Category Archives: General Vegan

BOOK REVIEW – The Lean

People often ask me if there are any plant based weight loss books that I recommend and while I definitely refer them to excellent books written by the likes of Drs McDougall, Fuhrman, Barnard, and my other favorite plant-based authors…I am adding another favorite to the list.

The Lean by Kathy Freston lays out a plan for transitioning (or rather “leaning”) into plant-based living that is so gentle and reasonable. Frequently people try to transition to plant-based eating too quickly and when they mis-step they trend back to their old ways. Kathy’s writes in such a non-judgmental and wonderfully guiding voice that the reader realizes they need to be gentle with themselves during the transition.

The Lean is a plan that is more about what is ADDED to your diet than what is taken out (though the animals products are eventually removed). When people focus on adding good quality food into their daily food plan, they naturally crowd out the undesirable food.

The concept of the book is that the reader will tackle one issue per day (each outlined in a chapter of the book). Kathy’s philosophy is that if it takes you longer than a day to add the new habit, then give yourself longer than a day before moving on to the next chapter.

Some of the easy nutritional modifications within The Lean are:

Day 7: Put a Little Flax On It
Day 14: Eat a Superfood
Day 16: Toss up a big bowl of Love, a.k.a. Salad
Day 25: Juice It!
Day 28: Do Something Purposeful

What I appreciate most about The Lean is its practicality.  If you live your life according to the principles found within The Lean, health will follow.

To purchase The Lean, click HERE.

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Filed under Books, Education, General Vegan, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE – Free Worldwide Online Premier

 

Hungry For Change, a movie from the makers of Food Matters, is hosting a FREE 10 Day Worldwide Online Premier MARCH 21 – 31 2012.  I just watched the movie trailer and am really enthused about how eye-opening this film promises to be.

“This inspiring film has the power to transform your health!” ~ Anthony Robbins

According to the producers:

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weightloss and food industry don’t want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more. 

Could the foods we are eating actually be keeping us stuck in the diet trap?

In this free online premiere event you’ll discover:

  • How to navigate your supermarket – what to buy and what to avoid
  • The real truth behind “DIET”, “SUGAR-FREE” and “FAT-FREE” products
  • How to overcome food addictions and cravings
  • Why fad diets dont work
  • What food additives to avoid and how to read labels
  • What is fat and cellulite and how do we get rid of it for good
  • The most effective detox and cleansing strategies, and
  • How to eat for clear eyes, glowing skin and healthy hair

I was really excited to see two of my favorite experts on the trailer, Kris Carr and Dr. Christiane Northrup.  This looks very promising…
Click HERE to sign-up for the premier.

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Filed under Alkaline, Cancer, Cholesterol, Cleansing, Diabetes, Education, Fat, General Vegan, pH, Research, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues

ASK GRETTIE – Stumped By Tempeh

My latest Ask Grettie column on Chic Vegan.

I just tried tempeh for the first time at a restaurant today and really liked it, but I am not sure how to prepare it on my own.  Do you have any tips, or recipe suggestions for preparing tempeh?

Thanks,
Monica

Hi Monica!

I am glad to hear that you like tempeh.  Tempeh is a wonderful source of protein and is further beneficial due to the fact that it is fermented.  In addition, cooking with tempeh is a great way to add protein to your meals without buying processed meat substitutes.  As with anything in life, moderation is key since tempeh can be high in fat.

I understand that tempeh can be a bit intimidating to prepare, but once you cook with it a few times you will realize that it is actually very easy to work with.  Tempeh can be prepared using the same methods that are used to cook meat (barbecuing, baking, broiling, stir-frying) .  One of my favorite ways to use tempeh is as a ground beef substitute.  Sarah Matheny of “Peas and Thank You” likes to make ground meat substitutes with tempeh by grating it.  You simply take the block of tempeh and grate it on your cheese grater then add it to your recipe.  Alternatively you can crumble a block of tofu with your fingers or pulse it in your food processor and garner the same results.

TIP – Some people find tempeh to be slightly bitter.  If you steam the tempeh for 20 minutes, the bitterness disappears.

