Friday, December 20, 2019

Community Board #9 in the Bronx and #WFPB

The other day, we had our "last meeting of the year" for Community Board #9 at the ShopRite on Bruckner Commons and I did my usual 2 minute upate on our activities in this district.

It is some five years ago, when I was an active board member of CB#9, that I began to try and change the tone of our "health fairs" to emphasize prevention over treatment, and eventually it all led to my becoming more active in the Plant-Based community and eventually resigning from the Community Board completely.

First, I hooked up with PlantPure Communities, and then later that evolved into an association with PlantPowered Metro NY, which has emerged as sort of the "on the ground" presence underneath PPC.

NY State Sen Luis Sepulveda
One of the high points of the evening was Senator Luis Sepulveda speaking for the season, and praising my activities related to the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet, and emphasizing that he himself had lost 43 Lbs (about 20% reduction in weight) and his cholesterol was normal again and his pre-diabetic condition was completely reversed. Hearing those kinds of results is really very powerful. He strongly endorses the diet.
He and his family had already switched to a plant-based diet before they learned about the things I am doing, but the point is, word is getting around.
Bronx Assemblyman Francesco Cabrera is another prominent Bronx Politician who is on the diet, and his experience has been very nearly as dramatic as that of Eric Adams.

I am grateful to know that many people are learning more about the diet and that there are a number of politicians actively involved, first and foremost the Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, but several others in the Bronx and around town. These are the first signs of what will become a true healthcare revolution. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Lifestyle Medicine Dinner at Neerob

The other day, we had our Lifestyle Medicine dinner at Neerob. Varun Ponmudi, the CEO of Aayas Table gave us a presentation about the six person pilot program they offered in October - a month of WFPB instruction in your own home. Some basic biometrics were reported before and after. The mix of dietary habits was interesting, but on the whole the group averaged out on the healthy side of what is unfortunately normal, nevertheless, the results were significant, including a 4.5 lb weight loss during the period.

Results were good, but there were a few lapses.
Varun Ponmudi presenting results of AayasTable pilot program

  • Total Cholesterol went down for all six participants, with four out of six reporting ending numbers of below 150, Dr. Esselstyn's definition of "heart-attack-proof."
  • Triglycerides were more mixed. Two were up and four were down.
  • LDL at 30 days was down across the board.
A few people lapsed with some oil and processed vegan.

Unfortunately, none of the participants could be attend the dinner at this time, but from personal feedback I know that this program made a critical difference for some people. It is an enormous support to have someone help you out in your own home.
The high point of the evening in many ways was when Md. "Khokon" Rahman, the owner of Neerob, shared his own experiences. In August when he had a heart-attack, he was hospitalized with TC above 180, and his last bloodwork on 10/12/2019 showed TC at 92, prompting his physician to ask him how he did it.

The result is that Khokon is now a leader in his community in this area, along with the Bangladeshi nurse at Elmhurst, Md. Shariful Islam, who spoke at one of our dinners previously. Mr. Islam is always a shining example to me, because he came all the way from Elmhurst to become the patient of Dr. Ostfeld in the Bronx, purely because Dr. Ostfeld is a plant-based cardiologist. Here is a spectacular report on one of Dr. Ostfeld's patients, who googled his way out of bypass surgery to go and use lifestyle medicine instead, becoming a patient in Dr. Ostfeld's Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx.

The whole point of the exercise in a way is that at a point when it is critical, an intervention may be unavoidable, e.g. a stent, or whatever, but as long as it is elective, things can be turned around very quickly on a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet.

The Food at Neerob

As per usual, Neerob did an outstanding job on the food. A great fresh green salad, a vegetable spaghetti salad, bean soup, a nice dal, brown rice, chinese style veggies, steamed broccoli.
Neerob will become a destination for #WFPB food in the Bronx. They achieved a Plant Pure Communities Restaurant certification in February 2019 and it is getting better all the time.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Nixtamalized Tortillas

Many traditional cuisines have great ideas. Anyone who has been following my blogs and coming to our cooking classes has seen how I get inspiration from the Bangladeshi community in our area, both in terms of the kinds of vegetables we use and the selection of spices. But, we also have a great Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood in Taqueria Tlaxcalli on Starling Avenue, and the wife of the owner, Jesse Caballero has been interested in plant-based food for a while and from time to time they have made some food for the plant-based health fair at St. Helena's. On the menu there is not a lot of choice yet, but the cactus salad remains a favorite of mine, as long as they leave out the queso and the oil. If you are making it yourself, you can use firm tofu instead of queso.

Recently, we got talking about Nixtamalized Tortillas after there was a big article in the NY Times about Tortilleria Nixtamal in Queens, which used to be a restaurant, but these days is only a Tortilla bakery, where you can go and buy fresh tortillas, and they deliver to stores and restaurants. A one pound package is $2.00.

I went there recently with a friend who lives in that area. The process of nixtamalization starts with cooking the cornflour in a briney solution and it makes the cornflour much more easily digestible and nutritious. It is an old, traditional Aztec way of preparing the corn and it creates a delicious and healthy tortilla. Worth a try. There is a lot of information on-line about the process:
Have a ball, and please let me know if you find Nixtamal Tortillas in our neighborhood.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner

Here were our festive dishes... with some Thanksgiving-styled ideas.

Pumpkin- ginger 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 powder
  • 2-3 pieces of turmeric sliced, or turmeric powder
  • pint of vegetable stock
  • 1-2 jalapenos, seeded
  • 2-3 small green chilies, sliced
  • 1 tbsp panch puran
  • 2 table spoons of whole wheat flour


  1. caramelize the onions adding garlic, chili 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. 
Evidently, you can make this as spicy as you like, by varying the amounts of turmeric, ginger, chilis and peppers. You can use a small amount of Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Yondo to finish to taste, but if you are using the Panch Puran, you should not need much at all. The whole point is that by choosing aromatic spices, you can pretty much eliminate the need for added salt. With turmeric and ginger if you can use fresh, that makes all the difference in the world. If you want to give it some extra zing, you could slice some scallions on top for garnish.

