Let’s take a break from formal baking recipes. I’d like to show you what I’m eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner these days. The real deal. Not fancy. Very little sugar and gluten. Everyday delicious food.
I’m putting some work into my health and diet these past few months. It’s not a revamping of my New Year’s Resolution but rather a (deep-breath) real commitment to my health and my body as I learn how to combat the symptoms of my Stage IV endometriosis that I’ve really struggled with the past several years. I’m using the food I eat more strategically, avoiding things like gluten, dairy, and white sugar for a bit / increasing things like beans and dark greens and nuts and seeds, to see if I can cut some of the pain and inflammation in my body.
It’s been hard in some ways – because butter and gluten and sugar are such a huge part of my life. It’s been easy in a lot of ways – because I can function with noticeably less puffiness and pain. It’s a journey I’m on to see what works for me and since we’ve been in this whole thing together for 11 years now, I wanted to share these meals with you too.
There are loads of recourses out there for anti-inflammatory diets, but in my particular case and at the start of figuring out how I best function, here are some of the things I’m reading:
• Woman Code by Alisa Vitti – I bought this book ages ago when I had more questions (and pain) than I did answers and I find myself going back to it now that I have more answers (and less pain).
• Beyond The Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighten – This book is a game changer for me and you can listen to Dr. Brighten on an episode of One Part Pod here.
• One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane – super approachable and delicious recipes! Quinoa and Beans below is from Jessica’s book and now a staple in my refrigerator!
• Know Your Endo – Jessica’s practical 5-week program (that starts next week!) for managing endo.
• The Anti Inflammatory Diet and Action Plans by Dorothy Calimeris and Sondi Bruner – a simple cookbook with adaptable recipes for the everyday.
Socca is a flat bread (very flat, there’s actually no leavening at all in it) made with equal part chickpea flour and water, salt and olive oil to enhance the flavor. What so surprising is its charred top (it’s cooked actually under the broiler in home ovens) and its creamy insides. It’s a bread I like to slice up warm in the skillet and top with roasted vegetables and maybe an egg and use a fork or my pinched fingers to lift the wedges into my face.
It’s absolutely bready enough to be satisfying, full of protein and vegetable comforts. The recipe is most flexible as you’re encouraged to roast or not roast anything you might have in your refrigerator.
I used a small 5-inch skillet for a single portion of this breakfast skillet. Feel free to double the recipe and cook it in a 10-inch oven proof skillet if you’re serving more than just your hungry self.
Socca Breakfast Skillet
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup water
a good pinch of salt
a tablespoon of olive oil
Whisk it all together until no lumps remain. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes to allow to flour to absorb the moisture. Set the oven to broil. Place a 5-inch oven-proof skillet under the broiler until it’s piping hot. Remove the pan (be careful and keep a pot holder on the hot handle of the skillet so you don’t forget it’s hot!) and drizzle the hot pan with oil. Tilt to coat the pan in oil. Pour the batter into the pan and place it under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes. The top with puff slightly and brown and blacken – that’s right! Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly.
Top with anything you have on hand – roasted or not.
• Roasted cherry tomatoes
• Roasted sliced carrots
• Fresh arugula tossed in lemon juice, salt, and pepper
• sliced avocado with salt and pepper
• Scrambled, fried, or poached eggs
Part of what makes some of these meals easy is the big batch of brown rice I make on Sunday so I can toss it into anything and make it more of a meal – or make it a meal entirely.
This is my play on breakfast oatmeal when I’m too lazy even to boil water. It’s a mixture of cooked brown rice, coconut milk, spices, chia seeds, candied ginger and dark chocolate. When I need breakfast to also be dessert – I’m sure you understand.
Coconut Brown Rice Morning Cereal
1 cup of leftover brown rice
1/4 cup whole fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons water
a few sprinkles of sea salt
a few sprinkles of ground cinnamon
a few tablespoons of maple syrup
sliced candied ginger
chopped dark chocolate
a few sprinkles of chia seeds
In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together cooked brown rice, coconut milk, and water. Stir until warmed through and just starting to bubble. Sprinkle in the sea salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.
Spoon into a bowl for breakfast. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with ginger, chocolate, and chia seeds. Enjoy warm – it’s breakfast!
