They Don't Call me Spicy Shorkey for Nothin'
Alright, no one’s ever actually called me “Spicy Shorkey…” But I needed a sexy title for this post and this was the best I could come up with. And come on, I’m a fiery, little vegan, aren’t I?
If you’ve ever been on a diet or like me, followed an insanely strict vegan bikini competitor diet, you are no doubt, extremely aware of the bland, boring foods that accompany it.
In starving times like these, all I can say is THANK GOD FOR HERBS & SPICES. A hefty sprinkling of cinnamon can really do wonders for a bowl of plain oatmeal. And if you’re anything like me aka possess a HUGE sweet tooth, then you really need to trick your mind into thinking it’s still getting dessert. Surprisingly enough, the sweet taste of cinnamon fills the void every time not to mention it’s chocked full of wicked health benefits!
So today, I thought I’d give you my top five favourite spices to help turn your boring competition diet food into a mouth-watering, flavourful masterpiece. Okay, not quite… but you at least won’t be gagging down every single bite 😉
You know that saying for Frank’s Red Hot “I put that sh!t on everything?” Yeah, that’s basically my line for cinnamon. It’s my #1 go-to, fave-of-all-faves! And for good reason too! Not only does cinnamon make EVERYTHING taste like dessert, but it also controls your blood sugar. And why is that important? Because unstable blood sugar levels can drive hunger and cravings through the roof! Definitely not something you want when you’re adhering to a strict diet. The antioxidant compounds in this sweet spice also help to prevent those spikes and dips by improving the way your cells metabolize glucose. Apparently eating just half a teaspoon per day reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. So what I’d now like to know is: what are my risks if I consume a good cup per day?
Iron deficiency is something we vegans often get a lot of flack for. And trust me, if you’re a vegan bikini competitor, you hear it even more! Iron is, after all, extremely important for metabolism and energy production. Thankfully, cumin is an excellent source of iron AND tastes awesome on any kind of Mediterranean, Mexican or Indian-inspired dish. I love it on everything from beans and potatoes to rice and veggies. And apparently it’s also good for keeping farts to a minimum (something we vegan bodybuilders could definitely benefit from.) Seriously, regular vegan peeps have it bad enough with their high fiber diet. Well, try adding copious amounts of protein to the mix. More on my competition farting experience here.
3) Chili Flakes (Crushed Red Pepper Flakes)
Like most vegans, I am a huge fan of nutritional yeast. Not only do I love that it gives my food a salty, cheesy taste and my body a nice dose of B vitamins, but more than anything, I love seeing non-vegans get grossed out when I tell them how much I love eating yeast. You’re probably wondering, “why the hell is she talking about nutritional yeast under the heading “chili flakes?” That’s because in my world, nutritional yeast and chili flakes are the Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney of my spice rack. They live together in perfect harmony. Rice cakes, broccoli, steamed spinach– you better believe I’m sprinkling nutritional yeast (I refuse to call it “nooch”) and chili flakes ALL over that shit. And did I mention chili flakes help reduce inflammation AND promote weight loss? That’s right! Crushed red pepper is thermogenic in nature, which means it produces heat in the body and stimulates metabolism. Hot red peppers also have a strong pain-relieving quality making them a powerful anti-inflammatory (much needed for us meatheads.)
Oh Gingie. My everyday salad dressing just wouldn’t be the same without your fine accompaniment. I love the sweet and tangy flavour ginger gives to everything from dressings and sauces to smoothies and desserts. Like chili flakes (and turmeric,) it’s also a wicked anti-inflammatory. If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m HUGE on natural solutions for preventing inflammation. I work out a lot. And my muscles are almost always sore. So I definitely try to keep soreness at bay as much as possible and that means including these foods in my diet as often as I can. Go figure– ginger is also another fart stopper– sweet! I’m also a big fan of ginger because it improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body. Yey for proper digestion!
It’s funny… I never really noticed how much rosemary I eat until my sister-in-law pointed it out the other day. But yeah, she’s totally right– I do eat a lot of it. Apparently I just really love the flavour of rosemary roasted veggies and the savory bite it gives to homemade bean dips. And what a shock; it’s yet another great all-natural anti-inflammatory! I also enjoy that rosemary is a great source of antioxidants meaning it helps boost your immune system and improve blood circulation. But more than anything, it just tastes really good in both the fresh and dried variety.
And there you have it: my five fave spices for my boring competition food! And I’m sure by the next month, it will be a different five spices because I’ll have completely overdone these ones 😉
What is everyone else spicing with? Gimmee some new ideas, guys!