My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘plant-based’


Happy Herbivore Light & Lean

I’ve been contacted by Lindsay S Nixon, author of the wonderful Happy Hervivore cookbooks, and she wants to give a special holiday gift to one loyal reader of!  One of you will have your very own copy of her brand new book sent right to you (as long as you’re in the USA or Canada)!

Happy Herbivore books have super fast and easy recipes that use whole foods, are plant-based and use no oil.  Some recipes that are in the book are:  Citrus Couscous, Soba Peanut Noodles, Caribbean Chili and more.  And in Happy Herbivore Light & Lean, Lindsay also shares workout plans.  Every plant-based kitchen needs Happy Herbivore books.  I make her recipes all the time, and they’re family faves.

Happy Herbivore Thai crunch saladThai Crunch Salad

Just write a comment under this post and let me know why you are plant-based.  I’ll pick a winner!

GIVEAWAY! Dreena Burton’s Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes Recipe PLUS GIVEAWAY!!!!


Have you discovered Dreena Burton’s blog,  Or her cookbooks?  The Everyday Vegan was her first, written after her father-in-law’s heart attack, followed by Vive le Vegan!, eat drink and be vegan, and Let Them Eat Vegan. 

Plant-Powered 15 is her latest.  It is an e-book containing 15 recipes, all whole food and oil-free, with gorgeous photos of each.    How does Creamy House Dressing, Green Goddess Dressing, Orange-Miso Dressing and Wonder Spread sound?  How about Presto Pistachio Pasta, Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers and Mac-nificent!? And don’t forget dessert.  She has included three.

She has let me share her Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes recipe with you.  It is so delicious.  My husband, Bill, says it’s his favorite soup!

At the end of this post, is the GIVEAWAY.


Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes

This soup has an irresistible quality, the flavors are deep and earthy with some sweetness from the potatoes. Don’t let the number of ingredients intimidate you – they build layers of flavor, but this soup is not at all difficult to make!

1-2 tbsp water

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups chopped onions (one large onion)

1 1/2 cups combination of chopped red peppers and green peppers

1 1/4 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste (generous is good)

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp dried oregano leaves

1/4 tsp allspice (rounded)

1/4 tsp (or less/more, to taste) red pepper flakes

4 medium-large cloves garlic, minced or grated

4 1/2 – 5 cups black beans (reserve 1 cup; this is three 14 or 15 oz cans)

3 cups water

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 – 1 tsp pure maple syrup

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 cups cubed (in small chunks, about 1/2”) yellow sweet potato (or can substitute           white potato)

Chopped cilantro for serving

Extra lime wedges for serving

Chopped avocado tossed with lemon juice and dash of salt, for serving

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add water, onions, red and green peppers, salt and pepper, cumin seeds, oregano, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Let cook for 5-7 minutes until onions and peppers start to soften. Add garlic. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and let cook another few minutes to soften garlic – if sticking/burning, add another splash of water. After a few minutes of cooking, add 3 1/2 cups beans (reserving one cup of beans), water, tomato paste, vinegar, lime juice, and maple syrup (start with 1/2 tsp). Using an immersion blender, puree soup until fairly smooth. Increase heat to bring to boil, add bay leaf and diced sweet potatoes, then once at boil reduce and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add remaining cup of black beans and extra maple syrup if desired (taste test). Stir through, let simmer for another few minutes, then serve, topping with cilantro if desired and with lime wedges. Also delicious to top soup with some chopped seasoned avocado or a simple guacamole.  Serves 4-5 as main course.

Sweet Potato Tip: Sometimes I have leftover sweet potato home fries that have been seasoned with just sea salt. If so, I take a recipe and chopping shortcut and simply add these to my soup during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, just to heat through.

