Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rice Bowl Dinner with Marinated Shitakes and Raw Veg

Today has been cold (50’s), gray and rainy. Today was the sort of day when a nice afternoon nap seems appropriate. I didn’t take one, but I did think about it. If there were fewer things on my to do list that nap might have happened. When it is cold and damp I always get moving slowly and today was no exception. It was about lunch time before I finally got my exercise in. I have the toughest time with morning exercise. Good thing my schedule is variable. ;-)

Food Thoughts:

Lunch was a simple salad with hummus and salsa plus brown rice with more salsa. After the nut cheese overdose I felt like eating something clean today for lunch. In fact I was actually craving clean whole food. I get a lot of email about how did I learn to enjoy to eat this way. Today is as good a day as any to discuss this topic.

For most of my life I ate food because it tasted good. However when you or someone you love is faced with a life threatening disease making lifestyle changes seems very simple and easy. After I read everything I could get my hands on about nutrition we now eat to nourish and fuel ourselves rather than to indulge our food desires. Eating for health is our priority rather than eating only for pleasure. Slowly over time our food intake has become more and more healthy. If you don’t believe me look at some of my earlier recipes which included whole wheat flour, agave and oil on a year ago.

The other question I get often is how long it takes to enjoy food prepared this way. I am going to say that everyone is different, but it took us about a month, maybe 6 weeks to enjoy food without sugar and oil. I still occasionally think about fresh pasta or bread but not that often. I know I can have it; just not as often and not as much as we used to consume it. That fact seems to be enough to allow me to bypass items I don’t really need, like the bread basket when we go out to eat. Now that I understand the health benefits of a clean whole foods plant based diet the unhealthy foods just don’t have the same appeal for me that they used to. I actual think of them as toxic and that really tends to dampen my unhealthy food desires.

Today I read a recipe that absolutely horrified me. Horrified may sound like a harsh word but that was my reaction. The recipe called for 4 cups of heavy cream, 1 cup of cheese and ½ stick of butter. I felt like I could hear my arteries slam shut as I read the recipe. In the past I would have looked at that and thought interesting, but not now. Learning so much about the health consequences of what we put into our mouths has given me a completely different perspective on food. There is no way I would touch that dish, not one bite. For those who are curious the 4 cups of cream alone contains 1,650 calories, 1,555 of them from fat and 176grams of fat. The 1 cup of parmesan cheese added another 430 calories, 250 from fat and 28 fat grams. And there was the half stick of butter which contains 407 calories, 405 from fat and 46 fat grams. To make matters worse this recipe appears to serve 4 people. Oh the horrors! Sorry for the rant but the recipe made me cringe. I can’t understand how anyone could think that is something to eat, let alone share. I am not going to say where I saw this but I wanted to highlight the problem with eating food just because it tastes good. I am certain this dish tastes great to the average American. However consuming it is a prescription for a health disaster. Many years ago I read about how the probability of having a cardiac event is elevated for hours after consuming a high fat meal. The recipe I saw clearly fits the definition of a high fat meal. I really wish more people gave thought to the things they consume and the impact that has on their health and the health of the people that indulge with them. My husband thinks I am a little like an ex-smoker, or ex-drinker. But in my perfect world everyone would understand nutrition and the health consequences of eating things like cream, cheese and butter. Rant over! Sorry, this had me all cranked up this afternoon so I thought it was a good topic to write about.

Why did I choose to bring this up? Well it is a rather simple. If anything I wrote helps just one person then I will be very happy. I spent years not focusing on the right things and sincerely want to help others make changes sooner in life than I did. Much of my life was spent working far too many hours to get ahead career wise. When you are young and seemingly invincible there is always time to worry about proper exercise and diet next week, next month or next year. But what I didn’t realize was that years of making less than optimal choices would have effects on not just me but also on my husband that I love. If anything I have written gives you pause the next time you are considering ordering that greasy veggie burger and fries than I am grateful to have played a small part. Sorry to get emtional but I thought you might want to know one of the reasons for my blog and the passion behind eating the healthiest diet possible.

Birthday presents:

On a much brighter note my husband bought me jewelry yesterday. As you have probably gathered by now I am a fan of bling and have quite a collection. But can a girl ever have enough baubles? I don’t think so either. Dan knows I like substantial jewelry and the “blue group” was not well represented in my collection. Yes I did wear these yesterday with my jeans. I think he did a lovely job picking out things for me.

In addition to this he also bought me a Murano glass pendant. We began our honeymoon in Venice so I have a fondness for anything Venetian. I have a nice collection of Murano glass jewelry. It makes great casual jewelry and it reminds me of our honeymoon. There is nothing wrong with the combination of jewelry and honeymoon reminder in my book.

My buddy Louis, who knows me almost as well as my hubby also came through with one of my favorites, the spring mix from Earthy dot com which includes fiddleheads, ramps and morels. I was bummed that I had actually started dinner before this arrived and considered changing course. But instead we will have these goodies the remainder of the week. My hubby is particularly fond of fresh morels so I need to come up with something special for them. Louis lives out of state so when he called yesterday he told me half of the present would come via delivery and the other half would come with him the next time he is in town. Given this home run I can only imagine what else he has up his sleeve. Great job Louis and thank you so much I love my present, like always! You could give lessons in how to buy presents! I would be the first one to sign up.

As much as I loved my presents I would gladly give up anything I own to have cancer be a thing of the past. I don’t know that many of you can appreciate what a bitch cancer is.  I hope that you never find out. Before you think it can’t happen to you please look at the current statistics about cancer. It is now estimated that one out of two of us will get cancer in our lifetime and much of it can be prevented with the right lifestyle. Please think about that not just for yourself but also for those you love.

My Food Today:

As I mentioned earlier my food choices today were intentionally clean to mitigate the “cheese” fest yesterday. I was surprised that my GI system handled the volume of fat so well. Today I wanted to eat as clean to help undo some of the “damage”. Although in retrospect compared to that recipe I saw today my dish was uber healthy. Scary isn’t it?

7:45am – breakfast

½ cup oats
1 cup water
1 cup mixed frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries and Marion berries)
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Sprinkle cinnamon
1 tablespoons walnuts, chopped

10:30 am – snack

Double green tea with ginger and ascorbate C

1:45pm – lunch

2 cups organic mixed baby lettuce
2 cups baby spinach
½ cucumber, shaved thin (leftover from the cannelloni last night)
1 scoop super flavorful fat free hummus
3 tablespoons salsa
1 teaspoon raw sunflower seeds
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice topped with salsa to taste

3:30pm – snack

Double green tea with fresh sliced ginger and ascorbate C
1 banana

7:00pm – snack

½ cup super flavorful fat free hummus
2 carrots to scoop hummus

9:00pm - dinner

1 serving Rice Bowl with Marinated Shitakes

?:00pm - snack (this planned for tonight I just don't know when we will have it)

Fresh fruit and veg juice with beet (like last night)
Powdered Green Drink (1/2 serving)


This is a variation of my favorite dinner, the rice bowl.  Her is what I did:
Rice Bowl with Marinated Shitakes and Raw Veggies
Serves 4


3.5 ounces fresh shitake caps, sliced
2 tablespoons liquid aminos
1 gram scoop of stevia
8 cups spinach, julienned
1 English cucumber, julienned
2 carrots, cut into matchstick pieces
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup edamame (measured after it was shelled)
Black sesame seeds, for garnish

Sauce Ingredients:

2 tablespoons miso
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Sriracha to taste (nutrition assumes 1 teaspoon)
Stevia to taste (nutrition assumes 1 scoop)


Combine the shitakes, liquid aminos and stevia and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. You want the mushrooms to absorb all the flavor.

Combine the brown rice and water and cook until tender. Add the edamame to the rice pot during the final steaming period to warm them if they are frozen.

Mix the sauce ingredients. Add sriracha and stevia to taste and refrigerate until needed.

Cook the shitakes over medium high heat in the marinade until the liquid is absorbed. The exact time will depend on what type of pan you are using. I cooked mine in enameled cast iron and they were ready in less than 5 minutes.

To serve use a bowl or a plate and start with the hot rice (with or without the edamame depending on if they were frozen or not) as the base. Add the remaining veggies in groups top or around the rice. Drizzle the rice with sauce and a few black sesame seeds if using. I tend to use less sauce than I called for in this recipe. But my husband uses more. I wanted to make certain to include enough sauce.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories-  473.51
Calories From Fat (10%) - 47.45

Total Fat - 5.82g
Saturated Fat-  0.98g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 921.51mg
Potassium - 1172.75mg
Total Carbohydrates - 94.72g
Fiber - 10.18g
Sugar - 8.06g
Protein - 16.13g


This is one of those things we eat a lot often. It falls into what I call a rice bowl. It is a filling and satisfying meal and contains not only a cooked whole grain for calories but mushrooms to boost immune function and a good dose of raw veggies for nutrition. This is why I gravitate to rice bowls so often. If you like you can add some slivered nori for trace minerals. Any veggies can be used.

