Saturday, December 31, 2011

Is Your Family Coming "On Board"?

Have you made the switch to a healthier lifestyle without your loved ones? Are you hoping that they will join you in 2012? Want some help getting them to change?

Golly gee, you've come to the wrong place! There is nothing I can do to get your family on board. I can't make them change... and neither can you. I'm an expert at trying though. When my children were little, I invented many way for sneaking healthy foods into everyday dishes. Soon, everyone became suspicious of everything I cooked, and wouldn't eat without asking, "What's in this?" (Reminiscent of Kid History's Episode Six, "Healthy Food Will Make You Strong")

But don't despair. There are 3 simple things you CAN do:
  1. Be a happy example of a smart lifestyle. Let your vitality speak for itself. My 16-year-old athlete has an eye on my eating habits and my work-outs. Recently, he asked how long it would take his tastes to change if he started eating like me. He agreed to give nutritarianism a 21-day trial.
  2. Serve wholesome, nutritious, delicious meals that look, taste and smell inviting. Give them options. I usually put two or three vegetable dishes on the table, then ask, "Would you like the salad, cooked vegetables, or fresh veggie sticks?"
  3. Educate them about their choices and the consequences (positive or negative) of each decision. If the only criteria for food is whether it tastes good, Brussels sprouts won't stand a chance against pizza! Once they understand the "physiology of food" they will want to incorporate those dishes that make them feel great and perform better.
When circumstances are right, they will choose what's best for them. Just like you did. Remember what made you decide to become plant strong? Chances are you were motivated by something that evoked a strong emotion. And now you feel passionate about your new direction. Your family is no different. Nagging only builds resentment and resistance. "Effort follows desire."

In the meantime, you may feel pressure from them to return to your old lifestyle.Case in point: My husband took me on a date; he wanted to buy me an appetizer. He saw Fried Zucchini with Cilantro Lime Dressing on the menu. I declined. He insisted: "I know you! Cilantro and Lime and Zucchini...It's a winner!"

I felt stuck. If I didn't eat it, he would feel like I was ungrateful, wasting his money and being picky. I should have asked the waiter to just bring me the zucchini sticks, unbreaded and unfried, without the creamy dressing.

I learned that waffling makes others push harder. In an article titled Food Bullies posted on Disease Proof, Emily Boller points out that when you exhibit a “defeated attitude” in response to pushiness, then bullying is likely to continue. However, if you respond with a clear attitude of self-confidence and a strong boundary line, the attempts to dominate will quickly diminish.

Picture yourself as a lighthouse, beckoning to your family. If you are bright, they will come without compulsion...perhaps, even this year.
To your health and happiness,
(and your family's, too)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pizza Fondue For New Year's

Whether you're inviting guests, attending a party, or enjoying the evening alone, fondue is versatile and fun. Just be sure to have plenty of sauce and several trays of dippers.

Raw Marinara Sauce (From Jennifer Cornbleet, Raw Food Made Easy)
1/2 c. chopped tomato
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 c. red bell pepper
2 Tb. olive oil (optional)
1 Tb. fresh basil, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
dash cayenne, optional

Process in a food processor or high-powered blender until smooth. Serve at room temperature or warm slightly. Makes about 1 cup.

Raw bell pepper strips
Roasted red pepper
Olives, green and black
Mushrooms (several varieties)
Tomatoes, fresh and sundried
Pineapple chunks
Zucchini sticks
Pita squares
Artichoke hearts
Grilled eggplant
Grilled tofu (extra firm)
Asparagus spears
Tempeh strips
Rolled collard leaves (use a toothpick to keep them rolled)

To your health and happiness in 2012!

One-Day DeTox from Gillian McKeith

From You Are What You Eat,  here's a one-day detox you can use to get back on track and ready for the new year. Don't forget to leave your comment in order to be entered into the drawing to receive this helpful book by Dr. McKeith.

  • 7 a.m. - Drink warm water with fresh lemon juice
  • 7:30 a.m.-  Drink water and 1 Tb.ground  flaxseeds
  • 8 a.m. -  Sip miso soup
  • 9:30 a.m. - Enjoy herbal tea: nettle, dandelion, chamomile, sage or echinacea
  • 10 a.m. - Make yourself fresh-squeezed fruit juice
  • 12:30 - Savor this Raw Mint Cucumber Soup: juice of 3 cucumbers and 2 celery stalks, 1 chopped cucumber, 1/4 c. each fresh chopped mint leaves and fresh chopped parsley, 1/4 chopped leek
  • 2 p.m.-  Sip more herbal tea: nettle, dandelion, chamomile, sage or echinacea
  • 2:30 p.m.- Juice your own fresh vegetables: carrots, celery and apple; or beet, carrot, celery; or parsley, kale, carrot and ginger
  • 3 p.m. - Pour yourself more herbal tea
  • 3:30 p.m. - Snack on raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 4 p.m. - Indulge in a veggie smoothie: 6 juiced carrots, 1 juiced apple, 1 avocado, 10 basil leaves, few drops lemon juice
  • 5:30 p.m. - Eat a hearty raw salad with a handful of raw sprouts
  • 6:30 p.m. - Wind down with Potassium Broth made from 2 potatoes, 2 carrots, 1 cup beets, 4 celery stalks, 1 c. parsley and 1 c. turnips simmered for 2 hours then strained.
  • 7:30 p.m. - Drink warm water with fresh lemon juice
  • 8:30 p.m. - Soak in a mineral bath with 2 tsp. flax oil, 1 tsp. liquid silica, 2 tsp. aloe vera and 3-4 drops frankincense or myrrh essential oil
  • 9 p.m. - Munch on lettuce and celery
  • 9:30 or 10 a.m. - Go to bed
To your health and happiness,

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    FREE Book Give Away!