Baked Cauliflower with Fennel 


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 bulb fennel, halved and sliced thin (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded (about ¾ cup)
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt, or to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Place cauliflower florets in a large container with a lid. Drizzle with lemon juice, turmeric, mustard powder, cinnamon, and salt. Cover the container with the lid and shake it up until the cauliflower is completely coated. 
  3. Spread the cauliflower evenly on the baking sheet.
  4. Place the fennel slices on baking sheet with the cauliflower.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and add the pecans. Bake for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Mashed Potatoes recipe from Whole Foods Market


  • 2 pounds potato, such as Russet or Yukon Gold cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened oatmilk, soymilk, almondmilk or ricemilk
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Place potatoes in a saucepot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes. 
  3. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Stir over low heat until potatoes are falling apart and slightly dry, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat and mash potatoes or purée with a ricer until smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until lightly browned and beginning to stick to the pan, about 5 minutes. 
  6. Stir in broth and garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender and golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Add onion mixture, oatmilk, nutritional yeast, granulated onion and pepper to pot with potatoes and stir until combined. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Sauce


  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbs white wine (or sub veg broth)
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 2 Tbls Soy Sauce low sodium variety, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Yondu
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth low sodium variety
  • 1/2 tsp kitchen bouquet browning sauce
  • Drop or two of liquid smoke (optional)


  1. Saute onion and garlic in wine until softened
  2. Add mushrooms and soy sauce and cook until reduced
  3. In a separate pan, lightly toast flour, nutritional yeast, and herbs
  4. Add flour mixture to mushrooms and stir well
  5. Slowly add vegetable broth and stir well to combine
  6. Add browning sauce and liquid smoke and heat to desired consistency

Red Leaf & Spinach Salad

  • 1 Head Red Leaf Lettuce
  • 1 bunch fresh young spinach
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 box cherry tomatoes
  • optional: some scoops of chia seeds, or milled flaxseed.

1/2/3 dressing with lemon and lime juice


Plant-based is pretty affordable... we had 7 people or about $105 to work with, and we spent $75, meaning we contributed $30 to St. Helena's. Or, we spent about $10.50 per person, and some people took food home, plus we left an ample portion for Fr. David.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Third Annual Montefiore-Einstein Preventive Cardiology Conference.

You can easily get your own report on the conference by searching #MEPCC19 on Twitter.

  There was once again a stellar group of presenters there, starting with Dr. Ostfeld himself, who opened the conference, followed by

  • Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. on his favorite topic: why Heart disease is a paper tiger that need not exist, and if it does can be reversed with diet. I never get tired of hearing him and I had a chance to speak with him briefly.
  • Dr. Philip Gordts, on a fascinating (relatively) new evolutionary theory on why red meat is such a trigger for heart disease in humans. Understanding the "why" is always helpful. See also this newspaper article Red meat triggers toxic immune reaction which causes cancer, scientists find. Bottom line: we always knew from the research of Dr. Colin Campbell that animal proteins tend to stimulate tumor growth and now this mechanism that Dr. Gordts discussed may be the evolutionary reason why our bodies reject meat - it contains a sugar which occurs in many mammals, but not humans, called Neu5Gc and the body rejects it and treats it as a foreign invader.
  • Dr. Walter Willett, on achieving an optimal diet.
  • Dr. Wilson Tang, on Diet, Intestinal Biota and Cardio-renal Disease Risk. This area is ever so important. The first shocker always is that it takes only three days on a #WFPB diet for your gut to stop making TMAO, which is a leading cause of CVD.
  • Dr. Andrew Freeman on why 2019 is the year of the Plant-based diets.
  • Dr. Michelle McMacken, who runs the Lifestyle Medicine program at Bellevue gave the Daniel and Michael Ostfeld Memorial Lecture
  • Dr. Ostfeld himself presenting on the practical issues in implementing the diet in your clinical practice (Answer: leverage outsourced support mechanisms as much as possible).
  • Then a series of presentations by interns who are active in the Lifestyle Medicine field, which was brilliant. Speakers were Drs. Danielle Belardo, on a Cardiac case, Sasha deJesus, again on Cardiac issues, Clark Yarber, on an outlier case of Cardiac Syndrome X, and Timothy A. Zaki on Type 2 Diabetes.
All followed by a panel discussion of questions from the public.

There's too much information that comes out of an event like this, but here are a few highlights that stood out for me:

  • Esselstyn: Focusing on the green leafies for the nitrates that convert to nitric oxide in the body, which keeps your arteries limber, combined with the high ORAC value of various fruits, particularly berries, for that is what repairs cell damage. Those are just two simple concepts that makes the whole logic of the whole foods, plant-based diet understandable.
    Complete reversals, even without statins, are typically possible in three to four weeks, but certainly within 3 months. Angina usually is much reduced within 1-2 weeks. His conclusion was that he "... felt more excited about medicine today, 20 years after retiring as a surgeon," because of the increasing uptake of these new ideas in the medical field. A comment from Dr. Joel Kahn emphasized again that stents or bypass surgery only correct for the effects of heart disease, but do not heal the disease itself - only diet will.
  • Dr. Walter Willett commented on the general fact that 5-10 years life extension is a reasonable expectation from changing to a whole foods, plant-based diet. He focused on the big picture of planetary health and the EAT/Lancet study. He cautioned against becoming overly simplistic about lowering medical costs, as people will live longer. So they might spend less on medical services per year, but live more years. Time will tell.
  • Dr. Wilson Tang took us through the whole TMAO issue and how choline is converted to TMA by the enzymes in the intestinal tract and subsequently oxidized in the liver to result in TMAO. It is a big cause of inflammation and implicated in heart disease (CVD/CAD), type 2 diabetes (T2D), and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Evidently, the point is that a plant-based diet will stop this immediately.
  • Dr. Walter Willett's take away points were that even the Economist labeled 2019 the year of the vegan and the fact that Medicare and most major insurers now cover either the Dean Ornish program or the Pritikin protocol for reversing heart disease. Equally obvious, it is still cheaper to change to a #WFPB diet now, rather than wait until you have heart disease.
  • Dr. Michelle McMacken injected a dose of reality with a beautiful case history of a 42-year-old with undiagnosed T2D and an A1C at 12.7%, who was no longer a diabetic after 4 months (A1C below 6) after throwing out his metformin at 2 months in. She also cautioned that "unhealthy vegan" is as bad or worse as the SAD.
Here is a summary on YouTube by Dr. Joel Kahn.

