Monday, December 30, 2013

McDougall Top 10

I watched this video over the weekend. Put down the remote and skip an episode of Duck Dynasty tonight (or just push it's hard to skip Duck Dynasty), and take the 20 minutes to watch this.

Have questions about Diabetes? Heart Disease? Arthritis? Cancer? Watch it!

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bodies as Temples

The more and more I research the plant-based lifestyle and try to share my findings, the more I find that it's similar to religion. K, I'm not nuts or anything, and I'm not worshiping food, but I've arrived at a very poignant thought: Anything that we take into our bodies, be it spiritual or physical, will affect us.

This is another reason why I HATE the "moderation in all things" concept that people believe. For example, you would NEVER hear a strong member of any faith say that we can have moderation in all things pertaining to spiritual matters. "It's okay to watch a moderate amount of porn." "It's okay to listen to a moderate amount of music with cussing or degrading messages." "It's okay to sleep around moderately." (All of these, by the way, the world has told us are actually okay).


When people say to me, "It's okay to eat a moderate amount of meat," or "It's okay to eat my Snickers bar" I want to slap them upside the head. Our bodies are temples. If we're taking moderate amounts of bad things into our bodies, how are we treating ourselves like temples??

My mom was just telling me today that there was a lesson in her Relief Society once where they were discussing self-mastery (very important to overcome the natural man). And the teacher brought up the point, "It's like eating dinner. We have to know when to push ourselves away from the table."

As my mom told me this, I may have actually rolled my eyes. If the things on our tabletops for dinner aren't good for us...if we can't FEAST on them without feeling sick, then we're EATING THE WRONG FOODS!

It's like the scriptures. We've been told to FEAST on the words of Christ. We can't have too much of them. We can't bring too much of light and truth into our minds.

Why can't the physical things we bring into our bodies be the same way? Believe it or not, it's possible. We can feast on good foods. We can feast until we are legitimately full. And if we're hungry an hour's possible to eat more. FEAST on the good things. ELIMINATE the bad things.

Our spirituality depends on more than just our personal prayers, our scripture study, and church attendance. It's more than fulfilling our callings and serving our neighbors. Every little thing that we put into our divinely given bodies and minds will affect our ability to listen to the spirit and act.

There are three things that people are deeply passionate about--to the point of contention. One of those is politics (which I'm not even going to touch on), the other two are religion and food. I don't think I ever would have put food in that same list until now. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people get actually offended that I choose to eat "vegan" or Plant-Based. And even more shocking is how anti- they are about it.

Honestly...sometimes I feel like a food missionary (that's not sacrilegious is it??), trying to share my testimony, and having people slam their hypothetical doors in my face. And these are active members of the church.

If we want to truly learn self-mastery, put off the natural man, and become closer to God, I have a deep testimony that we must give up our addiction to flesh and animal products (I can't even tell you how many times I've heard someone say "I just couldn't give up steak/fish/cheese/etc." -- okay? Where's the self-mastery in that statement?), and humble ourselves so that we can really feast. Feast on the good. And eliminate the bad. We need to do as Jeffery R. Holland teaches:

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Brussels Sprouts made right!

Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays for obvious reasons.  I love being with family and the general merriment.  I love a time of year where people express their gratitude and help others willingly.  It's fabulous.  Another reason I love this time of year is because I get to make my favorite Brussels sprouts recipe!  We found it years ago, and it has hit our table every year since! For the fantastic recipe click here. I know what you're thinking:  Brussels Sprouts?  Really?  Yes!  Just try it.  It will change your outlook on Brussels sprouts if you have a negative view on them currently.  If you love them already, then it's just another great way to enjoy them.
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Friday, December 27, 2013

Family Time and Holidays!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I realize I'm a couple days late, but this is what happens when you are partyin' hard with the fam and enjoying Christmas.

You know, I've heard a couple times this season something along the following lines, "It's the holidays, you're supposed to let yourself go," or "Just stuff yourself. Eat the bad things!"

Anyone have a familiar scripture come to mind? "Eat, drink, and be merry . . ." Now, we may not all be dying tomorrow, but why do we want to wreck ourselves for two weeks only to have to work our butts off (and give up after) three weeks in January?

Chocolate-Orange CakeI'm happy to say that my week was chock full of the most delicious food...decadent, sweet, rich, and absolutely healthy. For our Christmas meal we stuffed ourselves with vegan sausages (the one "cheat" we allowed ourselves), veggie sushi, enchilada lasagna, and then to top it off, I made a Chocolate Orange bundt cake that is rich, so amazing, and worth making twice in one weekend. The recipe for it is right here! I only used whole wheat flour, instead of the soy yogurt I used coconut milk yogurt, and instead of the two icings, we topped it with Vanilla Bean Almond Milk Ice Cream:) Fat FREE, and amazing.

Over the week we ate hummus, veggies (our two dogs even snacked on carrots with me for a couple hours), pomegranates, vegan pumpkin cake, and the BEST vegan sweet potato pie that I've ever had! Recipe for it is here. I've become a massive sweet potato pie fan over the last ten years, and watching three seasons of Duck Dynasty had me in the MOOD! I'd nix the nutmeg and cloves next time so the flavor of the sweet potatoes comes through a little stronger, but it's still amazing.

Usually my family eats until we feel sick, just brushing it off as our "right" to do so because it's the holidays. But let me encourage's never too late to eat healthy! It's never too late to take care of the body that God is lending to you:) Even when it's the holidays!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Vitamin Myths Debunked

I've been posed another question recently by a good friend, curious as to how a plant-based diet could possibly work since she'd heard that plants lack the essential amino acids necessary for the human body. She also asked about humans having a hard time absorbing fat-soluble vitamins from plants, and that she'd read that a lot of people, and men especially, can't absorb plant-based omega 3s.

I'm happy to report that these are all false. In fact, the myth of "Complimenting Proteins" and the lack of plant-based amino acids was debunked long ago. The originator of the topic, Frances Moore Lappe, retracted her statement multiple times in later editions of her book, Diet For A Small Planet.

