Motivation Monday: “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”

Hoppy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Things here have been busy busy busy. The past week was jam packed with exciting meetings and events, and later this week I’m off to San Francisco to speak at the 2013 Produce for Better Health Annual Conference: The Consumer Connection! I’m so lucky to have this dream job! You have no idea how happy I am to be back blogging. It’s so inspiring to hear from readers about their accomplishments with healthy eating. You guys make me so happy and proud! Love my little bunny fam!

Did you guys catch Justin Timberlake dressed as a block of tofu in the “Veganville” skit on on SNL? TOO FUNNY! I was crying laughing, and of course I spent my entire Sunday singing “Brown Rice Baby” and “Awww Veg Out!”

SNL VeganvilleYou have to watch JT’s Veganville skit!

A few days ago I asked the RFFMBT Facebook community if they have any food allergies. I found out that tons of you guys have not so fun allergies like myself. I’m not sure if I have elaborated on this before, but I am allergic to blueberry, acai berry, blackberry, boysenberry, mulberry, cranberry, goji berry, strawberries, huckleberries, current, pomegranate, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, pumpkin, zucchini, and squash. Yes you read that right, squash. I found out the hard way after eating my Acorn Squash and ending up in the walk-in just minutes later. THANK YOU EPIPEN! Just when I thought I couldn’t be allergic to anything else, I’ve been having chronic hives every single day. Ugh, it’s totally getting on my nerves! It makes me so itchy and uncomfortable that at times I can’t sleep.

I made a last minute emergency appointment with my allergist when I woke up last Wednesday covered in hives. I haven’t changed my laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face wash, or anything else along those lines. We’re trying to determine what the heck is going on, and so far… my doctor wants to have me tested for other possible autoimmune diseases (mainly Lupus) as well as Celiac Disease. Skin/scratch testing for other allergies is out of the question since I have Dermographia. If you haven’t heard of Dermographia, it’s a skin condition in which red, itchy lines and hives appear when the skin is scratched or irritated. It’s basically a fancy word for “I can write my name on my skin.” Do any of my readers have Dermographia? I wold LOVE to talk to you!

Enough allergy talk. Onto the food! Lentil Loaf is a great option for anyone who wants to try a Meatless Monday dinner! This Lentil Loaf is hearty, filling, and packed with plant power! Also Gluten free, soy free, and dairy free! I have a feeling this one could be boyfriend or hubby approved. It’s darn good.

Why Lentil Loaf is a serious plant POWERhouse:
Lentils: Excellent source of fiber and plant based protein.
Carrots: Contains beta carotene, which is essential for eye health.
Onion: Flavonoid antioxidant, quercetin provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
Garlic: Contains antioxidant properties and helps to maintain healthy blood circulation.
Parsley: Vitamins A and C strengthen the body’s immune system and work as anti-inflammatory agents.
Walnuts: Omega-3 fatty acids.
Whole Rolled Oats: Filled with fiber to keep you full and regular.
Sun Dried Tomatoes: Vitamins A, C, E, and Lycopene.

Lentil Loaf

Lentil Loaf

Lentil LoafI placed the finished Lentil Loaf over a bed of red kale in attempt to get a pretty photo. haha. These pictures don’t do it justice!

Lentil Loaf
Serves 4-5 – Chef AJ

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils
1 1/2 cups carrots (chopped)
1 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1 onion)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 cups raw walnuts, divided
1 cups uncooked whole rolled oats, divided
1 tablespoons sundried tomato powder – see note 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Puree the cooked lentils in a food processor until smooth. Transfer lentil paste to a mixing bowl. Puree carrots until smooth (it is ok if they become slightly liquid like. Transfer pureed carrots to the mixing bowl. Place onion, garlic, and parsley in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer onion, garlic, and parsley to the mixing bowl. Put half a cup of the walnuts and half a cup of oats in the food processor and blend until flour-like consistency is achieved. Transfer the ground walnuts and oats to the mixing bowl. Roughly chop (into small pieces) the remaining half cup of walnuts and add to the mixing bowl along with the remaining half cup of whole uncooked oats (for texture). Add sun dried tomato powder and mix all ingredients together. Lightly coat a standard 9 x 5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour mixture into the pan and bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving dish. Invert onto a plate, slice, and serve hot.

