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Variety is one of the most important components for Plant Based Diets!
"Conscious Eating" is the best thing you can do for you, and our planet! What is good for the Macro is also good for the Micro!
One of the best things you can do to make your new, and healthier
eating habits easier is to get as many nutrients as you can from the
foods you eat. Pay attention to the color of foods, where they come
from, and are they whole or processed? Are you buying local and organic
when possible? This will make you actually feel better while you are
becoming more conscious of how you eat.
I mostly recommend making your own foods so you can control the ingredients. However, it is not always possible for people to transition to this right away. We can discuss which option is better for you based on your lifestyle.
People often ask me what I eat, and honesty it is about an 80/20% of eating mostly plant based foods, occasionally eating eggs and fish, and sometimes some cheese. I like to call myself a "Flexitarian"; the term was coined by Mark Bittman from the NY Times.
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Good sources of plant based proteins include:
lentils, chic peas (garbonzo beans), edamame beans (soy beans), quinoa, tempeh, hemp seeds, avocado (also has good fat) or any type of bean.
Mix with brown rice to make a whole protein. Sprouted
whole grains like those found in Ezekiel Bread are good sources for
protein and grain. Other grains that can be mixed with your protein sources are: Millet, Oatmeal, Quinoa etc... You
also get small amounts of protein in vegetable greens. If you eat a
variety of fruits, vegetables and grains throughout the day, and also
get some of the above everyday, you should get all the protein you need
to be both healthy, and fuel exercise. However, if you don't feel you will be able to eat the larger amount of plant based protein needed when not eating meet, you may need to supplement protein.
If you are not ready to go full on with eating plant based foods only, try eating eggs, but not meat (yes, this includes chicken, turkey and fish) or butter. Eggs are a great way to get a low-calorie protein. And, last but not least, if you can't do the no meat thing completely, try keeping it at only fish and eggs in moderate amounts and abundant amounts of whole fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Weil's Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup
I like to cook the squash first, sliced in half, face down in a small
amount of water before I roast the vegetables because it is easier to
cut. This also means you only have to roast the vegetables for about 30
minutes. You can also buy pre-cut butternut squash.
1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut,
buttercup or kabocha; peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tart, firm apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and red chile powder to taste
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth (you can make your own if you like by simply boiling chopped onions, garlic, celery, salt and seasonings of your choice then straining to make broth)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, toss the squash, onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with the salt and chile. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
2. Put half of the vegetables and 2 cups of the broth in your vitamix blender or a food processor and puree until smooth. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth. Return pureed mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more broth. Correct the seasoning and heat to a simmer.
3. Serve in warm bowls with dollops of cilantro-walnut pesto.
1 cup walnut pieces
2 cups cilantro leaves, washed, drained and stemmed
1 green jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1. Put the walnuts in a food processor and grind them fine.
2. Add the cilantro, jalapeno pepper, salt, vinegar and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and blend. Blend in a little more water if necessary to make a thick sauce. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
You can use the edamame dip either as a dip for vegetables or with this tortilla and vegetable recipe below. The photos show how I prepare the whole thing together.
This is a great way to get your protein!
Edamame, Cilantro & Garlic Vegetable Dip
1 package 12 oz of organic, non-GMO, soybeans out of the pod
3/4 cup fresh cilantro (if you like Cilantro, add more!)
1/2 of a fresh orange pepper or red bell pepper (if you love these add more!)
1/4 fresh jalepeno pepper or spicy pepper (optional)
1/2 cup organic, low sodium vegetable broth. Add more if you feel the texture is not creamy enough (Imagine is a good brand)
2 green onions (or 1/4 to 1/2 of a red onion)
1 clove garlic
1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado
Squeeze 1/2 or one whole of a lemon into mixture
Salt to taste (optional)
Prepare the edamame (soybeans) as directed. In your Vitamix or high powered blender, add the cooked beans.
Add the cilantro, bell pepper, jalapeno, vegetable broth, green onion, garlic, avocado and the juice from the lemon to the beans in the blender. Blend until creamy. If dip does not turn to a "dip" or creamy texture, you can add more of the vegetable broth until it reaches your preferred consistency. Add salt if needed to suit your taste.
Variations of the Edamame Dip; eliminate the pepper and use the entire bunch of Cilantro; instead of vegetable broth, add water...just add more garlic, onions and seasoning because the water will "water down" the taste a bit.