    Dr. Gillian McKeith's beautiful full-color book, You Are What You Eat, is a treasure-trove of food and herb formulas to help you beautify hair and nails, get rid of those bags under your eyes, rev up your libido, safely de-tox, resolve leg cramps, and much more! To be entered in a drawing for your own free copy please comment on:
    • What you like (or don't like) about Kitchen of Health
    • What you types of articles and recipes you would like to see on Kitchen of Health
    A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012.

    Dr. McKeith is known for her ability to turn around even the very worst eaters. Her book includes a food IQ test and a 7-day Jumpstart Plan. In addition, you can learn from her:
    • Which proteins, carbs and fats are bad and why
    • How the appearance of your tongue identifies problem areas in your diet
    • What dandruff, chipped nails, dark circles under the eyes, pimply arms, varicose veins, cracked heels, and oozing earwax reveal about what you are eating
    • How to identify problems with food by looking at your stools
    • What pimples are telling you about your organs and how diet can  affect them
    • How to switch to a diet of abundance
    • Which foods are "Nasties" and how to get rid of them
    • What to do about the top 5 "Bummers:" weight problems, tiredness, digestive disorders, PMS & hormonal issues, and stress.
    • How to boost your immune system
    Don't delay! Comment today for your chance to win!
    To your health and happiness,

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Success or Failure?

    Christmas Day is over. The gifts are opened, the meal is eaten, the company has gone...and some of the goodies have been snitched.

    Are you looking at the remaining treats on the counter, and muttering, "I blew it!"?

    If you did not indulge - even once - in a food that you planned to avoid, stop reading right now. But if the tempting "gotcha" really did get you, I have some encouraging words.

    Every supposed failure is really a success because it is an opportunity to learn and to grow. Look behind you! How far have you come? By comparison, where were you last year? Are you on a path that is at least pointed in the direction of your dreams? If you are even one step closer to your goal, congratulate yourself. Take a deep breath, let the holiday go, and start where you are today.

    One year ago, I was on a total sugar binge. I snitched from every cookie plate that came in the house, I snarfed dozens of gluten-y soft white rolls, I loaded up on sweet breads galore, and more chocolates disappeared behind my back than I'm willing to admit. I fudged on fudge, the divinity was divine...and then there was the Christmas dinner: eggnog, mashed potatoes, and a full plate of prime rib, followed by pie.

    I felt drugged. I was heavy and sluggish, sick of myself. But I chose to change! I started with a green smoothie de-tox, and from there quickly move into nutritarianism. Today I am back to my college weight, off of blood-pressure medication and working out regularly. I feel sharp!

    Was I perfect this Christmas? No! For about 3 days, I succumbed. I nibbled Amish Friendship Bread and Almond Roca. I enjoyed popcorn with M&M's and a few cookies made it to my mouth. (Maybe I'll even confess to a piece of fudge if you won't tell). But I had a big green salad every day. Roasted beets replaced rolls. I served poached pears for dessert, and I really did eat Wild Rice, Mushroom and Lentil Timbales instead of Prime Rib on December 25.

    So what's my point? I'm still committed to a plant-strong lifestyle! I'm giving myself credit for doing better than last year, and I'm promising to keep improving. These pep tips help me rally when the food demons appear:
    • Ask, "How do I feel physically?" If I am perky now, will I still be perky if I eat what I'm contemplating? If I am beginning to feel "foggy," which food choices are contributing?
    • Ask, "How do I feel emotionally?" Am I eating to be social, or am I feeling pressured, lonely, frustrated, sad, angry, etc.? Can I meet my need in some other way besides eating? Have I communicated to others what I am feeling?
    • Tell myself, "I have options." I do not HAVE to eat something just because it's there or because everyone else is eating it. At a restaurant, I can ask for steamed vegetables, if nothing else. At a party, I can carry around a glass of ice water. I can fix something healthy at home or stop at a health food store when I'm on the road.
    • Remember, "Better to stumble and move on than lie in the road and get run over." If I make a choice I regret, a quick assessment and return to commitments is better than giving up.
    • Repeat, "I am not alone." I have a community of supporters who have the same challenges I do. They are ready to share their recipes, their struggles, their triumphs...and their smoothies! Together we can keep trying.
    • Know that the effort is worth it. All things of value take work. Ease is not the answer.
    May your new year bring vitality and hope.
    To your health and happiness,

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Faster than the Drive-Thru Line

    One of the big frustrations many nutritarian wanna-be's have is time in the kitchen. After all, you can't microwave a salad into existence, or create cooked whole grains with a can opener. Making your own salad dressings hardly seems instant, and vegetable soup is not available from the pizza delivery man.

    Yet, here are 10 ideas that are practically immediate:
    1. Yam-It: Mash canned yams onto a whole wheat tortilla. Spoon on chili, bean soup or cooked beans - whatever you have in the cupboard or freezer. Top with salsa. Warm in microwave, then add  greens and/or sprouts. Roll!
    2. Salad Bar Soup: Heat vegetable broth to a boil. Remove from heat and drop in as many leftover cut vegetables as you can find in the frig.Let steep just a few minutes. Beans are also a nice addition.
    3. Racy Lentils: Dump a can of lentil soup onto a bowl of cooked rice (I keep bags of cooked brown rice in the freezer.) Mix in some finely chopped greens. Sprinkle with cayenne. Microwave.
    4. Thai Paradise: Steam some frozen mixed vegetables and serve over cooked rice (from the freezer). For the sauce, mix Thai chili-garlic sauce with coconut milk. (or use a purchased peanut sauce)
    5. Lettuce Wraps: Set bowls of pea pods, water chestnuts, rice, tofu, mung bean sprouts, cashews, mushrooms, carrot shreds and green onion, and bottled stir-fry sauce on the table, along with a head of butter lettuce. Let each person fill and roll their own leaves.
    6. Burrito Soup: Mix equal parts vegetable broth and refried beans. Add frozen cooked rice, canned green chilies, and salsa. Fun extras would be canned olives, fresh tomatoes and bell peppers, frozen corn and cabbage shreds.
    7. Stand-by Salad: Bagged lettuce can be topped with any of the following "instant" foods: seeds, nuts, sprouts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, canned mushrooms and artichoke hearts, canned beans, frozen or dried fruits, and frozen vegetables. Many homemade dressings are quick, but possibly none as convenient as Jane Esseltyn's 3-2-1 dressing: 3 parts vinegar (she uses balsamic; I think apple cider vinegar would be yummy), 2 parts mustard (any kind), 1 part maple syrup.
    8. Beet-Pear Salad: Toss canned beets and canned pears with balsamic vinegar and herbs. Serve over  greens with a garnish of slivered almonds. A warmed pita helps round out the meal.
    9. Farmhouse fare: Saute bagged shredded cabbage in orange juice with sliced onion and sliced apple, just until soft, 3-5 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with nutmeg. Pairs well with canned baked beans.
    10. Breakfast time Soup: Dump fresh vegetables, Mrs. Dash, and vegetable broth into a crock pot in the morning. Barley is a nice addition. Set to low and eat 8 hours later.
     As James Simmons says, vegetables and fruits are the original fast foods!
    To your health and happiness,

