Drawing by Robert Krulwich
These Things I Know To Be True
How Do You Change the Way You Eat?
1. Get educated. Here's a good start.
2. Learn to cook food that tastes delicious.
3. Do it day after day until it's a habit, and your preferences change.
4. Find a support group of like-minded people to inspire you. Habits are contagious.
-The Healthy Librarian-
How can we change our behavior?
"So, in seeing it differently the temptation is less. And the way we do that, as Aristotle understood years ago, is through habits.
We have habits of politeness. We have habits of self discipline. And you change your mind by changing your behavior.
Or as the Alcoholics Anonymous folks say, you fake it 'til you make it. And so by changing your behavior in small ways, that helps you control your impulses on the big things."
-David Brooks, interviewed by Diane Rehm on NPR about his newest book, The Social Animal, on Thursday, March 10, 2011-
Want to get really good at something?
1. Do it everyday!
2. And find yourself a knowledgeable mentor who will give you constant feedback, point out your tiniest errors, and push you to take on tougher challenges. Simple, huh?
-The advice of Malcolm Gladwell, Geoff Colvin, & Daniel Coyle, three authors who have studied success-
If you received this post via email, click here to get to the web site with all the links.
Today I really did plan to write my follow-up post to: "Fifteen Months Into the Esselstyn-Style Plant-Based No-Oil Way of Eating - The Healthy Librarian Spills the Beans - And It's All Good! Can't Wait to Compare Notes with Bill Clinton on Saturday" That's going to be the one with my favorite tips, tools, recipes, & pantry staples. But, my brain wrote an entirely different post this morning while I was taking a Spinning Class. So, that's what you're going to get.
Sorry--I'll start that toolbox post as soon as I get this one out!
The Past Ten Days, Cruising in the Plant-Based Lane
I'll be honest with you. The hardest part of sticking to a plant-based diet is eating out with friends, or getting together socially with friends & family. It's easy to "eat right" at home. But, when you venture into the "real world"--that's when the challenges really begin!
"The longer I stuck with the plant-based no-oil diet, the less awkward & easier it got for me, socially.
Once my family and friends realized that this was more than a fad for me--that I was really serious about it--they respected it. They stopped bugging me.
They stopped pushing nachos, burgers & fries, & cakes my way. They made sure there was going to be something I could eat when they invited me over." paraphrased from a conversation with Dr. Pam Popper
Pam's right. Now that I'm over 15 months into living in the "Plant-Based Lane", things have changed. A lot.
So--sticking with this whole theme of "what's in my toolbox of tricks" that keeps me moving on the "almost" straight-and-narrow plant-based path, I keep thinking about how this past week played out. How effortless "my so-called diet" has now become. Basically, it's a non-issue.
And it really is a group effort, because of all the support I get from you, from my husband, my co-workers, my family & friends, the research I read, and the Esselstyns.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
1. The plant-friendly party at work: My friend and co-worker, Marlene decided to treat the entire library staff to a deluxe catered Mexican lunch. She had recently been recognized for her outstanding work with a Caregivers Award that came with cash--and she generously shared her bounty with all of us.
Where am I going with this? Support from co-workers, silly. Marlene made sure that 1/2 of the lunch included vegan enchiladas, guacamole, salsas, vegetables & rice--nothing fried, no meat or cheese or dairy, no lard. She also included a gorgeous fruit salad for dessert--and a healthy chip alternative to the typical tortilla chips.
She did not have to do this--but she did! Sure there was a platter of fried foods with pork, steak, cheese, & chicken flautas, burritos, & tacos---and plenty of chocolate chip cookies--but, she made sure there was a healthy alternative. Update: everything was devoured--leaving almost zero left-overs. Learn more about the healthy librarians with whom I work, here.
2. A surprising phone call from my niece: M. left me a voice mail message. "I need to ask you something. Call me." OK--I had no idea what this might be. Turns out, she had recently watch CNN's "The Last Heart Attack"--and it made a huge impression on her. She was ready to change how she ate. But...now she had a new dilemma. Her baby's pediatrician strongly recommended she start her very healthy active--but slim six-month old on meat, now! She didn't want to--what did I think?