Note 1: If you cannot find sun-dried tomato powder, you can easily make your own. Just grind sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil) in a magic bullet or coffee grinder! Just Tomatoes are dryer than most, so it will turn out more like a powder. Any sun-dried tomatoes not packed in oil will work great. Store extra sun-dried tomato powder in the fridge.
Note 2: Don’t worry about cleaning the food processor in between foods as they will all be mixed together in the end.
Note 3:  You can drizzle with your favorite organic condiments such as ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce or even some leftover Vegan Tomato Soup!

Lentil Loaf

Lentil Loaf

Come to think of it, this would make excellent vegan burger patties or maybe the filling for a stuffed pita pocket! Lunch and dinner for the next couple of days… done and done!

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28 Responses so far.

  1. I totally have Dermographia too! It is awful. It seems to be a lot worse in the summer, or maybe that is just because more of my skin shows. I can’t wear wool either or my skin totally breaks out in hives!

    Response from Becky
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    • Ahhh It’s so terrible! I’m the same way with wool!

      Response from Catherine
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  2. I’ve had dermographia since I was like 5 or 6. I’m 22 now.

    Response from Kristina
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    • Oh my gosh! That must’ve been hard as a kid! I think that mine started around mid high school, but I was diagnosed in 2009.

      Response from Catherine
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      • Yeah, I’ve been taking antihistamines year round since forever or else I get really itchy. Its just one of those things like any other allergy. Gotta live with it :/ Super interesting to hear about other people with it, though. I only know one other person personally who has it.

        Response from Kristina
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      • I read this article last month, I’m wondering if it would apply to our type of dermatographic urticaria http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/25/health/hives-may-be-treated-with-asthma-drug-study-shows.html?_r=0

        Response from Kristina
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  3. This looks *amazing.* We’re doing a biomedical treatment for my son’s autism (diet, enzymes, supplements, etc.) and he has a number of food restrictions. He can’t have oats–can you think of something that we could sub in? Everything in this recipe is perfect otherwise! Thanks for any guidance.

    Response from Lisa
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    • Hi Lisa! I would give Rolled Barley Flakes a try! They are similar in texture to rolled oats! You can buy them at Whole Foods :)
      I hope the treatment for your son is going well!
      http://www.bobsredmill.com/rolled-barley-flakes.html

      Response from Catherine
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      • Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly! Unfortunately he can’t have barley either. :( The list is long and annoying. Are the oats mostly for a binder? If so, I am sure we can find something to sub.

        Response from Lisa
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        • Oh no! The oats are for binding and texture. Hmm I wonder what else you could try! Is there any kind of bread or grain that he can have? I wonder if a sprouted grain bread (ground up in a food processor to make bread crumbs) would absorb the veggie moisture? What about Rye flakes or millet meal? If I think of any other ideas I’ll let you know!

          Other readers feel free to chime in if you have any ideas to replace oats (no barley)!

          Response from Catherine
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          • We’ve used brown rice cereal as a binder in meatloaf; I’ll give that a try! Thanks so much!

            Response from Lisa
  4. I feel your pain with having chronic hives! I’ve had them since July 2012 and it is miserable, they definitely effect daily life activities/chores. I didn’t change any food, in fact I’ve taken some foods out before this all happened. I’ve been tested for everything under the moon but the only thing that can back abnormal which my doctor didn’t think was related was a VERY low vitamin D level. I’ve been on 4000 IU everyday since January and I only get hives 2-3times/week now and they are only on certain spots of my body rather than all over. I just received a prescription for 50,000 IU of Vit D to take once a week for 8 weeks to get my levels back up. I’m hoping this is the answer. I also just found out my grandpa had low vitamin D levels and his hives/rashes have gotten so much better since taking supplements. I’d try taking a low dose daily and ask your doctor for tests to see if you need more than a low supplement. Hope they get better soon!

    Response from Jessica
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    • Hi Jessica! I have low vitamin D as well! Honestly I have been a complete slacker and haven’t been taking my supplements. I haven’t heard anything about Vitamin D and hives but that’s really interesting, especially with your family history! I’m going to look into that!

