Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July 29 food and psychology

Yesterday I ate like a pig but it was mostly healthy.  I've been eating too much for several days now but I seem to just poop it away.  I think it's better to eat less and poop less though.  The psychology of my eating too much is that I'm in all these social settings and I don't want to feel deprived so I am well-prepared with my own food, and it's turning out that I'm being provided with lots of healthy vegan food in addition.  So I'm eating it all and getting very stuffed.  Part of my not wanting to feel deprived is I worry I'll be bad and eat unhealthy (vegan) stuff.  I think this is a good plan.  I guess I just have to not eat all the stuff I'm bringing myself.   That's what I'm doing today, so far I haven't eaten my own stuff yet.

Now, a positive thing that has happened is that it's become well-known that I'm a vegan.  And most people are very accommodating of this.  The person preparing snacks for the meeting is a friend of mine and is supplying us with lots of fruit:  strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe.   The bagels and cream cheese and donuts don't look appealing to me (I lost my taste for donuts even before I became vegan because they were too rich and made me feel yucky).  For the dinner party, which was catered, they told the caterer there's a vegan in the bunch, so she didn't put butter on anything, allowing me to eat the corn and green beans and bean salad, and she made a vegan potato salad for me.  It had oil in it but no fake mayonnaise, and it was really good--I think it was a lot better than the non-vegan one, though I didn't taste that one.  It had peas and some sort of onion like things  and some other sort of peas, and of course potatoes.  There was a very good bean salad too.  It was an excellent meal and I ate tons.  The sweet corn was great.  And I finished it with watermelon.  I was so full though.  But I ate a pre-meal before going there, a salad.  It wasn't a big pre-meal.  See the hosts know me and have seen me go hungry before, once at an expensive restaurant where the waiter was not at all helpful and just offered me their greek salad without half the ingredients, charging me the full price of course.  I get insulted when expensive restaurants can't offer you something not on the menu like steamed vegetables even.  Anyway, there was salt on various things I ate last night but overall it was a delicious meal and it was worth the indulgences in salt and oil.  I'm willing to eat that stuff in small quantities on special occasions.   It was interesting when I was helping clear up the dishes, I was rinsing the plates to put in the dish washer and there was so much butter and grease on them, wow.  My hands smelled like butter for a few hours after that, and I washed them twice.  It reminds me that I do eat differently than most Americans.  But now, that stuff looks yucky to me, all that grease.

One of my lessons learned is that it's good to stick to your guns and if you are vegan, don't be willing to eat non-vegan food.  Because if you give in once you will always be expected to give in.  If you don't give in, and stick to your guns, your friends and hosts adjust over time.  Most of them seem happy to accommodate, and even if they are faking it, I'm just going to take it at face value.  If they are true friends, they are happy to accommodate.  I do things for my friends, so what's wrong with getting some nice treatment in return?

Okay, here's what I (over)ate yesterday. 

Breakfast:  delicious peach, delicious nectarine.  wow!  

snack:  watermelon

lunch:  green smoothie and breakfast smoothie! (yikes)  a beer (oops)

snack:  watermelon, lots

pre-dinner dinner:  medium salad and blueberry dressing

dinner:   a beer (oops), green beans, potato salad (two helpings), 3 ears of corn (yum!), bean salad (2 helpings), watermelon

Monday, July 28, 2008


Here's a list of questions you probably wouldn't think to ask (un-frequently asked questions).  I never knew most of these things until recently.

What's wrong with cereal for breakfast?  According to Dr. Fuhrman (Eat to Live, p. 37), "Many whole-grain cereals are so processed that they...have lost most of their nutritional value."  Here's another surprise:  "..ingesting processed foods can subtract nutrients and actually create nutritional deficiencies, as the body utilizes nutrients to digest and assimilate food."  He recommends whole-grain hot cereals which are less processed.   Some recommended ones are Roman Meal, Steel cut oats, Wheatena, Ralson High Fiber, and Quaker Multigrain.  Or you can just have berries or fruit salad or a smoothie.  That's more appealing to me.  

Should I use a therapeutic light?   Yes.  I never knew this is not just for depressed people.  Plus how many of us really are a bit depressed and just don't want to admit it?   It has many other benefits too, such as improving your sleep patterns and hormone levels.  It's discussed on this site where Dr. Fuhrman is selling one.  I'm not saying you should buy from him, though I did out of convenience since I trust his recommendation.  But I'm just linking to it so you can see some of his reasons for why it's good for you.  It's also discussed in his March 2006 newsletter, but you have to be a member to see it.  

July 28 food

Today was the start of a long week of all-day meetings.   I didn't want to miss exercise so I went to the 6:30 am class today!  wow, I had to pack all my food, clothes and computer on my bike.  It was like going on an expedition.  I only forgot one thing which was my towel.  Oh well, tomorrow I should be set.  I got everything ready last night, which is good because I overslept, but managed to make it to my class on time.  so here is the food I ate.

Snack:  apple, then strawberries, blueberries at the meeting

late breakfast: smoothie

Lunch:  green smoothie, carrot, beer (we went to the terrace and there was great sentiment for beer).

snack at meeting:  grapes, strawberries, blueberries

snack before dinner (I was hungry!):  the best nectarine I've ever had.  two days of ripening made it perfect.  

Dinner:  Curried mustard greens.  also fabulous. 

I snack too much.   Well, at least I didn't eat oat shit bars all day. 

Now I have to go fix tomorrow's food and go to bed!  What a day.  Today I left home at 6 am and returned at 7:30 pm.  Tomorrow will be worse as I have a dinner party.

Blueberry dressing


1/4 cup cashews
1 bag frozen blueberries
2 dates, pitted
1/4 cup water? 
1 Tbsp mild vinegar (optional, e.g., Dr. Fuhrmans wild blueberry)

Blend the dates, cashews and water for a few minutes.  add the blueberries.  add more water if you need it.  keep it a bit thick since it's dressing.   this is good and hard not to just drink. 

July 27 food

Today I was, well, not too bad, but not perfect. 

Breakfast:  apple on my way out the door (wasn't hungry yet).

Lunch:  half a small watermelon.   This was an ingenious plan.   I went to the grocery store after church and by this time I was very hungry and just bought the watermelon and ate it, and then went grocery shopping.  This way I didn't have to carry a watermelon home on my bike!  then when I got home I made a little fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries, ground flax seeds and juice from an orange.

snack:   cherries

Dinner:  As I said yesterday, I had a friend bring over some beer (wheat peach, not too bad) and I was wondering what we could snack on that would be healthy.  well, the obvious snack came to mind:  edamame and pesto.  It was perfect with beer.  And I just had one beer.

