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Vegan Hospital Food + Recipes

Vegan Hospital Food?

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Purple toe nails—and I’m not talking about the pretty polished kind. I’m talking about the kind that most runners experience. The ugly side effect we experience from miles of pounding on pavement. As athletes, we don’t exactly have pretty, manicured and polished feet. That is one of the prices we pay. Why do they turn purple? Is it dangerous? How can we prevent this? According to articles from various websites like Runner’s World, there are a few reasons why this happens and most often it can be prevented. They turn purple due to repetitive trauma to the toes rubbing on the top of the sneaker with continuous landing on your feet, wearing shoes that are too small or tight, and running a lot of hills will cause blood blisters under the nail. Also, running in warmer weather with cotton socks will cause sweating and swelling that will not only create more rubbing but the moisture can cause bacteria to grow that can cause infection and further treatment or worse. Most of the time purple nails are not dangerous and only causes little soreness and they will grow back in a short amount of time. There are a few ways to minimize this from happening: wear shoes that are a half a size bigger (giving the toes more room), wear compression wicking socks that are moisture-resistant, keep toe nails trimmed regularly, and make sure your shoes are tied tightly.

I had my share of toes nails turn purple and fall off throughout my years of running. It also happened recently, after I ran a marathon and developed a blister and a purple nail that eventually fell off. But this time something went wrong and it quickly got infected, landing me in the hospital for several days. I had what they call cellulitis—a skin infection that can spread quickly to deeper tissue and the lymph nodes (which happened to me).

When the hospital first told me that I was being admitted, I looked at my husband and we both thought the same thing: What am I going to do about food? As a whole foods vegan, I was presented with a new challenge. Hospital food is not exactly known for making homemade gourmet meals right in the kitchen. They’re typically shipped pre-made and frozen from big food manufactures. They are processed, frozen, canned, and are high in sugar, sodium, and fats—not nutrient dense or healthy. There is not exactly a lot of thought or love that goes into making this food. Meals are simply heated up (barely), wrapped or covered up and shipped up to each patient’s rooms like a well-organized assembly line. In all fairness, they did have a couple vegan choices such as veggie burgers and ice burg lettuce salads (as pictured). This is what they brought to me in an attempt to accommodate my lifestyle. I took the burger out of the bun and slathered some mustard on it and took a one bite to see what it tasted like. It was dry and tasted like the cardboard box that it came in. So in the meantime, I had to come up with a plan.

Vegan Hospital Food?  Vegan Hospital Food?

My husband went home and brought me back a breakfast consisting of sprouted bread, organic peanut butter and enough bananas for a couple of days. He also brought smoothie for lunch and a delicious, flavorful bean and falafel salad with pickled beets and ginger dressing, which the staff was happy to keep in the refrigerator for me until I was ready to eat it. I wanted to share my salad with you below. It is full of nutrient-dense healthy foods with vitamins and minerals that helped me to heal faster. The salad consists of a few different components that I had made ahead of time, that my husband was able to put together for me in a one bowl. Each recipe below can be used together as it was in my meal, or as separate components in other dishes.

Vegan Hospital Food?

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1 cup of frozen corn
1 can of black beans
1 half of avocado diced
1 cup of cherry tomatoes sliced
Hand full of parsley and cilantro chopped
Half red onion chopped
1 rib of celery chopped
1 small sweet pepper chopped

Ingredients for Dressing:
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp balsamic vin
1 tbsp of fresh lime juice
Pinch of cumin
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp fresh ginger chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all the salad ingredients then in separate bowl mix the dressing and then add together and keep chilled.

Cut beets in half or quarters if they are big and roast beets in the oven on 400 on a cookie sheet with parchment paper until they are soft about 40 minutes. Take them out and let them cool. Peel off the skins and slice them. Place in a mason jar and fill jar until beets are covered with apple cider vinegar and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add a few sliced red onion as a option.  Shake up a bit and let marinade for a couple hours in the refrigerator.

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of coconut oil melted
2 tbsp of tahini
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 of an avocado
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon
1 tbsp of agave or other sweetener
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of pepper

Simply blend all together and keep in frig. It makes about 1 cup

1 can of chick peas drained and rinsed
1 to 2 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 or 1 small sweet potato cooked and mashed
1/4 cup red onion
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup chick pea flour (or other flour)
1 tbsp tahini (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400. In the meantime place all the ingredients except for the flour in a food processor being careful not to puree it to much (you want it to be slightly chunky). Then add the flour and mix well. Put it in a bowl and cover it and put it in the frig for at least an hour to thicken it up. Once you take it out, form into small balls and flatten out slightly and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes flipping over once to brown on each side until lightly crispy.

To put it all together, put a good portion of the bean salad in a bowl, then on top of that put some chopped kale and baby spinach, on top of that some pickled beets and then 3 or 4 falafel and drizzle it all with the ginger dressing. This is a delicious flavorful meal full of nutrients.

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