Recipe Ideas

  • Peas and Thank You is a blog with a lot of recipes that include tempeh and it is a great place to start.  Sarah just came out with her first book, Peas and Thank You – Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love and it is a worthwhile purchase (For my review of the book click here).
  • Vegetarian Times is also a great resource for tempeh recipes and they have a great recipe search function on their site that I am sure you will find helpful.  Their recipe for tempeh bacon has a four star rating.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Cooking is an art form and can be a lot of fun to play around with.  Once you make a few recipes containing tempeh you will have the confidence to whip-up meals containing tempeh without even following a recipe.  Let me know if you come across some winning recipes along the way since I am always looking for recommendations as well.

Here’s to health!

Gretchen

**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her at askgrettie@chicvegan.com .**

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoosvanrobin/with/5455578241/

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Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, Food Substitutions, General Vegan, Protein, Vegan, Vegetarian

DOUG LISLE – Q & A

As promised, here is the Q and A that followed Doug Lisle’s Pleasure Trap presentation  (click HERE for my recap of his presentation).  Doug has some great suggestions and insights.

The questions below are written exactly as they were asked.

QUESTION – When everyone around you is eating crap, how do you stay on track?

When you go to drug rehab, everyone supports you and it is acceptable to make the decision to stay away from old friends and bad influences.  The same does not hold true when you are trying to kick your food addictions.  While food addiction is not as potent as drug addiction, it can actually be a harder habit to kick because there is generally very little support and it is not acceptable in our society to distance yourself from people merely because they are bad food influences in your life.

I suggest you tell people you are conducting an experiment.  Tell them that you read a book that makes sense to you, so you are going to give this way of eating a try.  Be humble and tell people that it is probably just a wacky idea and may be wrong (that takes people off their guard), but you want to try it.

QUESTION – If you have eaten a lot of crap in your life, are you more susceptible to being sucked back into eating the crap?

We will never know because we have ALL been exposed.

QUESTION – Since we naturally want to conserve energy, how do we add exercise into the equation?

Some people like to exercise hard (though not most people) and some people like to do social exercise.  For most people, in order to stick with exercise, there has to be an additional benefit from the exercise (i.e social interaction).

QUESTION – How do you get children eating healthier and more plant-based?

I only really care about dairy.  They have plenty of years to see the light later, because they generally won’t end-up with cancer or heart disease until their 20s.

Dairy is a HUGE proponent of auto-immune disease and can make children very sick (He mentioned that some children have a 1 in 16 chance of getting diabetes…THIS is what I found when trying to research that statistic).

They can choose their later life, but we choose this for them and it’s not fair for us to choose the possibility of auto-immune diseases for them.

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Filed under Children, Education, Events, General Vegan, Junk Food, Weight Issues

BOOK REVIEW – Healthy Eating Healthy World

In a word, Healthy Eating Healthy World is groundbreaking. Never before have I seen such a multi-faceted look at the power of plant-based nutrition. J. Morris Hicks (With Stanfield Hicks) examines the destructive nature of meat consumption on our environment as well as our personal health while also delving into the cruelty animals experience on factory farms, and the horrendous issue of human starvation throughout the world. Hicks successfully demonstrates the causal relationship between the SAD (Standard American Diet) and the aforementioned issues.

  • In all, raising livestock accounts for 78 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet. –Page 72
  • To produce one kilo of potatoes requires 100 litres of water; to produce the same amount of beef requires 13,000 litres of water. -Page 78
  • [T]o feed a single person the typical Western diet (heavy with animal products) for a year requires 3.25 acres of arable land. To feed one vegan requires about 1/6 of an acre. -Page 109.

These facts force one to go inward and examine how one can in all good conscience eat the hamburger that contributes so strongly to the hunger of others.  If we were to use the feed given to animals to feed humans I have to think we would be moving in the direction of a solution.

While reading Healthy Eating Healthy World I was struck by the ease with which J. Morris Hicks was able to join together such a comprehensive amount of information with regards to plant-based eating. From the health benefits, to the scientific evidence behind those benefits, to Doug Lisle’s research on why we are so addicted to the very foods we need to be avoiding (The Pleasure Trap), to the HOWS of living a plant based lifestyle. So many books focus solely on the problems our world is facing, and while this book definitely explains those issues, the solutions are detailed as well.

  • In August 2010, for the first time ever, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that they will pay for intensive diet and exercise programs developed under the Ornish and Pritikin brands for reducing cardiovascular event risk. -Page 17

When I read that I practically jumped for joy.  We are starting to see REAL solutions.  Nutrition-based healing vs. drug dependency is going to propel this nation toward health.  While medication can be lifesaving during acute illness, nutritional excellence can achieve true healing versus the masking of symptoms long-term medication provides.