It’s helpful to have a bowl of sooooomething in the fridge that is both second breakfast or lunch. A savory salad something that can hold up to a few days in a bowl so I have something to go to while I finish my coffee and think about dinner.
This salad is protein and greens and any handful of tomatoes, nub of onion, half jar of capers you have. Olives would be nice too, and would shredded carrots. The more color the more flavor.
Tuna and White Bean Salad
a can on tuna, drained
a can of white beans, also drained
3 or 4 handfuls of arugula
3 or 4 handfuls of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
finely diced red onion, just a bit
capers, a smal handful
sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper
two or so glugs of olive oil
Mix it all together. Taste, season, taste again, season again. Enjoy for a few days.
You say I can make something in a slow cooker and I’m running to the fridge. Sure, I have an Instant Pot too, but listen… I just like the long game sometimes.
This is a deeply comforting mixture of squash and cauliflower, coconut milk because it’s a wonder, and curry because it helps combat inflammation. I like this soup served over warm brown rice with lots of torn fresh cilantro and a few lime wedges. It’s bright, creamy, and comforting all at once!
Squash and Cauliflower Soup with Brown Rice and Lime
a few tablespoons of coconut or olive oil
a pound of butternut squash pieces (it’s been peeled and chunked, ya know?)
a small head of cauliflower, diced into bite-size pieces
1 onion, sliced
a tablespoon of curry powder
1/2 cup apple juice
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (13.5 ounce) full fat coconut milk
a teaspoon or so of sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
a bay leaf
cilantro leaves and lime wedges for serving
Combine everything (except the cilantro and lime) in a slow cooker. Set on high for 4 hours or low for 7 to 8 hours. Test the doneness of the vegetables with a knife. Remove the bay leaf and discard. When everything is soft use an immersion blender to blend the soup to smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully pour the soup mixture into a blender in batches being careful not to overfill the blender and being careful to place a towel over the blender before starting. Serve warm with cooked brown rice, cilantro leaves and lime wedges.
I am reigning queen of making a big batch of somethingorother and eating it for a week and a half straight, until it’s absolutely gone. I feel like there’s a special skill in eating the same thing day after day. This recipe is my jam. It’s easily turns into dinner with some sautéed garlic and greens. It can become breakfast with a fried egg. It’s great cold from the fridge with an extra spritz of lime. Plus, beans – the actual backbone of my diet, amen.
Quinoa and Bean Bowl with Cilantro
a splash of olive oil
a medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 poblano pepper, skins charred and peeped, pepper diced (How To Roast and Peel a Poblano)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
3 cups kidney, pinto, or black beans (rinsed and drained if canned)
Top with: ripe avocado, lime juice, hot sauce, fresh cilantro
In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and heat for 30 seconds more. Add the diced poblano and cook until warmed through. Add the vegetable broth, quinoa, coconut milk, and beans. Stir and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and cover pot. Simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid os absorbed. Spoon into bowls and add toppings. Enjoy warm or cold! (If you’re reheating this dish add another splash of vegetable oil.)
Here’s what to do when with all of the random carrots in the refrigerator. You must have random carrots in the refrigerator too – I can’t be along in this.
Roast them whole and toss them in a very easy tahini and mustard sauce. If you have enough carrots, and a small bowl of cooked brown rice, call it a meal! Salty and bright with a hint of sweetness. It’s everything I want!
Tahini and Mustard Roasted Carrots
rainbow carrots or whatever you have in the fridge, peeled
olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper for roasting
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons tahini
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the peeled carrots, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast the carrots until fork-tender, about 20 minutes – maybe more maybe less depending on the size of your carrots.
While the carrots roast whisk together maple syrup, mustard, tahini, salt and pepper, and lemon. Whisk in the parsley.
When carrots are cooked through, place on a serving plate and drizzle with sauce. Enjoy warm!
More soon! Thank you so much for being here. It really means the most to me.
I hope you have the most lovely day!
Thank you for this. I have not been taking care of myself lately. Eating out and sitting on my booty and overall feeling like crap as a result. I have been wanting to jump start some healthy eating this week and these recipes were just what I needed. Sending you good thoughts on your journey to wellness! Xoxoxo
Sending you good thoughts back Rebecca! One meal at a time. Feed yourself what feels good.
