Sunday, December 2, 2018

And another #WFPB/Suppers Meal Prep at St Helena's

We had a small group and we kept it simple. As it is we spent about $12 per person but we still made way to much food, and people ended up taking it home.


We made a beet salad, with just some boiled beets, cut in strips on the mandolin and with some chopped onions and the juice of a lemon and a lime. Plus we added in some chia seeds.
It's one of those things that gets better if it sits in the fridge for a bit.
You can also simply add it into a regular salad.


Hokkaido Pumpkin Soup


1 average sized organic Hokkaido Pumpkin, or Kabocha Squash cut into chunks (deseed but don't peel)
3-5 onions chopped
3-10 cloves of garlic, chopped
1-2 inch piece of ginger sliced, or ginger powedr
2-3 pieces of turmeric sliced, or turmeric powder
a pint of vegetable stock
1-2 jalapenos, seeded
optional 2-3 small green chilies, sliced
1 tbsp panch puran
2 table spoons of whole wheat flour


  1. caramelize the onions adding garlic, chilies and jalapeno, and panchpuran and gradually add the whole wheat flour and liquify with some veggie stock
  2. gradually add all of the soup stock, and let it come to the boil
  3. add the pumpkin and let it boil about 20 mins.
  4. Allow the soup to cool down a little then pour into a blender and blend at high speed till smooth and creamy, or use an immersion blender to achieve the same result.

Main dish:

Roasted Cauliflower


The Gravy

3 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup soy sauce I use low sodium
1 tbsp maple syrup optional, for sweetness
3 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce *
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp parsley
3/4 tsp thyme
3/4 tsp sage
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
5 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

The Roast

1 whole cauliflower leaves and outer stalk trimmed off
4 large carrots chopped
4 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
1/2 cup vegetable stock


The Gravy

In a medium-sized pot, whisk together all of the gravy ingredients EXCEPT for the cornstarch & water.
Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. (This will allow all the flavors to marry.) Remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a cornstarch slurry.
Once the pot is no longer simmering, slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the gravy a little at a time. Going slow will ensure that no clumps form.
The gravy will begin to thicken as soon as the cornstarch is whisked in. Put the pot back on the stove and return to a simmer for an additional 3 minutes.

The Roast

Pre-heat oven to 450F degrees.
Arrange the potatoes and carrots in a roasting dish with the cauliflower in the center. Be careful not to overcrowd the dish.
Place the cauliflower upside-down and pour 1/3 cup of the gravy into it. Give it a good shake to distribute the gravy.
Place cauliflower right-side up and brush more gravy on the top to cover it (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup)
Add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock to the bottom of the dish (this will help steam the veggies.)
Pour about a 1/3 cup of gravy over top of the potatoes and carrots.
Cover the dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, brushing the cauliflower with more gravy halfway through.
Uncover the cauliflower roast and brush more gravy on. Bake for another 30 minutes (uncovered), brushing with more gravy halfway again.

Remove from the oven and serve while hot.

*Many brands of Worcestershire sauce contain anchovies. Vegan Worcestershire sauce does exist (Annie's brand and Kroger brand are vegan for sure), but if you can't find it, you can omit it and substitute apple cider vinegar for a little zing.
If you dig onions, you can slice up an onion and add it right in with the carrots and potatoes. Mushrooms would be great, too! Making sure your pan is not too crowded will help everything cook through properly. If you find the potatoes are drying out, add a little more veggie stock to the pan.

Visting New York Cïty's First Jumpstart Program

Dr. Diego Ponieman
Here is a smiling Dr. Diego Ponieman, CMO of SOMOS Community Care at the presentation following the completion of the very first Oasis Jumpstart program at a SOMOS clinic - and the first one in NYC.

The event was glorious. The food was out of this world, and the recipes were shared at the end, so we can all learn from each other.

The Jump start at the SOMOS clinic at 135th and Broadway in Manhattan was the first one of many they have planned. The next one will start later in November at a clinic in Washington Heights.

The longer I am involved in this process, the more evident it is becoming to me that the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet literally restores health to patients just as much as it restores professional dignity to doctors. This is the reason why so many doctors are beginning to acquire the necessary skills in lifestyle medicine.


Dr. Ponieman shared a few choice results from the group, boiling down to noticeable improvements in the labs between the before and after of this 10-day program. Average weight loss 5 lbs, and the experience of participants was that "this is not a diet, this is a way of eating," i.e. you can eat what you like and when you like as long as you stay within the #WFPB nutritional paradigm. Some of the drops in cholesterol, triglicerides and BP were very impressive, but most important was that there were improvements across the board.

