Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Low Down on Verrgie Broth in the Hood

One of the insideous 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.

When you read these labels remember, they do the best thing to look for is just the actual quantities "per serving" and check what they call a "serving!" 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.

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.

Chiang-Li Supermarket

  •  College Inn, 32 Oz 100% Natural Garden Vegetable Broth - $3.39
    • 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.: 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
    • 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!

 Key Foods, Metropolitan

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


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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Yondu Recipe #1 Sesame Soba Noodles

OK let's turn this #WFPB

Here is the original recipe on the Yondu site:

Sesame Soba Noodles

Now create a #WFPB equivalent - in my experience about the same prep time, some 25-30 mins - I have adjusted it for a dinner for one, and in the process, we drop the oil and the egg and it tastes even better:

  • 1 bunch soba noodles, cooked (typically 6-7 mins)


  • 2 medium onions cut-up fine, or shredded on a mandoline
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 good sized crown of broccoli, cut into florets and stems sliced.
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 TBSP Yondu
  • 1- 1.5 cups of water


  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijion mustard
  • 1 Tsp Yondu
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1-1.5 Tsp of date sugar

Prepping, Serving

  • cut up the onions and dry roast 5 mins at 425F (medium high)
  • mince the garlic, and add after 5 mins
  • stir fry for 5 mins at 425F while adding a few table spoons of the water with Yondu as needed to liquify
  • on this bed of onions and garlic pour a cup of water with 1 Tbsp Yondu and add the broccoli and scallion chunks.
  • simmer at low temp until the broccoli is done, some 20-30 mins.
  • add in the cooked soba noodles at the end.
  • Mix the dressing in a blender and poor it over the pasta
  • sprinkle on the sesame seeds, and any other garnish you might like, e.g. sliced peppers, hot or mild as you prefer, or hot pepper flakes, etc.
 Just enjoy it. This dish and a good size salad could make a meal. Easy.


Monday, June 10, 2019

I discovered Yondu at the Plant-based World Expo & Conference

Here is the Yondu website explaining what Yondu is.

Clearly, it is of Korean extraction, and it's a fermented brew from soybeans and veggie broth, but it is fermented in its own juices, with very little salt, which is the problem with some fermented projects like kimchi or Tianjin preserved vegetables. It seems expensive, but it's actually economical for you can use it just one teaspoon at a time.

It is amazing, you can cook without salt, and this chef does not yet know how to cook without oil, but you can absolutely make any veggie dish without oil.

Here was my first delicious recipe with some Organic Swiss Chard from ShopRite on the Bruckner:

A side of Swiss Chard with Yondu 


  • One bunch of Swiss chard
  • some fresh turmeric, minced, or turmeric powder
  • three small or two medium onions, cut up fine.
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of Yondu


  • Caramelized some onions, 5 mins dry roasting at 425F(Medium/high)
  • followed by gradually adding some minced garlic and fresh turmeric (always available at Al Aqsa on my street) and stir-frying for another 5 mins at 425F with some splashes of veggie broth.
  • Cut up the stems of the chard in 1/4" pieces, and added on top of the caramelized onions, while adding 1 cup of water with one tsp of Yondu.
  • Cooked for 10 mins at 275 F (Medium). 
  • Cut up the leaves in 1"strips, and put them on top of the onions and stems, and cooked for another 10 mins at 275F.
The result: a quick and easy side of veggies.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

An Ayurvedic Okra Dal

Here is one more Okra recipe - by now I've made 4 different Okra dishes in the last few days, all because I bought a half a bushed of Okra for $3.99, and I ate some of what I made, but I froze a lot. That all goes into the idea of cooking cycles, now I have a ton of these Okra dishes, and it will make my cooking easier for months. You could just have some brown rice with a portion of this Okra Dal, some other vegetable, like spinach or zucchini or broccoli, or whatever, and a salad, and you have a meal fit for a prince.

Okra Dal (Ayurveda)

Get rid of the oil - all Ayurvedic recipes use oil, so that is the first thing to get rid of, and I tend to make up for the taste with some more onions and garlic.


2-3 onions, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced.
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon of caraway (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken up, or you can use some flat cinnamon and crush it with a mortar and pestle.
12-16  ounces red lentils
1 teaspoon ground coriander and/or
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro chopped fine
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)
1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 1⁄2 cups water
1 large tomato, halved
24 okra (ca. 1 lb), topped and tailed, and cut in 1/2" sections
liquid aminos to taste


  • Caramelize the onions in a large saucepan and cook with the cumin seeds and cinnamon over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is beginning to brown.
  • Add the lentils, coriander, chili powder and turmeric. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the water and then add the tomato and okra.
  • Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes, until the okra and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Okra Tomato Stew

OK, so the other day I scored a 1/2 bushel of Okra for $3.99 and this has me cooking ahead.