Dessert:  well, this wasn't intended but I ate some more of those chocolate chip oat cookies--4 of them (they are small but still).  They were better a day later.  But the chocolate chips don't count as healthy, and since I can't control myself, I'm not going to make them anymore.   I'll buy the sort-of healthy granola bars for UR and hopefully they will taste okay to her.  They really aren't that healthy, but it's better than cookies and chips.

Before the beer, I made a couple of batches of pesto since the basil plants in the needed harvesting.  I had a little basil leftover and no more almonds so made a really small batch with cashews instead.  It was really good.  My friend suggested trying the pesto without nutritional yeast so I'll do that next time, it will be fun.

I also made a whole bunch of smoothies and blueberry salad dressing (which I froze for later) because this week I'm in meetings all day and need to supply myself with lunch and breakfast, and maybe even dinner a few times.   More on that tomorrow.  Oh, but I did taste test all the smoothies and dressings.  

Saturday, July 26, 2008

mojito iced tea

I had my first mojito when I was visiting my cousin in Tucson.  It was good!  It had rum, club soda, lime juice, (ginger?) and mint leaves, and sweetener.  I think that was all the ingredients.  So I decided to make a non-alcoholic version for a summer drink, I mean, for during the day when you are quenching your thirst, not drinking alcohol.  Then I got to thinking that club soda isn't so good for the environment.  I mean, it's okay in a mojito since that's rare, but maybe not so good for quenching your thirst on a regular basis.  So I made it with water.  I looked up some mojito recipes on the web and came up with this:

minced ginger (1-2 Tbsp)
few sprigs of mint leaves
juice of 1 lime (or half lemon but lime is better)
few Tbsps maple syrup (okay, probably not the healthiest thing in the world...)

boil a few cups of water.  Put the minced ginger in a, ummm, one of those metal containers with holes in it for loose tea, and put it in a teapot. Add the boiling water.  Let it sit for a while.  Then take it out when you think it flavored the water enough.  Add the maple syrup, lime, several ice cubes and the mint leaves.  Let it sit a little longer so the mint leaves flavor the water.  Add water or ice cubes to taste.  refrigerate, and drink it for a few days.  I think it tastes great.   

Chocolate berry smoothie


1 bag of frozen berries (cherries are good, so are raspberries or blueberries or strawberries)
1 banana (fresh or frozen)
2 dates
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
0-2 oz spinach (optional)
1/4 raw cashews (optional)
1 cup water

Blend the dates and cashews and some of the water in a high-powered blender until smooth.  Then add the other ingredients and blend some more.  Makes three 8 oz servings

This is my replacement for this chocolate shake for housemate to take into work.   She doesn't like spinach so I don't secretly put it in, but I recommend it for the rest of you.  It hardly changes the flavor and adds a lot of good nutrients.

Crash and burn!

Okay, I declare failure in my challenge to make healthy treats for house-mate UR (see this post for background).  Fortunately I have free will and can choose to abandon this challenge before the crash continues.  Why is this a failure?  1)  I have no discipline.  Holy cow.  I can't stop eating the treats.  2) I don't like baking, never have, have always been bad at it.  3) I don't have time for all this extra baking. Holy cow, I have a lot of work to catch up on now. 4) The treats aren't really that great.  I mean, they are okay, but not great.  --Except for the Chocolate Bean bars which I will make again and I don't feel as bla-ey when I eat them.   5) I don't feel so good when I eat too many baked goods.  even though it's just oats and dates and bananas and nuts and chocolate chips, I still feel heavy in my tummy.  well, that's because I'm eating too much!  6) In eating this stuff, I am not eating the high-nutrient foods.  7)  Dammit, I could have been making pesto today instead of all these dumb oat chocolate chip treats that I'm sick of.  I have two giant basil plants that need harvesting.  And I have to work tomorrow.  I hope I can fit in pesto somehow.

So today, for breakfast I had a smoothie, that's good.  Then I had to leave this morning to meet someone for coffee and go to yoga and go grocery shopping, and I knew I'd miss lunch so I ate a Chocolate bean bar and two little Yummy Banana Oat Bars before I left.  Then when I went grocery shopping I got lots of great produce, and a vegan chocolate chip cookie!  What's up with that?  Then I came home and decided the experiment was over because the chocolate chip ingestion was getting way out of hand, and I would just bake one more goodie for UR, this was Banana Oat cookies (recipe on Fuhrman's member center site), to which I added the rest of the chocolate chips, which by the way, are high fat and don't count as a part of a high-nutrient diet unless you eat them in small quantities, which I have demonstrated I am not capable of doing.  The batter was pretty good but they didn't cook up all that great, since they are healthy and don't have flour and baking soda or baking powder or whatever it is that makes cookies bake up nicely.  But that didn't stop me from eating, about 5 of them (update:  6).  They aren't that big.  I think my calorie intake wasn't over the top today but I didn't eat any of the good stuff, like salads and greens and fruits and vegetables.  And the treats really aren't that great.  The salads and fruits and vegetables are better.  I'd rather have curried mustard greens!  But now I'm too full and too tired---I'm still jet-lagged which isn't helping my behavior I'm sure.  

So my solution to the House-mate situation is, on the web, I found these Health Valley granola bars and graham crackers that don't look too unhealthy, and I think my Co-op carries them, so I'll buy some and we'll find out if UR finds them satisfactory enough to consider treats.  They don't look appealing to me so no temptations there.  And maybe we can permit one or two Divine Fair Trade milk chocolate bars per week for UR to increase the treat factor (fair trade is an excellent way to get your money directed to the actual producers of your chocolate, the farmers, rather than an exploitive corporation, which is normally the case for chocolate) (UR really likes milk chocolate).  We can still make chocolate smoothies which are quite healthy with the berries in them---I think I'll modify the recipe to not include soy milk.  That's the other thing, I used a lot of soy milk this week since I was making the chocolate shakes for UR and I'm not a big fan of it.  I'd rather ingest something more delicious (and nutritious), like cherries.  So we're out of soy milk and I'm just as happy about it.  Plus it's a pain to transport on the bike.

So tomorrow is a new day and I think I can get back to healthy eating.  I am tired and trying to stay awake until an almost normal bedtime...

