Friday, May 21, 2010

Good Evening

(picture of a portion of the bean shelf in my pantry)

Sorry I went MIA on you today. I had to run my Friday errands and then finish up the final Cornell course for the plant based nutrition certification. If you left a comment that I have posted yet, and there are quite a few, I apologize. I only have a few minutes to spend on the computer this evening. I will get those comments posted along with my replies posted as soon as I can. Tomorrow is looking good for me in terms of available time.

Interesting item from this course regarding protein:

We all get that same question, “Where do you get your protein,” more often than any of us care to remember I bet. I must have answered that question 100 times in a last few years. Our society is so obsessed with protein consumption. This fact still fascinates me since I don’t see many Americans wasting away from inadequate protein consumption.

The fact that stood out to me in this course has to do with the composition of human breast milk. I think we would all agree that humans grow most quickly during the time when they are consuming breast milk. The human baby doubles in size rapidly as all parents know. Did you know that human breast milk only contains 5% protein? This was quite a shock to me. My first thought was if a baby which grows rapidly does so on a 5% protein diet what does that imply about the protein needs of adults that shouldn’t be doubling in size?

Additionally a whole food plant diet (no protein supplements) contains on average 10% protein. I wanted to share this information so that you could ponder it over the weekend. I will be writing a more detailed post on protein as time permits but I found this fascinating and wanted to share it before it fell out of my head.

If you have any particular questions about protein that you want me to cover in that post please comment here or send me an email in case I need to do a little research to do your question justice.

Fun Facts Friday:

For today’s fun facts Friday here are my questions for you and my answers:

1) Do you have any weird phobias? I am deathly afraid of sharks. After seeing the first Jaws movie when I was a young teen I have been terrified of sharks ever since. I used to love swimming in the ocean since we spent summers in South Carolina on the beach. After that movie I would not go in the water above my waist. Give me a pool any day. What are you irrationally afraid of?

2) Does your significant other have an embarrassing nickname for you or do you have one for them? I call my husband Boo Boo, which he doesn’t love but is now used to it. Thankfully he is much nicer than I am and calls me sweetumms. I clearly got the better end of this deal. What are your pet names?

3) What is your favorite food? This was the toughest question for me since I like almost everything. But if I had to pick just one thing based on taste only, not nutrition, it would be mushroom ragu over polenta. If nutrition is a factor then I would pick fresh fruit and veggie juice with beet, a new favorite.

I can’t wait to read your answers.

Unrelated note:

I need to go for now. But I will be back tomorrow and will be chattier. Happy Friday everyone!


  1. Seriously I am going to stop lurking and finally start commenting on a regular basis. I adore your blog!
    1. I am terrified of birds.
    2. My husby calls me Peaches and I call him Muffin....simply because they are such mushy names.
    3. Veggie pizza/ no cheese of course. Who would have thought pizza w/o cheese could be so yummy?

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    Nice to meet you! Thank you for such a nice compliment. :-)

    Your birds comment made me smile because I am not overly fond of them either. My husband's younger brother was "bird sitting" an African Grey and that bird knew I was afraid and continually dive bombed me until he was caged. Not fun at all! I felt like I was in "The Birds".

    Peaches and Muffin are great! ;-) Do you ever forget and use those names in public? I call Dan Boo Boo all the time. I think everyone we know knows his nickname. LOL!

    I love veggie pizza! Have you tried using hummus to hold the veggies on? That topped with baked falafel halfs was always my favorite.

    talk to you soon,

  3. For the protein post, I would love some good lines backed up by evidence to succinctly explain how much protein humans actually need. People constantly ask me that one.
    1)Unmanned oil rigs in the desert and I used to be terrified of the ridges on the underside of mushrooms! I have only gotten over it in the last 6 months!
    2) We have too many to list! But the main one right now is "possum" usually with another noun or adjective like "cute possum" or "lover possum"
    3) Very hard question! Unhealthier I would say vegan caesar salad with tempeh or sun dried tomato sauce baked polenta with fake cheese. Healthy: Cashews, walnuts or any type of nut cheese! Also, tropical fruit smoothie. That's what is great about being vegan, even the "unhealthier" foods we eat are amazingly good for you when compared to the North American diet.

  4. Possum,

    We all get that protein question don't we? It never seems to stop. I want to put something together that wil answer the question for all of us.

    Unmanned oil rigs? I have never seen one so I am trying to figure out why. Are they huge and look like they may fly apart?

    Possum variations make lots of sense. ;-)

    Vegan Caesar does sound good. Nut cheese is another great one. You are right even the unhealthy options aren't so bad compared to the SAD diet.

    have a great weekend,

  5. I remember thinking the same thing when we learned about protein needs in nutrition school. Looking forward to more of your thoughts on the topic!

    Re: phobias, too many to mention! I share your fear of sharks but I guess spiders are pretty high on my list, too ;) And favorite food has no peer--chocolate, chocolate and chocolate. I'm not allowed to mention our nicknames or my hubby would have my head! (Nothing obscene, just silly). ;)

  6. I am afraid of moths....yes, I know.. I am more afraid of driving next to a semi tire on the highway...
    I have no knicknames...
    I am addicted it slightly underripe banana's, I also adore strawberries!!

