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Please keep in mind that I am not a nutritionist or doctor. I recommend checking with your doctor before making any changes to your diet. Most of the information on this blog is based upon my own personal experience and research. All photographs and content are copyright Healthy Girl's Kitchen. Please contact me for permission to use photographs and content.
This is me before becoming Plant Strong! Total cholesterol: 231
This is me after happily going Plant Strong for over two years. Total cholesterol: 147 Total weight loss: 40 pounds
DISCLAIMER: I am not a pro football fan, nor do I know anything about pro football. We'll, that's not entirely true--I know that Joe Namath was once a really great quarterback for the Jets, but that's another story. What I am is a chick who likes to cook, especially when friends are coming over. With that, I introduce you to this blog post.
Have you guys heard about the plant strong Super Bowl party phenomenon that is sweeping the nation right now? The Engine 2 Diet Superbowl Parties?
That's okay, 'cause I made it up. With Rip Esselstyn's approval of course!
But really friends, what are your plans for next Sunday at 6:30?
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I'm kinda obsessing about vegan/plant strong/nutritarian entertaining. So when it came time to start thinking about what my family was going to do for the biggest national holiday of the year, I was like, PLANT STRONG PARTY!!!!! Of course!
My husband was skeptical. He was like, "Wendy, you can't do that. You've gotta serve the traditional Super Bowl beef chili! What are my friends going to think?"
And I was like, "They are going to LOVE it! Just watch! They will be so excited when they find out that they won't be hating themselves for eating all that crap the next day." And sure enough, when my husband texted his friends to give them the good news, they were pumped!
And then it hit me. What if other folks from around the country were planning the same thing? What would happen if we started a new holiday tradition in America? One that doesn't contribute to our waistlines getting bigger and our bodies getting weaker? What if we had The Engine 2 Diet Superbowl Parties?
So, here's what I am asking everyone to do:
(1) Let me know right here and now in the comments section what your plans are for the Super Bowl.
(2) If you are hosting a Super Bowl party at your home or bringing food to a pot luck, please share with all of us right now what you think you are making/bringing with recipes or links if you can.
(3) Become a fan of the Engine 2 Diet on Facebook if you aren't already. After the big day, submit photos of your Engine 2 Diet Super Bowl party here.
I'm going to be talking about it on Healthy Girl's Kitchen all week, serving up ideas for the big event. I truly hope you will join me in the fun!
Salty or sweet? You know the answer. (If you're not a compulsive overeater, go read some other blog and come back here tomorrow! We love you too, but this just ain't for you.)
For me, it's sweet. Take some good old refined sugar, pair it with fat, and I've got me a big old problem. Take birthday cake for example. If it's in my house, it's all I can think about, but only after I've tasted it. Put a big bag of potato chips in front of me and they will sit there untouched. Salt has no power over me. God help you if you say both!
Is that a vegan birthday cake I see?
Why yes, it is! Not only that, it's tasty. But I only knew that after I had a small slice (er . . . two) last night. Before that it was just sitting in my basement refrigerator and I might have even forgotten it was there. Now that it's half eaten, all I wanna do this morning is have some more. What does that mean? It means I need to THROW IT AWAY.
So here's what I want to talk to you about right now: Your level of awareness when it comes to your problem, a.k.a. trigger, foods.
That vegan birthday cake, it was good, but no where near as satisfying as Mama Pea's Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls (hint-the only ingredients are dates, nuts, vanilla and chocolate chips). I ate one of those yesterday and it was enough. They are sitting in my refrigerator right now and I don't want one desperately. What does that mean? It means that for me, these are a safe food. Surely not something that I want to eat all of the time (they are very high in calories and fat), but something that is perfectly appropriate to make and serve once a week at our Friday night dinner.
Want the recipe for Mama Pea's Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls? Get it here.
You're probably wondering why I even brought the birthday cake into my house. I wonder that too. Here's what I was thinking: It's my son's third birthday. This compulsive overeating thing is my problem. It may end up being my children's problem too as they get older, but me being super crazy strict and not having any sugar in the house ever is not going to . . . to . . . what?
