Tag Archives: Vegan Cookbooks

Soak Your Nuts-All In Good Taste!

Soak Your Nuts: Karyn's Conscious Comfort FoodsAfter perusing “Soak Your Nuts: Karyn’s Conscious Comfort Foods” you will understand why people travel hundreds of miles to eat at Karyn Calabrese’s restaurants in Chicago: TASTE!

With a provocative title that no man could get away with, this book is actually two books in one: One half contains raw vegan recipes (95 pages) and the other cooked vegan recipes (77 pages).  Karyn’s first book in the series was entitled Soak Your Nuts: Cleansing With Karyn: Detox Secrets for Inner Healing and Outer Beauty (2011). She explains on her blog that the attention-grabbing title came to her while meditating.

Though Karyn, an accomplished entrepreneur, has practiced a raw vegan diet for over 40 years, her book’s aim is to help people transition to healthier plant-based eating-whether cooked or raw. Judging from the 100‘s of approachable easy-to-follow and tasty mostly one-page recipes, her aim has been achieved.

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“Appetite for Reduction” Delivers Taste and Nutrition

appetite-for-reductionIf you’re trying to introduce some variety into your meals while dialing up your health a notch, Isa Moskowitz’s “Appetite for Reduction” offers up the perfect combination. This vegan cookbook is full of everything we’ve come to appreciate from the prolific author such as her sense of humor and her taste for the exotic. Plus–in a first for Isa–a concern for health.

Why health? As Isa explains in the intro: “I wrote this book for me!”

I wrote a bunch of cookbooks–one dealing completely in cupcakes–and I was constantly surrounded by food. I also quit smoking and found it difficult to keep cookies from hopping into my mouth instead. On top of that were 2 medical issues, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism…I needed to change what I was eating–less fat, less sugar–and I needed to get more active.

All of the recipes in “Appetite for Reduction” were reviewed by registered dietician Matt Ruscigno, who furnishes nutritional info including calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, carbs, fiber, sugars, vitamins and minerals–for every recipe.

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Crazy Sexy Kitchen Makes Plant-Based Excitement

Several years ago, there were only a handful of vegan cookbooks. Today, there are dozens, and I recently learned there are 200 new vegan cookbooks on the way!

Great news, unless you are deciding which cookbook to add to your library. Fortunately for me, I did not have to choose, as I received a hardcopy version of Crazy Sexy Kitchen as a gift.

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Can This Diet Make You Feel Younger?

There Is a Cure for Diabetes, Revised Edition: The 21-Day+ Holistic Recovery Program

Many people aspiring for a healthier diet are surprised to learn there are just as many varieties of vegan diets as there are non plant-based diets–and not all of them are health promoting. The biggest differences among vegan diets are what foods are permissible, how they are prepared, and the balance of macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

After trying a raw food diet on and off for the past year, I decided to visit the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, AZ, to experience the diet and lifestyle developed by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Continue reading

Why Conscious Eating is for You

Here’s a book that explains why some people really can just eat one potato chip, while others like me can’t stop until the whole bag is gone. And a whole lot more, as you might expect in a book as thick as “Conscious Eating” by Dr. Gabriel Cousens.

In my 8 years since giving up meat, I’ve experienced the spectrum of vegetarian diets, from ovo-lacto vegetarian to “junk food vegan”–avoiding animal products but consuming processed foods and “empty calories”–to diets that emphasize whole grains, beans and legumes to those consisting exclusively of organic living (uncooked) fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

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Millennium Tops San Francisco Gourmet Vegan Restaurants

For all its reputation as a food mecca, and its hippy image, I was surprised to learn on a recent visit that downtown San Francisco is home to only 10 vegan restaurants.

Three of these 10 are part of the Loving Hut chain, which-despite their use of excessive oil and textured soy protein, and cafeteria atmosphere–are far superior to any non-vegan fast-food, and provide an animal compassionate and practical alternative for those transitioning to a plant-based diet. Continue reading

Why Reading Food Labels Isn’t Enough

Friends and relatives often question “can you eat x or y” on your vegan diet? Many people can barely comprehend not eating meat and fish, let alone dairy products, eggs, and honey–of all things.

Fewer people understand what a vegan diet has to do with avoiding processed foods–such as white rice, white pasta, white bread, and sugar–or even vegetable oils.

These measures are the guidelines of a whole-foods plant-based vegan diet, such as that endorsed by Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Diet, and displayed in Del Sroufe’s Forks Over Knives cookbook, containing healthy vegan recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Julieanna Hever, and others.

Bottom line is, while many processed foods may be technically vegan or “accidentally vegan” as PETA refers to products with no animal-based ingredients, they are unlikely to be “accidentally healthy”.

And while you may relax your standards on a rare occasion–when dining out or visiting friends–you’ll surely feel better long-term by keeping tempting vegan junk foods out of your grocery cart, and out of your house.

When analyzing packaged foods, I often refer to nutritionist/dietitian Jeff Novick’s rules and guidelines for  telling the difference between a health food vs what’s really healthy for you:

Rule #1-Never believe anything on the front of the package…ever!

Rule #2-Always read the Nutrition Facts Label and the Ingredients List.