Update:  my neighbor, a vegan baker, brought over some baguettes this evening.  So I tried one out.  I made a spread from a half an avocado (leftover), one cherry tomato from the garden (that's all that's ripe), some basil and chives from the garden, and what's left of a lime I used for tea.  The spread was great.  The baguette was good (of course, it has almost no nutritional value).  I toasted it in the oven .  I could taste the salt in it.  It's amazing how sensitive you get to salt when you don't add it to your food.  Was it worth it?  Maybe, if I hadn't of eaten all that other shit today.   I preferred the baguette to the oat bars and cookies.  I've always preferred food to treats.  Treats make me feel full and tired.  Food makes me feel more satisfied even if it makes me feel full too.  I remember when I was a kid and we would get pancakes with syrup for a rare treat and I loved it but an hour later I felt real tired.  It's like that with the treats.  Well, this was a good lesson and reminder of what's good for me!   Now tomorrow, my neighbor might bring over some beer.  I wonder what I should offer up.  I doubt I'll be in the mood for nuts after all this rich food.  Another baguette, sliced into toasted "chips", with pesto on it?   More empty calories?  hmmm.  Fruit doesn't go with beer.  Mushrooms?  She won't go for that.  huh, interesting challenge.  What is healthy that goes with beer?  I don't count salted peanuts as healthy.  The baguette sounds least destructive so far.  We'll see...

Friday, July 25, 2008

How to Eat Healthy

This is the hard part for the beginner: What do you buy and how do you cook it up?

Here is what I do. I grocery shop 3-4 times a week on my bike. It's usually on my way home from somewhere, so it's convenient. I can only carry what my pretty-big bike bags hold. This is just as well, so my produce doesn't rot in the fridge. I buy whatever looks good in the produce section, so things like:

berries, grapes, cherries, peaches, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew melons in the summer; figs, apples, pears, in the Fall; apples and oranges in winter; grapefruit in spring; and the imported things from around the world while still affordable: avocados, bananas, mangoes.

Then the veggies: In the summer, we get lots of local leafy greens: kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and veggies: broccoli, zuchinni sweet corn; in the fall and winter: carrots, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, lots of greens still. the list is huge. Get what looks good today, hopefully local and organic. Don't get too much so it doesn't go bad. After a few weeks you'll be able to judge how much you can carry if you are on foot or bike, and how much is too much if you have a car and it sits in your fridge for too long.

flavorings: onion, garlic, lemon, lime, ginger, herbs.

Then in the bulk section: raw cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, dried lentils and beans, rice, oats..

then in the frozen section: frozen berries, mangos, cherries, peas, corn (unless it's fresh corn season!), edamame (unless fresh).

If I have a recipe in mind, of course I buy what's in the recipe. I compile a grocery list as I run low on staples, such as nuts and seeds, beans, etc.

Then I cook them all up or make smoothies or sauces. My "recipes" are often just combinations of whatever I have in my fridge.

The fruit is often unripe when you buy it (things like, peaches, plums, mangos, bananas, cantaloupe). So let it ripen for a few days in a fruit basket. You'll learn after a while how long this takes. It varies with the fruit. This does not apply to oranges, apples, and berries, which should be refrigerated and best eaten right away. Bananas are ripe when they start getting little brown spots on them. Then they are sweet, yum. I've done a side-by-side comparison and organic do taste better. I buy lots of bananas, and when they ripen, I peel each one, break it into about 4 pieces, put it in a ziplock bag, and throw it in the freezer.

Let's say you don't live close to the super fabulous organic store with raw nuts and date sugar. If there is one somewhere in your vicinity, you can go there once every month or two and stock up on the raw nuts (which you then freeze) and date sugar (a healthier replacement for sugar) and dates. Or you can order online, e.g., at

Hopefully your local store has organic produce. It is usually better tasting, better for the environment, and was better for the workers who grew it for you.

Equipment: The one thing I highly recommend is a high-quality high-powered blender. Unfortunately these cost a lot of money (though it costs a lot less than prescription medications that you can stop using when you eat healthy). I recommend the Vita-mix. The cheapest one is about $400 new. I have that one and it works great. It will blend anything, and the damper thing works great for smashing things down to the bottom to make them blend. You can make so many fabulous healthy low-fat desserts, soups, sauces, dressings this way.

Oh, I kind of like my food processor too. I'd go for the moderately price ones, not the super cheapo like my aunt has--that is a piece of crap.

Then I have become a recent convert to adding carrot juice to soups, so I recommend a juicer. I think you can get by with the cheap ones for doing carrots. Oh, and I have a citrus juicer too.

Another somewhat useful item which is affordable is a food scale to measure weights. It's useful for measuring nut portions. Nuts are high in calories and fat, so you should only eat 1-3 oz of nuts a day (1 if you are trying to lose weight, 2 if you are normal weight and activity level, 3-4 if you are very active or trying to gain weight). You can also weigh spinach amounts for your smoothies if you want. It just comes in handy. But it's not necessary. An ounce of nuts is about a handful.

July 25 food

Breakfast:  Raspberry smoothie

Lunch:  mashed potatoes, fresh sweet corn (shucked and boiled, 6 minutes), collard greens and carrots.   The collard greens came from the garden, our first batch!  We are sharing them with some bugs so I picked the ones with the most holes in them.  Fortunately there was plenty left for us, and plenty more still in the garden.  The carrots were sweeter than usual (I ate a raw one while cooking)--maybe were just fresher.  I didn't have garlic, so cooked up the collard greens in water with an onion, some chopped ginger, juice of 1/2 lemon, a spoonful of date sugar, then added the carrots after about 10 minutes.  kept cooking for another 20 minutes.  Dessert was a piece of frozen chocolate bean bar.

My Dinner:  I was bad and ate UR's extra blueberry banana chocolate shake since she is going away for the weekend.  I guess that counted as dessert even though I had it before dinner.    Dinner was whatever was left in the fridge before I go grocery shopping tomorrow:  First, a salad made from a cucumber and two pluots (combination of plum and apricot). Then zuchini and beets and beet greens cooked up together.  These were all locally grown and the beets were so fresh I didn't even have to peel them.  It was all good and satisfying.  I snacked on some yummy cherries.

UR's Dinner:  small salad (lettuce, delicious crimini mushrooms, delicious fresh red bell pepper) with blueberry-date-banana dressing (yum!)  and a few evil croutons (not recommended by me but I give in to my client's requests sometimes).  Blueberry chocolate banana milkshake (small serving).  2 small Banana-oat chocolate chip bars (Fuhrman's Yummy Banana-Oar Bars, Eat for Health, book 2, p. 274) to which I added some chocolate chips).

I added House-mate's dinner to the log since she is participating in the program for now.  I will refer to her for now as UR.  Today was fun cooking for me.  Lunch was especially good for some reason.  Maybe we were just hungry.  I made UR's salad dressing on the way to making her shake.  I started with the banana and dates and blueberries and a little soy milk blended up thick, then poured off a little of that for her salad dressing.  Then I added some more soy milk and a Tbsp of cocoa powder to make her 2 shakes.  I seem to be over my indulgence urges, except for eating UR's second shake, and only had one chocolate bean bar which is healthy in that dose.    So it was a healthy day even though it felt decadent.   Oh, I have been drinking decaff coffee because I'm jetlagged (that's my excuse).  I have enough beans for one more cup and then I suppose I shouldn't buy anymore.  Decaff coffee with soy milk is not a habit I want to get into again.  I'd just as soon learn not to eat between meals and only drink when thirsty (when you don't eat salt you don't need to drink so much water and the vegetables and fruit have a lot).  

