Growing up, we didn't have a microwave in the house. So when I first approached one at about 20 years old, I wasn't confident on how to work it. The buttons had various commands, but none I fully understood. And then I found that even if I learned to use one, the others I'd encounter would have totally different buttons that meant totally different things!
It wasn't until I began my career and started working everyday that I would use a microwave on a normal basis. Every day I would bring my meals and then heat them up in the microwave during lunch time like everyone else in the workplace. It's interesting how quickly we can get used to new habits. For all of 2018 and 2019, I exposed my body to harmful, radiated meals! Unfortunately, though, that didn't hit home until recently.
One of my 2020 goals is to not use the microwave AT ALL when I go to work (so far it has been working really well). Once the decision was made, I realized that I would have to settle for packing cold meals. Of course I didn't want it to literally be a cold meal. Like, I didn't want to have [insert any warm meal here] the night before, then take the leftovers the next morning and eat it cold. I wanted it to be a little more intentional.
So I instead plan 3 cold salads at the beginning of the week, meal prep them, and store them in my refrigerator. After the preparation, I actually end up with both lunch and dinner for the next four days, it's pretty cool, and keeps me on a clean eating streak for the week! For me, a salad has to be built in a particular way to be fulfilling...And not boring.
What do I consider? Over this no-microwaving meals journey, approximately 80% of my meals have been raw. Evidently, I have fallen madly in love with color, and have a variety of it in my meal prep bowls. I have an especial love for greens! I like to use leafy veggies like kale, lettuce, and cabbage, but throw in other green vegetables to bring in some excitement. Cucumbers add freshness, while oven-roasted broccoli and brussel sprouts add texture and flavor. Not to mention the great amounts of protein and fiber that you put into your body with just these veggies alone. Other colors I love include oranges, reds, yellows, and purples, like tomatoes, peppers, purple cabbage, and carrots.
I believe that in order for me to feel satisfied throughout the day, since my metabolism will burn right through vegetables like it's nothing, I have to add various proteins and grains to my salads. I am something of a tofu addict (my whole family is really), so most of the time I am having oven-baked tofu seasoned with soy sauce, pepper, paprika, nutritional yeast seasoning, garlic powder, and parsley. There are even times that I'll drizzle BBQ sauce (my favorite condiment) over it. I've been alternating tofu with Tempeh, which I am finding to be quite versatile. I like to add chickpeas or lentils (black or red) because they give me less bloating issues. When selecting which grains I should add, I usually go for quinoa, which is filled with protein, or couscous.
Over these first 4 weeks of the year, I have become quite creative with flavors, preparing my own avocado dressing and garnishing with sesame seeds. But most of the time, I keep it simple. A little leamon or lime juice, some vinegar, and olive oil have been my salad season mainstays. Flax seeds have been a beneficial addition to my meals, as they are great in adding fat and fiber to the dressings.
I feel great after making the choice to stop microwaving my meals. This new eating strategy has greatly boosted my energy and confidence! Feeding yourself properly, and in the best way that you know how is a form of self love. Always strive to give yourself better.
Looking Through Vegan Colored Glasses is a vegan lifestyle blog curated by a Black mom and four of her vegan raised kids, covering their opinions on health, food, and fashion.