Recipe from “Plant-Powered 15” by Dreena Burton. For more recipes and information, visit

Photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Now for the GIVEAWAY:  Please write in the comments why you would like to win a FREE COPY OF PLANT-POWERED 15 by Dreena Burton.  And be sure to check out here blog

Non-Partisan Non-Political Message Regarding Healthcare

I wholeheartedly agree with her:
Healthy Happy Long Life:  This is my non-partisan non-political message! I know about long-term care, & spending all of one’s savings on nursing care because of totally disabling strokes & vascular dementia. If you have a long-term chronic illness & live long enough–there’s a good chance you can end up in a nursing home & eventually need medicaid. It’s pretty hard to afford long-term care for too many years.
It’s time to talk about the ONLY way we are going to deal with this spiraling-out-of-control health care cost deficit.

Diet & exercise. It’s time for a Cultural Change to eating real food, replacing the Western diet with a plant-based no-added-oil diet–and incorporating aerobic, strength, flexibility, & balance exercise into our daily lives. We need them both.

Otherwise, we are heading towards a crisis (emotional & fiscal) that no amount of $$ will solve. We need to make eating healthy & exercising “the norm”, “the default” for everyone!! Here’s my story:

Long-Term Care Looms as Rising Medicaid Cost

The program is the only safety net for millions of middle-class people whose needs for long-term care, at home or in a nursing home, outlast their resourc

Why Not Just Take Drugs for Health? Why Bother Changing Your Lifestyle?

Dr. Esselstyn “If you do what I ask, your disease is history.”

‎”If you do what I ask, your disease is history. Rather than detour around it, squish it with a balloon or brace it open with a wire bracket—either of which is just a temporary angina-relieving procedure—my program can prevent disease altogether, or stop it in its tracks. All the interventional procedures carry considerable risk of morbidity, including new heart attacks, strokes, infections, and, for some, an inevitable loss of cognition. Mine carries none. And the benefits of intervention erode with the passage of time; eventually, you have to have another angioplasty, another bypass procedure, another stent. By contrast, the benefits of my program actually grow with time. The longer you follow it, the healthier you will be.” – Dr. Esselstyn

7 Olympic Vegetarians: Food is Fuel Minus the Meat Discovery Fit & Health

Olympians photo

Food is fuel and this couldn’t be more important than within the elite circle of athletes called Olympians. Being the best in the world is no small feat and it comes with all encompassing commitment. For athletes it’s a commitment to making conscious choices toward healthful living and a growing list have chosen vegetarianism as a result.

1. Lizzie Armitstead

The Guardian reported that Lizzie Armitstead just won Olympic silver for Great Britain in an awe-inspiring 87 mile cycling race. She’s committed to racing and she’s also committed to a vegetarian diet. It all started 10 years ago when she told her parents that she was giving up meat.

It was after she had spent six months living and running in Kenya. The Kenyans that she stayed with were not vegetarians but they ate meat very rarely, mostly surviving on rice, beans, green vegetables, and ugali (a native dough). Their success in long distance running is second to none and when Lizzie got back home she ran a marathon in under 3 hours. That’s when she decided that meat was doing nothing but holding her back.

2. Murray Rose

They called him “Seaweed Streak.” He was a well known vegetarian when the term hardly existed. He wonfour Olympic gold medals and one silver medal in swimming between 1956 and 1960. Here he is in Sports Illustrated in 1961:

The guiding principle for everything Rose eats is that it be as close to its natural state as possible—preferably completely raw. Thus he avoids anything that has been sprayed with chemicals, as well as products made with processed flour or sugar. He often substitutes a dish of yoghurt and raw honey for milk, and drinks concentrated juices, such as apple, tomato, grape, pineapple and carrot.

3. Hannah Teter

She’s a vegetarian that’s also a gold and silver medalist in snow boarding. Here she is on Ecocrazzi:

I feel stronger than I’ve ever been, mentally, physically, and emotionally. My plant-based diet has opened up more doors to being an athlete. It’s a whole other level that I’m elevating to. I stopped eating animals about a year ago, and it’s a new life. I feel like a new person, a new athlete.

4. Carl Lewis

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Nike

Though he wasn’t a vegetarian when he won four gold metals in the Olympics in 1984, he was a vegan when he struck gold in Los Angeles in 1991 at age 30.

