Monthly Archives: January 2011

CROCK POT BLACK BEAN SOUP – Guest Blog by Catherine McCord of Weelicious

I am so excited to announce that we have a guest blog today from Catherine McCord of Weelicious!!!

Catherine McCord of Weelicious

Catherine McCord of Weelicious

I have been following Catherine’s blog for quite some time now and am always inspired by her recipe posts (many of which are plant based).  I too am a mom and am always looking for fast, healthy, and economical meals.  This following recipe is a definite winner!  Enjoy Catherine’s post…

CATHERINE MCCORD’S CROCKPOT BLACK BEAN SOUP

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

 

 
If you follow weelicious with any regularity, you know that I have a very intimate relationship with my crock pot — it’s like my best friend. Coming back after the holiday, with school starting back up, endlessly busy schedules to juggle and so on, my crock pot has been my salvation for getting hearty foods that everyone wants to eat made easily. A vendor at our local farmer’s market offers the most beautiful assortment of beans, and since black beans are one of our family favorites and cook beautifully in the crock pot, I buy them from him all of the time. Packed with protein and dietary fiber, black beans make for a filling, inexpensive and nutritious vegetarian meal that everyone can enjoy.

I really loved making this soup with my kids, because, like me, they love using the crock pot. But the real fun for them started when it was time to puree everything. Kenya, being an incredibly curious, almost 4 year-old boy who loves anything with a motor, was totally game to help me out with the hand-blender. As he gripped it and pressed the power button, he was enthralled as he made the beans transform into a creamy, rich soup. But if it was fun for me to witness the blast Kenya had, watching Chloe drink three helpings straight out of her bowl ensured that this soup will be in our regular mealtime rotation!

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup (Serves 6)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 Cups Dried Black Beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1 32 oz Chicken Broth or Vegetable Stock, low sodium
1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Cup Water

Accompaniments: Yogurt, Sour Cream, Crème Fraiche

1. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and sauté onions for 4 minutes.
2. Add chopped garlic and sauté an additional minute.
3. Place the onion garlic mixture into the crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
5. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the ingredients to your desired texture (I like to get it so a few pieces of beans are still visible so the soup is thick and still has a bit of texture).
6. Top with a dollop of yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche.
7. Serve.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Crock Pot, Gluten Free, Guest Blog, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

CRAZY SEXY DIET BOOK WINNER

We have a winner… simplynutritiouskate!

Congratulations!

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Filed under Books, Contests

MY FOOD JOURNAL – Tuesday

Food Log

Food Log

 

 

Early morning – 16 ounces of green juice made with lots of kale stems, 1 head of romaine, 1 GIANT cucumber, 1 red bell pepper, 2 pears, and a huge handful of parsley.

Breakfast – 1/2 cup Barbara’s High Fiber Cereal, 1/2 cup Fiber One, 3 Tbs Salba, 1 stevia, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries, 4 strawberries, sprinkle of dried cranberries, 4 chopped walnuts, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

Barbara's Fiber Cereal

Barbara's Fiber Cereal Fiber One Cereal

 

Salba Seed

Salba Seed

Lunch – I brought lunch to my son at school, so we had a “special” lunch… I had 1/2 of a large cucumber and avocado Togo’s sandwich on whole wheat with mustard, lettuce, bell peppers, pepperocinis, onions, pickles, olives…piled real high (no mayo)!

1pm – Young Thai coconut (I drank the coconut water)… I would have eaten the coconut meat then too, but ran out of time since I needed to pick-up my daughter from school.

Young Thai Coconut

Young Thai Coconut

2pm – I made a green smoothie with the coconut meat, Spirulina, chlorella, 2 cups spinach, 2 stevia, 1 scoop Plant Fusion vanilla protein powder, 2 dates, 1 cucumber, 1 zucchini, 1/2 avocado.  I drank 24 ounces (it made about 40 ounces)

4pm – I drank the rest of the green juice I made this morning (16 ounces more)

5:45pm – Dinner tonight was kale salad and veggie lasagna (I made it a few nights ago and it is yummy! ).   Sadly tonight we ate the rest of the lasagna.  I will need to post my lasagna recipe the next time I make it.

After dinner snack – this evening I will sip on the rest of the green smoothie I made this afternoon, though at the moment I am pretty full.

