Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's eve food

Today was a fun day. Our 4 and 8-year old friends, accompanied by their father, spent the afternoon and evening with us. And I got to prepare a lot of fun foods. We started with Dr. Fuhrman's almond chocolate dip, available at the recipe center (for members only, sorry), or p. 283 in the new edition of Eat to Live. It's like chocolate frosting! I thought it was too rich at first, but of course it's a dip meant to be eaten with fruit and it was very good that way. We had it with strawberries (frozen, but partially thawed), apple slices, fresh pineapple and bananas. The adults enjoyed it, but the kids preferred m&ms and hershey's chocolate candies. That was partly because the m&ms came from a machine that you had to stick pennies into.

Later on we had nachos, and chips and salsa and guacamole. I used a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz' new cookbook, "Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes." called guacomame, made with avocado and edamame. I think I prefer just plain guacamole. I searched my blog and don't seem to have a recipe for classic guacamole, but it's similar to this one, only without the beans. I fed everyone else the unhealthy salted oily chips they like, and toasted my own chips from unsalted corn tortillas (about 5 minutes in the oven at 350 F). Then we had ice cream for dessert. I had some dates and cashews to use up so added them in. It made it a little too gooey for my tastes. My favorite is still the simplest banana walnut, or banana-berry-walnut.

I like cooking for several people because I can enjoy tastes of several things without eating too much of each one. It was a good New Year's Eve splurge without being excessive.

Regarding my pre-New Year's temptations, this morning I got a few things at the grocery store and once again was tempted by all the vegan bakery treats. They even have vegan donuts now, made from a popular local bakery! Wo. And my favorite "nothing muffins" looked attractive too. So of course the devil (over my right shoulder) was saying, "want to splurge before New Year's?" Finally the angel (left shoulder) asserted herself and said, "Look, you know you can splurge anytime--you can splurge on Jan. 2 if you want. And isn't it nice to know those donuts will always be there? So you don't need them today." That seemed pretty reasonable, but I did decide at that moment to make some chocolate almond dip as my splurge (Dr. Fuhrman's version).

I was going to take pictures of the food today but there was too much activity with the children to bother with photography. Here were the results at the end of the day:

























Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eat to Live

I recently received my copy of the new edition of Eat to Live. I'm looking forward to reading it. I started with Chapter 8, to remind myself of what his recommendations are for following the eating plan. Even though I probably know it by heart and try to follow it already, I'm influenced by the New Year traditions and think this a good thing to re-commit to. Then I will enjoy reading the first 8 chapters to remind myself why I'm eating this way. It's updated with the latest information from the scientific literature.

The recipes are better than the old edition. I thought it might be fun to try out each one. It will be a fun way to expand my repertoire. Part of the reason I'm feeling temptations now is that the novelty of this way of eating has worn off. Maybe trying out these recipes will reinvigorate me. Then after that I could try out all the recipes that Dr. Fuhrman emailed us as part of his Holiday Challenge. Of course, all of these are on the recipe center website, but I think these were picked because they were highly rated so that's a good selection.

Here's tonight's update on my temptations. We went to a hockey game, first stopping at a friend'a house to drop off presents for an 8-year old's birthday. We were invited to eat chocolate cake, and I had to decline of course, but housemate enjoyed hers. Then our team scored 5 goals so our ticket can be reimbursed for free ice cream at a local custard shop. I gave mine to the 8-year old. None of these were too serious temptations but I still felt them a little more than usual. All of us "nutritarians" have to say no about, what, 10 times a day? It's just harder this time of year I guess. I should remember that I don't regret it later on. I don't regret now saying no to the chocolate cake.

Yesterday's and Today's food

Yesterday I had more ice cream for breakfast/lunch. In one serving I added mangos to the bananas and walnuts. The other was just pure bananas and walnuts--still the best! Then, fortunately, I ran out of bananas. Dinner was some lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage. I also ate a small apple. I was going to make a big ole' squash lasagna meal but I'm not in the mood for cooking while I have this cold. I've notice that my congestion is correlated with how much I eat. Eating less at dinner makes me sleep much better.

Today I made a week's worth of smoothies for housemate. I had some of the cashew pistachio date cream on some fresh berries, and sampled the smoothies as well--probably ended up having 1/2 of a serving. Dinner was similar as last night: lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, and sugar snap peas. That's all I desire right now with this cold. It's not too bad of a cold, especially if I don't eat too much. Tomorrow I'll be out of ice cream ingredients, so maybe I'll have a pomegranate for breakfast. yum!

Slaying the sugar beast

This is a great post on diseaseproof. The sugar beast is definitely on my back this holiday season. I've avoided it so far, but have compensated by eating more nuts and a lot more bananas than I need. Every time housemate pops a piece of chocolate or a christmas cookie in her mouth (she got a lot of both for Christmas), I think, I want something too! I'm also suffering from the urge to splurge before New Year's Day. It's our custom to reform our ways after New Year's and party hard before. Maybe I'm lucky I have a cold because that is moderating my behavior. My congestion is pretty strongly related to how much I eat. The less I eat at dinner time, the better I sleep. But every time I go near SAD food this week, I am tempted. This is so different from normal for me. The little devil over my right shoulder says, why not splurge before New Year's? Come to think of it, why is the angel over my left shoulder silent most the time?! This time he/she actually came up with a good counter-argument: How about if I don't splurge before, and then if I regret it on New Year's, I can splurge then? 'cause that's what the little devil on my right shoulder is implying is that I'll regret not having fun with everyone else. Well, let's see if I do regret it.