In his article, "The Myth of Complimenting Proteins," Dr. Jeff Novick addresses this issue.

He examines where the concept of “essential amino acids” came from.

In 1952, William Rose and his colleagues completed research that determined the human requirements for the eight essential amino acids. They set the “minimum amino acid requirement” by making it equal to the greatest amount required by any single person in their study. To set the “recommended amino acid requirement,” they simply doubled the minimum requirements. This “recommended amino acid requirement” was considered a “definitely safe intake.”

Today, if you calculate the amount of each essential amino acid provided by unprocessed plant foods and compare these values with those determined by Rose, you will find that any single one, or combination, of these whole natural plant foods provides all of the essential amino acids. Furthermore, these whole natural plant foods provide not just the “minimum requirements” but provide amounts far greater than the “recommended requirements.”

Modern researchers know that it is virtually impossible to design a calorie-sufficient diet based on unprocessed whole natural plant foods that is deficient in any of the amino acids. (The only possible exception could be a diet based solely on fruit.)

For example, each of the following have plenty of the amino acids you need in a day:

         1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds (I actually put a handful of ground flax powder on my breakfast in the morning)
         1/4 cup walnuts (I also include walnuts on my breakfast)
         20 cups dark greens (So...don't JUST eat greens)
         1 cup soybeans (Edamame in a hummus wrap with spinach and carrots is DIVINE!)
         12 ounces firm tofu (Just make up a breakfast with tofu scramble and you're good to go!)

But what about the fact that humans simply can't digest plant-based vitamins and nutrients as well? AKA, fat-soluble vitamins like A,D, and K? Don't they stand between plant-eating humans and optimal health?


Let's take a closer look at each of these fat-soluble vitamins. I stole this info from The Vegan R.D.

Vitamin A: While it’s true that the preformed active type of this vitamin is found only in animal foods, plants are saturated in vitamin A precursors like beta-carotene. In fact, these compounds are important enough that the USDA measures vitamin A content of foods as “retinol activity equivalents (RAE),” which includes both preformed vitamin A and the compounds that the body turns into vitamin A.

There is no separate recommendation for animal-derived pre-formed vitamin A.

So where do you get it? You can meet your vitamin A requirement for the day by drinking just one-quarter cup of carrot juice or eating a cup of kale or spinach (my veggie sandwhich with baby kale fills my entire day's need for Vitamin A). Other foods that give you more than sufficient amounts of this fat-soluble vitamin are sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and dark orange winter squashes, including pumpkin.

Vitamin D: This vitamin occurs naturally in only a few foods—fatty fish, eggs from chickens who were fed vitamin D, and mushrooms treated with ultraviolet light (I go mushrooms ALL the way--I love 'em in different dishes...or again, on my veggie "samits" I had today. Sorry, too much Ducky Dynasty today).

With such limited dietary options, we mere mortals wouldn’t have gotten very far through life if it weren't for the fact that we can make all the vitamin D we need when skin is exposed to sunlight. However, over the years as we've moved farther from the equator into colder climates, and taken jobs inside cubicle cages underneath life-draining florescent lights, we've taken to downing supplements or enriched foods.

Although people can get adequate vitamin D from fatty fish, most—omnivore or not—rely on fortified foods and sun exposure, two options that are as easily available to vegans as to omnivores.

Vitamin K: Best sources of this nutrient are leafy greens! One form of vitamin K, called vitamin K2 or menaquinone (try saying that five times fast), is found in animal products but in only one lone plant food—natto, a fermented soy product that isn’t a usual part of most western vegan diets. But, there's good news because there's no problem. Why? Because humans have no requirement for vitamin K2. We also have bacteria in our gut that produce this same form of vitamin K—so we’re covered either way (once more, a resounding YES! We have bacteria in our guts! It's necessary to our digestion!). Since vitamin K is essential for blood clotting we’d see some evidence of deficiency  if vegans went around bleeding to death every time they got a cut (and I can tell you personally that my blood has NO problem clotting).

So how do you get enough of these fat-soluble vitamins? The best way to make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of the fat soluble vitamins is to eat plenty of leafy green and dark orange vegetables and to take a vitamin D supplement if you don’t get adequate sun exposure.

But...wait? If you're on a plant-based diet with low fat, doesn't that interfere with your body ABSORBING those fat-soluble vitamins efficiently?

Ah, but you're forgetting a few foods. When I talk about "plant-based" foods I'm not just talking about fruits and veggies, I'm also talking about nuts, seeds, avocados, soybeans, and olives.

As far as the Omega 3s go...I'm gonna need a WHOLE other post on that.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Guinea Pigs

A few days ago, my co-worker, Scott, came to ask me if eggs are allowed on my "diet." I smiled and replied "no." So he continued to ask me what kinds of things I can eat for Breakfast. I told him what I normally eat for breakfast (Rip's Big Breakfast Bowl...I'll have to give the "recipe" another day!), and then I finally got to the point of all his questioning. He was planning a Christmas Breakfast for everyone in the marketing department as his Christmas gift, but he didn't know what to make for a "hippie" like me and one of my other co-workers.

I looked at him and I said, "Well, why don't I make something? That way it'll be plant based and a bunch of people can have some if they want."

"You wanna tag-team it?" he asked.

"We'll do the breakfast gift together," we both finally agreed.

Of course, the first book I went to was...yes, you guessed it. The Happy Herbivore ( favorite book...and she's got like three others I want!). Since Scott had mentioned somewhere in the conversation that he'd thought about breakfast burritos, I looked up Lindsay's Plant-based breakfast burritos made with tofu scramble.

Okay, I can already see your nose cringing at the word "tofu." Most people's do. In fact, my sweet cousin once refused to eat a cupcake when she heard that the frosting was made of tofu (actually, I think she took a bite, found out it was tofu, and then claimed that she hated it).