Turmeric seasoned Vegetable Filling
1 small head of Cauliflower
1 red or orange bell pepper
1 small bunch green onions
1/4 red onion
1 small bunch of asparagus
1 8 oz cup of mushrooms
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
Turmeric, Cumin, Chipotle Seasoning (optional), salt
*vegetable broth (optional)
Tip: to add iron to a vegetarian diet, use a cast iron pan
Finely chop, cauliflower, bell pepper, green onions, red onions, asparagus, mushrooms. Heat olive oil at medium heat and add all the above ingredients. Add the turmeric, cumin, chipotle, and salt to your taste (or about one tablespoon of each spice, and one teaspoon of salt). Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 or 15 minutes turning regularly to avoid sticking.
Trim the fresh cilantro onto the vegetable filling after the vegetables are cooked.
*You can also add a little vegetable broth if you want a more moist filling.
Heat corn tortillas then spread the edamame dip on one side of tortilla then add a small amount of the vegetable filling so that the tortillas close nicely. Heat the corn tortillas with the mixture in them so they maintain their shape better. Then serve!
This is a recipe that I eat
often and whenever I bring it or prepare it, I get numerous
compliments. It is so easy and tasty! The key is to get some of each of
the ingredients below in every bite.
up leaves of spinach so that they are bite size (this allows you to get
more of the spinach without it overwhelming the taste of the other
ingredients), add pistachio nuts, avocado, and a small amount of feta
cheese...just enough to get some in every bite (you can replace feta
cheese with nutritional yeast if you want to be dairy free, but the feta sure adds flavor).
Toss with your favorite balsamic vinegar
The seasoning amounts below are estimates and you should season to your taste as you may have slightly different amounts since squash sizes will vary
1 Butternut Squash (or buy it already chopped to avoid preparing)
1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Red pepper
2 Green onions
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1 small can enchilada sauce
1/2 Teaspoon cumin
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne Pepper (for spicy flavor)
1/4 Finely diced jalapeno (optional)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 to 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Almond Flour*
*optional,gives it a nice crusty topping that has the appearance of cheese
You can buy pre-cut butternut squash to make it easy and skip having to cut up the squash! All you do it is cook and cream it.
Or, quarter the butternut squash and clean out the seeds and strings. Place face down quartered squash into 1/4 in. water in a baking dish. Bake squash at 375 for approximately one hour or until the squash can be made into a creamy texture using a potato masher.
Cream the squash with part of the cilantro,all the cinnamon, some of the red bell peppers, 1/4 crushed red pepper, all of the olives and some of the green onions in a blender or Vitamix, and a little salt to taste.
Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce into a baking pan, and dip tortillas in enchilada sauce as well. Fill the tortillas with the squash mixture. Pour a little more of the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.
Meanwhile, saute the remaining green onion and red pepper on medium heat in olive oil until slightly tender (about 5 minutes).
Sprinkle over the enchiladas along with the uncooked cilantro and tomato.
Bake at 375 for 1/2 hour or until corners crisp.
If desired, at the last 15 minutes of baking,sprinkle almond flour to add a crisp topping.
This lasagna should serve 2 people for at least 3 meals.Note: If you prefer a meatier taste to your lasagna, you can add one of the many imitation soy meats available on the market like Morningstar Farms sausage. Just brown and add to the sauce.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small head of garlic, chopped, slivered, or pressed
8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
1 head of fresh broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 package of soy mozzarella (imitation) cheese (found in Tofu or health food section) (Optional)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 jars sauce or homemade sauce
(read labels carefully here. There can be quite a bit of unnecessary sugar or other things added to sauces. Look for heart smart, low-cal, then read the ingredients. Or, you can make your own using pure tomatoe paste and fresh tomatoes. Add garlic onions, and whatever seasoning you choose along with small amounts of red wine and extra virgin olive oil and let it simmer for hours! The aroma is wonderful!)
2 boxes 100% whole grain lasagna noodles
(you may have to search for this so sometimes it is best to go to a "Whole Foods" type market and stock on up on this. One brand that Whole Foods sells is called Hodson Mill. This pasta is not only 100% whole grain, but also made with milled flax seed which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. If you can find it, buy a few. It is more expensive, but your health is worth it!)