Overall, I'm feeling the frustration of being different. Normally, it doesn't bother me to be different because I've been different from most people all my life in so many other ways. I guess I'm feeling like I want to be in the herd right now (unfortunately, the herd is being led to slaughter, to put it bluntly). I'm going to a meeting in Seattle in a couple of weeks and a friend sent me a list of vegan restaurants near the hotel. It's something of a vegan paradise. But the problem is, it's not healthy! A lot of vegan restaurants are trying to show that their food can be just as delicious as SAD food (Standard American Diet). Of course it is, if you add enough refined grains, sugar, salt and fat. Actually one of the restaurants looks to have more whole grain options so I can probably find options that are loaded with only a little sugar, and a lot of salt and fat. If I could avoid the salt which makes me all puffy because I'm not used to it, I wouldn't be so bothered by a few high-fat meals. So should I compromise? The good part of me resents having to compromise my health, and the devil on my right shoulder says, why compromise, go for it and enjoy all the things you miss. So they both resent compromise, but offer very different solutions.

The reason I am craving the SAD food isn't because it tastes any better. Today's berries and cream were delightful. I don't get why I'm tempted. I know what my health would be like if I ate this way all the time. I've lived on both sides of this and the results of eating healthy are dramatic. I know I don't want to go back. I enjoy my food. It even offers me financial stability and the opportunity to take rewarding but low-paying jobs, because my chances of having a heart attack or diabetes is near 0. Even my chances of getting cancer are decreased, though not completely because of my previous 45 years of eating unhealthy. So why on earth do I want to join the herd that is being led to slaughter? That really shows the power of our social needs. I'm a social creature. But I have to learn to satisfy my social needs while being different in the way I eat. I guess it is as simple as that.

When I'm in Seattle and I'm tempted by those vegan restaurants, the devil will be saying, how often do you get to go to a place with vegan comfort (junk) food? implying that I'll regret it if I'm in Seattle for a week and then leave without trying it. I know already this will be a powerful draw for me. I hope the silent angel will pop up and say, well, my home town now has a very good (I mean good-tasting) vegetarian restaurant full of vegan comfort (junk) food too. So if I regret it, I can always go there. So maybe I should just try resisting and see if I don't regret it. An why is the angel so da*@ silent anyway? I have to coach her all the time!

mmm, cashew pistachio date cream

I got some cashews, pistachios and dates for housemate's smoothies, and I decided to mix them up ahead of time and enjoy some of the results myself, over berries, which was yummy.

Ingredients:
cashews, pistachios, dates and water.

You are probably wondering, how much? well, it depends on what you are using it for. The smoothies don't need much extra water so I used less, making it very rich and creamy. I got the dates and pistachios already packed in small bags at the store, so it was about 1 cup pistachios, 1 cup cashews, and 10 medium medjool dates. I added about 2 cups of water, so it was very creamy. If you want more of a milk, use fewer nuts and dates, and more water. You can weigh amounts to make sure you are getting reasonable daily portions of the nuts and dates.

Next, blend it all up in a high-speed blender.

Here it is before blending:




















And after:




















It has a green tint to it from the pistachios. Does it ever taste good! Here was my cut of the profits, poured over fresh blueberries and blackberries.



















Yum! The rest I poured into cups for making housemate's smoothies (4 batches totaling 8 servings).


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hemp milk
















Ingredients:
1/8 - 1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 cup water
1-2 dates and/or other dried fruit (optional)
1/4 tsp vanilla (optional)

Blend in a blender until smooth. The amount of hemp seeds determines if you want more of a milk or cream. I used the full 1/4 cup, and it was very creamy. I tested it out on top of a few blackberries:


















It was yummy! I used some more in ice cream.

I stored it in a couple of small mason jars.

Easiest and best banana walnut ice cream

This is my all-time favorite ice cream.

Ingredients:
frozen banana pieces (to freeze, peel ripe bananas, break into small pieces, seal in a plastic bag in freezer).
handful of walnuts

Blend in a high-powered blender. Now, with no liquid, it's hard to blend at first. Sometimes it catches and makes a real creamy thick ice cream, like here:


















Other times, especially if you make a small portion, it doesn't blend so well and then it's chunky, which is good too! I like it both ways, creamy and chunky. I've tried many ice cream recipes with added nut milks, sweeteners (e.g., dates) and berries, and this is my favorite. But of course, for variety, I like the others too.

Today's meals

Since I have a cold, I'm working from home this week and have more time to play in the kitchen, so I'm enjoying healthy comfort foods. They really do make me as satisfied as any SAD (Standard American Diet) food and I don't feel awful after eating them (except when I eat too much).

This morning I made some pretty good banana oat bars. I modified Dr. Fuhrman's recipe enough that I could post it, but I'm not sure I want to repeat it. I can get the same flavors from a bowl of oatmeal: oats, chopped dried fruit (dates, apricots, and prunes), banana, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. And that's easier to make and can be prepared in a single serving. Fortunately I made a small batch and shared them with housemate so it wasn't too over the top. That was breakfast and lunch.

Dinner was, ice cream, and a carrot and some raw cabbage and spinach and some orange remainders (I still like these!). However, it was, um, several helpings of ice cream. First I made a batch of banana/strawberry/blueberry ice cream. It was good. But then I made a much simpler version of banana walnut ice cream that was even better. I realize that I like crunchy ice cream.

Okay, from now on I need to eat normal amounts. I still want to try one more ice cream recipe, which is called "Jenna's peach freeze." I'm hoping we'll be entertaining friends this weekend and I have several fun meals planned.

