Food 4 A Year – Day 11

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Drinks

18 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

112 oz water

Eats

1/2 cup quinoa flakes cooked in filtered water

2 handfuls raw mixed nuts

handful raisins

2 kosher dill pickles

1/2 corn arepa with cheese

large salad made with arugula, thinly sliced red onion, portobello mushroom, avocado, cucumber, tomato, shredded carrots and a little bit of feta and gorgonzola cheese ( I know, not vegan, but it’s OK), topped by a drizzle of EVOO, fig balsamic, lemon juice, cracked pepper and a bit of sea salt

3 kohlrabi & potato latkes

Handful tortilla chips

Exercise

3.2 mile run, 12,000 steps, great time taking photos with JET

SONY DSC

Sleep

6.5 hours, 94% efficiency, 2 hrs deep sleep, feeling rested

Overall Feeling

I actually like Mondays…

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Expanding palate…

juicing

Over the past 18 months, my palate has expanded to include some foods that I never would have touched previously.  Kale, for instance, was never on my radar.  In fact, the first batch of cold pressed juice I made that included kale was wretched, indeed.  JET and I did not know if we could even finish a bottle.  Now, we both LOVE kale, and consume 6 bunches per week.  Here are the new additions to our palate:

1.  Kale

2.  Parsnips

3.  Cucumbers (new for JET)

4. Artichoke hearts (new for JET)

5.  Turmeric

6.  Tofu (never like it in the past)

7.  Curry

8.  Arugula

9.  Beets

10.  All sorts of squash

11.  Quinoa

12.  Nutritional Yeast

The list will keep growing, I am sure…

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Drinks

36 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

112 oz water

Eats

Handful raw mixed nuts, handful raisions, 2/3 cup quinoa flakes

handful raw mixed nuts (snack)

veggie pizza

fettucini with red sauce

handful tortilla chips

Exercise

11,000 steps includng 4 mile run

Sleep

6.75 hrs,  2.5 hrs deep sleep, 94% efficiency

Overall Feeling

energized

Vitamix. Simply the best…

vitamix 750

If you are serious about adopting plant-based nutrition, you will want to equip your kitchen with tools that will allow maximum creativity with available foods.  IMHO, one of the items necessary for a fully functioning vegan or vegetarian kitchen is a high speed blender.  Not just a food processor, but a a blender that can effortlessly produce nut milks, nut butters, nut cheeses, etc.

Enter the Vitamix.  For 80 years, Vitamix has been producing top quality, US made kitchen appliances that will handle practically anything you throw at them.  (OK…maybe not lug nuts, but I’ll get my iron from othert sources, thanks).  Being vegan, means no dairy…no milk…no CHEESE!.  Pshaw…no problema…..I can whip up a batch of nut butter, cheese or milk in minutes with this baby, and the time depends only on how many additional ingredients I use.

Another virtue.  I love making risotto, but frequently want to skip the complex carbs in rice in favor of 100% vegetables. Kabocha squash are delicious, and can make a great “risotto”  However, this squash is pretty darn tough to chop, and would take a long time to mince by hand into “risotto” size bits.  With the vitamix, I can peel and rough cut a kabocha squash into manageable chinks in 5 minutes, then put the chinks into the vitamix and have finely minced “risotto” in less than a minute.

There are less expensive options out there, but they are not the same.  A vitamix is an investment you will have for many, many years.  Take care of it, and it takes care of you.  I use it many times each week…best investment I made.  I went with the 750 Professional, the top model for home use.  The next step would be the commercial ones, but those are overkill, and VERY pricey.  I also opted for the dry pitcher for grinding flour and coffee, and a smaller wet pitcher.  Comes in handy if you are cooking something with multiple embedded recipes.

Mix on!!!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Drinks

36 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

112 oz water

Eats

Handful raw mixed nuts, handful raisions, 2/3 cup quinoa flakes

handful raw mixed nuts (snack)

veggie pizza

handful tortilla chips

Exercise

11,000 steps includng 3 mile run

Sleep

6.5, 1.5 hrs deep sleep, 90% efficiency

Overall Feeling

fantastic…

Things Noticed Since Adopting Plant-Based Nutrition…

Since JET and  I adopted our plant-based diet in August 2013, we have noticed a number of things:

  • It is far easier to clean dishes and the overall kitchen…no animal grease to deal with.
  • We have reduced our garbage footprint due to using way less processed and packaged foods.
  • We each healthy, generous meals, yet never feel stuffed, bloated and ready for a nap.
  • My complexion is remarkably improved.
  • Since breaking our processed sugar addiction, we no longer get those sugar highs (and crashes…).
  • My energy level is high, I sleep well, and my immune system is extremely resilient.

