Dude, There’s Seaweed on my Pizza!

I’m two weeks into my vegan 30-day challenge with Vega, and I already have some go-to vegan staples. Below are three foods that never cease to excite me.

1. Vegan Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? As far as I’m concerned, pizza is awesome for two reasons:

  1. It tastes so freaking yummy.
  2. It’s fun to make.

My favorite phrase after work is “Let’s make a pizza tonight!” and we’ve probably made about six of them in the past few days.

Making pizza consists of finding a vegan-friendly dough and loading it up with every single vegetable we can find in the fridge. We tried rolling our own dough, but I’m not good at working with it and it was frustrating to handle. Shacky ended up having to roll for a long time, so we usually just opt for a ready-made vegan version.

The loading of the vegetables is fun. We can experiment with unusual toppings like squash and dulse (seaweed) flakes. I love experimenting with my food, and it’s incredibly difficult to screw up pizza.

Our toppings have included:

  • Vegan sauce
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Spinach
  • Dulse (seaweed)
  • Olive oil
  • Black olives
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Green peppers
  • Red peppers
  • Habanero peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Pineapple
  • Various herbs
  • Bean sprouts

New toppings that will go on the next batch:

  • Celery
  • Radish
  • Grated squash

Our pizzas are so fully loaded that we often have to eat them with a fork and knife to keep all the toppings in place. They are so flavorful that I’ve never missed the cheese (and I LOVE cheese)!

OUR SECRET TIP: We put the tomatoes on raw after it comes out of the oven, as well as the avocado. This gives it a perfect texture. And the best part about pizza is that you could make hundreds and every single one would be different. It’s one of the most vegetable-rich meals we have put together.

2. Soups and Stews

We have a slow cooker, so I love throwing a bunch of random ingredients in there and let it do its magic overnight. We use a vegan broth, and load it up with vegetables like:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Sweet potato
  • Herbs
  • Spinach
  • Seaweed
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Mung beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Various spices

A few hours in, that slow cooker starts making the whole house smell amazing. Then when you open it, anything in it tastes mind-blowingly delicious. It’s like a magic yummy-pot. I usually add lime juice and Shacky adds hot sauce. I also like to add avocado, and eat/drink it all up.

I love having these stews for breakfast because they’re so warming and comforting. They’re great to take for lunch as well, and I’ll often look forward to more when I come home from work. After work, I warm up a bowl, then sit and eat it on the couch wrapped in blanket with the dog lying on my lap. Afterwards I feel like a million bucks.

3. Smoothies

I haven’t experimented as much with smoothies as I have with the top two items, but I love smoothies for the same reason–you can add pretty much anything and it tastes great.

Here are some of the ingredients I love in my smoothies:

  • Berries
  • Melons
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Bananas
  • Ginger
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Healthy fat (usually an oil)
  • Almond or coconut milk
  • Vega Sport products

If you remember nothing else, remember this… 

What am I really trying to say to people? Over the years, I’ve communicated a lot of messages about food, but if I could say only one thing, what would that be?

Simply, it’s this:

Experiment with your nutrition.

Yes, you can read health articles about what the hottest food trends are. Some of those articles are great—I write and publish them. Scientific sources are also out there to help guide you and recipes are easy to find when you want to make something fast and nutritious. But don’t fully rely on a third party’s opinion. Experiment for yourself.

If you’re an athlete, this is especially important. In the past year, I’ve put myself through experiments with Paleo and Vegan diets. I’ve learned so much about my own body in that process.

In 2012, I will be experimenting with other diets such as vegetarian, fruitarian, etc. With every ultra I run on a specific diet, I learn something about my body. I am my own expert.

Do not ever be limited by “conventional” nutrition. Have dinner for breakfast. Eat fish or stew as soon as you wake up. I once met a nutritionist who eats fish and vegetables for breakfast every day, and she has a phenomenal body. Taste the “weird” foods. Always eat new things. Never snub because of how it looks or sounds. Experiment.

That’s what’s so great about these three foods. They provide a “safe” environment for experimentation where it’s hard to screw up. You’re not likely to make something that tastes awful.

So go ahead and try some seaweed on your pizza. Whether you’re vegan, paleo, or just love food—eat something new today. And leave a comment to let me know what you did.

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