I'm back

Well, I guess I was over-confident heading off this weekend. Eating healthy was harder than I thought. Aunt Margie's cookie balls were the most tempting, even knowing they are loaded with butter, white flour and sugar. I resisted, but acted out in other ways: by overeating when I returned home--both yesterday and today. I've really been susceptible to the social situations lately. The problem is that when you give in once, like I did in France, it makes it a lot harder to resist the next time. I have a harder time now than I did my first few years because the novelty and fun experimentation with recipes has worn off. And I let myself think I'm healthy and can afford a few lapses. Unfortunately that food is so addictive that a lapse just leads to more. I need to try to be more aware of my weaknesses and prepare for it. Yesterday was kind of a humorous incident even though it led to overeating. I was in the grocery store and saw friends with their new baby so I ran over to talk with them and they were standing in front of all these freshly baked vegan treats--chocolate chip cookies, chocolate bars, and other stuff. Well, after watching everyone around me eat cookies and chocolates all weekend long, I wanted those cookies! Somehow I resisted and ended up buying nuts and dates and overeating. dang it.

I have a cold and my overeating is only making it worse. You are supposed to eat much less while sick so your body can fight the cold. Oh well, my ice cream was good today. I'll post about that next.

Friday, December 24, 2010

today's lunch and dinner










...and tomorrow, and Sunday. See yesterday's post for more description. It's repititive, but easy, yummy, and even looks Christmasy! At right is my bean veggie soup from the freezer. I'll be off the internet unless I get to escape to a coffee shop, but that's not likely. So see you on Monday.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My weekend trip

Okay, it's Christmas this weekend. My situation is not normal. I will be visiting family and will bring my own food--they are used to it--and, let's just say, this is not a situation where I am tempted to misbehave. For one thing, I don't think there will be a vegan item in any house I'm attending, not even veggies or fruit. Believe me, I have many demons and situations that are triggers for me. This just isn't one. So don't get the impression I'm a saint. It's social situations with friends here in Madison or while traveling that are difficult for me, like the last 3 weeks have been. But this other situation is like escaping into a monastery for a few days. In fact I almost wish I could just fast for part of the time because it's so sedentary and quiet with no temptations; but even though they accept I'm crazy, I think they would freak out if I did that. So with all that long-winded description of my weekend, here is what I bought at the grocery store for 3 days + one breakfast:

3 heads lettuce, 3 baby bok choys, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, 3 apples, 3 grapefruits, 4 pomegranates (there's still a few left!). And from the freezer, 3 servings of veggie bean soup, and my seed mixture.

Breakfast will be snacking on salad ingredients and carrots while preparing lunch and dinner. It will be most convenient for everyone if I prepare my lunch and dinner ahead of time and stay out of the way during these meals. That is why the simple salad is the main course.

Lunch: big salad, with the lettuce, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, apple, grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, seed mixture.

Dinner: big salad and veggie bean soup.

Breakfast on the 4rth day: pomegranate.

I'll let you know how it goes when I return.

this week's food

This week got hectic so meals took a backseat. Fortunately or unfortunately I had a fair amount of bananas, soy milk, and walnuts, so I continued my ice cream obsession. When I ran out of berries (Monday morning), I had the still wonderful banana walnut ice cream (Monday night and Tuesday). I went overboard on both days. oops. In a way, it made Wednesday easier because I wasn't hungry and I had a huge deadline. I can work from home if I want, so I got up at 7 am, walked 10 feet to my home office, and sat in my chair grading job applications until 9:45 pm. I got up every once in a while to make herbal tea, or decaff green tea, or grab a carrot or lettuce or cabbage from the fridge. Talk about a sedentary day, body wise, though it was a marathon brain-wise. But I didn't need much food. It paid off, because I made the deadline and we had a productive 2 hour telecon this morning and accomplished what we had planned. Then I thought, time for a well-deserved break! So I threw together some food, and went swimming followed by ice skating with my good friends, whose ages range from 4 to 61! Both were wonderful!

So here are the meals I had today: Before the telecon, a serving of veggie bean soup (from the freezer, thawed overnight). Then to get me through the rest of the day, I made a quick salad from everything left in the refrigerator: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, baby bok choi, apple. no salad dressing, just thought of it as finger food--didn't even bring a fork. And I made a big bag of sliced carrots and celery. Here's a picture of the goodies and the almost empty fridge that resulted:



























I eat a lot of raw carrots because we get really good local carrots at my co-op for several months of the year. They taste kind of like candy. Carrots are probably the most calorie-dense raw vegetable that's enjoyable to eat (potatoes might be calorie dense, but they aren't enjoyable to eat). This is a good thing because you can't survive on raw veggies for long if you don't get enough calories. I would have added nuts but I wasn't that hungry after the beans. I nibbled on this before and after swimming. Then this evening I went grocery shopping for my weekend trip and stopped at a fast-food joint with house-mate. I dumped my blackberries and frozen mango on the rest of my salad at ate that while house-mate enjoyed her hamburger and fries. My fast food meal was also quite good.

Some readers commented that they are interested to see what I do for simple meals. Well, this is about as simple as you can get. I feel pretty lame posting about it, but this sort of quick and easy stuff works for me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

tomorrow's food

Tomorrow's food will be a repeat of today:

breakfast: ice cream.

Lunch: fall micro salad. this is the last one of the season, I think. Several of the pomegranates were in bad shape so I combined the best of all of them. This salad has lots of pom seeds in it and will be yummy, so I'll savor it.

Dinner: micro salad and veggie bean soup.

I wonder what I'll make on Wed. I'll be low on groceries so it should be fun to see what I come up with.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tomorrow's food

I think I bought the last 5 pomegranates of the season yesterday. Today there were none at the store. I'm glad I got them! So I will probably be eating my favorite fall microsalads every day. That's what I made for tomorrow, and it filled up two large bowls. I'm still excited by my newest ice cream concoction so I will have a smaller version of it for breakfast tomorrow. Lunch will be a microsalad. Dinner will be microsalad and veggie bean soup.