There are tons of recipes and youtube videos around, and converting them to a #WFPB alternative is easy.

Basic Okra Recipe

Here is one nice video, which you can easily convert to #WFPBNO (No Oil - EVER!)

How to cook Okra and make an UNhealthy vegan dish

This recipe would be easy to make, and substitute the oil as follows:
  • Cut up the onion. Don't drag your knife sideways across the cutting board as the video shows - you will be destroying the edge of your knife very quickly.
  • Dry roast it for 5 minutes at 425F (medium/high) without stirring.
  • Stir fry it for another 5 minutes at 425F, while adding 2-3 icecubes of veggie broth
  • Follow the rest of the recipe.
 Ok, I have so much Okra, I am making this dish as well.

Her ingredients, with comments:

Okra/Lediesfinger- 500gm Onion- 1 medium or large - double up - see below.
add some chilis
Garlic- 3 or 4 cloves Turmeric powder- 1 tsp Cumin powder- 1tsp Salt- 1/2 tsp - use some liquid aminos instead Oil- 30ml - double up on the onions instead

I remove the oil and double up on the onions. That's all. 

So here's the main dish - the promised Okra Tomato Stew:

Okra Tomato Stew

Okra Tomato Stew #WFPB variant


  • 1 Bag of frozen okra (14 ounces) or the fresh okras
  •  1 red onion, chopped or a small bag of pearl onions (6 ounces)
  •  Tomato sauce (14 ounces) or fresh tomatoes, peeled and cut (diced)
  • some cilantro - I use about 10+ sprigs of cilantro and cut them up good
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice or seven-spice mix, or panchpuran
  • 1 Tablespoon of mashed garlic (mash with a teaspoon of salt till pasty), alternatively some garlic/ginger paste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced


  • Chop the onion and dry roast it in a sauce pan, for 5 mins at 425F, while mincing the garlic.
  • Add the minced garlic and stir fry for 5 more mins at 425F, while adding 2-3 icecubes of veggie broth
  • Add the okra (still frozen) to the onions and stir-fry for 5 minutes or so.
  • Add the garlic paste to the okra, then the tomatoes (or tomato sauce) and lemon juice and allspice or panchpuran.
  • Cover the saucepan and let the mixture simmer for 45 minutes, making sure it does not burn at the bottom.
  • Add the cilantro if you're using it
  • Uncover the last five minutes of cooking to let more liquid evaporate and turn off the heat.
  • Serve at room temperature with some pita bread.
NOTE: To save time I use the frozen okra that is available at the Middle-Eastern store imported from Egypt; it is already prepped and requires no additional chopping. If you are using fresh okra, cut off the tip of the pod, dry with paper towels and stir-fry in olive oil; then proceed with the recipe.
The original recipe omits the cilantro, but I think it is delicious and really makes this stew a winner!!!

In an earlier post I discussed Okra in Lentil Sauce:

Have at it folks.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Baby Potatoes with Purslane Salad

[Contributed by Megan Saynisch, from the Real Food Right Now series
This is a delicious simple recipe. You can routinely get Purslane (Verdolaga) at the Mexican store Frutas Y Vegetales La Reyna at 1300-1302 Beach Avenue/corner Westchester Ave (opposite The South of France Restaurant.

Look at this nutrition information:


Nutritional Value

Verdolagas is rich in potassium and magnesium and contains as much beta carotene as spinach. It also contains the omega three fatty acid known as alpha linolenic acid, which studies have shown can be helpful in lowering blood pressure and regulating cholesterol levels. Recent studies have also shown that Verdolagas contains a significant amount of melatonin as well.



1 lb fingerling potatoes, or young 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 cut up fine

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

1-2 tsp of dill

salt and pepper to taste


  • boil the potatoes cut in small chunks
  • pluck the leaves off the purslane and reserve the stems for another use ( like making your own veggie broth or soup)
  • make the salad dressing
  • mix

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Collard Greens Galore

This is the report from the April 13th St. Helena's Communal #WFPB/Suppers Meal Prep event. We had five people.

We had a small group, and the program was a bit too much given the limited number of hands, but we had fun.

I had decided the theme for this time was collard greens, just to explore some different ideas. The salad was just an ordinary salad, but we split some ingredients with the stuffed collard greens later-on.


Red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, beets and the works.

