Thursday, March 31, 2011

Curried Tomato and Peanut Butter Sauce

This a quick recipe you can toss together after work. It has a unique flavor and richness from the reduced-fat peanut butter. I will explain how I made it later in the post.

The weather continues to be almost 20 degrees below average here. Needless to say I am totally ready for the temperature to increase a little. Thankfully there hasn’t been any snow yet, and that is a very good thing. *fingers crossed* Let’s hope it stays that way.

Dan had his usual oatmeal with: wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseed, cinnamon, powdered ginger, wild blueberries, walnuts, and stevia.

Once I got Dan’s breakfast made and lunch packed I was ready to leave the house when Dan headed to work. I have a number of “typical routes” through the neighborhood all mapped out depending on my mood and the weather. There is a 1 mile, 1 ½ mile, 3 and 3 ½ mile that I take depending on how I am feeling in the morning and what temperature it is outside. There are many days I start out going a mile and do that two or even three times. I have the other paths mapped out for variety, and because I like to know how far and how fast I have gone. Something tells me you aren’t surprised to hear that I have this all recorded so I can chart my activity. ;-) I think all numbers geeks like to record things, food, exericse, to-do lists, etc.  LOL

After I got home I did some strength training knowing that Tuesday I would be far too rushed in the morning to work out.  Then it was time for my breakfast. It was cold outside which meant my breakfast on Monday was savory oatmeal. This batch was made with: oats, water, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseeds, nutritional yeast, cumin, oregano, no salt seasoning and chili powder. I topped the oats with wilted baby spinach, artichokes and a sauce of sun-dried tomatoes, smoked paprika, cumin and sherry vinegar.

For some reason Monday is rarely a good day at my house. However some Monday’s are worse than others and this one was particularly annoying. I have been very spoiled by having a hubby who is great with computer which means I just expect technology to work when I need it. Sadly I don’t really care how technology works, just that it does. Getting my first computer virus was eye opening to say the least. Once it was infected my computer locked up and that was it. All I could do was wait for Dan to come home and fix the problem. Since Dan knew he was taking off on Tuesday he worked very late on Monday which meant my laptop was down until Tuesday morning. My friend Louis tells me I need a technology free day and Monday was it. Even though I had my smart phone it wasn’t the same. ;-) Thankfully things are back to normal here now from a technology perspective but it wasn’t pretty for about 24 hours. I have no idea how I ever managed without technology now.

My lunch was leftover mushroom ragu over polenta. Yay for intentional leftovers. At least that went well on Monday right? LOL

Wow it is quiet here without technology. How did we live without my laptop to carry from room to room? I could have used the computers in Dan’s home office but I like to use my laptop in the family room. Not to mention all my blog “stuff” is only saved on my laptop which meant that Dan’s computer wasn’t really much help. I really need to start backing up my laptop on the server like Dan always suggests. LOL

Without a computer to distract me I spent a couple of hours doing things at home (it sorely needed it), and then did some reading. It was a relaxing day, but I didn’t things done that I had planned which is always a little frustrating. The worst part of not getting things done is that they just wait for tomorrow. Only tomorrow (Tuesday) we will be out all day so that means they wait until Wednesday. But on Wednesday I have two appointments, a run to Costco and then cooking class. Are you getting the idea what the week has in store for me? ;-)

Dinner was a simple curried tomato and peanut butter sauce with carrot, peas, corn green beans and broccoli. Dan had his over quinoa (for the extra calories) and I had mine over broccoli. The sauce is similar to this recipe only I didn’t add the coconut milk and substituted Indian seasonings (turmeric, black mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, hot peppers, and black pepper). This sauce gets its richness from the peanut butter and lots of flavor from the spices and aromatics. You can use this flavor combination to make soup, or a sauce over vegetables or to top whole grains. I think it is as useful as marinara.

Happy Thoughts:

• I am very happy to have a handy husband. Dan and I have very different talents in spite of the fact that our formal education is almost identical. I have learned to rely on Dan’s technical abilities and am thankful that he has them.

• Normally I would have gotten upset about the computer problem but instead I went about my day and found other things to do. It is days like this that I am thankful for growing old gracefully. At least some things get better with age. ;-) Now if I could just learn to love my grey hair. LOL, that isn’t likely to happen.

• It was great to have such a wide selection of books to choose from when I was looking for something to keep myself busy instead of the work I needed to do on my computer.   I guess that I  could have cleaned the house.  Who said that?  LOL

• Also I am thankful to my friend Amy for convincing me to use the library again which is something I hadn’t done since grad school. I love being able to read books or preview exercise DVDs before committing to purchasing them. Given my book and video library I need to be more selective of the things I bring into the house now.

• I love that this is a four day work week for my sweetie. As you all know we love to spend time together which means we were both looking forward to Tuesday in DC. We haven’t been to the Cherry Blossom Festival since 1997 which means it was definitely time to go again. Since most of the week was forecast to be gray and rainy it is great that Dan’s schedule is flexible enough that he can take time off to coincide with nice weather.

• As I walked around the neighborhood this morning I couldn’t help but notice all the beauty around me. Most mornings I will pass others out walking their dog or just getting in some exercise and everyone says hello. People in our neighborhood are generally very friendly which I really appreciate. We are very fortunate to love where we live since not everyone can say the same thing.

Signing Out:

I can’t believe it is already Thursday and that I am just now posting Monday. How did I get this far behind? *shakes head* Wish me luck that I can get a little more accomplished tomorrow. Friday is supposed to be another rainy day and I ran to Costco on Wednesday so ….. hopefully I will be able to focus on things at home tomorrow once I have checked on my parents.

I hope you are having a great week. Talk to you again tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Creamy “Honey Mustard Dressing and a New Use for Okara

This is our little boy who has somehow squeezed himself into my running shoe box. Why are cats so fascinated with boxes, even little tiny ones? Our boys Nicco and Masi are little guys weighing 6 and 7 pounds respectively though they are full grown. It is amazing the small places they manage to get into. ;-)

Thank goodness the predicted overnight snow did not materialize Sunday. I was dreading looking out the window when we got fearing the ground would be white but not a flake was to be seen. *woo hoo* It was wonderful to start my own on a very bright note. ;-)

Since we got home very late Saturday evening and then stayed up for a while our morning began later than usual which was perfectly fine. I was up before Dan, like usual, and took the time to post the comments from overnight and respond to my texts. I still marvel at home we were ever able to communicate before computers and cell phones. *shakes head*

We ended up having breakfast much later than usual this morning. Dan had his usual oatmeal with wild blueberries, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, powdered ginger, stevia and walnuts.

I had savory oatmeal with the usual ingredients only this time I added some frozen organic peas, carrots, corn and green beans and finished with a few white chia seeds.  As usual my savory oatmeal included: nutritional yeast, cumin, oregano, no-salt seasoning, wheat germ and freshly ground flaxseed.  There is something extremely comforting about having savory oatmeal for breakfast when it is cold outside.

