Delicata squash

delicataI’m a big fan of this variety of winter squash I just saw for the first time.  Like all winter squash varieties, delicata is very mild, and it is slightly sweet.

I prepared it by cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds (for the garden), and then cutting it into 1/4″ slices.  I baked it for 50 minutes in a covered dish with some excellent fresh tomato sauce, shiitake mushrooms, onions, garlic, and about 1/4 cup of California wild rice.  I spiced it with my favorites: turmeric, black pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.  I also added some apple cider vinegar.  I really like this tangy addition to the dish!

It made 4 generous servings, and it was delicious and healthful.

Will do this again soon!  And, I’m counting on it growing in my garden, maybe even getting a few before our first freeze, usually in late October.

Give it a try, cooking it your way, or try mine!

Source: Delicata squash – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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There are giants in the land

“Some people think the plant-based, whole-foods diet is extreme. Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery. Some people would call that extreme.”

~Caldwell Esselstyn

When it comes to plant-based nutrition, there are so many “giants in the land” of the enemy that it is much easier to submit to their rule in our lives than it is to subdue them.  Just ask anyone who has ever made a life change from eating a meat-based diet to one of whole foods, based 100% in plants.

assortedplantDr. Esselstyn’s quote (above) is taken from his groundbreaking book,  Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure.  It states the obvious irony: people will go to extraordinary extremes, both in health and in financial expenses, to correct, or treat, the outcomes of a poor lifestyle before they will adopt preventative one if it requires changing what they like to eat.

It’s absurd, and it’s true.  Been there, done that, with 60 years of experience!

Like anything else, however, there is comfort in numbers, and the numbers of doctors, nutrition researchers and experts, and plant-based diet adherents are growing, and this alone will turn the course toward disease prevention and away from disease treatment as the primary “fix” for health.
The benefits of a plant-based diet begin at day one when a person simply decides that disease prevention and/or reversal is their biggest health priority.  Making the decision empowers the other activities that move us physically to the better path, and it feels good just to breathe the fresh air of change.

Source for quote: The Top 100 Vegan and Vegetarian Quotes, and the aforementioned book by Dr. Esselstyn.

Why vegan? My reasons.

There have been three primary motivations for choosing to go with a plant-based diet.  I’m sure there are others, but these are my own.  These are not in any special order, and they are equally ranked.  At different times, one may be ascendant to the others, but that’s mostly because I have a particular thing in mind that day.

Day 1 sproutsHealth reasons

From my reading over several years, I believe the evidence is overwhelming, plant-based diets are better for longevity and quality of life.  The work of T. Colin Campbell, particularly, has been the most thorough and most convincing.  The diets espousing the benefits of animal protein over plant-based proteins notwithstanding, the longitudinal research of Campbell and others supports the notion that plant-based is not only adequate for protein, but is superior in every way.  For another book on this particular subject, The Protein Myth, by David Gerow Irving, is definitive.

Senseless animal slaughter

I won’t post the pictures here, but there are so many outstanding books on the subject of how we get meat, along with dairy produce, to our tables, that I believe it is morally damaging and condemnable for me to eat animal products.  One of the best books, written by Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals, opens that window into animal cruelty like no other has done for me.  There are dozens of outstanding books and films on the subject.

Environmental damage

With the evidence mounting that food shortages will become the number one global concern within my own lifetime, we can no longer afford to give up the amount of farmland it takes to satiate the appetites of a meat-eating population.  This, along with the effects of cattle raising, including pigs and poultry, upon negative climate change and water pollution, means to me that continuing to perpetuate this cycle is to commit a major crime against humanity on a global scale.

My reasons may not be everyone’s reason.  But, they have been carefully considered over many years.  The appetite was not hard to kill once the evidence was in.

Cooking without oils

One of the healthiest “mini-conversions” people can make to rid their diets of excess calories, while honing in on super nutrition, is to learn how to use alternative ingredients and cooking methods that eliminate added fats and salt.

This is one of the most important components of the Eat To Live plan that I have been following religiously.  It’s not simply a weight-loss thing, like some people suppose.  It also helps to keep cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes (Type 2), and many other chronic disease in check.

zuchtopWhile there are so-called “healthy fats” that are essential to the body, most of these are easily attained through rich natural sources such as nuts and seeds.  Even with this knowledge, however, it is difficult for people to realize that cooking can be accomplished without the use of added oils, even the “healthy” ones.

So, relearning cooking methods and using alternative ingredients are essential if one really wants to succeed in eating an optimal nutritious diet without compromising for lack of knowledge.

When I came across this post, I knew it belonged on my blog.  I have seen some good articles, and some good videos on specific techniques, but this, perhaps, is the best one yet.

Posted on Forks Over Knives, this article, by Darshana Thacker, “Expert Tips on How to Cook Without Oil”, covers most all cooking methods with alternative suggestions and ingredients.  She also discusses cookware suggestions that are helpful.

Take a look at it, and let me know what you think about it!  I’d love to hear other ideas that are not included here.

Click this link to read this great article!

Twitter handles:

Forks Over Knives
Darshana’s Kitchen

Tips for eating plantbased on a budget

For anyone trying do a plantbased diet on a small budget, it can be done with planning and forethought on some key issues.  Recently, I posted a blog about planning for nutrition here, and I’ve been reading other good blogs on the subject that are helpful.

This one is from a post-graduate student, living in London, and she gives some excellent and simple advice to anyone looking for a way to eat healthful, nutritious meals that do not compromise one’s eating plan.

Here are a couple of her suggestions, but there are many more great ones as well.


Cucumbers sliced and quarteredFreeze your greens

Leafy greens such as spinach and kale tend to spoil quickly. To avoid wasting and replacing, I freeze them and just add them to smoothies, curries and stir-fries.

Stock up on spices.

It’s so much easier to make a meal out of what looks like nothing when you can add flavors from spices.  Some left over lentils can be made into a tasty dahl with stock, garlic, cumin and turmeric. Spices are inexpensive and they last!

Here is the link to Katie’s blog, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

10 Tips For Eating Plant-Based On A Budget – mindbodygreen.com.