Mashed potatoes

There are many variations of mashed potatoes.  It can be as simple as potatoes and soy milk or potatoes and water or potatoes and avocado.  Here's what I did today.

Enough potatoes for whoever is joining you
leek or part of an onion (optional; leeks are best)
1/2 avocado per 2 people   or some ground cashews or almonds (coffee grinder is easy, say 1/4 cup).
fresh herbs (if you have them).  I used chives, parsley and dill from the garden
soy milk (or almond milk or rice milk or water)

Peel the potatoes if you want (new fresh potatoes are good with skins on them).  Cut up the potatoes and leek/onion and steam them, until tender when poked with a fork.   You can throw in some of the fresh or dried herbs while steaming.   Put the avocado (without the skin and pit) and herbs into a bowl.  Microwave the soy milk for 30 seconds to warm it up.  Add the potatoes and some milk.  Blend, mash, or mix, however you usually do it.  add more milk to desired consistency.  These were the best potatoes ever.  Maybe it was the combination of herbs and avocado and milk and potatoes and skins, I don't know. Yum.

FAQs and Comments and Answers

Here are the most commonly asked questions and comments I get about being vegan and eating healthy, along with my answers. I tried to give references for all of them. Note: see my unfrequently-asked questions post for things you might not have thought of (I only have 2 so far).

Where do you get your protein?  Guess what, vegetables, especially green ones, have a lot of protein.  So do legumes (beans) and nuts and seeds and soy products.  So that's how I get my protein.  Plant protein is not a problem. In fact, animal protein is a health problem. Here's a link from Dr. Fuhrman's site discussing it. Eat to Live has more info on pages 136-140 and chapter 4. Here are additional links from Dr. McDougall's website and PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, led by Neal Barnard). Becoming Vegan, a nutrition book, has a chapter on protein with tables showing amounts for various foods.

Where do you get your calcium? Leafy green vegetables (kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce) are loaded with calcium, as are squash (yea, I love squash!), and beans (also known as pulses or legumes; for example, red kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, and many many more). You actually need less calcium if you don't consume animal products (including dairy). That is because the high acid content of animal protein leaches off minerals like calcium (summarized in Eat to Live, pp. 84-90). Fuhrman summarizes other foods that make you pee away your calcium in a table on p. 86. These include animal protein, salt, caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, vitamin A, antacids and several drugs. Here are some links on Fuhrman's, McDougall's, and PCRM websites. Another great resource is the book The China Study, which talks about how animal protein (which dairy has a lot of) is correlated with higher rates of hip/bone fractures, osteoporis, type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more.

Why are you so down on dairy? Yeah, I am down on it. I think dairy is worse for you than meat. It has a lot of fat and calories and harmful animal protein and not a lot of nutrients. If you go vegetarian but still eat dairy, you'll likely get an iron deficiency (Becoming Vegan, p. 105). From an animal rights point of view, dairy animals lead miserable lives. The cow has to be continuously pregnant to make milk, the calves are wrenched away from her at birth, and if it's male, it's chained up in a small pen and becomes becomes veal in a few months. The dairy cow is slaughtered when she's done producing milk, usually after about 4 years. Cows produce much more milk than they used to and suffer from infections in their udders, which results in pus in your milk. Antibiotics are added to her diet to limit the infection. Most cows are given growth hormones to increase production which you ingest later. Most people are lactose intolerant to some degree, yet most processed food has dairy buried in the ingredients, because it is such a cheap additive. No wonder there is so much indigestion medicine on the market! I think it's criminal that our government allows the dairy industry to continue to promote misinformation campaigns while the medical evidence builds that it is harmful to your health. We don't eat milk from any other animals (except goats, whatever). Would you want to eat dog's milk? Cow's milk has much higher protein content than mother's milk. We should drink only mother's milk and then stop when we're done nursing. Cow's milk is liquid meat.

Why do you avoid salt? Salt is correlated with higher mortality rate and risk of coronary heart disease, independent of other cardiovascular risk factors (Eat to Live, p. 240). Even if you eat a healthy diet and have lowered your risk of heart disease, salt causes you to excrete calcium and other important minerals from your body, and it increases your risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Here's more from Dr. Fuhrman's website: here and here.  When I log my food in cronometer, I get about 350-500 mg of sodium from natural foods.  I add an additional 200 mg per day from salt (less than 1/8 tsp).  My understanding is you can add up to 500-1000 mg of salt to your diet and still be healthy.  That's 1/4-1/2 tsp so that's a good compromise if you love the taste.  Salt is hard to give up. But once I got used to it, I taste more of the food and now prefer it without salt. Also, once your body adjusts to not ingesting so much salt, your sweat and urine are no longer filled with it. This means if you exercise a lot and sweat a lot, you don't lose too many electrolytes so don't have to replenish them. You can just drink water, or a little juice, no need for the gatorade.

What's so bad about oil? Each tablespoon has about 100 calories. It raises your cholesterol and has no nutritional value. I'd rather eat 100 calories of healthy fats like nuts, seeds, or avocado.  Not only that, most oil is rich in omega-6 fats.   Your body only has so many enzymes for digesting both omega-6 and omega-3 oils.  So if you flood it with omega-6 fats, you won't digest the omega-3 fats, which are essential to healthy functioning.  I learned that from one of Jeff Novick's DVDs.  It's also discussed in Becoming Vegan.

What about olive oil? Same answer as before.

Yeah, but... the mediterranean diet... I grant you that olive oil is less harmful than saturated fats like lard and butter, and trans-fats. That doesn't mean it's good for you. The mediterranean diet, which uses a lot of olive oil, was relatively more healthy than the SAD (Standard American Diet) because they traditionally ate more fruits and vegetables and exercised a lot. Now, most people in the Mediterranean eat more meat and less vegetables, they are more sedentary, and their health has declined accordingly.

What about margarine? That's even worse if it has trans fats in it. Check the labels. You can put jam on bread without butter. Or make up new toppings for your bread (using tomatoes, salsa, mushrooms, avocado...). Boiled sweet corn is so good (if you got it fresh), that you don't need margarine. Try it a few times and see what you think. It's different at first but that's because you're used to slathering it in grease and salt. Chives is good on sweet corn, as are no-salt seasonings. My favorite is a mashed up avocado, I call it avocado butter. really good on corn. But like I said, fresh sweet corn is also good with absolutely nothing on it.

