This post is adapted from a post that originally appeared on our other site, www.opare.net.
A key to being able to keep true to your healthy eating commitment is having the skills you need to keep your meals enticing and satisfying. If you are bored with what you are preparing you are much more likely to succumb to temptation and fall back to your old eating pattern.
As I was transitioning to a raw diet I came across some great advice that can apply no matter what your healthy eating commitments are. Alissa Cohen author of Living On Live Food suggested trying a wide variety of recipes during the first few weeks. I followed this advice and it allowed me to learn a wide variety of techniques that are used in live foods. I learned about making veggie pastas, sauces, nut and seed cheeses, pâtés, dressings, breads, pie crusts and more.
After some time I gained the confidence to experiment and combine parts of one recipe with parts of another. Then I tried substituting ingredients. Eventually I wanted to create my own recipes based on favorite dishes from my cooked and animal eating days.
This flexibility has freed me to be able to quickly put together a delicious meal even when my fridge contents do not match my recipe books. It helped me create versions of Thai foods and Mexican food to satisfy cravings. The same technique can be used whether you are transitioning to raw food, or also including cooked vegan food.
1. Acquire a variety of recipe books that appeal to you. Some of my favorites are Any Phyo, Bryant Terry, Jennifer Cornbleet. There are many more great ones. Search for vegan cook books on amazon. You can also search the web, there are many recipes and YouTube videos that offer almost anything you could want.
2. Select 4-6 recipes to try. Make sure you have the tools and ingredients you need.
3. Each day for the next week try one recipe. Note any changes you make and how you liked it. Try each one again next week or the week after and make adjustments as needed.
4. Each week for the next month add one or two new recipes to your repertoire. Challenge yourself to try things that are a bit outside your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You will learn as much or more from your mistakes as you do from your successes.
5. If you have a healthy eating buddy share your discoveries with each other. My neighbor and Healthy Gourmet class teaching partner Safi have many of the same recipe books. She is often drawn to different recipes than I am and we encourage each other to try them.
6. By the end of a month your healthy cooking/preparation skills will have expanded greatly. Now you are ready to really experiment. Start substituting ingredients to suit your tastes.
7. Take a not so healthy recipe you used to enjoy and translate it to fit your new way of eating. Don’t try to make it taste just the same, but taste just as good or even better.
Want some help? The Healthy Eating Success online course provides recipe demos, how to equip your kitchen, strategies for maintaining your healthy diet and more.
If you have questions or suggestions to share leave us a comment below.
Good luck! And have fun!