I’d say this is a pretty typical day for me food-wise with the exception of the Togo’s…I usually cook/make something simple for lunch.

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Filed under Food Journal, Fresh Juice, Vegan, Vegetarian

GIVEAWAY – CRAZY SEXY DIET

by Kris Carr

by Kris Carr

What can I say…this book is AMAZING!  Kris Carr has been one of my heroine’s since I first saw her documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer.  This is a woman who 8 years ago was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that had/has no cure and no treatment.  She decided that wasn’t good enough…(In her own words), “My wake-up call encouraged me to make a total lifestyle upgrade inside and out. This extraordinary journey led me to crank the stress down and the joy factor up. It brought me back to nature, the garden and the people (and animals!) who fuel my spirit each day. In the process, I created a blueprint for a healthy and happy life and I want to share my secrets with fabulous you!”

Kris Carr

Kris Carr

I’m not the only one who thinks Kris Carr has got it going on! Check out these testimonials from some of my other heros:

“Kris has been there, and she brings the depth of her experience to this uplifting book and offers tips from experts and success stories along the way. She even offers a 21-day cleanse with recipes included. Kris Carr is an incredible and tireless advocate for health and she’ll be your coach, confidant, and companion page after page. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have.” -Neal Barnard, M.D.

“Kris Carr makes practical and hopeful suggestions as we face greater and greater numbers of our friends and family falling prey to chronic degenerative disease. I am personally inspired by her example in leading the way for people to take control of their bodies and their health.” -T. Colin Campbell, PhD

“Kris Carr titillatingly turns a kitchen into a pharmacy. -Dr. Mehmet Oz

“Consider this not a diet book, but a guide to living fully; not a meal plan, but a road map to self-empowerment, adorned with Kris’s unrivaled enthusiasm, humor, and compassion.” -Dean Ornish, M.D.

So, in honor of the amazing Kris Carr I’m giving away a copy of her new book Crazy Sexy Diet to the 20th person who signs-up as a Veggie Grettie e-mail subscriber today (the subscription area is under the header picture of veggies on the right-hand side of my homepage).

Kris has decided to share the first chapter of her book with you for free!  Click here if you would like to get a taste of this great book…I’mm sure you’ll want to go out and get a copy. Enjoy!

Kris in the Desert

Kris in the Desert

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BAKED LIMA BEANS

Baked Lima Beans

Baked Lima Beans

When I was a kid I HATED lima beans.  My dad loved them, so we ate them a lot.  Just thinking of lima beans used to make my mouth dry…they always tasted so mealy and intensely dry to me and no amount of butter could fix that.  To this day I see one of the bricks of frozen Jolly Green Giant lima beans and shudder.

Fast forward to adulthood.  A few months ago my husband and I had the priviledge of enjoying an amazing night at the Segerstrom Family Farm in Costa Mesa.  Our friends invited us to join them at the farm for a charity event (The Festival of Children) and it was truly one of my favorite events ever.  We began by going out into the fields to pick the produce that would be used in our dinner.  There was a private chef who prepared all of the food with her team and we spent the night dining outdoors under the stars right next to the fields.  It was spectacular.  The food was phenomenal and the company was even better.

The Segerstrom Farm began as a lima bean farm, so when the night ended we were all sent home with bage of dried lima beans and fantastic pumpkins to take home to the kids.

Segerstrom Lima Beans

Segerstrom Lima Beans

For the holidays my mom and dad gifted me a HUGE (750+ pages) vegetarian cookbook  called World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey and one of the lima bean reciped jumped out at me.  The time had come for me to give lima beans another try…I already had some outstanding beans in the pantry from the Segerstrom Farm, so  I had no more excuses.

World Vegetarian

World Vegetarian

Shockingly I LOVED this recipe.  The beans were creamy and so flavorful.  I am sure it is attributable to high quality beans and a well written cookbook.

Madhur received this recipe from the nuns at the Ormylia Monastery in Macedonia.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup dried lima beans or any large white beans, picked over and washed

¼ cup oil

1 medium onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into thin half moons

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices

2 good-sized (6-7 ounce each) tomatoes, finely chopped

1 ¼ tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley

3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano

~~

Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 5 inches.  Drain, discarding the soaking liquid and rinse with cold water.