Do you eat any fat? Yes, I eat some fat, but in the form of nuts, seeds, and avocados. These taste way better than oil.  Think guacamole instead of oil, way more appetizing. But I'm convinced that low-fat is the way to go if you want to lose weight.  Potatoes and squash are more satiating, even more nutritent dense, than nuts (see Jeff Novick's DVDs), and help keep the weight down.  Drs. McDougall, Esselstyn, and Jeff Novick recommend a diet with less than 20% of your calories as fat.

I enjoy life and want to enjoy my food. It sounds like too much of a sacrifice to cook without oil, salt, dairy and meat! If you really like to cook and like to think of yourself as adventurous and creative, what could be more creative than inventing delicious recipes without oil and minimal salt? Oil and salt are crutches. You can make anything taste good by frying it in oil, and adding salt and/or sugar and/or hot peppers. Where's the challenge in that?  Nuts and fruit are great additions to entrees.   I enjoy life and want to enjoy my food, and I do.

I suppose I have to give up caffeine too? Hey, you're catching on! Actually, Fuhrman says 1 cup of coffee a day is probably okay. More than that can interfere with sleep and cause food cravings and stuff (Eat to Live, p. 242). Here's something to consider: Who is benefiting more from your caffeine addiction, you or the corporation you work for? They get increased productivity from you during the day, and then after work when you are coming down from the high, you get to be exhausted on your own time. Maybe you should save the caffeine for the weekend for yourself and give your corporation what it deserves, a normal level of human work output. I gave up caffeine a few years ago. I didn't like being addicted to a drug. It took me a few years of gradually decreasing. I got down to one cup of green tea a day, then cut that out when I was being supportive of a friend who had to give up caffeine for health reasons. Even from that low level, it was noticeable. And it took a few months for my energy levels to get back up. They say it takes only a few days to a week to break the caffeine addiction. Sure, that's how long it takes to get rid of the horrible headache, but it takes months for your energy levels to go up.  My understanding is that the dopamine receptors in your brain have to regrow. However, once that 3 months or however long it takes, is over with, then things get good. I do have more energy throughout the day now. And if I am tired I can take a cat nap at any time. Before if I had too much caffeine and was tired, I couldn't take a 10 minute nap because of the caffeine so then I was wired and tired and that felt pretty awful. So I'm glad I gave it up, but I sympathize with anyone trying to do it. It is hard!

And alcohol? Well, Fuhrman says one drink a day is okay, but it can set up food cravings. If you are a small woman, you might watch out for this. Since I lost weight, alcohol (and caffeine) affects me a lot more, and one drink is pretty strong. I'm getting old and since I'm off caffeine, alcohol usually just makes me tired. So I personally have lost interest in it. I don't forbid an occasional drink for myself, but I am usually not interested.

I could never give up cheese. That is the most common comment after the first two questions about protein and calcium. I've read in various places that the casein in cheese is addictive--here's one link. Maybe that is why it's hard to give up. For some strange reason I didn't have a problem giving it up even though I used to eat it all the time. A lot of the flavor of cheese comes from salt. I bet it wouldn't taste as good without the salt. I guess I just find that there are other things that taste great. I don't try to reproduce the flavor of cheese, just enjoy the flavor of other things, like a cashew sauce instead of a cheese sauce. Ground lightly toasted pine nuts are a great replacement for parmesan cheese. I say replacement, not substitute because I'm not trying to reproduce the flavor of parmesan cheese. I like the flavor of toasted pine nuts. I guess I think there are so many delicious vegan foods that have replaced cheese that I don't miss it. I feel that I eat more delicious food than I ever did before.

I don't like fruit. A lot of people say this too. You must not have had the right fruit. Often, the produce at the supermarket is sub-par and usually not ripe. Try organic fruit (only if it looks reasonably fresh!). Buy a bunch of different kinds of fruit and berries. Let it sit in your fruit basket until it's ripe (maybe a few days)--not the berries, apples or oranges. They are best eaten soon and kept refrigerated. Let your bananas develop small spots--that's perfect ripeness to me. Make a fruit salad with the mixture of fruit and berries. Add a little maple syrup if you are in transition. That usually appeals to fruit naysayers. Add fruit to vegetable salads. Make fruity salad dressings from the blender. Next thing you know, you'll start craving it. Maybe you'll even want to eat an apple and an orange! Start buying all kinds of weird fruit. I just learned how to slice a pineapple (I was dumb for not trying before). Boy is that ever good!

I don't like vegetables. Boy, you are one tough cookie. Well, you can change your tastes. Most people don't like milk, coffee, beer or wine when they first taste it. It usually takes from 3-10 tastings before your preferences change. It's like listening to new music too--it usually takes a few listenings before a song grows on you, especially classical music. I didn't like falafel the first time I tried it, but by the third time I really liked it. If you've conditioned yourself on processed foods, vegetables may seem unfamiliar and tasteless. Note that most processed foods have chemicals that make the food seem to taste better than it does, so they can get away with lower-quality ingredients and just fool your taste buds.

I exercise a lot, isn't that good enough? Most people think diet has only a minor effect on your health. I thought so too until I stumbled on this vegan kick. Well, minor tweaks to the Standard American Diet (SAD) do indeed have minor effects. However, changing your diet completely from SAD to one dominated by fruits and vegetables has dramatic effects. Exercise alone will not prevent you from getting heart disease and cancer. My mother was an avid jogger and had a heart attack a day after she ran 5 miles. Diet alone has a more dramatic effect, but won't prevent your muscles from atrophying as you age. Both exercise and diet are the magic formula. And it's fun too. I found that as I lost weight and gained energy I was more enthusiastic about exercising than I had been in years.

What supplements do you take?  I follow the advice of Dr. Fuhrman and several of the vegan R.D.'s.  I take B12, vitamin D, and a tiny amount of iodine.  I take Dr. Fuhrman's vitamins since they are low dose compared to most.  I also take his DHA/EPA supplement for insurance.  I am not sure it's needed but I don't think it's harmful in small doses--at least I hope not.  I'm not sure about the vitamin D either.  It's controversial.  My blood levels for vitamin D were low.  But does raising the blood levels from supplementation have the same effect as getting it from the sun?  I don't know.  Dr. Fuhrman and most of the vegan RDs recommend it, Drs. McDougall & Campbell are against.  Here's Pam Popper's take on it (she's in the McDougall camp).  It is pretty convincing against.  