Lunch with my parents was mushroom ragu over polenta. However this time I added lemon zest, rosemary, garlic and okara to the polenta. The okara gave the polenta a creaminess and richness that was unexpected. I added the okara for fiber and protein but was more than happy with the unexpected richness it brought to the dish. Don’t you like happy accidents? Me too!

To accompany the mushroom ragu I made a simple salad with baby spinach, artichokes, grape tomatoes and a creamy dressing since this is more acceptable to my elderly omnivore parents. I decided to take my usual “honey” mustard dressing and make it creamy. Here is what I did:

Creamy “Honey” Mustard Dressing
Serves 12 (assumes ½ ounce serving)


½ cup raw cashews
1 ounce red wine vinegar
2 ounces water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
stevia, to taste


Place everything in your high-speed blender and process until smooth. I used my Vitamix for this dressing and it was thick and creamy. I stored the dressing in the refrigerator in a squeeze bottle which I used to add it to the salad. Simple, easy and tasty ... my favorite combination in a recipe. ;-)

Nutritional Information (assumes 1/12th of the total recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 24.35
Calories From Fat (63%) - 15.22

Total Fat - 1.85g
Saturated Fat - 0.31g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 32.12mg
Potassium - 30.85mg
Total Carbohydrates - 1.47g
Fiber - 0.2g
Sugar - 0.24g
Protein - 0.84g


The dressing is rich and creamy and has a light flavor. It would work well on a green salad with either vegetables or fruit.  If you like creamy dressings you may like this.

Since lunch was rather heavy (the ragu and polenta) we opted to go light with dinner and had green smoothies. These were made with: raw kale, frozen bananas, cooked quinoa (since it is a complete protein), wheat germ (for vitamin E), freshly ground flaxseeds (for omega-3 fatty acids), cinnamon (to help our bodies process the natural sugar), powdered ginger (for anti-inflammatory properties and because it is said to regulate gene expression), water and ice.

After our smoothies we took it easy and spent some time talking before turning it. It was a nice Sunday at our house.

Happy Thoughts:

• It was nice to have Dan at home on Sunday and to be able to spend time with him. In spite of the fact that he had to work this weekend we were able to make the most of our weekend.

• I loved finding a new use for okara. When you make a lot of soymilk and/or tofu you find that you have a lot of okara hanging around. It is great added to polenta and seemed to result in a creamier final product which was fantastic.

• The creamy salad dressing experiment turned out really well. I am always looking for salad dressing ideas since we eat many, many salads. It is nice to have another option.

• Dan loved the mushroom ragu this weekend which makes me very happy. I get a lot of pleasure out of doing things for my sweetie.

• All weekend I was really looking forward to spending the day with Dan on Tuesday. We haven’t been to the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC since 1997. I think it is time we went again don’t you?

• I have been reading “The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse” and am thoroughly enjoying it. When I am finished with it I will tell you more about it. You may remember that I was grateful for Debbie Ford some time back and this is one of her books.

• Lately we have been enjoying a very wide variety of green, white and herbal tea. I have been having a great time coming up with my own tea blends. I plan to write a post about tea blends at some point when I have time. My list of topics to blog about seems to get longer and longer. However I suppose that is a good thing right? ;-)

Signing out:

Today is another very busy one for me. I have been moving since I got up this morning. This afternoon I have a few things on my to-do list before the cooking class.  Today I decided to try scheduling a future post. If all goes well this post should publish while I am still out.  Time will tell if it works.  ;-)  I will write more about our day in DC in my next post.

I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday. Talk to you again soon. ;-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DC Cherry Blossom Update

Monday I was without my laptop after being infected with the Windows Expansion “something” virus. What an irritation that was. *boo hiss* Thankfully Dan was able to resolve the issue but it did take some time which meant I had mostly a technology free day on Monday. It was odd not having my computer. If it weren’t for my smart phone I would have felt completely lost. LOL, Louis I can see you laughing at me now.  ;-)  Does that count as my technology free day?  I think it should count.  LOL

Tuesday we spent the day in DC, going to Jaleo and looking at the cherry blossoms. It was crazy in DC today the traffic was a nightmare and there were tourists everywhere because today was forecast to be the only nice day of the entire Cherry Blossom Festival.  Heck that is why we went today too so I shouldn't complain.  ;-)

However the absolute highlight of my day was meeting Jose Andres. You all know how much I adore him and he is charming, humble and gracious in person.  Can you be a chef groupie?  If you can I think that would be a good desciption of me.  ;-)  I was “practically” speechless which my husband has never seen in over 24 years which is really saying something.  When I met Clint Eastwood about 10 years ago I was able to maintain myself, but with Jose I was awestruck.  LOL, at least I can laugh at myself and that has to be a good sign.  I will tell you all about our day very soon. It is late here and we just got home from dinner.

Before leaving the DC area also stopped at the Mediterranean Bakery (Alexandria, VA) and picked up groceries (spices, dried beans, whole grains, dried fruit, etc).  I always find things there that are not easy to get elsewhere.  It is a great little store that seems to carry mostly Middle Eastern and Turkish items but they also have a lot of Italian food which I gravitate toward.  Gee, I wonder why?

I have included a few pictures from DC to whet your appetite. Talk to you again soon, hopefully tomorrow before cooking class. Yes … something else to tell you about. I hope you had a great Tuesday, we sure did. Good night!

(Washington Monument)

(Cherry Blossoms with Jefferson Monument in the background)

(close up of the cherry blossoms)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday = Working and Going Out for Dinner

The picture of Nicco (Binky) is completely unrelated to my post. However he is so cute I had to share this picture of him watching me write to post.  I have a great deal of feline supervision in my life.  ;-)

I was not happy to learn that Dan needed to go downtown to his office to work on Saturday. He did soften the blow considerably by saying he would be home early enough to go out to dinner which made up for it a little. ;-)

Breakfast on Saturday was a green smoothie for Dan. Like usual his smoothie contained: kale, frozen banana, walnuts, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, powdered ginger, stevia and almond milk.

I had no idea what I wanted for breakfast and asked Dan for ideas. He suggested that I make myself grapefruit and kale juice. Since I had no ideas of my own I went with that. Each time I have this I think how much I like it and that maybe I should add something like an orange or a banana. However I think I like the pure flavor of this and would rather not muddy the flavor. If you like grapefruit juice this is good and extremely healthy.

After Dan left for work I had a lot to do at home. There was a lot of work to do on the post that I put up yesterday. When I say a lot of work what I really mean is that I had to write most of it. I had forgotten that the Dr. Barnard book needed to go back to the library which only added to what I wrote yesterday. Nothing like waiting until the last minute right?