5. Dylan Wykes

He’s amongst the fastest marathoners in Canada and he’s also a vegetarian for ethical reasons. He’ll be competing in the London Olympics and hopes for gold. He survives on tons of quinoa and lentils. “If you do it right it can be done as an athlete,” Wykes said to Huffington Post. “It helps you really pay attention to what you’re taking in each day.”

6. Charlene Wong

This Canadian figure skater missed a medal when she competed in the Olympics in 1988 but she won four silver medals at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. According to Lifeskate:

Although I am not as strict a vegetarian as I once was, I do continue to choose to eat more like a vegetarian than not. I would call myself a “conscious eater”. It all started with my desire to be as lean and healthy as possible as a teenager around 17-years-old. With more education, as well as trial and error, it also turned into an expression of my attempt to show compassion for all living things.

7. Bode Miller

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

He’s one of the greatest alpine skiers in history and he’s won five Olympic medals. He struck gold in the Vancouver games. Bode was raised as a vegetarian on an organic farm in New Hampshire.

Photo: Thinkstock

Me, Give Up Meat? Vegan Diets Surging in Popularity US News

While I don’t agree with the cons, I do agree that you must plan to be sure you are getting all the nutrients needed. Laura

The Pros (and a Few Cons) of Choosing a Vegan Diet

by Angela Haupt

Former President Bill Clinton had a legendary appetite: Hamburgers and steaks. Barbeque. Chicken enchiladas. But after having two stents inserted in 2010—on top of quadruple bypass surgery six years earlier—he radically changed his diet in the name of saving his health. Now a vegan, the strictest type of vegetarian, he has cut out meat, dairy, eggs, and most oils in favor of a super-low-fat diet that revolves around whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. It appears to be working: He has said he’s dropped more than 20 pounds and has never been healthier. In a televised interview with film producer Harvey Weinstein in June, Clinton explained that he’d decided he wanted to live to be a grandfather. “So I just went all the way. Getting rid of the dairy was great, getting rid of the meat was—I just don’t miss it.”

Vegan diets have lately been surging in popularity, thanks in part to the example of celebrities who are publicly forswearing all animal products (Michelle Pfeiffer, Carrie Underwood, Russell Brand, and Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few others). Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi have announced plans to open a vegan restaurant in Los Angeles. Vegan-centric books have been flying off the shelf, including Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet and The Engine 2 Diet by Texas firefighter and triathlete Rip Esselstyn, son of retired Cleveland Clinic physician Caldwell Esselstyn, whose research on the merits of plant-based eating inspired Bill Clinton. Vegan food trucks are making the rounds, schools are instituting meat-free days, and colleges are opening vegan dining halls.

While many vegans still take the stand because they believe in animal rights, a growing number are swayed by mounting research showing a profound impact on health. “It’s dramatic,” says Neal Barnard, a nutrition researcher and adjunct professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit group that promotes preventive medicine. “We’ve seen people whose chest pain has gone away within weeks, while their weight melts off, blood pressure goes down, and cholesterol plummets.” Barnard’s 2011 book 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart is a three-week introduction to the case for and how-tos of the vegan life. The panel of 22 experts who analyzed 25 diets forU.S. News’s ratings of the best eating plans overall—as well as the best for weight loss, heart health, and diabetes management and prevention—are not universally sold on absolute meatlessness. But without a doubt, the heavily plant-based plans tend to rise to the top of the U.S. News lists.

Exactly how you shape a vegan meal plan is up to you, but you’ll typically aim for six servings of grains from bread and calcium-fortified cereal, for example; five servings of protein-rich foods such as legumes, nuts, peanut butter, chickpeas, tofu, potatoes, and soy milk; and four servings of veggies, two of fruit, and two of healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, and olive oil. (Both of the Esselstyns advocate avoiding all oils, too.) There’s no need to give up dessert, although you’ll be baking without butter or eggs.

It should come as no surprise that becoming a serious vegan is apt to help you lose weight. By loading up on fruits, veggies, and whole grains, vegans tend to feel full on fewer calories, and indeed they tend to weigh less and have a lower body mass index than their meat-eating peers. In a 2006 study coauthored by Barnard, 99 people with type 2 diabetes followed either a vegan diet or a standard diet based on American Diabetes Association guidelines. After 22 weeks, the vegans lost an average of 13 pounds, compared to 9 in the ADA group. Both groups’ control of their blood sugar levels also improved.

The cardiac case. A meatless diet’s power against heart disease also is well documented. “It’s an exceptionally healthy diet, especially when it comes to cardiac health,” says Michael Davidson, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He notes that cutting way back on saturated fat and eliminating cholesterol is just part of the equation; also key is piling on “cardiac protective” fruits, vegetables, and grains, packed with antioxidants and other phytochemicals that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. The soluble fiber found in plant protein also helps to lower cholesterol. In the 2006 Diabetes Care report, LDL cholesterol dropped 21.2 percent in the vegan group after 22 weeks, compared with 10.7 percent in the group following the meat-allowing guidelines. Triglycerides fell from 140.3 mg/dL to 118.2. In an earlier 12-year study that compared 6,000 vegetarians and vegans with 5,000 meat-eaters, researchers found that vegans had a 57 percent lower risk of ischemic heart disease—reduced heart pumping due to coronary artery disease, which often leads to heart failure—than the meat-eaters. Vegetarians had a 24 percent lower risk.

Read the rest at:

In Switching to a Plant-Based Diet…

Michelle Pfeiffer on Piers Morgan Tonight: Why I Became Vegan

Check out Piers Morgan tonight at 9 pm est on CNN when Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Michelle Pfeiffer.  After having what she thought was a healthy diet, she discovered she had high cholesterol.

Michelle Pfeiffer admits in a new interview that vanity played a part in her decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle, but she adds that more than anything it was because of a desire to live a healthier life.

The 54-year-old actress tells Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Monday’s edition of “Piers Morgan Tonight” that watching his documentary, “The Last Heart Attack,” gave her plenty of food for thought.

“I was finishing up working on, I think it was ‘Dark Shadows,'” she says. “And I was watching CNN, and ‘The Last Heart Attack’ came on.”

As she was watching the documentary, which explores preventative measures for heart disease, it was former President Bill Clinton’s story that really hit home.

Pfeiffer, who considers herself to also be a “foodie,” watched Clinton and said, “OK, Bill Clinton loves food, so there must be something to [veganism] that’s making him stick to it. And also, he’s smart, so he’s not going to do something unless he really thinks there’s some science behind it.”

After reading the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” which advocates for a plant-based, oil-free diet, Pfeiffer says her mind was made up.

“I just felt like…there was science behind it,” she says. “And, you know, it was sort of irrefutable. … I couldn’t not listen to it. My father died from cancer, and the older you get, there’s a lot of disease around you. And you see people struggling with chronic disease. You see people dying with terminal illnesses. And if in any way …. this is true, then you kind of have to listen to it.”

As someone who loves carbs, Pfeiffer says she’s enjoying the vegan diet, and has her husband of 19 years, David E. Kelley, trying to make the switch.

The older she gets, Pfeiffer says of her views on diet, the more her focus and intent is geared toward living a longer life.

“Vanity is right under there,” she admits, “but I have to say that it’s a close second with wanting to live long.”

Watch the full interview with Michelle Pfeiffer when she stops by “Piers Morgan Tonight” at 9 p.m. ET.

Watch Piers Morgan Tonight weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morganclick here.

What Nutrient is Most Associated with a Decrease in Heart Disease, Stroke and Breast Cancer Risk?

The nutrient most associated with a decrease in heart disease risk in women and stroke risk in men? Fiber, found in whole plant foods ( Fiber may also explain the lower breast cancer risk in vegetarian women.

Obtained from

Meat has NO fiber.

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