Top 7 Tips for Your First 3 Weeks of Plant-Based Eating

So you’ve decided to give the whole foods plant based way of eating a try.  Great job!  Speaking from experience, in 1 week you’ll feel the benefits to your energy level, you’ll have normal bowel movements (perhaps for the first time in your life?), and you will feel noticeably GOOD.  In 2 weeks you’ll have…

“Chicken of the Woods” Recipe

My family went camping with a group this weekend, and we were very lucky to find a HUGE laetiporus mushroom fruiting from a stump at one of the camp sites!  This is a fairly common edible mushroom.  Most people know it casually as “chicken of the woods,” or “the chicken mushroom.”  It is different than…

Plant Based Pantry Staples

There are a few items in my pantry that I use so frequently that when I see them at the grocery store I usually clear out the whole shelf.  If they’re not available at the store, I buy them by the case online.  Here are some of those basic pantry staples (and how to use…

Things You CAN Do on a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet

When we were researching a whole foods plant-based diet we found that there is a lot of anxiety out there about what vegans can and can’t do.  People worry that by dropping meat and dairy from their diet they will harm themselves or their family.  These fears are needless!  Here are three things you CAN…

No, the FDA is Not Banning Trans Fats

You may have seen media reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is “banning trans fat” from our food supply.  Trans fats are highly correlated with coronary heart disease–our number one killer–so much so that the World Health Organization and other public health bodies have determined that there is no amount that can…

Pressed Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

This salad combines the unique flavor of raw fennel with the sweetness of apples and cucumber.  You can throw in any veggies that you happen to have such as finely sliced carrots, napa cabbage, or spring onions.  The recipe below is my favorite combination.  The preparation method interesting as well; have you ever massaged your…

Whole Grain Kamut Salad with Sweet Lemon Vinaigrette

Whole grain salads make me feel like a champion!  Sometimes I crave a big bowl of whole wheat pasta marinara, but sometimes I just want the whole wheat grain itself.  There’s something about it…the springy texture of whole grain Kamut, the sweetness of fresh fruit and carrots, and the lovely tang of a home made…

Where Will I Get My Protein?

This was my first question when I started a whole food vegan diet (a la Forks Over Knives), and it continues to be one of the first questions I am asked by people who are curious about beginning this way of eating.  Why is this question so common?  For me the connection was as simple…

Decadent Fudgy Chocolate Cupcakes

Here’s a real treat: chocolate cupcakes!  This recipe is adapted from an actual Forks Over Knives approved recipe.  There is real sugar in it, and real chocolate, though I have reduced the amount called for in the original recipe.  The cupcakes are much lower in fat than traditional cupcakes, and they use whole wheat as…

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tacos with Salsa Verde

Since the weather turned cold here in Maryland we haven’t grilled outside much, and boy do I miss it!  I convinced my husband to grill up these marinated portobello mushrooms (since they only take about 4 minutes per side).  He agreed that it was well worth enduring the brief cold for that familiar grilled flavor!…

Your Peaceful New Year

This past May at the peak of my half marathon training I was running three times per week, up to 17 miles.  My weight: 156 pounds.  Now it’s the week after Christmas and for months the only exercise I got is from normal daily activities like walking and keeping up with our toddler.  My weight…

The Best Vegan Mac and “Cheese” Ever

Of course there is no dairy in this whole foods plant based mac and “cheese.”  Traditional mac and cheese recipes can call for 3, 4 or 5 types of dairy products: various cheese varieties, cream cheese, butter, shredded cheese on top.  When you think of the calorie breakdown of a dish like that, it would…

2 Amazing Whole Foods Plant Based Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Pancakes Ingredients: 1 Cup pureed pumpkin 1Cup oats 1 Cup water 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup (optional) Add the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Cook in a non-stick pan (no oil needed) over medium heat about 3 minutes per side.  Serve with fresh apple butter, applesauce, fresh…

Asian Slaw

There is a lot of peeling and chopping to be done for this dish, but the fresh flavors are so worth it. The recipe makes a big batch, perfect for taking to a potluck or sharing with family (or having lots of leftovers). Unlike the usual coleslaw recipe, this version has plenty of starchy corn…

A Conversation with Mother Nature

The FDA recently approved the use of lycopene from tomatoes as a more “natural” replacement for red dye in processed meat. Pepperoni on pizza, that quick weeknight dinner of hotdogs, and our daily turkey or ham sandwich all contain a  cocktail of substances like meat glue, nitrites, and dyes. They’ve got to be dyed, or else…

Nacho “Cheese” Salad

Whose cheese is it?  Nacho cheese!  Get it?  😉 This yummy black bean salad is topped with a cashew-based “cheese” sauce.  It is creamy.  It is decadent.  It is nut-based, and it is fatty!  Nuts are on the list of plant-based foods that are relatively high in total fat and saturated fat.  Even though nuts…