There was also a quick trip to the library to get more reading material. Is it any wonder that I always have too many things on my to-do list? I need to learn to bring home fewer items from the library. That would certainly result in more time in my schedule.

Since I had time on my hands I started tomorrow lunch with my parents today. I made an enormous pot of mushroom ragu (the version with the wine). This is one of Dan’s favorite meals. I mostly followed this recipe except I water sautéed the aromatics, added tomato paste, also added rosemary, and omitted the olives. I love mushroom ragu better the second day which is why I made this on Saturday to be served on Sunday. This is one of those dishes that improves sitting in the refrigerator. Dan will happily eat this for days and the leftovers are also great frozen. Woo hoo for intentional leftovers. ;-)

Knowing that we were going out to dinner and that this would result in more calories than usual I had a snack instead of lunch. I bet you knew what I as was going to say I had before you saw the picture. I had an orange with two Brazil nuts (for the selenium). No doubt about it I am in a snack rut. ;-)

Guess where we went for dinner? Something tells me you don’t really need to two guesses. It is always good to see Ian, Corey and the gang. How can you not love someplace where not only everyone knows your name, but your food preferences, that you like your green tea with a little hibiscus and greets you at the door with a hug and kiss. A girl can get used to this sort of thing … and I have. I hope all of you are starting to see why 99% of the time we end up here for dinner. The food is always very good and frequently out of this world good and the people are great. What more could you ask for?

When we walked in the door Alan (one of the owners) was there and greeted me with a hug and kiss. We had to wait maybe 2 minutes for our table, good thing we had reservations since there were other people also waiting to be seated.

Friday night when we were leaving the restaurant Corey asked me when we were coming back and I turned to Dan who said “How about tomorrow after I come home from work?” Well, there are worse ways to find out your husband has to work I guess. Needless to say I went into the kitchen to let Will know since Ian was already out the door. Since this is not a vegan restaurant the guys like a little notice so that they can come up with something unusual. Dan and I are happy with pizza and salad but the guys aren’t so we like to warn them when we are coming in. Not to mention they do things that I would never dream up. It is always great to go out to eat and get new recipe ideas or food combinations isn’t it? ;-)

Remember when I said Will had a chance to meet with Jose Andres and Eric Rippert earlier in the week? Will asked Jose for some ideas on menu progression for “two special customers” (that’s us  ... go figure) that he creates dishes for regularly. Jose suggested making three dishes, 1) something we are familiar with but made differently 2) flavors he was familiar with but with a twist and 3) end with something made with a mold. That was the inspiration for our dinner tonight. Thank you Will, you are too good to us.  ;-)

The first dish we got was fusion deconstructed guacamole. Will combined the traditional guacamole ingredients with Vietnamese items. Instead of serving it as guacamole (all smashed together) it came as a salad. This dish contained: shaved avocado, tomato gelée, green onions, radish, cilantro, lime and sriracha. We both liked this twist on guacamole it was unexpected but very good.

The second dish was what Will referred to as an “adult fruit roll up”. When Jen told us that was course two we had no idea what to expect but we are game for anything which meant we were looking forward to it. The green base of the dish was jalapeno, apple and pineapple. This was topped with red wine poached pears with cinnamon and topped with a port reduction and tiny pieces of strawberry. Dan and I both really enjoyed this dish. It had a little heat, a little sweet, complexity from the peppers, cinnamon and wine. The only thing it was missing was crispness. Ian had the idea of crispy dried apples maybe with a sugar crust which sounded intriguing. We both enjoyed that this dish was unexpected, gorgeous, and a combination that I would not have thought of myself.  This was by far our favorite dish last night because of the creativity.

The third dish was a vegetable tower. This dish was layers of: caramelized onions, crispy flatbread, and roasted red peppers, topped with mushrooms. If you are looking for a dish that is pretty enough to impress omnivores that is also “meaty” this is a good one.  It definitely felt like a healthy vegan meat and potatoes if that makes any sense.

After we finished with the planned courses Dan was still hungry and asked Will to make him a little pizza that was on the light side. This was a crispy whole wheat pizza topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms, roasted red pepper, arugula, crispy radish and finished balsamic glaze. Dan wanted a reasonably light pizza and this was perfect.

We had some time this evening to chat with everyone. Ian stopped by before he left, Corey chatted for a while, Will came out to talk too. Jen, Michael, and Jonathan also talked for a while. It is always good to hear what everyone is up to and how life is going. We stayed talking to Will and Jonathan until Corey was ready to lock up for the evening. While being out to dinner for 5 hours may seem odd for most people we do this often. As you can tell I am not kidding when I say we are part of the family at the restaurant. ;-)

By the time we got home it was after midnight and yet we still managed to stay up for a little while. It is really no wonder it is so difficult for us to make it to the gym when they open at 6am.  LOL

Happy thoughts:

• Saturday was a long day but also mostly a good one. Even though Dan had to work *boo hiss* I was still able to enjoy a long leisurely dinner with him and that was wonderful.

• Dinner was great and extremely unexpected which we both love. I may have to play around with the fruit roll up concept now to see what I can do with it. I never would have thought of that on my own. It is always a learning experience to go out to dinner. We are fortunate to have people that can work within the confines of what we eat and still be creative. Thank you Will, great job on Saturday. We both enjoyed it immensely.

• It is wonderful to have people in our life that have the same passion for food that we do. When we first went vegan I was worried that food wouldn’t be the same but that isn’t the case in fact food is now more interesting and cleaner tasting. It is a shame that more people don’t try whole plant based food diet for a while. I can’t imagine eating any other way now.

• I am very thankful that Dan is taking a day off next week to go to DC for the cherry blossoms. We haven’t done this since 1997 so it really is time to do it again. I am looking forward to taking pictures which I will share with you. Something tells me there may be a trip to Jaleo or Café Atlántico while we are in DC.  sounds like a great day doesn't it?

• The weather service had predicted snow Saturday night into Sunday morning which didn’t happen.  *woo hoo* I am very thankful that it didn’t snow. While the cold is bad, snow would have been much worse. Additionally I was a little worried what snow would do to the cherry blossoms. Now that is a nonissue.

• Sunday I got to spend a little time with my sweetie. Since I had made the mushroom ragu on Saturday it meant more free time on Sunday which was great.

Signing out:

This coming week I have a lot of things on my agenda. I will try to post everyday but that may not be practical. However I will do my best.

The weekend is quickly coming to an end. *sigh* Why is it that weekend days seem so much shorter than weekdays? Oh well I shouldn’t complain I had a nice weekend and Dan is taking off one day this coming week to go to DC. You have to love a four day week right?

