Our idea of what constitutes "food" in American culture has become so skewed that it is almost unrecognizable. Our supermarkets are packed with products whose ingredients include unpronounceable chemicals, dyes, bacteria, and growth hormones. They are irradiated without our consent and contain GMOs.It's time to bring back FOOD. Pure unadulterated organic RAW food.This blog is a documentation of my continuing journey on a plant-based lifestyle.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Vegan Pizza FTW

 When people commit to a plant-based lifestyle they assume that sacrifice is inevitable. They believe that teeth-gritting will-power will be a necessity; how else will they manage to power through sans their favorite disease-inducing foods like pizza, hamburgers, and ice cream? The horizon looks bleak, marred by restriction, social anxiety (or fear of missing out), and tasteless rabbit food.

Hey, i'm all for rabbit food - lettuce, carrots, delish! Buuut, if you were to tell me that those were to be the two staples of my diet, I might just cry...no, I can promise you I would sob uncontrollably and be inconsolable for quite some time. Nobody wants to be reduced to carrots and lettuce, that I am sure!

Fortunately, this fear-based ideology surrounding the plant-based diet (surely bolstered by the meat and diary industry who desperately want you to believe the aforementioned in addition to the fact that you will without a doubt develop an array of deficiencies and become malnourished) is a bunch of nonsense! Plants are the most usable and absorbable proteins for the human body and with such an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at our disposal, the body is able to get ALL the micro and macro-nutrients it needs from plants alone!

Yes, switching to this type of lifestyle DOES take commitment, but it's all in how you approach it. When I talk to people about adopting a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle I like to remind them that it isn't and never will be about RESTRICTION but, instead, SUBSTITUTION!

Once that negative, doubting frame of mind is ousted - the possibilities are endless!

For example, my husband's favorite vegan and non-vegan junk food was and is, you guessed it: Pizza.

I have watched him eat entire pizzas himself, nay, multiple pizzas. Pre-vegan he could polish off boxes of Red Baron Bagel Bites without blinking an eye. During college he was known to make late night calls to Dominos and order a large pizza and bread sticks for.him.self. and eat the entire thing. This year during the Los Angeles Pizza Crawl he ate vegan pizza from dawn 'til dusk, in various thicknesses, with and without cheese - and at the end of the day he still wanted more.

To please him with homemade pizza, one that is high carb, low fat with no oil or salt is a daunting task. Especially since he is bananas for Diaya cheese (which is really just creatively solidified fat + color).  And i've been promising to wow him with my Cheese-Less Bombin' Veg Pizza for a looong time.

At Whole Foods I found a great gluten-free pizza crust that was made from just brown rice and water called Nature's Hilights. This meant I was able to switch out a crust that otherwise would have contained wheat, yeast, oil, and added sodium. And it's always a plus when you can find products that have a short ingredient list because it means they are less processed.

Next, I bought a BPA-free can of Bionature no salt added tomatoes. It is important to look for low or no-salt when you are buying canned tomatoes. Tomatoes are salty by nature so added salt is really unnecessary and often takes away from the great flavor imparted by all your toppings.

I crushed up the tomatoes by hand, added chopped fresh basil. parsley, thyme, and 1 teaspoon of onion powder.

Then I prepared my veggies! Feel free to make this as simple or as complex as you desire. Get creative and a little adventurous.

A good tip for parents or adult picky eaters: introduce new and different tastes in vehicles that eaters will be familiar with. This will make them less hesitant to try it because they already know, for example, what pizza crust tastes like even if say, this is the first time they are trying red bell pepper. 

 I topped Kevin's pizza with organic mushrooms, artichokes, & red bell pepper. The crust needs to be fully defrosted first and the oven pre-heated to 500 degrees. I popped it in for 10 minutes before I put the toppings on just to make sure it was cooked all the way through. Then I covered it in sauce and veggies and put it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes; occasionally checking to make sure it didn't burn.

 The result? A masterpiece of rustic deliciousness! #humblebrag The crust, according to my pizza savant of a husband, was crispy along the edges and chewy towards the center, kind of like wood-fired pizza lending itself perfectly to the gently roasted veggies from the saltiness in the tomatoes to the sweetness of the pepper, effectively complimented by the fresh herbs. Despite its cheese-less nature he was satisfied and in true Kevin fashion processed to demolish BOTH pizzas!

Tell me there is even a HINT of sacrifice here! I dare you!

*Bionature picture and Nature's Hilight Pizza Crust Picture from Google Images

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