Dry Beans vs. Soaked Beans

Dry Beans vs. Soaked Beans

Put the beans in a pot with 3 cups of fresh water and bring to a boil.  Remove the scum that rises to the top.  Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer gently for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the beans are just tender (If the dried beans are very fresh it may only take 20 minutes).  

 
 

Skim the Foam

Skim the Foam

 

 Meanwhile, put the oil in a flame and ovenproof casserole-type dish and set over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion.  Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the onion has just wilted.  Put in the carrot and cook another minute, stirring now and then.  Now put in the tomatoes and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened.  Turn off the heat.
Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Sauteed Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Sauteed Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

When the beans have finished cooking, add them and their cooking liquid to the dish with the onion, carrot, and tomatoes. 

Gently Mix in the Lima Beans

Gently Mix in the Lima Beans

 Add the salt, lots of black pepper, the parsley, and oregano.  Stir to mix

Add the Herbs

Add the Herbs

Put the casserole dish into the oven and bake, uncovered for 2 hours. 

Ready for the Oven

Ready for the Oven

Serve hot.  I served this with a salad and some crusty whole wheat bread, but it would taste great over barley or pasta as well.

Baked & Ready to Serve

Baked & Ready to Serve

For a printable version of this recipe click here

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Books, Farming, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

10 WAYS TO CLEAN WITH SALT

This article was written by Janelle Sorensen for Healthy Child Health World.

Forget the hundreds of toxic products that are uniquely created for specific cleaning needs. Typically, most cleaning can be addressed with safe kitchen staples.

Today, consider the wonders of salt. Many of you on the DIY cleaning train are used to reaching for baking soda or vinegar, but salt is also a magnificent multi-tasker.

Here are but a few of the superpowers of salt:

1. Hand helper. Mix salt and vinegar and rub over your hands to remove garlic or onion scents from your skin.

2. Shine time. Mix together equal parts salt, flour, and vinegar and apply to brass, copper, or even gold with a cloth. Let sit for an hour, wipe off, and buff.

3. Burn buster. If you burn food in a metal pot or pan, add salt immediately after removing the food to help the burnt bits loosen easier.

4. Chimney sweep. Toss a handful of salt on your fire here and there to help keep your chimney clean.

5. Wicker whitener. Brighten wicker by applying saltwater with a brush and drying in the sun.

6. Oven and stove stain annihilator. Cover spills immediately with salt. Let stand for a few minutes (adding a little water if necessary) and then wipe up. The salt absorbs the liquids and helps loosen them from the surface. Salt is especially effective at absorbing grease and oils.

7. Dish duty. If you run out of dish soap, sprinkle about a tablespoon into a sink full of water and just make sure to rinse the dishes well afterwards. Because salt water dries out your skin, be sure to wear gloves or use moisturizer afterwards.

8. Mildew manager. Mix one part salt and one part lemon juice and apply to mildew in bathrooms and kitchens.

9. Red wine remediation. If red wine is spilled on a rug or carpeting, immediately blot up all moisture and then sprinkle the area with salt. The salt should absorb any remaining wine in about 15 minutes (turning pink as a result). Wipe up the salt and clean the area with a mixture of 1/3 cup vinegar and 2/3 cup water. Moisten and blot. Moisten and blot.

10. Countertop cleaner. Dip a cloth in vinegar and then in salt. Rub over countertops to erase tea and coffee stains.

Have you used salt for cleaning? Share your tips!

To read the article on Healthy Child Healthy World’s website click here

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VEGAN GOAT CHEESE

Raw Vegan Goat Cheese

When people make the decision to remove dairy from their diet cheese is often what they say they miss most.  Dairy is NOT healthy (in the future I will do an in-depth post to explain why) , so it is important that we find good alternatives.

Russell James

Russell James

I recently purchased one of Russell James‘ e-books called Raw Nut Cheese from his Raw Chef’s Recipe Series and decided to give the goat cheese recipe a whirl.

Raw Nut Cheese by Russell James

I have made raw nut cheese before and they weren’t as successful as this recipe was (I am eating it as I type…yum!).  I think the curing step is key…

INGREDIENTS – day one

2 cups raw unsalted macadamias, soaked 4 hours

1 cup water

1 tsp. probiotics powder (I used New Chapter Organics All Flora)

INGREDIENTS – day two

1 tsp. nutritional yeast

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. lemon juice

Soak the macadamia nuts in filtered water for 4 hours.

