Tag Archives: vegetarian nutrition

Tunno Sandwiches

Recipe by Toni Fiore, the author of the Totally Vegetarian cookbook, and host of the Totally Vegetarian TV show,  also on Roku.Tunno Sandwich72
makes 2 cups 4-6 sandwiches
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and squeezed fairly dry
1 cup cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1-2 teaspoons kelp granules
1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
4-5 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper to taste
To prepare:
Place drained and squeezed artichoke hearts into the bowl of your food processor and pulse to chop, being careful to retain the flaked tuna-like texture – you don’t want a paste! Remove and set the chopped artichokes into a bowl.
To the processor, add the chickpeas and pulse until they have a “mealy” crumbly texture. Add the chopped chickpeas to your bowl of artichokes, then the remaining ingredients and blend well to combine.
Heap onto whole grain bread cover with a crunchy piece of lettuce, and serve.
Total prep: 30 min
Gluten free option, roll salad in lettuce or collard

Shake it Kale Caesar

Recipe by Terry Hope Romero

kale salad 72

Caesar Dressing

1/2 cup unroasted cashews

3/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 clove peeled garlic

1 tablespoon shiro miso (white miso)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1. Soak cashews in hot water for 30 minutes (or overnight, refrigerated and covered), then pour into a blender. Alternatively if you have a high power blender (like Vitamix or Blendtec) no soaking required, just pulse the cashews into a fine powder, add the hot water, and pulse again until very smooth.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Chill the dressing in a tightly covered container until ready to use, or at least 20 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Kale Salad

1 pound kale (ruffled, red, Lacitano, etc.)

4 cups croutons

¼ cup nutritional yeast

Layer in a jar: dressing, kale, croutons.

store everything separately for salads through the week!

A note from the Delicious TV produce department.” This is one our favorite dressings. It works great on a chopped cabbage/carrot slaw too!

Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa Porridge

by Toni Fiore, the author of the Totally Vegetarian cookbook, and host of the now online Totally Vegetarian TV show.

Watch this recipe being made on Delicious TV’s Vegan Mashup  Reason to Rise episode.

Serves 2-4

When it comes to hot breakfast cereals the combination of walnuts, raisins and cinnamon is classic. Using Quinoa in place of oats or wheat adds a deliciously unique hearty flavor and subtle crunch that is sure to become a morning favorite. Considered a “Superfood” gluten free quinoa is loaded with protein, iron, calcium and fiber! For even more variety add your choice of nuts, dried fruits and fresh fruit. When I know I’m going to have a busy week I’ll double the recipe and store leftovers in the fridge in a covered container. Simply reheat porridge with an additional splash of non-dairy milk.

1 C. uncooked Quinoa

1 C. water

2 C. non-dairy milk (almond, soy or rice) divided in half

½ teaspoons. cinnamon

3 or more tablespoons chopped walnuts

2 or more tablespoons of Craisins or raisins

2 or more tablespoon chopped dates

2 or more tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

2 teaspoons agave nectar or maple syrup

Combine quinoa, water and one cup of milk in an uncovered saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. Add the remaining one cup of milk and cinnamon and mix well. Toss in the walnuts, craisins , dates and coconut. Simmer, stirring frequently, on very low for an additional 5 minutes or until the porridge reaches the consistency you like. Add the agave nectar or syrup to taste and serve!

Edamame Apple Salad

Typically soybeans in their dried form must be cooked at length in order to become digestible. But edamame (or green soybeans) are harvested at the peak of ripeness, which makes them soft, chewy and ready to eat in just minutes.

The word edamame means “Beans on Branches,” since they grow in clusters on bushy branches. If you take a closer look at the pods, they’re quite fuzzy. To retain their fresh, natural flavor, they are typically parboiled and quick-frozen.

Soybeans are a major source of protein in Asia and are rapidly gaining in popularity in the US. I see them served in restaurants and have them offered me at dinner parties. Edamame are often consumed as a snack, used in side vegetable dishes or in soups. Children like them for their wonderful chewy texture and mild, somewhat sweet flavor. Another reason why they’re so popular with children is that they’re a fun finger food.

To prepare whole Edamame pods, simply cook the whole bean pods in salted water, drain, top with a sprinkle of coarse salt and then squeeze the beans directly from the pods into your mouth. If you’re buying them frozen, follow the package directions because many are sold already partially cooked and they simply need a quick reheating.

