Monday, December 20, 2010

Faux Potato and Leek Soup

Sunday morning we started our day at Whole Foods instead of the farmers’ market. I think this will be our new Sunday routine. We NEEDED kale for smoothies, tofu, and a few miscellaneous other things that are best from Whole Foods. I had to stroll around while we were there to see if there were any other goodies that I might need to bring home.

Since I knew I would be making soup today I decided to read the labels on the vegan bouillon packages. They either had too much sodium (seriously it was absurd) or palm oil. Really? I am sure the answer would be that it was organic but who cares. Needless to say I didn’t buy any vegan bouillon. This is what I mean about it is easy to be vegan but not as easy to be a healthy vegan. It is hard to now imagine that I used to find it hard to be vegan. *shakes head* Now I want to know something. Do you buy foods that contain too much sodium, palm oil or soy protein isolates or are there other things you avoid?  Since many products contain these, even at Whole Foods, I am starting to feel like I am in the minority trying to avoid this stuff.

We didn’t start our morning at the gym because they are never open early on Sunday or Saturday. I can safely say both Dan and I are now both morning exercisers. I never thought that would happen since we aren’t morning people in general. We are thinking of hitting the gym this evening after the 3pm meal with my parents and before dinner but that was being overly optimistic. We just don’t seem to go to the gym unless it is in the morning. Fear not, we have plenty of exercise equipment at our house to get in a proper workout anytime. ;-)

Breakfast this morning was another green smoothie which contained: kale, frozen banana, cinnamon, ginger, ground flaxseed, walnuts and a touch of stevia for Dan. Like always Dan's smoothie contained double the banana and triple or more the amount of walnuts. He needs the calories and I am only 5’3” (when I stand up really tall) …. I really don’t need the extra calories.

My afternoon snack was another orange and two Brazil nuts for my daily selenium intake. Have you noticed the recent rut I am in? ;-)

Late in the morning Dan and I talked about what to make for the meal with my folks. I decided to rework a soup I made with cauliflower and white bean that tasted like potato only had a lower GI, more fiber and more nutrition not to mention fewer calories. Sounded like a good one to repeat to me. This time I decided to make it more like potato leek soup. Here is what I did:

Faux Potato Leek Soup
Serves 6


½ pound dried white beans, picked through sorted and rinsed
2 or 3 bay leaves
water to cover by at least an inch
1 large head of cauliflower
10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (don’t forget to let them sit 10 minutes before adding to the pot)
1 leek, light green and white (I also let this sit 10 minutes before cooking. It is from the onion family so it should have a similar chemical reaction taking place)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (enough to mimic the umami of butter but not so much as it make it cheesy)
¼ teaspoon mustard powder (to add a hint of heat in the background)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
optional – you can add raw cashews which you puree to make the soup “creamier”


Cook the beans until they are tender, and then remove the bay leaves. I cooked an entire pound of beans and moved ½ the batch to the refrigerator to use later this week.

Cut the cauliflower into rough chunks. The smaller the chunks the faster they will cook. Add the garlic now too and simmer until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Now you have two choices. Either puree the soup in batches in your blender or use your immersion blender. Since I never use my immersion blended I decided to use it thinking it would be fine since the cauliflower and beans were both pretty soft. Once again the texture was not spot on. I considering putting the soup in the Vitamix but didn’t want two appliances to wash. I might be too picky, or my Cuisinart immersion blender may not be strong enough. I am not sure which one it is. ;-)

Now add the remaining ingredients except the parsley and cook until the leeks are tender.

When you are reading to serve taste the soup, correct the seasonings and stir in the parsley leaving a little for garnish.

If you want to add the raw cashew process those in a “cream” with either a little of the soup or water and stir then into the soup at the end of cooking before you add the parsley.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 218.11
Calories From Fat (3%) - 6.38

Total Fat - 0.7g
Saturated Fat - 0.14g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 92.38mg
Potassium - 1502.32mg
Total Carbohydrates - 40.03g
Fiber - 12.48g
Sugar - 6.57g
Protein - 14.42g


This tastes very much like potato leek soup to me. I am not sure I can actually tell the difference it is that close. The combination of the white beans and cauliflower mimics the texture extremely well though I do recommend that you use a regular blender to puree the soup.