Each serving of this rice bowl contains 13,680IU of vitamin A, 71mg of vitamin C, 155mg of calcium, 5mg of iron, 300mcg of folate, 480mg of magnesium, 235mg of magnesium, and 24 mcg of selenium. Not too shabby in terms of nutrition.


I need to do a few things this evening before it is time to turn in. Tomorrow I need to do a few things in the morning. But I hope to be back by on-line by mid afternoon. Here is hoping you had a good Tuesday. Talk to all tomorrow.


  1. Personally, I think more people need to get a clue about their diet. I would like to say that I will be the first one to support a healthy diet. I do believe most people don't think about their health until a major health crisis hits, I know it never crossed my mind until I was completely locked up in my own body and could not even go to the bathroom by myself...It was the scariest time in my life and if only I knew then what I know now, it would have made a world of difference.
    I truly hope someone reads this and makes a change.
    People need to stop worrying about what things taste like and think about their health and the health of their families. Obesity is at an all time high in the USA and we have beaten Hawaii!!
    I know it is difficult and it is taking away some pleasures in life, but what is a life if you cannot enjoy it?

  2. Brandi,

    Very well put. I agree that most of us don't think twice about diet until there is a crisis. I so wish that wasn't the case. If there is one thing have learned it is that if you don't have health nothing else really matters.

    talk to you soon,

  3. I've learned over time how important it is to listen to my body and is needs. Food should be a balance of taste and nutrition, and I always eat healthily, but I've come to realize that when my body tells me it wants something, I should listen. For instance, I usually have a sweet "indulgent" late night snack, but tonight I wanted vegetables. So, I ended up having a cucumber filled with hummus and sides of baby carrots and peanuts. Totally random, but it is what my body wanted.

    Your gifts are beautiful!

  4. Firstly, that jewellery is beautiful. The blue is so pretty.
    Secondly, oh my goodness, that recipe with the butter, cream etc should be illegal! Ugh! The sad thing is though that people consuming these foods probably don't think twice about what they're doing to their bodies. I'm a uni student as you know and every day I see people eating the most awful foods without a 2nd thought. (namely eating a huge takeout pizza 3 nights in a row!, NO vegetables all term....etc)Food is such a personal issue to so many that it's hard to give advice without hostility.
    As for cancer, I've just started reading the China Study and the statistics really are shocking.
    That dinner sounds great, I'm a big fan of all in one grain-veggie dishes. Lots of nutrition and enough calories.
    (Thanks for the info on the salsa, I'm still searching for a good one with only a few ingredients)

  5. Alicia, I know that you have helped more people than you will ever know.
    Cancer really is a bitch, and it's something most folks just can't realize until they are touched by it. You are doing something amazing here, keep it up.

  6. Krystina,

    For years I thought I was eating “intutitively” and used to say the same thing you wrote. Now I eat what my body wants but modified by science. If I am craving something that doesn’t provide nutrition I don’t consume it. Have you read anything written by David Kesslery MD? His recent book discussed the addictiveness of sugar, fat and salt.

    If you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask,

  7. Emma,

    Your comments always make me smile. How I wish I “got it” when I was your age. I really hope that some of those around you ask why you eat the way you do so you can share your knowledge. There is so much bad information in the public about nutrition it really is up to us to educate ourselves.

    The China Study is enlightening and scary isn’t it? I found that book to be very eye opening.

    The vast majority of my local friends are omnivores. While they support our diet, because of the cancer, they are unwilling to change themselves. I have tried, as subtly as I am capable of, to discuss nutrition and the impact on health. However, I must not be a good saleswoman because they still eat “toxic” food regularly. It breaks my heart to watch the people I care out hurt themselves. You are absolutely right, food is a very difficult for most people to change. It seems to be as addictive as nicotine or drugs. I think it is very sad.

    Big hugs!

  8. Janet,

    I really hope you are right. If I can just help one person avoid cancer or live healthier with cancer that would make all the time I put into the blog worth it.

    It is hard to describe what is it like to battle cancer to those that haven’t had to deal with the beast. When the statistics came out that 1 out of 2 Americans would get cancer I was shocked. Since this has not always been the case and genetics haven’t changed clearly it is because of lifestyle factors. If a 50% chance of getting cancer doesn’t make people want to make a change nothing will.

    Thanks again,

  9. That bracelet is gorgeous! Love that color of blue. This dish looks great. I love just about anything with shiitakes (or any mushroom for that matter). I just cringe at the thought of heavy cream period.

  10. Your new bling is gorgeous! Are they topazes? I'm a big jewelry fan. I make a lot of beaded stuff, and I can't wait to buy some real Murano glass in Venice this fall.