Friday, September 9, 2011
1. Inspiring emails: I continually receive inspiration from people all over the world who share with me their success stories of renewed health after starting a plant-based no-oil Esselstyn-style diet. Nothing beats reading about someone else's successes! Some had heart attacks. Some had multiple bypasses. Some had stents. Some just wanted to get off of the poly-pharmacy treadmill. Some did it for prevention. On Friday I received some special ones, that knocked my socks off--along with plenty of great tips for salad dressing recipes and where one can eat out "safely". Like this link to a Dr. McDougall listing of "safe" restaurant suggestions--you'll have to do a lot of scrolling.
2. Grilling indoors. I ran out of propane for my grill. Who knew that my grill pan would do an even better job? As my husband took off to usher at our synagogue, he asked if I could grill some quick MATCH "Chicken" burgers for dinner. Sure. No problem. I mixed them all up--took them out to grill--and darn it! The propane tank fizzled. And the spare hadn't yet been re-filled. Now what? Bingo! I heated up my Cuisinart Green Gourmet (no-Teflon) Grill pan & those burgers turned out absolutely delicious.
MATCH "Chicken" Burgers, Sprouted Wheat Bun, Lab Rat's Homemade Pickles, Baked Squash & "Fried" Yukon Gold Potatoes
This recipe comes from an old favorite Perdue Ground Turkey Burger Recipe that I refused to throw out. My husband, son #2, friends Cheri, Neal, and their college-aged son are also fans of these burgers.
Grilled "Chicken" MATCH Burgers (has soy, gluten, & a smidge of canola--so they're not-Esselstyn-approved)
Click here to find out more about MATCH
1 pound package of MATCH Chicken
1 cup of Ian's whole wheat panko crumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet red or green pepper
3 TBS worcestershire sauce (vegan or regular)
1 TBS dry mustard
1 TBS Dijon mustard
2 TBS ketchup (no/low sugar/salt preferred)
1 1/2 tsp. Bone-Suckin' Sauce Seasoning & Rub
1 + teaspoon curry powder
Mix it all together. Make six patties. If grilling outside, put these in a grill cage (to prevent sticking) because they're very very low fat--or grill them inside like I did, using a grill pan. Do not overcook--don't want to dry them out.
We enjoyed them on an Alvarado Street Sprouted Wheat buns, with some baked squash, "fried" Yukon Gold potatoes, & Appetite for Reduction Cool Slaw.
Saturday, September 12, 2011
1. One of so many 9/11 10th anniversary stories that touched me deeply, NPR's Story Corps "Slain Priest, Father Mychal Judge--Bury His Heart, Not His Love". A highly recommended short read.
2. Oatcakes with San Marzano Tomato-Kale "Gravy". Received an email from Mike in Louisville (a guy who appreciates really good food) along with a fabulous-sounding recipe to try. Long family history of early heart disease, & his 48 year-old sister's heart attack motivated him to go Esselstyn plant-based. Lost 45 pounds in six months. I'm trying his recipe for dinner tonight. My friend Fran is going to give it to her amateur chef-husband to test-drive it in his kitchen, too. We'll let you know!
3. Eating out with friends. Asian Vegan. On Saturday night, 10 of us gathered at a local Asian restaurant that has a wonderful gigantic round table complete with a Lazy-Susan--perfect for sharing dinners. Plenty of vegan options, here--including the new addition of Gardein chicken. But, certainly no oil-free options. I should have asked--I didn't. Of the 10 in our group--6 ordered meatless. The times they are achangin'! But, four hours later--my stomach felt uncomfortable--and I'm not one to ever have stomach issues. It stayed with me all night. No big deal--but it was there--nonetheless. The dishes weren't oily--but I'm sure they weren't oil-free. Was that the reason for the stomach woes? Bottom Line: Dining out with friends is always fun--and I'm glad there are decent dining options. Next time I'll specify, "no-oil" please. I've done it before--I'll do it again.
4. The After-Dinner Birthday Dessert. Gourmet Sorbet works! After dinner we all went to the home of one of the couples in our group for a "surprise" 60th birthday dessert. Cake, Jeni's Dark Chocolate & Buckeye Ice Cream, Jeni's Poached Pear Riesling Sorbet, & fruit salad. I passed on the cake. I couldn't pass up on a small taste of Jeni's Dark Chocolate, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Poached Pear Riesling Sorbet.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
1. Post-Spin Class Girl-Talk Update with My Plant-Based Spin Buddy, Ms. C. I hadn't had a chance to catch up with Ms. C for awhile. I was in a rush--but, Ms. C had way too much to share. It was worth it!