The whole thing was brilliant as always and an enormous asset of our community in the Bronx. Meanwhile, once again no one from the Bronx officialdom was present, but Eric Adams' office was represented, even if he could not make it. Otherwise, people came from all over. At lunch, I talked with a lovely doctor from Montgomery, Al.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Plant-Based on a budget - update

To me, this is as important as anything. The truth is there are too many recipes that are overly fancy, and before you know it, you end up thinking you really need all that to live plant-based, but you don't. You can start very simple.

I will discuss some sites here and leave you with some suggestions based on conditions in our own neighborhood.

Here is one great site:

but the best one is perhaps Plant-based on a budget, just like the title of this article.

But, there are plenty of ideas. It starts with buying in bulk wherever suitable.

I always like to point out that on our street in the Bangladeshi stores, there is an absolute feast of staples available...

  • 10 lbs brown basmati rice $12-15
  • 10 lbs onions $1.99 - $5.99, depending on the grade of onions and with seasonal variations
  • 4 lbs red lentils $3 or 2x4 lbs for $5.
 And here is a wonderful suggestion from Costco:

Once you have those kinds of things in stock, and some condiments, the sky is the limit and for your other veggies you buy whats on sale/in season, and of course various fruits in between.

You start your days with steel cut oats, 30 Oz is still $3.29 at Shoprite, and I make it with a constantly varying set of fruits, usually starting with a Granny Smith Apple, and some Blueberries, some raisins and goji berry, and whatever else comes along - I usually add a banana as well.
I usually decorate it with balsamic vinegar (4% acidity) and hemp seeds.

You can also work wonders with frozen vegetables of various kinds. Or, when I find some great vegetable on sale, I might cook ahead.

St. Helena's Communal Meal Prep 10/26/19

This time the theme was leafy greens.

Eating leafy greens, either raw or cooked 4-6 times a day is the standard recommendation of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn for it will keep your arteries flexible. Chewing the leafy greens will convert nitrate and with the enzymes from your saliva ultimately it will produce the nitric oxide that helps your bloodvessel stay limber.

Some of the best foods for this are:
  1. Beets
  2. Garlic
  3. Leafy greens
  4. Pomegranate
  5. Nuts and seeds (but.. we want to go light on those because of the high oil content).

Two Salads

Green Salad

  • 1 Green lettuce
  • 3 Vine tomatoes
  • a can of black-eyed peas (or whatever beans or peas you can find)
  • some quinoa
  • yellow, red, green peppers
  • a can of sliced beets
  • a carrot sliced thin (we skipped this because we already had the veggie spaghetti salad with carrot)
  • capers
  • olives
  • a red onion, cut up.
  • a pomegranate
  • 1/2/3 dressing: 1 measure maple syrup, 2 measures Dijon Mustard, 3 measures Balsamic Vinegar, and lemon and lime juice to taste
  • add milled flax seed and/or chia seeds for Omega-3's
Endless variations on the above are possible, and depending on the addition of quinoa and beans, you can make this a meal salad.


 Veggie Spaghetti Salad

We made this with a mandolin, but you could use a spiralizer of some sort. Taste is the same, but the long spaghetti strands present better - maybe.

For a dressing we used some 1/2/3 dressing with thyme and some Veggie Mayo (see below).

  • Shredded Zucchini
  • Shredded Daikon
  • Shredded Green Papaya
  • Shredded Carrot

Veggie Mayo

  • 1 package of Silken Tofu
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or date sugar)
  • 1 tpsp red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
 Drain the tofu on a paper towel, and mix the ingredients with an immersion blender.

Leafy Greens Galore

It was Khokon, the owner of Neerob Restaurant, who taught me to make a medley of green leafy vegetables.

The message is that you can make either pure spinach, or Malabar spinach (poi leaf for the Bangladeshis), or Swiss chard, or any other green leafy vegetables by itself, or you can make a medley.

You can create a simple and delicious flavor with caramelized onions and garlic, some turmeric (preferably fresh) and perhaps Panch Puran or other spices.

 The way to build it up is to caramelize the onions first:

  • cut up the onions finely
  • optionally: cut up some chilis
  • roast dry for 5 minutes - just until the onions start turning brown and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • mince some garlic
  • mince turmeric
  • 1/2 cup of veggie broth 
  • now stir-fry for five minutes, keeping it liquid with the broth.
  • meanwhile cut up the stems of your leafy greens if they have heavy stems.
  • now stir-fry another 5-7 minutes with the stems.
  • cut up the leaves into 1-1/2" strips and add
  • cook on medium until the leaves are al dente
The above is just perfect for making green leafies as a side dish. Alternatively, you can make dal, as follows:
  • after stir-frying with the stems, you add more water and red lentils (hulled red lentils) in about 2:1 proportions water to lentils, let it cook about 10 mins then add the green leaves and let it cook for five minutes.
In other words, you start the same way for making green leafies as a side dish or the dal with green vegetables.

Butternut Squash

The last thing we made was butternut squash. We cut one in half lengthwise and put two garlic cloves in the hollow, and filled it up about half-way with veggie stock.
30-40 minutes in the oven at 400F, until soft.

Desert was grapes, which were also delicious.

It seemed everyone enjoyed the meal.

From the money dept

We had eight people, or $120 in funds, and we spent $87.31. In short, we are donating $32.69 to St. Helena's. There was plenty of food, even considering that two people did not show up. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Low Down on Veggie Broth in the Hood

OK, it's time to take stock of (veggie) stock in the hood. I am not sure what the difference is between veggie stock and veggie broth. Wikipedia quotes James Beard as saying:
...that stock, broth, and bouillon "are all the same thing"
and it goes on to say that the distinction, if any, tends to be fluid. Swanson does seem to know the difference, but they don't explain it either: Organic Vegetable Broth, v.s. 100% natural vegetable cooking stock, and Vegetable Broth. I use them interchangeably.

One of the insidious features of any packaged foods is that you really need to read the label, for too often too much salt, sugar, or oil sneaks in, not to mention some other nefarious chemicals you may not like. However, if you do get into the habit, you will be rewarded and soon you will find your way to better solutions.