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Holiday Menu

    If you don't have "roast beast" on Christmas Day, what do you have?

    I think this year I would like to try Timbales. I found a great recipe from Fat Free Vegan.

    Instead of rolls and mashed potatoes, I'm going to make a lovely Jewelled Salad:
    • lettuce
    • cabbage
    • cilantro
    • water chestnuts
    • red, yellow and orange bell pepper
    • carrots
    • mandarin oranges

    Should I serve roasted beets, or broccoli with orange-ginger sauce?

    Eggnog from the Happy Herbivore is definitely in.

    And for dessert, I can't wait to try Dr. Furhman's Pomegranate Poached Pears with Chocolate and Raspberry Sauces.

    I hope your holiday is cheery and vibrant!
    To your health and happiness,

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    An Interview with Happy Herbivore, Lindsay Nixon

    We are honored to have Lindsay Nixon, author of the Happy Herbivore Cookbook, stop at Kitchen of Health on her blog tour. As a bonus below, you can sample one of the recipes from her newly-released cookbook Everyday Happy Herbivore.

    Lindsay has been praised for her ability to use everyday ingredients to create healthy, low fat recipes that taste just as delicious as they are nutritious.Her recipes have been featured in Vegetarian Times, Women's Health Magazine and on The Huffington Post. Lindsay is also a consulting chef at La Samanna, a luxury resort and four-star restaurant in the French West Indies. You can learn more about her and sample more of her recipes at

    Here's the interview between Kitchen of Health and Happy Herbivore: 

    KOH: For someone just starting on a plant-strong path, what would be the most important foods to
    stock up on?
    HH: I actually have a great shopping list at the front of both books (and I think it's on my website too)! If you have those items, you can make any of my recipes without a special trip to the grocery store.

    KOH:  How would you recommend that a person go about getting off the Standard American Diet?
    HH: Just do it. Take it one meal at a time. Eating one healthy meal will get the ball rolling. It'll encourage you to make more good choices. Make the next meal a healthy choice. 

    KOH Is it ever tempting to return to your old lifestyle?
    HH: Never. My stomach clenches when I see people eating food I used to eat. I feel bad for them, and their colons! I can't believe I ever ate any other way. I'm thankful I made the switch every day.

    KOH: Has eating plant-strong improved your health and vitality?
    HH: Absolutely. Within months of adopting a plant-based diet I went on to run a marathon when I'd never so much as ran a 5k before. I rock climb, snowboard and mountain bike -- activities that seemed impossible and out to sight before. I lost 30 lbs -- going from a 12 to a 4. My stomach issued cleared, my acne went away. I pretty much eradicated my migraines. My skin and hair is healthy. My teeth are healthier. I have so much energy. I sleep better, I recover faster. I never get sick and I'm just generally a happier person. Less stress, anger and anxiety.
    KOH What do you eat in place of fast food?
    HH: A PB&J, bean burrito, hummus and pita, pasta, frozen veggie stir-fry, canned soups, all those foods take less time than going through the drive thru and are so much better for you. I wrote a post about healthy meals that are faster than fast food:

    KOH: How do you handle eating out?
    HH: When possible, I try to support vegan and vegetarian restaurants... though all of last year I lived on a small island in the Caribbean so there weren't any... and now I'm in a tiny ski town and none are here. I tend to go to restaurants that I know will have veg options -- such as Thai restaurants, Italian restaurants, Indian, Ethiopian, American Grills, that sort of thing... but I have yet to go anywhere in the WORLD where I couldn't find something on the menu to eat. Sure it takes a little patience and creativity sometimes, but I always find something -- even in Africa :) I also wrote a post about eating plant0based while traveling, etc -- this helps:

    KOH: Is it difficult to eat at group functions that are not plant-strong? How do you handle these kinds of social settings?
    HH: I'm very open about my diet, and always make sure to tell the host well in advance of my dietary restrictions, and offer to bring something. When I go to conferences where I know there probably won't be anything for me, I pack food and snacks in my purse.

    KOH: How can a plant-strong individual be sure he is getting enough vitamin B-12?
    HH: I'm not a doctor or dietician, so this isn't medical advice. If you're concerned with B-12, take a supplement or buy ingredients that are fortified with B-12 like nutritional yeast, soy milk, almond milk, cereals, etc. Everyone, plant-strong or not, should get their B-12 checked annually. While I don't know anyone that is plant-based and B-12 deficient, two of my rather carnivorous friends had B-12 deficiencies.
    KOH: Should individuals eating plant-strong be concerned about calories?
    HH: Again, I'm not a doctor or dietician, but I was a personal trainer so I'll answer with that experience and training in mind. If you need or want to lose weight, then yes. I find a lot of people operate on the notion that plant-based calories are magic calories -- that they don't count or something. Excess is still excess. Sure a bag of carrots is better than a bag of potato chips, but at the end of the day, even if you're eating carrots, an extra 1000 calories will cause you to gain if you don't need all those calories. I was lucky that once I switched to a whole foods, plant-based diet, I lost weight even without counting calories... and that is true for a lot of people, but not for everyone so you may or may not need to be concerned. As a trainer, my number one concern was that my clients ate real food. The numbers were secondary but I found once my clients started eating right, they generally stuck within their calorie range. It just worked out.

