Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review: From Oil to Nuts

Today started off rainy and it ended rainy and then there was rain in between. It was one of those days in the Mid-Atlantic that made you wonder if you need to go into the back yard and start building a boat. On the bright side Sunday is reported to warm and sunny and that will be great after our cold rainy Saturday. Not to mention tomorrow is farmers’ market day. Woo hoo!

Dan and I decided early today to run a few errands and then go out to lunch. Knowing we were lunching out I skipped breakfast and had a few large glasses of water instead. Dan had his usual big bowl of oatmeal with berries and walnuts. There is some consistency in the universe.

I know that all of you have already guessed who was in charge of lunch. Yes it was Ian was there any doubt at all in your mind? We had not warned anyone at the restaurant that we were coming it meant that we needed to make up our own food. After all it isn’t a vegan place so it is the least we can do. ;-)

We asked that the antipasti platter be made vegan since it normally comes with meat and cheese. We love this platter it comes with chickpeas, artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives (my favorite …. shhh), house-made pickles, hot pickled peppers and garlic flat bread. Delicious and no one would miss the meat and cheese. Luckily for me Dan isn’t crazy about the peppers and olives which I love. We do have a symbiotic relationship as you can see!

Next we ordered the lentil mushroom soup since it was naturally vegan. Way to go Dani, thanks for vegan soup on the menu today!

Our last course was a whole wheat pizza topped with marinara, roasted veggies, more olives, and finished with fresh arugula. It was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed my slice and Dan had trouble finishing off the rest since we had a lot of food for lunch.

We washed the meal down with our usual tea blend of hibiscus, strawberry and green tea.

We took the second half of the marshmallows into the restaurant with us today. Since not everyone works weekdays and weekends we thought that by splitting up the marshmallow shipment more people would get some. I made sure Ian got some to take home to his kids. 

When we came home there were more mugs of green tea this time combined with rooibos and orange. While we sipped tea we listened to jazz and the rain. I decided to do a little on-line shopping and ended up buying concert tickets to: Ottmar Liebert, Peter White, Gerald Albright and Euge Groove. Can you tell we like instrumental jazz? We have been fans of Ottmar since the 80’s so that I very jazzed (pardon the bad pun) about that concert.

Dinner tonight was a big salad since we had a heavier than usual lunch. This salad included: mesclun, cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper pepper, artichokes, marinated mushrooms and a lentil salad.

The lentil salad is one that I made variations of all the time. I don’t measure everything but I can give you a good idea of what I do. Start with 1 cup of green lentils and cook them until tender, then drain and dress with the zest and juice from 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Add finely diced red onion (about ½ cup), finely minced walnuts (about ½ cup), 3 grated carrots, finely diced fresh parsley (about 1 cup) and black pepper to taste. This gets better as it sits in the refrigerator and the flavors marry.

Review: From Oil to Nuts

I finally got around to watching this DVD the second time so that I could review it for it. Before I tell you much about it I should say that I thought it was well done and definitely worth what it cost to purchase. I tried to find it on Netflix and at the library and it wasn’t available.

The DVD covers the following topics:

Basics of Fat: Discussion of various forms of fat in organic chemistry terms. Jeff does a nice job of explaining hydrogenation and cis versus trans fats. There is also a nice chart showing the saturated, poly and mono composition of various oils. It still boggles my mind that coconut oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil all contain more saturated fat than lard.

Interesterified Fat: This was the first time I had heard this term which is sad since these fats are already in the food supply. Ever wonder what modified palm oil, modified soybean oil or fully hydrogenated coconut oil was?  Well now we all know. *ugh*

Essential Fatty Acids: the reason why we need Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids and the quantities of each that is required. According to the National Academy of Science we need much less than you expect. There is also a nice chart about the amount of omega-3 in various beans, nuts, veg and fruit. I also liked the chart of the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in nuts and seeds. The bottom line is that walnuts are still your friend.

Mediterranean Diet: The reason why this was originally found to be healthy and how the diet tested is very different from what we have been told.

Longest Lived People: A comparison of the standard diets of the US and Okinawa is given.  When you see them compared side by side is become very obvious why the average American is taking so many meds.

Overall it was a good DVD and one that I think most of you would learn from. The speaker goes into a good bit of detail but does it in an entertaining way that doesn’t make it feel like you have gone back to school. Even if you are like me and have spent a lot of time studying nutrition I think you will like this DVD. If nothing else it may help you to convince your loved ones to consume a healthier diet.  I am going to try to encourage my father to watch this DVD.  I will keep you posted on how that goes.  Wish me luck, I think I am going to need it.  LOL

Happy thoughts:

• In spite of the cold rain Saturday was a good day. Dan and I had a nice day together. We enjoyed spending time together and hanging out. We both enjoyed running errands and having lunch out with the gang at the restaurant.

