Friday, December 3, 2010

Lentil Experiment and Eat Your Produce


We started our morning the same way we have been for the last couple of weeks at the gym.

Here is a pic of Dan heading into the gym in the dark. I guess he was cold or I was walking slowly because I was taking pictures (or sleep walking) LOL. Since I stayed up late Wednesday night watching TV meaning I was tired in the morning and felt a little bit like I was sleep walking through my workout but I got it done. However it wasn’t at the intensity I would have liked but life it hardly perfect so I am okay with it. ;-)

While we were at the gym there was a beautiful red sunrise which I had to photograph. Even though I am still not a morning person (and may never be) I can appreciate the beauty of the sunrise.  ;-)

Once we got home I made smoothies with frozen banana, frozen wild blueberries, kale, cinnamon, ginger, ground flaxseed, and walnuts.

Dan got dinner leftovers (eggplant "meatballs") for lunch, an orange, 2 Brazil nuts and I made him a quick soup. The soup was cheating but I needed to add more calories to his lunch. I took a 15 oz can of Amy’s organic lentil soup and poured that into quart jar. I added a 15 oz can of organic tomatoes (no salt) to the jar and stirred to combine. Then I added Indian seasonings (turmeric, black pepper, black mustard seed, coriander, powdered ginger, cumin seed and crushed red pepper). While this isn’t the best answer since it is higher in sodium than I would like it works in a pinch (otherwise known as Alicia didn’t plan well). ;-)

For my lunch I just ate a little of this and that. I had an orange, 2 bananas, a large baked sweet potato topped with frozen spinach in vegan white sauce. I also had a few walnuts, 2 Brazil nuts and numerous mugs of hot green tea. Nothing too exciting ... just healthy food.

I read in Cucina Ebraica that soaked lentils cook in 15 minutes and had to try it before I forgot about it. I started by soaking one pound of lentils in 8 cups of water for 8 hours. Then I added all the remaining soup ingredients, including acidic tomatoes which could have been a problem but I wanted to know. From the time I turned on the stove it only took 25 minutes to have soup. I would say this was a successful experiment. I am not including the recipe because there are more than enough lentil soups out there. For those who are curious this one included onion, garlic, parsnip, celery, diced tomato, Italian seasoning and fennel seeds. Since the soup cooks such a short period of time I do recommend that you chop your veggies fairly small.

Fruits and Veg and Breast Cancer Recurrence:

I read this blurb and wanted to share it with all of you. I don’t think it is earth shattering news but it is yet another reason to eat your fruit and veggies. If produce reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence I imagine the same applies to other hormonally linked cancers (prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and cervical, etc.). I don’t know about you but reading this made me feel better about concentrating on consuming as much produce as possible. ;-)

Vegan Mofo and my Reflections:

Now that Vegan Mofo has been over a few days I have had time to reflect on it. In retrospect I should have gone with my gut and not participated. The month of November was hectic here with too many appointments/obligations before Thanksgiving and the prepping for Christmas. I felt as though I wasn’t able to give Mofo proper attention. Whether I participate next year is up in the air.

As my blog has become more health conscious many long time vegan readers no longer comment which is fine. It is a little sad to me that more people don’t focus on their health but I also recognize we are all in the different place in that regard. I write the blog to share healthy recipes and articles about health with those that are interested. Clearly my food is still and will remain vegan but now it also has to be healthy not just vegan. I am bringing this up to explain where my head is now. If someone would ask me to describe my food philosophy I would say it is health conscious whole food plant-based and vegan.

Part of the reason I am writing this is because of the blogosphere uproar over a vegan blogger returning to meat for her health. Personally I think the entire idea is BS based on everything I have read about health and nutrition. It is just as easy to be an unhealthy vegan as it is to be an unhealthy omnivore. If you eat a lot of processed food, or food full of white flour, sugar and vegan margarine don’t be surprised if your health suffers. Processed food isn’t good for anyone’s health even if it is vegan.  Sad but true.