    KOH: Would you share a recipe with us that might make eating vegetables at little more appealing?
    HH: Here's one from my newest cookbook:
    Spicy Orange Greens | serves 2

    The slightly spicy orange sauce in this dish is one of my favorites. You can serve it with any greens you like or have on hand, but collard greens are my favorite to use. For a complete meal, serve over or tossed with noodles.

    1/3 cup water
    2 tbsp soy sauce
    2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
    1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    1 tbsp orange marmalade or jam
    4 cups greens (any)

    Pour water, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes into a skillet. Turn heat to high and saute until the ginger is fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in marmalade and then add chopped greens. Reduce heat to medium and using tongs, turn greens into the sauce. This will help cook the greens down; stop when your greens are bright green and have softened. Serve.

    Chef's Note: Cooked broccoli florets may be substituted for the greens. Toss cooked broccoli with the sauce once it's been warmed and serve.

    Per Serving: 156 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 32g Carbohydrates, 8.8g Fiber, 11.6g Sugars, 10.1g Protein 

    Thank you, Lindsay Nixon, for visiting Kitchen of Health. Readers, you can now order your own copy of Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Low Fat and Fat-Free Vegan Recipes. Buy on Amazon.

    In this much-anticipated follow-up cookbook readers will see, once again, that just because plant-based eating is optimal for health, it doesn't have to also be expensive or time-consuming.

    Everyday Happy Herbivore includes more than 175 do-able recipes--recipes that are so quick and easy, you could cook three healthy meals from scratch every day like Lindsay does.

    Each of the recipes are made with wholesome, easy-to-find, fresh ingredients and include no added fats. With additional notes indicating recipes that are ideal for preparing ahead of time and those you can whip up with just a few dollars.

    To your healthy and happiness,

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Spinach Salad with Red Pepper Hummus Dressing

    Like Hummus? Why not put it on a salad instead of in a pita?

    For the salad:
    16 oz. bag baby spinach
    1 c. baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
    1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
    1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned
    1 can black olives
    1/2 purple onion, chopped

    For the dressing:
    1 c. roasted red pepper hummus*
    1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
    water for thinning

    *Buy or make your own by blending:
    1 c. cooked chickpeas
    1/4 c. tahini
    juice of 1 lemon
    1 clove garlic
    1/2 tsp. cumin
    1 red bell pepper, roasted & peeled
    salt to taste

    To your health and happiness,

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Thai Pumpkin Soup

    You'll love this amazing combination of flavors!

    For the base, blend:
    2 c. cooked pumpkin
    2 c. vegetable broth (more or less for desired thickness)
    2 Tb.creamy  peanut butter
    1 c. coconut milk
    Roasted red chili paste to taste*

    1 c. black beans
    2 c. bok choy, chopped
    3/4 c. mushrooms, sliced

    Heat through. Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as an entree.
    *If you don't like hot and spicy, substitute curry powder.

    To your health and happiness,

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Waldorf Salad with Cranberry-Orange Dressing

    Cranberries aren't just for holidays. Serve this refreshing salad any time of year!

    For the Salad:
    16 oz. bag baby spinach
    4 apples, chopped
    6 stalks celery, diced
    1/4 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped

    For the Dressing:
    12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
    1 orange, unpeeled
    honey or maple syrup to taste
    juice for blending: apple, cranberry, pomegranate, or orange

    Blend cranberries, orange and sweetener until uniform. Add juice to desired consistency.

    To your health and happiness,

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Island Grill

    Rumbi's is a restaurant franchise in my neck of the woods which features a paradise of Asian flavors. A nutritarian version would be perfect for a buffet party this month. Guest can build a salad or rice bowl from the selections below. The secret is having several intense sauces. I've included recipes for my favorites: Sweet Orange Ginger, Teriyaki, Coconut Chili, and Creamy Peanut. The amounts are easily doubled or halved.

    Build the meal with these choices:
    Leafy Greens
    Brown Rice
    Grilled Tofu
    Black Beans
    Mandarin Oranges
    Pea Pods
    Tomatoes Slices
    Bell Pepper Strips
    Mango chunks
    Carrot shreds
    Pineapple tidbits

    Sweet Orange Ginger Sauce
    2 c. orange-peach-mango juice
    1/2 c. Nama Shoyu, Tamari or Braggs Liquid Aminoes
    1/4 c. rice vinegar
    2 Tb.cornstarch
    1 Tb. fresh ginger, grated
    1 mango, peeled and cubed
    In a small saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except mango. Heat just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in mango.

    Teriyaki Sauce
    1 c. Braggs Liquid Aminoes, Nama Shoyu, or Tamari
    1 c. water
    1/4 c honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or coconut sugar
    2 Tb. minced garlic
    1 c. pineapple juice
    3 Tb. grated ginger
    2 Tb. cornstarch
    Whisk together ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

    Coconut Chili Sauce
    1 can (14 oz.) thick coconut milk
    1 Tb. Roasted Red Chili Paste (or to taste)
    Combine and serve.

    Creamy Peanut Sauce
    1 c. orange juice
    2 Tb. lime juice
    1/4 c. rice vinegar
    1/4 c. peanut butter
    1/4 c. tahini
    1 Tb. Braggs Liquid Aminos, Tamari, or Nama Shoyu
    1 clove garlic
    1" of fresh ginger
    Blend until smooth.