  • 3 beets boiled, peeled, grated (with the mandolin)
  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 box of baby spinach
  • a chopped white onion
  • 1/2 buch of enoki mushrooms
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • a yellow, orange, and red pepper cut-up in small chunks
  • 5 tomatoes cut up fine
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley - leaves cut up fine.
  • several serving spoons of boiled quinoa
  • chia seeds
1/2/3 dressing with lemon: 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 3 tbsp balsamic, plus the juice of one lemon and two limes. (It all depends on how much juice you get).

That was one mean salad!


Based on the recipe for Loaded Miso Noodle Soup from NutritionStudies, but with some additions - for 5 people, but we cooked way too much and people took quite a bit home, even after having seconds - we could have served 8-10 people:

5 servings of soba or brown rice noodles, uncooked
3 cups vegetable broth
10 cups water
1 sheet roasted nori seaweed, broken into pieces, or in our case we soaked about a table spoon of wakame to start the broth.

1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms  

5 leaves of collard greens, cut out the stems, roll them up and slice them thin so you end up with thin collard greens strips, similar to the julienned veggies.

1 cup julienned carrot
1 cup julienned zucchini

1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup of daikon, cut katsuramuki style, first in sheets and then rolled up and sliced into thin strips, again, like the spiralized veggies. Alternatively, you could simply julienne them on the mandolin.

8 Tbsp miso paste
1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped green onions


  • Start the water, and add in the soaked wakame, or the nori, or both. (I have gone away from using hijiki because of its reputation for containing arsenic) this forms the foundation broth
  • Noodles: you can cook them separately, as the original recipe suggests, but I like to cook them with the soup for the last 5-7 minutes, for if they sit around too long cooked, they will stick together.
  • Prepare all your veggies, making sure you add-in the collard greens first, since they are the toughest. Keep the scallions (green onions) for last.
  • Add in the veggies, except for the scallions and let boil on a slow rolling boil for 5 mins, 
  • add in the 3 cup of veggie broth
  • Scoop out some broth and use to dissolve the miso
  • Add the miso, scallions, and tofu and let simmer for another 1 minute. Serve.
If you cooked the pasta separately, you add it in at the last moment, but I see nothing wrong with cooking the pasta in the soup for the last 5-7 minutes.

Oil-free hummus

1 15-Oz can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup of the aquafaba from the beans
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
zest of one lemon (thoroughly washed)
juice of one lemon
1 tsp of liquid aminos
if more liquid is needed, add some veggie stock or water.
optional 1 tsp paprika powder
optional some fresh parsley, or scallions

In the blender...

Stuffed Collard Greens and Collard Green Burritos

My idea here was that this is great food for picnics in the summer. You can make a stuffed collard green pocket or a burrito, and wrap it in a sheet of paper towel and wrap it in saran wrap and then use a sandwich bag. You can take that anywhere. I take it even to restaurants when I don't trust the food. "I'm on a diet." Eventually the restaurants will catch on. ;-)

I prepared the Collard green leaves two ways:
Steamed and then flatten the stems with a rolling pin - for the burritos
Fresh, but with the stems cut out and interleaving the two half-leaves, for the wraps.

For stuffings we had:
  • a pilaf of brown and black rice
  • quinoa with parsley and a splash of liquid aminos
  • hummus was pre-made at home with garlic and paprika powder and some parsley
  • steamed green beans
  • scallions, sliced thin
  • enoki mushrooms
  • Upton's Jackfruit Chili Lime Carnitas
  • Kimchi
  • sauteed onions, green peppers and white mushrooms
OK, you can see now we had too much for just five people. Some other time, I'd like to do this again with a bigger group, and have people assemble the burritos and stuffed leaves at the table, so everyone can pick their own favorites.


You lay out the leaves, add a smear of hummus in the center, lay on some quinoa or rice stuffing and then pile on your favorite mix of stuffings and roll it up.

It is easiest with the steamed leaves - burrito style. For the fresh leaves, you might need a toothpick to keep them together, or just hold them and eat them right away.

OK, all in all this was an orgy of fresh leafy greens, but with lots of color as well.

Besides the general lesson, one of our members, Sylvia, taught us all a lesson by taking the parsley stems home for her own veggie broth. If you have the time, it is worth cooking your own veggie broth. I do it once every few months, when I feel brave, and I fill some ice cube trays with my own veggie broth.

Starting #WFPB in April. Episode 11

Another easy day


The usual, some fruit, some steel cut oats with more fruit and some kale and sweet potato. Lately I've been making it a bit spicier with some garlic.


Cucumber salad, Pea soup, some multi grain toast, kale with sweet potato.


Neighbor came over.