I hope you had a great weekend too. Talk to you again tomorrow. Good night!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy, Happy Friday and Dinner Out Again Plus a Review of the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

Woo hoo! Friday is almost always my favorite day of the week. Now my Friday started much earlier than usual since I didn’t get the tofu post up until about after 2am meaning I was dragging Friday morning. Gee I wonder why? ;-)

Needless to say I was a little sleep deprived and not highly functional in the morning. Lucky for Dan I can make a green smoothie in my sleep (which is basically what happened). His smoothie this morning contained: 4 kale leaves and stems, 2 frozen bananas, 2 tablespoons wheat germ, 1 tablespoon freshly ground golden flaxseeds, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, almond milk (approx 2 cups), a pinch of stevia and ice.

We are experiencing unseasonably cold temperatures again today. Friday morning it was 36 (with a wind chill in the 20s) when Dan left for work which meant that I was not feeling like stepping outside this morning. When I texted Laura Jill to ask her to give me some words of encouragement to get outside the first thing she said was don’t wear capris. LOL, she knows me too well I couldn’t stop laughing. We both decided it was just too cold to head out in the morning. I opted to ride my exercise bike in the warmth of the house instead because I really don’t like cold weather. I will admit it … I am a cold weather wimp. ;-)

Since I had a lot to do on Friday I did a very quick strength training workout with the TRX and then got myself breakfast. No one will be surprised to hear that I had savory oatmeal again today. When it is cold outside savory oatmeal is my breakfast of choice.

Knowing that we are going out for dinner I had an orange and two Brazil nuts for lunch, which I didn’t photograph since they never change. ;-)

I have been looking forward to dinner for weeks. Months ago we planned to meet our friend Deirdre for dinner this Friday since this is her spring break. Deirdre very bravely quit her high level federal government job to become a full-time student. I am still in awe of her for following her passion. Then our mutual friend Walid suggested dinner with him and his wife Jackie. Fortunately everyone knows each other which meant we all got together on Friday for dinner.

I don’t have to tell you who cooked tonight do I? Of course Ian and company made dinner you didn’t think I was going to convince my friends to eat vegan did you? We had warned Ian last week that we would be in on Friday so the guys had a chance to think about what they would make for us. Like always when everyone one was ordering we didn’t have any decisions to make. I really love the mystery of going out to eat now.

Our appetizer was very interesting dish that combined veggies and fruit, sweet and savory, crunchy and soft with the aroma of toasted sesame oil. This dish contained: fresh green onion, raw red pepper, leeks, avocado, shitake mushrooms and roasted pear dressed with white miso, rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame oil. Delicious! ;-)

While we had the veggie dish above the rest of the table was munching on marinated olives and calamari with spicy aioli. Though I will admit that Ian’s calamari is amazing (they were a favorite when we were omni) I enjoyed our healthier appetizer just as much. Who said that? ;-)  The reason I am showing you this is for the aioli.  If you like spice try adding sriracha to either cashew creme fraiche or vegan mayo.  Great stuff I promise you. 

Our dinner was Ian’s version of samosa which you have seen us get the last two times and darn are they good. The cilantro dipping sauce just takes this dish over the top. Ian is a master with sauces of all types but I suppose that comes with his job description. This dish has been very popular and I think it is going on the regular menu. I happen to know that Ian is working on adding a few vegan items to the regular menu. *happy dance* You have no idea what a huge step that is. Ian is a classically trained chef that loves his meat and complicated meat based sauces so this really is big. Personally I am over the moon that Ian is adding vegan options to the menu. Last night in fact he had a vegan soup, appetizer and entrée on the specials menu. Woo hoo! Go Ian!

In addition to the samosas we also got a stir-fry dish that we shared. This one contained: shitake mushrooms, snow peas, jalapenos, scallions, edamame, carrots, cilantro, nori, toasted jasmine rice and a spicy brown sauce. It was delicious.

Walid ordered the crispy skinned bluefish over Riesling braised cabbage and potatoes and topped with an onion, golden raisin and allspice relish. This dish had the most incredible aroma that was probably the Riesling and allspice. I love seeing how Ian’s mind works because it always gives me great ideas for things I can make vegan and healthy. I will be making my own version of this with tofu or tempeh soon.

Jackie ordered the chicken medallions and vegetables (snow peas, roasted potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms and  lots of olives) in a white wine sauce  Can't you just imagine this dish with tofu, tempeh, seitan or large lima beans? My girl Jackie and I both have weakness for olives. ;-) I guess you could say we both have a little bit of a salt addiction. LOL

Deirdre ordered Sicilian meatloaf with smashed potatoes and broccoli which is her usual order. Clearly we all have different food preferences as you probably noticed.

After dinner Ian came out and sat down to chat with us for at least 20 minutes before he left of the evening. We talked about what everyone has been up to, food in Bolivia, and when we were coming back in for dinner. It is always great to see Ian and spend a little time with him. I know I have mentioned this before but Ian tends to be a little bit of an introvert which still surprises me since he isn’t that way with us in the least.

Jackie and I were chatting this morning and she remarked what a great chef Ian is and Dan and both agree. He was kind enough to share the recipe for the chicken and olives dish with Jackie while he was at the table since she wants to make it for Easter. Are you starting to see why we always end up here for dinner?

We also got a chance to see Donna (one of the restaurant owners) who we haven’t seen since Christmas Eve. It is always good to see Donna and catch up. We chatted for at least 30 minutes about what we both have been up to. Donna told me this morning that "I am always inspiring" which absolutely made my day.  :-)

When we were finished with dinner Deirdre ordered something chocolate for dessert, which I didn’t hear because I was too busy talking.  I am sure you can't imagine that can you?  LOL

Donna brought Dan and me a plate of fresh fruit for dessert since we don’t eat traditional dessert any longer. Everyone takes really good care of us at the restaurant don’t they?

After Deirdre, Walid and Jackie left we chatted with Will about his week. I am SO jealous of everything he got to do. Can you believe he met with Jose Andres on Monday and then Eric Rippert on Tuesday? Talk about my dream week I just can’t wrap my head around it. He was interviewing them both for his master’s thesis. Personally I can’t imagine a better week.

When we finally got home we had a “potential cat emergency” which fortunately has been resolved. Thank goodness I knew Jackie was awake so that I could call her. The cat situation was why I didn’t get the post up last night. I get very upset when my fur babies are not themselves which I am sure all you cat and dog parents understand.