These days edamame are available pretty much everywhere, either in the pod or shelled and ready to use. If your children like them, incorporate them into their diets in as many ways possible. Edamame in any form are incredibly nutritious, loaded with protein, high in fiber, and relatively low in carbs. Below is a quick and flexible salad recipe that can be adapted as you wish.

1/4 c. seasoned sushi rice vinegar
1 T. light vegetable oil
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 pkg. (about 16 ounces) frozen, shelled edamame
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/4 inch dice (Jicama or radish can be substituted)
1/2-1 c. lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

To prepare:
Mix the oil, vinegar, and seasonings in a large bowl. Cook the edamame according to the package directions, then place in the bowl with the chopped apple and the cilantro and toss to coat the vegetables with the dressing.

John McDougall, MD – Letter to the Editor – NY Times

This is an interesting article forwarded to me by a good friend. It’s frightening how prevalent mis-information is and how easily it invades the mainstream media. Anyway, it is certainly worth the read and a response. Until I can get the link active, just cut and paste it into your browser.

John McDougall, MD – Letter to the Editor – NY Times
The New York Times today (May 21, 2007) carried an Op-Ed piece about the dangers of a vegan diet, titled “Death by Veganism,” that deserves an immediate response:

Here is the link to the original article: Death By Veganism by Nina Planck

Planck, who is identified as a food writer and expert on farmers markets and local food, wrote this article about the case of a recent murder conviction of parents who starved their 6 week old child to death by feeding him a diet of apple juice and soy milk. She writes on her web site, “Among many sources for this piece, I interviewed a family practitioner who treats many vegetarian and vegan families.”

This is the link to the article about the child’s death: Couple Guilty of Assault in Vegan Case

And finally, here is the 150 word letter to the editor that I sent to the New York Times (chances of publication by the newspaper are obviously small):

Nina Planck’s article condemning vegan diets contains serious errors concerning the adequacy of plant foods. Plants do contain all the essential amino acids in adequate quantities to meet human needs, and even those of children (Millward). Vitamin D is not found in milk or meat, unless it is added during manufacturing. Sunlight is the proper source of this vitamin. Plants manufacture beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. The original source of all minerals (including calcium and zinc) is the ground. Plants are abundant in minerals; and they act as the conduit of minerals to animals. The scientific truth is protein, essential amino acid, mineral, and vitamin (except for B12 which is synthesized by bacteria, not animals) deficiencies are never caused by a diet based on whole plant foods when calorie needs are met. Ms. Planck’s distortion of nutritional science is a serious matter that needs to be fixed.

Reference: Millward DJ. The nutritional value of plant-based diets in relation to human amino acid and protein requirements. Proc Nutr Soc. 1999 May;58(2):249-60.

Additional comments not sent to the newspaper.

Nina Planck writes: “You cannot create and nourish a robust baby merely on foods from plants.”

The scientific truth is: Babies at 6 weeks of age require human breast milk and any other diet means malnutrition. Imagine if the exact opposite approach killed an infant with a formula made of pulverized beef and cow’s milk, would this have received similar worldwide press? I believe the case would have been properly considered child neglect (intentional or not) and have gone unnoticed except for those intimately involved. People love to hear good news about their bad habits so the tragedy of the death of an infant caused by misguided parents who fed their infant apple juice and soy milk for the first 6 weeks of life has been used to justify eating meat and drinking cow’s milk.

Nina Planck writes: “Protein deficiency is one danger of a vegan diet for babies. Nutritionists used to speak of proteins as ‘first class’ (from meat, fish, eggs and milk) and ‘second class’ (from plants), but today this is considered denigrating to vegetarians.”

The scientific truth: Confusion about our protein needs came from studies of the nutritional needs of animals. Mendel and Osborne in 1913 reported rats grew better on animal, than on vegetable, sources of protein. A direct consequence of their studies resulted in meat, eggs, and dairy foods being classified as superior, or “Class A” protein sources and vegetable proteins designated as inferior, or “Class B” proteins. Seems no one considered that rats are not people. One obvious difference in their nutritional needs is rat milk is 11 times more concentrated in protein than is human breast milk. The extra protein supports this animal’s rapid growth to adult size in 5 months; while humans take 17 years to fully mature. The world’s authority on human protein needs, Prof. Joseph Millward, wrote the following: “Contrary to general opinion, the distinction between dietary protein sources in terms of the nutritional superiority of animal over plant proteins is much more difficult to demonstrate and less relevant in human nutrition.” (References in my April 2007 newsletter.)

Nina Planck writes: “The fact remains, though, that humans prefer animal proteins and fats to cereals and tubers, because they contain all the essential amino acids needed for life in the right ratio. This is not true of plant proteins, which are inferior in quantity and quality – even soy.”

