Happy New Year my friends! Am I the only one who’s had a tough time diving into resolutions? Just before ringing in the new year we began a ten-day stretch of subzero temps, with a blizzard in the middle of it. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been gung-ho with energy to attack a brand new year.
I decided to start with achievable intentions that, hopefully, would help clear my head of the holiday hangover. I proclaimed a vegan, gluten-free diet for one month, as I had admittedly fallen prey to December temptations. (On a side note, I’m not opposed to eating meat, but removing it from my diet seemed a good way to lighten up, as any holiday entertaining on my watch was meat-laden.)
Many a client have come to me overwhelmed by instruction from their medical or holistic practitioner to immediately remove dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, and in their mind everything else from their diets. “What on earth am I supposed to eat?” Easy-peasy says I, this is how I eat all the time. Right?
Not so much.
As it turns out my January effort was a healthy reality check. Sometimes we let our behavior fall out of line with the person we want to be, as was the case with me. I apparently powered my way through December with some cheese and crackers here, and extra glass of champagne there, and sure, I’ll split a slice of pizza…all without giving it a thought. It didn’t take long to fall back into a routine of clean eating, but I can’t say it was easy. I was reminded that being in control of your health takes thought and planning. It requires you to be aware of the nibbling you do throughout the day, the meals you gobble down when on the go, and how all of this makes you feel. It requires mindfulness. I am humbled when my thoughts turn to every client who came to me bewildered and overwhelmed at the notion of changing their diet, knowing they’d suddenly need to spend a whole lot more time in the kitchen, and would actually have to plan.
I’m not about beating anybody up for habits that fall by the wayside over the holidays. I’m simply making an observation on how quickly and easily I, the health geek fell out of a mindful routine, and I’m paid to counsel people to do this very thing! Clearly it was time to put my money where my mouth is, and in doing so, I’ve realized a larger, all-compassing resolution. While I focus on nourishing with certain foods I am practicing mindfulness, and this is one intention I plan to continue all year. I may carry on with the current vegan, gluten-free regimen, but I will be adding another mindful intention next month, and the month after that, and the month after that until December of 2018, and hopefully long after. Join me on this journey and together we’ll build a foundation of self-awareness and body wisdom, and you deserve that.
To kick off my vegan, gluten-free month this recipe for Hemp and Pine Nut Crusted Cauliflower with Gremolata sauce is one my favorite cold weather comforts. The dish is high in protein and healthy fats, though all you’ll notice is buttery bliss. Gremolata is a traditional Italian green sauce. Simple, light, and so nutrient dense.
And with that, let’s plunge with energy and enthusiasm into this new year of opportunity!
Hemp and Pine Nut Crusted Cauliflower Steaks
Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as an entrée
1 Large head of cauliflower
¼ Cup coconut oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
½ Cup raw pine nuts
¾ Cup Hemp heart seeds
¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat broiler to high heat.
Rinse cauliflower, pat dry, and slice into thick steaks or quarter into large pieces. Melt coconut oil in a pan over the stovetop, or in the microwave. Place cauliflower pieces on a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush coconut oil liberally onto all pieces of cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, finely chop pine nuts in a food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with hemp hearts and olive oil for a thick, oily paste. Season nut/seed mixture with salt and pepper.
Heat oven to 350°F.
Using your fingertips, press the nut/seed mixture onto the cauliflower, coating the outside and crevices of each piece as best as possible. Leave any remnants that don’t want to stick to the cauliflower in the pan to cook alongside. Bake for 30 minutes, until cauliflower is cooked through and golden brown.
1 Bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Juice from ½ lemon
¼-½ Cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add more olive oil for a thinner consistency (my preference!) Season to taste with salt and pepper.