Along those same lines, Hicks digs his heels into the inefficiency and corruption that exists within the health insurance and food industries.  We have hospitals charging $8 for a single Motrin (personal experience) and nutritional researchers being financed by the food industry itself.

  • [A]nother found 34% of the primary authors of 800 papers in molecular biology and medicine to be involved in patents, to serve on advisory committees, or to hold personal shares in companies that might benefit from the research. -Page 145 

I don’t know what the solution is, however if people are not aware of the problem, the solution to it will not be found.  For that reason I am thrilled that Hicks is bringing these issues to light.  

As I mentioned above, Hicks does take the time to explain HOW one can healthfully follow a whole food plant-based diet. 42 pages of the book are dedicated to educating the reader about nutrition and WHAT to eat.  My hope is that the reader will be inspired by what they have learned and push further into the subject matter by reading the works of Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

I highly recommend Healthy Eating Healthy World for those who are looking for a concise yet wonderfully in-depth and well-rounded book that truly does bring all of the issues into the same room.  These issues are truly interdependent.

 

To read my interview of J. Morris Hicks on Chic Vegan click HERE

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Filed under Animal Welfare, Books, Education, Farming, General Vegan, Metabolic Syndrome, Research, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

STEP BACK TO GO FORWARD

I spend time at the beginning of each year reflecting on the past year and creating goals both personally and professionally for the New Year.

When looking back at 2011, I feel like I accomplished a fair amount, yet I believe I failed somewhat in my goal to inspire my family to crave more meatless meals. Upon reflection I now realize that I tried to do too much too fast, which is something I have definitely been guilty of historically. I made the mistake of not “bridging the gap” enough when preparing our meals. It is REALLY hard for massively carnivorous people to go cold turkey and eat beans and grains as the basis of some of their evening meals.   It was also foolish of me to expect that they would quickly start craving whole food plant-based meals as much as I do. Becoming vegan was a process for me and did not happen overnight…I should not expect that my family would not need to go through the same process as I did when learning to eat more meatless meals.

So, I am going to try something new this year. While we will definitely still consume many whole food plant-based meals, I will also be adding some faux meats into some of our dinners. This is a means to an end. I don’t plan on cooking this way forever, by do want to use the faux meats as a stepping stone to help my family realize that they can learn to love some whole food plant-based meals.

Sometimes in life we need to be wise enough to realize when a new approach is needed.

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Filed under Education, General Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian

CLEANSE FOOD LOG – Day 5

My biggest challenge today was not going out to dinner.  Usually by Friday I am toast and despite the fact that I love to cook, I don’t feel like cooking.  I wanted to go to one of my favorite Peruvian restaurants (They make an awesome veggie plate) and my husband felt like it would be too tempting for him.  I am more than happy to support him in this since I am so proud of how well he is doing.  He had a business restaurant at a steakhouse today and ended-up eating tomato soup and an artichoke (Yay!  He made such great choices.).

FRIDAY

  • 7:15 am – Small bowl of watermelon and pineapple
  • 8:30 am – Had the usual bowl of cut-up Fuji apple, pear, banana, pomegranate, and cinnamon, BUT also added a very ripe persimmon into the mix and it was fantastic.
  • 9:30 -10:30 am – Pilates reformer class.  The instructor kicked our butts!  I can’t tell if that class was super duper extra hard or if I was a little lower on energy.

  • 11:00 am – Checked-out the new farmer’s market in town and sampled some strawberries.  I was really excited to see so many people there.  The parking lot was a battleground (Reminded me of the mall during the holidays!).
  • 12:00 pm – Finished the chocolate banana pudding I made last night.  I was surprised to see how well it held-up in the fridge overnight.
  • 12:30 pm – Salad made with slivered cucumber, slivered red bell pepper, organic pea shoots, seaweed salad, and lite rice wine vinegar.  I also had a few pickles on the side (Odd combo…but tasted good at the time).
  • 2:00 pm –  Handful of grapes from the farmer’s market.
  • 3:15 pm – Another handful of grapes.
  • 3:45 pm – Some roasted nori and Brothers-All-Natural freeze dried Asian Pears
  • 5:30 pm – Just came home and I am STARVING.  Eating grapes while baking some potatoes.
  • 6:20 pm – 1 1/2 baked potatoes (on the smaller side), bruschetta, roasted cauliflower, and a bowl of veggie soup.
  • 9:00 pm – I plan on having a bowl of pomegranate seeds

Have a great weekend!  TGIF.

