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Gotta Get the Greens

20 Nov

Amidst the holiday season, it can be very difficult to incorporate all the greens we need. Which is a LOT. I know I’ll use the excuse of making something with cooked squash, some grains, or other “comforting” foods, as the weather gets colder. Yes I think it is important to listen to our bodies in what we should eat (to a certain extent) but it is also vital we don’t skimp on the raw veggies. Hey- kale, collards, chard and spinach are all in season anyways, so it’s perfect! I buy atleast one of those dark leafy’s from the farmers market at least once a week. Then I can always freeze what I didn’t use by the end of the week for smoothies.

Plant protein is extremely bioavailable to our bodies from dark leafy greens, as well as beta-carotene, vitamin K, as well as folate, iron, and calcium.

These are the most nutritionally dense foods (most nutrients per calorie). When it comes to serving and portion control, RAW dark leafy (and unleafy, like broccoli) greens are in the “as much as you can eat” list.

Our plates should be 2/3rds  raw dark green vegetables, with a small rich source of plant protein, fruit and very little grains to follow.

No I do not remotely agree with the “My Plate” recommendations set by the USDA. They don’t address portion size, allows WAY too much grains and protein. Americans eat way more protein then they need, which gets stored as fat in excess. Which is why it is hilarious to always here people ask me “Where do you get your protein!?” Protein deficiency in vegans is rare. Plant protein is much better absorbable and digestible by our bodies.

“Eat (real) Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.” -Michael Pollan  (I added the “real” part)

Broccoli and Kale Ginger Miso Salad (RAW)

2-3 Cups of raw kale

2 Cups raw broccoli

1 Zucchini –> Spiralized into noodles

1 onion chopped

Slivered Almonds (optional)

1 Organic Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Handful of raisins or dried cranberries

Ginger Miso Dressing (Recipe from Choosing Raw)

(Makes 1.5 cups)

1 inch ginger
1 cup olive or flax oil
2 tsp sesame oil (toasted)
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp mellow white miso
4 large dates, pitted, or ¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp nama shoyu or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/3 cup water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw kale can be hard to digest, if not properly worked. So make sure you massage raw kale with some olive oil, other dressing, or simply water. This also prevents chelation of some key minerals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asian-Ginger Tofu over Kale

(Serves 1 1/2)

5.5 oz Sprouted Tofu (You can buy a 2-5.5 oz package, with the 2 small 5.5oz attached, so when you only need enough to serve 1 the other half stays sealed and fresh)

2 Cups Raw Kale

1/4 Sliced Onion

7-8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1/2 Large Green Bell Pepper Sliced

Drizzle of Olive Oil and Lime Juice

Squeeze tofu as much as possible to remove the liquid. I do not have a tofu-press. But I usually just wrap it in a towel in a baking dish and place a heavy pan or bowl on top for several hours.

Use a combination of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Brown Rice vinegar, Lime Juice, Garlic Powder, and Ground Ginger. Mix and cover over tofu (cut into cubes) for as long a you would like it to marinate.

Bake tofu at 400 for about 30 minutes, flipping once. I threw in my sliced onions in the pan for the last 10 minutes to soften them up.

Drizzle a little olive oil and lime juice over kale, and massage until tender. Top tofu and the rest of the veggies on top and enjoy!

 

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Vegfest 2011

8 Oct

I went home 2 weekends ago for many reasons, but Vegfest 2011 in DC was one of the main contributors. This was just like a mini version of Green Festival! My friend Colleen first found out about it and told me, so I couldn’t miss it. I seem to drop everything to go to events like this, who knows when I’ll be able to go again? This was a Vegan/Vegetarian festival at George Washington University with a ton of exhibitors/vendors from mainly the DC area. There were many different businesses, food places, animal activists, and TON of vegan bakeries-including Sticky Fingers Bakery which is a famous vegan bakery in DC that was on Cupcake Wars on Food Network many times! We talked to the owner Doron Petersan who has a cupcake cook book, and was so so nice! (How awesome is it to have vegan representatives on food network!?) She gave use sample of her chocolate cupcake winner and it was the best chocolate I have ever had-even before my pre-vegan days. That is a big statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh coconut delight!

