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…

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…

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…

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!…

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…

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…

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…

What are Whole Foods?

The following is a 1 page poster I wrote up as a handout at a local “Green Expo.”  I thought it was worth sharing as a short primer on whole, plant-based food.  Here it is: Whole foods are foods that look as close to the way they were grown as possible.  Think potatoes, not potato…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Soba Noodles in Kombu Broth

This recipe from the “Forks Over Knives Cookbook” is outstanding.  If you want a big bowl of hot vegetables with filling buckwheat soba noodles just like sensei used to make, this is the dinner for you! The key to this flavorful dish is the somewhat hard to find kombu.  It is dried seaweed that can…

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!…

Quick Breakfast

Did you ever have leftover pizza for breakfast?  It’s the best! We made this pizza last night.  The crust is 100% whole wheat, topped with home made pizza sauce, black olives, broccoli, and crumbled tofu.  With the last bit of tofu I made a quick curried breakfast scramble with spinach.  We had some cooked pearl…

Carnival Salad with Black Beans & Jicama

Here’s a colorful bean salad that’s perfect to make in a large batch and have for lunches all week.  It’s a slightly different take on my usual Black Bean Mango salad.  I saw a jicama in the store and grabbed it.  Jicama is like a radish, it’s crunchy, but without the intense radish flavor.  Instead…

Whole Foods Plant Based Salad Dressing

My mother in law is really cool about my family’s switch to a whole foods plant based diet.  We went to her house for dinner this week and she graciously cooked a vegetarian meal for us.  She asked me to provide salad dressing for a mixed greens salad.  I made these two salad dressing recipes…

Questions About the USDA Nutritional Guidelines Graphic

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the government body responsible for setting nutritional guidelines for Americans.  In the past they have released the “food pyramid” graphic that we all remember from growing up.  Now they have the “choose my plate” info-graphic that guides us in our food choices. I have a few questions…

Friday Night South American Feast

Last night my husband and I needed to fix a quick dinner.  We didn’t have much time before bed, since we decided to do some yoga together and it was almost time for bed (for baby…and, yeah, for us too).  We whipped up what ended up being an enormous South American feast–in less than 30…

What’s for Dessert? Fig Bars

Being a new mom gets you an instant pass into a giant club of other friendly moms.  I’ve never been so welcomed anywhere in my whole life as I am *everywhere* that there are other moms.  The network of support is amazing.  I have my prenatal yoga group that is becoming a postnatal yoga group…

What’s In My Fridge?

What’s in my plant-strong fridge right now? Let’s see, we have veggie burgers for lunches, some leftover beet, bean, & orange salad, carrot sticks, some cooked navy beans, soy milk, fresh pineapple, kale for smoothies, plant-strong BBQ sauce and roasted red pepper dip made with great northern white beans.

Orange, Bean, & Beet Salad

This dish is based on the recipe from the “Forks Over Knives Cookbook.”  I love hearty salads because they are so versatile.  We eat them for lunch or dinner, and the leftovers make for great healthy snacking.  I never feel guilty for eating between meals since we started eating only whole, plant-based foods.  The beets…

Mean Green Smoothie

My husband and I were seriously considering getting a juicer for a while.  The idea is that we would get nutrients from plants more quickly and easily because they are concentrated down in juice form.  There are some very nice juicers out there, and we still consider it from time to time.  But since discovering…

Hearty Potato & Asparagus Salad

This potato salad really hit the spot for our weekday lunch.  If you are going to a picnic where you would usually bring a traditional potato salad with mayonnaise, try this version instead.  It’s meat, dairy, sugar, salt, and oil free, not to mention made with 100% whole, plant-based foods. Serves 2 Ingredients: 1 Pound…

Bean & Polenta Mexican Pie

Here’s a little dish I invented for dinner last night.  I did not plan ahead and I actually thought “we have no food in the house!”  Our cupboards and fridge were bare, except for some dried beans, a little leftover corn meal, a pepper and a lonely onion. When eating a whole foods, plant-based diet…

Pasta with Peas and “Alfredo” Sauce

My wonderful husband bought us some cute heart-shaped whole wheat pasta to enjoy for our Valentine’s Day dinner.  I decided to serve it with peas and dairy-free “alfredo” sauce, as well as a side of sauteed spinach.  It turned out great!  While your pasta does not have to be heart shaped 🙂 it should be…

Go Veggie! “Mozzarella” Shreds

Go Veggie!  “Mozzarella” shreds are found in the produce section near vegetarian meat substitutes and tofu.  This product might look healthy, but a closer look at the ingredients list reveals just how unhealthy it is! This faux-cheese actually contains casein, an animal protein derived from milk.  If you have seen the “Forks Over Knives” documentary…

Eat Food That Rots

As my family’s diet evolved from eating processed foods, meat, and dairy to a whole foods, plant-based diet we began to see 90% of the “food” in our grocery store in a different light.  We thought that a good guideline for avoiding processed “foods” was to stick to the outside aisles of the store.  This…

What’s For Dinner? Kimchi Noodle Salad

I love how the cool cucumber in this recipe contrasts with the spicy and tangy kimchi.  Kimchi is a sort of Asian cabbage slaw that is available in the produce section of most grocery stores.  Be sure to check the ingredients list because some brands of kimchi contain shellfish, sugar, added sodium, and other stuff…