I first quit sugar because I had an autoimmune disease that seriously messed with my ability to enjoy life. I wanted a better life, a richer life, a well life, so I tried going sugar-free, and it worked. But along the way, several bigger, deeper themes emerged. I realized food waste mattered. More than anything else, actually.
In The I Quit Sugar Cookbook, I show you how to create a smooth, perpetual ecosystem, which I call The Flow. The Flow will walk you through how to add more than 300 recipes to your sugar-free lifestyle and help our environment in the process. Here are the five easy steps to The Flow:
1. Start where you are.
The best cooks improvise. The worst kitchens are those with unused waffle-makers in the corner cabinet. Use what ya got!
2. Buy in bulk.
Local produce markets are the best option. Not just for the free samples and overwhelming earnestness (and fewer carbon miles) but because you’ll be buying stuff that’s in season and therefore the best food for your Ayurvedic constitution. (The greengrocer or supermarket is just fine, however.)
3. Sort and store.
Once you get your shopping home, you need to sort and store it. It doesn’t take long, and it will save you time down the road.
4. Parcook, freeze, preserve.
Next, you cook up your shopping haul, in bulk, a lot of which you freeze. Excess bits you preserve. This puts you in ahead on three fronts: you snap in the nutrients of your food, you free up space in the fridge, and you have food ready to go for months.
5. Use your leftovers.
My new cookbook will help you use all of your food (even your scraps!) to make easy, sugar-free, inventive meals and leftovers. A staple I add to a lot of my dishes is my Leftovers Pesto. I wanted to find a way to use up stalks and leaves you’d normally throw out. I figured fermenting them could be the way to go. I contacted fermenting maestro Sandor Katz to get his take. He hadn’t tried it himself but reckoned it might just work. I can report back from the moldy front line: it does! Kale stalks become edible after a bit of lacto-breakdown. Plus you get the digestive benefits. There’s also this: frankly, I’m sick of my homemade pesto going off. Fermenting increases pesto’s fridge shelf life from a few days to six weeks. Bam!
Try it out and let me know what you think!
Makes about 1½ cups
- 3 to 4 cups leftover leaves and/or stalks; roughly chopped parsley, basil, and/or cilantro leaves and stalks; celery leaves; kale stalks (blanch in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes first); carrot tops (blanch in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes first); beet leaves; broccoli, or cauliflower stalks (blanch first, if you like)
- ½ cup cashews, pepitas, or almonds, or ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons Homemade Whey (recipe in The I Quit Sugar Cookbook), ferment brine (recipe in The I Quit Sugar Cookbook) or ½ teaspoon salt dissolved in 2 to 3 tablespoons water
Process all the ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped. Spoon into a jar, and press down with the back of the spoon so that the liquid rises to cover the greens but leaves 1½ inches of space at the top of the jar. Seal and leave on the counter for 1 to 3 days. Once fermented, keep it in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
If you know you’re going to use it quickly, make it unfermented by simply omitting the whey and placing in the fridge after you’ve processed the mixture.