Last night I got to work. I bought the tofu, the veggies, and the tortillas, and then went to work. All in all it took me about twenty minutes to make and I even doubled the recipe. After I finished, I put it (and some homemade vegan chorizo made out of Veggie Protein), into my crockpot and kept it warmed overnight. Next morning, I put everything in my car and went to work to get set up.

Scott's wife had made three massive breakfast casseroles made of eggs, cheese, and meat (triple threat!), and I set my healthy tofu scramble on the table next to them. When the time came to call in the troops, only a few people knew what I actually brought. I tried to keep my mouth shut about what was in it until people asked about it;)

I'm proud to say...that I only had two breakfast burritos...and the entire crockpot of tofu scramble got eaten. Yup. My second test run of plant-based foods on my co-workers was a success! I got a few jokes from people here and there, but in the end, everyone I think was pleasantly surprised that tofu could taste like eggs and make a REALLY good breakfast burrito.

I wanna thank them for being good sports!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baked Chimichangas

Out of all the different meals that I've made over the past while, this one is my absolute favorite! You'll hear me talk a LOT about the cook book that I pulled this one from. Lindsay Nixon's The Happy Herbivore is just fabulous. Most of the ingredients she uses are things that you normally have in your kitchen. So, you don't have to go out and pick up things like...pickled tofu cutlets (I don't think those exist...and I actually really hope that they don't).

Since Lindsay's Baked Chimichangas aren't offered on Lindsay's website, I don't feel I have the right to publish the recipe here. So, go pick up the book! Download it through Kindle. You'll make more recipes out of it than almost any other book!

Normal chimichangas are deep-fried burritos made from ground meat, cheese, beans, and rice. This recipe is pretty close, but without the meat and cheese...or the extra deep fat fried tortilla. And it's still amazingly delicious!!!

It requires making a quick No-Beef Broth, using Textured Vegetable Protein (it's the one "weird" thing you have to buy, but Bob's Red Mill offers it in a simple little bag that you can buy at any Whole Foods, Good Earth, or maybe even Harmons).
The Happy Hebivore
But when these come out of the oven, the whole wheat tortillas are so crispy and crunchy...the TVP "meat" is so amazingly flavorful, and then you just top it with frech quacamole and salsa. It's fabulous, pretty quick, and really easy. Make them tonight and let me know what you think!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

GMOs: Are They That Bad?

You know, I get teased at work for being a "Hippie." But for anyone who really knows me...I'm not. For one, I'm not into the "Free Love" and drugs. Two, I own a pair of leather boots which I'm actually wearing right now. Three, I don't think I own anything made from Hemp. And four, I believe in a down-to-earth approach when it comes to medicine. There are great advancements and benefits in the medical field. There are also great health-promoting things for us when it comes to diet and natural care. On the flip-side, I believe in vaccines, Nyquil, and Tylenol (I try to steer clear of Advil or Ibuprofen because it causes ulcers).

But, that's not what I want to talk about today. Today, I want to focus on GMOs. I'm gonna get a little "Hippie" on you today.

GMOs. Are they really that bad? Is organic produce really all that different?

The answer is two words: Heck. Yes.

Most of what I'd say is said by The Plant-Based Dietitan, so I'm first of all going to link you to her blog post here. There is a scripture (verse 4) in the Word of Wisdom that says, "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiringmen in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation."

For those of us in the United States, we live in a society where we have rights. And Julieanna's post talks about this very thing. We have the right to know. We have the right to know exactly what's in our food, what's been used to produce it, and what the effects are from eating it. But what we're being "fed" by the government, is the very "evil designs" talked about in the WOW.

But everywhere we turn we are bombarded by ads.

"Got Milk?"
"Beef: It's what's for dinner"
"Pork: The other white meat"
"The Incredible Edible Egg"
"Eat More Chikin" (Sorry Chik-fil-A, your sandwhiches are very good, but very bad)

Now, these Have nothing to do with GMOs in our produce...yet. I'm getting there. I don't think we should ever eat anything that needs a commercial to sell it. Not only that, but we are constantly being told by the government, FDA, and other "research" that a little poison isn't going to kill us. A little radiation isn't going to harm us. *ahem*. I'm not pointing fingers! (In all seriousness...I kid).

A certain MormonAd from my teen years is brought to mind. In regards to morality, but the same can be said of real food--the things we take into our bodies:

What Kinds of FOODS Are You Feeding Your Body?

So there are pesticides, virus and bacteria altered plants (GMOs), radiation saturated fish, growth hormones in our meat and cheese, and we're all right with that? What are we taking into our "temples?" And what are these foreign poisons and unnatural foods doing to us?

This is where I talk about vaccines. Lately, it's been theorized that vaccines are causing the surge in autism amongst children. In fact, in 1990, only 1 in 2,500 children were autistic. Now...1 in 88 children are autistic. But I don't think it's the vaccines.

What's changed? Well, since the 90s, GMO crops (corn, soybeans, wheat, and others) have been introduced. Now, I'll admit that this is another theory...but for me, it's the one that makes more sense. Because Genetically Modified Plants contain neurotoxins. Yeah.

The animals we kills for food are also fed these GMO crops their whole lives and then we eat them and drink their milk. There are GMOs in our cereals, in our cookies, in our breads, chips, and...get this...90% of baby formula is FULL of GMOs.

What do we do? Not eat?

Because the list of foods on the grocery shelves made with GMOs, toxins, and other questionable materials is infinitely long. Beyond that, GMOs are not required to be tested by the FDA. Say WHAT????

Here's the good news. Eat Organic as often as possible. Breast feed, making sure you're eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Eat Organic cereals without added sugar. Eat beans, lentils, and peas. Eat Organic brown rice. Eat potatoes (and sweet potatoes-they're not just for Thanksgiving)! Eat organic prodce!

I really encourage everyone to read Julieanna's (The Plant-Based Dietician) article. Here's the link again. And happy eating!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Life is Too Short

I want to do something a little different today.

A little.

If you've had the chance to read my personal history as far as some of the things that made me change my mind on the view of animal products as food, you've seen the short paragraph about my family history. I hope that my extended family on my dad's side won't feel like I'm overstepping boundaries as I share some of this with you. My dad included.