      Response from Catherine
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  5. I missed the question last time, but I’m allergic to corn and all corn byproducts. I like reading your recipes because often times they are safe and simple.

    Response from pls
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    • Oh my gosh, that must be tricky to get around! I feel like everything in the US has some sort of corn byproduct in it, yikes! I’m glad that my recipes fit into your diet, allergy free :)

      Response from Catherine
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  6. I was diagnosed last fall with dermographia but I don’t have “skin writing,” and I don’t get a rash so much as I just have crazy, crazy itchy skin, mostly on my legs. It’s been 2 years now, and it comes and goes, but I take mega doses of antihistamines to help, with mixed results. They suspect it’s partly allergy, and partly auto-immune, and it’s frustrating because if they don’t know why, I can’t fix it! I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead yesterday for the first time, and the main guy in it had an auto-immune condition that gave him itchy skin and hives/blisters, and he was eventually able to go off of all his meds eventually by switching to a diet of vegetables, whole foods/mircronutrient containing foods. I am a pretty healthy eater, but not perfect, and I now wonder if that little bit of leeway that I give myself might be putting enough processed food in my diet to give me trouble. I am getting ready to do a mixture of juicing + cutting out all processed foods, at least temporarily. Although there are lots of worse conditions, I find that people underestimate how disruptive this can be, so I hope you are able to figure out what’s triggering yours and solve your problem!

    Response from Jaime
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    • Omg Jaime, you sound like my twin! It’s SO frustrating that they have no idea why it happens! The first time I saw “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and learned that Joe had Chronic Urticaria, I was like “that’s it, I’m juicing every day for the rest of my life!” That only lasted 5 days… haha I too wonder if that little bit of leeway attributes that much to the hives/rash. It’s so extremely uncomfortable, and not very pretty! My Dermographia is so severe that I can literally draw on my arm with my nails. I practically live on antihistamines, and they somewhat help with the itching but not the hives. We should juice together to get rid of our Dermographia haha

      Response from Catherine
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  7. Hi, This recipe looks amazing. What can I sub for walnuts? I am allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Thank you. Love your blog!

    Response from Cara
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    • Hi Cara! Thank you so much :) You can omit the nuts and use 1 cup of raw uncooked finely chopped mushrooms instead!

      Response from Catherine
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  8. YAY thank you for the link to JT’s Veganville skit it was SO FUNNY!!!! “brown rice baby unmilllled, unmilllled” B)

    Response from Hee-Jin
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  9. I don’t have Dermographia, but I do have solar urticaria which means I get the same type of reaction after 5 minutes in the sun. I feel ya girl!

    Response from Crystal Ghany
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  10. You poor thing! I have no experience with food allergies, but I can give you my best trick to combat the itchies at night. Sprinkle cornstarch all over your sheets (it is messy – but it feels awesome) and I use it for rashes, mosquito bites, poisen ivy – even sunburn). Good luck and hope you try it!!

    Response from Christine
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  11. This is awesome! I’m totally trying this next Monday for me and the hubs “Meatless Monday”. We’ve been subbing in quinoa for most of our meatless Mondays so far. :)

    Response from Jennifer
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  12. Just wanted to say thanks for the Skinny Bunny Cleanse! I just finished and lost 6 pounds and feel so amazing. Day 2 I was fiending for some nachos hard, but I got it through it.

    Thanks again, and am a huge fan of the site! xo

    Response from Lyz
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  13. Great recipe!! Mine did not come out as beautiful as yours, but it was still delicious!!! I look forward to future recipes :):)

    Response from Kate
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    • I’m glad it turned out delish! xo

      Response from Catherine
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  14. My mom knows I follow your blog, she saw this recipe, and made it especially for me during my trip home for Easter last weekend! We took it to my aunt’s house for Easter brunch/lunch. My grandma loved it… she said it reminded her of something my grandfather’s parents used to make. AND (perhaps even more exciting), my baby niece, who’s only a year-and-a-half old, loved it, too! Grandma & baby approved. Can’t beat that! :)

    Response from Jessica
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    • Awwwwwww thank you so much for sharing this with me! Your mom is the cutest! I can’t believe the whole family liked it! haha Health & Happiness xo

      Response from Catherine
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