Overall this soup was enjoyed by both the omnivores and the vegans. This is definitely a good soup base to play around with when you potato but something with more nutrition. I love the protein and fiber on this soup.

To accompany this soup we had a small salad of mesclun, cucumbers, marinated mushroms, roasted peppers and salsa.  I added pumpkin seeds, but not to Dan's. ;-)

Challenging Yourself to Make a Change for the Better:

This is a subject I have wanted to talk about for some time and decided today was as good a day as any. Have you ever wanted to make a change but weren’t sure where to start? I think that happens to everyone at some point in their life. I know it has happened to me many times. The particular change I am going to address is changing your diet.

Dan and I were your typical foodies until not all that long ago. We would eat anything, and I do mean anything, that the chef suggested. We had some seriously delicious meals by doing that, expanded our culinary horizons, added weight, elevated our blood pressure and cholesterol all at the same time. ;-) However it all tasted good going down and we enjoyed it immensely in the moment.

Anyone can get away with dietary indiscretions when you are in your 20’s as the body seems to repair the damage and keep up. But as we get older and bombard our bodies with less than healthy food year after year, decade after decade things start to go wrong. Our bodies can’t repair the damage as quickly as we can cause it. The signs might be subtle like a slightly elevated blood pressure, cholesterol or weight. However the signs can also be much more dramatic like a TIA or worse cancer. Some people, like us, need a serious wake up call to make a big change in their life. In retrospect I wish we had known more about nutrition years ago. If we had I feel certain things would have been very different.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to share not only recipes but how to eat a healthy diet and prevent the diseases of affluence that come from eating the standard American Diet (SAD). You may wonder why I am mentioning the SAD since that doesn’t apply to vegans. Actually it can and does apply to vegans if they eat a lot processed food and not much fresh produce.

Our first five years or so cooking vegan food I was always trying to recreate omni meals. I perfected seitan and we ate it often. We also ate a lot of pizza (which we now only eat when we go out) and the pasta was free flowing. Was it vegan? Absolutely it was vegan. Was it healthy? Now there is the rub it wasn’t exactly healthy. Sure it had vegetables but I wouldn’t call it healthy food. Better than most is not the same as good or optimal. Before I forget the early recipes on my blog I no longer consider healthy enough. Just a quick heads up on that one.

Now our diet is definitely much healthier and is almost exclusively based on whole plant-based foods. Initially I thought eating a diet based on whole foods would be limiting, repetitive and not very satisfying. About a month after I decided to stop cooking with processed foods (sugar, oil, flour, etc.) my cooking started to change dramatically. I ended up needing to get more creative with the products I was using. I also started to challenge myself to make our food taste even better since I wanted this to become a lifestyle and not another passing fad. In the end I think we now eat not only a healthier diet but a better tasting one. This was not what I expected but it is what happened.

I am telling you this because if you are looking to make a change in your diet but you don’t know where to start because you need to eliminate too many things just start with one thing. I would suggest you challenge yourself to change the most detrimental thing first, whatever that is for you. Get used to that change and make the next one. Just keeping moving forward and making changes. It really is possible to turn things around health wise. I feel better at 48 than I did at 38 and maybe better than 28, though I am not entirely certain how I felt like 20 years ago to be honest. ;-) When you fuel your body with healthy food it makes a difference on many levels.

It helped me to educate myself as to the health benefits of changing our lifestyle. I find that once I have learned something I can’t unlearn it. That is why you don’t see me making cookies for the holidays. I can’t convince myself that I am showing people I care about them by giving those things that are bad for their health. Is this going against the flow? It is absolutely going against the flow and in a big way too. Some people with support your healthy changes but sadly most will not. Worse yet those that don’t will be vocal about it.