What sort of health improvements can I expect from changing my diet? The list of ailments this diet can prevent, halt, and often reverse (unless damage is done) is astounding: heart disease, alzheimers, parkinson's disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, multiple sclerosis, allergies, headaches and migraines, rhuematoid arthritis, lupus, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, acne, asthma, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, osteoporosis, kidney stones, gallstones, constipation, hemorrhoids, macular degeneration, appendicitis, gout, indigestion and gastritis. A better way to state it is, those are ailments the SAD (standard american diet) causes; and removing the cause heals or improves all these conditions. These medical conditions are discussed more here: Fuhrman, McDougall. Success stories are described here: Fuhrman, McDougall. Here is a post about how my health has improved.

How do I learn to cook healthy vegan food? I wrote a post on how I do it. This website is full of wonderful recipes: and her blog. There are lots of great vegan cookbooks out there and many can be adapted to a healthy diet by eliminating most of the oil and adding more vegetables. There are easy, healthy and good-tasting recipes in Jennifer Raymond's books: e.g., The Peaceful Palate, and Fat-Free and Easy. She wrote a lot of recipes in Neal Barnard's older books. I like a lot of the recipes in this book, Very Vegetarian.

Can I just be 90% vegan? Actually, yes I think you can. I'm vegan primarily for ethical reasons. For health reasons, 90% may be enough if you don't already have serious health issues. Dr. Fuhrman says that a diet with animal products (all meat, dairy, eggs, and fish) under 10% of calories can still maximize your health and lifespan (Eat for Health, p. 167). This is discussed in this article. Let's see, if you consume 2000 calories a day, that amounts to 200 calories per day, or 1400 calories per week of animal products allowed to maintain optimum health. Fuhrman doesn't recommend cheese in any case since it's high in saturated fat. Also note that the higher up you go in the food chain, the more toxins will be in your food, compared to fruit and vegetables. Fish are the most toxic.

Why are you a vegan? I first became a vegetarian for environmental and humanitarian reasons. It turns out the most effective thing you can do for the environment is become a vegan, unless you are really powerful and can make big corporations to change their behavior. Then I learned about how meat and dairy are produced and that was the end of my participation in the system. Other people have summarized the animal rights/cruelty issues much better than I can. I'll reference Dan Piraro's site which has a nice summary of why he's vegan, cartoons, and links to the horrible realities. Now, an interesting healthy side effect of being vegan for ethical reasons is that I think people are more likely to remain vegan for ethical reasons than for health reasons.  However, I think all vegans need to learn a little about health so they can thrive, and that will encourage them to stay vegan.   If all you ate were fritos, oreos and cokes, I think you would suffer some serious deficiencies and you might not last long as a vegan.  

What is a vegan? A vegan eats no animal products. Most vegans prefer not to wear them either.

Do you eat fish? No, a fish is an animal, with a nervous system and a brain.

Do you eat eggs? No, eggs are an animal product.

Do you eat butter? No, that comes from a cow's udder. It is an animal product.

Let me be more explicit. Vegans don't eat dairy (for example, milk, yogurt, butter, powdered milk, casein, whey, cheese). We don't eat eggs (neither yokes nor whites). We don't eat fish (for example, salmon, trout, scallops, shrimp). We don't eat meat (beef, chicken, pork, deer, dogs, cats, monkeys, horses, and all the rest). We don't even eat honey. Great replacements for honey include agave nectar or maple syrup.

But how do you get your protein and calcium? See the top of this post.

What's left to eat? Tons of wonderful varieties of vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. I eat a more varied and delicious diet than I ever did as a meat eater.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

chocolate shake


frozen banana
1-2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup soy milk (more as needed)
2  dates, pitted

blend in a high-powered blender.  make 2 small servings.  a nice little treat.

back home with a new challenge!

My all-day trip home from Tucson was good.  I went to Whole Foods the day before and got a bag of salad and fruit, made a salad of that in the morning and ate it just before landing in Atlanta.   I got the only fruit that was organic at Whole Foods (they surprisingly don't have that much):  peach, nectarine, plum, apple.  They were really good in the salad mix.  I ate an apple and carrots when I got home.  For dinner we had fresh sweet corn from the corn stand and beans from the garden, yum!  Later we went to the co-op.  Now here is where I get weird.  Often when I get home from a trip I want to splurge.  I think this is after seeing everyone else splurge while I'm on my trip.  So at the co-op I got a vegan chocolate chip cookie.   But it gets worse.  Yesterday at the co-op I had two chocolate chip cookies, and a couple of small entrees from the deli.  One was very good: a seitan, chickpea, rice thing.  The other was so-so, kale and rice and coconut with too much hot pepper.  Then I came home and started making treats.  This is because of a new development wherein my housemate is willing to eat more healthy while she's at work.  So I'm trying to come up with healthy chocolate treats that will replace chocolate candy bars and chips.  I came up with two from Dr. Fuhrman's website and they are both good.  But I have no discipline!   I ate too much of both yesterday and today.  But I did enjoy it.  One of the treats are Chocolate Bean Bars, which Dr. Fuhrman said he would post to his blog so I'll link to it when it gets there.  These are like fudgsicles---really good.  The other are Fuhrman's Yummy Banana-Oat bars (Eat For Health, book 2, p. 274), to which I added chocolate chips (she is a chocoholic so I am starting there).   These were also quite good.   We've been having our usual morning smoothies, and lunch of corn and beans (a staple this time of year).  Today I was on campus so had a green smoothie.  For dinner I had fruit salad and watermelon and cherries.  I made house-mate a salad for yesterday's dinner and fruit salad tonight (made up of whatever fruit I had:  watermelon, strawberries, delicious ripe pear, fresh cut pineapple yum! )  but the treats, I've been eating too much!  I am finally going to have to learn some discipline.  See it's easy for me when food is off-limits, for example if it's not vegan.  But if it's not off limits and doesn't have oil and salt, and is relatively healthy, then my lack of discipline rears it's ugly head.  Well, this is going to be a good challenge for me to have good tasting, allowable treats in the house.  I should have one for dessert and that's all.  Another thing I made up for house-mate is a chocolate shake.  So far she is happy with the chocolate treats and feels they are good substitutes for the candy bars, a great accomplishment!  I have found many other Fuhrman dessert treats I will try out or modify.  This will be fun.  and I will learn discipline, some how.  

One fun thing is that house-mate tried my green smoothie today and thought it tasted pretty good.  The only thing she objected to was the look.  I think it looks really cool, a bright flourescent green.  I said it looks better than that Mountain Dew over there.  She said I don't drink mountain dew.   I said, coke is brown, that's uglier than this.  She said, but it's always been that way.  We were both tongue in cheek but it's interesting how much habits affect what you think looks good.   I think I might be able to make little green smoothies for her with less spinach in them to take into work.  That would be great because it would round out her dinners nicely with a lot of nutrients.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

trip update

I have returned from my trip to Taiwan but am still out of town.  Now I'm on a mountain top in Arizona, observing at a telescope (I'm an astronomer).  The trip has been great.  But this blog is about food so I'll describe that.  I haven't yet told anyone about the blog because I'm too shy so I doubt anyone is reading this, but if I ever get up the nerve, I'm still hoping it will be a useful resource for someone who wants to try to eat healthily.  