    To your health and happiness,

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Conquering Holiday Food Demons

    Tempting holiday treats are about to ambush you. You may have made it past Thanksgiving, but soon you will be confronted by catered parties, goodie plates from well-meaning neighbors, and grocery store promotions, including chocolates, eggnog, little sausages, piles of nuts and candies galore.

    Luckily, it's not a battle of willpower, for that is a no-win conflict. Rather, actual physiological changes will help you beat the food bandits. Try the following 5 strategies to keep you on track in your healthy lifestyle through the New Year:
    • EXERCISE! Dr. Neil Barnard explains in Breaking the Food Seduction, that the brain has stations called "opiate receptors" where hormones that activate our pleasure centers attach. When we exercise, natural endorphins fill these receptors. But leave out physical activity, and the receptors are empty. Nature hates a vacuum and will try to fill this void with some other euphoria-producing substance so that we feel happy. Sugar is one such pleasure-producing compound. In other words, without exercise, cravings will sky-rocket! But just 30 minutes a day of physical activity will produce enough endorphins to tame the drive for sweets and other comfort foods.
    • EAT! Our bodies need a certain amount of nutrients and a given level of energy to function. When we "cut back" to keep from overeating and gaining weight, we deprive ourselves of essential requirements. That's when urges take over and willpower goes down the drain. So fuel yourself correctly to stave off unhealthy binges. Be sure to get lots of fiber, plant protein, and phytochemicals. Eating breakfast sets the tone for the entire day. Grabbing a nutritarian salad before a party diminishes your desire for junk food. Bringing a nourishing dish to a potluck insures that you have a wholesome option to eat. Focus on low-glycemic foods to keep your blood sugars stable, and you will not find empty-calorie options so seductive.
    • REST! Dr. Barnard notes that fatigue fuels cravings. Like most people, I am susceptible to energy-boosting sweets when I am overtired, thinking they will give me the recharge I need to keep going. It would be better to nap. In addition, regular exercise helps regulate our rhythms so we feel ready to sleep at bedtime. Caffeine, alcohol and animal protein foods disrupt our ability to repose. (Protein interferes with the production of serotonin that calms us.) Complex carbohydrates are a good choice for an evening meal.
    • RESET! Cycles influence all of us. For those who live in northern climates, the coming of winter signals not only darkness and cold, but a bio-rhythmic slowing of life. We feel more sluggish and tend to turn to heavier foods. Knowing this pattern for diminished activity and weight gain can help combat it. Instead of turning to greasy, meaty food for warmth, we can generate body heat through exercise. We can intentionally increase our exposure to light, and we can eat more plant proteins to prevent that slothful feeling. We can identify and avoid situations that trigger emotional eating by changing our routines and setting new traditions that foster loving and serving instead of eating.
    • SOCIALIZE! Most celebrations center on food. With a little paradigm shift, you can insure that your focus is the people, not the parfait. Enjoy your associations. Make it a point to nourish friends and family emotionally. If food is a remedy for loneliness, then reaching out is a better option than stuffing your face.
    If you can follow these steps for 21 days, you can make it through the Christmas season, for we have an appetite memory of 3 weeks, according to Dr. Barnard. That means a food that was alluring to you will continue to be enticing until you have passed the 3-week mark. That's why most diets are broken in the first month. People who are able to go off sugar or animal products for an entire month are usually able to make a habit for life. For nutritarians, this is good news. Vegetables that seem unappealing at first will soon become pleasurable if they continue to appear on the menu for 21 days. Our food-memory will adjust in just a few short weeks.

    To a healthy and happy holiday,

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    GOMBBS Salad

    Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Beans, Berries and Seeds are the foods that promote the greatest health, according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and we should eat them every day. So why not combine them into a tantalizing salad to enjoy as a staple on a regular basis?

    1 bag (10 oz.) baby spinach
    1/2 purple onion, chopped
    6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
    1 c. cannellini beans, cooked
    1/2 c. Goji berries
    2 cans (5 oz.) sliced olives
    1/4 c. pumpkin seeds
    Dr. Neil Barnard's Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette

    To your health and happiness,

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Spice it Up!

    Because nutritarians do not rely on meat or oil to flavor their food, they must depend more heavily on spices to create delectable, tantalizing appeal. One trick to creating appetizing dishes is to have a variety of spice mixes on hand that can be sprinkled on any meal to perk up the flavor. Below are uses and recipes for various spice combinations. (all spices in the recipes are in ground rather than whole form) You can tweak the ratios to your own tastes. Spices are available in bulk from places like Penzeys Spices, or My Spice Sage.

    Spice Mix
    Liquids to pair with
    Related spices
    Old World
    Savory, aromatic
    Squash, “Poultry” or “sausage” dishes, clear broth soups
    Apple cider, vegetable broth
    Poultry seasoning, stuffing spices
    Make into a “sausage” seasoning by adding allspice and red pepper flakes
    New World
    Full-flavored, meaty
    Grilled or roasted vegetables, stews
    Broth, fruit juices, tomato sauces
    Grilling mix

    Warm, fragrant
    Lentils, sweet potatoes, African & Middle-eastern dishes
    Orange juice, tomato juice, broth
    Garam Masala
    Pumpkin Spice

    Spicy, stimulating
    Beans & rice, tomato-based dishes
    Tomato juice, vegetable juice
    Chili seasoning, Cajun spice
    Make Jamaican by addition of allspice, thyme & dried hot peppers
    Sweet, rich
    Curries, Thai cooking, stir-fries
    Coconut milk, pineapple juice
    Curry powder

    Appetizing, satisfying.
    Pastas, vegetables soups
    Tomato sauce
    Italian Seasoning

    Old World Spice Mix
    2 Tb. each: thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, basil, garlic, onion
    1 Tb. black pepper, tarragon, savory

    New World Spice Mix
    2 Tb. each: rosemary, marjoram, oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, onion, garlic
    1 Tb. each: black pepper, paprika, chili powder