Novick gives guidelines for fat, sodium, white sugars and refined sugars, and refined carbohydrates–4 things commonly abused in the United States.

Fat

Daily fat requirement–in order to avoid essential fatty acid deficiency–is only 3 to 5%, while the typical American intake is 35%!

Calculate fat % by dividing calories from fat by the # of calories

Sodium

Daily sodium requirement is 500mg/day; aim for no more than 1 calorie: 1mg of sodium

Sugars

Novick says that–since the Nutrition Facts panel lists “total sugars” only–you cannot determine natural sugars (such as in fruit) versus added sugars. Therefore, refer to the ingredients listing in order to avoid all added sugars (at least, he says, sugars should not be among the first 3 to 5 ingredients)

Carbohydrates

The “Nutrition Facts” panel does not tell the reader anything interesting about carbohydrates, Novick says. Therefore, refer to the ingredients list, and SEEK OUT the desirable terms “whole” or “sprouted” and AVOID the words “wheat”,” white”, “durum”, “semolina”, “bleached”, “unbleached”, “artichoke” and “enriched flour”.

Fiber

Aim for products that carry >3g of fiber per 100 calories

To apply Novick’s technique, let’s take a package of Nabisco Newtons Fruit Thins stashed in a typical SAD household. The box touts “8g of whole grain per serving”, “made with real fruit”, “blueberry brown sugar”, and “natural flavor”.

Sounds so wholesome, someone might even mistake them for a “health food”! OK, I admit it: I finished off the bag, without thinking…

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Can Green Smoothies Restore Your Vision?

Being on a whole foods plant-based diet for several years, I never appreciated the transformative power of drinking green smoothies–until I met the Green Smoothie Girl in person.

Robyn Openshaw’s lecture “Ten Minutes a Day to Spectacular Health” for Vegetarian Society of Hawaii in March so inspired me, I haven’t needed my eyeglasses for the first time in 30 years.

Robyn’s philosophy is for people to spend as little time as possible to achieve the most dramatic health impact. “I’ve learned from traveling around and getting thousands of emails,” she explains “people want to eat right, but they don’t know how anymore. Because ours is the first generation who did not learn home cooking from our mothers and grandmothers.”

Robyn’s goal is that everyone who hears her lecture will begin drinking a quart of green smoothies each day, “to get a massive amount of the lowest calorie, highest micronutrient foods as painlessly as possible, and inexpensively.”

The concept is based on the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, whose Nutritarian Food Pyramid defines the healthiest diet as one consisting of foods with qualities of maximum nutrients and minimum calories (H=N/C) and says “your future health can be predicted by the micronutrient per calorie density of your diet”

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Reuben Sandwiches So Tasty, Nobody Will Ask “Where’s the Beef?”

Recently, taunted by an aged jar of sauerkraut that I had bought intending to make “Potato and Mushroom Sauerkraut Pierogi” from Vegan Brunch–before I realized the Polish dumplings required 4 time-consuming steps–I decided to tackle something so easy anyone can make: a vegan reuben sandwich.

How simple? Besides its trademark sauerkraut, a vegan reuben requires rye or pumpernickel bread, stand-ins for the meat and Swiss cheese, and usually vegan thousand-island dressing (in deference to the original non-vegan reuben).

Fortunately, I came across a reuben recipe that suggested using mustard, instead of thousand-island dressing that had previously put me off. Another big attraction of Nava Atlas’s recipe : it’s baked, rather than fried, therefore no need for margarine or oil on the bread. Baking the sandwiches is also a time-saver (especially when feeding a crowd), and even the sauerkraut gets nice and crispy around the edges!

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No Added Oils Healthiest for Vegans and Omnivores Alike

Although you may just be considering a vegan diet for the first time, you probably already know that the fewer animal products you eat, the better–with a 100% plant-based diet being best for health, as well as ethically and environmentally.

However, given all you’ve heard about the Mediterranean Diet, “healthy fats”, and “good cholesterol” you may be surprised to learn that a diet containing NO (zero!) added oils is both optimum AND possible to achieve.

While it is true that a Mediterranean diet is superior to a Standard American Diet, this is mainly because the Meditterean diet contains less animal protein and more fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

A big reason for the confusion over dietary fat is that “healthy” is a relative term, and even foods that exclude animal products can be health-promoting OR health-degrading.

Olive oil is healthier in comparison to animal fats such as butter, but unfortunately cannot be considered health-promoting. In fact, olive oil (even extra virgin) has virtually no nutrients, except fat. Excess dietary fat from any source contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Many people have become obese on the Meditteranean diet consuming too much fat, mostly in the form of olive oil.

According to Dr. John McDougall, the oil extraction processes remove the “naturally-designed and balanced environment of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and ten thousand other chemicals” of the whole food (olives, corn, soybeans, etc.) to such a degree that “Free-oils are not food—at best these are medications, causing some desirable effects, and at worst; they are serious toxins causing disease.”

Rather than using olive oil (or other processed oils), choose instead to eat the whole food, such as olives. One tablespoon olive oil has 126 calories vs 154 calories in one cup of olives. Olive oil may contain traces of the benefits of olives–such as polyphenols–but has none of the fiber, mineral or vitamins contained in whole olives.

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