The rest of the week will probably be similar for lunch and dinner. Breakfast will have some variation. I have a grapefruit to eat, which I might do on Tuesday. Maybe I'll have oat groats one morning. Maybe more ice cream using different fruits, like mango.

I was thinking of going back to logging my daily meals. In addition to maybe being useful to others, it might help me stay on the straight and narrow. After all, it's embarrassing to post too many mistakes. But I will have to see if I have time. I don't think it takes long. This post didn't. What do you think, would you like to see my daily food logs?

winter bean & veggie soup

I decided to add more veggies to my beans so it's a real soup instead of just beans. You can add whatever veggies you want in whatever amounts. I chose collard greens because they are in my freezer, brussels sprouts because housemate loves them and we still get them locally, mushrooms and leeks because they are good cancer fighters, and zucchini to help make it a nice thick stew. Last week I used butternut squash but that in combination with the beans produced too much gas. :)

Ingredients:
1 lb beans (today's were Christmas lima)
juice from 5 lbs carrots, or about 1 qt
several cups water
collard greens, about 1 lb
2 large leeks
1 lb mushrooms (today's were a mixture of crimini, oyster and shiitake)
1 zucchini
brussel sprouts, about 1 lb (housemate really loves them)

I juiced the carrots last night and soaked the beans in the carrot juice overnight, with a few cups water. This morning I added more water and cooked the beans, while I was away for a few hours (housemate monitored water levels). Then when I returned I ran the rest through the food processor and added it in, along with more water. The leeks, zucchini, even the mushrooms, pretty much dissolve in stew after being chopped so fine and that thickens it up nicely. It tastes like a rich hearty winter soup.

If you don't want to bother with the carrot juice, just use water, then add some spices. Maybe some thyme and oregano--other suggestions?

Desserts!

Well, you can see from the next 4 posts, I've been making a lot of desserts lately. Looking at all those treats I can't eat at the holiday parties finally got to me! Now I could say that it's okay to splurge and go off-plan every once in a while, like I did last year (or last week in France!). But I've been to 5 events with treats in the last 5 days, and I have several more to go this week. That's more than every once in a while. Plus, I feel crappy when I eat that stuff. So I decided to make my own treats. I did eat more than I needed to, especially the oat balls, but that's an acceptable holiday splurge, and best of all, I didn't feel like crap afterwards.

apricot oat balls

Dr. Fuhrman is running this "Holiday Challenge" and he sends us a recipe a day. I decided to try Friday's recipe, the "No-cook Apricot Oat Bars." Well, I'm not a good baker (even when it's "no-cook"!) because I don't follow directions like I should, so this turned into something else quite different. And since it did, I figure I can post it as a new recipe.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1 tsp flax seed
2 cups dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried apricot, unsulfured, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon

Blend the oats to a coarse flour in a blender (my first mistake, I was suppose to process until coarse in a food processor!). Blend 1/2 cup cashews until fine. Add the cashews to the food processor with some water and dates, and process until it smooth. Blend the other nuts and seeds until coarse or fine, in the blender. Add these and everything else to the food processor and process until it stops doing anything useful--a big ball rolling around. Roll into a bunch of little balls.

This is super sweet! I wouldn't call this "healthy". And it's quite high-calorie. You could probably half the amount of dates. However, this is great to take to a party. I ate several and then decided I'd had more than enough, so I saved the rest for a party. Just to make sure I didn't eat any more and to make sure the SAD eaters would like it (SAD = Standard American Diet), I combined cocoa powder and powdered sugar in a bowl (hot cocoa mix works too!), and doused all the nut balls in this mixture. They became chocolate covered nut balls. People loved them and they disappeared quickly! Sorry I forgot to snap a picture. They were cute little balls.

"cake", berries, & "cream"



















Ingredients for 2 servings:
2 essene buds or 2 slices of manna bread (optional)
1/2 cup cashews
1 ripe banana or 2-4 dates
1/4 cup soy, almond or hemp milk
1/4 cup water
2 cups berries or cherries (can be fresh or frozen)

Blend the cashews, milk, and banana/dates to make the cream--add the water as needed, it varies depending on whether you used bananas and/or dates. My bananas weren't fully ripe so I used dates instead. It was too sweet for me (obviously I used too many!). I will try bananas next time. Place the essene buds or bread on 2 plates, heat up in the microwave, top with the cream and berries. The blackberries were fresh and yummy. I enjoyed this a lot. This was inspired by Essie's Christmas dessert, from the Fuhrman forums. She didn't include the "cake" part, I was just in the mood for it. I'll try it next time without

My favorite ice cream

















Wow, I loved this. It's not super sweet. I'm realizing I don't like the really sweet stuff. But it's easy to sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener (e.g., dates, date syrup, maple syrup, etc.). I'm also realizing I like the taste of soy milk. If you don't, use hemp or almond milk instead. Oh, I should give credit to the inspiration for this. It is a modification of "Healthy Elijah's Chunky Blueberry Walnut Sorbet". His recipe calls for 2 cups of walnuts which is about 1.75 too many for me!

Ingredients for 2 servings:
2 bowls in the freezer
1 banana, frozen
1/3 cup unsweetened soy, almond, or hemp milk
1/2 oz walnuts (about 8 halves)
2 cups frozen berries or other fruit
1/8 tsp vanilla (optional; I usually do without)
sweetener to taste if you prefer (dates, syrup etc). (optional; I prefer without but guests might prefer with)

Blend the banana & soy milk (and optional sweetener and vanilla) until smooth. Then add half the berries and blend some more, then add the rest and blend until chunky. It will get very thick and that's good.

I made this today with strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. I love the chunkiness!

(I updated this after making it the second time).

