Daphne decided to go on a plant-based diet. I try to eat this way every day. I do all right during the week but fall short of my goal on the weekends.
I call myself, "vegan-ish," because "plant-based-ish" doesn't have the same ring. I truly believe that reducing the meat and cheese in my diet has allowed me to lose weight, lower my cholesterol, lower my blood pressure, and feel amazing. If I could just cut down on the calories I consume by drinking wine Nah! That's crazy! Besides, wine is heart healthy, right?
Since Daphne started eating this way, we've learned that I am not going to give up on Cheez-Its and she isn't going to let go of Shrimp Ramen noodles. Nobody is perfect. A plant-based diet is not so much about animal rights as it is about nutrition.
Chickpea Salad Cabbage Wrap.
Eliminating or reducing meat and cheese aren't the only factors to consider. That is more of the goal for a vegan. You don't want to eat a ton of pasta and bread, which is often a pitfall. Instead, you should focus on, well, plants. Don't imagine yourself eating a fern. Meals are created around grains and vegetables. This food can be very delicious is you are creative.
In order to achieve amazing results, one must eat mostly whole foods and stay away from processed foods, like Cheez-Its. Oops! Also, you should eat raw foods as much as possible. In addition, eat the whole fruit and avoid drinking the juice from the fruit alone. Drinking the juice without the pulp or flesh, gives a person mostly sugar and none of the fiber.
Also, proponents of a plant-based diet encourage people to avoid meat and cheese substitutes, basically because anything processed is not going to be as good as a whole food. So, substituting vegetables, nuts, whole grains or fruits in order to satisfy that meaty or cheesy craving is what is best. Furthermore, you should avoid all oils and eat a ton of whole grains.
Chickpea Salad Cabbage Wrap
Time: 20 minutes
2 cans of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
cup celery, diced
cup scallions, diced
red pepper, diced
cup cilantro, chopped
cashew dill sauce (recipe to follow)
4 cabbage leaves
1 tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
Place garbanzo beans into a bowl. Gently mash them with a potato masher. Add carrot, celery, scallions, red pepper, pickle, and cilantro. Mix well. Pour in the sauce and mix well. Place a portion into a cabbage leaf and top tomato and avocado. Wrap the cabbage up and eat like a burrito.
Cashew dill sauce:
2 cups cashews
cup coconut water (or just water), adjust to reach desired consistency
juice of two lemons
1 teaspoon fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor (except salt and pepper). Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Whole grain oatmeal (not the instant) with fresh berries on top would be perfect for breakfast. I just read a recipe for savory style oatmeal with pesto and garlic in it? I'm not sure if that would be good but I think it is worth a try. The article called it the "new mashed potato"?
Apparently, a few restaurants around the country have been adding savory oatmeal to their menu. If this tastes good, maybe we could eat oatmeal for lunch or dinner too. Obviously, we wouldn't eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner all in the same day. That would be nuts. Oh, plant based diets also incorporate tons of nuts into the recipes. My favorite trick is to add cashews to make sauces and dressings creamy.
The biggest concern anyone has about eating this way is whether he or she will get enough protein. All I can say is, read "The China Study" or watch YouTube videos of Dr. Esselstyn. There is a lot of scientific research out there to suggest that vegetables provide enough protein for the human body to thrive.
In The Blue Zone, you will discover that the places on this planet where people live the longest are areas where meat is rarely consumed. Claud tells me that he could find plenty of research stating the opposite viewpoint. I am sure he is right. In fact, I know some people who are on the Paleo diet which is basically all meat all of the time. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I just find all of this fascinating and love to learn new things about nutrition and eat what works for me.
I am not condoning that everyone stop eating meat. I still eat some meat and fish and cheese occasionally. I cook meat for Claud every night and will continue to write articles about meat and fish and cheesy things for this article. I am only offering this information for people who may be interested in looking into it further. If so, watch the documentary, "Forks Over Knives" to see how this way of eating has reversed serious heart disease, has helped people with diabetes, and generally leads to weight loss. My stepfather, Doug's, doctor asked him to stop eating meat because of his heart issues. My neighbor across the street had a heart attack a few months ago and his doctor recommended the same thing. So, I'm just saying
Daphne has allowed me to make her whatever I want for every meal. That's my kind of deal. Yesterday, I created a chickpea salad. I have been wrapping things in greens, in an effort to avoid eating so much bread. I wrapped this salad in cabbage leaves. I think any plant-based dietician would be pleased with this meal except for the lack of whole grains. I guess I could have thrown in some brown riceoh well. The sauce I created was made with cashews. I was really pleased that it tasted so delicious. I was happier when Daphne came back for seconds.