Last Week's Bounty of Organic Amish-Grown Vegetables from Our CSA
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Yesterday marked the end of week four on my Esselstyn Plant-Based No-Added-Oil Diet "trial" and tomorrow I'll have my pesky lipids tested. Hmm. The results should be interesting.
Whichever way it goes, I'm grateful for the opportunity the Esselstyn's gave me to participate in their small group day-long orientation session--and for their patient answers to my many questions.
- Loss of those 5 "stubborn pounds" that have just stuck with me for years in spite of exercise and healthy eating.
- Steady lowered blood pressure, all in the normal range. Not always this low--but it's consistently in the under 120 range.
- I've got energy to spare and not a clue where this extra energy is coming from. Example: Last Thursday I was up at 5:30 am. I had to pack my lunch, dinner, my Green Smoothie, my gym bag, and my work clothes, because I wasn't going to get home until after 9:00 pm. Out of the house at 7:00 am for a dental appointment. At the gym at 8:00 am for 1 hour of weights, a 1/2 hour walk outside, 1 hour spinning class, followed by a 1 hour yoga class! Never did that before! I work late on Thursdays, and usually take a spinning & yoga class before work--but, because of that "darn early morning dental appointment" I suddenly had 1 1/2 hours of extra time & unfortunately, I was "stuck" a half-hour away from home, but 5 minutes away from the J (my gym). Made it to work at noon--and finally got home at 9:20 pm. Got to bed around 11:15 pm! Felt terrific.
- Craving for fat, as in olive/canola oil, nuts, or chocolate--looks like it's history! Dr. Esselstyn says it takes 90 days to down-regulate the fat receptors in the brain--and I'm wondering if part of the reason he's so strict about eliminating even walnuts & avocados is partly to facilitate the loss of the fat craving.
Now that I'm cooking without oil, and carefully looking at labels for no-added fat, my typical day's intake of fat is clocking in at just under 10%. Before my Esselstyn trial, I was eating plant-based, but my daily fat intake was over 25%, the saturated fat intake was over 5%, and the sodium intake was over 2500 mg. Sure, I was getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber--but my fat & salt intake was over the top, and I wasn't even noticing!
"About a decade ago, the Monell Chemical Census Center in Philadelphia tested the effects the consumption of fat has on our desire for it. In the Monell experiment, healthy volunteers were separated into three groups.
One group continued eating a typically high-fat American diet. The second group ate a diet in which fat was reduced to 20% of total calories. In the third group's diet, the fat level was held to 15% or less. At the end of twelve weeks, the first two groups craved fat just as much as ever.
But those who had eaten less than 15% dietary fat over the period had completely lost their desire for fat." Esselstyn. Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease, 2007. pg. 115.
- I eat whenever I'm hungry, whatever I want, as long as it's whole grains, legumes, vegetables, or fruit. I've learned to refuel right after I exercise, and I make sure that I eat before I get too hungry--about every 3 hours. I'm prepared wherever I go. Example: Last Saturday I had my usual morning steel-cut oats & fruit breakfast around 8:00 am. It was a gorgeous day and my friend Bonnie & I decided to take a 2 hour long hike on the trails in the woods near us. We were meeting around 11, and I wasn't really hungry yet, nor was it time for lunch. Hmm. What to do? I took out about 1/4 of an already cooked sweet potato, topped it with some of Mina's Spicy black beans & rice, and fueled up before our hike. My energy never tanked a bit! In this warm weather, when I'm on the go, I make sure I pack up my Green Smoothie, maybe a sandwich, some fruit, or even an Ezekiel English muffin in an insulated lunch pack with plastic ice packs. Having a small snack after I exercise makes a huge difference in my energy, and how I feel. I sip my Green Smoothie in the afternoon when I'm at work, or as a snack while I work on this blog.
Fueling Up with a Pre-Hike Snack of Sweet Potatoes, Mina's Spicy Rice & Black Beans, Just Like the Tarahumara Indians
Saturday Morning Hike in the Woods Catching Up on All the News with Bonnie
- On Sunday mornings it's time for a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's run to stock up on our favorite healthy foods. As long as I plan ahead and make sure there is always something good to eat in my fridge & pantry this style of eating is easy. I'm a steel-cut oats fan, so that's always in my pantry, along with some dried apples, and pumpkin pie seasoning. My husband likes Ezekiel brand cereal for breakfast, and often for an after-dinner snack. Kale, collards, or chard are always in my shopping cart, and although I'm not much of snacker, my husband is. He's a fan of the Wasa Light Rye crackers, RealFoods Corn Thins, and I just tried a new brand from Norway, Kavli 5 Grain. We both LOVE Ezekiel brand English muffins for sandwiches, or even to round out a meal of soup or salad. The giant Lavash bread in the picture is a "pizza crust" suggestion courtesy of Ann Esselstyn. It's 100% stone ground whole wheat, comes from the Middle East Bakery in Beltsville, MD, and is available at Whole Foods. She pre-bakes the lavash in a hot oven until it's crisp, and then adds the pizza sauce & toppings, before popping it back in the oven to bake. She promises it makes an easy delicious thin-crust pizza! Always in my cart: Whole Foods no-salt beans, Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomatoes (now they have no-salt), Bob's Red Mill flax meal or Salba chia seeds, low-salt Pacific brand Veggie Broth, my new fave Pacific brand Oat Milk (works as a coffee creamer!), or my old fave Pacific brand Hazelnut Milk, low-fat NaSoya tofu, and low-fat Soy Boy Tempeh. Check out my Trader Joe's convenience food: already peeled & cut sweet potato fries! What a time saver!