Am I scared that not having junk in my house is going to contribute to having kids that can't control themselves around junk when they are older? Being a compulsive over eater, I know that if my mom had been filling our house with sugar when I was young (which she wasn't) I would not have been able to control myself any better back then or today. My taste buds and psychology were determined before she had any shot at shaping them. No amount of intervention by her could have saved me from this disorder. I believe you either have it or you don't and there is a certain amount of genetics involved. I definitely see patterns in families.
So what should you do if you want to be healthy, lose weight and not let this compulsive overeating thing take you down? You could develop a set of tools for yourself that if used, would make the situation a lot better. The following are a list of ideas that have worked for me:
(1) Remember the motto "Plant Strong, Not Plant Perfect." Let go of the expectation that you are never going to compulsively overeat again. Just forget about it. It ain't gonna happen. The key is to be aware of it when you do, and then to make the necessary adjustments so that you don't keep repeating the same behaviors over and over again. What's the definition of insanity? Not making mistakes, but making the same mistake over and over again.
(2) Know that just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's healthy or a safe food for YOU. Again, you have to know yourself and really observe how you react around that particular food or food group. You could compulsively eat brown rice. You certainly could compulsively overeat "healthy" vegan desserts, baked or raw. If you try it and have a compulsive experience with it, make it either an "off limits altogether food" or develop rules about eating it like "I will only have that food when I am with other people" and "I will not have that food in my own kitchen/pantry/freezer/refrigerator but I can have it in a restaurant or at someone else's home because in that situation I don't overeat it." Again, you have to really be aware of your own behaviors and develop a sense of what is safe for you.
(3) Eat a whole foods, plant based diet, high in volume and low in calories. "What does that have to do with it?" you ask. I'll share with you my experience. When I was eating whatever I wanted to, attempting to control portions and choose foods that I thought were healthy, I was overweight and unhappy. Eating was a colossal battle for me. I wanted to eat enough to feel full, but I knew that if I ate enough of those foods to actually get full I was eating too much to lose weight. It was a mess!
Fast forward to now. I've been eating a whole foods, plant based diet, high in volume and low in calories for over a year. My taste buds have COMPLETELY changed. I am not making this up. A green smoothie tastes better to me now than a hamburger and french fries. An apple is so sweet it's criminal. Nuts and beans are the new foods that I have to be careful not to overeat. I'm laughing at myself as I write this. It's amazing!
The foods I used to eat taste like garbage to me now. It's not even a struggle to eat this way or to say no to processed food. It tastes like s#*!, why would I eat that?
(4) When your trigger foods make their way into your house, which they will, no matter how hard you try, get rid of them. As soon as you become aware of the situation, throw them out. You have no power over them. That's why they are YOUR trigger foods at this particular time. And they will change over time, that's why you can never rest. When foods that once would not have been a big deal to you suddenly become a big deal when you have eliminated all of your other trigger foods. Just tell yourself that it is normal for this to happen and get rid of the new trigger food.
It's either trash in your body or trash in a landfill. Where do you think it belongs?
Don't feel sorry for yourself. Get excited that you have a new level of awareness that will make you life much more manageable and happier. Never dwell on your past mistakes. Don't let a slip up become a give up. That's your old heavy person's mind doing the thinking for you. Let your new thin person's mind take over. Thin people slip up, they never give up. That's how they remain thin.
(5) The big one. The doosey. Here it is: When you are eating, do nothing else.
Oh boy, I know this is true, but I struggle with it. Have you ever tried just sitting at a table by yourself with food on a plate and a fork and knife and just eating? I thought so. If this were your regular practice, you wouldn't have read this far into this post! It's not something that I am proud of, but I love to eat and read, eat and watch TV, eat and talk, eat and do anything!!!!!
When it comes right down to it, it is almost impossible to compulsively eat if you are sitting down and doing nothing else but eating. Why? Because eating this way is BORING. It's the opposite of numbing yourself. It brings you into the moment. Whenever I do this I can barely eat what I have served myself. It really is that simple. Most of the food that I have eaten in my lifetime I never would have eaten if I wasn't distracting myself at the same time. That's the drug effect of food--the distraction from feeling and emoting.
Are you aware of your trigger foods?
What types of adjustments have you made or are you trying to make regarding these foods?
