How to Change Your Diet, Part 5 – Education

Decide what you need to learn more about.
Probably more recipes, cooking ideas, techniques, etc.
Possibly you want more background information/motivation to make the switch or continue along the same path.

Here are some resources I would recommend:

The why of it all:

Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live
The China Study by Colin Campbell
The Green Smoothies Diet by Robin Openshaw

More recipe ideas:

This blog πŸ™‚
Tammie’s blog, Simple, Healthy, Tasty
The Oh She Glow’s blog
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman – excellent mini cooking school in a book, lots of good techniques and information, use the recipes selectively of course – but, it’s such a large book that even cutting out all of those including dairy you are left with quite a selection.

C

Restocking – How to Change Your Diet, Part 2

Well, when I started thinking about writing this next post I realized I’d already done it.
So, here it is, copied and pasted for your viewing enjoyment:

The most important items on this list are the fruits and vegetables. So, if you have to pick and choose, start there. Add some good herbs if you don’t already have them, and then delve into the beans and grains.
Enjoy the journey!

Grains & Beans

Brown Rice (stored in the fridge or freezer)
Black beans (canned and/or dry)
Lentils
Quinoa
Whole Wheat flour, stored in the freezer
Whole wheat pasta, spaghetti, macaroni, spirals, etc.
Additional grains and beans; such as barley, spelt, oats, pinto beans, etc.

Canned Goods

Shelf stable milk substitute; rice, soy, almond, etc.
Canned tomato products, diced, paste, sauce, etc.
Canned pineapple
Black/green olives

Fats & Oils

Extra Virgin Olive oil
Coconut oil, & or Palm oil shortening

Seasonings & Spices

Onions (I consider these along with garlic to be a pantry staple)
Garlic, fresh
Vegetable broth or bouillon (cubes or powder – homemade version works)
Basil
Oregano
Thyme
Arrowroot powder or organic corn starch
Sea salt
Black pepper (preferably in the form of pepper corns and a grinder)
Apple Cider Vinegar, raw
Soy Sauce, or Nama Shoyu

Sweeteners

Honey
Agave nectar, preferably raw (because I like it better, that’s why πŸ˜‰ )
Sucanat

Miscellaneous

Yeast

Nuts, such as: almonds, cashews, and walnuts
Seeds: sesame and sunflower seeds

Frozen

Frozen juice, such as orange, and apple
Frozen corn
Frozen peas
Frozen blueberries &/or other fruit for smoothies, muffins, pancakes, syrup, etc.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Assorted fresh fruits and vegetables, these will vary seasonally. Try to have at least 5 varieties of each on hand.

Spring: Greens (spinach, lettuce, etc.), New potatoes, peas, carrots, beets, strawberries, rhubarb, watercress

Summer: Tomatoes, summer squash/zucchini, eggplant, corn, raspberries, peaches, plums, apricots, Asian pears, cucumber

Fall: Beets, potatoes, kale, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, apples, raspberries, peaches, broccoli

Winter: Potatoes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash, apples, cabbage, greens

Some things like potatoes, onions, garlic, winter squash, and apples will keep well for months when stored properly.

I think that’s about it.
I do keep a more extensive supply on hand, with extras like coconut milk (can you be addicted to coconut milk? I just might be), chocolate chips (grain sweetened), and numerous spices and herbs.
But, this list is more about what to stock if you’re just starting out, or have a limited budget but still need to eat ;-).

With these items on available (depending on the produce selection), I could make:

Stir-Fry with brown rice (lots of variations possible here, including sweet and sour sauce, if you have canned pineapple on hand)
Rice and bean salad with assorted vegetables and a vinaigrette (olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt & pepper)
Lentil soup (without the mustard, or add that to the pantry)
Lentil rice casserole (use dried basil, I did)
Fresh homemade bread
Pizza
Black bean and rice burritos with fresh veggies added (you’ll need salsa for this, unless you made it fresh from the produce available)
Tortillas
Tomato-Basil pasta (needs cashews)
Oatmeal
A Variation on out of the cupboard soup (depending on what’s in your cupboard)
Hummus (need a lemon for this)
Fruit Smoothies
Quinoa salads

And numerous other options depending on the produce available, such as:
Hashbrowns
Salad
Veggie sandwiches
Cabbage salad
Sauteed greens
Baked potatoes with steamed veggies and vinagrette dressing
Mashed potatoes

C

Up Next: Snacking

How to Change Your Diet, Part 1

First of all, this series of posts is directed to those seeking an immediate and drastic change in their diets to enable healing.

Start out by making yourself a large salad. Mix up some dressing using: lemon juice (fresh), Extra Virgin olive oil, and sea salt. A good proportion is 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice to 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt to taste (Per 1/2 heads of lettuce, I did say large πŸ˜‰ ). Store those separately in the fridge.

Now you’re ready for the next big step.
In spite of the fact that it’s best to focus on what you’re adding into the diet rather than cutting out, CLEAN OUT YOUR CUPBOARDS!

I know, I know…

Everything in there cost money.

You can’t stand the idea of all that waste.

What about all the hungry people in the world, etc.

Well, they and you will be better off without all the crap you’ve been eating. Throw it out, it is trash.

You’ve got to see the “food” in that pantry with new eyes. What is more important? The money you spent on it, or your health, even your very survival?

Be strong. We hear what we want to hear. And if you want an excuse to continue in your old habits, you’ll find it. However, if you continue on in this path, you’ll receive plenty of confirmation that you’ve made the right choice.

So, what to throw out…

Anything containing white flour. If it says wheat flour – it is white (if if wasn’t it would say Whole Wheat Flour).

Anything containing high fructose corn syrup.