    I made brown-rice risotto for the first time last night based on your technique. It was delicious. I just had to thank you for the recipe. I put local asparagus and maitake mushrooms in mine, plus a splash or two of the cabernet I drank with dinner. Fabulous.

  11. Heather,

    Thanks, Dan knows my taste in jewelry well by now. It only took 20+ years, LOL.

    The shitakes are good cooked this way. They are seriously packed with flavor. Sometimes I add a little fresh minced ginger or garlic to the marinade if you want to give that a try.

    When I saw that recipe yesterday I almost gagged. The thought of consuming that unhealthy food made me sick. It was what prompted me to go on a nutrition rant. ;-) I expected a lot of negative comments since my experience tells me most people don't want to change. But it is early so there is still time for those to come in. ;-)

    talk to you soon,

  12. Brigid,

    Yes they are blue topaz. I should have taken a picture of my Venetian glass pendant. I will try to put that up tonight. I have quite a few of them. They always remind me of our honeymoon. I hope you pick up some great things in Venice!

    Thanks for letting me know about the risotto. I am so glad the method worked for you. Asparagus, maitake and cabernet sounds like a great combo to me.

    thanks again,

  13. I had a couple of thoughts reading your post (which I totally agree with!).

    1. As someone who cooks for 2 guys who refuse to go vegan, I try to move them up the healthy food continuum as much and as frequently as possible. I tried getting them to eat like I did, and it ended in rebellion, hurt feelings, and sneaking McDonald's. Often we tend to think of eating healthfully as and "all or nothing" proposition, but it doesn't have to be.

    2. I agree that there are a lot of folks who eat the way they do out of sheer ignorance. Then there are folks who eat the way they do because, while they know (at least in theory) the consequences, whatever emotion it is that they derive from eating the way they do is more powerful than the consequences.

    If you saw the movie "Simply Raw", then you'll remember that out of 6 folks who went to the Tree of Life to be cured of their diabetes, only 5 completed the 30 days. The gentleman who left had lost weight and gone off all his medications because both his diabetes and blood pressure had returned to normal, yet he felt like he simply could not eat an exclusively raw diet for 30 days.

    That's pretty powerful - faced with physical proof in his own body that a raw diet had the power to transform his health, he couldn't do it. Whatever it is that we derive emotionally from food can be more powerful than the threat of severe illness or even death for some people. That's frightening, but it also explains a lot of eating behaviors.

  14. Neca,

    Excellent points! I just saw the documentary "Simply Raw". Have you read the book "The End of Overeating"? David Kessler did a great job of discussing the physical impact of sugar, fat and salt and what drives us to want to eat them and how often the are found in our food supply.

    I think that the person that left after two weeks in "Simply Raw" didn't give his body time to detox from the unhealthy food.

    Food habits are just that, habits. They can be changed, but people need to recognize their behavior as problems and then they need to want to change. Some people can't do either and others can't do both.

    I think there is a ton of evidence regarding what is and isn't healthy. It is a matter or what people are willing to do. Being surrounded by friends or family eating unhealthy food doesn't make it easy for those that are on the fence about change. Eating a whole foods plant based diet is definitely a fringe concept, and I recognize that. But I feel that is the healthiest way to eat. In our case it is an all or nothing game. By the time you have cancer you can give up or you can fight. We choose to fight it with everything we can, including food. There are many years of damage to be undone.

    Great point about the documentary. Thank you so much about bringing that up!


  15. " Today was the sort of day when a nice afternoon nap seems appropriate. I didn’t take one, but I did think about it"
    tyhat was cute

    but on a more serious note..i get you about that recipe that calls for four cups of cream buter etc, thats crazy sounding to me too. i was helping my friend make cupcakes on tues and it was really hard to not try and make them lower fat and lower sugar, like really REaLLY hard. very pretty birthday presents, and i LOVE louis present!!!really! the blue stone reminds me of a beautiful day:)

  16. " Today was the sort of day when a nice afternoon nap seems appropriate. I didn’t take one, but I did think about it"
    tyhat was cute

    but on a more serious note..i get you about that recipe that calls for four cups of cream buter etc, thats crazy sounding to me too. i was helping my friend make cupcakes on tues and it was really hard to not try and make them lower fat and lower sugar, like really REaLLY hard. very pretty birthday presents, and i LOVE louis present!!!really! the blue stone reminds me of a beautiful day:)

  17. Michelle,

    Unhealthy food makes me squirm. I can imagine how you felt making the cupcakes. ;-)

    The stones do look like a beautiful blue sky. I didn't think of that. Thanks for pointing it out. :-)



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