What happens to you when you sit down to eat without doing anything else?
Could you commit to just eating for one meal? One day? One week?
Staying informed and inspired in a world conspiring against us.
Last night in Cleveland we were treated to a special sneak preview of the movie Forks Over Knives, complete with a delicious plant strong dinner courtesy of Whole Foods and a short Q and A after with Rip Esselstyn, Dr. Esselstyn and two of the subjects of the film.
Forks Over Knives is a documentary about the scientific/field research of Dr. T. Colin Campbell at Cornell University and the medical research of Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic, woven in with stories of real life people who's lives have literally been saved with a plant based, whole foods diet.
Two beautiful people, Ellen Darby, the Healthy Eating Specialist at our two Cleveland (East Side) Whole Foods locations and Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet.
It was a packed house! Totally sold out!
At a minimum, it's a great movie for anyone who is interested in health but can't make it through the somewhat tedious read that is The China Study. It presents, in an easy to follow way, all of the relevant findings of Cambell's work along with a wonderfully visual account of Esselstyn's story and conclusions. It doesn't hurt to see lives transformed in front of your eyes--reversals of diabetes in a few months, drastically improved blood cholesterol numbers in a matter of weeks, elimination of vast amounts of expensive drugs with horrible side effects. At a maximum this film would be the wake up call that Americans so desperately need to WAKE UP and see the obvious--that The Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny's is death on a plate.
A good friend of my husbands, filmmaker Andrew Jareki (All Good Things, Capturing the Friedmans), once said, "You get fat and then you die." And he's exactly right. The diseases that are a direct result of obesity--heart disease (the number one killer in America), diabetes and cancer--are all known to be caused by our diet. (Except about 1-2% of cancers which are genetic flukes.)
Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. It was seeing and hearing him speak about one year ago that totally convinced me to stop using oil in my cooking and to go totally plant strong.
There is something so moving about this father and son team working so hard to do good for humanity.
The movie will be released on March 11th in select theaters around the country. Please support this effort and go see it. Encourage everyone you love to see it too, especially teenagers and children who are mature.
Why? Well, if you are here reading this blog, you may feel that you already know this information. My feeling on the matter is that I need continual reminding and inspiration to stay the course and to go against the masses. It's why I continue to read book after book on the subject. Surrounding yourself with scientific nutritional information is big weapon in my arsenal of maintaining a healthy weight. Using a series of tools like continually reducating myself, as opposed to following a precise food plan (which I always failed at ultimately), is what freed me from the yo-yo dieting trap. For a very insightful article from Peer Trainer on just this subject click here.
The Healthy Librarian's Cheezy Oatmeal with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach.
Not the most attractive dish, but very, very cool.
This morning on Debby's (aka the Healthy Librarian) Happy Healthy Long Life Blog I was introduced to the wonders of oatmeal. "Yeah, yeah, yeah" you're probably saying to yourself, it's all over the news, all over the packages of General Mills and Kellog's cereals. But hey, I'm a skeptic, and anything that is blown out by PR firms and advertisers I'm going to question.
So I've kind of been ignoring oatmeal, eating it only occassionally when maybe I wasn't in the mood for a cold smoothie in the morning. That is, until now. Thanks to Debby and her wonderous ways of compiling and distilling information, I now know the secrets of this wonderfood. And I trust her a lot more than any big corporation any day! Read all about it here along with the recipe for Cheezy Oatmeal.
The Healthy Girl's Kitchen blog officially turned one year old on January 23rd. Happy birthday to my blog! So why am I posting another recipe for a green smoothie? Because at this time of reflection for where I've been and where I'm going, this recipe seemed appropriate. I hope you can see by the ingredients that I'm upping the level of green intensity and LOVING it! Thanks to my friend and business partner Chris-Anna, who is new to the green smoothie revolution, but very adventurous, for inspiring this.
Super Green Smoothie
serves 1 hungry person
1 small cucumber, cut into chunks
1 fresh pear, cut off it's core OR large handful of seedless grapes
1 small frozen banana, broken into chunks
2 large stalks celery, cut into large chunks
1 large date, pit removed
1 handful fresh spinach
1 handful fresh or frozen kale
5 ice cubes
water--not too much
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smoothie reaches desired consistency.