Large salad of red leaf lettuce, with red onion, peppers, tomato, some salad olives, 1/2/3 dressing with the juice of one lemon and one lime and some scoops of quinoa. Some chia seeds and flaxseed.

Dinner was the last of the roast cauliflower from earlier in the week served over a bed of black and short grain brown rice pilaf, reheated in the oven on steam reheat. My neighbor loved it.

Presently, I am switching gears. I will have an irregular schedule for the next two weeks, so I'll be doing a bit more improv. This Saturday is my cooking class at St. Helena's - see my separate report - the good news for me is that I have a freezer full of nice soups to fall back on, and when in a hurry, a soup and salad will do just fine.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April. Episode 10


Some fruit to wake up to, the usual steel cut oats, and a portion of kale with sweet potato.


A salad and a bowl of my Umpteen Bean Soup from the weekend


I was at a reception, where I found a few things to nibble on, and when I came back I had a good size salad with some broccoli and quinoa, red leaf lettuce, beets, and the works.

Easy does it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April. Episode 9


Steel cut oats, Kale and sweet potato

Put some beets into the Instant Pot for lunch.


Salad with quinoa and beets.
Heat up a frozen pea soup.


OK, today I was time constrained, as I was back late from an appointment, and that's when you're happy for cooking ahead... a leftover day is a great help... and it proves why it pays to establish cooking cycles.

I had a beet for an appetizer, and my dinner was a plate of roast cauliflower.

Snacks in between of fruits and kale salad with sweet potato - always the go-to snack.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April. Episode 8


2 mandarins
the usual steel cut oats, with Strawberries, and some almond milk for a change.
Kale and sweet potato salad.


Huge salad with red leaf lettuce, beets, peppers, red onion, capers, olives, quinoa and 1/2/3 dressing

A bowl of umpteen bean soup.


Cucumber Salad: Left over from the other day. Added in some Moringa powder jst for fun, because I happened to have it and want to use it up.

Roast Cauliflower

In this case, I am using essentially the original recipe as I found it online:
The oven dish, cauliflower quartered


The Gravy 

3 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp maple syrup optional, for sweetness
3 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce*, or apple cider vinegar
2-4 minced garlic cloves or 2 tsp garlic powder
2-3 cut-up onions or 2 tsp onion powder
3-5 sprigs of parsley, cut up the leaves fine, or 1 tsp dried parsley
3/4 tsp thyme or fresh
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

Preparation Instructions

My plate, over black/brown rice pilaf

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 (that's the final 1/3rd of the gravy.
Remove from the oven and serve while hot.

I served it over a bed of my pilar of black and short grain brown rice. 

*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.

Apart from taking a longish time, this dish is actually not a lot of work.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 7


The usual steelcut oats, with strawberries today

Kale and sweet potato salad


Cucumber salad and a huge bowl of my Umpteen Bean Soup, with some parsley garnish.


I was out today, and ended up just taking some kale salad, followed by a big salad with red leaf lettuce, beets, tomato, red onion, peppers, quinoa, flax seed and 1/2/3 dressing with lemon, lime, some minced garlic, and parsley.

Some fruit here and there in between.


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 6

Ok, we started on Monday with an empty freezer (apart from staples) at the beginning of the month, and sofar I've still got some frozen pea soup and a few left overs (in the fridge). During the week I also shared some meals with a neighbor, for with a single person household, I tend to always cook too much, and I don't want to eat leftovers all the time. For the rest, from what it looks like, I'll make roast cauliflower over rice for tonight and cook ahead some soup for the week.

Part of creating a cooking system for me is to use certain containers always for the same purpose. In this case, I use one container for oatmeal, so washing it and putting it aside, is my reminder that evening to cook oatmeal overnight. My oatmeal is always for 2 days. The same goes for another staple, my kale salad, when that container is half way, I know to bring another bunch of kale, and steam it (I prefer steaming, but that's personal, you could cook it in water). I have a method that involves my induction cooktop, 12 minutes to bring the water to a boil, and then I steam the kale for 15 minutes and I let it drain for a while over the sink, so I do not put it away too soggy. Then I cut it up in about 1-1/2" squares on the cutting board, and mix it with the other ingredients.


At breakfast, I ended up milling some flax seed for the week (again, do not buy it milled, mill it yourself), which I keep in a jar in the fridge, and I use it about twice a day, in my steel cut oats at breakfast and in salads. The other additions I use a lot is chia seeds and hemp hearts.

The oatmeal was ready in the rice cooker at 6:30 and all I needed to do was add a grated apple, a half pint of blueberries, cocoa nibs, 2 tbsp of raisins, 1 tbsp of goji berries, and cinnamon, and let it go for another 5-10 mins on "keep warm." After that just add in a sliced banana, and some blackberries. I never cook my oatmeal with anything other than water, but if people prefer some plant milk, you can add that at serving time - just mix it in and the oatmeal will simply be a bit more liquid, but some folks like that taste better, and using plant-based milk, you are fine.