Total calories: 376. protein 10 g (10%), fat 13g (31%), carbs 62g (59%).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

berry-banana ice cream

Ingredients:

1 banana
2 cups frozen berries (today I used strawberries and raspberries)
1/4 cup raw cashews + 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 date or 1 Tbsp date syrup

blend everything in a high-powered blender. Serves two. Now today I made it a little differently. I made some cashew cream first. I used 1/2 cup cashews, date syrup, water, and vanilla. I used half of it for the ice cream and saved the rest for smoothies tomorrow.

My trip to Besancon France

I got back from France last night. I slept on the train, plane, and bus, and then slept another 9 hours when I got home. So I feel pretty good today.

It was easy being a nutritarian in France. There was a grocery store near my hotel, and numerous fruit stands. The produce listed the country of origin so I looked for stuff from France, which there was plenty of: apples, carrots, lettuce, pears, which were all good. I forget where the persimmons was from but it was the best I've ever had! It was ripe, juicy, and sweet. I tried some dates and figs and they tasted same as we get in the US. Fruit, lettuce, canned beans, and nuts & seeds provided plenty of food.

Then there were the restaurants. I found it difficult to be a nutritarian in a restaurant. I would have preferred not to go to them at all but I enjoyed socializing with my colleagues. So I compromised and went out 2 nights out of 4. The first night I got a salad without half the stuff listed on the menu. Then at the banquet, they made a vegetarian meal for some of us. I decided to go for it and enjoy the French cuisine even if it wasn't nutritarian. In fact, I apologize to the animals, it wasn't vegan either. It was very good and I did enjoy it. Of course, like always happens when I stray, I paid for it overnight. I couldn't sleep all night. The bread and sugar made me hyper, but worse than that, the wine made my heart go crazy. Actually I didn't know what was making my heart go crazy, I thought maybe it was the sugar, but I asked on Dr. Fuhrman's forums, and Dr. Mullin replied and said it was probably the wine. I was very warm all night long and my heart felt funny so I monitored my pulse and it was all over the place. The base was about 70-80 (usually 50!), but it was also irregular. I hate when that happens. It used to happen to me a lot before I became a nutritarian. I drank 3 small glasses of wine spread over 4 hours. I guess that is a lot for someone who never drinks anymore. Here's an explanation from some random doctor on the web:
Firstly the effects of alcohol on human heart rate are not due to direct effects on the heart, but due to the activation of a reflex response. Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means that it makes the peripheral blood vessels relax allowing more blood to flow through the skin and tissues. This is why people who have had a drink look red faced and feel warm. This means that the blood flows round a larger volume of the body, which results in a drop in blood pressure. Therefore, to maintain sufficient blood flow through the organs of the body the heart rate increases to accommodate for the increased volume that it has to send the blood round.
This makes sense because my blood pressure is already low, so dropping it lower suddenly was probably a shock to my system. Sorry, heart! I suppose in retrospect, I shouldn't have had the wine or bread or desserts, and I still would have enjoyed the meal (still not nutritarian but limited in its side effects). But I was curious to know how much I was missing with my eating style. So, let's review the meal. Appetizer: some yucky pickled salad. Of course, they can't compare to my salads, so forget that. Champagne. well, that was the best I've ever tasted by far. But even so, I can happily live without that, now that I know what it does to me. Next course: cream of mushroom soup. really really good. But I could make something just as good with cashew cream. Bread. nothing to write home about. Main course: I barely remember so it must not have been that good--a small portion of veggies, of course that can't compare to what I can do with veggies. oh yeah, some mashed potato thing that tasted sweet. It was good, but I can do better. there was something else but I can't remember what it was. white wine and red wine. it was good, but forget that from now on. There were 4 tiny desserts altogether: some cream whipped so thick it was almost solid, creme de brule, a two soft chocolatey pieces, and a fruity tart thing. The fruity thing was yucky, the chocolatey thing was what you'd expect, chocolatey and good. The creme de brule was fantastic, and the whipped cream was very good. Today I was curious how a healthy dessert compares so I made some healthy strawberry-raspberry-banana ice cream. I actually found it just as satisfying, perhaps even more so because I didn't get the yucky after effects that sugar gives me (hyperactive buzz). I made cashew cream in the process (cashews, water, and date syrup), and it tasted just as good as the whipped cream. Now I don't know how to make anything like creme de brule. That one won. I'm glad I had it this once. I don't feel the need to have it again. If I'm ever in France again, I might be tempted, but not in the US. I've had it in the US before and it wasn't nearly as good.

Since this is a blog about food, of course, that's all I focused on here. But I had a great time, despite the rain, and delayed flights, and missed train stops. The meeting was great, it was fun seeing friends and colleagues, the banquet was very fun, it was fun walking around downtown, shopping, buying a new suitcase after mine was destroyed on the trip out, buying gifts at the Christmas market.

oat groats!

What are oat groats? They are whole oat grains. They look a lot like brown rice. This article describes a little more about them, and how to cook them. I didn't bother to find out before making them. I soaked 1/4 cup overnight in 1/2 cup water, then cooked them in the microwave for about 10 minutes over all. I'd separate 2 minutes with several minutes of soaking, then repeat 3-4 times. I wasn't in a hurry. This saves dirtying a pot. This seemed to work fine. Then I added some frozen blueberries, mango, and sliced banana. I microwaved some more to thaw the fruit. I enjoyed it. If you want it sweeter, you can add chopped dates or raisins or date syrup. You can also add chopped nuts.




















Saturday, December 4, 2010

my trip

I'm heading off to France today. I'm expecting it to take 30 hours to get from my house to my hotel. I hope it's not longer than that! I packed up 5 big servings of my "microsalad" and 5 little bags of sliced carrots. Am I a crazy nutritarian or what?! Here they are packed in my bag along with a frozen thingie to help keep them cool, a spoon and 5 napkins:
















It's the green bag on the left:













Here I am at the bus stop:














I had a little trouble getting the food through security, but after careful examination of it and myself, they let me through.