To read Jeff’s food log for day 5 click HERE.

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Filed under Cleansing, Cleansing, Detox, Education, General Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

CLEANSE FOOD LOG – Day 4

We are going through an incredible amount of produce right now (makes me happy!), so I need to head-off to the store at some point today to buy more bananas.  On Monday or Tuesday (can’t remember) I bought 3 huge bunches of bananas and we only have 2 individual bananas left!

It is hard to believe that we are already on day 4 of the cleanse.  I am noticing that my skin looks smoother and more moisturized.  I am also taking on more of the natural “tan” look that comes with eating this way (Thank you carrots and peppers!).  I always know that I am getting in enough beta carotene when someone asks me if I just got back from vacation.

If you are following along on the cleanse how have you been feeling???  I’d love to hear from you.

THURSDAY

  • 6:30 am – Tall glass of water
  • 7:30 am – Fruit salad just like I had yesterday morning (banana, pear, apple, pomegranate seeds, cinnamon)
  • 8:00 am – Per my husband’s request I just cooked up an even bigger batch of Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry…that stuff is seriously good!  Didn’t eat any yet since I wasn’t hungry.
  • 9:00 am – Another banana
  • 10:45 am – Elliptical for 50 minutes
  • 12:00 pm – HUGE salad (pictured above) with romaine, iceberg, seaweed salad, roasted cauliflower, roasted broccoli, grape tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and lite rice wine vinegar.  The salad was huge as I mentioned, so I was full after eating a little over half of it.
  • 1:45 pm – Finished the rest of the salad and snacked on a little watermelon.
  • 3:00 pm – Made a smoothie of frozen strawberries, fresh pineapple, fresh bananas, apple, and some water for my husband, son, daughter and her friend…took a few sips equaling probably about 1/2 cup.
  • 3:20 pm – Snacked on some more watermelon.
  • 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm – Sipped on 24 ounces cold water with a scoop of NanoGreens
  • 6:00 pm – Dinner was a small baked potato (hubby was begging for one) topped with fresh bruschetta, roasted cauliflower on the side, and a small bowl of Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry
  • 7:00 pm – Chocolate banana pudding made in the Vitamix.  Made with a sweet potato, fresh banana, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and 3 frozen bananas.  I AM SO FULL RIGHT NOW!!!  I am quite sure this will be it for me for the night…can’t imagine eating any more!

Today I struggled a bit with cravings from 3pm until dinner.  When you do a cleanse like this you don’t experience the same kind of FULL that you experience when you eat a plant-based diet that is supplemented with grains, beans, and nuts.  But knowing that makes getting through it easier.

Enjoy the rest of your evening!

To read Jeff’s food log for Day 4 click HERE.

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Filed under Cleansing, Cleansing, Detox, Education, Food Journal, General Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

VIDEO – How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

At the beginning of the year I spent some time thinking about where I want to take Veggie Grettie and setting some goals.  One of my goals was to make video available on the site…done!

The video from this past Sunday’s Doug Lisle presentation of How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind is now available on the Forks Over Knives YouTube channel.

To read my recap of the presentation click HERE.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Education, Events, General Vegan, Heart Health, Junk Food, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues

DOUG LISLE EVENT – How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

One of the superstars of healthy living, Doug Lisle PdD, is coming to Los Angeles on January 8, 2012, and you can hear him!

The topic of this talk is “How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind.”  This is a presentation you absolutely want to hear, if you can attend (I will be there and would love to meet you).

Dr. Lisle is the psychologist for the McDougall Wellness Program as well as True North Health.  He is the co-author of the bestseller, The Pleasure Trap, and a highly entertaining speaker.

The event takes place from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday, January 8, at the South Bay Adventist Church in Redondo Beach, CA.  Food at the event is catered by Chef AJ.

For more info and to purchase tickets, visit: www.EatUnprocessed.com or call 818-986-1325

THIS LECTURE WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE LIVE ON FORKS OVER KNIVES LIVESTREAM CHANNEL (CLICK HERE)

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Filed under Education, Events, General Vegan, Metabolic Syndrome, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues