February 21, 2012

Your New "Junk" Food, Day 1: PIZZA!

So I had this crazy pizza craving this weekend.  My usual solution is the vegan classic:  vegetarian pizza, no cheese, extra sauce.  It always does the trick when I need to have my pizza fix.  But I knew I could make something healthier in less time than it would take for the pizza guy to come, so I just whipped up a quick homemade pizza.

Pizza.....sounds pretty naughty, huh?  Well you're forgetting that you're a plant-based rock star now, so your new junk food isn't unhealthy at all!  In fact, it's actually good for you.  NO JOKE.  So the next two days of blog entries will be dedicated to some of your new "junk" food:  easy, healthy pizza; and easy, healthy chocolate!

I say your new "junk" food because you're still going to have cravings for crap.  Especially in the beginning, you're still going to want the comfort of the junk food you have been used to for most of your life:  pizza, cookies, cakes, chocolate, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, ice cream, etc.  And that's okay.  As long as you are aware of it, and on the right track to start changing these cravings and habits, then you'll get through it (see this blog post about changing habits).  Just stick with it.

Remember, it took a long time to train your body and taste buds to crave crap.  It will take a little bit of time to recondition it to crave non-crap.

I never thought I'd be able to live without cheese when I first started.  And now it makes me wanna vomit.  You can do this......and we're here to help you.

After sticking to a plant-based, whole-foods diet for a while, and trying and tasting new foods and recipes, your taste buds and cravings will slowly but surely start to change and adjust.  Become aware of each and every bite of food you take - know that what you are eating is either helping to kick diseases to the curb, or welcome them into your body with open arms.  Which is it gonna be?

Okay, so now you're becoming aware of what you're eating.  That doesn't mean you're instantly going to start craving and eating salads all day long (but you know that by now).  It means you can identify your cravings, and can find plant-based, mostly whole food alternatives to satisfy those cravings.

So let's start with a recipe for one of your new "junk" food staples - it's the kind of food that makes you feel like you just ate something very naughty, but in reality, you just nurtured your body with plant-based goodness.

PIZZA.  And it doesn't have to be smothered in cheese - dousing pizza in fatty cheese just masks the flavors and feeds the addiction we all have to salty, fatty foods.  In fact, when pizza is not covered in cheese (see this post about greasy pizza), it's even better because you can actually taste the deliciousness of the tomatoes in the sauce, the subtle hint of garlic, and the crispness and sweetness of the peppers and onions (if you like that sort of thing).  Sprinkle just a little Daiya mozzarella on top, just to give it that bit of extra creaminess and salt that make pizza familiar.

I also add some amazing plant-based "chicken" tenders.  Now, I am not usually a fan of fake meats - and I don't advocate eating them because they're usually very, very processed with added oils, etc.  However, the Gardein brand doesn't have any crazy weird ingredients, tastes amazing, and I only use a few pieces at a time.  Plus, this is your new "junk" food - so it should be something that you don't normally allow yourself to eat - but while still keeping with a plant-based, healthy diet.

So add some diced Gardein tenders on top of the sauce and veggies - then sprinkle with a little bit of the Daiya cheeze - and you've got yourself some amazing "junk" food.

Seriously, being plant-based is freakin' awesome.

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Plant-Based Pizza
Making your own pizza is really not that difficult and is much quicker than waiting for the delivery man!  Use some help from the store and get a pre-made pizza crust (with minimal ingredients!).  Then just use what you have on-hand to make your pizza!  I always have jarred marinara sauce, and usually freeze some Daiya mozzarella cheeze so I always have some when needed.  The Gardein Crispy Tenders are absolutely delicious (sold in the frozen section of the health food area).  In fact, they're so tasty, that when I first tried them, I kept having to check the package to make sure they were actually vegan.  I love this pizza - reminds me of the chicken parmesan pizza I used to get in NY.  But this one will make your body happy :) 

Print here.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza crust (see below for the crusts I used - both regular and gluten-free options)
  • Marinara sauce (I used the Muir Glen Organic Tomato & Basil)
  • Daiya Mozzarella Cheeze
  • Gardein Crispy Tenders (see picture below)
  • Green pepper, red onion, minced garlic, black olives, spinach, basil, tomatoes - whatever variety of veggies you want or have on hand!
Instructions:
  1. Cook the Gardein tenders according to package directions.  I used about 6 tenders for both of our pizzas.  Slice into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Spread as much sauce as you want on your pizza crust.
  3. Add your veggies, garlic (if using), and sliced Gardein tenders.
  4. Top with a sprinkle of Daiya cheeze.
  5. Cook according to pizza dough package directions.
I got both pizza crusts from DLM - the one of the left is a regular crust, the one on the right is a Sinfully Gluten Free crust - delicious and both were made with minimal, pronounceable ingredients!
Gardein brand Crispy Tenders - so good, you'll have to check twice to make sure you're not actually eating chicken!

Bake the tenders according to package directions.

Ingredients, chopped and ready to go!

Pizzas - before

Pizza - after

My pizza - after

Warm, melty, crispy, yummy PIZZA!!



2 comments:

  1. I am recently a big fan of the "gardein" frozen meat-alternatives too! Glad to know they're in Ohio now, so when I come home to visit, I can find them!(:

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    Replies
    1. Yes! I'm not usually a fan of the fake meats, but Gardein does a great job!

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