I'll keep you posted about what a crazy nutritarian does in Besancon, France for food. Keep in mind that other nutritarians aren't as crazy as me. I gave up trying to eat healthy at restaurants but others are more successful.

"cheesecake" rollups?

This is so simple and yummy, it's mindboggling. If you try it, let me know if I'm crazy to think this is good. I've been enjoying delicious frozen sweet corn lately in beans, and delicious pignolias (Mediterranian pine nuts) in my salads. The pignolias are creamy and to me have a cheeselike quality. I thought, what if you combined the corn and pignolias--then you get sweet and cheesy creamy, or cheesecake. Then what do you put it on? Well, I don't really want a sweet crust because you might overwhelm the taste of the corn-nut. So I just wrapped it in a warmed corn tortilla. This is a sprouted version that only includes corn and salt. Now the salt is a problem. I only had 1 tortilla last night and I can feel the effects of it today. I'll have to search for another brand.

Ingredients
1/3-1/2 cup frozen sweet corn thawed.
1 Tbsp pignolias.

Now it's kinda hard to blend this small amount so if you can double or triple the recipe, you can blend the frozen sweet corn in a food processor, or blender. But I managed to do it in a food processor. Also, the kind of sweet corn I buy is really sweet. It is so sweet I think it must not be good for you! So if yours isn't so sweet, you might want to add a smidge of date syrup to it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dr. Fuhrman's Holiday Challenge











You can get a free six-week membership to DrFuhrman.com if you join his Holiday Challenge before Dec. 4! This is a great way to see if the membership is useful to you without having to spend a dime for six weeks. The challenge is also a great way to be in community with others who would prefer to eat healthy during this time of year when we are surrounded by the most unhealthy foods. See this link for all the information about the challenge.

Mexican Raw Stew

This was suggested by a reader, Gigi, and boy is it good! Her description is given in the comments of this post. This is the first time I liked a raw soup. Today I tried the Mexican version. Next time I'll try her Italian style. I varied it a bit from her description, so you might want to compare.

Ingredients:
2 medium tomatoes or one 16-oz can of tomatoes (from the garden if you are so fortunate)
1/2 large cucumber or 1 small
1 large celery stalk
2 medjool dates, or 3 tsp date syrup
1 head romaine lettuce (or similar amounts of spinach or kale, or mixture)
1 small leek or piece of onion (optional)
1/2-1 clove garlic (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice from 1/4 lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
red bell pepper, chopped
1 can pinto or black beans
1-2 cups frozen sweet corn
chopped celery (optional)

The base is the tomatoes, celery, cucumber and dates. Blend these in the blender, but do not use high speed. Let it stay a little chunky. Add in the greens, spices, garlic, onion, lime juice, and cilantro and blend some more, not at high power. You can pour the stew into bowls and add the chopped bell pepper, celery, beans, and corn. Or mix it all up in a big bowl. Here' s a serving with everything mixed in:

















I really liked this. One thing I'd like to do different next time is substitute a fruit for the dates. I'm thinking frozen mango (or fresh and ripe if you are so fortunate) or maybe an apple or pear? I might not use garlic if I add fruit. Also, I really like purple cabbage as we get it locally and it's downright sweet. I wonder if I could add this in. It might not have enough liquid though. The romaine is nice because it's tender and full of water. I also think I'll add some seeds. I hope to experiment a lot with this!

Thanksgiving pudding



















If I named this according to the ingredients, it probably wouldn't be as appealing (mashed carrots and bananas anyone?). But this is super easy and for me, as yummy as pumpkin pie. This was inspired by a couple of other recipe ideas: A reader of this blog pointed out that she likes using steamed carrots rather than canned pumpkin in her Thanksgiving desserts. Well, we get really good local (sweet) carrots here so I thought that is a great idea! And a recipe on the Fuhrman forums uses banana instead of dates as a sweetener so I thought I'd try that.

Ingredients:
2 large carrots, steamed until tender
1 very ripe banana
1/2 oz chopped walnuts
pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon to taste (about 1/4 tsp?).

Mash the carrots, banana and spice with a fork. Stir in the walnuts. Eat heated or cooled. If you want it sweeter, add some date syrup (or dates soaked in water and mashed). This will probably be a weekend treat for a while.

guacamole & chips

This is a good game-day treat.

Here are the ingredients:














That's:
Sprouted corn tortillas, about 4
an avocado (only the pit is remaining in the picture)
Then just a little bit of these:
scallion
cilantro
lime juice
tomato (from a can or fresh)
pinto or black beans (optional)

Here they are before mixing. You can see the amounts I used are pretty small:

















Here's another version without beans or tomatoes, before smashing:


















Mash it up with a fork. Cut up the tortillas, toast in the oven at 350 F for about 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully at the end.
















Yum!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

microsalads

Today's microsalad was sooooo good. I was thinking it's as good as any Thanksgiving treat. It's pretty much what I posted a week or two ago, so I just updated the post a bit and added a few pictures. Maybe I'm just insane to think this is so good, but hey, as long as I'm happy with it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

holiday treats

I'm visiting family over Thanksgiving, and don't have the time or inclination to prepare anything complicated so will just be eating my usual travel fare. But when I return, I might be in the mood for some Pumpkin Pie pudding. Here are some other recipes from Dr. Fuhrman's website (you have to be a member to see them): Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pineapple cookies , and Sweet potato apple bake. I'm too lazy to make the pie, but I will probably make the sweet potato apple bake sometime this season. Actually I described the recipe in this post. Those cookies look good too. I wish I liked baking more, or I wish someone would make these for me! For the really lazy cook, there's the mashed sweet potato with pumpkin pie spice.