21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: My Review

Sorry for the delay on giving you my review of the latest book by Dr. Barnard. I needed to write this quickly because it was due back at the library today (Saturday) and I haven’t ordered it from Amazon yet (though I will). The premise of the book is to try a healthy vegan diet for 21 days and see what impact it has on how you feel, your health, and your weight. My favorite part of the book is all the science that is sprinkled throughout the book. Dr. Barnard categorized the book as follows:

1. Power of Your Plate

2. Foods That Tame The Appetite Demons

3. Understanding The Calorie Burning Secret

4. Cardioprotection: Health for Every Part of You

5. A Healthy Menu

6. On Your Marks, Get Set …

7. Let’s Go!

a. Day 1. Jump IN
b. Day 2. Beyond Meaty Diets
c. Day 3. Beyond Dairy Products
d. Day 4. Keeping it Low-Fat
e. Day 5. Quick Breakfast Ideas
f. Day 6. Mastering Social Situations
g. Day 7. Eating for Energy
8. Getting in Gear

a. Day 8. Tackling Cravings and Destructive Eating Habits
b. Day 9. Heart Health
c. Day 10. Convenience Foods
d. Day 11. Travel
e. Day 12. Fighting Cancer with Food
f. Day 13. Our Friend the Bean
g. Day 14. Choosing Good Carbohydrates

9. Going to the Max

a. Day 15. Protecting Every Cell, and Slowing the Aging Process
b. Day 16. Foods That Conquer Pain
c. Day 17. Eating Your Way to a Good Night’s Sleep
d. Play with Your Food
e. Extra Motivators: Environment and Animals
f. Thinking About Our Loved Ones
g. Graduation Day

10. 21 Day Kickstart Menus

11. Recipes by Jason Wyrick
  • Breakfast
  • Soups and Stews
  • Salads
  • Wraps, Sandwiches and Burgers
  • Main Dishes
  • Sides
  • Sauces
  • Spreads, Dips and Snacks
  • Desserts

The best way to give you an idea of what this book is about is to share a few quotes from the book. I have selected a few that were meaningful to me. This book is full of information which helps the reader to want to make dietary changes. In my opinion improving your diet (from a health perspective) become easier the more knowledge you have. Ten years ago I knew very little about nutrition, only what you hear on the news or in mainstream publications. Slowly over time I learned more about nutrition bringing me to where I am now. My diet would not be as healthy as it is without a lot of reading and research about nutrition. This book does a nice job of condensing research in one compact package. Here are a few very telling points from the book:

Doctor Barnard explains that “Between 1909 and 2007 meat intake rose from 124 to 200 pounds per person per year.” Well, no wonder we have seen the size of the average American increased so dramatically during that same time period. *shakes head*

Americans now eat more than one million chickens per hour and…chicken’s fat content isn’t much different than beef’s (about 29 percent for lean beef, 23 percent for skinless chicken breast, compared with less than 10% for typical vegetables, fruits, and beans).” These statements may seem obvious but did you ever think of it this way before?

On the topic of fat consumption and trying to lose weight Dr. Barnard had some very interesting information that I also wanted to share. “Normally, your cells can burn up some of the fat you are consuming. Each cell has tiny particles, called mitochondria, which are like little fat burners, and they their best to metabolize fat.” Scientists in Baton Rouge (LA) changed the diets of 10 healthy men from 1/3 to ½ fat and test muscle cells to see the impact. The fatty diets partially turned off the genes that produced mitochondria making it more difficult for these men to burn fat.” I will be thinking about that the next time I want a handful of nuts. Yeesh!

Omega 3 fat is a hot topic among most people interested in health. I will admit that it is something that I think about as well since plant omega-3 fats contain ALA and those have an unpredictable but low conversion to DHA and EPA what do you do? The book talks about fish and here two quotes I wanted to share with you:

Of course, some people eat fish specifically because it has “good fats”. What they are thinking of are omega-3 fats, which are reputed to fight inflammation and prevent blood clots... most of the fat in fish is actually not omega-3. All fats – including fish fats – are mixtures. From 15-30 percent of the fat in fish is plain old saturated fat, and most of the rest consists of various other fat with no health benefits at all.” This is another one of those things that you never hear anyone else talk about. Whenever some brings up fish all you hear is omega-3 fat as though there is no other type of fat in the fish even though all fats are a combination of different types of fat.

Another quote that I think many of you will find eye-opening was “In a recent studies, a switch from a beefy diet to a chicken-and-fish diet lowers LDL cholesterol only about 5 percent... an entirely plant-based diet can cut LDL by 20-30 percent, or even more.” – (Jenkins, DJ, Kendall CW, Machie A, et al. Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with statin in hypercholesterolemic participants. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:380-7) I have read this many times and in many places and I have to say I believe it based on what we have personally experienced. Dan’s total cholesterol went from a high of 280 to 141. How can you argue with a dramatic and sustained decrease like that? This healthy vegan diet that we are on has made a huge difference in our health.

Cleansing your body and treating it with respect requires a shift in thinking, one in which you create an empowering relationship with food.” When I read this I knew that I had to share it because I thought it was very well explained. The book is full of little nuggets like this that make you take notice.

As you have probably guessed by now I enjoyed this book for the health information and links to scholarly articles. I liked this book very much and will be adding to my next Amazon order. While I don’t plan to follow the 21-day plan, for obvious reasons, I do like having the book for reference (particularly the endnotes) and for lending to others.

Happy Thoughts:

Friday was a great day for us even though it was very busy. Here are my happy thoughts:

• In spite of the unseasonably cold weather Friday was a great day. It was a productive day that ended in great fun. I loved seeing Deirdre, Walid and Jackie on Friday. Good friends and good food who could ask for a better end to the week? As always we also loved seeing Donna, Ian, Corey, Jen, Jeannine, Michael, David, Ahmed, Will, and Jonathan. Now I am worried that I left someone out. :-/

• It feels great to have the tofu post up. That was hanging over my head for a while so I feel good about getting it finished. I hope I have inspired a few of you to try making your own soymilk or better yet your own tofu. The taste difference between homemade and commercial tofu is huge!

• I am also very happy to have the “21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart” review posted. Now when I get “Oil to Nuts” finished I am current. Woo hoo! ;-)

• Facebook is going well so far, I think. Give me another week and I will be ready to share with all of you. I want to make sure I have a reasonable idea of what I am doing first. LOL

• As I type this I am thankful for mushroom ragu which I have simmering on the stove for lunch tomorrow with my parents. There is something very comforting about the smell of mushroom ragu to me.

Signing out:

Saturday has been hectic so far with a trip to the library (yes more books) and a lot to do at home. Dan is downtown at his office working so that he can take a day off next week to go to DC with me to see the Cherry Blossoms. I am using today to get more things at home and get ready for next week which is going to be crazy busy but in a good way.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I will talk to you again tomorrow

Friday, March 25, 2011

Soymilk Without a Soymilk Maker, Homemade Tofu and a Soap Review

This post is long overdue and I apologize for the delay. The first time I made homemade tofu I didn’t take pictures of the steps because I didn’t actually expect it to be this simple or that it would work the first time I tried it, but it did. That meant I needed to make tofu a second time to photograph everything. Oops. ;-)

First here is what I was up to today. For some reason it is unseasonably cold now with Thursday being colder than Wednesday. It was only 41 this morning when Dan and I went for a walk before breakfast. Good thing we were moving fast or it would have felt much colder outside. On the bright side even though it was gray outside at least it wasn’t rainy and that was a very good thing.