    Moroccan Mix
    2 Tb. each: cumin, coriander
    1 Tb. each: cardamom, allspice
    1/2 Tb. each: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg
    1 tsp. each: cloves, pepper (red or black)

    Caribbean Mix
    2 Tb. chili powder
    1 Tb. cumin
    1 1/2 Tb. paprika, black pepper
    1 tsp. each onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano
    1/2 tsp. cayenne, optional

    Asian/Island Mix
    2 Tb. coriander
    1 Tb. each: turmeric, fenugreek
    1/2 Tb. each: cumin, ginger, pepper (black or red)
    1 tsp. each: cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ground mustard

    Renaissance Mix
    2 Tb. each oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley
    1/2 Tb. each onion, garlic, thyme, savory

    To your health and happiness,

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Thanksgiving Menu

    I'm focusing on the side dishes this holiday. My family is not nutritarian, so there will still be turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, but those traditional foods will have to compete with these colorful, tempting dishes:

    Maple Cornmeal Biscuits
    Jewelled yams
    Festive Salad & Raspberry vinaigrette
    Lemon-y Waldorf
    “Candy” Corn
    Green Beans with “sausage” and onion
    Pies with Banana “Whipped Cream”

    Maple cornmeal Biscuits From Happy Herbivore
    1 c. cornmeal
    1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
    4 tsp. baking powder
    ½ tsp. salt
    1 banana
    ½ c. non-dairy milk
    4 Tb. Pure maple syrup

     Preheat oven to 425˚.Grease cookie sheet. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a food processor for about 10 seconds. Add banana and process until flour is pebble-like. Transfer to mixing bowl and add milk and syrup, stirring until well-combined. Drop 12 biscuits 2” apart onto cookie sheet. Bake 7-8 minutes until barely crisp and slightly brown.

    Jewelled yams
    4 lbs. yams, baked                    ¾ tsp. cinnamon
    2 apples, sliced                         ½ tsp. nutmeg
    1/8 c. lemon juice                      ¼ tsp. ginger
    ½ banana, mashed                    ½ c. orange juice
    ¼ c. pure maple syrup               2 c. cranberries, fresh or frozen
    ¼ c. sucanat, turbinado, rapadura or date sugar

    Peel & slice cooked yams. Toss apples with lemon juice. Combine banana, syrup, sugar, spices and orange juice to make a thin sauce. In a sprayed 9X13 pan, Layer ½ the yams, ½ the apples, ½ the cranberries. Repeat. Pour sauce over all. At this point you may refrigerate until just before mealtime. Bake at 350˚ for 30-45 minutes, adding apple cider to baste if liquid is all absorbed. Cool slightly before serving to allow sauces to thicken.

    Festive salad from Green Smoothie Girl
    1/2 c. sliced almonds
    2 Tb. Agave or maple syrup
    1/2 head red leaf lettuce
    1 head boston, Bibb, or butter lettuce
    1 can mandarin oranges, drained
    ½ c. craisins, currants, or pomegranate seeds

    Dry roast almonds in a skillet over low heat, stirring frequently, until golden. Toss with agave. In a large bowl, toss remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve with Raspberry vinaigrette.

    Raspberry vinaigrette
    2-3 Tb. honey or agave
    ¼ c. rice vinegar
    ¼ c. water
    1 tsp. chia seeds
    ¼ c. raspberries (fresh or frozen)
    1 Tb. Poppy seeds 

    Blend all but poppy seeds in blender. Add poppy seeds and pulse.

    Lemon-y waldorf
    6 apples, chopped
    5 celery stalks, chopped
    1/2 c. cashews
    1/2 c. currants or pomegranate seeds
    10-12 oz. silken tofu
    juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
    1/4 c. pure maple syrup
    leafy greens

    Toss together apples, celery, nuts and fruit. In a blender, combine tofu, lemon juice, lemon zest and maple syrup. Pour dressing over salad, stirring just until coated. Serve over greens.

    “Candy” Corn
    1/2 c. white onion, diced
    1 c. orange bell pepper, diced
    1-2 Tb. Orange or pineapple juice concentrate
    2 c. corn, fresh, frozen or canned
    ¼ c. agave, or pure maple syrup or 2 Tb. Molasses
    Saute onion and bell pepper  in juice until tender. Add corn and heat through. Drizzle with sweetener and season to taste.

    Green beans with “sausage” and carmelized onion
    1 c. cooked pinto beans       1 egg or egg replacer
    ¼ c. breadcrumbs                ¼ c. 1 tsp. black pepper
    1/2 tsp. sage                         1 tsp. thyme
    1/2 tsp. marjoram                 1/4 tsp. allspice
    1/2 tsp. cayenne (optional)   1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
    pinch salt                               3 cans green beans, drained

    In a food processor, combine beans, eggs, breadcrumbs and spices. Blend until smooth. Form patties and fry like a hamburger. When cohesive and browned, break into crumbles and continue frying until crisp. Toss with heated beans. Garnish with onion slices that have been carmelized in apple cider by cooking over low heat until liquid is thick and dark.

    PIE Crust #1 (No bake) from Dr. Fuhrman                    
    1 c. almonds                                 
    1 c. pitted dates                     
    2 Tb. Chia seeds soaked in ¼ c. water for 15 minutes
    1/3 c. dry oatmeal, processed to a flour in blender

    Process chia seeds and water until they form a paste; set aside. Process almonds until very fine. Mix in oat flour. Add dates and process until finely chopped and mixed well. Add chia seed pasteand pulse to mix. Press mixture into a pie plate. No baking needed.

    Chocolate Pie filling from Yummy Plants
    1 1/2 c. dairy-free dark chocolate chips (Sunspire Organic)
    1/2 c. maple syrup (use 1/4 c. for less sweet)
    1 pkg. silken tofu (12 oz)
    1 Tb. vanilla extract
    1/8 tsp. sea salt
    Dash of nutmeg
    Dash of cinnamon

    Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips, stirring until creamy and lump-free. In a blender, mix tofu, syrup, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add melted chocolate to blender. Blend 5-10 seconds. Pour into crust and refrigerate.

