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Everywhere and almost every day, we overhear misinformation and confusion about diet and nutrition…
The healthiness of various dietary fats and processed oils invites controversy
In Starbucks, a customer inquires about which breakfast is healthiest
Others worry whether: Japanese seaweed is safe from radiation pollution, microwaves ovens can damage our health, or flouridated water is beneficial for us?
If you shun pharmaceutical remedies and look to nutrition to prevent, treat and cure illnesses, you may often disagree with your doctor–and rightly so–when most are minimally schooled in nutrition and have little interest in preventative medicine.
While you can’t always rely on your doctor, the FDA, USDA, the ADA, the American Heart Association, the New York Times, you can count on Dr. Michael Greger to make sense of nutritional science.
I could listen to Dr. Greger’s entertaining nutritionfacts.org videos–he produces a new one every day–all day long. While other doctors treat illness with pharmaceutical medicine and surgery, Dr. Greger believes that nutrition is the cornerstone of proper health care.
Dr. Greger (Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the U.S. Humane Society), decided to pursue medicine after his grandmother reversed her “terminal” heart disease and lived 31 years longer than expected–till the age of 96–with a change in diet.
I was thrilled to meet Dr. Greger and have a chance to ask him my own nutrition questions, when he visited Honolulu in April to speak to the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii.
Considering attending a raw culinary school, I wanted to know whether enzymes in raw foods are really beneficial…Continue reading →
Ethical vegans may object to those who adopt a vegan diet vegan for health reasons alone and other incremental measures toward veganism espoused by popular media.
Rather than expecting carnivores to give up their Western diet habits overnight, “Veganist”, the latest book by Kathy Freston, health and wellness expert and author of “Quantum Wellness”, encourages people to “lean into” the vegan lifestyle.
Freston coined the term veganist by adding “-ing” to “vegan”, as in violinist or pianist. “A veganist is someone who does or studies implications of changing to a vegan diet and everything you can get from it,” she says. While the word “vegan” is sometimes perceived as a polarized term, “veganist” sounds new and promising.
According to Freston, who became vegan 7 years ago, “Taking small, manageable steps toward the changes we want to achieve has a more profound effect than trying to radically alter any one behavior.” As an example, she cites how she first gave up dairy products, then gradually became vegan by giving up eating one animal at-a-time.
Freston goes on to discuss the benefits of vegan eating including effortless weight loss, reversal of disease, environmental responsibility, and spiritual awakening. “These are just a few of the ten profound changes that can be achieved through a gentle switch in food choices.”
For those who discovered vegan diets as adults and took months or years to completely give up eating animal products, it makes sense that the greatest potential for change is in our daily actions: Continue reading →
Not long ago, I was fortunate enough to meet and receive first-hand advice from “The Conscious Cook” author, Tal Ronnen, during his private visit to Tokyo. Chef Tal mentioned that tempeh was his preferred meat analog, and that the secret for making tempeh flavorful was braising for a really long time.
Being vegan in Tokyo can often make one feel isolated in the world’s most populous city, but last weekend my partner and I counted ourselves a very lucky minority to meet acclaimed vegan chef and author of the “The Conscious Cook” cookbook, Tal Ronnen.
While Japan is known for originating the predominantly vegetarian macrobiotic diet, and “macrobi” restaurants are ubiquitous here, veganism is extremely rare in Japan. As a result, our vegan cooking school and vegan recipe website came up near the top of the web search Chef Tal did before his recent visit to Tokyo.
We were aware Tal had cooked for Oprah Winfrey’s 21-day vegan cleanse and catered Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi’s wedding, but not of his fondness for Japan, inherited from his Australian father who had lived in Japan 3 years. Tal said Japanese food was his favorite, and asked our recommendation for Shojin Ryoori (traditional Buddhist temple food). Continue reading →
A lot of omnivores, and even many vegetarians, think vegan cooking is hard, but in reality, it’s no more difficult than non-vegan cooking. Getting into the mindset where you are ready for a plants-based, vegan diet is the most challenging. If you’ve landed on this page, you are obviously headed in the right direction.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is one of those old standby recipes that I hadn’t touched since becoming vegan, that is–until my sister served a delectable anchovy-less rendition for New Year’s dinner. And, like so many other dishes I couldn’t fathom eating again (due to the elimination of a supposedly “core ingredient”), I am now rediscovering it. Continue reading →
Veganomicon, simply the best cookbook to transform you from meat-eating to a 100% plant diet, has inspired my cooking for over 3 years. Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s earlier books, “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World” and “Vegan With A Vengeance” have amassed devoted followers, too, and I always wondered if I wasn’t missing out.