When we got back home I made Dan’s breakfast (wild blueberry oatmeal) and packed his lunch while he got ready for work. I considered going for another walk by myself later today after Dan left for work, but I needed to warm up since it was darn cold outside this morning. Who knows I might even wear pants that go to my ankles for my second trip. It is funny that I was cold yesterday in capri yoga pants and still wore them today even though it was colder outside. Earth to Alicia, do you ever learn that you get cold? LOL, apparently I am too stubborn for my own good. ;-)

I used my TRX for a little strength training this morning which also helped me warm up. Then it was time for my breakfast. I can’t tell you how nice it is to eat whatever I am in the mood for. Can you tell I am not good at following a structured diet? Honestly I don’t know how anyone stays on them I find them to be entirely too restrictive. Not to mention why would any diet restrict vegetable consumption? I still can’t get over the fact that a diet would restrict how many vegetables someone could eat. *rolls eyes* ;-)

This morning I was in the mood for savory oatmeal, made my way with loads of veggies. Today my oatmeal included the following: ½ cup oats, approximately 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons wheat germ, 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax, approximately 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, some cumin, some oregano and no-salt seasoning to taste, 3 cups baby spinach, salsa (about ¼ cup), marinated mushrooms (about ¼ cup). This is my idea of breakfast. Savory oatmeal you will never know how much I missed you, LOL. That assumes savory oatmeal can think but you get the idea. ;-)

For those of you that haven’t noticed I tend to eat a big breakfast. My body seems to work best when I make breakfast the largest meal of my day. I am always open to experimenting with both my food and exercise to see what works best for me. I can’t remember where I read making breakfast your largest meal works for some people and I seem to be one of those people. The concept originally made sense to me since you go longer between dinner and breakfast than any other meal. Also if breakfast is your biggest meal you have all day to burn if off. Conversely when you eat a big dinner normally none of us are very active and needs that many calories to fuel our evening of sitting on the couch. If that makes sense to anyone I hope you might give a big breakfast a try.

After I finished my savoy oatmeal and my cup of tulsi and white tea I started making another batch of soymilk and then tofu so that I could photograph the steps for the blog.

Lunch was leftover French Market Soup from yesterday. What would I do without my intentional leftovers? Seriously if I didn’t always make leftovers I could never eat a diet this healthy. Intentional leftovers come to my rescue all the time.

Next I decided to start playing around with Facebook. For those of you that just fell out of your respective chairs I am sorry for the shock. I have no idea what I am doing at the moment but according to my friend Laura Jill I haven’t made a faux pas (yet) and she promised to keep an eye on me which is good. When I feel like I know what I am doing I will post a link. It may take me a couple weeks since I am a technology dinosaur. ;-)

Dinner? Oh yeah we do need to eat don’t we? Oops … guess who didn’t plan dinner again? How we ever manage to eat is sometimes beyond me. I often get so busy doing things that I forget completely about dinner. I decided to make something easy for dinner namely a big salad. The good thing about forgetting dinner tonight is that Dan doesn’t need lunch tomorrow since it is training day at work and lunch gets brought in which means I don’t need leftovers. Thank goodness for small favors right?

Making Soymilk Without A Soymilk Maker:

The first step to making soymilk is to soak soybeans overnight in your refrigerator. I used 1 cup of organic soybeans (the only ones I will buy) and placed them in a quart mason jar and covered them with filtered water.

 (soybeans with hulls)

 (pouring hulls off the soybeans)

(soybeans without hulls)

The next morning drain the water from the soybeans and move them to a large container (one you can easily get a hand into), hopefully this container will have a spout. Now use your hand to smush the beans between your fingers like you are making bean burgers or meat loaf. This smushing action will release the outer skin from the beans. Now add water to the container and the outer skin (hulls) will float to the surface and you can pour them out of the container. Continue to do this until you have removed most of the hulls which will take about 5 minutes. Removing the hulls isn’t absolutely necessary but it results in a soymilk that has less of a bean taste.

(straining okara from the soymilk using a jelly strainer)

Drain the hulled soybeans and place them in your blender (I used a Vitamix) add 4 cups of filtered water to the blender. Now process the hulled soybeans and water on high for two minutes. Pour this thick liquid into a large pot and cook until the mixture foams then strain the solids form the liquid. I used a jelly strainer and that works faster than the strainer that came with the soymilk maker. While the soymilk is straining clean the pot ,the milk will have formed a tough film inside the pot no matter how low the heat and how often you stir. Return the strained milk to the clean pot and bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes to make the soymilk digestible.

If you are fortunate enough to have a soymilk maker use that to make your milk because it makes for much easier clean up. You need to strain this like you are making soymilk since that is the first step.

Making Tofu:

No matter which method you use now you need to heat the strained milk to 180 degrees then turn off the heat.

(nigari to coagulate soymilk)
(curdled soymilk)

While you are heating the milk combine 1 teaspoon of nigari with ¼ cup of water and heat to dissolve the nigari. Pour the nigari and water into the milk and stir once or twice to combine then leave the milk alone and let it sit for 8 minutes. You will see the milk curdle and the whey begin to separate.

You can use a strainer lined with three layers of cheesecloth to make your tofu which will result in a round tofu.

Or you can use an old tofu container that you punch holes in with a knife and line that with cheese cloth (3 layers). Be sure to put this inside another container so you don’t end up with whey in your refrigerator.

(coagulated soymilk after 8 minutes)

(soymilk solids before being pressed) 

(homemade tofu in water ready to be refrigerated)

Pour the curdled soymilk into the cheese cloth. Fold the cheesecloth over, press out any water, put a weight on top of the “tofu” and place this in the refrigerator for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Remove the tofu and store it in filtered water in a covered container in your refrigerator. Homemade firm tofu is that simple. 

The best part of homemade tofu is the taste which is subtle and fresher tasting. For those of you that ever made fresh ricotta cheese and remember how different that is from the commercial stuff fresh tofu is very similar.  It will be very tough to use the commercial stuff now that I have had homemade. Fortunately I only have a few packages of the commercial stuff in the freezer to use up.
Now that I have made soymilk in my blender and in my soymilk maker I definitely have a preference. When Dan first wanted to buy me the soymilk maker I thought it was extravagant and unnecessary. Here is where I have to eat those words and admit that my husband was right, and therefore I was “less right”. Okay I was wrong, but I hate to say it out loud since he will never let me forget it.

