Vegetables for weight loss


Have you ever tried to lose weight? I mean really tried? I’m in my 30s and this is the first time in my life that I’m truly making a conscious and physical effort to shed some pounds- and it’s hard as heck! In my previous post I talked about slowing down and taking care of myself. A large part of ‘keeping it light’ in 2016 is taking care of the physical body: eating more vegetables, being more active and reinvigorating my yoga practice. Ultimately with the intention to physically ‘keep it light.’

Luckily, time is on my side. Often I speak to people who are trying to lose weight in order to fit into an outfit, go on vacation, or be ready for summer. All of those external time constraints might be a motivating factor for some people, but for me they’re a hindrance. I prefer to wholeheartedly incorporate some changes into my lifestyle, slowly adding ones that feel good and subtracting ones that don’t work.

vegetables saladforbreakfast mamaearthorganic
Some of the bounty from my weekly vegetable delivery.

One effective way to lighten the load is to incorporate more vegetables into the daily mix. Now some of you might be saying “Hey Shilpa, you have a blog called ‘Salad for Breakfast.’ Don’t you eat enough vegetables as it is?” To which I would say “My friend, you can never eat enough vegetables…” Okay scratch that. I would actually probably just say “No!”

So, more vegetables it is! In particular, for weight loss, I use the following as a rule of thumb when choosing vegetables for my plate: either leafys (not really a word so don’t google it), greens, or water-filled. Here are examples of some of these varieties:

  • Leafys (the bunches or layers of leafy-like vegetables): Spinach, Chard, Kale, Cabbage (green or red), beetroot greens, bok choy (or other Asian greens), lettuce
  • Greens (this one is self explanatory): Broccoli, edamame, avocado, peas (blah okay I don’t really ever choose peas), pea snaps (I like these)
  • Water-filled (these are the ones that will keep you hydrated and/or shed lots of water when cooked): Peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, garlic, onions, celery, tomatoes (are they a fruit? Are they a vegetable?)

So basically, the things that haven’t made it on the list are the vegetables that are high in starch and/or sugar (carrots, beets, potatoes, squashes etc.) That doesn’t mean that I don’t eat these vegetables- I sure do! I’m just more mindful of the portions, don’t eat them daily and try not to eat them all in one meal. Again, this is my own rule of thumb for weight loss. I’m not a nutritionist so this might all sound like mumbo jumbo to you! And that’s okay 🙂

This system is particularly hard to follow in the winter, when most of the seasonal produce in Toronto is made up of starches and root vegetables. So it’s been a fun learning process and I’ve had to figure out ways to balance my need for locally grown food, with my need for leafys, greens and water-filled vegetables.

What about you? What rules do you follow for weight loss? I’d love to hear what works for you. In the next post I’ll share some tips on how I’ve been using the vegetables.

Until then, keep it light!


Cauliflower “Rice” is Nice

cauliflower rice salad for breakfast

…Yeah! I totally did!

cauliflower rice salad for breakfast

Behold! The curvaceous cruciferous we refer to as cauliflower. I’m hoping this gorgeous specimen will distract you from my mild digital absence.

I’ve missed you all! The past few months there have been some changes so I haven’t had a chance to blog as frequently. But as things begin to calm down, I’m aching to share some treats that I’ve been working on.

Cauliflower is all the rage at the moment, and rightly so. It’s deliciously versatile, be it mashed, grilled, baked, steak-ed out, or ‘riced’. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely eaten more than my fair share of comfort foods the past few months year. And my body is telling me that it’s time to come back into line.

Lucky for me the end of winter is also an encouraging time to break away from this trance and get into gear. As I fill my plate these days I’m looking for fun ways to increase my vegetable intake and decrease my reliance on carbs. So you can imagine the thrill I felt when I saw a picture of cauliflower “rice”. It’s easy and yummy.

cauliflower rice salad for breakfast food blog

You take a whole head of cauliflower, chop it into florets, and throw the florets into a food processor.

cauliflower rice salad for breakfast food blog

Pulse until they look like ‘rice’ and no large bits remain. If you’re ricing the whole cauliflower, you’ll need to do this in a few batches so the cauliflower has space to dance around and chop. From here you can either heat and eat (my preferred method of consumption), freeze, or serve it straight up. Enjoy!

cauliflower rice salad for breakfast

Some helpful notes:

  • With my large head of cauliflower, I got about 7 cups of rice.
  • When all the cauliflower was riced, I measured out 2 cups for dinner that night, and froze the rest (for future meals).
  • Though you could eat this rice raw, I prefer to cook it beforehand. I think this helps with digestion, and just tastes better. So I sautéed the cauliflower in a hot pan on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, and served it with some homemade seitan curry. 
  • This doesn’t taste like rice but it’s damn good.
  • It’s possible to grate the cauliflower if you don’t have a food processor. But you might just end up exhausted and hating vegetables by the end of it.

