fact that our German fridge can fit inside a kitchen cupboard, and the freezer is smaller than a shoebox (and not your husband’s size 13 combat boots–we’re talking ladies size 8 ballet flats), we needed some place to store our produce, just above freezing, so it wouldn’t spoil. Thus, we found the Magic Refrigerator.

Why is it magic? Because in our house, anyone can have anything out of it at any time.

Plus, it’s cute and is filled with such colorful things, it seems magical. Remember Dorothy stepping into Technicolor for the first time? That’s kind of what it’s like to open the door of the Magic Refrigerator.

Not only does the Magic Refrigerator keep our produce from rotting, it encourages the kids to eat healthy foods. I don’t mind if they snack on fruits and veggies–and as long as they’re still eating their vegan dinners every night.

I’m not pushing them nor cajoling them: I am simply making certain choices more appealing.

I wish some of you could have known me in the early days of being a wife and mother. I don’t know how many chicken nuggets and toaster waffles my kids consumed. It was fast, cheap, and easy; three qualities which should come as red flags.

Eighteen years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be some kind of “health nut.” But now, after years of pumping our bodies with things that are harmful, we are starting to fuel ourselves with foods that God intended for us.

My point is that if my family can make these changes, then any family can–no matter how “far gone” you feel.

I pray it’s not too late for my kids.

I want them to have their own Magic Refrigerators someday.

Curly hair, optional.

Recipe of the Week: “Ack! My Husband Will be Home in Half an Hour and I Have No Idea What We’re Having for Dinner Lentil Stew”

Even those “meal planner” type of people sometimes have a lapse in judgement. Maybe your key ingredient went bad? Maybe you were gone all day (either mentally or physically) and the thought of dinner didn’t even cross your mind until your husband called & said he was on his way home from work.

This is why you MUST, MUST, MUST keep lentils on hand at all times. Think of this dear wonderfood as the new pasta & ground beef. Not only is it high in protein, but  it has stuff like calcium, vitamin C, iron, and fiber. It is also super low in fat and has zero cholesterol. The BEST part is that lentils do NOT need to be soaked overnight–and they come in all sorts of fun colors.

The Raw Materials

Lentils–one bag, any kind.

Produce–as much as you like, any kind.

Water

Veggie broth (or bouillon or dry soup base in a pinch)

The Method

I use a ceramic-coated cast iron dutch oven, but I’m fairly sure this will work in a regular pot too.

Rinse lentils and bring 6 to 8 cups of liquid (water with bouillon or broth or a combination of both) to boil.

Madly search your fridge & pantry for any produce available. Potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, peppers, green beans, frozen spinach…whatever is not rotting.

Chop up everything edible. When the water is boiling, add your rinsed lentils and veggies.

Reduce heat and cover, simmering for 30 minutes (possibly longer). Add more water if necessary. Stir occasionally.

*Note, if you use fresh baby spinach, add during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

 My personal favorite combo is red (or orange) lentils with chunks of butternut squash (though, allow more time for tricky-squash-chopping). Yum!

That is it, people. It is SO easy. Toss it all in the pot and have fun!

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One response »

  1. Love the red fridge. Wish I could have one too! And I do remember you in your young mom days, kitchen stocked with boxes and bags of food products. Love reading your new habits!

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