If you really want to go all out and make a full thanksgiving feast, here's a link to the Fuhrman recipe site (member only) for all the recipes in that feast. It would be fun to plan a nutritarian meetup and have everyone bring one of these dishes. What a feast that would be.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

weekend cooking

whew, I did a lot of food prep today. First made a batch of housemate's smoothies. then some nachos for the football game (we won, yea!). Then some chili for a potluck tomorrow. Then prepped a big pot of beans for taking to work for the next couple of weeks. Then a huge batch of apple sauce for the family--and a small batch for myself. Okay, I'm ready to eat for a week!

this week's beans

This week I went back to my old easy way of preparing beans.

Ingredients:
2 lbs beans (from my Rancho Gordo selections)
juice from 7 lbs carrots (about 45 oz) (5 lbs is fine, I just had extra)
1 lb mushrooms (oyster, crimini, shitake)
1 lb leeks or onions
1 sweet potato
1 lb collards or kale (optional).

chop the mushrooms and onions and sweet potato in a food processor (or with a knife). Combine everything in a large stock pot. Soak overnight in fridge. Cook the next day for about 4 hours. Add some chopped greens to the pot if you'd like, at the beginning or within an hour of finishing cooking.

Update on the beans after cooking: the mushrooms definitely add a meaty flavor, which is actually a nice touch in winter--feels more hearty. It's good as is, or with some frozen sweet corn added to it (then warmed of course!), or combined with steamed veggies.

apple sauce

I've been making lots of apple sauce for family members. Ingredients is Cortland apples and sugar. I happened to have some date syrup (dates soaked in water) on hand for making house-mate's smoothies, so I thought, hey, I can make a small batch of apple sauce for myself.

Ingredients:
2 cortland apples
2 tsp date syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 oz chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds (optional)

Cook the apples in about 1/4 cup water for about 10 minutes after boiling. Add the date syrup and cinnamon. Add some walnuts or sunflower seeds if you want. yum!

nachos

This was our football-watching lunch. I should have taken a picture, sorry...

Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz, no salt) pinto beans
1 can (16 oz, no salt) tomatoes
1 avocado
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cumin
few Tbsp chopped onion or scallion
1-2 Tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro
1 tsp lemon juice
1 oz chopped walnuts and/or pignolias (mediterranean pine nuts)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Drain the tomatoes (save the liquid for soup if you want). Drain the water from the can of beans, then blend the beans, garlic and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Add the onion and parsley/cilantro and pulse until chopped. Pour into a bowl and stir in the tomatoes. Chop the avocado, and stir into the dip.

Cut the corn tortillas into bite-size pieces. Place on a metal tray. Heat in the oven for about 5 minutes. Then remove and spoon the dip on top of the tortillas. Top with the chopped nuts (my version of cheese). Heat in the oven for another 5 minutes. Then eat!

Three-bean chili

This is an easy recipe. I made it for a potluck. Since I don't add salt, I added things to make it taste sweet. I think regular people would like this (hence, a good potluck dish). I put the amounts as ranges because it depends on what you have an hand and what you like more--it's hard to ruin it with too much or too little of something.

Ingredients:
1-2 onions
1-4 garlic cloves (to taste)
1-2 large sweet potatoes
2-3 large carrots
2 16-oz cans of tomatoes
3 cans of beans, different kinds: I used black soy, red kidney, and chick peas. pinto would be good too, and black beans too.
1-2 red or green bell peppers (optional; I didn't have any today).
2-3 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon or cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups frozen sweet corn
1-2 Tbsp date syrup (optional)

Run the carrots, and onions through a food processor. The resulting texture after cooking is a bit similar to the ground meat in chili. Add the spices (except cinnamon), and some water and start cooking the carrots and onions. Run the sweet potatoes, peppers, and garlic through the food processor too (or chop with a knife if you prefer). Add the tomatoes, veggies, and water to the pan and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the beans, cook some more. Add the cinnamon stick for about 5 minutes (then remove), or add the ground cinnamon. Add the corn and date syrup in the last 5-10 minutes. Total cooking time is about an hour.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

this week's meals

My weekday meals are very repetitive but that is because I love them. I've been making micro-salads lately, still following this recipe. I love how every season has a fruit that I love. Right now it's pomegranates! man o man, they are so good. This post describes how to peel them and extract the seeds. So I have one of these microsalads for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I supplement 2 of the meals with a bowl of bean soup. And I add some yummy carrot and kohlrabi sticks, both locally grown and very yummy. However, I think kohlrabi season is ending as there were none in the store this morning. That is very sad. Then I need a snack before bed usually (otherwise I lose weight and I'm already thin), so I eat orange remainders (weird I know), or some frozen peas and corn. This brand of corn is very sweet, like candy. I like this way better than anything else I've tried (except fresh-picked corn on the cob). Their peas are also good and have no added sodium, unlike almost every other brand.

Weekends are less structured. I eat lots of fruit on Saturday while making house-mate's smoothies. I savor eating a pomegranate all by itself. And then whatever is in the fridge that I feel like cooking up. I still have a lot of soup in the freezer so don't have to make that this weekend. I'll make another big batch next weekend.

salsa or tomato soup

It's football season so I've been making housemate dips for her tostada chips on the weekends: guacamole, salsa, bean dip. Salsa is probably the wrong word for today's tomato dip, but it was a yummy dip. It also would make a good cold or hot soup.