  7. Love your bean shelf! I'm so excited about having my own place and stocking my pantry exactly how I want it :)
    Looking forward to the protein post- I get this all the time- people don't realise that whole grains actually have protein too...Interesting fact about breast milk.
    1. No phobias now really but would you believe when I was younger I was actually terrified of fruit! My brothers would chase me with apples and I would run off scared they would touch me! Crazy!
    2. No significant other
    3. Tough one- definitely changes- in this hot weather I'm loving tabbouleh with lots of herbs and lemon. Or for indulgent times- pb/cocoa shake!

  8. Brandi,

    Moths? This has to be a good story. Can't wait to hear the details. However, I have to tell you I am not a fan of bugs in general. They seem "sneaky" to me.

    Fear of driving next to semis seems like a perfectly rational fear to me.

    Now I have to give you a nickname, LOL. I will come up with something. ;-)

    What a healthy favorite food. I need to hang around with you more often.


  9. Thanks for the info on breast milk/protein. I will enjoy sharing this with my daughter. She is currently coming to a close with, breast feeding her 13 month old.

    1. I don't have anything that terrifies me. Yet, I don't like spiders,or snakes. Also, I wouldn't want to be out in the wild. Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! OH MY! ;-)

    2. No pet names. Thankfully, no negative name calling either! :)

    3. If I weren't concerned with my health? I could forgo the meals, and live off of dessert! Mainly huge servings of warm, luscious, chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting. None for me in 5 months now. :(

  10. Ricki,

    Of all the things I learned during the Cornell course the protein issues were the most interesting, to me. It was covered in multiple lectures over the three courses so I need to summarize it as well as double check the references. ;-)

    I am not fond of bugs of any sort. The fact that they are little makes them able to sneak up on you, which I don't like. ;-)

    You and Dan on the chocolate. I think he could live off it.

    Now I am really curious about those silly nicknames. My hubby wasn't thrilled the Boo Boo the first time I called him that in public. But ...... I have done that so many times I think everyone knows so now it is just "words". ;-)


  11. Emma,

    My pantry is a little out of control. That is only a portion of my bean shelf. My pantry is like a little grocery store. It is the bigger reason I don't need to plan dinner for the week.

    I am convinced the only question omins ever ask is "where do you get your protein". *shakes head*

    Boy am I glad I didn't have brothers. Chasing you with fruit is so wrong. Boys!

    I forgot you didn't have a significant other. I hope you find you love as much as I do Dan. The good ones take longer to find. :-)

    Good point about tastes changing with the seasons. Tabouli is a good one. Maybe I will make some of that this weekend. Thanks for the suggestion. ;-) My husband is giving your pb and cocoa shake two thumbs up. LOL

    talk to you later,

  12. Naina,

    The breast milk thing was interesting wasn't it?

    No phobias, lucky you. I have a few but my shark fear is the big one. Bugs are creepy but less threatening. LOL

    We have a ridiculous number of pet names but the two I posted are the most frequent.

    My husband would be right there with you on the chocolate cake. If you can have soy I make tofu chocolate mousse with stevia you may want to check out

    talk to you later,

  13. I checked out the recipe for the chocolate mousse. Looks yummy :)

    I am not certain, but at times I think soy causes some fluid retention? I will try this, and see what happens.

    Also, with all the conflicting info on soy, I would love to know your conclusions on the whole matter.

  14. Naina,

    Soy is an interesting topic. I only buy organic because most of it is GMO. The phytoestrogens don't concern me because lots of food has them not just soy. According the the NCI genistein (in soy) binds to and inhibits protein-tyrosine kinase, thereby disrupting signal transduction. The newest targeted therapies for cancer work by inhibiting this same factor.

    In the perfect world we would all get our soy in whole form like edamame. But tofu and soy milk (without the okara) I think are fine in moderation.

    I am not a fan of soy protein isolate. That is added to so many veg foods and I think that is best avoided.


  15. Naina,

    You are very welcome. ;-)


  16. oh that protein thing drives me nuts sometimes ... as far as i can tell, no one who was eating enough calories and even a minimally varied diet has ever suffered a protein deficiency ... i'd also like some kind of info on how much protein is actually recommended ...

    1. being dizzy
    2. nope ...
    3. taste only, chocolate banana avocado ice cream ... nutrition, a big green salad with really spicy dressing ... at least those are my choices today, subject to change of course!

  17. Lisa,

    I have read the same thing about protein. It is pretty much impossible to not get enough. Although if someone were to eat only fries and soda they could probably manage it. Not that any of us would do that.

    Chocolate, banana and avocado ice cream sounds amazing. I have to give that a try sometime when I need a treat. Salads are one of my favorites. Sriracha on anything makes it better. ;-)

    thanks for sharing,

  18. Our society is obsessed with protein--it is crazy. Even though I have my masters in nutrition, when people hear that I am a vegan and I workout regularly, the ALWAYS ask me if I get enough protein. Ummm...yes, thank you. I know people who have been told by "nutritionists" and personal trainers that they need to be eating 40% of their calories from protein! Are you kidding me?!? Your kidneys would NOT be happy with that...

