Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on January 4, 2009
I’m proud to say I’ve reached the halfway point of my plant-based experiment. There’s a monastic quality to subsisting on a diet of organic fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and seeds that I must say I’m enjoying. I feel clean. I haven’t missed sushi (that much), I don’t miss eggs (in fact the smell of a hard-boiled egg is kind of repulsive to me right now) and yogurt I can happily do without.
And best of all, I’ve even managed to conquer a horrible habit that’s plagued me for years… chewing gum.
What is it with that stuff? Without realizing it, I had become a gum addict. The gum chewer — much like the cigarette smoker — have their favorite brand and they feel panicked without a packet nearby. True: I would feel slightly anxious if I left home without it, which seems insane, I know. Apart from looking like an idiot whilst chewing it, I’ve known for years that aspartame is a carcinogen – so, why did I continue to masticate this manmade toxin year after year? God knows. All I know is that aspartame has no part in my new pure diet. I’m eschewing the chewing. Forever.
An exciting discovery this month has been quinoa. When I say discovery, it’s more like rediscovery. I’ve known about this South American grain for sometime, but cooking it with vegetable stock rather than water has made all the difference and it (now) makes the perfect accompaniment to a homemade vegetable stew. Quinoa contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein – only a handful of plant sources (including hemp and spirulina) can claim this. In addition to the protein factor, quinoa has a host of other health-related benefits: lysine is great for tissue repair, manganese and copper are two minerals that serve as cofactors for the superoxide dismutase enzyme, which is an antioxidant, and magnesium can offer relief from headaches.
Quinoa is super versatile, too. If you have a sweet tooth, you can cook it up with fruit and nuts to make a breakfast porridge. Can this take the place of my cereal addiction, leaving me completely addiction free?