Sometimes I wish I could freeze frame moments so that I can capture the look of incredulity on peoples faces when I tell them that I don’t eat dairy or meat. It’s really quite funny to see and they always ask the same question – so what do you eat? Then when I explain about eating a whole food, plant based diet, a shadow of concern clouds their faces – surely you can’t survive on that?
There’s so many different foods to eat other than meat or dairy, it’s just our way of thinking that makes it seem impossible to not only survive, but to heal, become really healthy and energetic and generally feel much better than before. I guess I am lucky that I have a food intolerance to yeast and not wheat as it makes it much easier – at least I can eat cake! And eating a whole food plant based diet means that when I do have the occasional fried or greasy option, I not only enjoy it but don’t feel any guilt about eating it, as I don’t seem to put on weight any more either!
There are so many different plant foods to try, and a whole array of recipes on the internet, it’s really a new adventure in cooking, which I find quite exciting (sad as it may be!). Plus on top of that, eating this way means I never feel really full and bloated, my chronic itching has stopped and my skin is looking great – in fact a friend said the other day it looked like I’d had botox! Cutting out processed foods and getting all the vitamins and minerals in wholefoods really does make a difference.
But finding dairy free alternatives is still a challenge. This week I experimented with dairy free sour cream, using it as a dressing on a beetroot salad I made for a party we had on Saturday night. It tastes pretty good, and lots of it was eaten, so I guess others thought so too. Obviously sour cream can be used with many dishes – I especially look forward to trying it with a veggie chilli which I’m planning on making later in the week. It is cashew nut based again, as that gives the creamy texture, so apologies to those with nut allergies.
Dairy free sour cream
1 cup cashew nuts
juice of 1 lemon or lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
Soaks the cashew nuts in water for at least two hours. Drain off this water and grind in a processor into a thick paste, adding a little water. I find I have to grind for 30 seconds or so, then stop, give it a scrape off the edges then grind again. Repeat and grind for a third time, adding water if you need to to get a thick creamy consistency. Add in the lemon juice and salt and blend again until it’s combined. Taste and adjust to how you want it. To make it richer, add the olive oil (but remember this is a refined oil and not a whole food and the fat content will increase). If it’s too thick, add a little more water. Then it’s ready to go!
3 or 4 beetroots cleaned (organic if possible)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
salt and pepper
dairy free sour cream
chopped chives to garnish
Cook the beetroot until soft, but not too soft – I use the pressure cooker to save time, but boiling, roasting or steaming works just as well. Leave to cool. Dry fry the fennel seeds in a hot pan until they start to colour and emit a lovely smell. Turn off the heat and leave to cool. Chop the beetroot into small dice and place in a serving bowl along with the cooled fennel seeds, add seasoning and stir. Place a few good dollops of dairy free sour cream on the top and sprinkle with chives. That’s it – eat and enjoy!