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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
If you haven't seen Dr. Greger's newest video about nuts and weight gain, let me spare you the 10 minutes. Dr. Greger has reviewed a boatload of nut studies and come up with the recommendation that calories from nuts seem to mysteriously disappear, ie, you shouldn't gain weight when the extra calories that you eat come from nuts.
To say that sounds, well, nuts, is an understatement. It flies in the face of everything that Dr. McDougall and Dr. Esselstyn are saying.
If there's one thing I don't love about nutritional studies and recommendations, it is the amount of seemingly contradictory information that is being "fed" to us. I'm a normal lay person, not a doctor, nutritionist, or scientist. My day job is half accounting, half art direction. My night job is half chef and all mother. I'm just not equipt to deal with conflicting scientific information.
What the heck is going on here? I have been watching my intake of nuts for the last six months with no good effect on my weight, probably because I have replaced those nut calories with calories from whole grains and potatoes, not with kale and lettuce.
I was so confused, I had to talk about it with someone, so I e-mailed Natala Constantine, a member of the Engine 2 team. What she gave me was some incredibly sound advice, so I thought it was important that I share it with you.
My four year old son Max had his first friend sleep-over a few weeks ago. Turns out his five-year-old friend Asher had been begging his mother to let him sleep over a friend's house, and I happily volunteered to host. But you know how this story usually ends, right?
With a midnight phone call to the parents asking them to come get their kid.
Our Aunt Viv has been doing a lot of baking and freezing lately, preparing for the large family reunion that we have coming up over Labor Day Weekend. When she told me what she was doing, I was thinking, "Why don't I ever bake and freeze?"
Probably because there's never enough left over to have any left to freeze.
But this time I was determined. Due in part the the huge Farmer's Market zucchinis ($1.00 each) that are filling up my refrigerator and the giant mound of ripening bananas on my counter (trying desperately to get some into the freezer for smoothies and frozen banana soft serve), I decided to double batch it. So thirty six amazing muffins baked in my oven this afternoon.
I also thought that no-oil, vegan zucchini-banana muffins might make a nice addition to the three lunchboxes that I pack every day once school starts. It certainly beats a lot of other things that could make it into their lunchboxes.
I'm pretty sure if you are here on Healthy Girl's Kitchen you are well aware of the sugar problem we Americans have. And I for one have had a lifelong battle with sweets. I just love the way sugary foods taste, there's no denying it.
So when a few weeks ago I was confessing what a difficult time I have been having with a plant-perfect diet, and Suzanne, one of the kind readers of HGK suggested that sometimes you just have to make yourself some dessert to help yourself feel better, I was like, "Darn, that girl knows me well!" She forwarded me a blackberry peach cobbler recipe from Cathy Fisher's blog Straight Up Food, and I immediately put the recipe on my to do list--the short one.
I bought the peaches and the blackberries.
And the peaches got eaten before I could muster up the energy to make the cobbler. I gobbled down the blackberries when I started to suspect that they were going to get moldy before I ever made the recipe.
The next week, I bought $15 worth of local peaches at the Farmers' Market and hoped again that the right time would come.
When I saw this quote on Facebook last week, I immediately reposted it to the Healthy Girl's Kitchen Facebook Page.
I totally got it. It spoke to me. I was having a particularly rough time (not food related--yeah!) and it was an immense comfort to read such insightful words.
I had the craziest weekend. It was somewhat indulgent, which is pretty rare for me. It all started with the new Batman, The Dark Night Rises movie (which I loved), followed up by a movie called Fresh. And then, since I hadn't seen the first two Batman movies, I did a Batman marathon on Sunday and watched Batman Begins and Batman Returns, after I had done some cooking of course!
My friend Chris-Anna has been totally loving Farmers' Markets lately. Not that she never went to Farmers' Markets before, but now she has a new found obsession with eating local. It all happened after she watched this movie Fresh and took a week's vacation to San Francisco, where apparently, everyone is really, really into eating local. Now she's going to two or three Farmers' Markets . . . per weekend.
Believe it or not, I started this blog posting almost a year ago. I never got around to finishing it up at the time, which, believe it or not, happens with a lot of my postings. But it's such a fun and easy entertaining idea, and I happen to enjoy it every time I prepare it, that I just couldn't let it go: Vegan Taco Bar Night!
Does it seem too pedestrian to invite guests over and serve them a meal of tacos? Not to me, and certainly not when kids are on the guest list. I confess, entertaining with a taco bar is not my original idea. I first enjoyed the beauty and simplicity of it at my friend Chris-Anna's house when I had one of those "now why didn't I think of that?" moments.
So what is it that I love so much about this concept?
This meal pleases everyone: kids and adults, picky eaters and adventurous eaters, the health conscious and the not-so-health conscious.
For guests who want to eat a salad-great! Make a salad with all of these delicious toppings. For kids-fantastic! There's a ton of ways to make kid friendly food here. For you Hungry Jacks--go for the traditional taco in a shell or construct a Mexican pasta dish. This meal appeals to everyone.
Thank you all so much for that HUGE, warm and revealing response to my last post. Really, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm not able to respond to all of your comments individually, but I have read and savored each and every one of them. And they give me strength and inspiration to keep going, to keep trying to do it better and to not beat myself up too much.
Before I sign off for the weekend (we've got lots of travel and lots of family fun in store), I want to mention a few things.
First, if you haven't ordered your set of Jeff Novick's Fast Food videos at 20% off for HGK readers, your time is running out! Don't miss these videos--I'm reinvigorated after watching them. I needed something to lift my cooking spirits this summer and these videos did the trick. I'm so excited to get home after work each day just to see what's going to happen in my kitchen in 15 minutes. You've got until Sunday night and then the discount goes bye-bye.