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Step By Step, Putting It Together

I've been getting the question, "Isn't it hard to do?"  a lot lately when I tell people about following The Body Ecology Diet. They often think it requires cooking all day long and endless hours at the grocery store. With my busy schedule I can tell you that is not true. Just like the book tells it's readers, you must take things step by step.

For me this lifestyle change is all about organization. In the beginning it was a little tricky to remember all the rules and make sure I had everything I needed, but now it comes second nature. The key for me is getting everything together in the beginning of the week. With my summer job schedule this is crucial (as I discovered last week when I didn't and spent every night after work cooking, not so fun). To avoid a week full of crazy nights after work I spent Sunday getting organized and here's how it went.

I decided to get all of my cooking for the week done today. So I made 2 trays of roasted veggies (one with chard, one without), pesto sauce, a pot of kale with onion and garlic, baked 12 potatoes, and chopped up a bunch of veggies for the week. Now, I know what you're thinking, this is A LOT, but if you plan it out well you can get all this done pretty quickly.

First I chopped up my 1st tray of veggies to roast, placed them on a tin foiled lined sheet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and seasoned them. At the same time I washed my potatoes and pricked them. I then set both items in a 400 degree oven for an hour.

While those were cooking away, I started on the kale. I quickly chopped 1 1/2 onions & 4 cloves of garlic. I threw those in the pot and let them cook down a bit. To save time on the kale I buy pre-cut, pre-washed, organic Tuscan Kale from Trader Joe's (saves 3 steps!). Then I added the kale to the pot, with a little water and let it simmer/wilt for about a half hour.

Next I quickly moved onto chopping veggies (the most tedious of all the tasks I set out to do). I tackle one veggie at a time and started with Trader Joe's Organic Celery. Here's a before and after:

The key to doing these quickly it to wash everything in bulk with a veggie wash. I use the Trader Joe's Brand (can you tell Trader Joe's is down the block from me?). I then repeated this process with cucumbers, red bell peppers, and yellow onion. Now all my main snack/cooking add ins are ready for the week.

By this time my roasted veggies and potatoes were ready. They looked and smelled delicious!

I was now ready for my 2nd tray of veggies to roast. This one was red bell pepper and onion with kaleidoscope chard. To make this one, line the sheet with the peppers and onions first. Let those roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Coat the kaleidoscope chard with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place on top of the roasting veggies. Roast another 20 minutes and presto, it's done!

In between all of this I made a large jar of pesto using basil, arugula, lemon, garlic and oil (I used a combo of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flaxseed). I didn't get a picture of this one but it tasted delicious! Pesto is great to have handy for a quick addition to any meal and it also freezes well.

Since I was already in the kitchen I decided to try my hand at experimenting with dessert. I've been toying with the idea of making meringues for a while, I just haven't gotten around to it till today. I used 3 egg whites, 3/4 teaspoon stevia powder, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extra, 1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter, and a few good shakes of cinnamon. Without sugar the egg whites will peak but they do not get the creamy consistency of a traditional meringue. Here's is how they looked prior to baking:

It's hard to tell from the picture, but they were very delicate, and looked as though they may deflate any moment. I put them into a pre-heater 275 degree oven for 30 minutes and then let them cool in the shut off oven. Here's the finished product:

They were very airy, a little crispy, but not chewy at all like a regular meringue. I think this recipe needs some more tweaking but I felt like it was a good start. If you try it and have great success please share! 

So with an afternoon of cooking I've now got everything set I need for the week. It's so much easier to stick with a lifestyle change if everything is grab and go, which this now is. Will there be weeks when this seems impossible to do? Yes, but those weeks I advocate for using your grocery store to your advantage. For instance, buy pre-cut organic veggies. Some of my favorites to have on hand are Trader Joe's broccoli slaw (can be added to ANYTHING, salad, omelets, veggie sautes, etc...), pre-wahsed organic salad (throw it in a bowl and it's done!), organic baby carrots, organic shredded cabbage, and any pre-cut, pre-wahsed organic dark leafy green (cooking a single serve batch takes about 10-15 minutes). We're all human and sometimes short cuts are necessary so don't be afraid to use these!

My final word of advice: each day is a new day. If you had a hard time one day it does not mean that everyday will be hard. Work step by step every day at keeping organized and you'll be setting yourself up for success in no time!


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