The worst part of making a dietary change for the better is that people that were your friends will get mad at you and may even call you names or worse.  I know because this has happened to me. I realize this is because our diet/lifestyle is highlighting the problems with their habits which they aren’t ready to acknowledge and/or change. While this is sad it is also life. Not everyone is ready to make serious changes and that is just the way it is. However, they shouldn’t criticize others who are trying to make changes for the better. For whatever reason a large part of society seems to find it easier to put down someone else rather than acknowledge things they could/should change. I suppose this is the worst part of changing your habits. It isn’t the dietary change itself but the reaction from “so called” friends. In the end I came to the conclusion that these people weren’t actually friends in the first place so it was no big loss. :-/ 

I feel strongly that it is important to do your homework and educate yourself about what constitutes a healthy diet. I know when I did that it changed the way I look at food. That change in vision, or food philosophy, was the only reason I was able to move us to the diet that you see today. As I have said many times I am not certain I would have been smart enough or motivated enough to make these dramatic changes before cancer. But now that I have learned much more about nutrition I can’t image ever going back to the way we used to live. I feel too good and the lab results show such dramatic improvement there really is no way we are going to throw that away.

If any of you want to make changes and don’t know where to start feel free to email me. It may take me a few days to get back to you since I am backed up at the moment. But if you need to bounce ideas off someone feel free to send me an email. Also I would be happy to recommend books for you to read so that you can educate yourself as to what is right for you. I really do believe learning about nutrition is the best overall approach because then you know what changes you need to make and why they should be permanent.

We eat such a late lunch with my parents on the weekend that we frequently aren’t hungry for dinner and that is what happened again Sunday night. We spent the evening relaxing and Dan watched some sci fi (The Lost Room) he DVR’s while I read and chatted on-line. It was a very laid back evening which I think we all need as often as possible. Stress is another one of those things that isn’t good for anyone’s health. We try to relax as often as possible. ;-)

Happy Thoughts:

Sunday was a very introspective day for me. I have many things to be happy about:

• I am very thankful to be married to such an open minded man. He goes along with my desire to make our diet healthy without complaint. He even listens when I tell him what I learned about nutrition/health each day. Much to my surprise when I send him an article to read about nutrition he actually reads them. I am very lucky to be married to the man who is perfect for me. I wouldn’t do well with someone that was close minded and rigid. I love you sweetie and thank you for being you.

• Sunday we had another good pureed soup. I had almost forgotten how well cauliflower and white bean work to mimic potato soup. Maybe next time I make “faux mashed potatoes” I might add some white bean to them. I love playing with my food. LOL

• I am also thankful for a sweet little angel, Massimo, who goes to bed on his own each night and waits for us to join him. Have you noticed now much I adore the felines?

• A good friend sent me an article to read today. I love this stuff, LOL. This one is on different varieties of rice and the iron, zinc and phytic acid content and I can’t wait to read it. Am I a nutrition geek or what? ;-) Thanks again C! You are the best! I really appreciate it. 

• This morning there was the most gorgeous sunrise as we were leaving the gym. I put a picture on twitter if you want to see it now. Otherwise it will be in the post tomorrow. The colors were absolutely spectacular.

• I really enjoyed being back at the gym this morning. My knee was a little painful but not bad, definitely better than it had been. Also I was able to get my calorie burn back up to 500 so that made me very happy! I had put on 4 pounds in the last month that I want back off. So far 2.5 down and 1.5 to go. In my perfect world those will be gone before 1/1/2011.

• According to the weather today we may get a white Christmas. I don’t remember ever having one of those in the last 30 years I lived in Maryland. It will be nice to have snow falling on Christmas. I really hope the weather people are right about this. ;-)

• I am happy that my friend Deirdre who was in a car accident last night is fine. We are worried about you please keep us posted.

Signing out:

It is almost Christmas and I am getting really excited about it. I love Christmas and look forward to it every year. I am such a little kid and Christmas time, LOL.

Do you have any holiday traditions at Christmas? We have a few that I love. We always get a few new ornaments for the tree and more holiday decorations in general. Since Lasagna is a traditional Italian feast food it always makes an appearance either as a side dish or main dish either on Christmas or New Years. We used to do the feast of the 7 fishes on Christmas Eve but that I have no idea how to veganize, LOL. The other two things we always did were open on present Christmas Eve before we went to sleep, and then have mimosas on Christmas Day.

