Maintenance Food Diet Recipes
These are extremely simple recipes for you to incorporate into your lifestyle. If you have any recipes that you'd like to share, please let me know. The more the merrier.
Vegan Tacos: Grab some organic corn tortillas from the grocery store. Sauté some vegetables with onions/garlic as the base of your tacos. Chop up some organic spinach to go on top. Add your favorite salsa, preferably one free of tomatoes. You can puree carrots or any other vegetable to use in place of salsa. Add avocado or guacamole. Mix and match ingredients as you see fit and enjoy.
Veggie Soup: If you want to use a store bought broth, the most affordable option with the cleanest ingredients is at Trader Joe's for a 2 pound carton that costs only $2. Most other store bought broths have natural flavoring and a ton of sodium. The key to the soup is adding enough spices to make the broth flavorful. The key ingredient are bay leaves and the best deal so far is at Sam's Club. Avoid onion and garlic due to the sulfur compounds. Focus more on cumin, paprika, parsley, cilantro and oregano. A slow cooker would be fantastic for a good soup or stew, but a regular sauce pot on an electric stove is just fine. Low heat and lots of time is the focus to let the flavors come together. Use carrots and sweet potatoes as the main vegetables for the bulk of the stew.
Copycat Chipotle Lime Rice recipe: This recipe can apply to white rice, brown rice, quinoa, and millet. The key ingredient to use are bay leaves. Once you've measured the right amount of water, throw in a couple of bay leaves before cooking. Once the water has started boiling, put the lid on the pot and lower the heat. Once all the water has evaporated and the grain is cooked, take out the bay leaves and place the food in a bowl. Now add a handful of chopped cilantro/parsley/rosemary/thyme or any other herb you can find. Mix well and finally add a generous amount of fresh squeezed lime juice. You can buy them in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club to save some money.
Vegan Sushi Rolls: Prepare some white or brown rice and spoon a handful onto a nori sheet (I like the Sea Snax and Ocean's Halo brands). Make sure the rice is evenly spread out onto the nori sheet. You can also lay on some sliced cucumbers or red bell papers on top of the rice. Roll up the roll as best you can. If you're having difficulty rolling everything together, then merely eat the roll as a giant ball. Don't worry, you don't have to be perfect with these. If you rolled them successfully, you can cut them into individual sushi pieces. Dip the rolls into some coconut aminos (I like the O Organics and Trader Joes brand options) or an organic tamari (I like the San-J brand).
Air Fried Sweet Potatoes: Cut up some sweet potatoes into cubes, wedges, or discs with or without the skins on. If your air fryer has a preheat function, preheat the air fryer to 380-400 degrees. If your air fryer has been pre-heated, then throw in the sweet potatoes and cook them for 8-10 minutes depending on the air fryer and the amount of food prepared, removing the basket and shaking the contents half way through the cooking time. Make sure to not overcrowd the air fryer basket. You can use a spray of coconut, avocado, or olive oil to coat the sweet potatoes for more even cooking, but the oil is not absolutely necessary here. The less cooking time, the better as we don't want to overcook the sweet potatoes. This same instructions can be applied to carrots, but you may have to modify the cooking times.
Vegan Curry: Add a can of coconut cream in a large pot. Trader Joe's sells them for under $2 a can. Use bay leaves, parsley, oregano, cumin, paprika, thyme, rosemary, and basil for flavor. Add sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, and any other vegetable you can find into this curry. Use a suitable amount of water to your desired consistency and texture. Cook on medium-low heat to allow the flavors to meld together without overcooking the vegetables.
Homemade Lemonade: Squeeze fresh organic lemons into a cup and scoop out the seeds. Pour organic cane sugar/organic coconut palm sugar into the lemon juice. Add water to desired consistency. You can substitute the powdered sugar with maple syrup/agave syrup or add it on top of the powdered sugar.
Coconut Lime-Aid: Grab any refrigerated boxed coconut water like Vita Coco and pour it into a cup. Add in some fresh squeezed lime juice and stir. The lime juice really enhances the flavor profile. You can add fresh squeezed lemon juice alongside the lime juice. You can even try to add some organic coconut palm sugar for an extra depth of sweetness.
Acai Bowl Knockoff: Puree some frozen mangos or organic strawberries and add that puree to a bowl of sliced bananas and any other fruit you have available like apple slices or blueberries. Add honey and dried coconut flakes on top.