• Seeing this beautiful tree in bloom reminded me that the cold April rain brings May flowers. I love how beautiful, lush and green this part of the country is in the spring.  Isn't the grass a beautiful vibrant green?

• Spending the late afternoon and early evening at home was the reason we are going to a few jazz concerts soon. Everything happens for a reason is my motto.  ;-)

• I picked up some good stuff at the library today that I am looking forward to getting into next week. As you all know I love to read and learn new things.

• The last few weeks have been very hectic and that made me appreciate our laid back Saturday even more.

• I am looking forward to the farmers’ market tomorrow. It is great to be back in market season. Personally I can’t wait to see what local produce awaits us tomorrow morning. ;-)

Signing out:

It is getting very late here and we need to get up early tomorrow for the farmers’ market. I hope you had a good Saturday. The weather here is supposed to be lovely tomorrow. Who knows we might even find time to get out in the garden if the ground isn’t too wet. Have a great evening; I will talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. We had a lot of rain here today too. I'm hoping to run tomorrow morning so I hope it clears up, and for you at the farmer's market tomorrow! Can't wait to see the haul :)
    That lentil salad looks great. I was thinking of something like that for Easter!

  2. Food Feud (M),

    A run tomorrow sounds wonderful. I wish my knees were up to that too. Enjoy the run enough for both of us. :-)

    We were up so late last night we didn't make it to the market this morning. Some days rest has to come first. However we may go later instead. When Dan gets up I will see what he is in the mood to do.

    I may go left and make handmade fresh pasta for Easter. Lentils sound like a more healthful choice. ;-)

    Enjoy your Sunday, I hope you have the same bright sun that we have now.


  3. Hey, Ali. Your lentil salad is intriguing--thanks for the inspiration! I'd be interested to see a more close comparison of ALL of Japan and the U.S., or of Okinawa and its best analogy in the U.S. (similar culture relative to the whole, etc.). So what ARE the distinctives of the TESTED Mediterranean diet? And what does J.N. conclude--that we get plenty of fat without even nuts, that we should get nuts, or something else? Curious mind here . . . if you have time to answer. :-)

    I bought some nice frozen fruits yesterday and am about to invent a nice green breakfast smoothie--I think some mango is in order . . .

  4. Cindy,

    The people of Okinawa are the longest lived of the Japanese since their diet hasn't been westernized like most of Japan. The traditional Japanese diet is 14% calories from fat which is very low.

    The Med diet that was tested was from the 50's and was nearly vegetertian and had low oil consumption and a lot of exercise. Not exactly what is portrayed in the media.

    J.N. does conclude that we don't need needs or seeds, which is not going to go down well with most people but that if you want to be certain to get enough have 1 tablepoons of ground flax or 1 oz of walnuts. He does say that if you don't need to lose weight you can relax and have some nuts and seeds.

    Breakfast may be green smoothies here too. I haven't been up long enough to think it through yet.

    have a good Sunday,

  5. Cindy,

    You are welcome, happy to help. :-)


  6. I really like your lentil salad. I think I will make it this week...also need to see that DVD!!
    Have a relaxing Sunday eve!

  7. Hi Ali,
    Cold lentil salad is such a creative new way to eat lentils. There was a recipe I loved with cold lentils, yogurt and raisins so I think I might fiddle with it to see how I can make it without the yogurt.

    Good luck sharing the DVD with your father. I'm interested to know if he ends up watching it. ~Jill

  8. Aimee,

    I think you would like the DVD. In my opinion it was worth what it cost because I plan to lend it out. He does a nice job of explaining many of the issues with fat.

    I hope you enjoy the lentil salad as much as we do. In the old days I used to add walnut oil to it but really is fine without it.

    happy Monday,

  9. Jill,

    Try making the cashew creme fraiche and using that in place of yogurt would be the first thing I would try. Please let me know if you need other ideas.

    I will keep you informed on my father and the DVD. Realistically it is a long shot but I decided I had nothing to lose by trying.

    talk to you later, happy Monday,

  10. That antipasti platter platter is making my mouth water! It looks fabulous :-)


  11. Courtney,

    The antipasti platter is always delicious. The one they have on the menu includes meat and cheese and this is how they modify it for us. It is one of my favorite things we order. Great minds....



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