Dr. Ponieman, a participant and some audience members

One of the nutritionists presenting
And here's... Lianna!

The most important thing is that people clearly are learning they have power over their health and that the results of this kind of a 10-day total immersion diet change are more powerful than from drugs. In other words, food and nutrition are the most powerful tool in the physicians and the patients toolkit. In several cases complains disappeared within the 10-day period. Medication was kept constant but in some cases needed adjustment promptly after this clinic. Drops in A1C were significant and some patients expected to lower or eliminate statin drugs.

The Real Healthcare Revolution is getting under way

It was incredibly exciting to be able to learn first hand of this ringing success. There were 36 patients and 12 staff who participated with them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Our November 18 #WFPB dinner at Neerob

Just to commemorate our latest supper at Neerob, here are some pictures from this remarkable evening.

Three Salads in one Bowl!

At the table.
The entire group
We frankly devoured our dinner and Neerob did an extraordinary job. They are clearly experimenting with different dishes and aiming to get their PPC Restaurant campaign qualification by January.

The main thing on the agenda was the possbility of launching a Oasis Jumpstart program in the Bronx and to that end, the following resources are possibly involved in creating such a solution:

  • IFH clinic in Soundview 
  • St. Helena's School Cafeteria & monthly cooking class
  • ShopRite Bruckner
  • Neerob Restaurant
  • Possibly the Sonia Sotomayor Center
  • Dr. Joel Posner at Monterfiore East
It remains important to see how there is a core support system growing in our district with the following main geographic area:

Plant-based support in Community Board #9

Friday, November 2, 2018

PPC, Party with a Purpose

On November 1st, 2018 we had a "Party with a Purpose," from Plant Pure Communities at the HQ of Visiting Nurse Service of New York, in Manhattan.

All the usual suspects were there.

Jody Kass, Nelson Campbell, Eric Adams, T. Colin Campbell, and Jim Courage
All of the team leaders from NY and surroundings were there, the five boroughs, LI, Westchester plus people from all over the country and all over the world even. I met two people from my native Holland, which was kind of fun!

This coming weekend SOMOS Community Care has the kickoff of their first Jumpstart in East Harlem - and it is already over subscribed. They have others in the planning for northern Manhattan, for Brooklyn and the Bronx. They are an organization of 2,000 doctors, servicing 700,000 medicaid patients and they are poised to totally reform medicaid around the city into a system that pays for results, not treatment, meaning that Lifestyle Medicine and the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet is the name of the game from now on. It is happening right here, right now.

The model for the Jumpstart program was the movie Plant Pure Nation, and the sequel will be the Healing America movie, based on the Healing America Together tour, and here is one success story that will be part of that movie.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

#WFPB Cooking Demo at ShopRite

OK, today was a collaborative event with Community Board #9 and ShopRite, hosted by Ms. Angela Vita, retail dietitian at ShopRite at Bruckner Commons, and held in the upstairs community room at the ShopRite.

Obviously, the nutritional theory is important, but food shopping, food preparation and cooking is where the rubber meets the road, and it is truly a privilege to have this new ShopRite in our community with the services of a "retail dietitian." Already we have a budding, informal network which includes the plant-based doctors in the area.


The purpose today was just a food "demo," just to give people some idea of what can be done.

ShopRite offers a remarkably rich palette of foods and ingredients that are great for the plant-based cuisine and Angela has developed a shopping guide on a flyer that is available at the reception.
Angela Vita did the cooking

Salad Dressing

The Esselstyns call this 3/2/1 dressing, but I call it 1/2/3 dressing for practical reasons which I explain below.
For household use, you would commonly use a tablespoon as a measure, but depending on how many people you cook for, it could be 1/4 cup or whatever.

  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • optional: make it thinner with lemon/lime juice
  • optional: you can add any spices you like, chopped garlic, chopped parsley, cilantro, chilis, micro-planed ginger or turmeric, on and on. 
The bottom line is, starting from this basic mix, you can improvise a thousand different dressings, and it keeps fairly well to, for the vinegar is a good preservative, so you can make it for a few days in a row and keep it in your fridge.

Angela Vita at Work at ShopRite Bruckner

Sweet Potato Noodles

Personal note: Just this week I was given a package of sweet potato noodles, and was deliberating what I was going to make with them. Today's recipe is certainly one delicious possibility. Today we used fresh noodles from the store.