While my dad was on his mission to Australia (he's the youngest of 5 kids), his mother, my Grandma Norma passed away from cancer. From one of the tapes that I've listened to that Grandma Norma sent him on his mission, she was trying to be a voice of comfort, but I could hear that she was in a lot of pain--as anyone who's gone through that gauntlet would agree.

I never met her, but from the stories I've heard, she was an absolutely amazing woman who's turn on this earth, I feel, was cut unnecessarily short. For some reason, I've always felt really tied to her, and I've always wanted to meet her.

As I have dug deeper into my family history and found similarly fascinating women...who's lives ended before they should have, it's really moved me. Part of it has been fear. Fear of letting that happen to me. But part of that, has been a deep stirring of the spirit.

I've felt, as I've studied and learned more about the Word of Wisdom, that Heavenly Father is waiting for us to search it and see things as he does. He's giving us the agency...even with what we determine how long we'll be on this earth.

Now, I know that a car could come out of nowhere and kill me tomorrow. But what if it doesn't? And what if it doesn't the day after that? Or the day after that? What decisions am I going to make to lengthen my time here?

That's one of the things I love about the Word of Wisdom--it's a guide on food from a perfect being. It's not doctors and specialists and dieticians and nutrition experts. It's my God, instructing me on the choices that I could make in order to lengthen my time on this earth. To make the most of this imperfect body he's given me.

In the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 9:27, the scripture reads, "...wo unto him...that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!" And I'll come back to this scripture.

From Adam down to Noah, people on this earth seemed to live unnaturally long lives. Vampires? No:) But their life spans extended to almost 1,000 years. Methuselah reportedly lived to the age of 969. It was just before the great flood that God announced to Noah that a human's lifespan would be reduced (see Genesis 6:3). "...Yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."

There are only maybe a handful of places in the world today that mankind actually reaches ages close to 120 regularly. Even with all the medical advancements and technology available, the average age of death is 75.

What's interesting, is if you read Psalms 90:10, it's LAMENTED that life spans were down to the age of 70 ("threescore years and ten").

That lament was 2400 years ago. Before the modern day.

Brigham Young, who said some very controversial things in life, but was also a true prophet of the Lord, said, "It is an unusual circumstance to see a man a hundred years old, or a woman ninety. The people have laid the foundation of short life through their diet." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 187)

That was long before modern day. Before processed foods. Before the over abundance of meat and dairy. Before the overuse of sugar. Before all of that. Even then, meat and dairy was a staple of life. I've read letters and journals of my ancestors, talking about who made the best roast or the best dish centered around some type of meat.

It's become our culture.

Is that span of 120 years unattainable? Were the scriptures just taunting us? If we're not willing to pay the price by being strict to the guidelines of the Word of will be unattainable.

However, I have a deep testimony that by strictly obeying the Word of Wisdom and verses such as Genesis 9:10-11 (the Joseph Smith Translation)...that meat is to be eaten only in times of famine or extreme hunger, that blood shall not be shed (only for meat to save our lives)...that that 120 year lifespan is not only attainable, but that those later years can be enjoyable with our children and grandchildren without being in horrible bodily pain.

God wants us to have as much time on this earth as we can until he calls us back. He wants us to show obedience. He wants us to show humility to his will. Let us not "waste the days of our probation." I feel we can attain a long life of HEALTH and HAPPINESS by doing so.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tastes Like Christmas!

This morning I got up way early and went with my good friend down to Salt Lake to get in stand-by for the MoTab Christmas Mini-Concert with Deborah Voigt and John Rhys Davis (which, by the way, it was so good!). After a couple hours of beautiful Christmas music, we drove home and I had just enough time to attend Sacrament.

After such a great Christmas-y day, I felt like I was ready to make the perfect  Christmas cookie. And boy, so I have the best recipe. Now, I'm going to put a disclaimer on this's a dessert...and it does have oil. Just don't eat it for three meals;)

But no soy, so nuts, no eggs!

This recipe comes from The Plant Powered Kitchen and the wonderful Dreena Burton. I've always been a huge fan of Gingerbread cookies, and the smell of ginger (I used FRESH), cinnamon, and molasses just filled my entire house!

These are soft, they're delish, and you'll never use another Gingerbread cookie recipe again! You can find the recipe here. I used whole wheat flour, and coconut sugar. Coconut sugar or Sucanat are both GREAT for spice desserts because they have that extra molasses taste to them.

I took this pic below as I munched on one of these soft cookies with a tart winter orange:) My beautiful Christmas tree is the perfect backdrop to this great Sunday Evening!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

...Then Comes a Cabbage Patch Baby

Not really:) So you're having a REAL baby! How exciting!

But what about pregnancies/breast feeding while on a plant-based diet? Is it possible to get all the nutrients you and your baby need?

You better believe it.

So, here's a chart of all the vitamins that you need, plus a range of sources that you can get those:

Once you get your sea legs under you, opt for meals full of vegetables, beans, whole grains, and fruits. Proper nutrition during pregnancy is important for you and your baby.

As you can see from these lists here, there are multiple places to get the nutrients you need without having to resort to meat and dairy. 