It is time for me to be productive at home. I still need to do my strength training and get started on my day.

I will talk to you again tomorrow. I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy day.


  1. Definitely loving the idea of this soup. I also think the white beans in the cauliflower mash would be great too. I made some smashed white beans at one point that ended up being so similar to mashed potatoes I was shocked. Love happy accidents. And speaking of - I do hope your friend is ok.

  2. Hi Ali,
    On the vegan boullion, I can relate to your frustration. As I was slowly crawling towards vegetarianism, chicken boullion was my weak link for a long time because vegetarian boullion was incredibly high in sodium. The trick was that there was a no-salt chicken and no-salt beef options, but no no-salt vegetarian options!
    So...what I did-I made a list of what is in dry boullion and told myself that I would make a batch a put it in a bottle. That didnt happen but I do refer to the list when I want to make stock.

    In general, it can be frustrating at times to find a healthy version of a food (i.e. vegetarian, whole foods, unprocessed) with no or low salt. It seems that companies shove excess salt into vegetarian options as if the food itself is not enough! I completely agree that being a vegetarian/some days vegan is different than being a healty veggie.

  3. Heather,

    The soup worked out well. Thanks for concurring on the cauliflower mash and beans. I think it will work, and add protein and fiber. Happy accidents are the best. ;-)

    My friend had a deer run out in front of her. There are too many of them around here. It happens much more often than it should. Very sad for the people and the deer. :-(

    talk to you later,

  4. I have always wanted to try to make homemade bouillon ever since I saw this recipe:

    Curious your thoughts on this recipe?

    Lucky Dan, gets his favorite lasagna for Christmas dinner! I'm not sure if I ever told you but I made your neapolitan lasagna, it was awesome!

  5. Jill,

    Great idea about jotting down the ingredients and making your own. I will see if I can come up with something that can be used like an instant bouillion.

    I find it so much more difficult to be a healthy vegan than I ever found it to be vegan. Not that it is going to make me change, BTW. It would be so nice if it were easier though. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  6. Sarah,

    That is an interesing recipe. But holy moly that is a ton of salt. I will run the numbers to see how much sodium it is per serving. However something tells me it is going to be high.

    You didn't tell me you made my lasagna but I am SO happy to hear you liked it. Thank you so much for making me smile. :-)

    talk to you later,

  7. Mmmmm, love the sound of that soup, Ali! Though I really don't like the cold, I love that it's soup weather! I got tomatoes in my share today (which surprised me this time of year)...I think tomato soup is now on my to do list, now!


    PS LOVE the Whole Foods pic! ;)

  8. LJ,

    The soup worked out well, I was happy with it and even my parents liked it.

    I don't like the cold either but soup weather is good. Today we are supposed to be above freezing again. LOL

    Tomatoes this time of year? That is surprising. But then again it isn't cold where you are, comparatively speaking. I love tomato soup. Enjoy it for both of us. ;-)

    The Whole Foods pic was totally there for you. Dan wanted to know why I was taking it and I said for you. I was going to get some interior shots but it was very crowded. Maybe next time I am there it will be less busy.


  9. That soup looks seriously good! I think it will be on my holiday menu. :)

    I know what you mean about people getting mad at you for trying to improve your diet--I lost a good friend also because of that. I realized that most of our friendship previously had been centered on eating and drinking (alcohol) and hers is a very meat-based, potato-based, no-veggie, alcoholic-drink lifestyle. As you said, I was able to do that in my 20s, but not now. It makes me sad to lose a long-time friend, but I'm not willing to make myself sick again for anyone.

    I love your happy thoughts and am glad your friend is okay! As to traditions, my HH had NONE when I met him--his parents stopped giving him Christmas gifts when he was about 5 (so sad, I know), so all our traditions are as young as our relationship. We don't rush to get up on Christmas morning (no kids--easy to do!), light a fire, make some coffee (for him) and tea (for me) and settle down to a leisurely gift-exchange and breakfast. We stay in our jammies for a couple hours just lounging at the table catching up on reading and drinking hot beverages. If the weather is nice, we go out and play in the snow with the dogs. We've forged a few good memories so far--hopefully more traditions over the years to come!