4 Things you wouldn’t have heard about vegan cuisine a decade ago

Thursday’s issue of the Globe and Mail featured an article titled ‘Vegan cuisine moves into the mainstream,’ discussing the rise of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Toronto and Vancouver.

Here are 4 statements from the article you probably wouldn’t have heard a decade ago:

1. “Chef Justin Cournoyer, Owner of Toronto’s Actinolite restaurant, says offering vegan dishes is part business, part simply being on track with the trend toward vegetable-centric cooking.”

2. “I think there’s a new understanding that you can be a meat eater and still really enjoy vegetarian food.”

3. “Lyons says diners with increasingly sophisticated palates are viewing vegan food as one more choice on their checklist of cuisines alongside international options like Indian or Japanese.

4. “Best of all is how it tastes…this is flavourful food that just happens to be animal free.”

What’s changing in the landscape, is that those who are meat-free are starting to see some solid alternatives on the menu; dishes that are delicious and filling.

Carnivores might chime in and say ‘hey be grateful that there’s an option for you on the menu.’ Grateful as I am, I would argue that when salad, pasta or a veggie burger becomes the only offer on the table, after some time it ceases to be a choice.

The shift we’re seeing is that chefs have begun to realize that non meat eaters too want thoughtful tasty food options (sound the alarms!) For those of us who prefer to frequent locally-owned restaurants, we need chefs to acknowledge and respond to this changing landscape. So this shift is a pretty big deal!

Do you have a favourite restaurant in your locale that offers awesome meat-free fare? Share it below! In an effort to celebrate the wonderful restaurants in my locale and on my jaunts, I’m going to tag them under the theme ‘Veg Around Town.’ Look out for the sign below!

Celebrating yummy cuisine wherever we find it!
Celebrating yummy cuisine wherever we find it!

Cooking with Soul


It was 2009, on one of my ritual jaunts to Heidi Swanson’s beautiful blog when I was [digitally] introduced to Bryant Terry. On that particular day I was immediately intrigued by the idea of making vegan Jamaican patties, and Terry’s recipe did not disappoint. Softly spiced veggies bubbling out of a golden buttery pastry anyone?

Bryant Terry’s cookbook Vegan Soul Kitchen made me reimagine the way I had been brought up to think about “soul food,” challenging the notion that it required mounds of fatty & sugary ingredients. What a revelation! Terry educated me on the cooking habits and flavour combinations of the African diaspora while simultaneously inspiring me to be a conscious cook.

On a personal note, a unique element of this cookbook is the fact that Terry includes a musical selection for every recipe. And why not? There are countless soundtracks that go into the curation of a good meal. If you’ve seen any of the recipes on this site you’ll notice that I’ve happily borrowed this habit from Terry, and include “What I’m Listening To” with each recipe.

Soul Food in 2014

Fast forward 5 years, this past September I was thrilled to see Bryant Terry in action for the first time at the annual Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival. In the afternoon he delivered a compelling talk on food justice as well as the work he has done to introduce youth to sustainable food systems. As an author, chef, and food activist, it’s clear that Terry is equal parts culinary connoisseur and community leader.

Vegan Chef & Food Activist Bryant Terry speaks at the 2014 Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival
Vegan Chef & Food Activist Bryant Terry speaks at the 2014 Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival

In the evening I was delighted to catch a food demonstration & book signing with the renowned chef. As he prepared his Tofu Curry with Mustard Greens from his newest cookbook Afro Vegan, he simultaneously introduced the audience to some of his food philosophies.

The next day I recreated the dish, improvising with ingredients I had on hand (chard instead of mustard greens; smooth peanut butter; dry coriander). I completely forgot to take a picture of the stew, as my judgment was clouded by the aromas that were wafting out of my dutch oven.

I already have a favourite from this cookbook that I look forward to telling you about soon! Until then, I challenge you to make this soup, and not sneak spoonfuls of it as it cooks; it’s tough! This curry has so many dimensions of flavour that each bite offers something new.

Hosting vegetarians or vegans for dinner and don’t know what to make? This recipe is gold. If you’re trying to make a dish that will impress the masses, Terry’s Tofu Curry is a clear winner with its endless layers of taste.

Try it, bookmark it, enjoy it!

Afro Vegan2