Dr. John McDougall (another of my favorite doctors), used to work in Hawaii as a general practitioner. During his time on the island, he delivered over 100 babies. As a practitioner 38 years ago, the advice he would give to each of his pregnant patients was to eat a "well-balanced diet" including an emphasis, as he says, "on four servings of dairy products and three servings of 'protein' (meat, poultry, fish, and eggs) daily." He talks about the low-income immigrant patients he had from Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino families that were still eating traditional rice and veggie-based diets. Those pregnancies? "Largely uneventful." :D

Since then, Dr. McDougall has changed his tune, and is one of the biggest advocates of plant-based diets. He states that over the past 40 years, many doctors have persuaded expectant mothers to eat that "well-balanced diet." And as a result, he says, "pregnancy has become synonymous with sickness." Nine months of misery: Fatigue, indigestion, constipation, and fat. At least 1/10 of pregnancies are diagnosed with preeclampsia, and 1/20 develops gestational diabetes. You can read his full article here

All expectant mothers should use the following chart as a guideline when planning their plant-based meals for the day:

Whole Grains, Breads, Cereals 9 or more servings
Serving = 1 slice of bread, 1/2 bun or bagel,
1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta,
3/4–1 cup ready-to-eat cereal
Vegetables 4 or more servings
Serving = 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw vegetables
Choose at least one dark green vegetable daily
Fruits 4 or more servings
Serving = 1/2 cup cooked, 1 cup raw,
1 piece of fruit, 3/4 cup fruit juice, 1/4 cup dried fruit
Legumes, Soy Products, Nondairy Milks 5–6 servings
Serving = 1/2 cup cooked beans, tofu, or tempeh;
8 ounces fortified soymilk or other nondairy milk;
3 ounces meat analogue
Nuts, Seeds, Wheat Germ 1–2 servings
Serving = 2 tablespoons nuts or seeds,
2 tablespoons nut butter, 2 tablespoons wheat germ
*Be sure to include a reliable source of vitamin B12, such as many prenatal vitamins or fortified nondairy milk or cereal.

Below is a great source for you to check out as you plan your plant-based pregnancy. Remember to stay clear of oils...for the same reason as you would normally. It's fat. What you need are nutrients. For your Fatty Acids, the best thing you can take is Ground Flax Seed. Just had a small handful to your cereal in the morning;)

Herbie Parents on Facebook. These people know plant-based pregnancy and plant-based kids inside and out. You have a question about being a plant-based mom? They have an answer.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I have Fruit and Vegetable Allergies, so a Plant-Based Diet Won't Work...Right?

I had someone ask me about allergies. Severe allergies. Oh, man, do I have good news for you! This is going to be upbeat, uplifting, and give you a whole heck of a lot of hope. I want to introduce you to a man. His name is Matt. Matt was interviewed by Lindsay Nixon (THE Happy Herbivore) back in 2010. You can read the full interview here. But what I really want to show you is a portion of the interview:

Tell us about these allergies and your major uphill battle.
Throughout my life I formed severe allergies and sensitivities to fruits and vegetables [emphasis added]. At first I would simply stop liking a fruit or vegetable but soon after, eating any small amount would cause my mouth and throat to itch for hours. Eventually the allergies grew bad enough that I would go to the ER and get epinephrine injections.
You were allergic to fruits and vegetables?! What did you eat?
[When I transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle] My diet consisted of lots of grains, tofu, spices, faux meats, cereals and rice. I couldn't eat beans at first because we weren't sure which ones I was allergic too.
You were eventually able to "cure" your allergies. Tell us about that.
A natural doctor diagnosed me with "leaky gut syndrome." A silly name, but a very common illness affecting millions of people. The basic premise is that due to a highly stressful diet (animal products are stressful on the body) our intestines form small perforations that let undigested food find a way into our bloodstream. Our immune system attacks that food like an infection and forms and allergy to it. By cleaning up my diet and going on some intense probiotics (they help restore the intentional lining) my body began to heal.
Are you able to eat (and enjoy) fruits and vegetables now?
A few months ago I started carefully trying fruits and vegetables. I found that not only were my allergies gone but I actually enjoyed the taste of fruits and vegetables. I'd catch myself daydreaming about kale and spinach.
I can't begin to explain the joy of being able to eat a strawberry, salsa or pasta sauce after all these years. If you or someone you know used to enjoy raw fruits or vegetables, and now doesn't, please look into leaky gut syndrome.
Have you experienced any other benefits, beyond the reversal of allergies?
I went off my heartburn medication and all prescription medication. My asthma also greatly improved and I no longer need a sleep apnea machine to get a good night's rest. (We'll talk about Matt's weight loss, physical changes and new energy levels next week!)

Does that not make you feel fabulous?! And "Leaky-Gut Syndrome," as he said, is actually more common than we think. If you find yourself with multiple...and I mean multiple allergies, take a look at this site. This has 9 signs that will help you determine if what you really suffer from is Leaky-Gut. If you indeed suffer from leaky-gut, get on a probiotic NOW, remove gluten from your diet for a couple months, and completely stop eating meat and dairy.

I actually self-diagnosed myself with a Candida overgrowth about 2 - 2.5 years ago. I was moody, I was (let's face it) gassy, I was tired, I craved sugar, I had severe seasonal allergies, and about a dozen other symptoms. So...I know how horrible a digestive disorder can be.

Wanna know what causes these issues? Meat and dairy. That, and a horribly low amount of fiber. You see, the meat and dairy have to travel through our long long intestines. Inside, they begin to rot, bad bacteria gets out of control, and ... if it gets bad enough, it can start to eat small holes in your intestines allowing food into the other parts of your body (thus...leaky gut). And Matt's story above tells the rest.

Dairy is an amazing allergy aggravator. Not only that, but it's a great inflammatory. So, people with seasonal allergies will usually see their allergies spike even more when they have dairy products.

I want you to meet another couple. Natala writes that she almost killed her husband once when they were dating because she made him dinner. He was allergic to:

  • ALL vegetables- except very well cooked spinach.
  • ALL nuts
  • All fruit – except very well cooked pears/peaches
  • Soy
  • Many beans

  • This sounds a lot like my "querier."

    In her article above, Natala focuses mainly on Gluten Sensitivities, but at the beginning, she makes a pretty awesome statement:

    *I’d like to add that because of his plant-strong diet, my husband reversed his food sensitivities to fruits and vegetables, so he can now eat things like tomato with out going to the ER (which happened, twice).

    Now, I'm going to add the same disclaimer that she did. There are some allergies that may not clear up. Pine nuts, soy, gluten, and others (my sensitivity to gluten was minor enough that I don't really have issue with it anymore). But, their negative affects can be drastically lessened. Keyword is CAN.