  • 1 lb raw sweet potato noodles
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and cut-up
  • 1/2 cup broccoly florets
  • 1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tsp. date sugar
  • 1/4 cup cut-up green onions in 1/8" slices
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
 Whisk the Liquid Aminos with the date sugar in a cup and set it aside. Heat the pan on medium and add the noodles, broccoli and one cup of water. Cover and let steam for 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and liquid amino mixture. Stir together for 3-5 minutes. Add green onions and sesame seeds before serving.


Well enjoy we did!
This was the whole room, we had about 15 people.


Some of the ingredients merit comments.
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos has a lot less salt than even low sodium soy sauce, so it is a great solution, if you are trying to use less salt, which is generally the principle of the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet. 
  • Date sugar is a good sweetener, because it is purely pulverized whole dates, so the sugar is still complete with the fibers from the fruit. The same would not apply to date syrup or even to maple syrup. All in all date sugar, or even cut-up whole dates is a great solution for a sweetener, which is sometimes needed, such as in tomato sauces, to cut the acidity.
  • As mentioned above, the 1/2/3 dressing can be the basis of a thousand different dressings. I refer to it as 1/2/3 because the balsamic comes last that way and can be used to clean the last bit of mustard from your spoon. I personally extend it usually with the juice of a lemon and a lime, and I could use anything for spices, cut-up parsley, garlic, cut-up red onions, cut-up tomatoes and/or cut-up sundried tomatoes, etc. The sky is the limit.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Our October Suppers/#WFPB Meal Prep at St. Helena's

It was that time again, and we managed to make a lovely dinner, complete with soup and salad and a simple main dish of paella. In all, we spent $11.97 per person.

The Salad

1 head of green lettuce
1 bunch of water cress
1 purple onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of parsley
6 shopped-up sun-dried tomatos

1/2/3 dressing: 1 measure of maple syrup, 2 measures of Dijon Mustard, 3 measures of balsamic vinegar. We forgot to put in a few spoonfuls of chia seeds, and milled flax seeds, but ideally you'd want to do that.

Clearly, everyone enjoyed the salad.

The Soup: Locro de Lentejas


1 lb whole lentils, optional other beans or you can make it thicker with 2 lb of beans.
1 lb young potatoes (the kind with the thin skin, either yukon gold or redskin), quartered or smaller, depending on the size and personal preference
1 small/medium green or savoy cabbage, quartered, stem removed and sliced in thin strips
1 white onion cut up in small pieces,
2-3 large red onions, sliced thin
1-2 yellow onions cut up
4 green chilis, sliced thin, with seeds
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced thin (without seeds)
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine.
2 packs of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
1 tsp panch puran
1 teaspoon of savory
1 teaspoon of tarragon
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
5 bay leaves
2 pints of low sodium vegetable stock
3 pints of water
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2-3 heaping tablespoons of miso paste dissolved in cold water and add at the end and use less liquid aminos
Braggs Liquid Aminos, to taste.

This was our second attempt at Locro de Lentejas, and it was clearly better than the first one, using a lot more spices. The discovery of panchpuran, thanks to our Bangladeshi neighbors is a welcome addition to the repertoire. You can get it either as a mixture of the five seeds (the meaning of the word Panch Puran is five spices), or as a powder. We used the powder today, but it tremendously enhances the flavor of the onions. The five spices are fenugreek seed, nigella seed, mustard seed, fennel seed, cumin seed.

 Wonderful instruction, though you can buy it pre-mixed, and evidently, we do not use any oil, but in our case it is a great ingredient that you can best add when you have browned the onions and are starting to add some broth or water to it. That's also when we added the other spices, and then the bay leaves last when you are adding in the rest of the vegetable broth.

I've also made this same soup with a mixture of 1lb of lentils and 1lb of 16 bean soup mix. Another option is to add a half a cup of barley. 


Dry fry the onions with the panch puran, I do it in two steps, 5 mins at 425F without stirring, and then 5 mins at 425F stirring it a little bit, then add chilis and jalapenos, and other spices and the mushrooms and cook for another 5 mins at 425F, while adding a splash of veggie broth as needed, so it does not stick to the pan.
Add garlic, the vegetable stock and the herbs, the lentils, let cook for 15 minutes.
Add the potatoes. Let cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Add the cabbage and let it cook for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped cilantro.
At the end, add some miso, dissolved in water.