Dan and I both like to shop, as you have probably guessed by now. However we also both like to purchase things on sale when possible.  Today ended up being a day of shopping. We found some great stuff at good prices.  :-)   I will fill you in tomorrow after we get back from the art show. There was also a little eating out. This has been the week of going out to eat for us. We need to focus more on eating at home. I think the eating out thing is getting a bit out of control.

Happy Thoughts:

Thursday and Friday were fairly productive which means I have a lot to be thankful for today. Here are my happy thoughts at the moment:

• We got to the gym a little after 6am Friday morning and I had burned over 600 calories before we left. It feels good to know I got my cardio in for the day well before 8am. Woo hoo!  Now I need to get my calorie burn up to 700 in the morning. Something tells me that will be a bit tougher. ;-)

• We are going to an art show on Saturday which we are both looking forward to. Dan and I like to buy art from local artists and the show we are going to tomorrow is one of our favorite artists. We have five of her works currently and I suspect by tomorrow we will have more. Italy is a favorite subject of hers so you can see why we would be drawn to her work.

• The two boys (Masi and Nicco) ran through the house a few minutes ago side by side. They are so adorable and still behave like kittens even though they are 9 years old. Those little fuzz balls have me wrapped around their little furry toes.  *swoon*

• Here is a picture of Masi last night on top of one of the bookcases. He had gotten a snowflake ornament from the staircase garland stuck in his tail. Only at my house, LOL.  Masi is fine, just annoyed at us because the ornament in his tail is clearly all our fault.  It can't be his fault he is a cat and they are never wrong.  ;-)

• I was very happy to spend the day with Dan and it isn’t even a weekend. Nothing like a long weekend with my baby to put a smile on my face.  I love you precious!  *smooch*

• Today at Marshall's I found three great men’s T-shirts to wear to the gym for $4, $5and $7. I also picked up another pair of workout pants for $10. I love a bargain. LOL

• A few more Christmas items managed to jump into my shopping cart. You know I need more right? LOL

Signing out:

I hope you are having a happy and healthy Friday. Talk to you again soon, most likely tomorrow evening after the art show.


  1. Great post, Ali. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the ex-vegan. There's obviously been a lot of controversy, and I feel similarly to you.


  2. LJ,

    I think the ex-vegan didn't do her homework. Anyone that can go from vegan to bacon is suspect in my book. She did a 180 which makes no logical sense. I tried to stay out of it but people kept asking me questions by email. I feel a little sorry for her actually since she clearly has no idea what she is doing from a health perspective and is doing veganism a great disservice in the process. *argh* Think I have an opinion? LOL

    I hope you are having a great evening! Enjoy that Miami heat for both of us. It is 35 here. Brrrrr!


  3. I might not be a long time reader, but I still love your blogs! I've used a couple of your recipes for my lunches and they are always tasty :-)

  4. sgcorrie,

    I am always happy to hear from people that are interested in health. Sometimes that can be a bit of lonely place to be. ;-) Thank you for letting me know you enjoy the blog the way it is. I am also glad you enjoyed the recipes you tried. :-)


  5. Hi, Ali. I don't comment as often as I should, but I read all of your blogs and LOVE them! I am really trying/planning :) to get better at both blogging and commenting all the way around.

    I'm still doing great! More than 60 pounds GONE!!! Woot!

    So cute about the kitty with the ornament in his tail! I can imagine his attitude of indignation! Been there, done that! :)

    Talk to you soon!


  6. Hi Ali,
    Excellent post and I appreciate you thoughts about the ex-vegan. Its interesting to me especially as an ex vegetarian claimed that she gave it up because she was sick and needed to eat meat for its 'health benefits'. I was surprised and taken aback and told her in no uncertain terms that its just as easy (perhaps easier) to be an unhealthy omni and she just stared at me like I had 3 heads.
    As a new vegan I approached it with an add first, than take away philosophy. I expanded my use of grains (hello barley and kasha) and experimented with greens like kale before eliminating animal protein
    Ok sorry for the long comment but one final health question (I sometimes feel guilty about picking your brain but its so much easier than doing the research myself). What's your opinon on tempeh?
    Have a great weekend.