    Sorry for the encyclopedia-length comment! Hope you and Dan (and the furry ones) have a wonderful holiday. xo Ricki

  10. Ricki,

    I think you will enjoy the soup. Even my omni parents liked it and they are a bit of a hard sell. ;-)

    I am sorry to hear you lost a good friend when you changed your diet. It is always sad when that happens. But like you said no one is worth making yourself sick for.

    I started the happy thoughts section because I see so much negativity in the world. While it is easy see the bad I think it is just as easy to see the good. Writing my happy thoughts everyday reminds me of that. Hopefully it does the same for everyone else.

    My husband didn't have many holiday traditions either. Our husband could be related. ;-) I love your new traditions though. Our house on Christmas sounds a lot like yours. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday with HH and the pups. :-)


  11. I thought your article was really well written. I love the idea of faux potato soup too. I sometimes make a faux potato soup with celery root and parsnips, I will definately give this a try!
    I make all my broths myself. I keep all my kitchen vegetable scraps in a huge bag in the freezer. I keep things like cabbage and onions seperate to make sure they do not impart any taste to the more delicate veggies I save. Then, when I am ready I break out my huge roaster and slow roast the veggies in the oven with a little of the older broth I have just for that purpose to give the new batch some depth. To do this I place the fresh broth in ice cube trays and then pop them out when I am ready for a new batch to be made or to start soups and stews! I make several different broths such as mushroom, celery, and dark roasted vegetable for casserole type broths, then use snow pea's, pea's, spring onions, celery and turnips for lighter broths. There is only salt if I add it and it tastes alot better than store brands!

    I too have battled friends and frienemies countless times over the food I eat, even some die hard vegans have turned against me when I got too healthy for them. I have had "animal right vegans" attack me saying I am not a real vegan due to my becoming a vegan due to my disease and I have had junk food vegans tell me I was pushing my way of eating on them, due to me being too healthy. Here are my opinions on the subject. Do what you want and what makes you happy, do not worry about the happiness of others in this blog world we have entered into. People how want to make a difference love your recipes and look forward to your stories and information on the food we eat. In my humble opinion, I think they are jealous of you and what you accomplish and they feel threatened by your progress in the world of veganism. Veganism does not have to be about animals, it should be about whatever makes it important to you. If they do not like it, they can go read someone else. Do not feel bad, you are very good at what you do!
    ps. I found some baby butter beans today and I am thrilled about that, how pathetic am I???
    Hugs, Brandi

  12. Oh and here are our traditions...
    On the night before Christmas we always watch, It's a Wonderful Life, eat popcorn and I make the best hot chocolate known to man! It is my mothers recipe and it is wonderful. We always open on small gift and then wake early to open presents and see what is in our stockings. Even adults get stockings in my family! Then we all wear our robes and play board games, eat our Christmas dinner and just be lazy, it is the perfect day!

  13. Brandi,

    The first time I made this soup base it was mostly an experiment that happened to work well. Now that I know it works I will play around with it more. ;-) We love celery root in mashed potatoes so I bet it would be great in potato soup too. :-)

    I make broths with veggie scraps too but after Jill's comment I wondered if I can do something that would be easier to store. Check out the link Sarah posted. I am going to play around with that, no salt of course.

    It mystifies that people get so angry over other people trying to be more healthy. If any of my friends were making healthy changes I would be thrilled for them I certainly wouldn't be mad. *shakes head*

    I have also had other vegans tell me I am not a vegan because my original motivation was health. As though it matters why we don't eat animal products. Some people seem to like to be exclusionary which is counterproductive.

    Congratulations on the butter bean find. Were they dried? Those are tough to find. I would excited too, LOL. ;-) I can imagine the happy dance.


  14. Brandi,

    Christmas as your house sounds lovely. We always watch "The Grinch" - the original, "A Christmas Story", and "White Christmas".

    We gave up stockings since our felines like to pull things out of them and sometimes they put themselves in. They are funny.

    We also lounge around on Christmas other than my cooking which isn't too restful. LOL


  15. hey alicia!

    happy monday to you!

    I've got to try out that white bean soup - it looks and sounds very unique!