    However, as you can see from both cases, these people had EXTREME allergies. Allergies against fruits and veggies that would put them in the hospital. But after a while of eating lots of whole grains (quinoa, millet, brown rice, etc.), cereals, legumes (not just pinto beans, but black eyed peas, lentils, white beans, garbanzo beans, etc.) which are a great source of protein, fruits and veggies which DON'T cause problems, you WILL see yourself being able to add in veggies and fruits that once would have sent you to the hospital.

    If anyone else would like recipes or have other questions related to extreme allergies, please let me know. I'd be happy to help!

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    Herbivores VS Omnivores *ding ding ding!*

    So, since writing my post on protein...I've seen a couple instances where people have either said, "Yes, but Elephants and Giraffes eat bugs in the leaves too and that's where a lot of their protein comes from," OR I've also seen a comment from one gentleman who stated, "Why would that lady (what a gentleman for calling me a lady...I'm blushing!) assume that elephants bodies and humans bodies process food the same way?" In the post's defense, my herbivore friend quickly stated that that wasn't what I meant.

    Except . . .

    That is kinda what I meant.

    I was originally going to make this a post about something completely different, but because this topic seems to have taken off, I'm going to have to expound some more and leave the original topic for another day (Be on the watch for "'Eating for Your Blood Type' and Other Bologna Like That" -- I haven't quite worked out the title).

    Since we were all in elementary school, practically, we've been told that humans are omnivores. Just like bears. Just like hedgehogs. Skunks. Wait, what? How in the world is our anatomy like a skunk's? Or like a bear's for that matter?

    Just because we're capable of eating both animal meat and plants, doesn't make us an omnivore anymore than a tiger chowing down on grass for a little fiber makes him one.

    In an article by Dr. Milton R. Mills, M.D., he goes through, dissecting the anatomy and digestive properties of carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, and humans. He looks at the size and shape of oral cavities, intestines, colons, teeth, jaws, chewing, saliva, stomach acidity, stomach capacity...pretty much everything related to how animals and humans digest. Ready for this? In fact, visualize yourself as the human...and an elephant as you read about the Herbivore. Think of a bear for the Omnivore, and a giant cat of your choosing for the Carnivore.

    Facial Muscles
    CarnivoreReduced to allow wide mouth gape
    Jaw Type
    CarnivoreAngle not expanded
    HerbivoreExpanded angle
    OmnivoreAngle not expanded
    HumanExpanded angle
    Jaw Joint Location
    CarnivoreOn same plane as molar teeth
    HerbivoreAbove the plane of the molars
    OmnivoreOn same plane as molar teeth
    HumanAbove the plane of the molars
    Jaw Motion
    CarnivoreShearing; minimal side-to-side motion
    HerbivoreNo shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
    OmnivoreShearing; minimal side-to-side
    HumanNo shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
    Major Jaw Muscles
    HerbivoreMasseter and pterygoids
    HumanMasseter and pterygoids
    Mouth Opening vs. Head Size
    Teeth (Incisors)
    CarnivoreShort and pointed
    HerbivoreBroad, flattened and spade shaped
    OmnivoreShort and pointed
    HumanBroad, flattened and spade shaped
    Teeth (Canines)
    CarnivoreLong, sharp and curved
    HerbivoreDull and short or long (for defense), or none
    OmnivoreLong, sharp and curved
    HumanShort and blunted
    Teeth (Molars)
    CarnivoreSharp, jagged and blade shaped
    HerbivoreFlattened with cusps vs complex surface
    OmnivoreSharp blades and/or flattened
    HumanFlattened with nodular cusps
    CarnivoreNone; swallows food whole
    HerbivoreExtensive chewing necessary
    OmnivoreSwallows food whole and/or simple crushing
    HumanExtensive chewing necessary*
     *For most people...
    CarnivoreNo digestive enzymes
    HerbivoreCarbohydrate digesting enzymes
    OmnivoreNo digestive enzymes
    HumanCarbohydrate digesting enzymes
    Stomach Type
    HerbivoreSimple or multiple chambers
    Stomach Acidity
    CarnivoreLess than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
    HerbivorepH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
    OmnivoreLess than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
    HumanpH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
    Stomach Capacity
    Carnivore60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
    HerbivoreLess than 30% of total volume of digestive tract
    Omnivore60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
    Human21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract
    Length of Small Intestine
    Carnivore3 to 6 times body length
    Herbivore10 to more than 12 times body length
    Omnivore4 to 6 times body length
    Human10 to 11 times body length
    CarnivoreSimple, short and smooth
    HerbivoreLong, complex; may be sacculated
    OmnivoreSimple, short and smooth
    HumanLong, sacculated
    CarnivoreCan detoxify vitamin A
    HerbivoreCannot detoxify vitamin A
    OmnivoreCan detoxify vitamin A
    HumanCannot detoxify vitamin A
    CarnivoreExtremely concentrated urine
    HerbivoreModerately concentrated urine
    OmnivoreExtremely concentrated urine
    HumanModerately concentrated urine
    CarnivoreSharp claws
    HerbivoreFlattened nails or blunt hooves
    OmnivoreSharp claws
    HumanFlattened nails

    By all accounts, we're naturally made to eat like herbivores. We're more like herbivores than any of the other species. We're built to digest like they are. We're made to process food as well as they do.

    Carnivores (Lions, Wolves, Weiner and Nilly--my parents' puppies are pretty much the best dogs in the whole wide world) mainly eat meat. In fact, it's funny, since our allergy-prone Weiner (a Scottish Terrier) started having more raw meat in her diet, she doesn't itch anymore. And Nilly? The picky eater that would sit and stare at her bowl? Now scarfs her meal down like she's in heaven. Because that's how they're meant to eat.

    Omnivores (Bears, Badgers, Rats) mainly...are not built like us at all...and eat pretty much a mix of everything.

    Herbivores (Pandas, Koalas, Gorillas...and yes, humans) eat plants. Everything screams it. Yes, we CAN eat meat...but are we built to eat both lifestyles on a regular basis?