Anything containing sugar, sucrose, fructose, lactose, corn syrup, and anything else ending in -ose that I am forgetting.

Anything containing dairy; including casein, lactose, etc.

Anything containing meat.

Anything containing artificial sweeteners or colors.

Read the labels. It’s not always obvious. Most peanut butter contains sugar. Most canned vegetables do too, especially corn. Read the labels and you’ll be fine. When in doubt, throw it out.

Any questions?

Next:
Remove the salad and dressing from the fridge and toss the dressing into the salad bowl. Sit down and enjoy a nice large dinner salad.
Make soup for your next meal using any edible veggies you found during the clearing out process. Try using this recipe as a guideline.

Coming soon: Restocking

C

Would you choose cancer?

Or for that matter, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, obesity, etc. I don’t know of anyone who would jump up and down yelling, “Me, pick me!”
Yet, in many ways that is happening all over our country, and in fact much of the world daily.

Several years ago we lived in Massachusetts for a short time. While we were there I attended a church activity for women and met someone remarkable (by my estimation). She informed me that she was now vegan, because she had heart disease and she had to change her diet or die. When I mentioned how impressed I was that she would choose to make that change, her response was, “well, I had to, or I would die.” Yet I know many people who would choose death over dietary change any day.

Which, for those of us who have made major changes already, is particularly sad because we know how taste buds change, and how food can still be enjoyable, in fact more so than it was before.

I think there are several reasons behind the feeling that it’s just not worth changing:

One is that for many of us, we have been indoctrinated about the four foods groups for most of our lives. It can be difficult to overcome false teachings that we’ve listened to so long.

Additionally, old habits die hard. Change can seem overwhelming or scary to implement.

And of course there is the idea that food will never taste good again. That healthy food by it’s very nature must taste bad.

So, what to do? How do you change? What if you really don’t want to die, but aren’t sure where to start? How you can get yourself to stick to the changes?
The answers (in my admittedly strong opinion), coming soon to an herbivore blog near you.

Pomegranates

Delicious! Almost everyone loves them, especially when someone else prepares the pomegranate. It is a bit time consuming to extract the seeds, but not really that difficult. I think the best way to go about it is to cut right down the middle. Next, I pop out the easier seeds right near the edge and then start to bend the peel back, turning the fruit a bit inside out as I pop out the seeds. Other than watching out for flying seeds, that’s it.

The fruit is excellent eaten plain as a snack or served as is for a simple dessert. I also like to add the seeds to salads. There are many more involved recipes out there that call for pomegranates, but in general I think it’s best to familiarize yourself with the unadorned fruit first. After you’re familiar with the taste, texture, etc. it becomes easier to evaluate recipes as you read through them and decide if they are worth trying or not. And I can’t resist a link to this delicious looking and unique pomegranate dessert. I haven’t tried it, let me know if you do.

Aside from sheer enjoyment (which surely is a good reason) why bother with pomegranates? They are a source of folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, several of the B Vitamins, some calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium. They also particularly high in potassium. In addition to this, pomegranates have quite the reputation for containing high levels of antioxidants which limit cell damage and help prevent aging. In the end though, I have to go back to enjoyment as the best reason for eating these. If you find you don’t like them, don’t force yourself to eat them, find some other super healthy food you do like.

Pomegranates are actually in season in the fall and early winter, when you buy them they should be plump and heavy, avoid any that seem dried out. These fruits need to be stored at cool temperatures and will keep in the refrigerator for over a month. The seeds can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for later use.

C

Watercress

It’s not something you see a lot of in grocery stores, although I have found it in a produce section before. However, watercress is delicious and packed full of nutrients. Check out that Beta Carotene and Calcium content!
We got a bag in our CSA a share last week, and I was thrilled to find we had recieved another one this week. I mentioned that we’ve been enjoying it in salad and soups, but sandwiches are now my favorite use for this wonderful green.

Watercress sandwiches

Whole grain bread
Veganaise
Watercress, washed, any yellow leaves removed, and chopped into about thirds (the length of the bread).
Sliced tomatoes
Avacado slices

Spread both slices of bread with the Veganaise. Pile a generous amount of watercress onto the bottom slice, add the tomatoe and avacado slices and top with the remaining slice of bread.

Really you could add this to many types of sandwiches as a lettuce replacement. It has a pleasant, slightly spicy, nutty taste and so provides a bit more flavor than many greens. In fact this may be the only sandwich I enjoy without onions.

C

The New Four Food Groups and Veggie Nutrition

Most of us grew up with the Four Food Groups. They were relentlessly drilled into us at school, courtesy of the meat and dairy industries who paid/pay for all of that literature. So, having cut out two of the original four food groups, where do we go from there? Another easy way to remember where we really ought to be getting our nutrition from has been mapped out by the folks over at the PRCM website. Their new four food groups – vegetables, fruit, grains, and legumes. I would put seeds in with the grains, and nuts into the legume category. And here’s a lovely food pyramid for those of you who prefer to look at that.
As far as specific nutritional concerns, I find it interesting that most of the potentially problematic nutrients are an issue regardless of how you eat. Even B-12 deficiencies (which is always touted as the missing component in a diet which excludes animal products) also occur among people who do eat food from animal sources. However, that doesn’t mean these nutrients aren’t still worthy of extra attention to ensure that we are getting enough of them in our diets.
Some nutrients to pay attention to include:
B-12, Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, Calcium, and Iodine.
Here’s a link to a helpful site with more in depth information on this topic.

Now, what I’m wondering is, is anyone interested in this type of nutritional information? Or is it just me πŸ™‚ ?
Let me know, either way. Do you want more? If so, what do you want to know about? And if not, mention that too.

C