We got so many free samples and informational handouts. Throughout the day there were different speakers, book signings (cupcake eating contests), and cooking demos. Dr. Michael Gregor was there, who is a M.D. and puts out nutritional videos that people can subscribe to. He takes the medical literature/articles, and summarized them to make it easier for people to understand and apply. He talks about the data and facts behind studies and findings, and it is just amazing how everything points back to how human are meant to be eating a plant-based diet today. He went through all the medical schooling and has all the credentials of a doctor and is brilliant. And he chooses to not put animal products into his body because he knows it is not good for us. I feel like he has so much more “pull” with people than those in the integrative/functional/holistic/homeopathic field. They are certified in some way, but clearly not the same way as doctors. Part of the reason is that when someone gets sick or when something is wrong with their health, they must “go to the doctors”. When in reality doctors often treat the symptoms and not the cause. I am so glad there are vegan doctors like Dr. Greger, so he can reach those people who only listen to “doctors”, and may be positively influenced in their way of eating. This is mainly why I am going through my Undergrad in dietetics/ a dietetic internship to get become a RD (registered dietician). Although I could go to school for two years and become certified in integrative nutrition (which I really just want to do sometime),  I’ve decided to go through the 4 years then a 1-2 year internship to  become more “recognized” and “accredited”. I am not saying that people certified in integrative,  holistic, homeopathy, or osteopathy are not accredited, because they most definitely are-just not in the same way as other people view it. But it is very hard sometimes to be learning things and told to implement certain habits and guidelines which I am completely opposed to and know it is harmful to one’s health. But that’s a whole new story.

I was asked the other day by a good friend, if I could do anything in the world for my career, what would it be. I couldn’t answer because there is just so much I would love to be doing and combining so many areas of interests. After I become an RD I want to go into integrative and functional nutrition, and some homeopathy, with a focus on sustainability. The nutrition content of food is so important, but there is so much more to just that. (which many RDs do not stress) I am passionate about being a mindful eater, caring for the environment, eating local and organic, and making connections with your food. So much is lost from our food system today, and I want to help bring some of the community and meaning back to the way we eat and how we treat our bodies. I want to help people realize how important it is to treat your body right and how they can do so to live their best life. So I am praying for direction on where I can go with all of my passions, and how I can best use these to serve the Lord, most importantly.

Sorry for that long tangent, but anyways….I waited in line to get my cholesterol checked by Dr. Greger and it was 156. I was a little surprised, but he immediately said it was the coconut products I eat. Yes coconut oil, coconut butter, and coconut milk increase your cholesterol because it has a type of saturated fat, but not in the same way that red meat does. I am doing more research on this subject and will definitely do a blog about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think many people can relate with me when I say that there is nothing like being at a place where everyone there has a similar mindset and passion as you. It is exhilarating for other’s to be on the same page and understand where you are coming from. I have to say there was a huge proportion of animal activist exhibitors, which is not the main reason why I choose to eat vegan, but I was pleasantly surprised to also have a fair representation of environmental as well as  health advocates. Colleen Goudreau is a vegan author and health advocate-author of a ton of books! She was hilarious and did a 30-day vegan challenge. I loved her. She writes The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, and Vegan’s Daily Companion

There was AMAZING food here, with 18 restaurants represented, so many of them completely raw!

Here was lunch…. Raw lasagna (zucchini noodles, cashew cheese, roasted tomato sauce and other veggies- it had ridiculous flavor), raw gingery sprouted black rice, and a lemony garlic kale salad. Honestly, was in my top 10 best meals ever list. I even got a vegan pumpkin whoopee pie at the end of day as a super special treat. When will I ever get a change to get a vegan one of those!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested here is a list of all the food exhibitors that were there!