  16. Jhe'anell,

    I was surprised that even my ominvore parents liked it. I think this one is vegan and omni approved. It is a little on the "clean" side without the cashew creme. But you can always add that at the end to make it more like the traditional version. I have eaten this way so long this tastes perfect to me. Your taste buds really will change and adapt and much more quickly than you expect. :-)

    Happy Monday to you too!

  17. I love all of your soups. This one sounds great as well.
    As to the health stuff, I feel as though I actively choose low sodium foods and don't have much of a taste for that. I know I can do much, much better on my fat intake - I eat a lot of nuts - and definitely my sugar intake - I also bake a lot, though I do try to give most of it away.
    It's hard because my boyfriend definitely has a taste for relatively unhealthy foods and if he buys them and are in the house, I have a hard time controlling myself around them. I also enjoy baking for him and seeing other people enjoy the goods.
    However, I do realize that it's really probably not so good for him (and me!) and if I really love him, I would strive to feed us both more healthily.
    I take inspiration from you and Dan (my boyfriend is just as open minded as he seems to be) and I certainly will take your tips on starting with cutting out just one aspect of your bad diet. Luckily, I do break my addictions pretty easily so a change should take hold.
    This is a long comment to post, but I want to say thank you.


    Please find above an interesting piece in the times about top-notch Western chefs using Japanese dashi stock to amp up the flavor of European-style dishes. Of course, dashi is typically an infusion of bonito (dried cured fish, for any readers unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine) and kombu. However, it can be successfully made -- as per Buddhist vegetarian tradition -- with just kombu, either by soaking kombu in water overnight (my preferred method, since it takes so little effort) or slowly bringing a pot of water to boil with kombu strip added to it.

    I don't use packaged vegetable stocks and stock bases -- the sodium content is typically ridiculous, other ingredients are questionable and, in any case, the flavor renders finished dishes with a certain sameness. So, the kombu stock is my low-maintenance way to add umami
    to Western-style dishes. And, as you'd expect, it's also great as a base for Japanese-style soups.

    Our Christmas tradition, at my two-legged baby's urging, is a couple of days in New York City. We're leaving Philly before the crack of dawn on Christmas Eve, hitting the LEGO store and Rockefeller tree, having lunch at his favorite Japanese place, walking in Central Park and riding the carousel there. Christmas Day we'll build LEGO at the hotel and hit Chinatown, which is as busy on December 25 as on any other day of the year.

  19. Food Feud (M),

    I have been in a soup mood lately, haven’t I? When it is cold I seem to crave soups and stews. ;-)

    We can all do better nutrition wise, myself included. I have a few habits I am trying to change myself. You are not alone.

    All men seem to have a taste for unhealthy food. I don’t know why that is but it seems to be true of all the men I know. I find it difficult to stay out of unhealthy things too. The only reason I can is we don’t have any in the house.

    Do you have any idea what is your worst health habit? If you start with that one it will have the greatest impact. I would keep chipping away always focusing on the most detrimental habit first. I know you can do it. It just takes time to develop new habits but it will happen.

    I love long comments. Those are the best! I am happy I could give you something to think about. :-)


  20. Heather,

    Thanks for the link. Sounds like an article I will enjoy. I never thought to use dashi in non-Japanese food. It is an intriguing idea. A few of our local Asian restaurants make miso soup that is vegetarian (no bonito). They don’t advertise it though you have to ask. You may find the same thing where you are.

    I haven’t used packaged stock bases in years and reading the ingredient lists on Sunday reminded me why I stopped. ;-) I was hoping for something quick but your idea of kombu certainly would be fast and easy

    Christmas sounds fabulous. I have not been to the LEGO store but I know your little one must be in heaven. The tree in Rockefeller center is always beautiful. Have a wonderful time this Christmas.


  21. 1. Yay, something else to do with our CSA leeks (besides dehydrate them--thanks for the suggestion)

    2. Making changes--yes! Great discussion. We're lucky that we don't really "connect" with people through food so my dietary changes don't impact our relationships (and it has impacted our relationship with each other for the better because I cook almost every night and we enjoy eating the same thing now). But When I became vegan, I allowed myself eggs. Then I didn't want those. Then I stopped wanting sugar. Then white flour. As the body begins to mend, I think we start to crave healthy foods.