Fast Casual Restaurant Menu Options
Let's say you're going out and need to eat on the go. What are some good options for you to pick from your typical fast casual eatery?
Chipotle/Moe's/Baja Fresh/Qdoba/El Pollo Loco: Burrito bowl with white/brown rice, no beans, no meat, extra fajitas, extra pico, extra green salsa, guacamole, and romaine lettuce
Luna Grill: Veggie Kebobs with yellow rice
Rubios Seafood Grill: California bowl with rice or quinoa, grilled veggies, no black beans, no Chipotle white sauce, extra green salsa, and pico de gallo
The Habit Burger: Impossible Burger that is lettuce-wrapped with sweet potato fries
Burger Lounge: Impossible Burger or Veggie Burger. Their thousand island is vegan. Add a side salad.
Pieology/Blaze Pizza: Gluten free crust, pesto sauce, vegan cheese (or no cheese), every vegetable option as a topping
Jersey Mike's Subs: Gluten free bread (or lettuce wrap), no cheese, as many vegetables as possible, no oil or vinegar
Noodles & Company: Any vegan entrée with gluten free noodles or Zoodles
Casual Dining Restaurant Menu Options
P.F. Chang's: Get the Buddha's Feast entrée and ask for the vegetables to be steamed instead of sauteed as the sautéing process renders it non-vegan.
Cheesecake Factory: Impossible Burger, Veggie Burger, Vegan Cobb Salad
Red Robin: Impossible Burger or the Veggie Burger lettuce wrapped with bottomless steamed broccoli
BJ's: Enlightened Spring Harvest Salad, Vegan lentil with ancient grains soup, Enlightened kale and roasted brussels sprouts salad
Chili's: Black bean and veggie fajitas (ask for no sour cream or cheese), steamed broccoli as a side dish
Cracker Barrel: Get the Country Vegetable plate and just asked for steamed broccoli/green beans/carrots for the 4 sides
Denny's: They used to have a veggie skillet but they discontinued them back in 2020. Order a few sides of vegetables
Ruby Tuesday: The "Awesome" Burger (100% plant based burger)
Sizzler: Get sides of the vegetable medley and a baked potato (no topping)
TGI Friday's: Beyond Meat cheeseburger with no cheese and get it lettuce wrapped. You can add a side of plain broccoli.
Waffle House: The hasbrowns are vegan but there's risk of cross contamination. Add grilled mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions. You can add a side of sliced tomatoes.
Restaurant Menu Guide
Indian Food: Most vegan Indian dishes have a cooked tomato base, which is highly acidic. Ideally you would find a vegan entrée with a base of coconut milk, but that may be rarer to find depending on the restaurant. Many dishes with a coconut base like Veggie Korma will also have dairy so always double check the menu and ask the wait staff to clarify. If you have to have a tomato base for a curry, opt for Aloo Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), Aloo Kerau (carrots and green peas) or a mixed vegetable curry instead of something more heavy like Chana Masala (chickpeas) or Dal Tarka (yellow lentils). Biryani could work but make sure there's no egg or meat in the dish.
Thai Food: Thai curries seem to have a larger frequency of coconut milk bases than traditional Indian curries, so that's a huge plus. Go for a green, yellow or red curry with vegetables and rice. If you want Pad Thai, always check with the wait staff on what type of noodles they use in the restaurant and make sure they don't include egg in the dish.
Mexican Food: If I'm at a traditional Mexican restaurant, I'll opt for veggie fajitas with no meat. The price is cheaper with no meat and the experience is great when they bring in the sizzling plate. The fajitas come with pico de gallo, rice, beans and guacamole. Try to substitute the beans for more rice if it isn't awkward. If you can live without the guac, try to substitute that for a lot more pico given just how much oil is used to cook the fajitas.
Middle Eastern Food: Get veggie kebobs if they offer them. If not, opt for hummus and skip the falafel since it's fried. Try to substitute the pita bread for carrot or celery sticks. Try to get their salads with no feta cheese. You can get yellow rice on the side of your entrée.
American-Style Diners: Most "Americana" restaurants nowadays serve Impossible or Beyond Meat. Certainly look for a more unique and appetizing dish on the menu first. If all else fails and nothing looks remotely healthy or appetizing (an example being a salad), then it's a safe bet they'll have Impossible meat for you to fall back on. Plus, if you're out with others, getting a salad while everyone else gets a more premium dish would look a little awkward. The Impossible burger has that novelty that will help you "fit in" with your group.