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Holiday Gifts from Chef Marian!

It’s that time of the year again, so here are some Holiday Gifts from Chef Marian!

I am trying to think what I can do for you, how I might be able to support you in the kitchen, with nutrition and intuition.

In years past, I talked about cravings. That link to that blog will still be there, so continue reading and then read the links and blogs after. I simply talk about what creates cravings, and how you can stock your house in such a way that you are getting your sugar fix, without actual processed sugar hanging around the house.

Then there’s the emotional side of the holidays. The link is to Holiday Moments, another blog to read later. And there’s a ‘gift’ in that blog…… how to stuff artichokes and feel satisfied and plant based.

Some people (including me) are vegan or plant based. Although everyone who sees how I eat would say I am strictly vegan, there are those who say I’m not. (Let’s call them Militant Vegans). lol

There are very specific rules, like…. no honey, or you can’t go to a restaurant and eat fries because they may have cooked meat in that same fryer…. (which actually no one really does). A restaurant usually has designated fryers and oil for French Fries and guess what? You can ask.

Which brings me to my holiday gifts for you. I am not crazy about giving bad reviews but as my gift to you during the holidays (when you may think to go to a vegan fast food restaurant) ….. I want to show you what to look out for.

Onions? And tomatoes that have yellow in the middle and are uneatable?

So, I visited this highly over priced place that opened less than 6 months ago across from Scripps Hospital in Encinitas. I am not going to say the name, because it is not my intention to hurt them, rather to keep you safe from vegan junk food and a bad experience. The first time I went with myself. Bad. Customer Service really bad.

The second time I went with my daughter. We both looked at each other and said the same things: Where is the flavor? And why are they so out of control?

And two days ago, I gave them my last and final shot. Would I like onions on my hamburger (bean burger)? Of course. Small cut RAW onions? Never heard of that especially when the onions are old and spicy. Have heard of small grilled pieces of onion, from a more famous burger place. But raw???  YECH!

Then there’s the bun that’s way too much bread, the tomato that is yellow and not edible in the middle. Geeez…. if plants are all you are serving, shouldn’t they be at the peak of their flavor? Not pulled off the vine before their time?

But I think the final straw for me was their French Fries…. (speaking of things I love most). Either they aren’t frying them hot enough, and the oil is just drenching into the fries, or they are re-using their oil too long…. Because the fries smelled awful and tasted worse. And it wasn’t that way the first time I went.

I say all this because my gift to you is to help you shift your thinking. Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

There’s another restaurant in Encinitas (and other cities), a small chain that is a vegan restaurant. Does that mean their vegetables are organic? That you are not eating chemicals? Guess again. Another fine example of us thinking it’s safe and good to eat at a place that serves vegan options or only vegan. The great ‘tell’ is: are they serving lots of fried food and what appears to be junk food, to you.

My final gift to you today is a wonderful answer to plant based fast food. The only location I can recommend because they are consistently good is the Veggie Grill at UTC Mall.

Just like a BLT with Avo

I don’t think this picture even does the sandwich justice but it is just like the old days, when I used to eat a BLT. That satisfying! It’s served cut in half and I get it with their Fries and homemade katsup. I substitute veganese for their chipotle dressing and garlic aioli and ask for romaine instead of arugala. I get their fries unsalted. And all I can say is: I crave this meal! lol But I can’t have it more than once a week, otherwise I’m just doing the very thing I am telling you not to do!

Talk about cravings…. for me it’s French Fries. I even bought an oil free fryer to make my own French Fries at home, and when I switch to sweet potatoes instead of russet, I can have that at home a couple of times a week and not hurt my health. So that’s a good gift to ask for this holiday season.

I eat mostly fresh not canned or packaged food and I am always reading labels to see how the industry is adjusting to our buying power.

It recently came to my attention that Graham Crackers used to be loaded with high fructose corn syrup, and no longer have that. Without chemicals now. This gives me permission to eat some Chocolate Chunk Hemp Ice-cream sprinkled with a crushed Graham Cracker for complete satisfaction when I want to ‘junk out’.

But we all know what the trick is here….. moderation. If I am eating French Fries, Frozen Desserts that are vegan, or any of the myriad of junk food choices more than once a week, then I’m not headed towards good health, vegan or not.

I hope you will keep that in mind this holiday season and all the info contained in this blog. If you would like to ‘gift’ this to people that matter in your life, just stick it on facebook, instagram or any other social media.

And if you would like to learn how to cook healthier, with private lessons please contact me directly: mm@chefmarian.com.

Healthy Happy Eating,

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