College is difficult to navigate on many levels, with or without the dreaded “freshman 15″. In my case, as a raw vegan, I could’ve avoided it easily with a bit of planning ahead–but unfortunately (as a raw vegan entering college at 17) there weren’t any resources geared toward people of my demographic. Sure, vegan how-to guides for college students existed…but most of those focused on the need to appeal to a younger or otherwise “college-age” crowd, i.e. the irony was so thick you could cut it with a knife. *Disclaimer: The copy in those books never ceased to be clever, and for that I think they’re great. I adapted many of the recipes to suit a raw food diet and later said recipes actually became quite helpful. That said, the avocado-date-kale smoothies I made in the dorm kitchen prior to moving out did not do me many favors in terms of staying fit. The walks from work to school and drinking coffee instead of breakfast did. I’m not saying you should skip breakfast, in college or otherwise. Knowing your body takes time. It’s complicated. The recipe that saved my physique, taking the place of too much fat and sugar, as well as too much coffee, in order to stay alert and not fall asleep in class…is this:
I invented this after acquiring a food processor at Goodwill in February 2008 that I noticed while in search of cassette tapes (this was pre-smartphone/iPhone, obviously) for my 1996 Subaru Outback. I admit I’m a bit of a blender snob (if that’s a thing; I doubt it is) so the 1985 Oster blender caught my eye immediately. So did the 1981 food processor. Ironically and to my sheer and utter delight, I found both that day. After that fateful second-hand shopping spree, inevitably my raw (and later, paleovegan) recipes started to require a food processor or blender. Take note, parents and grandparents of college students or other progeny with hectic schedules: sometimes you can’t take the time to eat a salad. It is, however, possible to throw said salad in a blender, pour it in a coffee mug, and drink it on the way to class or to work.
Despite the monologue regarding blenders, this post concerns a recipe that doesn’t require one. (It was merely to foreshadow upcoming posts for future recipes geared toward paleovegan college students). This wakame-carrot-tahini bowl incorporates every component of the type of meal that scientific studies have proven to meet the requirements of satisfaction regarding the human palate. It’s true: see this article. It also contains 160 calories…about the same as a Luna bar, a Lara bar, or other “bar” I previously relied on for a “snack”. It does contain fat (13g) but the absence of oil makes it paleo. I lost 10 pounds after eliminating oil, avocados, and bananas from my diet. *Note, I’m not against the consumption of avocados or bananas. In fact, I actually really like them. It’s just not natural, in my opinion, to eat them in non-tropical regions of the world. If you live in a tropical climate and those fruits are available in-season, locally…you should incorporate them into your otherwise balanced paleovegan diet.
The Need for Seaweed
I’m discovering more and more how significant a part seaweed plays in a paleovegan diet no matter where you live. Seaweed is available and sourced naturally from one end of the earth to the other. Wherever there’s ocean, seaweed exists. Granted, some states and provinces are landlocked…but never more than halfway across a continent from a beach. Eat seaweed. But do take note of the semi-recent radiation scare re: Fukushima…and also be aware of the fact that only hijiki seaweed is thought to have been affected. So, avoid hijiki if you’re worried about the potential radiation (which many studies show did not actually affect the seaweed) but don’t worry about other varieties. Seaweed contains iodine, a nutrient missing in most other foods but considered important according to science. A member of the algae family, the plethora of seaweed available falls into three different categories: brown, red and green. The most commonly used by chefs throughout the world are the brown varieties such as wakame (the seaweed used in this recipe) followed by kelp (of which there are so many varieties I can’t list them here). Then there is red seaweed, a subgroup of seaweed that includes nori (the type used in sushi).
Wakame-Carrot-Tahini Bowl: The Recipe
…so easy and satisfying, you’ll kick yourself the times you brought ramen noodles to school or microwaved frozen dinners for late-night sustenance.
Makes 1 serving
3/4 cup dry wakame seaweed
1 cup raw julienned carrots (or you can use a vegetable peeler to shave off noodle-like pieces).
2 Tbsp raw tahini (or you can use roasted, which some people prefer and is the type generally used in hummus and babaganoush)
Put wakame in a small bowl or mug. Pour enough water over it to cover and let sit for 10 minutes (wakame is perhaps the quickest to hydrate of all the seaweeds, hence the use of it in this “quick and easy” student-friendly recipe).
After wakame is hydrated, there shouldn’t be much water to drain. It depends on your salt preference. If you like ramen noodles or recently stopped eating meat or cheese, don’t drain it. If your taste buds are more fine-tuned (having gone vegan at least 6 months ago), drain at least part of the water.
Add raw tahini to the carrot pieces to coat them. Then add carrot to the seaweed, stirring as you would a salad.
…and await more raw vegan and paleovegan recipes. Focus on your studies and let me take charge of your meal plan. You’ll thank me later.