Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet

Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet

by Christy Morgan

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Overview


Instead of turning to calorie-restricting diets that leave you hungry and unsatisfied, try giving your body what it really needs: foods that nourish mind, body, and planet. Foods that make you experience bliss one bite at a time.

Blissful Bites sets you down the path to better eating and living by changing your diet from processed foods to those that are light and naturally delicious. These 175-plus plant-based recipes follow macrobiotic and vegan diets, while satisfying any craving. The recipes are organized by meal type and season, so under the guidance of The Blissful Chef Christy Morgan you can easily prepare seasonal dishes with what’s fresh in your backyard or at your local farmers market.

It’s time to feel good about what you eat. Christy’s delectable dishes trim your waistline and boost your energy—a blissful combination!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781941631171
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author


Christy Morgan has tantalized tastebuds for years as a private chef and cooking instructor for many celebrities in Los Angeles, and now she is whipping up her great, hearty dishes in her hometown of Austin. She wants you to feel and look your by eating plant-based meals that are fun, tasty, and nutrition-packed.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

first things first

finding your bliss

Can eating healthy lead us to bliss?

To feel bliss is to experience great happiness or spiritual joy. If our diets are filled with junk, we don't feel vibrant, sexy, and alivewe aren't experiencing true bliss. What we eat has a powerful and profound effect on our entire life. The food that we take in becomes every cell in our body, making up our physical, psychological, and spiritual health. Who knew that such a simple act, which we do at least three times a day, is possibly the answer to all our problems?

Our health is in a state of crisis. It continues to decline as we are bombarded with fad diets and advertisements for the next quick fix. Our food is sprayed with chemicals and genetically modified; corporations don't look out for our best interests; and cheap, unhealthy fast food continues to be more affordable than healthful meals that nourish us. Since you were drawn to this book, you are probably seeking a change.

Maybe you feel disconnected from your friends, coworkers, and family. Maybe you don't have enough energy to play with your kids. Or perhaps you are sick of the diet rollercoaster and are ready to get off and try something more effective. Do you feel blissful on a daily basis? When you wake up in the morning, do you jump out of bed feeling energetic and ready for anything? If not, then it's time to make a change!

Eating seasonal, local, plant-based foods is the key. The nutrient-rich dishes made from such foods can help you feel radiant, alive, and in tune with your body as well as with the surrounding environment. In a phrase: It lets you find your bliss.

What is bliss? Bliss is being so comfortable in your own skin that you feel tapped into the greater universe. I know it sounds trippy, but hear me out.

After years of study, I have found my bliss. On a daily basis I experience deep contentment. It's my hope that in sharing this message with you, I'll introduce you to the best food you've ever tasted, while connecting you to the greater scheme of life. Through this cookbook, let me take you on a culinary journey that will enlighten your taste buds and put some pep in your step.

I'm not a traditional chef. I didn't go to a traditional culinary school. My focus is on your health. The food you'll find in this cookbook is real food-meaning it is in its natural state, pure and simple, unadulterated and completely whole. The dishes here complement a mix of traditional plant-based diets-vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, low-fat, and raw foods-so whichever diet you follow (or are ready to start following), you'll be able to whip up dozens of dishes to suit your needs. What you won't find in these pages is chemical-laden, preservative-filled fake food. This cookbook has recipes that support your health while never leaving you feeling deprived.

Seek guidance from your doctor when starting a new eating plan, but remember-you know your body better than anyone. Trust your intuition. Switching to a plant-based diet may feel strange at first. Some people will be able to eliminate animal foods and processed sugary foods all together. But if that is too difficult for you, start by adding more whole grains and green leafy vegetables to your meals, making the transition gradually.

As you start to transform your diet and health, you'll begin to see the bigger picture staring back at you from your dinner plate: you will look at food as fuel for your body and mind, not something purely to satisfy a sensory craving.

vegan and flexitarian

You've probably heard the word vegetarian; it means a diet that excludes animal meats. The vegan diet expands its view of animals by cutting out all animal products, including dairy, eggs, and even honey. Most vegans also do not wear clothing, shoes, and accessories made from animals or buy products that were tested on animals.

Donald Watson came up with the word vegan in 1944 by combining the first three and last two letters of vegetarian. Today, a new term, flexitarian, is used to describe someone who eats mostly vegetarian meals but still eats animal foods on occasion-they haven't made the full jump to vegetarianism or veganism.

If that's you, that's okay. You aren't being judged here. I just want you to dip your toe in and feel your bliss start to skyrocket. What I have found is that when I eat a sustainable, plant-based diet I can connect to my bliss. That means I eat an array of plant foods in balance with my surrounding environment that can truly nourish me.

The food in this cookbook will take you on a journey toward bliss. Every recipe in this cookbook is plant-based and vegan, meaning there is absolutely no call for animal products. So not only does this diet improve your health and happiness, but it helps you be kind to our animal friends, too.

a plant-based diet

This isn't a book about dieting. I don't like the word diet that is associated with restricted calories and negative thoughts about ourselves. You may have tried a few of these diets but gained the weight back and felt defeated. The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your eating habits and lifestyle for good. If one of your goals is to lose weight, yet not sacrifice taste or joy, this cookbook will make that easier, because eating a whole-food, plant-based diet can help you lose weight in a way that enhances your overall health.