    Pie Crust #2 (baked) from Dr. Fuhrman
    1 c. almonds
    1 tsp. finely ground chia seeds
    1 c. pitted dates
    2 tsp. water

    Combine almonds and chia seed powder in food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add dates and water and process until mixture gathers into a ball. Press into a lightly-oiled pic tin. Prebake for 5 min. at 250˚ Fill and bake according to filling directions.

    Pumpking filling
    1/2 c. maple syrup, agave or honey
    4 dates
    1 c. cooked pumpkin puree
    1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. ground ginger
    1/8 tsp. ground cloves
    3 Tb. ground flaxseeds
    3/4 c. vanilla soy or almond milk or lite coconut milk

    Blend sweetener, dates and pumpkin until smooth. Add spices, seeds and milk and blend until well-mixed. Pour into pie crust and bake 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Banana “Whipped cream” from Dr. Fuhrman
    6 frozen bananas
    1 c. non-dairy milk 

    Blend until smooth and creamy

    Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

    Wahoo! It works!

    I just got my results back from the health fair at the gym: My calculated body age is 23! However, my actual calendar age is 48. The calculation is based on height/weight ratio, waist/hip measurements, and body fat percentage/BMI calculation.

    I have been nutritarian for 10 months and feel as vibrant as twenty-something. Now I have tangible proof! My blood draw (blood lipids, iron, etc) looks good, too.

    Here are my stats:
    Cholesterol 152 (less than 200 is the recommendation)
    Triglycerides 67 (should be below 200; extremely sensitive to diet)
    HDL's (good cholesterol) 56 (the higher the better up to 75)
    LDL's (bad cholesterol) 82 ("normal" ranges from 50 to 129)
    Iron 113 (should measure between 37 and 145)
    Blood pressure 130/70
    Pulse 60
    Height 5'10"
    Weight 140 lbs.
    Waist 32" (More than 35" is overweight)
    Hip 37"
    Body Fat 23.8% (For women 21-14% is fit, 25-31% is average; 32%+ is obese)
    BMI 20.1 (Ideal is less than 23; 24 is overweight)

    Without listing more numbers, I'll just say my hemoglobin and hematocrit look great! Many people believe if these are low, you should eat more red meat. But I don't eat any red meat at all and the readings are not sub-normal whatsoever. Another interesting indicator was the total protein. Very low values suggest malnutrition, while high values point to dehydration or chronic inflammation. Here again, my statistics were within a healthy range.

    It certainly has been worth the journey to change my lifestyle. I'm not going back!
    To your health and happiness,

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Will You Spend 2% of Your Day on Your Health?

    What is the value of your health? Is it worth investing 2% of your life? If you are willing to give 28 minutes a day (28 is 2% of 1440 minutes or 24 hours) to nutritious food, you could prevent and reverse life-threatening chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity and auto-immune diseases.

    Here's how:
    • Substitute green smoothies for pop, juice and other beverages (5 minutes a day to make)
    • Eat beans and legumes instead of meat and dairy (3 minutes a day to prepare)
    • Consume a Hugh Maughn Gus salad every day instead of refined carbs like potatoes, breads, cereals, etc. (10 minutes to chop vegetables, 5 minutes to blend dressing)
    • Add sprouts to your oatmeal, smoothie, salad, or beans (5 minutes a day to soak and rinse)
    Total time invested: 28 minutes. For less than 30 minutes, you could trade "sick and tired" for "vibrant and vivacious." If you're willing to give it a try, here's a little more detail about making the changes above:

    For a delicious green smoothie, toss into a blender the following healthy ingredients:
    • 1-2 cups leafy green vegetables (kale, collard, spinach, cabbage, bok choy, parsley, cilantro, etc.)
    • 1-2 cups fresh or frozen fruit, including bananas, berries, stone fruits (pitted), tropical fruits and sub-acid fruit (tomato, cucumber)
    • enough liquid to blend (water or re-juvelac)
    • 1 Tb. omega-3 seeds (hemp, chia, flax)
    • any vegetable you have on hand
    • optional: juice and zest from one lemon or lime
    • optional: 1/2 avocado (for creaminess and satiation)
    Beans and legumes can be as easy as opening a can and rinsing. But if you are preparing dried beans, spend your three minutes this way:
    • At bedtime, put 1 or 2 cups dried beans in a large bowl with twice as much water (1 minute)
    • In the morning, drain, rinse, and dump in a crock pot with twice as much fresh water as beans. Set on low for an evening meal or high for a mid-day meal (1 minute)
    • Drain and season (1 minute)
    You can learn how to make a Hugh Maughn Gus salad here. Dress it with any of the fat-free healthy dressings from Healthy Girl's Kitchen.

    Sprouting is easy!
    • In the evening, put up to 1/4 cup raw grains or seeds in a container and cover with water. 
    • Eight to twelve hours later, dump into a sieve and rinse. Leave in the sieve on your counter.
    • Every time you are fixing a meal, rinse the seeds again.
    • When little "tails" appear, use or refrigerate.
    When you consider the benefits against the costs, you will see that the returns will be much greater than the investment.

    To your health and happiness,

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    How Healthy Are You?

    Grade your health! Answer the 20 questions below, giving yourself 1 point for every time you mark #1, 2 points for every #2, 3 points for each #3, and so forth. Find your rating at the end of the test.

