Check out these scrumptious recipes online at: The Veggie Queen's website.
Last blog post I gave you some recipes of meals I eat regularly, now I'll share what I graze on:
Stove-popped popcorn (in oil, with salt)
Frozen blueberry, banana smoothies with honey and soy milk
Whole grain toast w/ Earth Balance spread and jelly or honey
Here's how I make beans homemade (a MUST if you want to eat gas-free beans regularly):
Soak 2 cups dried beans overnight in a pressure cooker ($50.00 at Target and SO worth it)
Drain water and replace with fresh water until beans are well covered & add salt
Cook for 20 minutes
Let cook until cooker stops steaming
Also, here's a great online source for cooking healthy plant-based meals: Nourishing Nutrition Meal Planning Service. I recommend this highly: it's cheap, simple and so helpful.
The other day I was talking to a friend, whose husband decided the whole family should go vegan. So she started to cook vegan dishes, but quickly ran out of ideas and went back to purchasing the foods she's familiar with.
Did I mention this friend has a degree in Home Economics?
So I realized - Geez, if my Home Ec. friend is having a hard time coming up with meat/dairy/egg-free dishes, I bet most other people do too.
So this is what I'm-a-gonna-do: I'm going to write what kinds of food I eat for y'all. Partly to help you eat MORE vegan (even if you don't go all the way), and partly to show you how easy and delicious it is... because it really is. For the record, I'm a relatively lazy person who doesn't like to cook for more than 20 minutes. I'm also a really picky eater, am married to a REALLY picky eater, and am raising a finicky four-year-old.
So here's some of what we've been eating these past weeks:
* Pinto bean burritos with salsa, guacamole & Follow Your Heart brand soy cheese
* Homemade hummus: 16 oz or 2 cups garbanzo beans, blended in a blender with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup tahini paste, 2-3 TBSP olive oil, 2 cloves garlic + salt
* Hummus and avocado sandwiches with mustard & Follow Your Heart brand Vegannaise
* Salad (red or dark leaf lettuce) with garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, walnut pieces, dried cranberries, raisins & crumbled Follow Your Heart soy cheese. Dressed with olive oil, balsalmic vinegar & Annie's Goddess Dressing.
* Fragrant Rice Noodles with Vegetables (p. 228 in Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook - buy it! This recipe includes PEANUT BUTTER)
* Garbanzo beans over wild rice with a pre-made Indian dish poured over (I use Jyoti brand "Lentils with Fresh Vegetables", but Tasty Bite works too)
* Stir Fry: garlic, curry paste, fresh grated ginger root, vegetables like carrots, onions, bok choy and snap peas, in coconut milk served over wild rice
* Buckwheat pancakes (I use Arrowhead Mills brand mix) with walnut pieces and bananas cooked in, covered with real maple syrup
* Split pea soup (I soak peas overnight to de-gas, then drain water and add fresh water or vegetable broth): Cook peas until soft, add onions, carrots and garlic
For camping trips:
* Tasty Bite brand premade Indian food served over couscous
* Annie's brand Mac & Chreese (vegan & surprisingly delicious)
So, uh, will some of you give these dishes a try and let me know what'ya think?
I wrote a while back about phytosterols, but I thought we might need to revisit this subject.
If you recall, the prefix "phyto" means plant in Latin, and phytosterols come from whole plant foods: fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. What's important about them is they interfere with our body's cellular uptake of cholesterol, and therefore lower cholesterol levels naturally.
But here's what interesting: as much as we're told to eat fruit and vegetables, phytosterols actually are MUCH higher in legumes. Now, please don't misunderstand, by no means am I recommending you not consume ridiculous amounts of fruit and vegetables, I just want to remind you all of the power of legumes.
For example, most fruit/veggies have well under 25 mg (per 100 g) phytosterols while nuts and beans contain between 100-150 mg.
So by eating more beans, nuts and other legumes (peas, lentils, seeds) you'd lower your cholesterol in at least two distinct ways: phytosterols and fiber. Fiber is also much higher ounce per ounce in legumes vs. fruit/veg.s, and fiber from food binds with cholesterol and pulls it out the back door - literally.
According to his book The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D, research shows that only when cholesterol levels are below 150 mg/DL is the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases truly low.
So what are you waiting for?
So here's yet another study reinforcing the VERY strong effect our diets have on our health. In this case, cancer.
In a study recently published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers looked at 309 white patients at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center with prostate cancer who were treated only with prostatectomy. Researchers analyzed the diets of the men and compared those with diets high in saturated fat to those with a low intake of saturated fat. Five years after surgery, 80 percent of men who consumed a low saturated fat (LSF) diet were disease free, compared to 65 percent of men who consumed diets high in saturated fat (HSF).
Those who consumed HSF diets were comparatively younger and more likely to be overweight at diagnosis than those with LSF diets. The top contributors to the saturated fat intake for this population were beef steak, cheese and cheese spreads, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, eggs, ice cream, and salad dressings/mayonnaise. In this study, LSF intake was on average 23.4 grams per day and HSF was 37.2 grams per day.
