Tuesday, June 17, 2008

hee hee, my first blog

How is this free? Who is paying for it?

Well, here's my introduction: I became a vegan in July 2005. I accidentally ate healthy food because I knew what vegetables and fruit were and how to eat them, and didn't know yet about all the junk-food vegan options. My health improved dramatically. Holy cow. I'll detail that in another post. I became a vegan for environmental reasons and a vague desire to not eat animals. After becoming vegan I learned a lot more about the horrors of animal food production (including dairy!) and I doubt I will ever stray from veganism. I also learned why my health was improving from sites like drmcdougall.com and drfuhrman.com. I decided these guys are right: The most healthy diet is whole foods with little or no animal products, and no refined oils. The last one is a surprise to most people. Where McDougall and Fuhrman disagree is that McDougall recommends a low-fat diet period whereas Fuhrman says that healthy fats like avocado and nuts and seeds are okay as long as you don't overeat them and gain weight. Also McDougall allows for more grains and high-carb vegetables (like potatoes) and Fuhrman emphasizes more leafy green vegetables. Most people would benefit by either plan. As an experiment, I'm trying to eat the most healthy diet possible, to see how I feel. My understanding of this, after reading several books, is that my diet should consist of mostly vegetables (leafy green at the top of the list), fruit (berries at the top of the list), some legumes (beans), and some raw nuts and seeds. I'm also having fun trying to get into good shape. This again was inspired after my health improved so much. Most people would be surprised to find out that vegetables like broccoli have a lot of protein. so I'm eating lots of veggies and beans in order to get my protein (surprise), and it's pushing out the grains--at least in my current experiment. I'm a weakling and I am trying to build some muscles. It's working slowly. I go to this really cool gym: www.monkeybargym.com. I'm the weakling but I notice that I don't get out of breath as easily as everyone else. More on that in my posts. Another thing I'd like to mention: I'm as much a hedonist as any meat eater I think. It's probably true that my tastes have changed, but I feel that I am eating food that tastes very good. More on that in my posts. I'll probably have a bunch of things I want to share at the beginning, and then I just plan to share things like what I ate, and how I am succeeding or failing on a day-to-day basis where I am socializing with people in restaurants and traveling and so forth. I find it very easy to eat healthy at home, but it's with the rest of society where it gets difficult and I have to learn to present my case in a way that people don't think I'm too much of a whacko. 

Finally, the reason I'm writing this blog is because some of my family and friends are intrigued at the idea of improving their health but think it would be impossible to make such a dramatic diet change. Yet some are trying (go Betty and Bob!). I'm hoping some of my meal and social situation descriptions will help out. It might scare them off to see what a whacko I am but what is so wrong about being a whacko? It's fun!


Robin said...

Hi! I'm so happy to have found your blog! I'm starting out with ETL and love hearing about what you're eating and how things are going.

I'm 35 and have been a vegetarian for 15 years. Last Nov I had a baby and needed to lose some weight and generally clean up my diet a bit. So I started making my diet healthier and reading a few diet books, including books by Dr. McDougall, The Okinawa diet, and similar books. I kept coming back to the idea that a more plant-based diet is better. The cheese was holding me back from weight loss and good health! So over the past month or two I've become about 90%-95% whole foods vegan with minimal added oils. I'm a vegetarian for ethical reasons, and veganism is the logical next step ... but I'm not ready to make the full commitment yet. Maybe soon.

I've been browsing vegan websites for recipes and thinking about the issues, where I saw Eat to Live mentioned several times. Last week I read it and it really struck a chord for me! I am convinced he has the right recipe for the most healthy diet. So I'm starting off down that path, and have found your blog very inspirational. Keep it up!

kneecap said...

Hi Robin,

Nice to hear from you! It sounds like you are getting an early start on improving your health, compared to most of us. Way to go! Regarding your 90-95% commitment, according to Dr. Fuhrman that is good enough to ensure good health. Feel free to ask any questions if you have any.


Gigi said...

Hi Barb,

I just wanted to say thank you so much for your blog. It is so full of imformation and insight.

I am a 35 year old, first time mom to a 20 month old and I was originally looking for a way to lost the last stubborn pounds of baby weight. I have been an on again off again Vegan for many years, however, recently, I just haven't felt like eating meat. I was shopping at my local Whole Foods after not being in there for awhile. I saw the ANDI guide and scores posted all over the store and got curious. I googled Dr. Fuhrman when I got home, read the book and started his plan about a month ago.

I lost the ten pounds within the first couple weeks and my energy is through the roof. My taste buds are changing now and I can't stand the taste of salt or too much seasoning (especially garlic) in my food.

I've been devouring your blog and getting great recipes, I have a couple of my own I would love to share with you if you are interested. I love eating lots of raw veggies and I see that you do to, but I don't see any recipes for Savory Veggie Stews. This raw stew would be a great addition to your current rotation.