  7. Ali, I like your blog the way it is. I think it's great that you're so comitted to healthy eating. It's inspirational. Even though I don't live up to it. Maybe one day.

    I'm with you with the brrr, we've had a lot of early snow over here and it's been below freezing most days. Luckily I work at home but poor hubby has had to fight through the snow to get to work :(

  8. Lolly,

    Thanks for letting me know you are there and reading. :-) I understand it is tough to read and post. The same thing happens to me it isn't just you.

    Woo hoo on the 60 pounds! You go! Congratulations on busting through the plateau. I hope you know what you did that got things moving again.

    Masi is my little sweetie, but he wasn't so happy about that ornament. I tried to get a pic of him running thru with it in his tail but he is too fast. My house is like a zoo even though we only have three cats, LOL. There is way too much four footed activity. You would think we had 10 cats some days. But we love all of it. ;-)

    Enjoy your weekend,

  9. Shannon,

    Many people want the easy answer, take a pill add one food rather than making a entire lifestyle shift. The stories I can tell you from working in health care. I agree with you it is very easy to be unhealthy and most people don't want to change. We didn't really want to change initially either. Now it is second nature. I like you idea of adding first and substracting second. If you make enough small changes to your diet eventually it all adds to up to something big. :-)

    I like tempeh and I think it is a great food. I love that the soy beans are completely unprocessed and that it is fermented. It is on my list to make from scratch as soon as I get some tempeh starter. What specifically do you want to know?

    enjoy your weekend,

  10. Carol,

    Thanks for the encouragement and for letting me know you like the blog the way that it is. It really is a slice of my life now which is never where I expected it to go.

    I hope seeing/hearing what we do makes a big lifestyle change seem more doable. If it makes you feel any beter we never thought we would be "this healthy" either. ;-) We went from omni to vegan overnight but the super healthy vegan changes took a while longer. I used to love olive oil, salt and anything with flour. Those things were very tought to eliminate/reduce. You really can do it if you concentrate on one change at a time.

    We checked the weather this morning and it looks like we are going to be at our just above freezing as our high for the next week. Darn it, winter is here apparently. I love Christmas but would like that with more temperate weather. ;-)

    enjoy your weekend,

  11. I don't think you come across as being judgmental to those who eat vegan without worrying as much about the health aspects. I joked with you once about not wanting you to see my posts when they are processed, but that's from my own acknowledgement that I could have eaten a little better at that meal. Not because I think you're looking at it, thinking tsk, tsk. :)

    I have tried to stay out of that whole controversy, too. I don't know why she felt the need to try to discredit veganism as a whole. It would have come across so much better had she merely stated that she eats meat now because she wanted to see if that made a difference in her health, that it was her singular choice and leave it at that. But I'm sure we say things that make people who eat meat or dairy occasionally feel judged. Even though we're right. ha, just kidding.

  12. Hi Ali! Those lentils look good. I'm glad you posted gave me hope that some day I will enjoy those lentils (assuming you share your recipe once perfected!). Last time I made them they were, um, gross. So lentil-y (and I like lentils!).

    I sympathize with people who think the vegan diet is not for them. Their brains and bodies really do send confusing signals that say "you need [meat/fat/protein/eggs/milk/sugar]" (okay maybe the last one was me). Have you seen the show 30 Days by Morgan Spurlock where the two people have to live on an eco-village and the big Escalade driving meat eater tries to be vegan? I really did feel a little bad for him.

    I know for me, the benefits of being vegan are felt so deeply that I just *know* that it's the right diet for me, and the planet.

    Sorry this wasn't a comment--this was a whole post!


  13. I'm definitely a fan of the health conscious focus of your blog posts. Truthfully, because of time constraints I only read two or three vegan blogs right now, and I choose yours as one of those because of your health emphasis.