Thanksgiving in July

It’s summer in Maryland.  It’s hot.  It’s humid.  But by golly I’ve got to have some hearty plant-based Thanksgiving fare–and this stuffing is it!  Try this amazing recipe now and save it for the holidays.  You’ll impress family and friends at your holiday parties this year, since you will have practiced making this dish since…

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

If you’ve been craving a cool chicken salad sandwich, try this outstanding chickpea salad as a healthy substitute!  Chicken on its own isn’t very flavorful–that (among other reasons not to eat chicken) is why we don’t eat it boiled plain or steamed.  This salad has all of the wonderful flavor and crunch of a deli chicken salad…

Millet with Kale & Savory Mushroom Gravy

With all the fresh summer salads and cooled grain dishes I’ve been having lately, I have begun to miss the hearty, hot, savory dishes of winter.  So I made one!  Our garden kale is doing well enough this year for 4 harvests so far.  I chose cremini mushrooms for their flavor and smallish size.  Try…

Perfect Plant-Based Pancakes

  Whole food plant-based pancakes: There’s nothing not to love about ’em!  These pancakes are free of oil and dairy, and they’re so fluffy and light they almost float off the pan. Serves 2 Ingredients: 2 Cups 100% whole wheat flour 2 Teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder 1 Teaspoon cinnamon 2 Cups unsweetened almond milk (or…

Brown Rice Salad with Cherries & Apricots

I brought this recipe to a dinner with omnivore friends and it was a big hit!  I love the flavor combination of sweet cherries and apricots with the bite of celery and parsley.  This dish is is “picnic-perfect,” but do try it out for your weeknight dinner.  The starchy whole grains at its center will keep…

Tamales with Mole Sauce

Up for a delicious challenge?  Tamales are incredibly yummy, and totally plant-based.  The corn flour and bean filling is complemented perfectly by a rich mole sauce with the character of roasted poblano pepper.  The reward is great for preparing this dish–which is no easy task.  The preparation begins the night before with hojas de tamal…

Ultimate Lentil Burgers

It’s all in the name for these burgers-this is the “ultimate” lentil burger recipe!  The burgers met with vigorous approval from family, including a formerly carnivorous man.  Every once in a while my husband craves the texture and heartiness of a meat-like meal.  These burgers do the trick!  I recommend spreading avocado on your toasted…

Penne Pasta with Arugula Pesto and White Beans

Traditional pesto is made with basil and parmesan cheese.  The cheese is not part of a plant-based diet (did you know that parmesan cheese is one of the most acidic foods?), and my garden basil plants are not up yet.  Fortunately for me and my family our local farm has arugula harvested in abundance this…

Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies

It’s a snow day (one of many this winter on the east coast)!  To sustain and delight my family I whipped up these awesome black bean brownies.  Hubby said they are the best brownies he has ever had, period.  They are nutritionally dense: just one tablespoon of ground flax seed provides a full day’s dose…

Steamed Baby Bok Choi with Gomashio

I needed a snack this afternoon, so of course I grabbed my camera and started cooking!  I decided on steamed baby bok choi sprinkled with gomashio, a Japanese condiment made from sesame seeds and salt. Gomashio is delicious when made fresh at home (which you can do)!  You will need a suribachi, which is an…

Soba Noodle Soup

Soba noodles are a traditional Japanese noodle with an interesting history.  The area of Edo (now modern Tokyo) during the Tokugawa period of 1603-1867 was inhabited by the wealthy class who preferred to eat white rice over less refined whole grain rice.  The result was an increase in the disease beri beri caused by a…

Is it Cheaper to Eat a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet?

I have always heard that it is cheaper to eat plant-based, but I doubted that it was true.  People in developing countries where plant foods are more prevalent live off of less than $2 per day, but I know that’s nowhere near the case for my family.  Since we began eating a 100% whole foods…

Coconut Curried Chickpeas with Choi Sum

On the way home from the record store today I thought: what are we having for dinner?  My mental inventory of the kitchen was blank.  Since I have a one year old baby, I really, really did not want to stop at the store on the way home (she was asleep)!  So we bravely ventured…

How I Lost Weight by Eating 5,600 Calories per Day

I don’t usually count calories, but I am reading a very interesting book called “Why Calories Count” by one of my favorite nutritionists Marion Nestle.  Yes, I have favorite nutritionists!  The book elucidates the source of dietary calories, their origin as a measurement of energy in food, and why we care to count them.  I…

Mix & Match your Greens, Beans and Grains

This salad, oh man, I can’t even!  It’s so delicious and simple.  Combine equal parts chopped greens, cooked beans, and cooked whole grains.  This salad uses organic kale from our local farm CSA, South American red beans, and brown rice.  Add some cherry tomatoes and avocado, and dress with the zest and juice of 2…

Black Eyed Peas & Spinach Salad

Beans, greens, and grain salads are my new favorite dish.  These ingredients make me feel great, energetic, full, and light.  Beans are well known to be rich in plant protein, spinach is a powerhouse of iron, calcium, and phytochemicals, and whole grain brown rice provides complex carbohydrates to fuel the body.  The vitamin C present…

Black Bean, Arugula, and Brown Rice Salad

I’m thinking of changing my name to either “Beans McGrain” or “Greens McBean,” since my favorite things are beans, greens, and grains!  This salad has all three.  Our farm CSA pickup this week included a huge bag of arugula.  I was thrilled since I now had all the ingredients to make this great grain salad….

