All too often men and women leave a doctor or nutritionists office with a laundry list of dietary restrictions due to illness, disease, heart attack, or ailment. It can be confusing, overwhelming and knowing where to start can be a daunting and challenging task. This is where I come in. It is my goal to help people in said situations make sense of it all. Whether I prepare a custom list of recipes for the individual or I cook for them myself. Recently I started working with a woman who has hypothyroidism and was just diagnosed as pre-type 2 diabetic. She has seen nutritionists, doctors, and holistic specialists. What has been deemed best for her is a vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs), gluten-free (no wheat), sugar-free, and soy-free (small amounts of miso and soy sauce are ok) diet. In addition, there are certain oils, nuts and condiments to avoid or highlight. For example, coconut oil, garlic and almonds are fine; flax oil, cashews and pickles are not. It is a challenge indeed; pick up one vegan cookbook and try to find a handful of recipes without soy (especially tofu) or gluten (seitan). The same goes for the vegetarian low glycemic-index cookbooks and soy products are central in most vegetarian gluten-free cookbooks. Tofu and seitan are the 2 most prevalent ingredients to add substance to most vegan dishes.
I have been spending every Monday preparing a weeks worth of meals for her. The first 2 weeks we started slow to get a feel for things and I prepared 6 meals (3 lunches and 3 dinners). Now in our 3rd week, I am preparing a full 9 meals for her. She picks the food up Monday evening and has dinner for the night plus lunch and dinner for the remainder of the workweek. My objective is twofold, improve her health and hope she enjoys the food in the process. In addition to the food tasting good, it is my mission to add a variety of options for her. Naturally you think much of what you’ll be cooking is grains and vegetables, which is somewhat true, however I have been experimenting with different variations of this: Thai, Asian, Indian, Italian, Mexican, French, and Classic American.
As time goes on I will keep you posted on her progress. In only 3 short weeks, I have created an arsenal of vegan, soy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free recipes. More importantly, she has really enjoyed the meals and is feeling good.
Here are some examples of what I’ve cooked for her and pictures from weeks 1 and 2. I’ve also included one recipe that so far has been a favorite of hers and mine.
- Oven roasted acorn squash stuffed with quinoa, chard, kale, caramelized onions, currants and sunflower seeds.
- Spiced coconut brown basmati rice with peas and curried grain tempeh. Carrot slaw in a mango dressing on the side.
- Brussel sprouts with brown rice pasta in a miso sauce.
- Coconut ginger butternut squash soup. Sprout, lentil and spinach salad with a tahini dressing.
- Corn soft tacos filled with Mexican rice and beans and topped with a cabbage slaw.
- Thai broccoli in a coconut cilantro sauce over rice noodles.
- Porcini brown rice with leeks and fennel topped with roasted parsnips and carrots in a balsamic glaze.
Portobello “steaks”, sautéed greens, and a carrot, white bean and scallion puree.
Steaks and Puree adapted from Lorna Sass, The New Vegan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 Portobello caps
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Emulsify oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper and vinegar in a small bowl with a whisk or fork about 1 minute. Brush on tops and sides of caps. Bake in roasting pan on 450 for 5 minutes, flip, coat bottoms and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
Carrot, White Bean Puree:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ c chopped shallots
- ½ tsp dried savory
- 12 carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-cup vegetable broth
- ½ tsp salt and ground pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet, add shallots and savory and cook on medium-low heat until golden, stirring occasionally about 20 minutes. Steam carrots until tender, about 12 minutes and set aside. When shallots are done, add beans, broth, s&p, and more savory if you’d like. Cover and simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes until thick. Combine bean mixture and carrots in a blender/processor and puree until smooth.
- 1 bunch Kale
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- S&P to taste
Sauté greens in a pan with oil on medium heat, add lemon juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes stirring frequently about 2-3 minutes.