    I want to call your attention to the list above again. Look at the lengths of the small intestines. Carnivores and Omnivores have shorter intestines because the meat needs to pass through them quickly. They get their energy quickly. Here's what I think: There's a reason we have so many digestive problems in the country like IBS, Candida, and other issues like that...the meat is sitting in our intestines; our looooooong intestines...rotting. There's so much length for it to travel, that it's doing more harm than good. Then, we pay out the ear for extra fiber supplements or laxatives (yeah, I'm gonna get a little nasty here), because most of the US population hasn't had a decent poop in two or three days! In fact (I'm not going to tell you who said this), someone once told me...I'll never forget it...that he usually only pooped once or twice a week.


    Dude. That sucks.

    But, no wonder!

    We're built the way we are for a reason. And for some reason, we're hell-bent on fighting it.

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Heal the World...Make it a Better Place...

    (Since I've referenced Michael in two different posts, I can't see why I can't post them both on the same day.)

    Ahh, Michael Jackson. "Heal the World." If only, if only. But healing the world from this kind of going to take some work, banging heads against walls, and possibly some scare tactic. But don't worry, I won't be showing images of abused animals in slaughter houses. Just some figures for you.

    I remember being in Middle School (Ye ol' Wasatch Middle School), and hearing that the methane gas given off from large scale cattle ranches was depleting the ozone. Right...cow farts were eating away our atmosphere. Like I was going to take that seriously. Besides the fact that flatulence was to blame, I mean, we've had cows and livestock around forEVER (For...e...VER)! How in the world could an animal that has been living on the planet for so long be the culprit behind the "ozone leak?"


    But the world's never seen this much cattle before. Truth. Never before in the history of the world has mankind raised livestock this numerous. In fact, according to a United Nations report, it's been identified that the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle is the greatest threat to the climate, forests, and wildlife on our planet. But it's not just the ozone. They are blamed for a massive party of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to producing deserts, to creating dead zones in the oceans, poisoning rivers and drinking water, and destroying coral reefs.

    Cows. You think the warriors in 300 were deadly? I can see it now...the next summer blockbuster: 1,500,000,000 - When the calf was born, like all bulls, he was inspected. 

    By the way, that number? 1.5 Billion. That's the estimated number of cattle all over the world.

    According to the United Nations Report, the fuel burnt to produce fertilizer to grow feed for all that cattle, to produce the meat, and to transport it - plus clearing vegetation for grazing (which is to blame for 80% of the Amazon deforestation...not paper, not furniture...cows)- produces 9% of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. Add to that their farts (I'm just gonna say it) and manure emit more than one third ...1/3...of methane emissions, which warm the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.

    Look at these other #s:

    Amazon Deforestation Comparison
    -Livestock produce more than 100 polluting gases (including 2/3 of the world's ammonia emissions--one of the main causes of acid rain).

    -It takes 261 gallons of water to produce 1/4 gallon of milk (and people think we have a water shortage because we're watering our LAWNS too much??) If a family drinks two gallons a week...that's 2,088 gallons of water used just to produce that milk.

    -Overgrazing is turning 1/5 of all pastures into desert.

    -Cattle pollution washes into the sea, killing coral reefs and creating "dead zones" with no life. One such "dead zone" has reached 8,108 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico where much of the waste from our own US beef production has been carried down the Mississippi.

    The scarier part? The report finishes by stating the unless DRASTIC changes are made, the damage done by ranching and livestock will more than DOUBLE by 2050 as the demand for meat and dairy rise.

    I probably shouldn't tell you about what it can do to our drinking water...but I'm going to. Because when "contaminants from animal waste seep into underground sources of drinking water, the amount of nitrate in the ground water supply can reach unhealthy levels. Infants up to three months of age are particularly susceptible to high nitrate levels and may develop Blue Baby Syndrome (methemoglobinemia), an often fatal blood disorder.

    "The microorganisms found in animal wastes, such as cryptosporidium, can also pose significant public health threats. For example, after a severe rainstorm in 1993, an outbreak of cryptosporidium in Milwaukee's drinking water supply caused 100 deaths and sickened 430,000 people. If the presence of these microorganisms exceeds the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act, community and private well owners will not only face health risks, but will also have to find new sources for their drinking water supplies. This can be extremely costly and impractical."

    That's from the EPA.

    Germany...the country known for Bratwursts, currywurst, hendl...and let's just face it, they're meat heads. Really. But recently, Germany has come out and actually asked the public to only eat meat on special occasions because of the environmental impact of cattle.

    The truth is...I could actually keep going on and on and on. But let me leave you with a somewhat spiritual thought. When Christ left his Apostles, he asked Peter if he loved him. Peter replied, "Yea, Lord." Christ then asked him to Feed his Sheep. While he was speaking both a physical feed and spiritual feed, I want to focus on the physical feed.

    We've been charged to take care of the poor. Take care of the needy. Feed the hungry. I want you to look at one more figure before scanning the infographic below (BTW, I think PETA's nutso, but the information below floors me).

    -If you took the 16 lbs. of grain used to feed a cow (about 1/2 of one cow's daily need) could feed 10 people for a whole day.

    On October 31, 2011, the world's population hit 7 billion people. Our current food system is incapable of addressing the needs of so many, and it's up to us to make a change in the way we eat. (Disclaimer: I think PETA is a bunch of crazy nut jobs, but I agree with this.)

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    Hippie Dippy Loaf

    In response to telling my super at work that I was going to make "Hippie Loaf" (check the link for the recipe) for dinner a couple days ago, he looked at me and said, "You're a hippie."

    I smiled and replied, "Yes, I am a hippie."

    I've always been a big fan of meat loaf. The all-american meal. Meat, potatoes, bread. Mmm. But all that doesn't have to end when you cut out the meat. This is another recipe from Lindsay Nixon's The Happy Herbivore cookbook. Lucky for you, this one is offered on her website!!! Which means you can do this tonight for dinner! And I'll bet you already have most of this stuff in your fridge.

    Lots of veggies, lots of protein, lots of nutrients, and TONS of yum.