    A. What does my blood panel (cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL's and LDL's) indicate?
    1. I don't know and I don't care.
    2. I don't know but I would like to find out.
    3. My last reading was above normal.
    4. My last reading was normal.
    5. My last reading was lower than normal.
    B. What is my Body Mass Index and/or percent body fat?
    1. I don't know and I don't care.
    2. I don't know but I would like to find out.
    3. It puts me in the category of obese.
    4. It ranks me as average to overweight.
    5. It ranks me as athletic to average.
    C.  Addictive substances, including nicotine, caffeine and alcohol are part of my lifestyle.
    1. Yes, I  have some every day.
    2. Yes, at least several times a week.
    3. Yes, but only "socially" when others invite me to.
    4. Not currently, but I have in the past.
    5. Never.
    D. I get the recommended cancer screenings appropriate for my age (mammogram, PAP smear, colonoscopy, PSA testing, etc.).
    1. No, and I don't expect to.
    2. No, but I will when I need to.
    3. I have had some tests in the past but I'm overdue for a follow-up.
    4. I am scheduled for some tests in the next 3 months.
    5. I am current on recommended screenings.
    E.  I am high-risk for the top five Diseases of Affluence: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and auto-immune diseases.
    1. I have been diagnosed with more than one of these diseases.
    2. I have been diagnosed with only one of these five chronic diseases.
    3. I have not been diagnosed, but I am a high-risk for at least one of these diseases.
    4. I have not been diagnosed and am a moderate risk.
    5. I am not a high risk for any of these.
    F. I get an adequate amount of sleep each night.
    1. No, I typically get fewer than 6 hours of rest per night.
    2. No, I get between 6 and 7 hours each night.
    3. I get 7 to 8 hours at least 4 times a week.
    4. I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep almost every night.
    5. I consistently get 8 hours of sleep a night.
     G. I exercise 5 times a week.
    1. I don't get any exercise.
    2. I don't exercise more than once a week.
    3. I exercise 2-4 times per week.
    4. I exercise 5 times a week for 30 minutes or less per session.
    5. I exercise 5 times a week for more than 30 minutes per session.
    H. I get 15 minutes of sunshine and fresh air each day if possible.
    1. No, I don't like to be outside at all.
    2. No, I don't get out more than once a week.
    3. No, but I am outside 2-4 times in a week.
    4. Yes, I get 15 minutes of sunshine and fresh air 5 days of the week.
    5. Yes, I get more than 15 minutes of sunshine and fresh air more than 5 days per week.
    I. My fat intake is:
    1. unknown; I don't monitor it.
    2. mostly animal fats or saturated fats.
    3. from both animal and plant sources but is mostly unsaturated.
    4. only from plant sources but still contains extracted oils, like olive and coconut.
    5. only from whole plant foods, such as seeds, nuts, olives and avocados.
    J. The amount of water I drink each day is:
    1. none; I prefer other drinks besides water.
    2. 1 or 2 glasses.
    3. 3 or 4 glasses.
    4. 5 or 6 glasses.
    5. More than 6 glasses.
    K.  Sweets in my diet include:
    1. Desserts each evening and pop every day.
    2. Desserts, pop or foods with sugar, Nutra-sweet or high fructose corn syrup 3-4 times per week.
    3. Foods sweetened with sugar, Nutra-sweet or high fructose corn syrup twice a week
    4. Foods only sweetened with honey, agave, molasses, maple syrup or other natural sweeteners.
    5. No extracted sweeteners; I use fruits (dried and fresh) to sweeten my foods.
    L. The amount of animal protein in my diet (meat and dairy) is:
    1. greater than 40% of my total intake.
    2. 30 to 40% of my intake.
    3. 20 to 30% of my intake.
    4. 10 to 20% of my intake.
    5. less than 10 % of my intake.
    M.  I eat simple or refined carbohydrates (bread, cereal, potatoes, pasta, products made with white flour)
    1. for every meal.
    2. twice a day.
    3. once a day.
    4. rarely; I eat whole grains at each meal instead.
    5. never; I have 1 cup of whole grains for the entire day.
    N. I use nuts and seeds
    1. rarely; they aren't really a food group.
    2. as a treat: roasted and salted.
    3. occasionally as an additional protein or fat source.
    4. several times a week in moderation.
    5. daily in quantities of 1-2 ounces.
    O. The number of fruits I eat per day is:
    1. less than 1; I only eat fruit a couple of times per week.
    2. 1 or 2 servings.
    3. 3 servings.
    4. 4 servings.
    5. 5 or 6 servings.
    P. The vegetables in my diet
    1. are in the form of french fries, or baked/mashed potatoes.
    2. include a side salad and/or cooked vegetable with dinner.
    3. amount to 2 or 3 servings per day.
    4. are a priority; I eat 4-6 servings per day.
    5. equal 7 or 8 servings and constitute about 50% of my diet.
    Q. I eat beans and legumes (split peas, lentils, etc.)
    1. only when I can't avoid it.
    2. less than once a week.
    3. one to 3 times a week.
    4. 4 to 6 times a week.
    5. every day.
    R. I incorporate sprouts into my meals
    1. if I'm rabbit (in other words, never).
    2. when someone sneaks them into my salad (meaning less than once a month).
    3. occasionally, but not as an integral part of my lifestyle.
    4. a couple of times a week.
    5. at least 3 to 4 times per week.
    S. Fermented or cultured foods like kefir, raw sauerkraut and sourdough
    1. should be put in the garbage disposal.
    2. are a delicacy I eat once or twice a year.
    3. are health foods I have used once or twice a month.
    4. are part of my plan once a week.
    5. are foods I eat several times per week.
    T. The amount of raw food I consume
    1. is negligible; food should be cooked unless you are a rodent.
    2. amounts to about 1 serving per day.
    3. is 10 to 25% of my diet.
    4. is 25 to 50 % of my diet.
    5. is greater than 50% of my diet.
    Now score yourself:
    85 to100 points - A,  Top of the Class; you've got life-saving habits!
    69 to 84 points - B,  Good work! Keep making those improvements
    53 to 68 points - C, There are definitely some areas to address
    36 to 52 points - D, Your health is in jeopardy, start making changes now
    20 to 35 points - F, If you don't do it, no one else CAN!

    To your health and happiness,