The problem with making soymilk without the maker is the clean up. Each time you cook the soymilk it scorches on the bottom of the pan and is a pain to clean. If you plan to make your own soymilk you will say a lot of time if you have a soymilk maker. I can safely say that I am now very happy to have my soymilk maker. Thank you Dan for insisting on buying it for me even though I wasn’t sure it was necessary. Mea culpa, LOL.

Angelic Soap: A Review

As all of you know I haven’t been very keen to accept products for review in the past because I didn’t want to appear biased. However when Teresa contacted me about reviewing her soap there was something in me that immediately said yes which was completely out of character. I am not sure if it is because Teresa is a blog reader, or because I am not fond of commercial soap but either way I am very happy that I said yes. Now I need to give you a little background before I get to the review, please bare with me.

Back in 2005 I came across a book “Toxic Overload” and read it cover to cover with great interest. This was interesting to me because the doctor had said the cancer was probably due to an exposure to a toxin. When I pressed him for what type of toxin could we possibly have come into contact with the doctor explained that it could be something simple like artificial flavors, preservatives or something in our environment like cleaning products. Given my propensity to go at something 100% I tried to educate myself regarding where these toxins were lurking in our life. This book was a great primer on what I should be avoiding. Reading the section of the book that talked about beauty products was simultaneously enlightening and horrifying. After reading that book I became much more conscious of the things that came into the house. This resulted in my eliminating many items that were previously always in our house.

It seems second nature to me now but I was initially shocked when I realized now many chemicals and known carcinogens are found in beauty products. Before you think it doesn’t make a difference since you aren’t eating them think again. Many items you put on your skin are absorbed into your body. Think of nicotine patches to stop smoking or birth control patches. Once you think about things being absorbed through your skin it is difficult to put carcinogens on your body. What are some known carcinogens in beauty products: coal tar (shampoo), benzyl violet 4B (shampoo and moisturizing body bar), formaldehyde (shampoo, sunscreen), phthalates (moisturizers), parabens (moisturizers, sunscreen, foundation, etc.), sodium lauryl sulfate (shampoo, body wash), and resorcinol (shampoo) to name a few. I could have listed many more items but I think you get the idea. I started using the Environmental Working Group website to select the healthiest products for us to use. Finding soap that we liked was extremely difficult. I tried Dr. Bronner’s and using our organic shampoo as body wash but nothing was quite right. I always had it in the back of my head to try making soap for us to use but it seemed a little scary and I never got around to it.

When Teresa suggested that she would like to send me some of her homemade soap to try I thought this was marvelous. I will admit that had no idea what to expect when I said yes. Then I went to her website and I was blown away. Not only is the soup made using old world techniques but each of them is a little work of art. When I said that to Teresa she told me she has a Master’s degree in Fine Art and think that is very obvious in the look of the soap.

I image you are thinking being beautiful is great but how does it work? From the first time I used the soap my skin felt hydrated and soft. I can’t say I understand how this is possible exactly but it is true. Teresa explained that her soap has a high fat content and is made from the highest quality ingredients. Additionally Teresa explained that her handcrafted soap retains all the natural vegetable glycerin which increases the humectant factor. All I know is that I love her soap which is more than enough for me. It is gorgeous to look it, smells wonderful, doesn’t include anything I that don’t recognize and it leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft. If you haven’t checked out her website please do. Other than a few obvious items which contain goat milk or honey her products are vegan. I have been completely blown away by the quality of her products. In fact I don’t think that I can go back to any commercial products again.

You can find out more about Teresa's products at her blog and her etsy shop.

Happy Thoughts:

• It was great to get up early enough this morning that Dan and I could go for a walk together before breakfast. This needs to happen more often at our house. With spring there is lots of rain in the forecast but hopefully that will prompt us to the go to the gym together on days when rain is scheduled for the morning. *fingers crossed*

• It was great to be back to my food, woo hoo! I had no idea that I would miss it so much. Before the diet guinea pig project started I expected to be able to do it a week which would give a good idea of the diet. Little did I know I would get so cranky on that diet. I suppose this proves that willpower alone is not enough. However I will say I am happy that things turned out the way that they did. I firmly believe that only permanent lifestyle changes are what any of us should be making. I realize that we are all in a different place when it comes to nutrition but I hope my attempt to use myself as the experiment helped at least one person think about lifestyle changes versus a diet and what that means.

• Today I made soymilk using my soymilk maker which means I am very thankful for it today. I am also thankful for my wonderful husband who insisted on buying the soymilk maker. Love you!

• I decided to confront my Facebook fear and jumped into today, hopefully not head first. I am proud of myself for just doing something. Also I am thankful for Laura Jill who graciously volunteered to keep any eye on me to hopefully keep my stupid mistakes to a minimum, LOL.

• We had another beautiful sky this evening. I love to watch the sunset each night. Do any of you do that too?

• We are having dinner with some good friends tomorrow which I am very much looking forward to. I can’t wait to hear all about Deirdre’s new life as a student since she bravely checked out of the work world and went back to school full time to follow her passion. Walid always makes me feel appreciated and his wife Jackie is one of the funniest people I know. Doesn’t it sound like it will be a great evening? As you can tell I am really looking forward to it? ;-)

Signing out:

Even I can’t believe I wrote this much today. Sorry for the long post. I hope you have a good sense of how to make soymilk and tofu. I also really hope that you check out Teresa’s soap it is amazing.

Tomorrow is Friday *woo hoo* and I can’t wait for the weekend. Come on Friday night you can’t come soon enough. I hope the week has treated you well and that you are looking forward to your weekend. Talk to you again tomorrow. Have a great evening!!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rice Diet: The Review – Thank Goodness that is Over

It was wonderful to wake up this morning and know that I was no longer going to be fooling around with The Rice Diet. I was cranky for various reasons, either not enough total food or too much grain and the GI discomfort that came with the excess grain. I am very happy to be back to my normal routine. However being on that diet for two days did force me to look at my overall nut and seed consumption which I am going to moderate just a little. I never measure my nuts and seeds but I am going to for a few weeks to make sure they haven’t exceeded what I consider a reasonable amount for me (1/4 cup) in a day.

Like Monday we woke up to a very gray overcast day. This wasn’t a big surprise since the weather people were calling for thunderstorms and rain today and tomorrow. Thankfully the rain was running north and south of us this morning which meant I could go for a walk. Once I made Dan’s breakfast (oatmeal with wild blueberries) and packed his lunch I decided to head outside to get my blood pumping and ramp up my immune system. I did a quick 1.5 miles before breakfast. It was a little cold out there this morning, 43 degrees. Needless to say capri yoga pants were probably not the best selection. Oh well, at least I wore my gloves. ;-)

While I was walking I was listening to my IPod which probably looks odd at my age, LOL. I also took a few pictures this morning to share with you. I love it when the cherry blossoms start to bloom. The picture above is the best one from this morning. It was gray and rainy and it is hard to get a good close up picture with a cell phone. However I think this gives you an idea of what the trees look like now. They should be in full bloom in about a week.

