Recap of EarthFair Lecture, Balboa Park – April 19, 2015
How To Eat Healthy On A Budget
When on a budget, a healthy diet should consist of organic whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables, all in their natural, unprocessed state. Sticking to basics and avoiding packaged foods is key to having a quality, plant based diet on a budget.
Simpler Is Better
The simpler you eat, the healthier you will be. The simpler the diet, the more affordable the diet. Simple does not mean plain. Although you eat a simple diet, it can still be loaded with delicate flavors and textures.
Key to Optimum Health
Optimum health is typically linked to the consumption of a large amount of quality vegetables.
What Is A Quality Vegetable?
A quality vegetable is fresh, organic and grown with integrity.
Freshness is when vegetables reach your table within 24 hours of harvest. The only way to assure true freshness is by knowing the grower personally.
Make sure the item is certified organic by checking the label.
To assure a vegetable is grown with integrity by using the finest organic standards, you’ll need to know the grower personally.
Priority Food Budget:
#1 – quality vegetables
#2 – a plant based protein
#3 – oil, vinegar, soy sauce, herbs and spices, salt, pepper, condiments
Ideas For Obtaining Quality Vegetables At A Low Cost
Join a CSA – make sure it is a real CSA and not a produce box delivery service. You want to know your grower personally.
Farmers’ Market Sales – Purchase end-of-the-day sale items at the farmers’ market.
Gardens – Get familiar with your community gardens and gardeners, see if they will share the bounty. Or grow your own garden.
Sprouts – Grow flats of greens such as buckwheat or sunflower. Grow jars of sprouts.
Getting Basics At A Discounted Price
Join a food buying coop – Google food buying coop and find one delivering in your neighborhood then join. Start buying beans, grains, seeds, nuts, oil, honey, vinegar, soy sauce and other condiments, all at a savings. Buy in bulk – you can buy in bulk at your food coop, order through your local health food store, or buy directly online.
What To Buy In Bulk
Buy in bulk what you use the most. It may be beans and rice, oatmeal, soybeans, etc.
Storing Bulk Items
Get the 5 gal paint buckets with tight fitting lids from Home Depot. Place the item in a bucket, bag and all. You may need to remove a few pounds to make it fit. Store the excess in double thick, paper grocery bags placed in a different bucket. Stack the buckets in a cool dry place. Keep large containers of the items in your kitchen and fill them from the bucket as needed. These plastic buckets may off-gas so make sure to keep the stored item in paper bags inside the buckets.
Strawberries – always buy 100% certified organic. Get them at a farmer’s market or from your CSA box.
Citrus, Avocados, Papaya, Pineapple, Mango – flexibility with organic but make sure the citrus and avocados are sourced locally in San Diego. Best deals on this type of fruit can be found at your neighborhood fruit stand, mom & pop markets in Spanish neighborhoods or mom & pop stands a the farmers’ market
Apples, Pears, Cherries & All Stone Fruit – always buy 100% certified organic. I find the best deals and quality at my local health food store, either Jimbos or Frazier Farms.
Time Saving Appliances
Pampered chef garlic press, no need to peel the cloves, a real time saver.
Mandoline – Benreiner is a very good brand.
Blender – high speed if possible
Food Processor – with both the ‘S’ blade and the slicing blade.
Hand citrus juicer that strains pulp and seeds
Time Saving Food Prep Tips
Make them simple then fluff up with lots of frills such as olives, , sun dried tomatoes, avocado, papaya, sprouted beans, seed meal, sauerkraut, nutritional yeast.
Make your dressings in large quantities.
Good salad dressing base:
Apple cider vinegar, honey, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil – store in a cabinet. When making a fruit vinaigrette, add orange juice, lemon, grapefruit or a blended berry. Store in fridge without the olive oil (olive oil will harden in the fridge). Instead add it directly to the salad just before serving.
Marinades not only preserve food but they infuse it with lots of flavor.
Making marinated vegetables:
Select veggies that you won’t be juicing or using in a salad. Good choices are broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, kohlrabi, green beans, sugar snap peas, green onions, baby leeks, summer squash, eggplant and cucumbers. Process using the slicing blade on your food processor (it may take 2-3 rounds, make plenty). Place the sliced veggies in a large bowl, pour in about 1 1/2 cups of a home-made marinade, toss, pack in wide mouth jars and store in the fridge.
How to use marinated vegetables:
Start by adding some avocado to the serving(s). Combine this with your plant based protein, or use to accompany a protein patty, cook them with eggs or braise by tossing into a heavy skillet with coconut oil. Serve with cooked rice and marinaded tofu or tempeh. Get creative.
Base marinade – Use the salad dressing base of apple cider vinegar, honey, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. From here you can add different spices; Italian seasonings, pizza spice, taco seasoning, sofrito, dill, tarragon. Go heavy on the seasonings when making a marinade.
Asian style marinade – mix together lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, fresh crushed ginger, crushed garlic, salt & pepper, minced cilantro.
Protein Burgers –
Google and find a favorite recipe. Try using sprouted beans. Make a large quantity and freeze them. They make a quick and satisfying meal.