What a great year!
How did this happen? When I started this blog a year ago I had no idea what to write or if anyone would care to read it. The first three months of blogging were rough. I frequently felt as though I was talking to myself and considered shutting down the blog. Now I am very happy that I stuck it out and kept writing. I have “met” so many wonderful people through blogging. I appreciate every email and comment you send. Thank you all for your kindness and concern. It means more than you know.
Over the past year I have struggled to find my voice. As time has gone on I have moved to writing more like I speak. Early on my friends would tell me that I should write as I would talk to them so things weren’t so impersonal. Since my writing experience until the blog was confined to financial reports about monthly performance you can imagine that warm and fuzzy wasn’t exactly my writing style. Even after a year I still feel as though I am changing how and what I write and expect that will continue.
The reason I started this blog was two-fold. First, I knew that most vegan blogs weren’t healthy as I had tried to find healthy recipes to make and there weren’t many to be found. I started the blog because I assumed we couldn’t be the only family that wanted healthy vegan food. Second, I wanted to be able to share links to articles about health. When we were first faced with cancer I spent hundreds of hours looking for information and went to many different places for research. Even now that I have logged thousands of hours on the topic I still find the information to be in many disparate places and also be contradictory (that is so comforting, NOT). I thought others would find it useful to read about the current health studies as they are published which is why I write those quick health posts from time to time.
My husband and I decided to make our diet as healthy as we could tolerate. We have given up almost everything, meat, dairy, sugar, oil, and most flour in the hope of eating the most healthful diet that still tastes good. You will see many nutritionists and/or doctors that tell you that whole grain pasta and olive oil are healthy. If you aren’t currently staring cancer in the face they may not be a big deal. But I have read enough books and articles written by oncologists that I feel they are best eliminated or at a minimum very severely limited. Additionally, I worked in health care for many years as a hospital controller so I have had the opportunity to discuss nutrition with clinicians. When I ask them questions about diet and nutrition their responses were almost always the same. They acknowledge that consuming a healthy vegan diet is a good thing but in the next breath would tell me that most patients aren’t going to do it because they themselves could not eat that way for life. I have always thought that they shouldn’t be so quick to assume people can’t do something because it is difficult. They should give their patients all the information and let them decide what changes they can make. I try to do that same thing with my blog. I know that most Americans will find my cooking to be too restrictive, but for those that want to eat the healthiest diet possible (that still tastes good) I wanted to share what we eat. I think that the traffic that my blog has proven that there are many people that want to eat an extremely healthy diet. At least I choose to believe that and really hope that I am right.
On a very bright note the last appointment with our internist a few weeks had something almost miraculous occur. The doc knows that we eat a vegan diet and mentioned that his PSA was high and that he was trying to reduce his meat consumption and add more soy to his diet. I assume this came up since he knew we would be supportive and have suggestions. We chatted about nutrition and food for a while during the visit. It was very encouraging to us that a doctor would show interest in nutrition. Maybe there is reason to hope that the medical profession is making a connection between diet and health. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?
There is one thing that we have not completely given up yet, but we may one day. Both my husband and I love good Italian red wine. Those of you that know us know this is no exaggeration. Our wine cellar is stocked with good Brunello and Super Tuscans just begging to be opened. We both love the taste of red wine so I use a little in my cooking every now and then (maybe five or six times a year). Red wine has both good and bad aspects. The resveratrol it contains is good, but the alcohol is not. Since I don’t use it much, or often, I don’t get hung up on the small amount of alcohol in my dishes. This is one place where we are going to allow a little of something in our diet that I acknowledge would be better to eliminate. After all we could get the resveratrol from eating grapes but that isn't the same. Good wine adds such depth of flavor to food it will be difficult for me to completely eliminate it. Maybe one day this occasional luxury will also go, but not now.
On the topic of nutrition as many of you know I have started the plant based nutrition certification at Cornell since starting the blog. I hope that it fills in the gaps in my nutrition knowledge. I am excited to learn if there is any way to tweak our diet and take it to the next level. My other half is convinced there is little I will learn, but I am hopeful. Even if everything is a rehash it is always helpful to hear things from different people and in a different way. I will definitely let you all know if it is something you should consider as soon as it has finished in about a month.
One thing to keep in mind as you go back to my earlier recipes is that my cooking style has continued to change and evolve as I learn more about nutrition. My early recipes used a little oil, which is now off the table. If you find a recipe in my archives that you would like me to make an oil free version of let me know. I would be happy to modify the recipe to make it healthier for all of us.
I have a few questions for all of you that I hope you will have time to answer. Your answers will help me to write more posts that you may find useful or interesting. Here goes:
1) What medical conditions are you concerned about? Is is cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight loss, or something else? Is this something that you would like to see the current science when it turns up?
2) Do you have a favorite cuisine? It is Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Irish, Spanish or something else.
3) Do you have any favorite recipes that need a healthy make over? If you do go to my profile page, where you will find a link to my email, and send it to me. I would love to try to make it something that you can enjoy again.
4) Are there any other topics you would like to see me cover? If so, please let me know. If I know something about the topic I will be happy to share. It may take me a while to research but I will try to come up with a well researched answer. BTW, I still have a few more difficult questions that I need to finish researching so I can post the answers. You guys ask the best questions. I love your difficult questions that make me stretch to research and develop answers.
As always, thank you so much for reading. I am looking forward to reading your responses.
It is a beautiful sunny day here, finally. I am going to head outside to enjoy the sun and get some exercise. Talk to you all again later today.