Here's something very interesting:
Mark Bittman, right, with Chef Mario Batali, before becoming plant strong? I love Mario Batali, and I'm seriously worried about him.
Mark Bittman after becoming plant strong?
I received a blog birthday present from the universe. Debby from Happy Healthy Long Life clued me in about Mark Bittman's new ventures. If you don't know who he is, he is one of the most incredible New York Times food writers and cookbook authors. Seems like he's caught on to the healthy eating movement and he's making a big stink about it. Get the story here. He's leaving his old eating life behind and joining our ranks. Yeah Mark! Yeah universe! Can't wait to subscribe to his new blog.
Do you know who Mark Bittman is? Do you own any of his cookbooks?
What are your impressions of the public psyche when it comes to healthy eating? Do you believe we are on the cusp of major social change regarding eating habits? Or are all of the people around you seemingly unaffected?
I was having a "deep" conversation today about go-to recipes and the appropriateness of serving vegan food to guests at your dinner table. "What are your vegan entertaining go-to recipes?" my friend Jill asked, who's husband is a newly inspired no-added-fat vegan and who's sister-in-law has been living the "diet" for quite some time.
It surely is a personality thing, but I have zero problem serving vegan food to my non-vegan guests and even crazier than that, I generally experiment on guests. Oh my gosh! I said it out loud.
My feeling is that if I experiment with enough different food at one dinner, there is bound to be something really good in the mix. And what I have found lately is that everything that I am making is beyond passable, it's downright amazing. And I take no credit for this, I'm just a tester and tweaker of other people's recipes. And maybe it's because I'm a food blogger, but I just can't get myself to make the same thing twice when there are a bizillion amazing recipes out there to try!
Like this recipe for Moroccan Chickpea Stew. I truly cannot remember how I stumbled upon Vegan Epicurian's blog, but I'm so glad I did. This recipe is certainly company worthy. It's also just great turned into a salad of sorts, served over a bed of fresh baby spinach on any regular night. If you are unfamiliar with the health benefits of garbanzo beans, check out what Whole Foods Market has to say about them.
Want the recipe? Get it here. My only changes were that I substituted vegetable broth for the oil and I couldn't find preserved lemons at Whole Foods so I just put in one whole lemon, cut into large chunks and seeded. I started the recipe by cooking my chickpeas from scratch instead of using the canned version. It took quite a while, but was relatively pain free. If you'd like to do that too, get the instructions here.
When you are serving guests, do you stick to tried and true recipes or do you experiment on your company?
What is your favorite bean? Do you eat beans or lentils every day? If not, why not?
So it seems my 11 year old cannot get enough banana soft serve these days. "Dessert Mommy?" she says. "Sure!" I say.
Wow, what planet am I on?
And speaking of planet happy, today for lunch I had my first ever blogger meet up! It turns out that one of the coolest plant-based diet bloggers in the universe lives within 30 minutes of me and we met for lunch at my favorite restaurant, Organic Energy. For her own personal reasons, I can't publicize who she is, but I can tell you that I am so excited to make these kinds of connections. Who knows, I'm already dreaming up a plant strong pot luck at my house where my new blogger friend and I, along with some other local plant strongers, get together for some socializing and rockin' food.
Anyway, back to the frozen banana soft serve . . . last night's raspberry variety got my daughter so pumped up that she asked me if I could make this one EVERY night. Okay, twist my arm!
Raspberry Banana Date Soft Serve
1 1/2 large frozen bananas, broken into chunks
1 cup frozen raspberries
4 large pitted dates
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
Place all ingredients into high speed blender or food processor and blend until it becomes the consistency of soft serve ice cream, scraping down the sides and tamping down (if using the blender) as necessary.
Have you ever made frozen banana soft serve? If yes, is it a regular thing in your diet?
What are your favorite additional ingredients or do you love it best with just bananas?
Do the other members of your household eat it too?
Sometimes writing blog posts is difficult. I have so many thoughts running through my brain that I find it hard to begin. Especially when my brain is being flooded with interesting ideas from the books that I am reading. One thing that I have found on my weight loss/health journey is that my learning NEVER stops. I usually have 5 or more books that I am reading at once--ranging from pleasure fiction to healthy vegan cookbooks to the psychology of weight loss to dieting advice. I like it all and I like it all at once. I know, it's a little weird.