    I partnered mine with a simple baked potato with Mrs. Dash lemon pepper, and a couple slices of whole wheat bread with plant-based strawberry freezer jam (my mom's...and SO good). In the words of the King of Pop, "Jam!
    It Ain't Too Much..."
    Picture of Hippie Loaf
    The Happy Herbivore

    The Happy Herbivore herself also offers the nutritional facts for this meal, and it just makes me grin ear to ear. Wanna know how much protein is in this veggie packed Hippie Loaf? 14.9 g.

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    The Age Old Question...Protein

    Ah, my favorite question:

    Where do you get your protein?

    Actually, this one came from "Anonymous" asking how vegans deal with "cutting" our protein intake. I'm going to sum it all up in one picture.

    'Tis true. Elephants, Rhinoceroses, Giraffes...some of the largest land animals on the planet are vegan. And they have plenty of muscle mass. Want to know why? They still get their protein. And so do human plant-based eaters. 

    But where?


    Not on your life. In fact, once you switch to a plant-based diet, you can stop taking your multi-vitamin, you can stop taking your extra calcium pills, your vitamin D pills, your vitamin C pills, your herbal pills, your aspirin regimens, your allergy pills, your probiotics, your fish oil, your flax seed oil...all those supplements. Just toss them out. And replace them with one: Vitamin B-12. That's it. All vegans and vegetarians need to take a B-12, but everything is covered in a plant-based diet. 

    So, now that we've discussed that we don't get our protein via supplements, I'll show you where:

    And that's just a small selection. According to Dr. Jeff Novick (one of my favorite doctors...if I could have him be my personal physician, I would), he has an article (which you can read here) discussing how much protein the average person needs--he also breaks it down for athletes. 

    He says, in general, according to the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine,

    "The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for both men and women is 0.80 g of good quality protein/kg body weight/d and is based on careful analysis of available nitrogen balance studies." 

    So, for someone who is 220 lbs., 220 lbs. is 100 kgs. 100 x .8 = 80 grams of protein/day.

    I weigh 135 lbs. now (woo hoo!) so that translates to 61.2 kgs. 61.2 x 0.8 = 48.9 g protein/day. Usually, in my day (we'll take yesterday), between oatmeal, wheat cereal, walnuts, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, flax seed powder...then for lunch I had white bean veggie soup and a berry salad (Zupas)...then Hippie Loaf for dinner with potatoes, I ended up at roughly 60 grams of protein--give or take. 

    WAY over my needed amount. Shocked? Actually, ha ha...I kind of am. I've never broken it down before. Need more protein for higher weight? Just eat more! Bet no one's been able to tell you that before;)

    I highly encourage anyone to read Dr. Novick's article. And for any athletes or body builders, take a look at this might just blow your mind!

    Monday, December 9, 2013


    When Kim and I watched Forks Over Knives (By the way, you can watch the video at this link now) and did a little more research it was easy to see what we needed to do.  But the biggest issue we had was, "What in the world will we eat?" I mean, every meal we had eaten was based around some kind of meat. It was the way we learned to do it, but I knew we could unlearn it if was right. So we set off.

    Kim found this great article by Dr. Colin Campbell's foundation.  It helps you transition to a plant-based lifestyle.  It gives you 3 full weeks of menus with wonderful tasting foods with loads of variety.  You'll soon see you haven't gone without at all.

    In your transition stage, don't be afraid to use the faux meats.  I don't think you should use them on a constant basis, as they contain processed foods and chemicals as any other convenience food, but they can certainly help you to transition.

    Here's the LINK  to Dr. Colin Campbell's foundation's menu.

    The more we ate this way, the more energy we had.  I just turned 50, my arthritis has gone away, and I lost 35 lbs. I recently had my cholesterol checked.  My number ... 135 down from 220.  I now eat all the food I want and never have to push myself away from the table, especially when I'm still hungry.  I feel like I'm in my 20s. I also walk 30 minutes a day on my treadmill.

    Kim is 58 and he rides his bike to work every day.  He says that some days, on his way home, he feels like he is flying.  By the way, his way home is completely uphill. He recently had his cholesterol checked, as well.  His number ... 140 down from 198.  His summer allergies, that he has been plagued with since childhood, have significantly reduced. He has also struggled with insomnia, but since just changing our diet he sleeps like a baby ... every night.

    Now the only question (about the diet) is "How in the world do I tailor my clothes to fit a skinnier me?" But I like that question.

    Creamy Baked Potato Soup

    Hello, all!  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Ellen Kowallis.  I am the MOM that Jernae frequently refers to, and there are certainly some things she may post that I might plead the 5th to.

    This week was our annual Adult Ward Christmas Party.  Our ward's tradition of the Adult Christmas party is wonderfully extreme.  So nice to have a night where just adults can come and focus on what's important.  Children are great, but let's face it... Yes, moms! Our husband should take precedence before our children. And since that rarely happens in our culture, I'm grateful to wise Bishops who provide this time for us.  The family party is this coming weekend where children are invited.  So I'm even more grateful to people who have helped with both.

    Since changing our lifestyle I try to sign up to bring food to functions so we can have something to eat.  I signed up for soup and a dessert.  I figured we could just handle the rest.  Luckily for us our ward is the BEST!  For the main course they included baked potatoes and the organizer brought salsa just for Kim and me so we could put it on our potatoes. We, definitely, went away stuffed as everyone else.

    The recipe for the soup I brought is include in this post. (The dessert I will post later) I didn't mention to anyone that it was plantbased, and by the time our table was selected to get our soup, it was gone!  We had to scrap the bowl to get any.  :)  And then afterward the organizer said that she received many compliments about it. So I hope you enjoy it as much as the ward did.

    I will give full credit to the blog called LUNCH BOX BUNCH, which is where I got the recipe from. After soaking the almonds you may have to blanch them to get the skins off, which made it super easy. Or you could just use cashews (raw of course).  They are beautifully white and make a very creamy sauce.
    The Lunch Box Bunch