The scientific truth is: Proteins function as structural materials which build the scaffoldings that maintain cell shapes, enzymes which catalyze biochemical reactions, and hormones which signal messages between cells, to name only a few of their vital roles. Since plants are made up of structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. In fact, so rich are plants that they can meet the protein needs of the earth’s largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. You would be correct to deduce that the protein needs of relatively small humans can easily be met by plants. (References in my April 2007 newsletter.)

Nina Planck writes: “Yet even a breast-fed baby is at risk. Studies show that vegan breast milk lacks enough docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, the omega-3 fat found in fatty fish.”

The scientific truth is: Only plants can synthesize essential fats. Any DHA found in animals had its origin from a plant (as alpha linolenic acid). The human body has no difficulty converting plant-derived omega-3 fat, alpha linolenic acid, into DHA or other n-3 fatty acids, supplying our needs even during gestation and infancy.

Reference: Langdon JH. Has an aquatic diet been necessary for hominin brain evolution and functional development? Br J Nutr. 2006 Jul;96(1):7-17.

Mothers who eat the Western diet pass dangerous loads of environmental contaminants through their breast milk to their infants. Meat, dairy, and fish in her diet are the source of 80% to 90% of these toxic chemicals. The cleanest and healthiest milk is made by mothers eating a starch-based vegan diet.

Nina Planck writes: “A vegan diet is equally dangerous for weaned babies and toddlers, who need plenty of protein and calcium.”

The scientific truth is: Infants should be exclusively breast fed until age 6 months and then partially breast fed until approximately 2 years of age. Starches, fruits, and vegetables should be added after the age of 6 months. The addition of cow’s milk causes problems as common as constipation and as devastating as type-1 diabetes. (See my May 2003 newsletter on Marketing Milk and Disease.) Adding meat to an infant’s diet is one of the main reasons all children raised on the Western diet have the beginnings of atherosclerosis by the age of 2 years.

Nina Planck writes: “An adult who was well-nourished in utero and in infancy may choose to get by on a vegan diet, but babies are built from protein, calcium, cholesterol and fish oil.”

The scientific truth is: Babies are ideally built from mother’s breast milk initially and then from whole foods. Hopefully, parents will realize that the healthiest diet for the entire family (after weaning) is based on starches with the addition of fruits and vegetables. (Vitamin B12 is added to the diet of pregnant or nursing mothers and after 3 years of following a plant-based diet strictly.)

Nina Planck has been allowed by the New York Times to exploit the tragedy of a family and to spread commonly held, but scientifically incorrect, information on human nutrition. The author and the newspaper should be held accountable. Hopefully, the end result will be that people desiring the truth will take the trouble to look at the evidence. If this were to be the case, then this New York Times article could be the beginning of long overdue changes in the ways people eat. Write and tell everyone you know that the New York Times has done a sloppy job, and damage to the public, by allowing harmful lies to be spread – especially when you consider that Planck’s message promotes a diet known to cause obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and major cancers.

John McDougall, MD

Garlic Confit

Garlic Confit

There is nothing finer or more mellow tasting than roasted garlic. And it’s so easy, why not try it?

3-4 heads of fresh garlic, cut in half through the center, not stem to end
Extra virgin olive oil
A good-sized bunch of fresh thyme (lemon thyme is delicious)
About 20 whole black peppercorns

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, In a glass baking dish set the garlic cut side down. Cover about halfway with olive oil and drop in the herbs and peppercorns. Cover the dish with foil and set in the oven to bake. The garlic takes about an hour and should look nicely caramelized. The garlic will slide out of the peel smoothly. Be sure to strain and save the oil, which will be full of infused garlic flavor. Use this garlic as a spread, as an addition in dressings, or as a garlic complement to any dish.

What About Eggs?

What about eggs?

Over the years, I have significantly cut down on my use of eggs for a variety of humane reasons, yet I understand that eggs are, and will most likely be, a part of many diets, whether you call yourself a vegetarian or not.

I would like to note here the difference between Certified Organic Free Range Eggs that come from hens that run free and are fed organic feed and the less expensive commercial supermarket eggs that come from hens fed a commercial diet and raised in battery cages. The difference between organic and non-organic animal products is significant, not only because of the deplorable conditions in which caged egg-laying hens are kept, but also the effect these conditions have on the animals, the eggs themselves, and the people who consume them.