Remember always to check for what they say about serving size, for those can often be wildly unrealistic. A bag of potato chips may contain many "servings" but I don't know anybody who would not eat the whole bag. With veggie broth it seems to be easier - a serving is an 8 Oz cup. That much is straigtforward. The % of RDA means nothing for the RDA is completely different in plant-based nutrition. You want 10% of calories from fat (no added fat), 10% from protein, and 80% from Complex Carbohydrates. For sodium, the recommended level in the plant-based community tends to be 1,500 mg daily, whereas generally, anything below 2,000 mg daily is regarded as low sodium.

This time I want to research Vegetable Broth/Stock in our area. I am listing ingredients and prices and a recommendation. I will keep adding to the list. Besides Chiang-Li and Key Food, I will also visit ShopRite on the Bruckner.
I make note of the color because for some situations the dark color might be too much, e.g. if you want to create a light-colored sauce.

As to the salt content, clearly, there are several reasonable ones and a couple of very good ones. If the goal is not to exceed 1,500 mg a day, you can see how it adds up. Again, in general, anything below 2,000 mg/day is looked at as low salt.

Broth Alternatives

In our cooking classes, we have discussed both Bragg's Liquid Aminos and Yondu as easy alternatives to veggie broth.

For example, when caramelizing onions, you really only need a little bit of water to keep them good and liquid and prevent them from sticking to the pan or getting burned.
I typically use about 1/2 cup of water with a teaspoon of Yondu or Braggs if I do not have veggie broth handy.

Both are alternatives that are reasonably low in sodium.

At the other extreme, I periodically am brave enough to make my own veggie broth from roast veggies. Sometimes, when I do this, I also freeze a couple of trays of ice-cubes of veggie broth. 2-3 icecubes of broth may be all you need to liquify stir-fried onions.

Chiang-Li Supermarket

  •  College Inn, 32 Oz 100% Natural Garden Vegetable Broth - $3.39
    • 20 Calories
    • 0 g of Fat (0% of RDA)
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 700 mg Sodium (30% of RDA)
    • 4 g Total Carbohydrates (1% RDA)
      • 3g added sugars
    • 0g protein
    • NB.: High in Sodium! This is a light colored broth.
  • College Inn, 32 Oz, 100% Natural Garden Vegetable Broth (40% less sodium) - $3.39
    • 0g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 420 mg Sodium (sic!)
    • 4 g Carbohydrates
      • 3g added sugar
    • 0g protein
    • NB: This is a light colored broth.
    • Recommended!
  •  Swanson, 32 Oz, Organic Vegetable Broth - $3.79
    • 10 Calories
    • 0g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 530 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Total Carbohydrates
      • 1 g added sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • Recommended!
  •  Kitchen Basics, 32 Oz, Unsalted Vegetable Stock.
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 210 mg Sodium
    • 100 mg Potassium
    • 6g Total Carbohydrates
      • sugars 4g
    • 0 g Protein
    • Recommended! 
    • N.B. Color dark. 

 Key Foods, Metropolitan

  •  Swanson, 32 Oz. Vegetable Broth,  on sale 2 for $6.
    • 10 Calories
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 800 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Carbohydrates
      • 2 g sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • NB: High Sodium - avoid, color light.
  • Swanson, 32 Oz. Vegetable Cooking Stock, on sale 2 for $6
    • 15 Caloreies
    • 0.5 g fat
    • 0 g Cholesterol
    • 550 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Total Carbohydrates
      •  2 g Sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • N.B. Light color
    • Recommended!
  • Pacific Foods, 32 Oz. Organic Vegetable Broth - $3.99 (on sale)
    • 15 Calories
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 g Cholesterol
    • 500 mg Sodium
    • 3 g Carbohydrates
      • 1 g Sugars
      • 1 g Dietary Fiber
    • 1 g Protein
    • N. B. Light color
    • Recommended! 
Options galore. I will keep adding to this as I take inventory at Shoprite.

ShopRite Bruckner Commons

Ok, I finally made my veggie broth run to ShopRite. Here's the harvest (I am reporting list prices, though some were on sale):
  •  Wholesome Pantry, 32 Oz Vegetable Cooking Stock, $2.21
    • 10 Calories
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 g Cholesterol
    • 570 mg Sodium
    • 3g carbohydrates
      • includes 2g added sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • N.B. Light color
  •  Swanson, 32 Oz Vegetable Broth, $2.79
    •  Otherwise as above
  • Swanson, 32 Oz Organic Vegetable Broth, $3.49
    • Otherwise as above
  •  College Inn, 32 Oz, 100% Natural Garden Vegetable Broth, $2.99
    • Otherwise as above
  • Progresso, 32 Oz, Vegetable Broth, $2.19
    • 5 Cal
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 g Cholesterol
    • 400 mg Sodium
    • 0g carbohydrates
    • 0 g Protein
    • N.B. relatively low sodium
  • Emeril's 32 Oz Organic Vegetable Stock, $2.19
    • 10 Calories
    • 0 g fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 570 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Carbohydrates
      • 2g sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • N.B. dark color. Sodium in mid range.
  • Rachael Rae, 32 Oz All Natural Veggie Stock $2.60
    • 10 Calories
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 480 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Carbohydrates
      • less than 1g sugar
    •  0 g Protein
    • N.B. Sodium about average. Darker color.
    • Recommended
In all almost all the broths were on-sale, so I did considerably better than the list prices indicate.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Serious Oatmeal

As I have been discussing serious oatmeal with some people, I will share my process here...

First, this was today's version:

Serious Oatmeal

Two day prep

I usually prepare Oatmeal for two days at a time. I take one measuring cup of steelcut oats (I get them from ShopRïte, at $3.29 for 30 Oz of organic oats), and prepare it overnight in my trusted Zojirushi NP-GBC05 rice cooker. It is ready for me at 6:30 AM with the timer.

Then I add:
  • a shredded Granny Smith apple, 
  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
and I let that sit on "keep warm" for min 5 mins.