16 ounces of frozen Kale, or Spinach (you can also use fresh, but remember, you can buy kale or spinach and freeze so you have it on hand for baking and green smoothies)
2 yams or sweet potatoes, baked or steamed then mashed
5 or 6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
1 cup raw cashews or pistachio nuts, ground
Preheat oven to 400. Saute the onion and garlic on high heat in the olive oil for 3 minutes in a cast iron pan or wok. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms are browned. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Leave whatever liquid is left in the pan to saute the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom mixture. Saute the pepper and corn just until they begin to soften. Add them to the mixture. Add spices to the mixture.
Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodes. Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy. Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce. Add the kale or spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the kale or spinach with sliced imitation soy mozzarella (this mozzarella is better if it is not on top because it can become "rubbery" if it is cooked on top. Cover the the kale and mozzarella with the mashed yam or sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes (and more mushrooms if you have extra).
Cover with foil and bake in oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and top with nut mixture then return to oven for an additional 15 minutes or until nut mixture is golden.
Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
My client, Rick, let me sample this right before one of our sessions, and it was delicious!
2-3 shitake mushrooms cut into bite size pieces
20-25 brussel sprouts halved
3 red onions quartered and divided
2-3 tbl spoons olive oil
Season All (McCormick's) LOTS!! to taste
3/4 cup almonds chopped
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and let stand in refrigerator for a couple hours.
preheat oven to 325
spread vegis on a large cookie sheet
sprinkle with the almonds and bake for 20/25 mins
For softer vegis simply cook a little longer.
You can substitute brussel sprouts with asparagus/ broccoli/eggplant.
Mushrooms have been found to have a variety of health benefits including significant amounts of vitamin D.
(This recipe can be used as a base for other recipes that call for chicken stock or vegetable stock including using the base for flavoring in any recipe...not just soup! It has a "meatier" flavor as opposed to some vegetable stock recipes)
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup quartered Crimini mushrooms
(or slightly more mushrooms if you are trying to get them into your diet)
1/2 cup chopped parsnips
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 large garlic cloves
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine above ingredients in a roasting pan and drizzle oil over all. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Roast for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and add 2 cups of water to roasting pan and stir to scrape up brown bits from the bottom. Add 6 more cups of water and add the remaining ingredients which are:
1 cup Swiss chard
1/2 cup thinly sliced leek
1/2 cup parsley
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1 large fresh thyme sprig or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
You can either strain all the above ingredients or puree them. If you like a thicker base then puree, for thinner base you can strain. With the straining method, you will retain the liquid, but discard the mixture. More nutrients are retained if you choose the puree method.
Swiss Chard, Nectarine, and Avocado Salad recipe; Swiss Chard is loaded with nutrients just like Kale! However, Swiss Chard does not quite have the bitter taste that Kale has. It has a much more subtle, and some-what peppery taste. Look for the large green leafs with red stems. When you make the salad, use the whole leaf including the stem because the red part is also loaded with nutrients. **Add some canned, wild caught salmon or chicken if you would like meat. Here are the ingredients:
One serving: 1 whole large leaf including stem of Swiss Chard; 1/4 Nectarine w/ skin; 1 green onion; 1/4 avocado diced; 1 tablespoon Feta Cheese; 1/8 cup Pistachio nuts (anyone who knows me knows I love this nut...and, it is lower in fat than other nuts...for even lower fat..try pepitas)
1 whole head of cauliflower
2 whole garlic cloves
2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup non-fat or low-fat milk
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and Pepper to your taste
Steam broken up cauliflower head until tender enough to fall apart with fork (this is only about 10 or 15 minutes..much quicker than potatoes!). Meanwhile roast the 2 large cloves of garlic (still in their skin) in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400. Remove cloves of garlic when they are soft enough to mash then peal the skin from the garlic. Put cauliflower, garlic, olive oil, milk, peprika and salt and pepper in the blender on low until you reach a smooth and creamy texture. Add small dashes of milk as you blend if consistency is too lumpy. The texture of cauliflower mashed potatoes is much smoother than real potatoes! Yields approximately 8 1/2 cup servings. Double the recipe for larger groups.
Spicey Red Lentils, Ethiopian Style
Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add turmeric, paprika and cayenne pepper and stir rapidly to color oil and cook spices through, about 30 seconds. Add onion puree and sauté on medium heat until excess moisture evaporates and onion loses its raw aroma, about 5-10 minutes. Do not burn.
Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and simmer till lentils are cooked through and fall apart, about 30-40 minutes. Add water if necessary to keep from drying out. This should be the consistency of a thick paste so that it can be scooped up with injera (Ethiopian Style Flatbread) or a thick, whole grain bread.