Actually, I never understood the hoopla over Vegan Cupcakes, because I gave up consuming animal products primarily for improving my health, and most vegan confectionaries–while better ethically and environmentally–are not necessarily healthier than non-vegan ones.
Generally speaking, vegan versions of non-vegan recipes merely substitute animal fat (butter, eggs) with equal amounts of plant-derived fat (oil) and vegan sweeteners for sugar. Many people don’t realize that some vegan dishes are even less healthy than the original because they are prepared with excess oil (often fried) and salt, artificial coloring and flavor enhancers.
Jo Stepaniak’s “Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook” was among the first cookbooks I bought after deciding to adopt a vegan diet 3 years ago. For those not familiar with the term “uncheese”, Stepaniak uses it to describe rich-tasting spreads, dips, sauces and blocks produced with dairy-free whole foods (primarily beans, nuts, or grains).
Cheese lovers be forewarned: you may be in for some disappointment if you’re expecting tofu to taste like Feta cheese or chickpeas like Havarti. The book’s introduction even acknowledges that “uncheeses are not going to be like dairy cheeses, so please adjust your expectations accordingly. ”
Unfortunately I skipped Stepaniak’s well-intentioned introduction and plowed in to the recipes, attempting Tofu Ricotta, Chick Cheez, Swizz Cheez, Buffalo Mostarella, Brie, Betta Feta, White Bean Boursin, Monterey Jack and Port Wine uncheeses. And while all were tasty (my favorite is the sharp Chick Cheez spread–made from Garbanzo Beans) they left me somewhat disillusioned and wondering whether I could actually live without real cheese.
Isa Chandra Moskowitz has made a liar out of me. Not long ago, I wrote that Moskowitz’ “Veganomicon” was the last cookbook you needed to buy, and now she comes out with “Vegan Brunch”. Blame it on her vegan Italian Feast Sausage recipe.
You see, growing up in an Italian-American family, I was used to eating pasta with tomato-meat sauce for Sunday dinners and other special occasions. Meat usually included meatballs, spareribs, and sausages. Living on myown as an adult, special dinners had always consisted of meat of some sort, if not cheese, and more likely both! As a result, it seemed Sunday dinners would never be the same after becoming vegan. Now, 3 years later, I’ve discovered there are hundreds of other delectable and healthy meals worthy of Sunday and any other day. But when I’m feeling nostalgic, pasta with a “meaty” tomato sauce is the ultimate comfort food.
You may ask, why bother making your own vegan sausages, when there are already meatless sausages appearing on the shelves in major grocery stores? I think that’s great news, and without a doubt, vegan sausages are preferable to meat sausages, but reading the ingredients and the nutritional data, I’m not sure all meatless sausages are actually healthy, or good for your diet. If you like to know what’s in your food, like me, why not try making your own vegan sausages? Continue reading →
I’ve blogged numerous times about how The China Study was the single biggest motivating factor in my adopting a vegan diet. However, at least equally important is “Veganomicon,” the book that has sustained me through the transition and has become a fixture in my kitchen.
Veganomicon, which bills itself (rightly so) as the Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, is the product of Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, who also wrote “Vegan with a Vengeance” and “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”. The pair also created the PostPunkKitchen (theppk.com) vegan recipe website, where you can find some teaser recipes from the Veganomicon book.
My partner and I have tried about 40 of the dishes in Veganomicon, some several times, and our copy of Veganomicon (covered with numerous post-it notes and splatters of various sauces) is never far from our sides or minds. Continue reading →