  14. Jenny,

    Thanks for sharing how you feel. I think the choice to eat healthy was easier for us since we had the benefit of deciding cancer or unhealthy food which was a no brainer. In my perfect world everyone would "get it" and eat healthy before they were faced with a crisis. However I realize that will never happen. *sigh*

    I find the entire ex-vegan thing sad and frustrating at the same time. She clearly hasn't done her homework in terms of rational science. But that hasn't stopped her from bashing veganism without any hard science to back her up. Well .... that is how I took it.

    enjoy the rest of your weekend,

  15. Stephanie,

    We seem to like lentils best when combined with tomato, and lots of seasonings. I know what you mean about them being too "lentily", been there done that too. LOL

    It is tough to go from omni to vegan, I know we did. Also I it doesn't help that sugar, fat and salt are physically addictive. I have not seen the show you mentioned but now I will look for it. Thanks for the recommendation. :-)

    enjoy your weekend,

  16. Aisling,

    It is nice to know so many of you appreciate my health focus. There were only a hand full of long time commenters that disappeared but it was quite obvious. It is hard to accept but I know that I can't please all the people all the time, darn it. ;-)

    I hope you are having a nice weekend. It is freezing (literally) here but we have beautiful blue skies and little wind. We are going to get outside and enjoy it soon. The gym was great this morning.


  17. Ali,
    I'll take healthy and vegan over plain vegan any day...hence the reason my french vegan blog doesn't seem to be working for me:-)

  18. I am so glad that you and Dan are enjoying your time together and that he is not working quite as much! I hope you had fun shopping on Friday and at the art show today :-)


  19. I am still here ;) As a health, compassion, ethical and spirit focused plant eater, I really appreciate your blog and your commentary plus I love the recipes! Not only have I used, enjoyed and shared with friends and family many of your recipes, I have been inspired to create my own and eat better. Thanks Ali :)

    Not that I am really on the up and up of the whole blogging community, but I was really sad and conflicted about the whole ex-vegan thing - I have compassion for people, but it just like a lot of bad vibes in general on all sides. /end rant lol

  20. Aimee,

    I knew you felt that way. There are few other vegan bloggers, like yourself, that focus on health but we are in the minority. I feel like that I am good company, BTW. :-)


  21. Courtney,

    Thanks we are having a great weekend. I hope work doesn't feel like it is dragging on too long for you this weekend.

    talk to you soon,

  22. VeganPossum,

    I knew you were still there, or at least I assumed you were, but I appreciate your comment. Sometimes as a vegan who tries to focus on healthy food I feel a little isolated. ;-)

    The ex-vegan story was sad on many levels I agree with you. I think this was an example of negativity attracting more negativity if that makes sense. I think overall it was unnecessary to bash veganism without doing her research. But that is just my opinion. The funny thing is that I didn't read her blog when she was vegan because I didn't consider it healhty.

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend,

  23. Ali,

    I had to read the comments on this post after reading your most current post. Yes, keep up the healthy vegan perspective! Love that. I mentioned to you a while back that my life has been touched by cancer too. Not just touched but almost knocked over, so that's why a vegan diet is the one for me. I don't understand why people refuse to believe the science. I know our culture and habits are firmly ingrained, but seeing the evidence in black and white should trump our habits! Ah, you'll be seeing "the evidence" in color soon--as in "Forks over Knives"? I'll be eager to hear what you think. My daughter asked me to attend the LA premiere with her in March, just before the theatrical release. It's a red carpet event, with the scientists involved, as well as Hollywood types, all in attendance: how exciting is that??!

    Have a great Sunday!

  24. Colleen,

    Cancer is a bitch as I like to say. *shakes head* I think it is easier for those of us that have been directly impacted to make the uber healthy changes. Like you I don't understand how people can ignore the evidence. Though I will say that most of of my omni friends know very little about nutrition and that may explain the problem.

    We go to the advance screening on Wednesday. I was thrilled that it sold out. I think that is a very good sign. Enjoy the official premier, that sounds like a blast to me.

    I hope you enjoy your Sunday too,


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