A family member has some health issues and is also eating an anti-inflammatory diet. One thing I’ve learned about from him is lectins. Lectins are in legumes, grains, nightshade veggies, and other things, and they cause inflammation in the body. After this family member quit those items, his arthritis, among other things, got better. I hope you feel better.
That’s really wonderful to hear Kim!
Thanks so much for posting! I wish everyone in the world told me their five go to weekly meals. Can’t wait to try the Socca.
Really love and appreciate your openness and sharing – these recipes sound perfect!
Heide Linde Horeth
We seem to be on a similar journey. In my circle of friends I am known as the cake baker but the last 4 years I have been putting together a children’s vegetable cookbook. With my own body rebellions happening…eating more plant based food seems imperative. I am really interested in trying to make Socca but can you believe my 6 burner gas ranger has no broiler? Can this bread be made on the stove top? Happy Trails.
Thank you, Joy, for sharing these wholesome easy nutritious ideas! I need to pack my lunch more and these really inspire me to try. I get overwhelmed and think it has to be hard but all these recipes look delicious and very doable – even on a Tuesday. I am happy to hear you are caring for yourself ?
I love this post. I am a gluten free vegetarian and appreciate any recipes I can find to add some diversity to my meals. I have an autoimmune disorder and have found that for my body a gluten free diet works. It’s amazing how a couple of dietary changes can help your body function better. Best wishes in this journey Joy and thank you for sharing.
Liza in Ann Arbor
Joy, just in case you are going through what you hinted in your newsletter (and I don’t mean your endo situation), I feel you and am there too. Also, I LOVE anything you write about New Orleans, which I consider my favorite city in the world (even more so than Paris!). Keep doing what you do. It really makes my day.
I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which benefits from an anti-inflammatory diet as well. Sometimes I’m horrible about sticking to the diet, sometimes I’m good about it. Regardless of which end of the diet spectrum I’m on at the moment, I frequently make a huge batch of a spicy Mexican quinoa/bean/tomato/corn concoction and hit it up all week – sometimes I cook chicken in the slow cooker with salsa and shred it on top, sometimes I’ll have a fried egg on it, sometimes I have it on it’s own with cilantro and avocado on top. I can go from fine to hangry (and not caring about diet) real quick, so having it there and ready to go is key.
Thanks for the new ideas…I need to find some more “go-to” easy things to make at home.
You are an inspiration to so many and I thank you for sharing your journey. A few years ago I adopted an anti inflammatory diet to combat inflammatory arthritis. It worked so well that I decided to go back to school to become a nutritionist so I could help others. It may seem daunting at first but once you accept this lifestyle and start to feel so much better you begin to realize you aren’t sacrificing because it is worth it. There are an abundance of wonderful flavors and foods that satisfy every palate and you will meet so many others who are on the same road to health that you never feel alone. Good luck and I hope you begin to feel better soon!
I realise the socca is probably best straight out of the skillet but can it be made in quantity and stockpiled for a rainy afternoon of dipping and topping, and if so, what is the best way to keep it ?
This post is amazing! I’ve tried many an anti inflammatory diet to combat chronic migraine and these are some great additions to my meal rotation. Thanks for sharing these yummy recipes!
I’m sure you already know about these amazing ladies, but @detoxinista and @minimalistbaker have really helped me continue to enjoy food even after having to cut out all the major groups.
I have PCOS and since you’ve posted this I’ve gone down a loooong rabbit hole and have learned things that make SO MUCH SENSE. You would not BELIEVE the crazy things I’ve been told by drs (or maybe you would? Because it sounds like a lot of women have been told some wacky and incensitive things by their drs.)
Thanks for sharing. I would love to see more of this and the everyday food you’re making. We eat pretty well but this would obviously be a big shift for us. Seeing your every day meals is really helpful and makes me interested in experimenting.
Hi Joy! You may already know this but just in case you don’t, Jane from sea of shoes has struggled with endo for years and has written some really helpful posts about it on her site. I believe she is currently recovering from surgery relating to the endo. I know so much can differ person to person regarding treatment but thought you might find some helpful info there. I’ll be thinking of you ??