- She's been eating Esselstyn-style plant-based for over a year, now. It was high time for a new wardrobe. She promised herself she would wait a year before buying new clothes. "How'd you manage that? Your clothes had to be falling off!" I said. "Well, I did buy a few things. But, yesterday was a big shop." She said she had reached the point of no-return. Her old way of eating was now history for her and her husband. They feel way too good, know way too much, and their health has improved so much--that she knew there was no going back. Ms. C started this diet to support her husband's health--she was average weight--and thought she was in good health. But, her subsequent weight loss--and her new & improved annual physical convinced her--and her doctor, that she was on to something!
- Following All the Rules. No exceptions! If you have heart disease, diabetes, or weight issues you cannot eat walnuts, avocados, Larabars, dried fruit, probably no more than 2 or 3 pieces of fruit a day, or add fruit into a Green Smoothie. Some of us can get away with this. Or maybe we're just kidding ourselves. Others cannot. They'll gain weight & won't see all the blood sugar & lipid improvements they're after. Ms. C, my husband, & I don't have heart disease--and seem to be able to get away with these "sometimes-but-not-daily" additions to our diet without weight gain or problems. Ms. C's husband knows he needs to be vigilant--and follow the rules! I'm just saying.....
- Eighty-Something Enlightenment after CNN's "Last Heart Attack"--Ms. C's 80-something in-laws are the poster-children for why you want to eat plant-based--if you get my drift. To them there's nothing wrong with corned beef sandwiches, brisket, lox & cream cheese, & cheesecake. They didn't understand Ms. C's & her husband's new way of eating. Not at all. That is--until last Saturday. They confided to their grandson that they saw Dr. Gupta's show, "The Last Heart Attack". It was a light bulb moment! "Ah ha! Now we understand why your mom & dad are eating that way! We're glad. Good for them!" And good for all of us that Dr. Gupta so articulately explained the benefits of a plant-based no-added-oil diet.
2. Kitchen Lab Experiments! Lightening up Healthy Girl's Kitchen Creamy Asian Dressing recipe. Wendy of HGK posted a delicious sounding redo of a Creamy Asian Dressing that was made with a 1/2 cup of olive oil. Her redo subbed 1/2 cup of almonds for the oil, plus it had some toasted sesame oil in it.
Hmm. I wondered how it would turn out if I subbed Mori-Nu Low-Fat Silken Tofu for the almonds--and then subbed toasted sesame seeds for the sesame oil. I loved how my re-do of Wendy's re-do turned out.
It makes plenty, and I loved it on top of Wendy's chopped raw broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper & currant salad. I also mixed in some 100% soba (buckwheat noodles), along with some teriyaki baked tofu--for one delicious take-to-work lunch!
No-Fat Creamy Asian Dressing with Chopped Raw Broccoli, Cauliflower, Currants, Soba Noodles, & Teriyaki Tofu
No-Fat Creamy Asian Dressing (based on HGK's Redux Recipe)
Makes 2 1/4 cups
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
1 cup of Mori-Nu Silken Low Fat Firm Tofu (in a box)
2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of mellow white miso
juice of one lime (2+ tablespoons of lime juice--more is fine)
6 pitted dates
2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce, tamari, or Nama Shoyu
1/2 cup of water
Combine all the ingredients in your blender, Vita-Mix or food processor and blend until smooth & creamy.
Nutrition Information--based on 1/4 cup serving (HGK's Redux is a big improvement over the 1/2 cup olive oil recipe, but it still clocks in at 80 calories per 1/4 cup serving, with 4.4 grams of fat--about 50% fat)
3 heaping cups of broccoli florets
3 heaping cups of cauliflower florets
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1/3 cup currants
2 cups of cooked 100% buckwheat soba noodles (mix in 1/2 cup per salad)
Dress with 1/4 cup of dressing per each serving
Optional topping: diced baked teriyaki tofu--1/2 of the normal serving
Finely chop all the vegetables. Mix together.
To serve, mix soba noodles into the vegetable salad.
Top with dressing (1/4 cup per salad)
Nutritional Information for 1 serving of salad with Creamy Asian Dressing--soba noodles & tofu not included:
Nutritional Information for 1 serving of the Salad with Soba Noodles & creamy Asian Dressing (tofu not included)
3. The Book Club's House-Warming Dinner--Plant-Based Options Galore. After the salad dressing experiment I needed to quickly get into gear to prepare my Grilled Italian Sausage, Onions, Peppers & Rice Dish to take to the house-warming dinner we were having at the new home of one of the members--scheduled at 6:30 pm.