The difference between organic and non-organic eggs is startling. Eggs provide two fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3 and those are best when delivered in equal ratios. When you have too much omega-6 and too little omega-3, this imbalance leads to a variety of health problems. Some of those problems may include, overall physical inflammation, high blood pressure, depressed immune function, weight gain, an irritated intestinal tract, and a tendency to form blood clots. Organic Free Range Eggs, that come from hens who roam free and eat green plants and insects, produce eggs that have the perfect ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, a balance of 1:1. On the flip side, commercial supermarket eggs produced from hens living in horrific conditions, fed mainly grains, and administered antibiotics in a factory-farm environment, have a ratio closer to 15 or 20:1.

While the cost to the consumer’s pocket is almost double to buy free range organic eggs, the cost to his or her health of not buying organic is much greater. If consumers demand changes in the conditions of hens kept by mainstream egg producers and large commercial suppliers, I guarantee in time, things will change. In most of Europe, battery cages have been banned for health and humane reasons. Surely, we in America can rise to this occasion. But until we do, my solution is to urge you to consume fewer eggs, which is a good thing anyway, and only buy free range organic eggs. Labels can be deceiving, so if possible, buy locally-produced eggs so you know where the eggs come from and how the chickens are kept. If I can’t get local eggs, I simply don’t use them. And it’s much easier than you think.

Knowledge is power. The more we know about our food and food sources and the more control we take over our own diets, the more power we have to create positive change for ourselves and the world around us.

Scoop on Rice

The Scoop on Rice

Brown rice is healthier than white rice, right? But do you know that white rice is 10 times higher than brown rice in the B vitamin, folic acid? Since brown rice is higher in fiber, both have something great to offer so why not mix them?

Because brown rice takes a little longer to cook, about fourteen minutes more per cup, if you’re combining it with white rice, let it simmer for ten to fourteen minutes before adding the white. By combining these two grains, you get the added nutritional boost of white rice with the delicious chewy texture of brown. This combination looks great, tastes delicious, and adds variety to this most simple of side dishes.

Take it Easy

Take it Easy

I receive many emails with questions about preparing vegetarian meals and recipe ideas. I really believe everyone is good, maybe even great, at preparing something. I’m not a professional chef, have never claimed to be, and truly that’s not something most people strive for. Most of us simply want to eat healthier (better) and be comfortable preparing nutritious food that goes over well with friends and family.

One thing I suggest is to take a recipe or some basic ingredients that you’re comfortable with and expand on them. I love recipes that can be used many different ways, and just about every recipe has that option. This concept makes it easier on you, the kitchen cook, and everyone you cook for. If you are really good at Italian cooking for example, you’re just a small step away from literally hundreds of vegetarian meal ideas. It’s a great way to develop your own vegetarian “comfort zone” and, frankly, that’s probably the most important element for doing anything in the kitchen.

Cooking is a process and the more relaxed you are the more you and everyone will enjoy your culinary creations. Keep things simple, especially when you’re just starting out. Never hesitate to experiment with new foods, but don’t raise your stress level by jumping into complicated recipes if you’re entertaining or especially when feeding children who may not be ready for exotic or experimental combinations.

Eating vegetarian cuisine should not be about deprivation and what we’re leaving out. Rather, it should become all the wonderful things we can add to create delicious, colorful meals that will leave you, and your friends and family healthy, happy, and satisfied. Chances are if you list all the individual foods you love, they can be converted to vegetarian options, and mixed and matched easily. Please feel free to use this blog page to share your ideas, questions, and solutions with others. It’s my experience that most people love to share ideas and learn more about food, so we hope you’ll visit us often.

Easy Bean Tips

Easy Bean Tips

Here are some easy tips to make canned beans a workable and delicious part of quick vegetarian meals. Many canned beans only work well if they are to be cooked and mashed because they simply don’t hold up well during the cooking process. But if texture is not an issue then go straight for the can.

In my experience, organic beans are worth the few cents more. If you go for sodium-free, simply add a little fresh salt during the cooking process and you’ll be all set. When using canned bean, all you really have to do is adjust the cooking time in any recipe that calls for fresh beans. When adding beans to soup for example, add the canned beans only during the last ten minutes of cooking time.

One type of bean that I’ve found very little difference in between canned and dried are chickpeas. But as with any canned bean, I suggest rinsing them well and substituting the liquid with vegetable broth.

So keep your pantry stocked, and when you’re in a hurry to make a salad, pasta sauce, or a quick soup, go ahead, open that can, and add the protein, fiber, and nutrition that only beans offer.