Pumpkin Pie Spice Bars

This recipe is delicious and kid friendly since it does not contain a ton of sugar, but only ¼ cup of maple syrup distributed over 9 bars! I feel great about feeding these bars to my 1 year old daughter since the bulk of the bar is made of beans and pumpkin. The texture is…

Saturday Night Pizza & Cake!

Pizza and cake???  Yes!  It’s getting close to our daughter’s first birthday.  We are having a small party of family and friends for her, and I wanted to test our her birthday cake recipe.  What a treat for a Saturday night.  Why not have a little family pizza party too?  The great thing about eating…

RAW Zucchini and Carrot Salad

I’ve been looking at some “raw food” vegan cook books lately.  Raw food vegans differ from whole food vegans (a whole foods, plant-based diet) in a few ways, the main one being that raw food vegans don’t cook their food.  They may use techniques such as fermentation and dehydration, but they don’t apply heat above…

Rachel Ray Recipe Re-Do

I saw these two “healthy” recipes in the latest Rachel Ray magazine.  Sad to say, Rachel and her team are promoting the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.)!  The magazine features advertisements from USDA-managed industry marketing groups such as the National Egg Board, Beef Producers of America, and the National Dairy Council.  From these advertisements I learned…

Granola Bar in a Jar

My awesome mother-in-law and I went to a Washington, D.C. farmer’s market the other day and I found some organic blueberries that were one sixth of the price of blueberries in our local grocery store.  So I went ahead and bought about six times my normal amount of blueberries–a full three quarts!  What to do…

Curried Kamut Salad

I love grain salads!  Even before our family began eating a whole foods plant-based diet, I always sought out chilled whole grain salads.  They are filling and flavorful, and often spiced with interesting and diverse seasoning.  Curried grain salad comes in at the top of my list since it has a hint of sweet from…

Summer Grilling

It’s summer and that means it’s time for shishkebabs!  No oil or processed foods are needed to make a delicious sweet and savory grilled kebab.  Substitute any of your favorite veggies.  Our local farmer’s market had some pattypan squash available.  They came out great on the grill! Shishkebabs Ingredients: 1 Large red bell pepper, coarsely…

Hummus

Hummus is enjoying it’s day in the sun!  It’s now a popular snack and fresh versions are available at your local grocery store and small snack size packs are even found at gas stations complete with pretzels.  But these versions are typically loaded with oil!  Did you know that olive oil is 100% pure fat…

Spinach Farfalle Salad

This dish is a family favorite.  We adapted it to a whole foods plant-based diet by using 100% whole wheat pasta and leaving out the usual olive oil and feta cheese.  Be sure to use olives packed in water, not oil. Ingredients: Box whole wheat bow-tie pasta, cooked according to package directions 2 Pounds fresh…

Sour Ginger Limeade with Raspberries

This limeade is not for the feint of heart, it is Sour City!  The ginger makes it totally refreshing as temperatures climb to 90F in my home town today.  For a sweeter cold beverage, try muddling raspberries with the ginger at the bottom of each glass instead of using lime juice. Ingredients: Soda water Juice…

What’s for Breakfast? Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Try this smoothie for breakfast, or have it as a post work-out drink like I do! Ingredients: 2 Bananas 1 Cup strawberries (fresh or frozen) 1 Teaspoon pure unsweetened vanilla extract 4 Cups cold plant-based milk Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Baba Ghanoush Lettuce Wraps with Marinated Tomatoes & Toast

Before switching to a whole foods plant based diet, one vegetable was pretty much a mystery to me: eggplant.  It looks so purple, round, and friendly, but how to eat it?  I had experienced it only in cheesy, mushy eggplant parmesan. Now I love eggplant!  I use eggplant in veggie burgers and “meat”balls.  It has…

How to Toast Nuts

Toasting nuts is easy!  Spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake at 350F for 10 or 11 minutes.  Don’t be late on the timer–nuts will burn very quickly if not pulled out in time. Why toast your own nuts?  Sometimes raw, unroasted almonds are a little cheaper than their roasted…

Banana Creme Parfaits

Holy delicious, Batman!  This recipe is from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook, by far my favorite cookbook for plant-based eating.  These parfaits seem intimidating because each layer has it’s own recipe, but really they are quite simple.  I find that the first time through any recipe it takes a while before you get to eat…

Quinoa Cucumber Salad

I’m not usually wild about cucumbers, but this recipe is full of complimentary flavors and I loved the combination!  This dish can stand alone as lunch or be served as a side.  The weather is warming up, so if I get invited to any springtime picnics I think I’ll choose to bring this cool salad!…