Anyway, what all of this reading makes me think is this:
What if you made your health the top priority in your life?
Because that's how I feel right now. My health is my top priority. And I don't feel guilty about it either. The old me would have. I would have been thinking, "Oh, that's so indulgent! My husband and my kids and my business and my ______ need to be my top priority." But guess what, if I'm not in tip top shape, than not only do I suffer, but my husband and kids and business and ______ all suffer along with me. And that's no good at all.
So for those of you here reading this blog who have issues with compulsive overeating and emotional eating, I recommend Skinny Thinking by Laura Katleman-Prue. You may know that I am a HUGE fan of The Beck Diet Solution by Judith S. Beck as a system of altering your thought patterns from those of a heavy person to those of a thin person. This stuff works. If you haven't read Beck, what are you waiting for?
If you have read Beck than you know how powerful the system is, but the journey doesn't end there. It's a lifelong process and we need all of the support we can get. That's where books like Skinny Thinking come in. Katleman-Prue's thoughts and ideas are right in line with the mental work that I have done with The Beck Diet Solution, they just provide another person's insights into the same recovery process. It's actually really exciting to read Skinny Thinking and to see how far I have come mentally with my relationship with food. I highly recommend reading it if you struggle with emotional eating or compulsive overeating.
The other book that I am very enthusiastic about right now is Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Appetite for Reduction. For those of you who don't know who Isa is, she's a very successful vegan cookbook author, who wrote, among other things, Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I own a copy of Veganomicon but would never purchase a copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Why? Because I know myself, and vegan or not, those cupcakes would take over my body and mind. Who needs that?
But back to my copy of Veganomicon. I picked it up in the beginning of my vegan path, knowing how immensely popular it is, hoping that I would discover a world of healthy food in it. NOT! I quickly realized that it was just vegan food, probably delicious, but no better for my waistline than spagetti and meatballs. So it sits on my shelf to this day.
Imagine how shocked I was when I found out that Isa has just published a new cookbook entitled Appetite for Reduction. It seems that all of that "vegan" food she had been cooking up for years developing her cookbooks got her into some trouble, if you know what I mean. Now, from the introduction, it appears she got herself a copy of Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live. "My decision was a personal one. My knees were achy, my periods were irregular, and my energy levels were low. I needed to change what I was eating--less fat, less sugar--and I needed to get more active . . . when I eat low-fat, plant-based meals I feel better, weight does come off, and unless I skip breakfast or something, I never feel hungry. It's become a sustainable way of life for me!"
What's her new mission? Nutrition! Nutrient dense, low calorie, low fat recipes. A whole new book of them. How cool is that?! I was rooting for you Isa! She has hit it out of the ballpark with this one. To everyone reading this blog: GET THIS BOOK NOW.
It's been a very busy and dramatic week, the highlight of which was a telephone call with Rip Esselstyn himself! Author of the New York Times bestseller The Engine 2 Diet, and certified hottie, Rip is paving the way for more and more Americans to realize the health benefits of a vegan diet. It seems that Rip is looking to build a bank of photographs of plant strong food taken by "real" people, so if you've got any cool shots submit them here. My photographic entries peaked Rip's interest in what I was doing over here at Healthy Girl's Kitchen and I look forward to talking with him more in the future about spreading the message.
My hectic weeks are bookended by Friday nights, when it is common for us to have friends or family over for dinner. It's a spiritual thing, marking the end of the week and celebrating the beginning of a period of rest. Friday night dinner is really special--we set the table up real pretty, light candles, get to know the people in our community on a different level and, well, eat. Lots and lots of delicious food.
I start preparing for a Friday Night Dinner on Monday, at the latest--all week long, a little at a time, so there is no stressing about it. There's something very exciting about sharing a plant strong meal with guests. I know that most people that I invite to our home don't make a habit of eating this way and I enjoy the possibilities in that.