    3. Admission: I'm a bullion and boxed veggie broth addict. I rarely post things that I make with bullion because it feels like cheating ; )

  22. Stephanie,

    Excellent point about starting to crave healthier food the longer you eat whole plant-based foods.

    Salt was tough for me to give up. I think Italians are genetically predisposed to love the stuff (olives, capers, parmesan, proscuitto). However now I that I don't cook with it I don't miss it. I did have to cut back a little at a time though. I tried going cold turkey on salt and food tasted too bland when I did that.

    Have you found a bouillon that isn't high in salt or chemicals? I would love to know the brand if you have to see what is does include.

    I hope you are enjoying your time off,

  23. This is the one I use because they have it at my WF:
    the worst it has is palm oil and rice flour.

  24. That soup sounds delicious, faux-potato or not. I love white beans and cauliflower.
    I appreciate your thoughts on change for the better, and I'm happy to see how much success you have and how much you support each other. Change in any aspect of your life is very difficult, but it's also fascinating to see how we deal with it. I'm in the middle of reading Switch (How to Change when Change is Hard) and I'm really enjoying it. Normally I don't like those business-world books, but this one has a nice, human, psychological bent (so far).

  25. I really like the faux potato soup idea.

    I think my biggest hurdle with making ALL the changes I'd like to make in my diet is my kids. (Yeah, sure, blame it on the kids ;) ) Really, though, there are things I would just NOT buy and bring into my house if it weren't for them.

    Oil is one's a question for you: the information you've read that has led you to believe oil isn't good - does this also apply to kids? One of my issues: my 10 year old son is very skinny (and I think he's JUST GOING TO BE, but regardless I worry constantly about how I can "fatten him up.") I give him lots of nuts, avocado, etc., but I also drizzle oil into his food regularly. And put coconut oil in his smoothies, etc. So I'm just wondering if what you're saying about oil is something I need to be cautious about with him, or it's not the same situation for kids, especially one who is underweight?

    Back to changes I'd like to make...I totally do not want to ever purchase anything with soy protein, but occasionally there is something we get that has it. If my kids are going to a "weenie roast," I have the dilemma of "Do I let them be as normal looking as possible by bringing their vegan hot dogs that have horrible ingredients?" or risk making them resent veganism at an early age? Does this make sense? The same with baked goods and everything. I want them to be vegans/vegetarians for ethical reasons as well as health. There are so many things that aren't hard for me. I haven't bought anything with hydrogenated shortening, artificial color or flavors, or other weird ingredients since I've had kids. I don't eat anything with gm corn, and I try to do that with gm soy, too. There are other changes that are harder for me. Salt. Processed soy. Oh, and palm oil, too. I've winced several times lately purchasing something with that. I prefer salad dressing without oil and baking with applesauce, but I haven't completely cut oil out. I do always choose the low-sodium option if there is one. I used to think there was no reason I shouldn't douse my food with salt because I have lower blood pressure, but obviously I know now that's not the only reason to stop using it. So...that's where I'm at. I think my next goal will be to limit (even more than I already have) the amount of processed soy I buy. And cutting back on salt.

    I'm fortunate, like you, to have an open-minded husband. He is very interested in eating healthy and doesn't have a picky palate. You mention how thankful you are for your husband regularly so you obviously know how lucky we are. It's not the typical situation. If I told my husband today that we were going to cut X,Y,Z out of our home for good, he'd say, "Okay! Let's do it!" I know many other women will never know what that's like, unfortunately. :(

  26. oops, sorry if I just tried to post that comment several times, my computer kept saying it was too large...but I see it posted. :)

  27. I use the Rapunzel NSA Vegan Vegetable Bouillon. I didn't even think to check for palm oil, and "organic non-hydrogenated palm oil" is listed as the second ingredient! 130 mg of sodium per 1/2 cube (4.25 g), 25 cal per 1/2 cube.

    One of my challenges to myself this year is to be a healthier vegan. Thank you for your inspiring posts!


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