Here are my miniature daffodils in full bloom and covered in rain. I think these are so cute. They are only about 4 inches tall. There is something endearing about miniature things to me.

When I got home all I wanted for breakfast was salad. I guess that is because I couldn’t have it the last two days. I made a huge salad in a serving bowl that contained: organic baby spinach, a red bell pepper, a small amount of the lentil and quinoa salad I made on Monday and leftover Sicilian artichokes and peppers (which involved a tomato sauce with fennel) in tomatoes that Dan had for dinner last night (only his was hot and over quinoa). I finished the salad with a sprinkling of white chia seeds (for the omega 3). It is nice to be back to my own food. I missed salad the last two days. Since you were only allowed 3 servings of veggies that wouldn’t make much of a salad. I had at least that much in spinach alone this morning but only what they would call 1 grain serving (1/2 cup). *shakes head*

For a late morning snack I had a little bit of okara that I flavored with almond butter and fresh ginger and carrot dippers.

Lunch was a big green smoothie which I was craving. This smoothie included: 4 raw kale leaves and stems, small frozen banana, 1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseed (for the omega 3), 2 Brazil nuts (for the selenium), ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, 1 cup almond milk, ice and a little water to process. You may need to add a little stevia.

I was busy in the afternoon talking to a friend who wants to get a little healthier and increase her knowledge of nutrition and health. Can you imagine how much I loved this conversation? In my opinion there is nothing better than talking about health. ;-)

Like usual time got away from me today and I needed to make dinner in a hurry. I decided to make a batch of French Market Bean Soup (no oil or seitan sausage) in the pressure cooker. Since the soup has many different types of beans in it I cooked the beans for 20 minutes under high pressure and then the finished cooking the beans normally. Once the beans were soft I added the tomatoes, rehydrated dried mushrooms (for the immune boosting impact), flavorings (onion, garlic, no-salt seasoning, thyme and black pepper) and finished it with fresh lemon juice and zest. Thank you Sue for introducing us to this, it is one of Dan’s favorites and perfect for a cold dreary day like today.

We also had a small spinach salad with salsa, cucumber and marinated mushrooms topped with a few raw pumpkin seeds.

After dinner Dan was convinced that he hadn’t had enough calories today. I bet everyone knows what that means. If you guessed that he asked me to make a batch of strawberry banana soft-serve you would be right. Some things never change!

I can’t begin to tell you how much I missed my food over the last two days.

Rice Diet Review:

Initially I had planned to do a week of this before reviewing it but I couldn’t do it. Then I decided to do three days and in the end two was enough for me. If you were following along the last two days I am sure you know why I had to bail on this. This diet was not meant for someone like me that eats a healthy no oil, no salt diet with lots with produce.

Okay I probably should have stayed on this diet more than 2 days before writing the review but honestly I was missing my Brazil nuts, wheat germ and seeds. Day two of the diet was better than day one since it allowed veggies but I had been on it long enough. Here are my thoughts:


• Focuses on whole food, no processed junk.

• By eliminating salt it should help anyone overcome their salt addiction.

• No oil is used in this diet which should also help people overcome their fat addiction.

• Restricts unhealthy animal protein to 3 ounces per week during the weight loss phase, and six ounces during the maintenance phase and that can be avoided completely by substituting beans or tofu (I added the tofu).

• Encourages daily moderate exercise.

• Promotes meditation to reduce stress thereby reducing stress eating.

• Provides a template for food journaling which is also encouraged.

• Discourages the use of artificial sweeteners

• Promotes eliminating soda due to the additives. Specifically soda is high in dietary phosphates which results in calcium loss and therefore bone loss.


• The one day detox of starch and fruit is miserable because it does not contain enough food or variety of food to be sustainable even one day a week.

• Far too much grain per day in my opinion. I had trouble eating the amount of grain they suggested but since the overall calories were so low I felt like I needed to eat it.

• Why a limit on vegetables? This seems illogical to me. Vegetables are the nutritional powerhouse of the food world why would you ever want to limit them? The entire day’s allotment of vegetables on days 2-7 of this diet is one meals worth for me.

• Makes no distinction between sizes of people in the plan. For example men and women eat the same amount? That really doesn’t make any sense to me.

• No flaxseeds, hempseed or chia seeds is a problem.

• Total calories per day seems light 800 on day 1 (which happens once per week) and 1,000 days 2-6, with 1,200 on day 7 during phase one. Phase two isn’t much different. That can’t be enough calories for men or active women.

• Incredibly structured with allotments for all the food groups at each meal. I found this to be annoying but if you like structure this could be a plus for you.

• The book itself talks about people traveling back to North Carolina periodically to get a “diet tune up” which I interpret as they weren’t able to stay on it long term.

Overall, if you have a lot of weight you want to lose fairly rapidly and you like whole grains this would probably get the job done. I say probably because I didn’t lose weight on it, but I am only one person and was on it for a very short period of time. The one I think this diet is missing is the flaxseed (or chia and hemp) for an adequate amount of omega 3. Nuts and seeds as a condiment for a little textural variation and healthy fat would have also been a good idea in my opinion. I also think that raw undressed vegetables should be unlimited. Not too many people are going to overeat veggies.

I am curious, did seeing what I ate for two days on this diet help the review have more meaning?  If not do you have any suggestions on how to make this type of review more meaningful?

Happy thoughts:

• I am very happy to be back to my usual food. You have no idea how much I missed my veggies. The quantity of veggies that I typically eat in one meal was the total allowed for the entire day on The Rice Diet.

• It was great to get outside and get some fresh air before the storm rolled in.

• I love seeing the cherry blossoms starting to bloom. That is always a sure sign of spring in spite of how cold it was today. Brrrr!

• I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with my friend early this afternoon and am thrilled that she wants to learn more about health and nutrition. She may be sorry so mentioned that because I will be suggesting as many books as she can read. ;-)

• Later today I had another great conversation about health that has my wheels spinning with ideas. Don’t we all love thought provoking conversations?

• I am thankful that Dan made it home safely from work before the thunderstorm started.

• We are planning a trip to DC to see the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom this year. Since we haven’t gone since 1997 I am really looking forward to this. Of course I will take lots of pictures to share with you.

Signing out:

I am looking forward to tomorrow. I have a few things on my to-do list that I am actually looking forward to. Crazy right, who looks forward to their to-do list? LOL, I always say that I am not right. I didn’t forget about the homemade tofu post, that is coming. I got busy and didn’t have time to make another batch of tofu to take pictures of but that should happen tomorrow. *fingers crossed*

I hope you had a wonderful Wednesday, I know I did. Talk to you again tomorrow.
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