Amsterdam Falafelshop – sponsor

Bakeshop

Bread and Brew – sponsor

Burrito Bandits

Cafe Green – sponsor

Curry Mantra

Dama Ethiopian

 Dama Pastry

Everlasting Life Cafe

Fojol Bros. of Benethiopia

Fojol Bros. of Merlindia

Mojo Juice

Saveur India

Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats – sponsor 

Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant – sponsor

Sweet and Natural

Vegan Treats

The day was so amazing and enlightening. Events like this just pump me up and inspire me to work hard to be able to do what I am passionate about in the future.

coconut & curry

15 Aug

I found this new coconut spread at wholefoods made by Earth Balance that I decided to splurge on and buy! They had a special table set up with 2 dollar coupons, so I couldn’t resist. Earth Balance makes different types of nut butters, soy milks, and vegan margarines. I usually would never buy a vegan butter or margarine, but this is a coconut spread that is completely organic coconut with just a little organic canola-that I thought would be something fun to try. It came with a little booklet of recipes to use it with, so I picked a curried coconut kale one.

Toasty Coconutty Chickpeas and Curried Kale

4 Tbs Earth Balance Coconut spread, divided

2 cups cooked chickpeas, patted dry

3 Tbs finely shredded unsweetened coconut

1 small onion, sliced or chopped (1/2 cup)

2 Tbs minced ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

1 large bunch of kale (about 4 cups)

1 cup coconut milk

1 Tbs curry powder

1 Tbs raw agave syrup

salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 or 400. Melt 2 Tbs of the coconut spread and combine with chickpeas and coconut to coat evenly. Spread chickpeas evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast 20-25 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 Tbs of coconut spread in saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook 3-5 minutes. Add kale and cook about 5 minutes. (the less cooked you can bare, the better-to preserve more nutrients) Add coconut milk, curry powder, agave, and salt. Cover and simmer about 4 minutes. Divide curried kale into bowls and top with coconutty chickpeas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Now, I was hesitant to make this just because I greatly avoid heating/cooking kale as much as possible. Kale is a super food that is probably the best leafy green you could nourish yourself with. But just like all raw plant foods, heating this super green kills the powerful, alive enzymes along with the vitamins and minerals anywhere from 40-90%. (Vitamin C especially  is lost when heating all fruits & veggies.)

Raw kale on the other hand has 35 calories in one cup, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. Not to mention about 3 grams of protein in just a small cup. Now that’s a super food. And if you think thats crazy, just check out spirulina! I will save that for another post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The coconut and ginger flavors are great with the chickpeas on top. I know I  just gave this cooked kale recipe after saying how horrible it can be to not eat kale raw, but every once in a while I do believe in trying a new recipe to expand my horizons, even though it kills all the good stuff. I will have my raw kale tomorrow.

mmmm kale

14 Jun

So most people would never eat a raw kale salad. Too raw and bitter. That was my opinion as well a couple of years ago. I have thankfully discovered ways to eat delicious raw kale, preserving all it’s vitamin and nutrients. This salad recipe I got from one of the lovely raw classes at wholefoods, but it originally came from Sunny’s Raw Kitchen. The avocado dressing plus the hemp seed makes it like no other salad with a little kick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kale is a dark leafy green that takes most people a while to truly appreciate

Besides the dressing, you are only adding hemp seed & chopped tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chipotle in the dressing definitely spices up the avocado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creamy Kale Salad

4 heads of kale (I usually half it to 2 heads. This does wilt down a lot to it’s not as much as it seems)

2 Tbs sea salt

2 Cups chopped tomatoes or halved baby tomatoes

1 cup hulled hemp seeds cup hemp seed

3 avocados

2 chipotle peppers (I didnt have peppers so I used a little ground cayenne)

1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2- 2 Tbs agave

1/4 cup lemon juice

Chop kale and remove stems. Mix with salt and massage it until it wilts down. Add tomatoes and hemp seed. Combine dressing in vitamix or food processor and pour over kale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust me this will be like no other raw kale dish you’ve have. It’s not bitter at all, just creamy and delicious.- so give this kale a try if you think you don’t like it!