Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Starling Ave Wrap-up & Starling Avenue Vegan Wrap

Increasingly, Starling Avenue is becoming a Mecca for shopping for Fruits and Vegetables, including the fact that a lot of organic stuff can be found, if you know where to look. Here is an outline:
  • Start with Chang Li Supermarket at 2079 Benedict Avenue, that is your widest selection of anything in the area.
  • Then, there is Key Food on Unionport Avenue (in Parkchester), which has some interesting organic stuff, if you know where to look. One of my faves is Organic Chestnuts, which I like to combine with Brussels Sprouts.
  • Then, you can go up and down Starling Avenue, which is a virtual Little Bangladesh in the Bronx, and there are fruit and vegetable vendors up and down the street, and you can find amazing stuff.
  • On your way out, if there's anything you have not found yet, there's always the Pioneer Supermarket at 1345 Castle Hill Avenue. I like them for their organic salads and organic banana's and organic cherry tomatoes. Lots of other good stuff as well.

Here is your itinerary: Starting from Pioneer, through Starling Avenue, to Chang-Li and ending at Key Foods. If it's fresh food and you haven't found it yet, there's something missing.

The Starling Avenue Vegan Wrap

Crispy 100% Whole Wheat Roti
Start with a Crispy Whole Wheat Roti, which you can get at any of the Bangla stores on Starling Avenue, and here goes:
  • Heat your roti(s) as per instructions
  • A good schmear of (home made) hummus on about 1/8th of it. 
  • Some brown rice or quinoa, or any other grain you like.
  • Some steamed veggies, like string beans, or okra, or kale, or carrots, whatever suits you,
  • Some Teriyaki sauce. Bragg's Liquid Aminos, or Tamari or Shoyu on your steamed veggies
  • Alternatively use fresh salad or watercress, etc.
  • Maybe some roasted or fresh mushrooms
  • Add a fork full of Sauerkraut or Kimchi
Roll this up. Finger lickin' good. The ideal solution to take with you if you're trying to avoid road food (I make two of them and roll them up in a strip of paper towel, with Saranwrap around it, and put it in a sandwich bag to take with me if I'm likely to get stuck in a place where there's little choice.

It's little things like these that make me feel that I've never eaten so well in my life as since I went all Vegan, about a year ago today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Vegan Tempeh Stew based on Banana Peel Thoran

Here were the recipes I started with:

This a cooking style from Kerala, so my friend Francis who works at a store on my street helped me to source some of the ingredients, the Hing, and the Urad Dal, as it turns out smack across the street from me at Poshora:

Poshora Market, 2142-44 Starling Avenue
And here's what I made of it:
I used the first recipe above, but I added sliced tempeh, marinated for 24 hours in water with coriander, and instead of one onion, I used 3 decent sized onions, to really make a nice stew. By the time you do all this the whole thing becomes a protein rich stew. Combine with brown rice and some green vegetable, and you're in business. Of course the Banana peels were from organic banana's I got from Pioneer on 1345 Castle Hill. For Tempeh your best address in the area is Good 'n Natural, at 2173 White Plains Road.

Sixty-five - Vegan Style

This is just for the record, so I won't forget
  • December 2014 Physical:
    • Weight 190 lbs
    • Cholesterol 170
    • BP - borderline hypertension and on medication
  • May 2015 went Vegan, mostly follwing Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.'s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-based cure.
  • March 2016 Physical: 
    • Weight 165 lbs (that was my weight in '79)
    • Cholesterol 151
    • Off BP meds, and off all medication, started taking some B12
And, perhaps more important than anything, I am having more fun with food since going vegan than ever before, and learning new recipes is so much fun. Or even improvising. Today lunch was Okra with Kimchi on Quinoa - we recently learned how to make our own kimchi, here. Probiotics like sauerkraut, Kimchi, tempeh, etc. etc. are favorite foods of mine any way, so it is nice to realize more and more how healthy they are. A newly improvised tempeh recipe will be coming up shortly.

Besides the Esselstyn book, my main source for recipes has been Amy Cramer's The Vegan Cheat Sheet: Your Take-everywhere Guide to Plant-based eating. The rest is online research, often prompted by any new fruit or vegetable I see in the stores, and start wondering how I can prepare it.

The bigger point is, I am no exception. There are people out there who are dropping a whole regimen of multiple medications. One friend has diabetes and reduced her insulin needs by 2/3rds since going vegan. On and on.

And this is becoming main stream, as you can see from this article in Business Week about a doctor who went on the nutritional path.

And a marvellous recent article by Susan Levin, in US News and World Report seriously talks about reducing healthcare costs by trillions by getting our nutrition right.

I hear it more and more from people in the neighborhood, including the fact that I am getting some good feedback from this blog, and the stores are increasingly starting to pay attention.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pioneering Organic Bananas, Peels and All

Just now my local Pioneer supermarket had organic bananas, and I brought some home. As luck would have it, on the same day an email popped into my inbox touting the benefits of eating banana peels, something you obviously cannot do with any bananas that were sprayed with loads of chemicals.

Dole Organic Bananas from Pioneer Supermarket, 1345 Castle Hill Avenue
Now, let's count the benefits, and the ways I found to use this knowledge.

Benefits of banana peels

  • Here's OMTimes on the health benefits of Banana Peels
    • Full of serotonin... great against depression.
    • Full of tryptophan... a natural sleep medicine
    • Full of soluble and insoluble fiber... good for lowering cholesterol
    • Fiber also helps with weightloss and obesity
    • Natural source for probiotics and detoxification, again because of the fibers. Obviously also helps against constipation (as is most of the vegan diet...).
    • Important cytoprotective and antimutagenic agents that protect against cancer, and carotenoids and polyphenols that shore up your immune system.
    • They protect red blood cells.
    • Rich in anti-oxidants and other nutrients: lots of potassium, B-vitamins, magnesium.
    • Contains lutein which hlpes night vision and prevents macular degeneration. full of anti-fungal and anti-biotic compounds.
    • It is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and helps your skin look great. 
  • You can make tea of the banana peels alone, or you can use it in soups, sauces and gravy.
    • With cinnamon, you can use the tea as a natural sleeping aid... drink an hour before you hit the hay.
    • You can make smoothies with bananas including the peel.
    • You can make gravy and curry with banana peel.
  • Even Business Insider reported on it, because in many parts of the world people do eat the banana peels.
  • And Yahoo! too says, Don't forget to eat the peel.
  • Sleep medicine - and tea from banana peels with cinnamon, and again
  • More on Shattering the Matrix
  • And on Doctor's Health Press.
  • And finally Banana Peel Recipes from Kerala.
Obviously, you can google it yourself and find many more recipes. My first attempts were just to slice the banana with the peel and eat it that way, and then I also added it to my oatmeal in the morning, which I heat up with some banana with the peel for about 1:45 minutes. See here:
Sliced banana with peel and oatmeal (with apples and raisins and cinnamon)
Note one detail, Dole also wraps some plastic around the top of the bunch, which slows down the ripening process... very thoughtful. You can do this for yourself with saran wrap if your bananas don't come that way.