[Image: A dish of sautéed carrots, chard, and potatoes with lemon-tahini sauce.]
(Content note: Weight and health issues.)
For the past few weeks, I’ve been eating a diet free of sugar, oil, salt, and caffeine. I’m doing this to try to improve my health and energy levels, simplify cooking and meal planning, and lose some of the body fat I’ve gained by sitting around the house eating low-nutrient food and not exercising. This has nothing to do with veganism per se; vegans eat all kinds of diets and have all kinds of bodies. My desire to reduce body fat is solely a personal choice, not only for my health but also to relieve dysphoria.
I first learned about SOS (sugar/oil/salt) free diets by reading The Pleasure Trap, and found many good recipes on Cathy Fisher’s Straight Up Food web site. I ate SOS-free for about a month back in September 2014, and an even more restricted diet last October, when I was eating solely fruits and vegetables (no grains, legumes, nuts, or seeds). Both times, my taste buds adjusted within a week or so, but due to social pressures and other factors I went back to eating the way I had before. I don’t know how long I’ll stick to it this time, but the more fruits and vegetables and the less sugar and oil I consume, the better.
My main dishes haven’t changed much; I’m still eating lots of oatmeal (especially steel-cut since Ziggy bought a rice cooker with a porridge setting), potatoes, yams, and whole-wheat pasta. Being SOS-free means many packaged goods are out, which is a good thing, as I’m striving to use less packaging anyway (which is why we make our own soy and nut milks). Staying strictly SOS-free while eating out is virtually impossible, but I don’t go out much, and was relying too much on Ziggy bringing home take-out food when I was too tired or depressed to cook. Now I’ll just eat some fruit or a baked yam if I don’t have the energy to make anything more creative.
Here’s an SOS-free recipe I adapted from two other oil-free vegan recipes: Potatoes, veggies, and tahini sauce from Jeff Novick’s “My Simple Recipes” Facebook album, and lemon-tahini dressing from Bryant Terry‘s Vegan Soul Kitchen cookbook.
Sautéed Potatoes and Greens with Lemon-Tahini Sauce
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large baked potato, chopped
1 bunch kale or chard, stems and ribs removed* and leaves shredded
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
- Combine tahini, water, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic in blender to make sauce.**
- Line a large non-stick saucepan with a thin layer of water, and bring to a simmer.
- Add carrots, cover pan and simmer for five minutes.
- Add potatoes (and chard stems if using), recover and simmer for another five minutes, or until carrots are fork-tender.
- Add greens, recover and simmer just until greens are wilted (3-4 minutes).
- Stir in sauce (save some for later!) and serve.
* If using rainbow chard, chop and include stems for more texture and color.
** For a simpler version of the sauce, combine equal amounts of tahini, lemon juice, and water (leaving out the vinegar and garlic).