I've long ago ditched the oil in this recipe--and substituted extra lemon juice---but this time I decided to cut that acid taste, & substitute Low Fat Mori-Nu Silken Tofu for the olive oil/or extra lemon juice.
I liked it. And so did everyone else--every speck of this dish was devoured--and I couldn't enjoy seconds. But, not to worry--there was plenty of other plant-friendly food to enjoy, brought by the others in the group.
An amazing oil-free gazpacho, a green salad--luckily I brought along some of my left-over Creamy Asian Dressing--and a delicious cold fruit soup. The only dishes I skipped were salmon, chocolate brownies, & M & M's. And there you go--this group went out of their way to leave out any extra oil or cheeses from dishes, where they could--like the soups, salsas, & salad. Click here, scroll down a bit & read about my previous unhealthy lavish book club spread. (and make note about the Alkalol mention in this post, too--amazing stuff!)
Monday, September 12, 2011
1. The Happy Herbivore, by Lindsay S. Nixon. Mary, the Librarian gives it a Big Thumbs Up!--says it's the only cookbook she's found that really has no-added fat. Last week I finally got my copy of The Happy Herbivore. I knew I wouldn't have a chance to do much with it, so I shared my copy with Mary--who took it home over the weekend. She loved Lindsay's Cheddar Cheesy Sauce--served it over mashed potatoes--and brought some in on Monday for all of us to taste. Not exactly cheddar cheese--but a delicious stand-in. Mary returned my copy--and ordered her own. Looking forward to cooking my way through this new cookbook.
2. Pizza in the Pantry--my back-up plan. Lab Rat was getting home late--and since I was the first one home--I did the dinner honors. Thank goodness I always have all the fixings for pizza in my freezer & pantry. Dinner on the table in 30 minutes. Wasn't Lab Rat happy to find already cooked pizza when he got home at 8:00ish? I've always got a stash of Sami's pizza crusts in the freezer, some Walnut Acres Low-Sodium No-Fat Pasta Sauce, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives in the pantry, just in case!. Get that easy breezy recipe here.
3. My Sister-in-law left me a long voice mail message: Diet's going great. Not as hard as I thought it would be. Only one minor transgression--no big deal. Do you need some context for her message? Click here
Tuesday, September 13
1. A Vegan Pot-Luck Luncheon. See how much has changed over the past 15 months? Who could have predicted that I would be invited to a pot-luck vegan lunch given by a friend of a friend. Wish I could have been there! Looking forward to hearing all about it.
2. My Sister Calls as I'm About to Leave Home. "Hey, guess what I just bought? Appetite for Reduction!" Turns out, the first recipe she tried out was the Arabian Nights Lentil & Rice Soup. click here for the recipe--and just scroll on down! She & my BIL LOVED it! She says her next foray will be the Buffalo Tempeh & Cool Slaw wrap. Thank you HGK Wendy for turning me on to this recipe. Just so happens to be my favorite. I've made it at least 5 times. Crazy that sis & I picked the same recipes to try out--we're like identical twins separated at birth!
3. Nashville Fran calls to tell me her husband made some amazing lentil burgers over the weekend. I want that recipe. Her husband knows how to cook!
coming up Wednesday, September 14, 2011
1. After work it's going to be Maj with my gal pals. We'll be lucky to get in three games with the way we like to talk & kibbitz. We're going to be playing at a local restaurant that won't mind us taking up space for 3 hours--as well as someplace where we can get a plant-based dinner. Who'd have ever predicted fifteen months ago, that this wonderful group of friends would now all be leaning in the plant-based direction? Meet the Mahj ladies.
coming up Saturday, September 17, 2011
1. Cooking up a special plant-based no-oil dinner to celebrate buddy Ken's milestone birthday! Turns out the guests want to come early & help with the cooking! Who could ask for anything more? Well, maybe a glass of wine or beer to go along with the cooking. Haven't planned the menu yet. Anyone have some good suggestions for a celebration dinner? Who's the birthday boy? Seeing if you can figure it out?
I'm Serious! Does Anyone Have a Plant-Based Amazing Dinner Party Menu to Suggest? I'm All Ears!