Raw Macadamias

Soaked for 4 Hours

Blend the soaked nuts with 1 cup of filtered water and 1 tsp. probiotics powder in your high-powered blender (I used my Vitamix).  Make sure all of the nuts are blended well and there are no chunks.

Water & Probiotics

Blend Macadamias & Water

Blend Away All Lumps

Transfer the mixture to a cheesecloth-lined strainer that has been placed over a bowl.

Strainer Over Bowl

Line Strainer w/ Cheesecloth

Fold the cheesecloth over the cheese and place a weight over the top (I used a plate with pie weights over it).  Allow this mixture to cure at room temperature for a full 24 hours.

Put the Mixture in the Cheesecloth Lined Strainer

Fold Over the Cheesecloth

Top w/ Weight

Once the cheese has cured, mix in the nutritional yeast, salt, and lemon juice.

Cheese Texture After Curing

Add the Nutritional Yeast, Lemon, & Salt

Place the mixture in a Saran wrap lined spring form pan (I used a 5” pan) and place in the refrigerator to firm-up.

Put the Cheese Mixture in the Pan

Close the Plastic Wrap

When the cheese is more firm (it will never get firm…it will become the texture of goat cheese) and ready to serve, top it with your choice of toppings i.e. pesto, chopped sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs.  The next time I make this cheese I plan on mixing pesto directly into the mixture.  This cheese is great served with crackers, on a salad, or in a sandwich.

Raw Vegan Goat Cheese

For a printable version of this recipe click here

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Filed under Books, Cheese, Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

HEALTHY BANANA BREAD (Gluten- Free and Vegan)

Banana Bread Muffins

Our family eats a lot of bananas, but ever so often a few get to the point where my kids find them too ripe to eat plain… I then know it is time to whip-up some banana bread (click here to see another use for ripe bananas).  This recipe has been my tried and true recipe for a while.

My daughter has a wheat allergy, so a few years ago I began experimenting with alternative flours.  I know I have a winning recipe when my husband (who does not have a wheat allergy) gives them the thumbs up.

This recipe tends to be healthier than most because it uses nut flours as the base (coconut and almond) which are much lower on the glycemic index than regular flours.  I also do not use sugar in this recipe.  The bananas in themselves are very sweet since they are so ripe.  I do add some Somersweet (which was created by Suzanne Somers).  Somersweet uses inulin which comes from chicory and is a pre-biotic.  If you do not have Somersweet on hand, you can substitute sugar (coconut sugar or brown sugar).  Coconut oil is also a very beneficial and nutritious.

DRY INGREDIENTS
1 cup blanched almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
2/3 cup Somersweet
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil *
2 handfuls pecans (chopped) **
1/3 cup Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips **
* will be mixed in with the dry ingredients with a pastry blender
** will be mixed in once the batter has been made
 
WET INGREDIENTS
1 cup vanilla So Delicious Coconut Yogurt OR applesauce
2/3 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 bananas (mashed)
4 eggs OR the equivalent Ener G Egg Replacer
Preheat oven to 325˚.

Grease the bottom and sides of your muffin tins with coconut oil (I use a mini crumb cake pan).

Grease the Pan

Grease the Pan

Combine all of the dry ingredients (except for the coconut oil, pecans, and chocolate chips) in a bowl and whisk them to incorporate.

Whisk All of the Dry Ingredients

Whisk All of the Dry Ingredients

Once the dry ingredients are well mixed, add the coconut oil into the mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender.  You want the coconut oil to break into lots of tiny pieces so that when you add the wet ingredients you won’t have large chunks of coconut oil throughout your batter (this step is very important).

Blend in the Coconut Oil

Blend in the Coconut Oil

Slice the bananas into a separate bowl and then mash them being sure to leave some chunks.

I Use a Potato Masher

I Use a Potato Masher

Add the rest of the wet ingredients into the bowl with the bananas and mix well.

Add in the Wet Ingredients

Add in the Wet Ingredients

Next combine the wet ingredients with the dry and mix to combine.  The batter will not be runny, but will hold together fairly well.

Incorporate Wet & Dry Ingredients

Incorporate Wet & Dry IngredientsBatter Texture Pre- Pecans & Chocolate Chips

Batter Texture Pre- Pecans & Chocolate Chips

Batter Texture Pre- Pecans & Chocolate Chips

Once the batter is fully mixed, add in the pecans and chocolate chips.