Maybe you don't need to lose weight and you don't have a serious health condition. You can still benefit from the principles in this book, because prevention is the best medicine. If you eat a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, you can greatly enhance the disease-resisting abilities of your body. If your heart is healthy and your immune system is strong, you will have a decreased incidence of the common cold, flu, headaches, allergies, and even such conditions as cancer, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, and diabetes-as well as almost every other disease affecting us today.

blissful tip: the good, better, best policy

Moderation is key when transitioning to a plant-based diet. A teacher of mine taught me to use the "good, better, best" policy when it comes to choosing food. Ask yourself, "Is this the best choice I have at the moment?"

Choose minimally processed and less packaged food. Processed food is junk that contains little nutritional value and is usually high in fat with poor-quality salt and sugar. It's not real food. More energy goes into producing this food than what it actually provides, and the waste from the packaging produces more trash to haul to the landfills, wasting precious resources simply for our convenience of a packaged meal. (Don't even get me started on individually wrapped junk food!) If your local grocery store has bulk bins, check those out for snack food. You can bring a reusable bag and load up on nuts, dried fruit, granola, sesame sticks, and whatever else is available. Or you can have an apple instead of packaged food. Eating fruit creates very little waste, and the waste it does make is biodegradable.

blissful trick: When you go grocery shopping, stick to the perimeter or outside aisles of the store. The junk food tends to be on the inside aisles.

The benefits of switching to a plant-based diet are immense, almost immeasurable. Wonderful things happen for nearly everyone who takes the plunge: clear and radiant skin, weight loss, more energy, better sleep, better sex, less stress and anxiety, better digestion, and the greatest gift of all, feeling a deeper connection to the world around you. Eating this way does less harm to the earth than a meat-centered diet that uses precious water, land, and resources. Are you open to the idea that your diet can influence every ounce of your existence?

Eating a plant-based diet is what sets you down a path of bliss. But let's take our plant-based diet a step further by eating local, seasonal, organic foods when possible. With local farmers markets, natural food stores, and online suppliers just a click away, it's never been easier to eat a healthy, organic vegan diet.

items to be reduced or avoided

When using the "good, better, best" policy, there are some foods that would be good to limit because they are harsh on our organs and damaging to our mental state. These include meat, dairy, eggs, alcohol, caffeine, and junk food with additives and hydrogenated oil. Sugar and alcohol demineralize the body, weakening the immune system, which causes deficiencies and overly acidic blood. If you continue to eat sugar and drink alcohol after giving up animal foods, you will not reap the complete benefits of a healthy plant-based diet. Remember, it's not just about the food you put in your mouth, but rather about embodying a holistic lifestyle that supports and nourishes you in every way.

the marvels of macrobiotics

Along my path to bliss, I studied macrobiotics as part of my holistic nutrition training. Macrobiotics is about creating balance in your body, on your plate, and in your mind and heart. It's about eating whole foods and knowing what your body wants and needs. Studying macrobiotic principles gave me a foundation for optimal health that I couldn't experience just by being vegan. In fact, because a macrobiotic diet is known to improve overall health, many people with chronic illnesses turn to this way of eating.

The macrobiotic diet is not a one-size-fits-all regimen. By practicing a macrobiotic lifestyle, you have the freedom to make conscious decisions for your individual mind, body, and spirit. But first you have to get clean to be able to hear the right messages.

a word about the allium family

One thing that you'll notice in this cookbook is that most of the recipes do not include members of the garlic or onion family, or when they do, that it's an optional ingredient. If you are already vegetarian or vegan, consider decreasing the onion and garlic family (scallions, leeks, shallots, chives, etc.) in your diet. This will help you feel lighter and more energetic. Garlic is a medicinal herb used to kill bacteria and is not like the food-grade herbs that can be taken daily or in larger amounts. If you eat a plant-based diet, eating onion and garlic is like taking antibiotics when you don't need it. Onions and garlic also are known to have heavy energy, or qi, that can weigh you down and be taxing on your digestive system. Why would you want to eat something that makes you cry like a baby when you chop it, makes your breath and body smell funky, and makes you pass gas? This isyour body telling you to stop eating it, so listen more closely to its message. If you look at many Eastern spiritual traditions, onion and garlic are excluded from the diet because it stimulates passion, lust, anxiety, and rage. It's hard to feel bliss and think clearly if you are consumed by all these emotions.

This change may be a hard challenge for many, because onion and garlic have become staples of the American diet, especially the vegetarian, vegan, and macrobiotic diets. You are more than welcome to add onions and garlic to any recipe in this book, but I encourage you to try as an experiment for a week to go sans allium family to see the difference in how you feel. It will be hard to avoid onion and garlic if you eat packaged foods or at restaurants often, but it is possible to reduce the amount you are consuming, and to eliminate it completely from your own cooking. Read food labels at the grocery store, and when ordering food at restaurants, ask the waiter or chef what is best to order, or just ask that the onion and garlic be left out of your meal.

