Tag Archives: vegetarian cook book

“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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What does Wheatgrass Juice have to do with a Vegan Diet?

If you want things to change for you, you’ve got to change your thinking. Those are the words that started my mission 1.5 years ago to design a life filled with adventure and learning.

2012 was the year I left the familiarity of Tokyo, returning to the U.S. where I had spent little more than 2 weeks a year for the past 21 years. Reverse culture shock was no longer just an expression, but daily reality. Continue reading

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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Finding Vegan Inspiration for Radiant Health

The recently concluded Veganpalooza 2012 had me glued to my chair for hours at-a-time. Co-hosted by Dr. Will Tuttle, author of World Peace Diet, and Steve Prussack, host of Raw Vegan Radio, the tele-summit was the largest vegan educational event ever, with 12,000 listeners.

Distinguished speakers included well-known vegan authorities Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Neil Barnard, Rory Freedman, Cherie Soria, Kathy Freston, T. Colin Campbell, Rip Esselstyn, as well as others previously unfamiliar to me, such as Dr. Gabriel Cousens, Dr. Brian Clement, Dr. Milton Mills, Gabrielle Heaver, and Rich Roll, dubbed “One the 25 fittest men in the world” by Men’s Health Magazine in 2009.

Whether the information is familiar or you’re hearing it for the first time, Veganpalooza awakens you to just how much there is to learn about vegan living, from animal rights and diet to ecology and spiritual and physical vitality. The positive energy fed my feeling of optimism there is growing momentum for shifting to a plant-based diet.

As a long-term vegan, I didn’t need convincing that a plant-based diet is the healthiest for humans, for animals and the planet. Veganpalooza’s numerous medical experts reiterated that nobody needs animal foods to be healthy, and anyone and everyone can thrive on a vegan diet.

The most inspiring speaker for me–as a marathoner and would-be triathloner– was the 45 year-old Roll, with amazing athletic achievements since turning vegan following  a “health-scare” five and-a-half years ago, including completing the Epic5 Challenge consisting of five Ironman triathlons on 5 Hawaiian islands within 7 days. Continue reading

Vegan Okara Oatmeal Carob Chip Cookies

Cooking with okara (soybean pulp) is fairly common among vegans attempting to make the most of the fiber rich bi-product of homemade soy milk. These versatile cookies served as breakfast, snack and energy bar on a recent visit to Hawaii. I found the recipe online, reduced the sweetener, and jazzed it up with spices from Veganomicon’s chewy oatmeal-raisin cookies.

Makes 20 large cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup okara

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1-1/2 cups rolled oats (or quinoa flakes)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegan carob

1/2 cup pecan (or other) nuts, sunflower seeds, etc

1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

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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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Conscious Lunch

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

Vegan Puttanesca Sauce (# 375,001!)

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