Here's what was on our menu this week:
The Attias Family Baking Company Challah
Trader Joe's unfiltered grape juice
Chaya's Carrot Soup get the recipe here
Big green salad with hearts of palm, sliced almonds, craisins, carrots and cucumbers Clean Start Sauteed Greens with Leeks and Garlic Clean Start Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Apricot and Sage Stuffing
Big bowl of fresh strawberries, rice pilaf and grilled chicken breast for the kids, but interestingly, only one of 5 kids ate the chicken
Dessert--graciously provided by our guests--and not plant strong!
My friend Cindy makes and sells the most beautiful and scrumptious challah. It's a real treat. You can check it out on Facebook.
Clean Start Sauteed Greens with Leeks and Garlic-pure fantasticness
Clean Start Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Apricot and Sage Stuffing--another winner from the cookbooks of Terry Walters. I fall deeper in love with her every time I cook from one of her books. All I do is eliminate the oil from the recipes in the books (not a big deal at all anymore, I just use the broth saute method instead) and every recipe is 100% plant strong/nutritarian.
On a final note, gotta love the Wall Street Journal for givin' some major love to the greens. Today's article on the cover of their weekend section, along with 8 recipes for greens, explains why chefs around the country are beginning to have a love affair with these oft overlooked veggies.
Do you entertain in a plant strong way?
Do you feel like you need to serve animal protein to non-veg'n guests when they are in your home?
Do you have a go-to plant strong entertaining menu or do you like to experiment when you have guests over?
What's your go-to veg'n cookbook for entertaining?
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for all of the comments on my last post. This is all very exciting, and exhausting too (my fellow bloggers know what I am talking about--getting comments is all about commenting on other blogs, and it's practically a full time job. I will do my best!). And while comments and commenting are really fun, I have to keep focus on the main reason this blog exists--sharing my passion for nutritionally excellent food.
Remember I told you I've been ogling over other healthy bloggers Best Recipes of 2010 lists? Well, I wasn't kidding around. So last night, when my trusty kitchen assistant Maya asked if we could bake cookies, I responded with a surprising "Yes" and about knocked her socks right off of her feet!
All of the ingredients for Fat Free Vegan/Susan's Banana Maple Oatmeal Cookies are staples in my kitchen (I LOVE when that happens!). I made two simple changes: substituting dark chocolate mini chunks for the raisins (I personally loathe cooked raisins in baked goods and I knew that to make these a real treat, they had to involve some form of chocolate). I also substituted orange juice concentrate for the lemon juice (I was just plum out).
Everyone in my house loved these cookies, and I love a sure thing! My husband, who won't eat anything with banana in it, didn't even notice the banana (I think) and scarfed down a bunch (he can safely do that). I however, managed to contain myself to just 2. Sweet food is my downfall, but sometimes you just gotta let loose a little. Thanks Sue for your best of list! Here's the recipe.
What kinds of treats do you make in your kitchen?
How often do you indulge in "healthy" baked goods?
Do you find it difficult to limit how much you eat when you are treating yourself? Or are you at a place where it's just no big deal?
Roni's been blogging about weight loss and Weight Watchers for a long, long time, but she had never tried a green smoothie, not once. It's my major concern about Weight Watchers, that they are not impressing upon their members the importance of nutritional excellence when striving to attain a healthy weight. So I was really jazzed up that Roni, a very popular and public Weight Watcher, decided to try her first green smoothie, and blog about it to a very large audience, as a result of my encouragement. Go Roni!
I leave you with something near and dear to my heart. The Asian No Chicken Salad. As a longtime fan of Chinese Chicken Salads (having lived in Los Angeles for 9 years), I long for the yumminess (for lack of a better word) of them. So I frequently make a no chicken version and I don't miss the chicken at all!
Healthy Girl's Asian No Chicken Salad
serves a crowd
1 package of 3 hearts of romaine, sliced thin and washed and dried
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 5 oz. can water chestnuts, chopped
1 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup raw sliced almonds
1/8 cup raw sesame seeds
2-3 peeled and shredded carrots
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Place all ingredients in large bowl and toss with dressing. Healthy Girl's Asian Low Oil Dressing
adapted from a recipe from http://www.drfuhrman.com/
optional, but highly recommended for regularity and nutritional goodness: ground flax seed or chia seed
Here are options for each component: use one or more from each category:
GREENS: fresh or frozen spinach, kale, collard, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, carrot (okay, it's not green). I recommend starting out with spinach because you cannot taste it in the smoothie and then adding one other green in addition, a little so as not to be overly aggressive at first.
