PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch this documentary. It will change your life!
I am a HUGE believer in this type of eating (and am almost there) and this documentary is extremely motivating. I recently finished reading The China Study by Robert Campbell, and this is the video version of his book. The Mr. was even excited to watch it with me. We are not perfect, but have noticed significant changes in ourselves since we started eating a more plant-based diet. Some people make fun of us, but trust me we are so not deprived. We’ve never felt so good or tasted such good flavors, or had so much energy. When you make a commitment to eat REAL whole foods, you will see instant results. That is the best hour and a half I have spent in a long time. Watch it! Let me know how it goes.
We made it safe and sound and fairly hassle free! We’re all settled in and I made our first classic NY dish tonight. Nothing gets you more in the New York spirit than a good plate of Bruschetta. I used to hate tomatoes, and this is one of the appetizers that helped me start to like them. I’m still not totally there (I can’t eat a whole tomato by itself with salt and pepper), but I am getting much better.
This literally took 15 minutes to make, start to finish, and that includes washing the basil, grating the garlic, etc. Easy easy, and the best part is that most of these ingredients are usually in the pantry, so it makes a fast, easy, last minutes meal.
Caprese Bruschetta (original recipe from For the Love of Cooking).
- whole wheat baguette
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, diced (this is FRESH mozzarella…different than regular mozarella you buy in a block. It is softer and usually sold in a ball in the cheese section of the deli)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic
- sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil
Drizzle some olive oil in a skillet and place sliced bread in the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the bottom is a nice golden color. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove bread from the skillet and place on a platter.
Mix the diced tomatoes, chopped basil, and diced mozzarella together in a bowl; add the minced garlic, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, white balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Mix until evenly combined.
Place spoonfuls of the caprese salad on each slice of baguette. Serve immediately. Enjoy.
The Mr.: Raved about it. He loves this tomatoes, basil, and mozarella together. He ate about 5 slices.
Tornado: He ate it, just not all of it.
The Wild One: Liked it, but thought the tomatoes were “spicy.”
Tonight we are headed back to The Big Apple for a few months. It is going to take a little while to get settled, so stay tuned for more health updates….urban style!
Last Saturday I got two huge bunches of spinach in my Bountiful Basket. I already had five (no joke) heads of lettuce in my fridge, so I needed to find something to do with spinach other than make salads. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a great recipe. I increased the amounts to make about 6 quesadillas. Here it is.
Spinach Feta Quesadillas (original recipe from closet cooking)
- 2 big bunches spinach, steamed and squeezed to drain
- 3 tablespoon herbs (a combination of mint, dill and parsley), chopped
- 3 green onion, sliced
- 6 tablespoons feta, crumbled
- 6 (8 inch) tortillas
- 3 cup handfuls kasseri or mozzarella, shredded
- Mix the spinach, herbs, green onions and feta in a bowl.
- Melt a touch of butter in a pan.
- Place a tortilla into the pan, swirl it around in the butter and repeat with the second tortilla.
- Sprinkle half of the cheese on the tortilla followed by the filling, the remaining cheese and finally the other tortilla.
- Cook until the quesadilla is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted, about 2-4 minutes per side. (Tip: To easily flip the quesadilla place a plate onto the quesadilla in the pan and flip it from the pan to the plate and then slide it back into the pan.
Me: I am not a huge fan of cooked greens (mostly because of the texture), but the flavor combination was great.
The Mr.: Loved it
The Wild One: I forced him to eat one bite. That’s all he wanted.
Tornado: Didn’t touch it!
It’s okay to have a dinner fail with the kids every now and then. I don’t force it. I just keep offering it until they like it.
Wow, did you think I would ever get through that book? Neither did I! Now I can finally watch the Documentary: Forks Over Knives with an objective view. Here’s the last of the summaries, and my favorite thus far. (Parts 1 and 2 here, here, here, and here).
Part III – The Good Nutrition Guide
Americans love to hear good things about their bad habits. He is trying to eliminate confusion on nutrition.
Chapter 11: Eating Right. Eight Principles of Food and Health
- Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health. Nutrients are better when consumed as food.
- There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.
- Genes do not determine disease on their own. Genes function only by being activated or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed.
- Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals. One surprising thing he said: ”You aren’t doing yourself much good by eating organic beef instead of conventional beef that’s been pumped full of chemicals. The organic beef might be marginally healthier, but I would never say that it was a safe choice. Both types of beef have a similar nutrient profile.”
- The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis).
- Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.
- Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected. Being a runner, I see this often, so I was happy to hear him put it straight: “People wonder if they can erase bad eating habits by being a runner. The answer to this is no.”
Chapter 12: How to Eat
- Supplements are not needed, except B12 and vitamin D for those who spend no time outside or live in cold climates. That’s it.
- Try to eliminate meat, but do not obsess over it.
- Try to do it cold turkey. It is easier to quit smoking all at once instead of cutting back to 3 cigarettes a day, and then 2 and then 1. Just do it cold turkey.
- Some tips to help with the transition: eating plant-based it cheaper! It’s worth it. Eat well – you will feel satisfied. Eat enough. Weight loss will be a natural side effect, but don’t go hungry. Eat a variety.
Part IV – Why Haven’t You Heard This Before?
- p.249 “There are powerful, influential, and enormously wealthy industries that stand to lose a vast amount of money if Americans start shifting to a plant-based diet. Their financial health depends on controlling what the public knows about nutrition and health.” Scary.