The 28-hour trip to Taiwan was fine foodwise, as I brought a fruit salad and lots of fruit as described in my previous post.  The fruit in Taiwan was fantastic.  There was some Japanese white speckled fruit with a pink outer layer that we had a lot of and I don't know what it was called.  The mangos were fabulous.  The pineapple was better than I have ever had before.  It was more sweet and not as tart as what you get in the US.  Then there was this little fruit.  I think they called it a papaya but it was littler than the ones I've seen and the part you ate was the seeds and juice.  So I suspect I have the name wrong.  It was very tart and strong and after eating 2, it became addictive.  This Russian guy and I went bonkers over that.    

Anyway, if I were really disciplined I would have just eaten fruit and salads and would have had enough and it would have been healthy.  But in addition to the fruit snacks, they provided us with box lunches every day and took us out to lavish meals every night.  They were very generous and hospitable!  And even at the morning breakfast buffet I could have just had fruit and salad but I tried several of the other things like fried rice and fried bread (bad!) dipped in warm soy milk and fried noodles.  It was salty and greasy.  Lunches were often salty and greasy.  I was too tired to go out to dinners every night but when I did, they were also salty and greasy.  It was kind of fun though.  But I did get tired of the salt and grease.   On the good side, I was able to exercise quite a bit.  There was a nice park by my hotel where I went jogging every morning, followed by exercises.  They had exercise "classes" all over the park and hopefully they were free because I joined one every day for 30 minutes.  There must have been thousands of people at this park at 6 am.  Well, it was the coolest time of the day.  I really enjoyed that.  Oh, I also had some caffeine when we went to a tea house up on a mountain overlooking the city.  That was very enjoyable.  I don't mind breaking the rules occasionally.  Oh, I forgot to mention the desserts.  They like to make a dessert out of sweetened beans (like red kidney), fruit, some chewy rice dough chunks (I think), and ice.  It's very popular, like an ice cream shop in the US would be.  I really liked it.  And it seemed pretty healthy for a dessert.  

Here at the observatory, the cafeteria is very good in my opinion, but I really am tired of the salt and grease, and am staying in a dorm with a refrigerator so I got a whole bunch of fruit and salad greens at Whole Foods and I've been eating fruit, salad, and beans.  The cafeteria has a good salad bar and I've been eating there for dinner.   The vegetarian entrees look good but I'm just not in the mood after a week of grease and salt in Taiwan.  And I have to say I feel a lot better just eating the fruit, greens and beans.   oh and nuts too (raw Brazil and walnuts).  so classic Fuhrman recommendations.   I've been having strawberries, mangos and salad greens at breakfast (around noon, since I'm working nights), salad bar for "lunch" (5 pm) (lettuce, strawberries, cantaloupe, raw broccoli, chickpeas, peas), and for "dinner" (11 pm), salad greens + fruit + beans.  Apples work well for that, as does cantaloupe.    

In between Taiwan and the observatory, I visited relatives and had healthy food (mustard greens and a quinoa vegetable dish we made up that was great; smoothies for breakfast) since they are trying to eat healthy too.  But we also had salted peanuts and margaritas one day (we invented a watermelon margarita that was very good!).  I can get addicted to salt like anyone else, but since I usually don't have it, I notice how bloated you get when you eat it.  I notice it in my fingers mostly.  So I'd just as soon not have it.  Plus it's really bad for you.   Besides increasing your blood pressure, it makes your kidneys work harder and worst of all, leaches of calcium and other important minerals from your body.  And it increases your stroke chances if you have low cholesterol as I do.  That is another reason I'm not eating the entrees in the cafeteria, because they are probably all salty and greasy.  If I hadn't of spent a week in Taiwan eating the grease and salt, I wouldn't mind doing it this week.  I don't mind going off the health food thing for a short time but two weeks in a row is too much for me.  And it's not about discipline because I have none.  It's about desire because I really feel so much better when I eat healthy and I see so many of the benefits, both short-term and long-term, so I prefer eating this way.  Plus it's really good.  The strawberries and mangoes I'm eating this week are really good.  Now why are the mangos better in Arizona than Wisconsin?  Because the Wisconsin ones are shipped further and therefore picked less ripe?   Would they really distinguish Wisconsin from Arizona when they are shipping from South America or Mexico?  These are mysteries to me.  All I know is the mangoes are really good this week.  And the cherries too.  and everything else I'm eating!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Preparing for my next trip

Tomorrow I leave for Taiwan. I'll be in airports or on airplanes for about 28 hours I think. I'll check my luggage so think I can carry on two bags, one of which will have food in it (but no liquids). Here's my food plan for the airports/planes:

Fruit salad I'll make today: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, banana. wow, that will be huge.

5 oz bag of prewashed Baby Herb Salad (my favorite right now).

apple, orange, cherries, grapes.

handful of walnuts

That should be plenty! I have to eat it all before landing in Taiwan in case there are food prohibitions. But hopefully I can take it on the plane. Then I have a frozen smoothie I'm thinking of packing in my luggage to eat when I get to my hotel at 10 pm Sunday night. So I think I'll actually have a ton of food. I'll probably enjoy it more than any other of the millions of airline travelers will enjoy their food this weekend. Not so crazy when you look at it that way, is it? And it's super easy! I only have to prepare the fruit salad, which should be easy.

Zucchini "pasta" and pesto

It's zucchini season in Wisconsin so I bought one. Then in my email arrived a recipe from Vegetarian Times for Pesto "Pasta". I thought, good idea so I made something similar.

1 big zucchini
pesto from your freezer. if you don't have any, you can make it as described in the Veg Times recipe link above.
canned tomato (from your garden if you are lucky) or fresh tomato, chopped (from your garden if you are lucky).

Peel the outer layer of the zucchini. Then keep peeling the zucchini onto a big plate. That's the "pasta". I wasn't sure what to do when I got to the seeds. I just ate the core, since I had plenty of zucchini on the plate. Drain most of the water from the canned tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the pesto in a bowl and mix. Then pour on the zucchini.

I thought it had a very refreshing, summer, cool taste. And it took only about 5 minutes to prepare!

July 4 food

I'm busy getting ready to go to Taiwan tomorrow so am not doing the usual July 4rth celebrations. Just eating leftovers in the fridge. However, I came up with a new recipe for lunch that was quite enjoyable, to me. But I am weird in case you haven't noticed.

Breakfast: Blueberry smoothie

snack: apple

Lunch: zucchini "pasta" with pesto.
Dessert: 1/2 cantaloupe. this was perfect in it's ripeness. yum.

snack: a few cherries, mushrooms, grapes

Dinner: asparagus topped with ground sunflower & pumpkin seeds and orange juice. yum.
Dessert: 1/2 cantaloupe

Swiss chard and sweet potato

This is a general procedure for cooking greens. The main ingredients are the greens and whatever is in your fridge. so I'm just typing up what I did today:

bunch of greens
1 onion (today I used green onions)
1-4 cloves garlic (today I used garlic scapes, yum)
1 sweet potato and/or regular potato (today I used two small sweet and 1 small regular)
1 orange
1 Tbsp each sunflower and pumpkin seeds

I just put water in a big fry pan, turned on the stove, added chopped onion and garlic; peeled the sweet potato, cut up, added it; rinsed the chard, cut out the middle stem, then cut them up and added them; ground up sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder; juiced an orange; added the ground seeds and orange juice at the end. By the time you add the chard, you probably only need to cook for another 10 minutes.

July 3 food

Breakfast: raspberry smoothie

Lunch: swiss chard & sweet potato.

Dessert: 1/4 of a watermelon

Dinner: boiled edamame and pesto

Dessert: 1/4 of a watermelon.

I was really full after eating all this. Yet this morning (now it's July 4), I weighed myself and I'm still only 122.6. At 5'9" this is pretty low. I've never had much muscle on my frame, so my natural body type is more thin that most people. I do exercise a lot, so I think this is too much food if you are more sedentary.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Easy Daal

2 cups yellow or red daal lentils
0.5-1 head garlic, depending on how much you like garlic
1 large onion, or a few mediums
1 tsp turmeric
1.5 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander (optional--I think I prefer without it)
1 tsp ground cumin
~1 Tbsp fresh ginger or 0.5 tsp ground dried
1 can tomatoes
fresh cilantro

Rinse the lentils. Then add water to cover, add everything else except the cilantro. Then add more water, say 2 inches above the lentils. Cook for an hour or until tender. Add water if needed. I made mine thick today, partly because I was gone for 4 hours while it kept cooking. I was good though. I used the food processor to chop the ginger (after peeling outer skin), then garlic, then onion because I had to get to my exercise class. So I got everything going in 10 minutes. Add a little chopped cilantro to the pot at the end, or as a garnish in your bowl. I also added to my bowl a little lemon, and grapes! I am on a fruit kick. I plan to experiment more with spice amounts, to find out which I like better than others.

July 2 food

snack: apple

late Breakfast (was out all morning): Strawberry smoothie

lunch: yellow daal, broccoli & carrots. I added grapes to the daal. I just love adding fruit to food. I'm on a fruit kick.

snack: strawberries, 2 peaches

dinner: half a big watermelon.

Holy cow. I thought watermelons were just made of water. But I got really full and decided to check That watermelon had 700 calories in it! no wonder I was so full. It was really good. I love watermelon. But maybe tomorrow I'll just have a quarter watermelon. It also had 10 grams of fat and 14 grams of protein. That's a fair amount of both (12% of fat calories, 7% of protein). You don't think of fruit as having fat in it, but I guess most fruit and vegetables have both.

The daal for lunch was fine but I'd like to vary the spices around a bit. I think I like some more than others. Also, I am just really not in the mood for beans. I think I will listen to my moods and not eat them for a while. I'm in the mood for summer fruits and vegetables.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1 food

Breakfast: mixed berry smoothie

Lunch: spinach-salad mix smoothie. a slight variation on the green smoothie. I used both a bag of spinach and the last of my salad mixes from the trip, so 10 oz of greens! I added fresh pineapple (conveniently diced for me by the co-op) in addition to the mango to balance the greens. This is my large-size version of the smoothie, making two 20 oz servings. You can also add a banana and more orange juice if you want it even bigger. Dessert: apple and grapes.

Dinner: I greatly improved my curried mustard greens recipe, and I'd say it's a winner now. This was rich-tasting yet probably not terribly fattening. I got the idea from Elijah on the Furhman forums to add banana to the curry sauce. It was so good I ate the whole thing and nothing else. And it only took a half an hour to make from opening the refrigerator door to sitting down to eat. I think that is probably longer than any meal I've posted so far, but it's still not bad.

Trip review and new trip planning

My eating plan on my trip to the golf tournament was very much a success. Surprisingly I didn't get tired of eating pretty much the same thing, 1-2 bags of salad a day, lots of fruit and raw veggies, and nuts and seeds. Though I note that my companions did not have variation in their diet either: hotdogs, cookies, Dilly bar (ice cream), chips, hamburger and fries, and soda. Even though I ate a lot, the food digested quickly so I got hungry between meals, about the right time. I felt quite energetic too.

This plan will work well for the second part of my next trip where I'll be on a mountain top for 7 nights, and will have access to a kitchen. I won't have time to do much meal preparation so don't want to cook and clean. For the first part of my trip, I'll be in Taiwan. I will be able to eat vegan, but don't think I can control the oil and salt intake as much, so will just try to limit my quantities. On the way to Taiwan, I'll be in airports and airplanes for about 24 hours. If we were allowed to take liquids on board I could bring smoothies and be in good shape. I have a theory that the psychologists and facists are experimenting on airline passengers to see how much demeaning and ridiculous treatment we're willing to take. So I won't be able to bring a smoothie on board, but I can put a frozen one in my checked bag to eat in the hotel when I arrive late Sunday night. I could bring energy bars but you've probably figured out by now that I'm into fresh veggies and fruit--it's a relatively new fad of mine and I'm having fun with it. So I think I'll just bring a bunch of fruit in my second carry-on bag, if a second carry-on bag is still allowed. mmm, fruit, the ultimate convenience food. I hope the co-op has fresh cherries when I go.

June 30 food

Is this getting boring yet?

Breakfast: blueberry smoothie

Lunch: large piece of watermelon; half a cantaloupe, sugar snap peas. The peas were so good raw, I didn't bother to steam them.

snack: box of strawberries, apple

Dinner: steamed asparagus with garden herbs (chives, dill, cilantro, but mostly chives), squeeze of lime, little date sugar, cayenne pepper (not necessary). A little container of salad from the co-op: tempeh+soy sauce, sweet potatoes, kale marinated in vinegar. It had no oil in it so I was curious to try it. It was okay but not great. I wouldn't get it again, preferring fresh veggies.

I should note that my eating habits are seasonal and in the summer I am in the mood for fruits and veggies and quick meals (of fruits and veggies).