FRUIT: I always start with a ripe FROZEN banana because it adds the creamy texture to the smoothie. If you don't like bananas, just leave it out. Then add more fruit, any or all, fresh or FROZEN (that makes this very easy!) in combinations that you like: fresh pitted date(s), strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, apple, pear, orange, clementine, grapes, canned pumpkin puree, young coconut flesh, sweet potato
LIQUID: water (believe it or not, it's all that you NEED), unsweetened nut milk-almond is my favorite (365 Brand from Whole Foods is great), soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk. I like to find the lowest calorie versions of any of these products.
Once you master the basic green smoothies, you are ready for some sophisticated combinations if you like that kind of thing. This morning I woke up to a great blog post from Gena at http://www.choosingraw.com/ about making your own Chai Spice Blend. I immediately cleaned up my kitchen and went to town (I mean work) on it.
I was having lunch with some friends today and I kind of got into it with one of them over the subject of diet. And it made me ponder why I am such a radical now about what I eat and about spreading "the gospel" of Plant Strong/Nutritarian eating. And then I saw this:
And it broke my heart. You see, every time I see an obese person, my heart breaks. I know what it feels like to be overweight and frustrated.
But I also get angry. Not angry with the overweight person, just angry with the state of affairs. Angry that the cost of my family's health insurance is over $1200 a month and that we still have a $4000 deductible. Angry about the high taxes that I pay to fund entitlement programs to pay for other people's health care. Angry that there is a McDonald's or Wendy's or Burger King on every corner and that many people seem to be losing touch with real food.
There is another way. But if we let it go on this way, it just might bankrupt us all. We already know that our generation is going to be the first generation not to live longer than the generation before us.
So I'm sad and I'm frustrated and I want to make a difference, for my family, for the individual person that my heart goes out to and for all of us as a society. This is not just about me wanting to lose a few pounds and showing off my cooking skills. I'm a girl on a mission.
I'm still pretty new at this blogging thing and learning all of the time. One interesting tidbit that I picked up over the New Year's Holiday was that a lot of bloggers wrote "best of" lists and then published the lists on their blogs. Farty Girl wrote about the best (and worst!) foods for IBS, other bloggers listed out their favorite posts of the year, and the most important thing of all for me, food bloggers listed their favorite dishes of the year. That is so cool! I mean, no more making things that aren't extraordinary. Just pick off of the best of list from any active food blogger that you admire and viola! you have a recipe that's company worthy.
The first list that I ran across was actually a guest post on Choosing Raw where Leslie from The Whole Plate shares 5 of her favorite veggie recipes. Collard Greens in Peanut Tomato Sauce, Roasted Beets with Cocoa Sesame Sauce, Raw Zucchini Boats with Tomato and Oregano, Thai Coconut Corn Soup, Coconut Sweet Potato Dip . . . oh la la!
Then I got notification in my inbox that Susan over at Fat Free Vegan had done her own best of 2010 list. I think I've discovered something! "Best of" lists are for me! Susan's Roasted Eggplant Pesto here I come! But first, back to Leslie's lovlies . . .
The ingredients for Leslie's Cocoa Sesame Sauce are all staples in my kitchen, which made this a very easy recipe to whip up before I left for work in the morning.
Roasted the beets as soon as I walked in the door and they were ready just in time to be served with the collard greens.
Oh, that cocoa sauce is soooooo good! Leslie was right, this is a "best of" recipe! And don't make fun of my hat, it's really cold here in Cleveland right now.
Leslie's Collard Greens in Peanut Tomato Sauce also couldn't have been easier. . .
or tastier! Two totally winning dishes. Two dishes that I would be proud to serve to a guest. And I did. Thanks to my niece Emily for being a guinea pig. And thanks Leslie! Your recipes rock!
Have you seen any best of lists that rocked your world?
What are the most memorable dishes that you made this past year?
What are the changes that you made in 2010 that you are proud of?