    Anyway, I have an irrational phobia to ticks. And I swear it really is a phobia...I can't even *talk* about them without getting all stressed out and anxious and my breathing changes...ahhh! They are just so icky and gross and I had one when I was 5 or 6 and ever since then I have been terrified of them, lol!

    Favorite food? I have two, and I really can't chose between the two! With absolutely no thought to nutrition and going only on taste, my two favorite foods for years and years have seriously been artichokes and watermelon. I was the freaky kid who always asked for artichokes for her birthday dinner when she had the option of anything she wanted or even going out to eat...nope, artichokes. And throughout the summer I swear I live on watermelon--SO delicious! I think I could eat those two foods forever without getting sick of them... :-)


  19. Courtney,

    I can't believe you get the question too, that is crazy. Seriously 40% protein, some people recommend that? I find most people don't understand that the by-products of animal protein metabolism are hard on the kidneys.

    Bugs really seem to be a common phobia. Ticks are gross. *shivers* Makes me happy my little felines are indoor only pets.

    I really love artichokes and watermelon. But as I have said before I pretty much enjoy all produce. ;-)

    I would like to "chat with you" about school. I am seriously considering going back to grad school for nutrition. If you have a chance would you email me I have some questions to ask you.

    thanks so much,

  20. I have a fear of being trapped in a car.

    Thankfully I have no embarrassing nicknames.

    Favorite food - that's tough. Pizza! ;-)

  21. Heather,

    No embarrassing nicknames, bummer. I was hoping Jason had given you a cute one. LOL

    Pizza, that is such a surprise. I never would have guessed. ;-)

    I hope you are having a great weekend,

  22. Interesting thoughts on protein--I spoke today with a woman who's been a vegan for a few years, and she said something along the lines of vegans tend to eat less tofu the longer they're vegan because they stop worrying about getting enough protein. She said once you realize how much protein is naturally in the foods we eat, we worry less about stocking our diet up with protein. It's funny that I should have a conversation about protein right after you posted about it.

    To answer your questions...

    (1) I don't have any phobias--I have fears, but nothing that goes far enough into phobia territory. For instance, I absolutely hate snakes, but if need be, I can force myself to pick up a snake (I have, in fact, forced myself to pick up a snake when I was picking blackberries and needed to get the blackberries from the branch a snake was resting on).

    (2) Lately, my husband has been calling me Cuddles. I have no idea where it came from. I'm boring in my name-calling and just call him Hon (I'm also lazy in my name-calling and can't even bother to get out the second syllable). For a while, my husband called me "bee poop" when he learned that the Lakhota word for "honey" is literally translated as "bee poop." :)

    (3) My favorite food is cereal. I think I could eat cereal three meals a day and be happy.

  23. Jessie,

    I really don't understand the protein obsession in this country. I think serious atheletes are the only onces that need to think about at all.

    I can't believe you picked up a snake. There is no way I could do that. I won't even touch a worm. When they get on the side walk I use to stick to flip them back to the grass. You are much braver than I am. *shivers at the thought*

    I love Cuddles, that is adorable! Hon is a popular term in Baltimore, though I don't know why. Bee Poop, LOL that is great. Thanks for the giggle. :-)

    I have not had cereal in ages but I used to love it too. Maybe I will work on a healthy raw granola recipe this week. Thanks for the idea.

    talk to you soon,

  24. Right now I'm hooked on Kashi cereals, but if you provided a recipe for yummy homemade cereal, I just might become addicted to that! I have no idea what would be included or how it would taste, but I'm already excited at the prospect of making my own cereal. I think I'm really addicted to breakfast foods--oatmeal, cereal, French Toast (which I'm learning is much harder to make vegan), pancakes... The list could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture. :)

    I sign in via my Google account to leave comments here, but I also have a Wordpress account, which is where my vegan blog is: The only reason I mention it here is that my post today is a question about eggplants: I got some eggplants but have no idea what to do with them. Any suggestions?

    I can't thank you enough for running such a valuable blog and for replying so consistently to all comments!

  25. Jessie,

    I used to bake a lot of granola but that included more sugar than I am comfortable with now. I have looked at raw granola in the store and it had the same problem. Dan has been asking me to work on something we can eat. Looks like I have another reason to getting going on that now. ;-)

    Thanks for letting me know you have a blog. I will be right over.


  26. I love peeking into other people's pantries. You have a great collection of dried beans. Have you ever posted a pantry tour?

  27. Beatrice,

    I have not posted a pantry tour. I thought about it. But I keep so much on hand it is absurd. I don't want people to think you need to store what I do in order to be a vegan. Since I don't plan my meals the overstocked pantry serves as my "at home grocery store, literally." LOL


  28. ha i love the brest milk argument, very nice! so interesting.

  29. Michelle,

    I thought the breast milk protein percentage was very telling. ;-)

    talk to you later,


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