I use an ice cream scoop (approximately 1/3 cup) to fill my muffin tins and make them uniform so they cook evenly.  Once you have filled the muffin tins, push them down to flatten.

Using and Ice Cream Scoop

Using and Ice Cream Scoop

Flatten the Muffins

Flatten the Muffins

If you have any remaining batter, put it into a zip lock bag, flatten it, and remove all of the air bubbles.  This batter freezes well.

Freeze Remaining Batter

Freeze Remaining Batter

Bake the muffins for 30-40 minutes (depending upon your muffin tin).  Turn the pan 180˚ halfway through the bake time.

Once they are nice and brown and the middle of the muffin is set, remove from the oven.

Nice & Brown

Nice & Brown

Let the muffins rest for 5 minutes and then transfer them to cooling racks.  It is very important to allow the muffins to cool so they firm/set-up.  The texture of the muffin won’t be at its best until it is room temperature (not that my kids ever wait that long).

Cooling Racks

Cooling Racks

Once they have cooled enjoy!

For a printable version of this recipe click here

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Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegetarian

HEALTHY POTATO CHIP ALTERNATIVE

Korean Kim (Nori)

Korean Kim (Nori)

My family devours Sea’s Gift roasted seaweed snacks by Jayone Foods.  They are vegan and gluten free and most importantly they do not have any MSG (an excitotoxin) or sugar.

Seaweed is an amazing food source of iodine, minerals, and vitamins and also has detoxifying properties.  One small snack pack weighs in at only 30 calories and packs a whopping 20 % of your RDI for Vitamin C!  As for the iodine, many people are deficient of this trace mineral which is necessary for proper growth and development.  Iodine is also vital to the functioning of our thyroid gland (which stores the majority of our body’s iodine), the gland that regulates our metabolism.

Our bodies do not produce iodine, so it is essential that we consume it through mineral supplementation or through food sources, which is my preferred method. 

According to progressivehealth.com, If you are deficient in iodine, these are some of the symptoms you might experience:

  • Hypofunction of the thyroid gland (resulting in a slower metabolic rate)
  • Anemia
  • An enlarged tongue
  • Slow speech
  • Puffiness of the hands and face
  • Problems with skin and hair
  • Drowsiness
  • Mental apathy

I have heard many people state that they are not fans of seaweed because it can taste “fishy.”  I have tried many roasted seaweed snacks and I am of the opinion that Sea’s Gift nori snacks are the best.  I personally don’t think they taste fishy in the slightest.  They are toasted and flavored with sesame oil and salt.  My kids absolutely gobble them up as do my nieces and nephew.  My sister said that on their last trip to Maui Costco was carrying huge boxes of them (Hawaii knows a good thing when they see it!).

I buy them a case at a time when I am at Mother’s Market because they give a 10% case discount.  I have also heard that some of the Trader Joe’s carry them as does Amazon.

I will leave you with this quote by Steven Schecter, N.D“There is no family of foods more protective against radiation and environmental pollutants than sea vegetables … sea vegetables can prevent assimilation of different radionuclitides, heavy metals such as cadmium, and other environmental toxins.”

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Filed under Detox, Gluten Free, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

THE CHINA STUDY

 The China Study is a very powerful book filled with decades of research by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.  I highly recommend this book if you are interested in learning more about plant based diets and why specifically they are beneficial for your health.  Below is an article from the New York Times Health section written by Tara Parker-Pope

 T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.

T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.

NUTRITION ADVICE FROM THE CHINA STUDY

By TARA PARKER-POPE

books

Six years ago a small Texas publisher released an obscure book written by a father-son research team. The work, based on a series of studies conducted in rural China and Taiwan, challenged the conventional wisdom about health and nutrition by espousing the benefits of a plant-based diet.

To everyone’s surprise, the book, called “The China Study,” has since sold 500,000 copies, making it one of the country’s best-selling nutrition titles. The book focuses on the knowledge gained from the China Study, a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine that showed high consumption of animal-based foods is associated with more chronic disease, while those who ate primarily a plant-based diet were the healthiest.

Last fall, former President Bill Clinton even cited the book in explaining how he lost 24 pounds by converting to a plant-based diet in hopes of improving his heart health. The president gave up dairy, switching to almond milk, and says he lives primarily on beans and other legumes, vegetables and fruit, although he will, on rare occasions, eat fish.