Stir in salt and pepper to taste and serve.
If you are on a strict diet, please be careful with alcohol! It can wreak havoc on your metabolism!
You can make fresh and healthy Margaritas using your own fresh fruit, and a Vitamix Blender or any high-powered blender. Don't try this with a Cuisanart, you will NOT get the same results as I do with my Vitamix!
Add ice to your blender, about 1/4 full to begin and add more as needed
To make 2 or 3 margaritas, put in with the ice,
about 1/8 of a whole lemon,
2 or 3 fully peeled small to medium limes,
4 fresh orange wedges (or 3 or 4 pineapples, or strawberries)
1/8 to 1/4 cup dark, 100% pure agave nectar by "Tres Agave". This is the best and anytime I used something different, it was not as good!
Last, but not least, one shot (or so) of Tequila. A friend of mine who owns a winery and really knows his Tequila says it is better NOT to use the best Tequila (Anejo) for Margaritas because it is too smooth. A Reposado or even less aged might be better. I try to use at least 100% pure agave tequila. Start with a smaller amount of fruit, and blend to taste. Because you are using the whole fruit with the ice, it gives it a richer texture.
1 bunch beet greens, stemmed and washed (1/2 to 3/4 pound) (You can also substitute spinach or your favorite green leaf)
2 cups cooked quinoa, preferably rainbow quinoa(for color)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2/3 cup finely chopped carrot
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle or spice mill
2 garlic cloves
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1 egg (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Either steam the beet greens for 2 minutes above 1 inch boiling water, or blanch in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain, squeeze out excess water, and chop medium-fine. Place in a large bowl with the cooked quinoa.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet and add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are just about tender, about 3 minutes, and add the ginger and a pinch of salt. Cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, and add the cumin and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for another minute, and remove from the heat. Stir into the quinoa mixture.
3. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, or in a bowl using a fork or a potato masher, purée the chickpeas with the lemon juice and, if using, the egg. Add to the quinoa mixture and stir everything together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Begin heating a heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Seasoned cast iron is good, and so is a heavy nonstick pan that can go into the oven. Moisten your hands lightly and shape 4 large or 6 smaller patties. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and, working in batches if necessary, cook the patties for 1 to 2 minutes on one side, until nicely browned. Carefully turn the patties over and place the pan in the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the patties are lightly browned; if they fall apart you can patch them together with some pressure from the spatula. Remove from the heat and serve, with or without buns, ketchup and the works.
Yield: 4 to 6 burgers.
Advance preparation: These can be put together and shaped up to 3 days before browning. They can also be cooked ahead and reheated in a low oven or in a pan on the stove. Keep them well wrapped in the refrigerator.
Nutritional information per serving (4 servings): 273 calories; 10 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 38 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams dietary fiber; 548 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 10 grams protein
Mushroom and Grain Cheeseburgers (vegetarian, not vegan because of cheese and egg)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/4 pounds mushrooms, sliced
Salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups cooked brown rice or barley
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup cooked chickpeas (1/2 can)
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, sliced very thin with a cheese slicer
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a heavy ovenproof skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it is tender, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have begun to sweat and soften, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat back down to medium, add a generous pinch of salt, the garlic and sage, and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning and remove from the heat.
2. Place half the mushrooms in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and the other half in a large bowl, along with the rice or barley and the parsley.
3. Add the chickpeas and egg to the food processor and purée with the mushrooms. Stir into the rice and mushroom mixture and mix everything together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Begin heating a heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Seasoned cast iron is good, and so is a heavy nonstick pan that can go into the oven. Moisten your hands lightly and shape 4 large or 6 smaller patties. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and, working in batches if necessary, cook the burgers for 2 minutes on one side, until nicely browned. Carefully turn the patties over and place the pan in the oven. Bake 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and lay thin slices of Gruyère on top of each burger. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, or the patties are lightly browned and the cheese has melted. Remove from the heat and serve, with or without buns, ketchup and the works.
Yield: 4 to 6 burgers.
Advance preparation: These can be put together and shaped up to 3 days before browning. Keep them well wrapped in the refrigerator. They can also be cooked ahead and reheated in a low oven or in a pan on top of the stove.
Nutritional information per serving (4 servings): 285 calories; 14 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 62 milligrams cholesterol; 28 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 196 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 14 grams protein