The daily plate of Oatmeal

Then I save half for next day and I serve the other half, fixed up as follows (in this case):
  • a ring of berries (stawberries, raspberries, etc.) and other fruit (today it was Raspberries and Starfruit)
  • a sliced banana sometimes even more fruit (I love me some jackfruit).
  • a tbsp of hemp seed (part of my Omega-3 for the day)
  • A drizzle of Balsamic vinegar.
And here is another version:
Serious Oatmeal also, but with Strawberries

A note, you do not want to O/D on Omega-3. Too much is no good, what matters is the proportion between Omega-3 and Omega-6. Personally, I use 2-3 tbsp a day of hemp seeds, milled flax seed, or chia seeds. That seems to be about right for me. Individual mileage may vary, so consult with your plant-based doctor at the time of your physical ;-)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Another Bengali Meal Prep in September

Bengal cuisine offers such rich possibilities for cooking with spices more than salt.

Today's cooking class was another lesson in a @WFPB version of traditional recipes.

We start with Brown Basmati Rice, which was cooked in advance with a Zojirushi NP-NVX18 Rice cooker on the GABA Brown Rice setting, meaning it is germinated brown rice, that germinated for 2 hours at 105F and then cooked under pressure with an Induction Heat system.

Our new friend from Queens, Katerina from Queens was there once again. Somehow we lost count, because two people could not make it in the last minute, and we ended up inviting other people in the church to share our meal with us, and a good time was had by all. Not to mention many of us ended up taking more home with us.


  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Tomato
  • Cilantro
  • green chilis
  • turmeric
  • Panch Puran
  • Bay Leaves
  • Yondu or Bragg's liquid aminos
  • Water

  • Water squash
  • Cauliflower
  • Egg plant
  • Eddo
  • Green Papaya


The first steps are actually the same for both dishes, so we made a large batch of onions, and then split them in two and put on the vegetable medley first, since it needs a longer cooking time.
  • Caramelize the onions 
  • add in the chilis, turmeric, panch puran, minced garlic, cut up peppers and add some water with Yondu or Braggs to continue - we used 1 tsp Yondu for a cup of water.
  • add in the lentils and more water
  • add in the harder veggies first, for they need longer to soften
  • add in the softer veggies later (e.g, tomato), also cilantro.
  • add water as needed.
  • add some bay leaves

Three Greens Medley Dal

No, dal is not an airline. It is the typical sauce made from lentils, and you can consider it a soup or a sauce, depending on the occasion. Any three green leafy veggies will do... according to the season today we picked this:


  • onions,
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • cilantro
  • turmeric
  • panch puran
  • green chilis
  • Yondu or Bragg's Liquid Aminos to taste.
  • lentils
  • poi leaf (aka Malabar spinach)
  • spinach
  • callaloo


For the first step, see above about caramelizing the onions, again we did the onions once for the two dishes and then split them up.

We added water to the caramelized onions

We had young baby spinach, so we did not need to cut it. The callaloo and Poi Leaf we cut in about 1" lengths.

There were grapes for desert. Unfortunately, our friend Khokon unexpectedly could not make it so we will have to do it again and learn to do it even better, but it was a good lesson in a basic dish that you can vary almost endlessly according to the season.

If the group had been bigger, we would have made a salad. The plan was for spaghetti salad from green papaya, carrots, daikon, and zucchini, with a 1/2/3 ddressing (1 measure maple syrup, 2 measures dijon mustard, 3 measures maple syrup) with lemon and lime, dill, parsley, pepper. That 's an invention of Shamim, who is Khokon's cousin and sometime chef.

Practicing plant-based on a budget:

We always donate the overage to St. Helenas, and this week it was almost half of the money we collected. We spent about $8 per person, so our donation to St. Helena's is $7 per person this week. If we had made the vegetable spaghetti salad, our spend per person would have been $10 or so.
On top of that several of us took leftovers home and we actually fed 10 people not the five people who signed up in the class, for some of the other staff and one of the priests joined in. Or rather they were not given the chance to leave without eating for we had more than we could handle.

These numbers can swing from one month to the next, depending on when we buy certain staples, nevertheless, this is always a good lesson in how economical plant-based food can be. Meat is expensive, even while it is heavily subsidized. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Our #WFPB Meal Prep for August

This time, I decided to focus on some small snack or appetizer type dishes, specifically a salad (there's always a salad to make sure we get our leafy greens), and Brown Rice Spring Rolls, as well as Black Bean Salsa. We had fun with a small group, and still made more food than we could eat. We had 4

 We started out with a bit of nutritional theory and some knife skills. Cutting an onion the right way... and with a sharp knife, so you almost never cry.
With a dull knife you will crush the onion. With a sharp knife, you'll slide through it like butter.

Credit for the pics goes to Kateřina Justová, who came and visited us from Astoria





August salad                             

Salad and Salsa
1 head of green lettuce
1 bunch of watercress
3 peppers green, yellow and red
3 tomatoes
1 red onion
2 cups of cooked quinoa
4-5 mushrooms
4 tbsp hemp seeds
4 tbsp milled flax seeds

1/2/3 dressing: 2 tbps maple syrup, 4 tbsp Dijon Mustard, 6 tbsp balsamic vinegar.

We discussed that the point of Omega 3 is (via the flax seeds and the hemp seeds), the proportion relative to the Omega-6. When in doubt the doctor can figure it out at your next physical. In my case I went up from 1-2 tsp of these things (or chia seeds) a day to 2-3 tbsp a day on advice of my doctor. Typically, I take hempseeds on my breakfast and the milled flax seeds and/or chia seeds in my salads.

Black Bean Salsa

Quick Salsa with Black Beans Caldwell Esselstyn - see site for other variations, version here is spicier


2 cans of black beans, drained
Optional one 15 Oz can of Corn
A bunch of fresh Cilantro
Juice of 2-3 limes (depending on how juicy the lime)
16 Oz jar of medium green salsa
Whatever peppers you choose - cut up fine - jalapenos, chilis, serrano, poblano - it all depends on your taste for more hot or aromatic. You can put in a stalk of celery, sliced really thin.


Drain and rinse the beans and corn
Wash and chop up the cilantro
Add lime juice, mix in the black beans and the salsa
Mix well.
This is one of these dishes that gets better if it marinates in the fridge.

Serve on rice cakes.




