A friend recently posed a question to me. She asked me, “How do you do it all? Prepare only vegan food, shop with zero waste, and live a low-waste, eco-friendly life?” Evolving your lifestyle into a truly eco-friendly one can seem like a daunting task, one with many questions attached. Can it be adopted by only a small, select group of people? Maybe it only works for people who don’t work full time? It might seem like a full-time job all on its own.
These questions really got me thinking, and I decided to write about what I do every day for food preparation, chores, and errands. I have to say that a huge influence on my daily preparation is the Daily Dozen chart by Dr. Greger. It includes twelve pillars of health that are best for your daily routine. The pillars are: beans, berries, fruit, cruciferous vegetables, greens, vegetables, flax seeds, nuts and seeds, whole grains, spices, and beverages. The twelfth pillar is exercise, which I also include in my daily routine.
Let’s start with the evening
I start my daily preparation in the evening. Right before going to bed I soak ingredients for our thick morning soup. It is always a combination of grains and legumes (my favorite combination is natural rice with red lentils, or wild rice with mung beans). In a different glass I soak three spoonfuls of ground flax seeds, and in a third glass two handfuls of nuts (usually walnuts and hazelnuts).
The third glass has a lid, so I can grab it in the morning and take it with me wherever I go. Then I go to bed. To you, soaking my grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts might seem strange, but I do it to make them more digestible. I also recommend giving them a rinse after you soak them. By soaking grains and legumes, you also cut your cooking time significantly.
When I get up in the morning, I rinse the grains and legumes and boil them in water with a ratio of 1:2 (grains/legumes : water) or more. I add a pinch of salt and start cutting the veggies. It takes about 7 minutes and the grains are almost cooked, then I add the veggies and let the soup cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. I turn it off, cover the pot with a lid, and wrap it in two thick kitchen towels to keep the heat in. I run to the gym for an hour, and when I’m back the soup is the perfect temperature to eat.
I always add a spoonful of turmeric and other spices for flavor, mix in the soaked flax seeds from the night before, and make sure it is all mixed together well. I like to make soup for my morning meal because it helps to replenish fluids and electrolytes I lose while sleeping and working out in the morning.
For a morning snack I have the soaked nuts from the night before, but I always pour out the water before I eat them. With the nuts I usually eat an apple or another nice seasonal fruit. I also enjoy some herbal tea, and continue drinking herbal tea or still water throughout the day.
Lunch is the biggest meal for us. I cook for my husband and myself every day, and it usually takes me 30 minutes. If I’m baking something, it will take a bit more time. Our favorite lunchtime meals right now are: legume pasta with vegetable stew, tortillas with vegetables (cooked or raw), baked vegetables and sweet potatoes, hearty vegetable soup with whole grain bread, and pizza with veggies. We also have a bowl of salad with every meal.
Our afternoon snack is usually matcha tea with almond milk. Because we don’t have our blender right now, my trick is to shake almond paste (almond butter with no salt or additives) with water in thermos. It tastes great, it’s quick, and really easy.
We tend to like light dinners, so I usually prepare bread with avocado and salad, bread with pesto and tomatoes, fruit salad with cinnamon and nuts, oatmeal porridge or a light veggie soup.
A few more tips
At this moment my husband and I live in a place with a small, uninspiring kitchen, so our cooking has become very simple. However, we aren’t missing variety. On the contrary, we enjoy variety through different vegetables and spices that always make the food taste different.
We shop once per week in a bulk store for our grains, legumes, spices, fresh bread, and organic veggies, and during the week we go to a conventional grocery store to supplement. We normally have to buy more bread, salad, and fruit throughout the week, but we always choose carefully according to which items are the best quality and in season.
If you are extremely busy and don’t have a lot of time for food preparation, I highly recommend a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. With a pressure cooker you can reduce your cooking time significantly , and with a rice cooker you can cook everything thoroughly and never burn it. We will have a new kitchen soon, and of course I will write more about the kitchen appliances from there!
So now that you know my routine, does it seem too demanding? Or is it comparable to yours?
I honestly hope that this article helps you find your own routine. Please write what you think in the comments, and if you were surprised by anything I included. I am looking forward to your reactions.
Have a beautiful day,
Translation with the help of Ellie Farrier