Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vegetable Stir Fry

As a college student, eating healthy is not the cheap way to go about living. It's certainly much easier to buy a box of Ramen noodles than it is to pick out fresh fruit. Personally I'd rather be eating grapes and apple slices over sodium rich packaged food any day and the best part is that my grocery bill only went up ten dollars when I started buying more fresh fruits and veggies and less packaged food.
 My name is Natalie and I'm a senior at a state university in the pacific northwest. I started classes four years ago, majoring in food and nutrition. What foods are 'good' for you and which ones are 'bad' was always an interesting concept to me. I was fascinated with how changing your diet could affect your behavior, your disposition on life, and your energy levels! However, what I didn't take into account was the fact that I would be expected to pass classes like organic chemistry and advanced algebra. Some people got the skills and some people don't.

So I switched to art education and now I paint for a grade instead of calculating complex math and science problems. That didn't mean that my interest in food disappeared, however. I put it on the back burner for a while, but everything resurfaced in the fall 2011 semester for me.

You see, I work as a barista for a local coffee shop so I spend a lot of time around lattes and mochas. I started noticing that I would feel sick after drinking a delicious caffeinated beverage, so I switched over to a non dairy milk. Suddenly I wasn't so sick anymore. That seemed to be the only thing that affected me for a while, too. And then I noticed I would feel the same way after eating pizza and lasagna and cake.

So I just adjusted my diet. No more dairy for this girl anymore. But I still wasn't feeling all that great after a meal in general. I was intrigued by my grandmother, who turned vegan in her early 70s. She felt great! Her skin was glowing. Her body didn't fight her anymore. And thus began my transition into the world of the meatless.

The change hasn't been as easy as I would have liked it to be. It's a little more spendy to eat a diet consisting of mostly fruits and vegetables, but for me it was worth it. As soon as I changed my diet I had more energy throughout the day. I slept better. My skin has cleared up a lot, and I just generally feel better. I'm still on this journey, learning new things every day. Tofu still scares me, but I'll get there.

Stir fry is something I have found super simple to make and it tastes awesome. Plus, I can live on the left overs for days, since I always make too much.

What you need:
Quinoa (I use 1/4 cup because I just make it for me, but you can use however much you like)
White Rice (again, the amount is up to you)
Carrots, quartered
Avocado, halved
Eggplant, cubed
zucchini, sliced
Salad Greens

I start by cooking the quinoa and rice because they take the longest - about 15 minutes to absorb all the water. Then in a separate skillet I scoop in a small amount of coconut oil, just so nothing sticks to the pan.

I cut up the carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and eggplant and toss them in the skillet to fry with the garlic (I used garlic powder and just sprinkled it over the veggies) along with some pepper. Next I slice half of my avocado and chunk it up. A pinch of salt and in to the pan they go.

Once all the veggies are good and warm I add in the salad greens. I don't want them to get limp, so I don't let them cook very long - just enough to get a little garlicy and mixed in with everything else. Then I pull everything off the heat to serve.

In a bowl I spoon the quinoa and white rice and over the top I dish the vegetables. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.

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