  1. Some people would peel the potatoes, but if you buy thin-skinned potatoes, you can easily cook them in the skin, even cut-up: you lose less nutrition that way.
  2. Evidently, you can vary the herbs and spices to taste.
  3. Never boil the miso.)

The Vegan Paella

  • English:
  • Spanish:
A word of caution: This turned out to be one of these recipes with some ingredients that showed up in the cooking instructions out of thin air - they were not listed in the ingredient list.
Somehow we made it all work, and we had a very nice meal with the whole crew. This is clearly a dish that lends itself to any number of variations. But the whole idea of one of these one-dish meals is always attractive.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Inspiration at Neerob on Nutrition and Health

The other day (10/9/18) we had a Dinner for Doctors at Neerob Restaurant with a mixed group of doctors, medical organizations, other medical professionals and general audience.

Neerob put on one spectacular plant-based dinner with a choice of four different salads, followed by a main dish of rice and two vegetable dishes and a sauce based on lentils, which is always delicious. In other words, it was a world-class plant-based dinner and a marvellous display of the flexibility and experience of Neerob Restaurant.

Chef (dark blue shirt) and Khokon, the owner (light blue shirt)

There was a lot of information distributed, on the American College of Lifestyle Physicians, which provides a way for doctors to get certified in this new specialty which revolves around prevention above all and lifestyle choices as the means, including diet, exercise, rest, relaxation, and so on.

I provided some information on Plant Pure Communities, the not for profit support group for the whole foods, plant-based diet of which I am the Group Leader for the Bronx. Our Facebook group is:
We also provided some brief information on the 2nd Annual Montefiore Preventive Cardiology Conference, which took place the Saturday before, 10/6. After that, we proceeded with the speakers, starting with the keynote speaker for the evening, Dr. Sharon Wasserstrom, who is the first ACLM certified doctor in the Bronx, and she practices at the Montefiore clinic at 2300 Westchester Avenue... but she is going to move to Florida at the end of the year.
Dr. Sharon Wasserstrom

Dr. Wasserstrom gave a very insightful short introduction about the whole foods plant-based diet and its role in medicine, starting from the point of view that medicine became the victime of its own success based on the tremendous progress in modern times in the treatment of infectious disease, but then tried to deal with chronic illness in the same vein. However, most of the chronic diseases we are struggling with, high bloodpressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, on and on are primarily the result of diet, and diet should be the first means of addressing them and this is where the whole foods, plant-based diet comes in as the optimal human nutrition.
Dr. Wasserstrom presented three case histories for a Bangladeshi, a black person and a white patient, including the ups and downs, depending on how well the patients followed the diet. The results are very quick, so with a little reinforcement, people are usually motivated to continue. In most cases, it works better than medication and it has no side effects, and in the short term a physician can always assist with medication, although the levels of prescriptions may have to be adjusted quickly.

Moh. Islam on the right

Then we had some testimonials, first from Moh. Islam, a Bangladeshi nurse from Elmhurst Hospital who had a bad heart problem (95% blockage of one coronary artery), at age 36 and had a stent put in, but after trying several cardiologists he ended up working with Dr. Robert Osfeld at the Montefiore Cardiac Wellness Program. His words were from the heart, and he explained how the genetic makeup of Southeast Asians pre-disposes them to heart disease, because their arteries are typically narrower than Westerners, so they block up easier. Another Bangladeshi person in the room chimed in that he had a heart attack at age 36. Mr. Islam ended with a powerful appeal to his Bangladeshi brothers to take care of business, starting with a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet.

After Mr. Islam, Father David Powers of St. Helena's shared some of his experience with a fair dose of self-deprecating humor. In a different way his story is also impressive, having lost about 100 lbs since he started on the diet and feeling better.

Lastly, Angela Vita, the retail dietitian from the ShopRite at Bruckner Commons gave us a run down on shopping for a whole foods, plant-based diet at ShopRite, complete with a flyer that provides a directory to the store. Also, she announced an upcoming cooking demonstration at the store, in collaboration of CB#9 with Plant Pure Communities on 10/27 at noon.

As a general announcement, we also shared that on 10/20 we have a new Plant-Based cooking class at St. Helena's.

It was clear that sparks of inspiration were flying, and we are planning a new "dinner for doctors" to follow-up on this one in the spring, hopefully coinciding with Neerob obtaining a certification of (part of) their menu from Plant Pure Communities and from Plantricious as well.