Fast food. While kale is the darling of the nutrition super world, fast food is nutrition’s version of crystal meth and the food industry giants are the dealers. Everybody’s doing it. That’s right, everybody. From pastor’s wives to little old ladies, church elders, celebrities, politicians (of course) and the neighbours; even doctors, nurses and dietitians do it. So c’mon. Take a hit. It’s sooooo easy.
I really want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to eat my calcium-rich kale leaves but I also want to have something fast, something quick. I just want one hit. Just one, that’s all, I promise. Because sometimes trying to eat a whole-foods plant-based diet is hard. Ok, more than sometimes, more like at least a couple of times a week (or several times per week depending on when you ask me). And I get tired. I want to call for a pizza, go through the drive thru or just swing by the supermarket and be able to pick up a whole roasted chicken or frozen lasagna like we used to do. Because – surprise, surprise – life is busy. Whether you have one child, two, three, four or five; if you have no children but you have a full time job; or you’re married and have a full time job; or you’re a university student or a high school student; life is just busy. My husband used to be bored. Bahahahaha! Can you believe it? He was actually bored before we met. Because he was foot loose and fancy free, had not tied a mortgage around his neck, fathered children or tried to climb the career ladder. In fact my husband was fond of saying that he was so comfortable at his old job that he did not think even about his job while he was at his job. Then he got married (poor man, lucky man – you choose) and of course everyone knows that when you get married – or land that job out of grad school, or have children – that you pursue mortgages, furniture, vehicles, exotic vacations, promotions and after school activities. And life gets busy.
But we have the answer in North America! With convenience, processed and restaurant meals – with fast food – we can have it all and do it all! We can serve ourselves and our children hot, tasty meals on the table and still get out the door in time for Scouts or yoga. Better yet, we can pick the kids up, go through the drive thru and have a hot, tasty meal on the go! And if you’re stuck in traffic, no worries; the kids can always play on their iPhones, Leap pads and watch their portable DVD players. Bonus feature: if your spouse happens to be in the vehicle with you, you can spend some romantic “alone” time catching up on whether he paid the lunch program and who’s taking Janie to ballet tomorrow.
So if you add into all that craziness a commitment to a vegan whole foods plant based diet (and a broken dishwasher) you have a recipe for full on crazy, not to mention the potential for a serious meltdown. Sometimes I feel like all I do is endlessly cook and clean dishes (no wonder the tiles where I stand in the kitchen started cracking – they are protesting too!); and because I genuinely enjoy making new, delicious and healthy recipes for myself and others to enjoy, I sometimes feel sad that something so nourishing can stir up vague feelings of resentment. Occasionally I manage the stress by making pancakes for supper or just having toast, cereal or whatever quick and easy things there are to grab and eat. And some weeks are easier than others. I do buy some processed veggie products and other convenience items (one day I would LOVE to do a 21-day challenge where I use absolutely no processed products!) but one of the things I have found most helpful (other than leftovers – have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE leftovers?!?) is the whole-food vegan’s version of fast food: freezer food!! Recipes I can double and freeze, produce I can pick up at the supermarket: sauces, soups, beans, rice, veggies, fruits, muffins, cookies. Pulling a delicious soup out of the freezer and not having to think about lunch for the next day or two is great. Thawing that spaghetti sauce on a night of busy after school activities is such a relief. Throwing extra greens into a soup or smoothie by way of frozen spinach cubes is a perfect nutritional boost. So go ahead, give yourself a break; grab some food from the freezer and feel good about having fast food.
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