What I mean by "clean" is to give up sugar, coffee, simple carbs (such as white bread, pasta, and processed foods, alcohol, animal foods, and other unnecessary items) anywhere from three to six months. This will allow your body to discharge and detox the junk that has been stored up from eating a meat-centered diet. During this time, substitute those subtracted things with natural, organic, plant-based, whole foods. Most likely after your detox period you won't want to add the not-so-clean stuff back into your diet because you'll be feeling so good!

You will be amazed at the difference in how you feel on this lighter diet. You will feel healthier and begin to understand what your body wants and needs. A little bit of bliss will call out to you, urging you to continue down a path that makes you feel good. Whether you are on a budget, need to lose weight, have a busy life, or need to heal from an illness or injury, this cookbook and its teachings can help you get back in balance. The cookbook combines philosophies that I have found to work--for myself, and for countless other people. It can give you the freedom to make conscious decisions that allow you to nourish yourself and help you connect to your bliss.

how to read this cookbook

There is something for everyone in this book, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, eating mostly raw foods, or trying to stay clear of gluten, soy, or oil. Almost all the recipes are gluten-free by default, and most of them use hardly any oil, if at all. Icons next to a recipe indicate whether it has low or no oil, is gluten-free, soy-free, and/or raw, and if it takes less than 45 minutes to prepare. Sprinkled throughout the book are tips on living a sustainable and blissful existence that transcends your diet.

As the seasons change, the produce that is available locally changes as well. If we take our cues from nature regarding what foods we should eat during each season, we can take pleasure in the bounty Mother Nature provides. Throughout this book, keep a lookout for different font colors to signify each recipe's season. Keeping order with the earthly seasons, the recipes flow from spring (green), to summer (maroon), to autumn (orange), and finally to winter (blue). After winter, because some recipes are pretty neutral, I have also provided you with an "anytime" section (brown).

Eating seasonally with produce grown in your region is not only the best way to be in balance with your surrounding environment, but it also lessens our dependence on fossil fuels. Your food isn't traveling long distances to get on your plate-making it the freshest it can be and friendly to the environment. You aren't contributing to the carbon crisis, which should make you feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

I'm not saying you have to give up those delicious tropical fruits like coconuts and mangoes completely. You'll even find some of them in this book. But think about the traveling they do, when they are out of season, to get to your grocery store. We can always make little changes to our daily diets to help nourish the planet.

the icons

RAW • If your diet is predominantly raw or living foods, you're in for a treat, as there are many recipes in this cookbook just for you. If it's warm outside or you just need some freshness in your life, look for the recipes with this symbol.

GLUTEN-FREE • If you have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten, look for recipes with this symbol.

SOY-FREE • It is possible to eat plant-based if you are trying to avoid soy. Granted, not all soy is created equal, but if you are allergic to soy sauce, tempeh, tofu, edamame, miso, or any other soy-derived product, you'll want to look for the recipes with this symbol.

LOW OR NO OIL • At least half the recipes in this book contain no oil and the others almost all contain less than a tablespoon of oil. Oil is optional in the recipes that call for it, so you can leave it out of most recipes if you are watching your oil intake.

LESS THAN 45 MINUTES • My recipes are loved because they are simple yet delicious. Some take longer than others, though, so if you are looking for a quick meal that can be ready in under 45 minutes, including prep time, look for recipes with this symbol.

CHEF FAVORITE • Since these are my delicious recipes, I took it upon myself to notify you of my personal favorites.

FAN FAVORITE • My friends, clients, and recipe testers love all my recipes, but I've asked them to tell me which ones are their favorites. The recipes that an overwhelming number of people like are marked by this icon.

Now that you know what the icons and the colors represent, I will help you create the ideal kitchen space with an equipment list of essential cookware, a pantry basics list so you know what to buy for your blissful kitchen, and prepping tips to make cooking easier and faster. After you accomplish those steps you will be on your way to making blissful meals and feeling great!

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Blissful Bites"
by .
Copyright © 2011 Christy Morgan.
Excerpted by permission of BenBella Books, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Finding Your Bliss
Chapter 2: Why This Cookbook?
Chapter 3: How to Read this Cookbook
Chapter 4: Manifesting the Ideal Kitchen Space & Pantry
Chapter 5: Breakfast and Brunch of Champions
Chapter 6: Appetizers and Soups
Chapter 7: Fresh Salads and Dressings
Chapter 8: Delectable Vegetable Sides
Chapter 9: Whole Grains & Carbs Do a Body Good
Chapter 10: Sea Vegetables, Huh?
Chapter 11: Compassionate Proteins
Chapter 12: More Lunch & Dinner Ideas
Chapter 13: Odds & Ends
Chapter 14: Healthier Desserts You Can Crave

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Blissful Bites 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick and easy to prepare tasty recipes.