Vegan Spring Rolls


1/2 Cabbage
1 carrot
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 onion
4 mushrooms
100 gm rice vermicelli
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos or Yondu
1 cup of water










The crumbles you can make from ground up
rice cakes with sesame seeds, or you could use
plain corn flakes, or some puffed grain. You just grind it fine in a blender, and you roll the spring rolls in that, so they won't stick to the baking tray, and get nice and crunchy on the outside.


Cut up the veggies fine  
cook till soft,  with the water and yondu 
add more water if neccessary, but not too much, add the vermicelli and cook for 3 mins. 
Note: vermicelli will absorb most of the cooking water, so your stuffing should be suitablly 
dry - too wet would ruin your rice paper rolls.  
fill the moist rice papers (dipping them in lukewarm water) and roll them up... 
dip in the crumbles and put on your cookie sheet  (we used silicone sheets to prevent sticking.) 
30 mins at 350F will do you just fine.   

Serve with your favorite hot sauce.

Nutritional notes

I adjusted the above somewhat, but not enough for some of the ingredients. As a general rule Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Yondu are a good alternative to soy sauce or Tamari.
The BLA and Yondu come in at ca 300 mg sodium per teaspoon (Tsp), while the typical soy sauce or tamari clock in at 900-1000 mg of sodium per Tsp. However this recipe makes about 30 spring rolls. And it uses 3 Tbsp of BLA or Yondu, or 3 x 3 x 300 mg = 2,700 mg sodium.
To simplify the math, that amounts to almost 100 mg sodium per roll. So if you were to eat three as an appetizer, that might be alright if the rest of the meal does not overuse sodium, but if you make a meal out of this, you are getting a ton of sodium.
One obvious alternative might be to use a low sodium veggie stock in lieu of the glass of water, and then to cut the use of even BLA or Yondu down to ca. 1 Tbsp instead of three, and you can use some other spices, or things like scallions or shallots to create more aroma.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Brown Rice Spring Rolls

It started with a YouTube on making spring rolls:

Then, ChangLi has brown rice vermicelli
The rice paper is still from white rice... you can get it from brown rice, but it's expensive and not around here, so for now this is good enough.


1/2 Cabbage
1 carrot
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 onion
4 mushrooms
100 gm rice vermicelli
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup of water
3 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos or Yondu

dip of crumbled corn flakes or some other ground-up puffed whole grain (without sugar) and sesame seeds. 


  • Cut up the veggies fine
  • cook till soft, 
  • then add the water and the vermicelli and cook for 3 mins. Note: vermicelli will absorb most of the cooking water, so you will have your stuffing suitablly dry - too wet would ruin your rice paper rolls.
  • fill the moist rice papers and roll them up... dip in the crumbles and put on your cookie sheet 
  • 30 mins at 350F will do you just fine.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce.

Nutritional notes

I adjusted the above somewhat, but not enough for some of the ingredients. As a general rule Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Yondu are a good alternative to soy sauce or Tamari.
The BLA and Yondu come in at ca 300 mg sodium per teaspoon (Tsp), while the typical soy sauce or tamari clock in at 900-1000 mg of sodium per Tsp. However this recipe makes about 30 spring rolls. And it uses 3 Tbsp of BLA or Yondu, or 3 x 3 x 300 mg = 2,700 mg sodium.
To simplify the math, that amounts to almost 100 mg sodium per roll. So if you were to eat three as an appetizer, that might be alright if the rest of the meal does not over use sodium, but if you make a meal out of this, you are getting a ton of sodium.
One obvious alternative might be to use a low sodium veggie stock in lieu of the glass of water, and then to cut the use of even BLA or Yondu down to ca. 1 Tbsp instead of three, and you can use some other spices, or things like scallions or shallots to create more aroma. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Yondu Recipe #3

Yondu was my favorite find at the recent plant-based food show in the Javits.

Compared to soy sauce and tamari, this has 1/3rd the level of sodium per teaspoon (about 300 mg instead of 900-1000mg), and you can use it in ways that are similar to Bragg's Liquid Aminos, but the flavor is more delicate and aromatic.

Here is one way of using it - in this case I used one teaspoon (5 ml) of Yondu in a cup of filtered water in lieu of veggie broth - in this example one cup of my "Yondu broth" was enough to make both my spinach and my stir-fried mushrooms:

Caramelizing cut-up onions:

  • 5 mins dry roast no stirring, on high (ca 425F)
  • add in whatever spices, chopped garlick, chilis, peppers, turmeric, or whatever you are going to use, and do 5 more mins on high (425F), while adding about 1/4 cup of the liquid in splashes while you are stirring, just enough to prevent the onions from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You keep it liquid, but you're not making soup.
  • use this as a base for whatever you are doing next.

 Delicious Spinach

  • Use caramelized onions as above
  • Add in washed, chopped spinach
  • Cook for 7 mins on medium (ca 275F).
  • you can play with the spices from mild to hot. I love a spicy spinach, and depending on what dish you are making turmeric can be a beautiful addition.

Stir-fied mushrooms

  • Start with dry-roasted onions as above.
  • when you start stir frying, add in the mushrooms as well as the spices and stirfry on high (425F).
  • The lower the heat to medium (275F) and add another 1/2 cup of your "Yondu broth" and let it cook until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 10-15 mins).
  • Serve perfect mushrooms.


Otamot tomato sauce was another discovery from the food show. This time I made whole wheat spaghetti with this Otamot sauce, which is out of this world, however, while I loved the taste, I am not their customer, for it still has oil in it and on their website they promulgate the nutritional myth that your body needs the added fat to absorb nutrients, which is baloney.

The issue that you DON'T need added fats in your diet has been dealt with squarely by Jeff Nelson of Vegsource recently.


Yondu is a great addition to your condiments. It is very flexible in daily use. I love the aroma! Lots of flavor for little sodium, in line with Bragg's Liquid Aminos.

Otamot is a great tasting and very nutritious tomato-based sauce, but unfortunately has some oil in it, so I do not recommend it on a #WFPB diet.

The bottom line is added oils are a direct attack on your endothelium and you want to avoid them whenever you can. You want to be moderate in your use of fatty fruit like nuts, avocados and coconut. Normal food has all the fat you ever need. If you are following Dr. Esselstyn's Plant Perfect diet, you want to avoid nuts, avocados and coconut as much as possible.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Korean Night with Vivian Lee (and some help from Yondu)

Here are the links and comments from the incomparable Vivian Lee from our Korean Style Cooking class. We used it as an occasion to experiment with Yondu as a condiment.