- p. 250 “The entire system - government, science, medicine, industry and media-promotes profits over healthy, technology over food and confusion over clarity. Most…of the confusion about nutrition is created in legal, fully disclosed ways and is disseminated by unsuspecting, well-intentioned people.”
Chapter 13: Science – The Dark Side
Campbell shares a personal experience about being hired by the FDA to be chair of a committee of scientists investigating the potential hazards of using nutrient supplements. He was early in his career and had no strong opinions about nutrition. He just wanted to promote honest and open debate. He quickly found that he was the chicken in the wolves den. He wanted to expose truth, but the committee wanted more to promote what they needed to for their organization, including publishing fraudulent health claims.
Chapter 14: Scientific Reductionism
It has been a longstanding trend that the media focuses in on individual nutrients
The emphasis on low-fat has promoted the invention of all kinds of “healthy” low-fat foods, so now you can still eat all the junk you wanted before and not feel guilty about it, because it is “good for you.”
He exposes several flaws in the famous Nurses’s Health Study. Virtually all the subjects under the study consumed diets that cause disease. It focused on fat consumption, which was low, but the foods being consumed were anything but healthy.
What is not healthy to feed your child?
We thought Tornado swallowed a pipe cleaner, so we spent the evening of Mother’s Day in Urgent Care. BUT, I really felt like I was fulfilling my motherly duties, so it was appropriate.
Luckily, as The Mr. puts it, the only thing we found in his esophagus was a couple of overprotective parents.
Here we are getting some x-rays.
Phew! Hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day!
Had to include this awesome picture of some random cowgirl in love with an apple. I love it.
Happy Weekend everyone! I am so looking forward to relaxing and having fun with the fam.
Here’s a peak at what we all ate today. A pretty yummy spread.
- Pumpkin Muffins (a yummy healthy recipe coming your way soon)
- Sandwiches with Organic Turkey and Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Raisins and Oatmeal Cookies
- Nacho Bar with homemade refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, olives, tomatoes, green onions, Corn Tortilla Chips (less than 5 ingredients) and cheese
I just noticed I didn’t have ANY vegetables! Woops. Gotta make up for it tomorrow I guess.
Hello Fello Granola Moms.
Has your husband ever gone out of town for 3 weeks and then you had 5 gazillion people come to visit and stay at your house? And then there was a death/funeral in the family, and then your sister in law and hubby moved in? It’s fun! We have had a busy few weeks over here. I’m actually sooooo grateful we had so much company because it kept the chil’ens entertained, and helped 3 weeks go by faster. Anyway, long story short- The Mr. is now back from ASIA and I am getting back to my old self. I promise a great post tomorrow. Thanks for not giving up on me.
Peace out homies.
I went for a great run this morning, then came home and read THIS article…on the computer…while sitting at a desk. It says people who exercise and then go to work actually end up sitting more than on days when they don’t exercise. Yikes. And then I thought about it. When I have a hard workout, I DO feel like I deserve to take it a bit more easy during the day, and I DO! Why is that? When I don’t get a workout in, it seems I am always trying to find a way to make up for it by being extra active with the kids. It sure made me think about how I spend my time during the day. Granted I am not sitting as much as when I was working full time, but still, I could probably watch a few episodes less of Netflix a week and do something productive.
Interesting studies from the article:
- A group of men had a leg muscle biopsied, then used crutches for two days, without putting any pressure on the biopsied leg, so the muscles wouldn’t contract. Then they biopsied the muscles in both legs. Results: genes were now being expressed differently! In the un-used leg, DNA repair was being disrupted, insulin response was dropping, and metabolic activity was dropping. It only took 2 days! (sidenote: I have ALWAYS wanted to participate in a study where my muscle was biopsied. I am fascinated by that stuff.)
- Check this out: A group of men were studied over several years who reported their lifestyle habits and exercise habits. Those who exercised for more than 7 hours a week, but spent 7 hours in front of the tv were more likely to die prematurely than those who exercised seven hours but only watched 1 hour of tv a day. (sidenote: Who watches 7 hours of tv a day??)
- Even cooler: One study had a group sit completely still for 7 hours. Another day they rose every 20 minutes and walked on a treadmill for 2 minutes. Another day they jogged instead of walked. Results: When they sat still, blood sugar spiked and insulin was out of whack. When they walked every 20 minutes, blood sugar levels remained normal. Jogging didn’t make that much of a difference. What mattered was standing intermittently.
Made me think of my good friend Ted (props to you!) who has a desk treadmill, AND he uses it. I’ll bet his blood sugar levels are the stable-est in the office.
So, my new goal for the next few days is to take small standing/walking breaks during those rare quiet stretches of time where I am catching up on emails and blogging. If only I had this piece of information when I was in college. Organic Chemistry is enough to knock anyone out, but 1:00 pm after lunch, and a 90 minute class? ouch! I was head-bobbing every time.
Looking for a way to get more veggies? This recipe is pretty awesome. It’s not completely the same as normal pizza, but it’s yummy. I had waaaay more cauliflower than I knew what to do with, so I searched until I found this on pinterest (gotta love it). I doubled my recipe and it served 4 adults and 2 kids.
Here it is:
cauliflower crust pizza (originally from Eat. Drink. Smile)
- 1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- olive oil (optional)
pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*
To “Rice” the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (some microwaves are more powerful than others, so you may need to reduce this cooking time). There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.
One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To Make the Pizza Crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9″ round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).
*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.
My kiddos gobbled it up and didn’t even realize it wasn’t “real” pizza. I’ll take it!