I know that the great debate between carnivorous, omnivorous, plant-based, vegan, and other nutrition plans will continue to rage on.  It seems like there is a new story every day telling us what and what not to eat.  I sometimes read them, most of the time ignore them.  I only need look at my latest blood panel from October 2014 to know that we are on the right path.  Keep it simple.  If any of the items in your meals have more than a few ingredients, or chemicals that you can’t pronounce, they are probably not the best choice.  If you adopt a plant based diet and mix it up day in and day out, you will get all of the nutrition your body craves, and you will know it.  You  will sleep better, get up without much effort and have plenty of energy to start each day.  It’s a process full of new foods and flavors, and can seem daunting.  We never set out to become vegans or vegetarians.  I wanted to lose some weight, and JET also wanted to possibly go more plant-based for other reasons.  We decided on a 15 day juice fast.  No huge goals, no radical changes.  Just some baby steps.  Well, those baby steps turned into big strides and finally huge paradigm shifts to where we are today.

It works for us, and I hope our experience inspires others to give it a try…

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Drinks

4 oz pickle juice (post run)

36 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

112 oz water

Eats

Handful raw mixed nuts, handful raisions, 2/3 cup quinoa flakes

handful raw mixed nuts (snack)

vegan macaroni & cheese, with crumbled tofu, red onion, sweet onion, arugula, mushrooms, avocado, tomato

handful tortilla chips

Exercise

9,700 steps includng 3 mile run

Sleep

6.5, 3 hrs deep sleep, 90% efficiency

Overall Feeling

Ready for a great Friday and the weekend…

In Cashew Didn’t know It, This Versatile Nut Can Fill Many Roles…

Raw_cashew_nuts_product_of_Buton

I have loved cashews since I was a little tike, and still do to this day.  However, it was only in the last 18 months that I have come to fully appreciate the versatility of the humble cashew.  First a little about them from the folks at Wikipedia:

“The cashew nut is served as a snack or used in recipes, like other nuts, although it is actually a seed (whoa, who knew???). 

The shell of the cashew nut yields derivatives that can be used in many applications from lubricants to paints, and other parts of the tree have traditionally been used for snake-bites and other folk remedies.

Originally native to northeastern Brazil, the tree is now widely grown in tropical regions, India and Nigeria being major producers,[1] in addition to Vietnam, the Ivory Coast, and Indonesia.

Cashew nuts are a popular snack and food source. Cashews, unlike other oily tree nuts, contain starch to about 10% of their weight. This makes them more effective than other nuts in thickening water-based dishes such as soups, meat stews, and some Indian milk-based desserts. Many southeast Asian cuisines use cashews for this unusual characteristic, rather than other nuts.

Raw cashews are the best all the great nutrients and good fats without the additional processing.  great as snacks, but that’s just the beginning.  Cashew milk can be made thick or thin, infused with a myriad of flavors and works very well as a dairy milk substitute in most any recipe.  Cashew cheese can likewise be made in varying thickness, and range from sweet to tart and spicy.  It makes a great replacement for butter or mayonnaise on sandwiches, and is a tasty topping for stuffed acorn squash or baked potatoes.

I hope you will gain as much of an appreciation for this splendid food as I have…buon appetito!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Drinks

36 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

112 oz water

Eats

Handful raw mixed nuts, handful raisions, 2/3 cup quinoa flakes

handful raw mixed nuts

arugula salad with thin sliced tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cucumber, portobello mushroom, shredded carrot and feta/blue cheese, with valsamic vinagrette

stuffed acorn squash

handful tortilla chips

Exercise

7,000 steps

Sleep

6 hrs, 1.5 hrs deep sleep, 88% efficiency

Overall Feeling

A little tired today

The Best Sandwich You’ve Probably Never had…

Vegetarian/vegan sandwiches sometimes get unfairly criticized, even ridiculed.  This is not necessarily undeserved.  I have tasted some veggie sandwiches that were, well, not so good.  JET and I have always liked sandwiches, and I have worked on techniques for making healthy, delicious vegan sandwiches for the last 18 months.  OK, maybe they won’t ever replace your favorite Cuban Sandwich, but they are pretty damn good… I give you….The Sal-wich – a salad in a sandwich… WP_20150224_009