Sunday Morning Whole Foods & Trader Joe's Run. Check-out the Sweet Potato Spears
- My idea of a snack has been drastically altered! Instead of chips, I'd rather eat some left-over spicy oven-fried Yukon Gold or sweet potato fries. Or 1/2 a cup of plain soy yogurt with thawed frozen berries. Or a beet. Now that is crazy! Or a Wasa Cracker and baby carrots with Sahara roasted red pepper hummus. Or watermelon, peaches, apricots, and cherries.
This Week's Favorite Foods
The Healthy Librarian's Adaptation of Martha Rose Shulman's Curried Brown Rice and Wheatberry Salad
Martha's Much Prettier Photo of Curried Brown Rice and Wheatberry Salad
When I saw Martha Rose Shulman's recipe in the New York Times last week, somehow I missed that her dressing contained 3 tablespoons of olive oil, almonds, and 1/3 cup yogurt. Oops! I had everything already prepped, so I had to quickly reconfigure. This recipe has it all, whole grains, beans, and plenty of phytonutrients from the red pepper, broccoli, and turmeric. And it tastes great. A perfect summer dinner dish. Use Trader Joe's or Rice Expressions frozen already cooked brown rice, and cook the wheatberries the night before! For Martha's original recipe click here.
2 cups, tightly packed, cooked brown rice
2 cups, tightly packed, cooked spelt or wheatberries
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped chives (I didn't have these) I substituted chopped fresh basil from the CSA.
1 red pepper, diced
1 broccoli crown, broken into small florets and steamed for four minutes
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 to 2 tsp. curry powder
A pinch or two of turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili powder
Salt to taste
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons high quality balsamic vinegar---I used Olive Tap tangerine balsamic
1/2 cup of plain soy yogurt (this is hard to find--I used Whole Soy & Co. found at Whole Foods)
Note: If you need extra dressing (& I did), mix up some extra yogurt, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, & curry. Mix well & check seasoning before adding.
Advance Preparation: The grains freeze well and will keep for 3 or 4 days in the fridge. Steamed broccoli will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge.
My What's in the Refrigerator for Lunch Salad
Rinse mesclun greens
Pick 5 cherry tomatoes from the patio, and slice
Thaw some Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn
A few large spoonfuls of left-over homemade oil-less Inca Quinoa Salad click here for the unmodified recipe from Food Blogga. I made Susan's version without oil, by sauteing the veggies in a little veggie broth, increasing the lime juice, and adding some of my trusty Olive Tap tangerine balsamic vinegar. Rice vinegar might also work.
1/4 cup of Trader Joe's already cooked steamed lentils.
I pre-dressed the greens with a splash of balsamic.
This is a power-packed stick-to-the-ribs salad!
My "Tuna Fish" Salad without the Tuna Take-to-Work Lunch
Thanks to my sis for telling me about fat-free NaSoya Nayonaise. Who knew? I went back to my kitchen-lab and starting playing with a variation of Ellen Allard's "Chickpea Tastes-Like-Tuna salad. Click here for Ellen's version.
This is a work in progress, even though I really loved this sandwich (so did my husband). I just think I can make it even better with a little work. It was perfect on an Ezekiel English muffin.
Makes 4 sandwiches
15 ounce can of no-salt chickpeas, drained
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
1 TBS fresh snipped dill, or 2 tsp. of dry dill weed
1 tsp. celery seed
2 TBS. finely chopped dill pickle or pickle relish
1 TBS. capers (I LOVE capers)
1 tsp. kelp flakes (don't worry if you can't find these. I found it at Whole Foods)
2 TBS. fat-free Nayonaise
2 TBS. fat-free Sahara brand roasted red pepper hummus
1/2 tsp sea salt (optonal)
1/4 tsp ground white (or black) pepper
Mash all the beans in a bowl using the bottom of a flat-bottomed drinking glass (or a fork, or a potato masher, or if you like to dirty more dishes, carefully use a food processor). You want the beans broken, but not pulverized--kind of a mix of chunky & smooth.
Add more hummus or mayo if you like.
Serve on toast, or an Ezekiel English muffin.
My Reorganized Spice Cabinet--Now I Can Find Exactly What I'm Looking For
And there are 4 other racks behind this one. I finally took everything out to see exactly what I had. Alphabetized everything, consolidated duplicates, threw out old stuff & spices I never use---and organized the whole mess!
The front 4 racks hold all my everyday-always-use spices, and they are all alphabetized.
The 4 racks behind this one are also alphabetized and hold my once-in-a-while or over-sized spices. The shelves behind the racks were also cleared of stuff I no long need, use, or want.
What a pleasure! I'm sure all my houseguests who join in cooking with me will appreciate my new & improved spice organization.
Next project. The pantry!