Recently, I spoke with T. Colin Campbell, a co-author of the book and professor emeritus at Cornell University, about the success of the book, the research behind it, and why he thinks the nation’s health woes can be solved by plant-based eating. Here’s our conversation.

Q.

How did you end up writing this book?

A.

I have been in the field for a long time and had a major research program at Cornell. We published a lot of research over the years. My program had a good reputation. I’d finally gotten to a point where we’d discovered a lot of things that were very exciting, things that were provocative. Finally I sat down to write the book, to tell my story.

Q.

What was so unusual about your story?

A.

In the beginning of my career I was teaching nutrition in a very classical sense. Nutrient by nutrient. That’s the way we did research, that’s the way I taught it. I came to believe, after doing the work we did in the Philippines and China, that there was a very different world of understanding nutrition. I ended up with a view now that is almost diametrically opposed to what I had when I started my career.

Q.

How have your views changed?

A.

I was raised on a dairy farm. I milked cows. I went away to graduate school at Cornell University, and I thought the good old American diet is the best there is. The more dairy, meat and eggs we consumed, the better. The early part of my career was focused on protein, protein, protein. It was supposed to solve the world’s ills. But when we started doing our research, we found that when we start consuming protein in excess of the amount we need, it elevates blood cholesterol and atherosclerosis and creates other problems.

The problem is that we study one nutrient out of context. That’s the way we did research — one vitamin at a time, one mineral, one fat. It was always in a reductionist, narrowly focused way. But I learned that protein is not quite what we thought it was. We’ve distorted our diet seriously through the ages, and we have all the problems we have because of that distortion.

What loomed large for me was that we shouldn’t be thinking in a linear way that A causes B. We should be thinking about how things work together. It’s a very complex biological system. The body is always trying to restore health every microsecond of our lives. How do we furnish the resources for the body to use? In order to try to understand that, we shouldn’t be giving ourselves individual nutrient supplements. We shouldn’t be trying to discover which gene causes what. But those two areas have become the major focus of research over the years.

Q.

So how should we be eating?

A.

I don’t use the word “vegan” or “vegetarian.” I don’t like those words. People who chose to eat that way chose to because of ideological reasons. I don’t want to denigrate their reasons for doing so, but I want people to talk about plant-based nutrition and to think about these ideas in a very empirical scientific sense, and not with an ideological bent to it.

The idea is that we should be consuming whole foods. We should not be relying on the idea that genes are determinants of our health. We should not be relying on the idea that nutrient supplementation is the way to get nutrition, because it’s not. I’m talking about whole, plant-based foods. The effect it produces is broad for treatment and prevention of a wide variety of ailments, from cancer to heart disease to diabetes.

Q.

Do you advocate a 100 percent plant-based diet?

A.

We eat that way, meaning my family, our five grown children and five grandchildren. We all eat this way now. I say the closer we get to a plant-based diet the healthier we are going to be.

It’s not because we have data to show that 100 percent plant-based eating is better than 95 percent. But if someone has been diagnosed with cancer or heart disease, it’s smart to go ahead and do the whole thing. If I start saying you can have a little of this, a little of that, it allows them to deviate off course. Our taste preferences change. We tend to choose the foods we become accustomed to, and in part because we become addicted to them, dietary fat in particular.

If we go to a plant-based diet, at first it might be difficult, but it turns out after a month or two our taste preferences change and we discover new tastes and feel a lot better, and we don’t want to go back. It’s not a religion with me, it’s just that the closer we get to a 100 percent plant-based diet, the better off we’re going to be.

Q.

Have you been surprised by the success of your book?

A.

I have been a little surprised. When I finished writing the book with my son, who had just finished medical school, I didn’t know how well it was going to do. We had an agent who shopped the manuscript around, and the publishers all wanted 60 to 70 percent of the pages to be recipes. I said, “That’s not my shtick.” They wanted me to dumb it down.

I went to a small publisher in Texas who let us do what we wanted to do. I didn’t want to proselytize and preach. I didn’t want to write a book that says, “This is the way it has to be.” It’s a chronology. Here’s how I learned it, and let the reader decide. I say, “If you don’t believe me, just try it.” They do, and they get results. And then they tell everybody else.

To read this article directly on the New York Times website click here

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Filed under Books, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian