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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Super Superbowl Hummus


Here is a perfect snack for Superbowl Sunday. Not only is it decadently delicious, but it is healthy and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. This healthy hummus has only a few ingredients and, after blending or food processing it together, can be served with raw veggies, mini pita bread pockets, or any type of chips. I use it as a snack or even a meal throughout the week as it is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Here is the recipe:

1 can garbanzo beans

1/2 cup cashews

juice of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic

1-2 Tbsp tahini (sesame butter)

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup water

Place all the ingredients into the blender or food processor and blend until smooth. We added some paprika for color and decoration (plus it smokes up the flavor a bit too). Serve with raw veggies (carrots, broccoli, cucumber, celery, bell peppers, jicama, etc.), whole-wheat pita pockets, corn chips, or anything else you like to dip. It can also be served on bread as a sandwich spread with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Yum! Enjoy!

Ball & Dumbbell Workout #2 with Cari Ham


This is the fifth workout I endured with trainer Cari Ham from Fitness on the Run. It was really fun and and not complicated. What I love about Cari's program design is that she incorporates the entire body in just a few exercises. We did 5 exercises again: Ball Plank, Ball Tuck, Ball 1-Armed Row, Ball Squat with Shoulder Press and Ball Reverse Fly. This is something that can easily be done in your home with minimal equipment. Bring on the next workout!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Green Smoothie Video is Here!


The video Jesse Pomeroy and I shot a couple weeks ago is on You-Tube...here it is...how to make my Green Smoothie! Cheers!

Fighting for Fat-ism


Yesterday morning, as I was peddling away on the seated elliptical, reading Dr. David Kessler's The End of Overeating, I looked up at the muted television screen right above me and saw a headline on one of the morning shows. It said "How to find a doctor who is not fat-phobic". It was impossible not to simply see the irony of my current location and the literature I was absorbing. But, more notably was the red light that flashed in my head. Really? We need to tell people to avoid a physician who is interested in ignoring a huge symptom in minimizing disease risk?

Two out of every three Americans is either overweight or obese. This is a grand majority and the numbers are only increasing. Children are growing overweight and obese rapidly. This is an epidemic and it is a crisis. Talk about a health care emergency! One of the most significant causes of type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and many cancers is the presence of too much fat on the body. These are the number one killers in the West. Fat causes Metabolic Syndrome, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, factors that lead directly to heart attacks and strokes.

Since when has a health issue become a political correctness compass? Clothing stores are popping up everywhere for the "larger-sized" woman. Magazines specialize in this population. The scary part is that our society is trying to adjust for the majority of the population instead of working to make changes to lead people into healthier lifestyles. This may well be the reason we are in Health care crisis and why health care has become utterly unaffordable. We can't keep up with our growing population as it is draining resources.

I am not trying to be insensitive as I know this is a very taboo way to approach the topic. But I am coming from a concerned perspective. We need to accept the fact that being overweight is dangerous...it is literally one of the most preventable and reversible symptoms of illness in America. Instead of focusing on finding physicians that will ignore the weight of his or her patients, we need to deal with it head on. Practitioners need to educate their patients on why carrying too much fat is unhealthy and to lead them in the direction of adopting healthy lifestyle practices, such as exercising regularly and eating a whole food, plant-based diet, rich in nutrients that help the body shed excess weight and fight disease. Nutrition counseling by Registered Dietitians and personal training by qualified individuals need to be covered by insurance and offered as incentives to employees who want to take advantage of this option. Healthier, fitter employees perform better and more efficiently. Our entire society can improve vastly if only we attack fat as the health issue it is and not acclimate culture to accept it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

In-Home Workout with a Swiss Ball and Cari Ham


Well, Cari Ham did it again! She gave me a great workout in just a few minutes and using only my own body weight and the challenge of a Swiss Ball. If this series of five exercises is performed without rest 2-3 times straight, it is a cardio and strength workout in one. The best news is that you don't have to leave the house or have any fancy equipment.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Veggie Peanut Pasta Masala


Here is a very quick and easy meal that can be made in literally 15 minutes, including cooking time with absolutely no chopping, washing or mess. Jon Ham and I boiled brown rice pasta (but any type of whole grain pasta will be great). When it was about 4-5 minutes before being cooked, we added a bag of frozen organic mixed Thai vegetables to the pasta. Then, we let the water re-heat to boiling and let it sit for a couple minutes to make sure everything was cooked through. After straining the water out of the veggies/pasta mix, we placed it in a wok and added Basu's Homestyle Peanut Masala Sauce. It simmered for less than 4 minutes. Presto! A delicious, healthy Indian-flavored meal that was made in barely enough time to get your pajamas on and pour a glass of wine after a long day at work! Cheers!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Minimizing Metabolism to Maximize Longevity

We are constantly told that we need to rev up our metabolism in order to burn calories, stay lean, and maintain health. Yet this is completely misleading. Throughout history, scientific lab experiments have confirmed that animals live longer when put on a calorie-restricted diet. We have also seen in the literature that slimmer people tend to be healthier overall. What we can extrapolate from this data is the fact that the slower the metabolism, the slower we age. There are several factors that come into play in this process.

One of these factors is logical…the more food you eat, the harder and more frequently the body has to digest and assimilate these nutrients. Digestion and absorption requires approximately 10% of total body energy requirements. This is energy that gets pulled from basic metabolic functions. In other words, the less time your body has to work on digestion, the more time it can focus energy on repair, healing, and other metabolic processes necessary to sustain health.

Another concept that is critical in understanding metabolism is that of free radicals. These are highly reactive compounds that are created by normal processes of living as well as from environmental stressors such as radiation, pollution, exercise, etc. The free radical theory of aging, proposed by Dr. Denman Harman in the 1950s, states that age occurs from the damage due to free radicals over time. Ironically, the same molecule that keeps us alive is the same one that ages us. Oxygen is what we require to breathe and function and yet it also causes the body to deteriorate. This can be likened to the difference between an apple when it is initially cut in half and what it looks like an hour later after its has been exposed to the air…brown and mushy. This is the process of oxidation. During exercise, we consume more oxygen because of increased respirations. This increases the effect of oxidation and the body’s exposure to free radicals which are formed due to the excess oxygen coming in. Of course, we know that exercise has limitless benefits and is critical to optimum health. This is just one side effect that happens to occur.

There are two tremendously powerful reasons in which a whole food, plant-based diet can counter-act and slow the process of free radicalization in the blood. First of all is the fact that plant foods are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that specifically target these free radicals and neutralize them. Secondly, one of the most potent findings in slowing the process of aging and disease is the use of calorie restriction. Reducing the amount of food that is consumed suppresses the development of many diseases and increases lifespan by decreasing the damage and stress caused by oxygen. Whole, plant foods are naturally low in calories and are satiating due to their high fiber and nutrient content.

The message here is contradictory to what we are taught and to how society functions. Ultimately, to decrease your risk of most diseases and to increase lifespan, you must eat a diet that is based in whole, plant foods. To take this to the next level, it is critical to eat only as much as is truly necessary, eating only when hungry and stopping before the feeling of over-fullness sets in. Some experts recommend stopping the consumption of food at an early hour each night so that you may complete digestion before sleep and then have the whole night to heal, recover and fight disease processes. Also, instead of forcing yourself to eat just because it is breakfast time or because others are eating, wait until your body truly feels hunger to provide nutritious whole, plant foods to your prepared digestive system.

To learn more about this topic and about enhancing health and longevity, visit my website at www.PlantBasedDietitian.com and Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., the leading medical expert in this topic, at http://www.drfuhrman.com/ .

Thursday, January 21, 2010



"Noritos" is a concept I came up with many years ago, thanks to my wheat allergy...making sandwich wraps using nori wraps instead of tortillas...