Thank again!


kneecap said...

Hi Gigi!

I'd love to see your recipes! Raw savory stews sounds very intriguing. You are right, I've never tried that. Do you have recipes for those?


Gigi said...

I notice that when I eat a lot of cooked veggies, I do not feel as good as when I eat raw veggies, but, it can get pretty old quick eating 2 salads a day. I have a couple raw cookbooks, but the blended salad recipes did not sound appealing to me since they contained a lot of fats and nuts. I am really trying to have avocado OR nuts in one day, but not both. After fooling around in the kitchen for a while I came up with the most delicious, totally oil and fat free way to eat my greens and other veggies. Here it goes:

The stew always begins with the base, do not change the base recipe, but feel free to add whatever toppings you desire.

Base recipe:
2 medium tomatoes
1 large stalk celery
1/2 english cucumber
2-3 medjool dates, please do not omit the dates, it adds something special to the flavor of the stew.

Start by putting the tomatoes in the Vitamix, but do not use the High speed. Use only the variable speed, no higher than 4. Blend the tomatoes until chunky, next add the celery, cucumber and dates and blend to number 4 for a couple seconds and then 2 for another 30 seconds. Your base is complete.

Next add your greens, here are your choices
1 med head romaine lettuce or other type of non-bitter lettuce such as red leaf or butter OR
5 cups spinach OR
2 cups kale or any combo of kale and spinach.
Collard greens and chard work well providing they are young and fresh and not too bitter. Use less of these latter ones and always add a little lettuce or spinach so there is no bitter taste. If you use other greens you will end up with a bitter tasting stew. Start with romaine and work your way up to the other greens over time.

Add the greens to the Vitamix until they are incorporated into the base but don't over blend. Use variable speed 2-4. Your basic stew is complete, now for the fun part. I call it a stew instead of a blended salad because once the base is made, I love adding chunky cut-up veggies and seasonings to it. Here are two of my favs, but feel free to be as creative as you want to be.

Tex Mex:
Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 garlic clove , 1/2 fresh lime juice, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro to the blender when you add the greens. Pour stew into bowl and top with thawed organic corn, black beans, chopped celery, chopped red pepper, and some salsa, YUM!

Italian style:

Replace above seasonings with fresh basil leaves, dried oregano and/or thyme, a little paprika, fresh garlic, italian seasoning mix, etc...For the veggies try cut up raw zuchinni and/or summer squash, sun-dried tomatoes, a few olives, thawed organic corn (I always add corn since it adds a nice sweetness, fresh thawed peas, chopped broccoli, etc....do you see what I mean? The possibilities are endless! I've used lima beans as a topper, pinto beans, lentils for my Morrocan inpired stew, even a little cous cous, it's all good and all delicious and best of all it's salt free and oil free, by all means, feel free to throw in an avocado with the base ingredients for an incredibly smooth and rich tasting stew or dice it up and have it on top along with the other chopped veggies.

I've been having stew daily and feel so amazing and healthy, it's a nice switch from green smoothies, even my husband and daughter love the veggie stew. I add a few drops of Tabasco and a bit of salt for my husband, but for me and my daughter I omit the salt and chilli.

I know the directions seem elaborate, but once you get the hang of it, it should take just 10-15 min to make the stew from beginning to end. I use the Vidalia Chop Wizard to chop up all my toppings and I always prep my greens and veggies at night for the next day. Give it a try and let me know what you think.


Gigi said...

I forgot to add, I have a pic to send to you of the dish if you would like it. I probably should have asked for it ahead of time instead of posting such a long comment. Feel free to delete my comment once you take note of the recipe. Thanks for all that you are doing on your blog. I made a micro salad of baby bok choy, napa cabbage, romaine and carrots and topped it off with chick peas and ceasar salad dressing, it was so filling and nutritious. I am in love with the ETL lifestyle. I look forward to more simple, delicious recipe ideas from you.

kneecap said...


thanks so much for the recipe. Your recipes are welcome anytime. I'm hoping I can try this out tomorrow! If it turns out okay, I'd like to post it since people won't find this buried here, is that okay?

I see you don't use any onions or garlic. Think that would be good? What about blending a carrot with the soup base?

thanks again!


Gigi said...

I like to chop up the carrot into small pieces for crunch. The stew is part blended salad, part salad. The base is liqiuidy and the raw veggies mixed in is for texture. I'd like to send you a photo of it, am I able to do that here? And yes, you can post it if you like.

Gigi said...

Oh and there is garlic, the post is just so long, you might have missed it, sorry. I add green onions sometimes when I have it in the fridge. Feel free to experiment.

hadphfun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kneecap said...

Hi hadphfun, I saw your post in email but you removed it. To answer your question I use an instant pressure cooker. http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-IP-DUO60-Programmable-Generation/dp/B00FLYWNYQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407974089&sr=8-1&keywords=instant+pot. I use it practically every day!