Ingredients

  1. whole grain organic bread
  2. extra virgin olive oil
  3. cashew cheese spread ( mine is indused with cilantro and turmeric)
  4. Some type of greens (we prefer arugula)
  5. thinly sliced red onion
  6. thinly sliced cucumber
  7. thinly sliced avocado
  8. thinly sliced portobello mushroom
  9. thinly sliced tomato
  10. sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Assembly & Cooking

  1. lay out bread slices in a shallow large frying pan; pour a dab of olive oil on each slice and flip over
  2. spread cashew cheese generously on each slice.
  3. add greens to each slice and gently press to adhee to cashew cheese.
  4. add red onion, 4-5 strands on each slice.
  5. add 3-4 cucumber slices.
  6. add 3-4 avocado slices.
  7. sea salt & ground pepper to taste.
  8. add 2 clices mushroom.
  9. add 3-4 slices tomato.
  10. place othe slice of bread on top;  add dab of olive oil.
  11. cook over medium heat with a sandwich press or other heavy item to weigh sandwiches down. (4-5 minutes)
  12. Turn when golden brown; please sandwich press back on sandwiches. (2-3 minutes)
  13. Remove from heat;  slice in half corner to corner.
  14. Enjoy!!!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Drinks

36 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

96 oz water

Eats

2/3 cup quinoa flakes

handful raw mixed nuts

handful raisins

handful raw mixed nuts (snack)

Sal-wich sandwiches

handful tortilla chips

Exercise 7,400 steps, ran 2 miles

Sleep 6.75 hours, 1 hr deep sleep, 93% efficiency

Overall Feeling determined and on a roll…

Do We like Sauces? You Béchamel, we do!!

During my search for ways to create dishes that normally contain non-vegan ingredients, I came across a recipe for Béchamel sauce by the famous cook, Mario Batali.  I had not thought about this wonder, simple sauce since my days as a commisary cook at Walker Bros. Original Pancake House in suburban Chicago.

Béchamel, or white sauce is, according to Wikipedia: “also known as white sauce, is made from a roux (butter and flour) and milk. It is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine and Italian cuisine.[2] It is used as the base for other sauces (such as Mornay sauce, which is Béchamel with cheese).

Béchamel is traditionally made by melting a quantity of butter, and adding an equal part of flour to make a roux, which is cooked under gentle heat while stirring with a whisk. As it is a white sauce, care must be taken not to brown the roux. Then heated milk is gradually whisked in, and the sauce is cooked until thickened and smooth.”

As I read the recipe, I figured that i could modify it for a vegan friendly recipe, by substituting extra virgin olive oil for butter and cashew milk for dairy milk.  I also use a mixture of quinoa flour and yuca flour instead of regular wheat flour, so it is gluten free as well.  The result?  While certainly not quite as rich as a traditional béchamel sauce, this vegan friendly version is quite tasty, and really took my vegan lasagna to the next level.  Here is the recipe, for those of you who want to give it a whirl:

Vegan Lasagna prep with bechamel cause

Vegan Friendly Béchamel Sauce (as seen in picture above on lower right)

1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil

1 cup sifted quinoa flour

1 cup sifted yuca flour

4 cups cashew milk, heated but not to boiling

sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

pinch of nutmeg

1.heat oilve oil in high walled saute pan over medium heat.

2. Add flour and whisk into oil constantly, until all flour has been used and continue to whisk until thick but smooth, turning heat to low.

3. Stir in heated cashew milk, a cup at a time and continue to whisk.  Continue to add milk, a cup at a time and whisk, until desired consistency is reached.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in a pinch of nutmeg.

5.  Remove from heat and let stand until ready to use.  Also keeps in refrigerator for several days.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Drinks

36 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

96 oz water

Eats

6 banana walnut quinoa yuca pancakes with pure organic maple syrup

kabocha

Kabocha squash black bean risotto with roasted cauliflower and zucchini

handful tortilla chips

Exercise

7,000 steps, ran 2 miles

Sleep

7 hours, 2 hrs deep sleep, 94% efficiency

Overall Feeling

Rested and Ready