Now, I just want to highlight some of the more surprising "high saturated fat" foods in this study: eggs, cheese, ice cream, salad dressings/mayonnaise. Ever think these foods could put you more at risk for cancer? Yet that's what this study is showing.
The good news is today we have healthy replacement foods for what's listed above. Please see my blog post on natural egg replacements for baking. Also, there's great soy cheese (the best is made by Follow Your Heart brand - and they also have the best eggless mayonnaise, "Vegennaise"). There are soy ice creams that totally rock these days, as well as salad dressings like Newman's Own Oil and Vinegar, or Annie's Goddess Dressing, that are delicious but contain almost no saturated fat.
So what are we waiting for...? A cancer diagnosis? Let's not wait. Let's make some changes now.
Strom SS, Yamamura Y, Forman MR, Pettaway CA, Barrera SL, DiGiovanni J. Saturated fat intake predicts biochemical failure after prostatectomy. Int J Cancer. 2008;122:2581-2585
Okay guys, you ready for this? You've already heard me rant on the dangers of taking vitamin and mineral supplements - but are you ready to hear it straight from the scientists?
In a new report authored by Trevor Marshall, Ph.D., professor at Australia’s Murdoch University School of Biological Medicine and Biotechnology (cited in ScienceDaily, Jan. 27, 2008) "Low blood levels of vitamin D have long been associated with disease, and the assumption has been that vitamin D supplements may protect against disease. However, this new research demonstrates that ingested vitamin D is immunosuppressive and that low blood levels of vitamin D may be actually a result of the disease process. Supplementation may make the disease worse."
In other words, taking a supplement containing vitamin D impairs your immune system. How?
The paper explains how the Vitamin D Nuclear Receptor (VDR) acts in the repression or transcription of hundreds of genes, including genes associated with diseases ranging from cancers to multiple sclerosis.
So all this time we've been blaming disease on our genes, but now we're starting to see how lifestyle actually CHANGES OUR GENES. Crazy, huh?
Marshall's research has demonstrated how ingested - or supplemental - vitamin D can actually block VDR activation, the opposite effect to that of Sunshine. Instead of a positive effect on gene expression, Marshall reported that his own work, as well as the work of others, shows that even low doses of ingested vitamin D can suppress the proper operation of the immune system.
So what are you waiting for? Get out into the sunshine already. Let your body make healthy levels of vitamin D through sunlight.
And tell everyone you know to stop taking supplements, because you know that if we're finding out vitamin D is dangerous when taken in a pill, sooner or later we're going to discover that ALL nutrients are harmful in supplemental form.
Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is looking for people who have changed to a more plant-based diet and have results. My results are that I lost 20 pounds, was able to think more clearly, had a better memory, and much more endurance and energy. I bet some of you can beat my story by a long shot.
Also, check out some other people's incredible success stories while you're there: PCRM's success stories.
I had a friend ask me last week what herbal supplements I would recommend for a child suffering from severe asthma. I stuttered, unable to respond to this question at first. Mind you, this is a very bright person, yet her inquiry reminded me just how crazy our response to illness is in this culture.
I think many of us deem herbal supplements as a "safe alternative" to regular meds, but alas, if we don't have a paradigm shift in how we think about healing ourselves, we're going to continue down the same path.
Here's the problem: there is a problem. In this case it's asthma.
But nobody is asking why this child has asthma - we are just looking for ways to reduce the symptoms. This is no different than the typical "medical model" many people have abandoned. Let's try again.
Why does this child have asthma in the first place? As a nutritionist, the first thing that comes to mind is mucus produced from milk and dairy products.
For example, in their book Allergies to Milk, Drs. Sami L. Bahna and Douglas C. Heiner report that children who are allergic to milk "may have breathing difficulty, particularly during sleep, or an irritating cough associated with a postnasal drip. … The cough is frequently associated with noisy breathing and excessive mucus in the throat, and sometimes parents worry that their child is ‘gagging.’ … Such affected children are frequently diagnosed as having upper respiratory infection, viral illness, bronchitis, … or pneumonia. Accordingly, they may be given unnecessary medications, including cough syrups, decongestants, or antibiotics. Relief, however, is not satisfactory until cow’s milk is eliminated from the diet."
Let's start wondering why we have the illnesses we do instead of looking for ways to treat them. ILLNESS IS NOT NORMAL. SOMETHING CAUSES IT.
Here are some examples:
If you have joint pain, arthritis, headaches or fatigue - you are likely chronically dehydrated. See what life is like when you drink enough water.
If you are phlegmy or suffer from rhuematoid arthritis - take out dairy products.
If you have irregularity - eat a diet high in fiber.
If you have high blood pressure or high triglycerides - eat less animal origin food.
If you struggle with depression - eat foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed and walnuts.
And let me know how it goes.