It was time to steam a bunch of kale, and prepare my usual kale and sweet potato salad, and this time I decided to mince some fresh garlic, which is incredibly healthy. I minced it really fine. Other than that, I cut up a sweet potato in cubes, with skin (high ORAC value), added some mustard seeds, and a drizzle of balsamic and mixed it up really good.


This is saturday, right? Cucumber salad, some left overs, and a piece of toast with home made hummus.

Hummus with endless variations

1 can of chickpeas, drained, preserving some 1/4 cup of aqua fava
whatever spices you prefer. Today, I am making it with chopped parsley and a table spoon of paprika powder, plus I'll add in some minced sundried tomatoes after it's made.
Put the chickpeas with 1/4 cup aqua fava, and the spices in your Magic Bullet, or whatever herb grinder you use, and go to it. 

A note about knifery

You will note that I 'cut up' things, or I 'mince' them, I do not 'chop.' It all depends what your knife habits are. Chopping is a crude method, and it will make your knives dull fast. I keep my knives nice and sharp and I cut, or mince things, as needed. I also do not scrape the cutting board with my knife, which people do who have dull knives in their kitchen. That is anathema to me, though you can scoop up stuff off the board without endangering the edge of the knife.


The last of the leftovers from the week, while cooking a kitchen sink soup for the week. See here the recipe:

Umpteen Bean Soup

My own variation on the various bags with 13-16 beans, or so-called soup mix beans. The Link is just one example, there are a kazillion recipes available.


1 lb Soup Bean Mix (or whatever the name is, like 13 or 15 or 16 bean mix), soaked with a little kombu (kelp)
8 cups vegetable stock (or 4 cup water, 4 cup stock or all water!)
2-4 onions, chopped yellow or vidalia onions are great here
1 tsp savory
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 chilis minced
1 jalapeno minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2-3 stalks celery with tops, chopped
2-4 carrots, peeled and cut-up
1/4 tsp himalayan salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of ground red pepper
1 dried bay leaf
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup of barley
juice of 1 lemon
Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste and some nutritional yeast to round out the flavor.

OPTIONALLY: other veggies as available, root vegetables such as parsnips, or taro (aka edo, or coco), turnips, ginger, fennel, celeriac, turmeric, potato, rutabaga


  • You can cook them directly (dry) in the Instant Pot, for 45 mins or so. I usually soak them and then cook them in the Instant Pot for just 5 mins or so, while I am prepping the other stuff. You can add in the savory during this phase.
  • Then, to cook the soup, I start with the onions, chilis and jalapenos, 5 mins at medium/high, no stirring. By the end of five minutes the lower layer of onions should be starting to turn brown.
  • Add in the garlic and gradually add 2-3 ice cubes of veggie broth, while doing another 5 mins on medium/high, with constant stirring.
  • add in the turmeric and spices while simmering on medium low
  • add in the beans from the Instant Pot, and add in the savory, if you had not done so before.
  • Now you can simply cut up the veggies and add them in and keep adding some veggie broth, or water. I used tow packs of veggie broth this time.
End result: I have a HUGE bowl of soup for lunch today, and I have a container of soup in the fridge for during the week, plus I froze about 6 quart size freezer bags of soup for another time. In short, since the start of the month, I have now built up 10 portions of frozen soup, and whenever I am in a hurry, I can just heat up a frozen soup and combine with a generous salad with quinoa, and I have a nice lunch. It's all part of making your cooking into a system. After all, there are always times when you have no time to cook. I don't have a microwave, so my reheating of frozen soup means melting it in a bowl of hot water and then pouring it into a double boiler. In that time I can be making my salad, so I have about 30 min prep time for a great lunch.

Note 1: Today I added some edo, a parsnip, some broccoli, turmeric, ginger.

Note 2: The kombu and savory add flavor and nutrients but specifically also are thought to help making beans easier to digest. In fairness, over time, you get used to digesting beans, it is really not a problem, except to people who for a long time already have not been getting enough fiber.

Here is the low down on the health value of Kombu which is a form of kelp - note you can overdo it: This is an interesting site to consult. Notice that some of the iodide cooks off.

Overall, you might want to pay some attention to get some sea veggies into your food... here's a great info source:

Here is another piece: there is just one disease, which is bad diet.
A recent report from The Lancet confirms the same thing - Diet is the #1 leading cause of premature death world-wide.