Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dr. Michelle McMacken and the Plant-Based Program at Bellevue Hospital

On 6/27 Plant-Pure Communities Manhattan had a presentation by Dr. Michelle McMacken on the 7 things that change when you switch to a plant-based diet. She is a board-certified internist and an associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Here is a YouTube interview:

I will recap some of the highlights of her presentation here:

  1. Within as little as three weeks, you will see an improvement in chronic inflammation.
  2. Cholesterol drops very quickly by as much as one third.
  3. Your intestinal microbiome changes completely, and will be much less prone to disease than that of a meat eater.
  4. You will instantly lower your cancer risk. Cured meats are rated by WHO to be a type 1 carcinogenic (similar to tobacco, asbestos), and muscle meat (Beef, Pork, Lamb) is a typpe 2A carcinogen. Even 3 servings of whole grains per day reduces cancer risk by 17%
  5. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Even only 2 slices of cured meats per day increases diabetes risk by 37%. Prediabetics should be eating fruit.
  6. You will finally get the right amount and the right kinds of protein - plant-based. No need for protein supplementation. Western diets have us overconsume protein and the wrong kind - animal based, which promotes cancer growth, while plant-based protein inhibits cancer growth.
  7. You will be doing good for the planet.

Some worthwhile sources cited by Dr. McMacken.The most helpful one for beginners is perhaps this one:

it is a very helpful starter guide.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Fingerling Potatoes

This week, fingerling potatoes were around on Starling Avenue.

They lend themselves to making a lovely potato salad, especially with Purslane, which is always available at the Mexican store, on Westchester Ave, corner Beach Avenue.

A simple recipe is:

Salad of Fingerling Potatoes with Purslane


1 lb fingerling potatoes
1 cup purslane leaves
3/2/1 dressing with one lemon or lime (3tbsp balsamic, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tbsp maple syrup)
red onion,
1-2 tbsp of dill. Alternatively a half a cup of fresh dill, if you can get it.

either 1/2 teaspoon of piment d'espelette or
(1-2 heaping teaspoon of paprika powder and
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper)

salt and pepper to taste


boil the potatoes, and cut them in chunks, ca 1/2 -3/4" thickness.

pick the leaves off the purslane and reserve the stems for another use.

make the salad dressing


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Our June #WFPB Meal Preparation

We made a lot of different things this time, some to demonstrate take-out solutions.

The Upton's Naturals barbecued jackfruit is not available locally, you can get it on-line at Thrive or at Amazon.
Savory (sabroso in Spanish) it a spice that is great in dishes with legumes (lentils, beans, etc.) it adds flavor and aids digestion (reduces gas).
Tarragon (Estragon in Spanish) is another spice that works well in our Locro de Lentejas.

Steamed, or boiled kale with sweet potatoes and balsamic 

This is easy to make and the balsamic acts as a preservative, so you can put it in a plastic bag and take it anywhere, all you need is a plastic fork.

strip the kale, and boil in boiling water for 6-7 minutes until soft, or steam for 12-15 minutes.

Separately boil the sweet potatoes and cut in cubes to mix with the kale.

We added in some roasted pepper today. (Unfortunately, our kale was a bit under-cooked.)

Drizzle with balsamic.

Stuffed Collard Greens (Burrito style) is another easy take out dish. You could call it collard green burritos.


collard greens
boiled basmati rice
green beans
(option) barbecued jackfruit
(option) mushrooms, can be fresh or roasted


put hummus in the center section of the leaf
add a thin layer of rice
some green beans
some pieces of barbecued jackfruit
dress with kimchi
roll it up, and serve.

If you are going to a picknick, or anywhere where you want to make sure you have your own food, you can package these rolls in a sheet of paper towel towel and saran wrap.

Locro de Lentejas (Lentil soup from Ecuador)

Lentil soup with Cabbage


1 lb whole lentils
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
one small green cabbage, quartered and sliced in 1/4" strips

1 white onion cut up in small pieces,
2-3 large red onions, sliced thin
4 green chilis, sliced thin, with seeds
2 jalapeƱo peppers, sliced thin (without seeds)
10 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine.
1 or 2 king mushroom cut in strips

1 teaspoon of savory
1 teaspoon of tarragon
5 bay leaves

2 pints of low sodium vegetable stock
3 pints of water
1 Green Cabbage

1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped (leaves only)

Braggs Liquid Aminos, to taste.

Alternatively, dissolve one heaping tablespoon of miso paste in water and add at the end.


Dry fry the onions with the chilis and jalapenos and the king mushroom over a medium flame for about 4/5 minutes, stirring constantly, until they got soft and start to brown. Add a splash of veggie broth as needed, so it does not stick to the pan.

Add garlic, the vegetable stock and the water and herbs, the lentils and, after 15-20 minutes, the potatoes. Let cook for another 10-15 minutes, and add the cabbage, cut in strips. Let it cook for another 5-10 mins.

At the end, add some miso, dissolved in water and some chopped cilantro and/ or Braggs Liquid Amino's to taste.
  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. Never boil the miso!

Green Salad

We kept it simple with the salad:

A head of green lettuce,
a red pepper
three tomatoes
some chopped onion
some milled flax seed and some chia seeds
3/2/1 dressing: 3 measures of balsamic, 2 measures of Dijon Mustard, and 1 measure of maple syrup
1 can of black-eyed peas