We are still tweaking this, as we have done in the past, so at some time, we may end up doing another Korean style class.

Spice Rice Cakes (Tteokbokki)

  • 2 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 1 tbsp Korean red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp Yondu
  • 10 tubular Korean brown rice cakes 
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • scallions and sesame seeds for garnish

Korean Glass Noodles (Japchae)

  • Obviously take out the oil. I still haven't mastered this recipe without a little bit of sesame oil... 

Potato Pancake (Gamja Jeon)

  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives or green onion
  • 1/4-1/2 cup wheat flour 


  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
Note: Use non-stick pan if omitting oil, or perhaps a Stainless Steel pan, which often times works even better than non-stick. There's also a spray of avocado oil, and even

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Some Travel notes... Angola and UAE

Ok, so I went to visit my adoptive son Didi in Angola, and here are some notes on my food adventures.

Didi & me at the National Museum in Luanda 6/24/19
Emirates airlines, they had some reasonable vegan meals, but a bit inconsistent, because like most in the hospitality industry, they are clueless about nutrition. So I wrote to them. I had brought along some baggies of kale with sweet potato, with my usual mustard seeds and balsamic vinegar and that kind of supplemented my food during the journey. Because vinegar is a good preservative, some of it made it all the way to the fridge in my hotel in Luanda and lasted another two days.

Hotel Diamante at Luanda. L loved the very central location of the hotel, and what's more the food was not bad. Particularly the breakfast, which was perhaps my most important meal. There was a greengrocer (Casa de Frescos) around the corner on Av. 4 de Fevereiro, where I could get some rice cakes, and any extra fruit if I wanted. They also had stuff like brown rice and whole wheat pasta, so clearly there is some budding interest, but overall the selection is limited when you go out.
For breakfast there was an extensive selection of fruit, melon, papaya, banana, on and on, so I would get myself a huge fruit plate, and then there was a very good quality of course multigrain bread and always sautéed vegetables (probably onions, and chard, or collard greens). They were not too greasy, although for me any grease is too much, I hate it any more, but these were passably good. The whole thing made for a substantial and quite acceptable breakfast.

DIY. During the week, my friend became curious about my food habits, so one day we went to the supermarket, and I made a meal at lunch time. Here's what I made - and I started with a mixture of caramelized onions with garlic and some chilis as a foundation for three veggie dishes, plus, I cooked some sweet potatoes. Here were the other dishes:
  • black beans with caramelized onions, chilis, garlic and some spices. In this case from a can, so I needed merely to heat them up.
  • Mixed vegetables, I don't remember everything, but I started with the same base of caramelized onions and added some more, including eggplant, coco/eddoe/taro, carrots, tomato, peppers.
  • Swiss Chard (which were labeled spinach in the supermarket.
 Primitive, but not bad, and again the leftovers went into freezer bags and on towards my hotel fridge, and with some rice cakes from around the corner, I could have a nice veggie snack at any time for the last few days.


I don't really remember the name of all the restaurants, but there was one very nice place on the beach, Coconuts, described as "vegetarian friendly," and I would agree. Here is a picture of the view to the beach on the inland bay on the Ilha do Mussulo:
Generally speaking, the way I got by, was this (note that I had been instructed by an infectious disease doctor not to eat salads and only the kind of fruit that you can peel): I managed to explain that I wanted mixed vegetables but cooked without oil, and then I combined it with either potatoes, sweet potatoes, or pasta. It was beyond me to explain how to caramelize onions without oil, but there was generally some onions and tomato in the mix. Sometimes I specified some tomatoes and some garlic. Herbs and spices too hard to explain, but I often resorted to balsamic vinegar. Forget whole wheat pasta of course, or brown rice. As noted, I could get those at the grocery store, but that was not a battle worth having at a restaurant. The most upscale place we tried, Pimms - supposedly one of the fanciest restaurants in the city, which was also written up as also 'vegan friendly,' disappointed the most. They tried, but the result was mediocre, for twice the price.

UAE, Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Center. Arriving at the airport at 5 AM and at the hotel before 6 AM, before any room would be ready, the only thing that mattered was breakfast, and the selection was extensive, not to say overwhelming, but still slanted in favor of heart attack food. So, it was still not easy. Fruit was easy. I found a quinoa salad that was not too bad, and something like Tabouleh. With a little combining I managed to end up with a nice leisurely breakfast, and time to wait until my room was ready.

Dinner with a friend as a local restaurant in  Ras Al Khaima found me a buffet dinner, and although they looked at me weird when I began to explain about no oil, no meat, etc., it turned out that once I started exploring it was not too bad at all, and I managed to survive.

I had a great trip, but I was happy to be back in my very own food paradise in little Bangladesh on Starling Avenue.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

How to deal with doctors

My qualifications on this particular topic are based mostly on my own experience with doctor visits, which are a relatively rare occurrence in my life. My outlook is heavily informed by the the fact that my father was a doctor and our mealtimes were often mini conferences of him and various colleagues, often focused on their resistance to the formation of what we now call Pharmageddon, or the medical-industrial complex and the de-humanization of medicine. Even then, in the early sixties some doctors were seeing how the new developments in pharmaceuticals made doctors into drug pushers fighting symptoms and not helping patients heal and be healthy. My father had scathing criticism for the pharmacological inroads into psychiatry and eventually evolved into a sort of Jungian psychotherapist more than a psychiatrist because he categorically declined to get involved with psychopharmaca. He also would at times serve patients for free or on a sliding scale whenever insurance stopped covering them, he simply would not accept administrative interference in patient relationships.

The Lifestyle Medicine revolution

Lifestyle Medicine is the new form of medicine that is rooted in the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet and the insight that nutrition is 80% of the work. In other words, acute issues aside, the first order of business is to make sure you are getting the whole benefit of the whole foods, plant-based diet, for it provides an abundance of nutrients, which puts your body in optimal shape to deal with all of the real life challenges, including preventing or reversing the chronic diseases that kill people who follow a modern, industrial Western diet. So, diet should be your first concern, but that does not mean doctors are an unnecessary luxury.