Plus, sea vegetables (including Nori as well as Hijiki, Wakame, Dulse and Kelp) are filled with minerals such as iodine, iron, and calcium. They are very low in calories (about 10 per sheet of nori) and contain zero fat so they make a meal healthier, lighter and much more nutritionally dense than a tortilla or bread.
I made 3 different variations of Noritos: a Japanese, Mediterranean, and Mexican.
The Japanese Norito contains brown rice, miso paste, cucumber, carrot, tamari and gomashio.
The Mediterranean Norito is made with hummus, red pepper slices, cucumber and sundried tomatoes.
Finally, the Mexican Norito...filled with guacamole, jicama, salsa and cilantro.
Easy meals in minutes...cheers!

Green Sludge for Going Veg


Yesterday, Jesse Pomeroy and I shot the production of my favorite breakfast, my Green Smoothie, for Going Veg. This is what I make every morning. It provides every nutrient possible and tastes delicious. A perfect way to start the day.
In it, there are as many greens as I can pack in (usually a combination of collard greens, dandelion greens, and black kale). The greens are filled with antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll which floods the body with oxygen. Then I add a couple tablespoons of both flaxseed and hempseed for the omega 3 fatty acids. Next, I fill the blender to capacity with frozen fruit (typically I combine blueberries, cherries, raspberries, mango, pineapple, papaya and frozen banana). Finally, I pour in either almond milk, coconut water or a chilled mug of green tea (depending on my mood). Blend it all together and voila! The perfect breakfast is served!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Vegan Mattar "Paneer" Masala


This was our third recipe using Basu's Homestyle Vegan Indian Sauces. This particular sauce was a Masala sauce and was incredibly well-spiced. I wanted to make a veganized Mattar "Paneer" dish.

We pressed the tofu beforehand by drying the extra-firm block really well and squeezing it between two paper towels with our hands. Then we cut it into paneer-like mini-rectangles and sauteed them in a wok with vegetable broth until they browned slightly. Then we added a can of chopped tomatoes and a bag of organic frozen peas. We let that simmer for a few minutes. Finally, we added the Basu Masala Sauce and let it heat up for a minute. And, voila! We had an incredibly flavorful, savory meal in less than 10 minutes. The pressed tofu really tasted like paneer and I am thrilled to be able to eat one of my all-time favorite Indian dishes again, but veganized and health-ified!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Workout #2 in the No-Equipment Necessary Series with Cari Ham


Here it is! The second in-home workout with Personal Trainer Cari Ham from Fitness on the Run. She makes exercising in the home simple and fun. The program is 5 exercises done in a circuit fashion (doing one set of each exercise in succession and then repeating the whole series 2-3 times) which maintains an elevated heartrate. Thus, you get a cardiovascular workout at the same time you are strengthening your muscles.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mmmm...Chana Dal


Jon Ham and I took Basu's Homestyle Chana Dal Sauce and made the easiest recipe yet. It is a sauce made with lentils and raisins filled with spicy, savory and sweet nutrition. We cooked up some orange cauliflower (for added beta-carotene) with garbanzo beans in vegetable broth. Then we added the Chana Dal Sauce and let it simmer just for a few, short minutes. Finally, we plated it on top of a bagged green salad for a quick and easy boost of antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals. Presto...Magic! A delicious, healthy meal in literally under 10 minutes!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What is Plant-Based Nutrition?

The perfect ideology about eating can be summed up by the Father of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates, when he said: “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”. I propose that the ultimate epitome of medicinal consumption is a whole food, plant-based diet. What is plant-based nutrition? It sounds like a vegan diet. It also may seem like a diet where the participant grazes on grass all day long, similar to a cow. However, there is a beautiful synergy between all of these terms and it all winds down to a perfect way of eating…one that creates health; prevents and even reverses disease; assists with weight loss; and enhances energy, endurance, beauty and strength.

There is currently a vast enormity of scientific data that confirms and substantiates the fact that a whole food, plant-based diet creates health. There is decades of evidence showing that the Standard American Diet (SAD; high-fat, high-protein, low nutrient) is the cause of the growing incidence of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. Ultimately, no matter what your genetic destiny, these diseases can be prevented and reversed and it all depends on what is at the end of your fork…

There are two components to eating for health…what you choose not to eat and what you should eat. The worst products to put into your body includes animal protein, fat, processed “foods”, artificial colors/flavors, preservatives, and chemicals. On the other hand, what your body and immune system need to thrive and protect itself is a variety of plants, namely: grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit…the new four food groups.

Research demonstrates the fact that animal protein itself (including that from eggs, dairy, fish, fowl, red meat, and pork) can turn on and off carcinogenesis (cancer formation). Additionally, the further you get from nature (meaning, the more processed the food), the closer you get to disease formation.

Conversely, plant-based, whole foods are full of phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are nutrient-dense and flood the body with usable compounds to build immunity, fight disease, re-build, detoxify and maintain health. The more of these nutrients you consume, the stronger your immune system will be.

To learn more, check out my website: http://www.plantbaseddietitian.com/

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why Plant-Based?

I read John Robbins’ book, Diet for a New America, when I was a young adult. It branded me for life. I tried profusely to become a vegetarian immediately after the conclusion of this book and experiencing the truth behind our food. Unfortunately, this was an uphill battle at a pinnacle of battle I had not yet fought. I did not realize I would be fighting my parents, my friends, myself as I waged this war to save the environment; stop the painful mutilation, torture and murder of innocent animals; and protect my body from the brutal damage a Standard American Diet defends. It has been a long journey as I struggled to research, read, and absorb as much information as possible; to be able to confirm and then defend the facts. But I have finally come to this sacred place…the point at which I have no further doubt. I have successfully completed a Dietetic Internship after spending weeks and months in hospitals, schools, offices and classrooms. I have finished a graduate degree in nutrition despite the vast support from the super-powerful and economically endowed food and drug industries. And, here I am…alone with what I have gathered from decades of homework, reading and gathering. I am a plant-based dietitian confident in my steadfast decision to avoid animal products, to not allow my children to be sucked in by the vacuum of money-driven propaganda. Although I am constantly faced with dissidence, I have taken a stance, for good or for bad, in sickness and in health, until death do I depart my viewpoint.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Working Out with Fitness on the Run!


I had such a post-New Year's treat yesterday! Cari Ham, from Fitness on the Run, gave me a fantastic workout that I can do at home with absolutely no equipment. It was simple, fun and worked every body part in just a few short minutes. I can't wait to get trained by Cari, the super-trainer, again!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My First Cooking Demo with Jon Ham...Vindaloo Veggie Stirfry


My all-time favorite type of cuisine is Indian. My husband and I have very close friends who make us delicious, homestyle, vegan Indian recipes. The problem is that every time I try to make the dishes myself or try recipes, they taste nothing like the authentic dishes. The reason for this is the complex, diverse and vast amount of spices and herbs that create the magic. I often wish I was born in India just so I could have a natural understanding of how to use these spices to create the delectable flavors and fragrances that I have come to adore.

When Jon Ham of Fitness on the Run told me he has a client named Basu who makes homestyle Indian sauces and sells them at Whole Foods, I got so excited...I had to try them all!

And we did. This is the first one we tried...a vindaloo sauce. I decided to make a veggie stirfry served on a bed of brown rice. We used scallions, red pepper, broccoli, mushrooms and a bit of vegetable broth to saute the veggies in. So easy and the sauce makes it incredibly delicious! Plus, it is filled with phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber! Cheers!

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Interview with Author and Filmmaker, Mike Anderson


My interview with Mike Anderson came out this past Monday on Meatless Mondays. He is a filmmaker, medical researcher and the author of the books The RAVE Diet and Healing Cancer From Inside Out, and the creator of the award-winning films, Eating and Healing Cancer From Inside Out.

Because Meatless Monday has to limit the length of articles, I want to share the full-length interview that we did. It is full of great information and shares his passion for eating healthy and mastering your own health!

Jon Ham interview with Me!

This is Jon Ham, trainer extraordinaire and super athlete, interviewing me about my background and about plant-based nutrition. Look forward to more videos featuring the two of us cooking and exercising in the plant-based and fitness worlds! For more information, see my site!

My Interview with Jon Ham

This is my interview with Jon Ham from Fitness On the Run about his background as a personal trainer. Enjoy!