Ingredients:
1 16-oz can tomatoes, drained (from the garden, if you are so lucky)
little bit of onion or scallion (to taste)
little bit of garlic (1/2 or less clove)
little bit of parsley or cilantro or chives (or nothing)
little bit of carrot (say, 1/4 medium carrot)
1/3 cup frozen sweet corn
1/3 cup frozen sweet peas

Blend the tomatoes and carrot until smooth. Add everything else except peas and corn, and blend enough to chop them but don't need to pulverize. Add the corn and peas. serve.




final garden harvest

Today I decided to harvest the rest of the produce from the garden. Here it is!














That's two garbage bags and a big bowl of collard greens, kale, swiss chard, brussel sprouts and their greens, parsley and dill. Here are the brussels sprouts uncovered:


















I washed everything, chopped (not finely, just enough to pack), and stuffed into ziplock freezer bags. I wonder how long they will last. They will definitely get eaten before they get too old. Then I'll finally have to resort to buying collards and kale at the grocery store--not nearly as good. No surprise that dinner tonight was steamed brussels sprouts and greens.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

brussels sprouts

Today I harvested a brussels sprouts plant.


















I chopped the leaves in the food processor, cooked them for a bit and added them to tomorrow's micro-processor salad. Steamed the brussels sprouts and had them for dinner.

Fall microsalads

Here's what my microsalads have been like lately.

Chop in a food processor and stir into a big bowl:
1 head romaine lettuce (about 1/2-1 lb total)
1/4-1/2 lb broccoli
1/4 - 1/2 lb cauliflower
1/4 - 1/2 lb purple cabbage
1/4 lb bok choy or baby bok choy

puree in a food processor and add to the bowl:
1-2 oranges (2 if small), peeled, remove seeds
1 banana peeled
1 apple and/or 1 pear (or 2 small apples)

Then stir into the bowl:
1 oz ground seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, hemp) and pignolias
pomegranate seeds from 1 pomegranate

optional
add 1/2 cup edamame

This fits into three 3-cup tupperware bowls. Total calories (without edamame) is about 1000 so it's substantial! This tastes like dessert to me. It's crisp, fresh, inviting, zingy (from the pomegranate), and sweet (banana, orange and apple!). It's real yummy! This post describes how to "peel" a pomegranate and extract the seeds.

Here's the fruit I used one day. At left is a persimmons--I left that off the ingredients list because I use it rarely but it's a nice treat when you have a ripe one.















Here's the final product. It may not look like much but boy is it tasty:















Monday, November 1, 2010

this week's food

For the last few weeks, I've been in this sort of pattern for my weekday meals--that is, salads and bean soup, and my wonderful local carrots and kohlrabi. The salads have fruit in them along with veggies. This week I'm changing it up a bit.

Breakfast is bean soup, and a delicious pomegranate, and today I added in a kohlrabi because I realized I like them so much I may as well have two a day while they last. Oh, the pomegranate is soooo yummy. It's hard to believe, but this beats out ice cream from the old days.

Lunch is micro-salad--that post I'm linking to was written in the summer when fresh berries were plentiful. Now the fruit is apples, maybe an orange or grapefruit, maybe a pomegranate. I haven't had these in a while and I'm in the mood for them again. And I might have a little bean soup or a piece of fruit.

Dinner depends on how much of a hurry I'm in. Tonight will be a more rushed, so I will have a smoothie and some bean soup. When I have more time, like tomorrow, I'll have micro-salad and bean soup. Wednesday will be rushed again so another smoothie/soup day.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Finger food

More weirdness on my part, but this is what I enjoyed eating today while watching football. During the packer game at noon, I had kohlrabi & carrot sticks, and sugar snap peas. I coated them in some lime juice and cilantro, but I think they are as good or better without the extra flavors--depends on my mood.



















Later on, I had some spinach and more kolhrabi. I love kohlrabi.




















Of course, I ate other stuff today too: smoothie, beans, and fruit. But these were my football snacks. I made guacamole and bean dip for housemate to dip her tostada chips in.

Halloween

I know I'm weird but I'm not the least bit attracted to Halloween candy. Here's what I was eating when the first kids dropped by my house (at left):


















I was at the store today and they had fresh ripe mangos! We often have mangos at the store but never ripe, and they don't ripen well at home. So what I'm saying is, I hardly ever get a good fresh mango. But today I did, with strawberries and banana added in. It was so yummy. I doled out the candy (at right) to the kids, and did my part contributing to their poor health. I felt a little guilty. My fruit salad was followed by a delicious pomegranate:















Boy was that ever good--perfect ripeness.

this week's beans

This is a variation on my usual recipe. Today I harvest a brussels sprouts plant so used the leaves for my greens, and added the brussels sprouts. I also added a butternut squash and some parsnips. My eggplants are done for the season so that's gone from the recipe. Darn, I forgot to add the last 2 tomatoes from the garden. And I was going to add sage and forgot that. Oh well, they taste good.

2 lbs beans (1 lb Cannellini and 1 lb Lima from my Rancho Gordo selections)
>1 lb brussels sprouts greens
~2 lb mushrooms (oyster, shitake, crimini)
>1 lb onions
3/4 lb parsnips
3/4 lb brussels sprouts
>1 lb butternut squash, peeled
38 oz carrot juice (about a 5 lb bag juiced)several cups water

Soak the beans overnight, then cook them in water for a few hours. Juice the carrots, add to a 12-quart pot, start the heat going. Now I chop everything in a food processor, starting with the longest-cooking things and adding into the pot. Add water as necessary. The order is greens, onions, parsnips, squash and then mushrooms. By the time that's done, the first ingredients have been cooking for a while. Add the beans, and cook another 30-60 minutes depending on how tender you like it. Let cool. Pour into a gazzillion plastic bowls for freezing. This batch made 34 cups, which I doled out into 16 1.5-cup bowls and 10 1-cup bowls:









Here's a picture of them in the freezer, along with this week's smoothies:
















That may be enough for 2 weeks. yeah!