The slow evolution of lifestyle medicine means we have to be innovative in dealing with doctors. The central point is that you are now taking responsibility for your health, for you decide what goes down the gullet. How far you want to go with that is your business, but besides my wide reading in this area, I went and took the certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Nutrition Studies. The new relationship with your doctor, assuming he is a plant-based doctor is a partner in wellness, where he/she should be very much your personal subject matter expert, particularly if there are any challenges and together you can figure out any adjustments that may be needed along the way.
Not necessary, but it helps

In most cases, your regular doctor is in a system that pushes him one way and one way only a consultation and a treatment. Even the ones that do sympathize with the premises of lifestyle medicine and the whole foods, plant-based diet are still in that system. So when this year I had some anomalies in my regular annual physical exam, I decided it was time for some extracurricular consultation, and as it was, I went and visited Dr. Robert Graham at He went and took some more extensive tests and together we figured out what was right and what was wrong and some prudent adjustments to make. We are talking about tweaking now, but sometimes it helps to not be guessing and get very specific feedback from a trusted expert who cares.

I learned a lot. Without discussing all the details here, I will highlight one element... just to illustrate why I got concerned with my physical this year.

2015: Spring physical, Total Cholesterol (TC) was 185. My diet was still fairly mixed, although for the most part I did not eat a lot of meat, probably a chicken a week and a hamburger 3 times a year. But lots of eggs, yoghurt, cheese, cheese and more cheese. Still, I always ate plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. I never ate white bread or white rice in my life. I considered that rat food, or window caulking in a pinch. So I probably ate a bit above average. And 185 is not really all that concerning. I just recently read a book about heart disease, "Know Your Real Risk of Heart Disease" by the Australian physician Dr. Warwick Bishop. The book is very well organized, and offers good explanations about how the heart works and what various diagnostics do or don't mean. To him, TC level below 193 would be just fine. In America, regular doctors consider 200-239 the range for borderline concern, so 185 would be of no concern.

And then there is Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who says below 150 is heart attack proof. Is he nuts or what? The same Dr. Esselstyn also says again and again that Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a paper tiger that need not exist and unless it is absolutely acute and critical, the only intervention we ever need is a whole foods, plant-based diet. He will also point out that anyone eating a Western diet and aged 60 ish will have some level of CVD. And recently, we learned that for our Southeast Asian friends, we could say above 40, for the average age of heart attack victims in e.g. Bangladesh is 43 years of age, because genetically, they have smaller veins.

Here is my personal experience (I wrote about this before when I turned 65):

2015: physical (spring) TC=185
2015: May, re-read Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. I decided to quit fooling around and jumped in with both feet.
2016: physical in spring: TC=151
2017: physical in spring: TC=146
2018: no physical
2019: physical in spring: TC=168???
2019: retested three months after my physical, with a more elaborated test (June) TC=145

That was one of a few things that seemed off, and I could not explain except I was probably more religious about going to the gym in 2016 than recently, so time to step up my game, but still.
With further testing and consultation as indicated above, this time TC came back at 145, just two months later. That simply makes more sense given the history, and what I know I am doing with my diet. By the way there was absolutely NO sign of inflammation. Nice to know the diet works, but with the information at hand we figured out I could add another scoop of chia seeds, hemp seeds, (milled) flax seed, or walnuts, to slightly increase my Omega-3 intake. This becomes one of those areas where we're all different, and some may need a bit more than others, but it is important to know that more is not always bettter. It is about the ratio between Omega-6 and Omega-3.

In short, I learned a lot from a very specific consultation that allows me to tweak my lifestyle. It pays not to become complacent. As to diagnostics, initially, here is the only diagnostic you need:

It is a simple self-test for how well you eat based on whole foods, plant-based nutrition criteria. It give you a rating from 1-leaf (slightly above average already) to 4-leaves (you are doing a Whole Food, Plant-Based diet completely) and it is excellent for handholding so you can gradually improve your diet.


If you are doing a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet, talk about it with your physician. If they ignore it, it may be worth looking for another doctor. That is what happened with me in 2018. I switched away from my old doctor, because he did not know or understand enough about lifestyle medicine and the whole foods, plant-based diet. Of course as soon as I switched my new doctor moved to another state, and I changed doctors again this year.
In terms of doing this diet, for yourself, or for others: don't try to practice medicine without a license, but you can confidently rely on the fact that if you are following the #WFPB diet properly, minus Sugar, Oil and Salt, and plus some natural Omega-3 sources, and your B12 supplement, you are giving your body the optimal chances to heal itself, and many common issues will pass you by unnoticed. Against that background your medical requirements should be extremely modest, and if anything comes up, at least you know you are helping yourself to the maximum.
That latter point is really the theme of the movie The Game Changers, which premieres on Sept 16th (don't miss it!!!). The lead character is a martial arts trainer for the military and he found the whole foods plant-based diet because he wanted to help himself recover from a very serious injury and in his research he stumbled on the fact that the gladiators in Rome ate mostly barley and veggies. That is where his journey started.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Yondu Recipe #2 - Sautéed Radishes

Here we go with another Yondu recipe from their recipe cards, and all I had to do to make it #WFPB is take away the oil and instead caramelize some onions with some garlic (I could add some Thai chilis if I am in the mood for hot.
Original pic from Yondu site

Sautéed Radishes


  • 1 Onion Chopped fine
    2-3 garlic cloves
    1--2 Thai chilis sliced thin (optional)
    3 cups halved small radishes (or larger radishes quatered)
    1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    3 teaspoons Yondu (3 tsp = 1 tbsp)


  1. Sautée the onion:
    1. Dry roast on medium high (425F) for 5 mins, no stir
    2. Add the minced garlic and chili (if using)
    3. Stir fry with a few table spoons of water, sufficient to liquify 
  2. Add the radishes and scallions: 
    1. 3 mins at medium making sure enough liquid
    2. Add Yondu
    3. 2 more minutes until Yondu is absorbed

 On a side note

People have so much trouble cooking with out oil, yet once you know the basics it is both easier and tastier. This is an absolutely yummy side dish any time.

And, instead of Yondu, you could use some veggie broth, or you could use a small amount of Bragg's liquid aminos, but I would have to say that Yondu does produce a finger-licking good flavor. It is fast becoming one of my favorite flavorings.