Monday, June 20, 2011

Salad Party Boats

I can't find my own post about the original idea for this, but I saw in a magazine the idea for portable Caesar salads:  romaine lettuce leaf "boats" with fillings like croutons and other things you'd see in a Caesar salad.  Last night we had some friends over to watch the sunset (well, just to visit, since it was cloudy, but the deck was nice anyway), and I put out some quick foods to feed the six of us.  I created my own version.


Romaine lettuce leaves of various sizes, left whole
Diced cucumber
Diced radishes
Snipped green onions
Chopped tomato
Dressing of your choice (I used a variation on my usual Lemon-Tahini Dressing, to which I added some grated ginger)
Optional: croutons of whatever sort you like

Put these ingredients and whatever else strikes your fancy in attractive serving dishes, and each diner will assemble his own. Into the depression of a single romaine leaf, spread some hummus to anchor the addition of the pieces of the other ingredients, then drizzle a little dressing over the top.  It should then be eaten by hand in a kind of open-faced burrito sort of way.

Verdict:  Very Good.  I really enjoyed mine, and I could see this being a standard "funky salad" offering when we have people over. Of course the nutritional profile will change according to the ingredients used, but it makes for a great option for nutritarian and other guests at a party.  Nutritarians might prefer to be issued a mixing bowl into which to break up their romaine leaves, or they could just be polite and eat like other folks for this one meal. ;-)

Depressing, But I'm Not Giving Up!

Dr. Arya Sharma posts this:  "Why Diet and Exercise is Not a Treatment For Obesity."

It turns out that "keeping it off" is much harder for those of us who have had to lose it.  I'm almost 20% lighter than my highest weight, but I have a distance yet to go.  But like my dad always said, "Life is not fair."  :-)

Telling final quote:  "Whoever said that treating obesity was simply a matter of ‘eating less and moving more’ (ELMM) probably also believes that they [sic] can live forever by simply breathing less."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Triple-A Salad and a Cookbook Tip

Hubby has the two kids who are home this summer out working in the fields, but supper is ready to go whenever they show up here.  I baked sweet potatoes, broiled chicken legs, sauteed turnip greens, and created this Triple-A Salad:


1 cup broccoli slaw (packaged or make your own--just shreds or matchsticks of broccoli stem with some carrot and probably a bit of cabbage)
1/2 cup matchstick carrots (packaged or make your own)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 radishes, sliced thin (I quartered the slices)
4-6 snipped-up dried apricot halves
1 navel orange, diced (making sure all the juice goes in the bowl!)
1 small apple, diced
1 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp dried, if you must)
1 oz toasted chopped almonds (Get it? The bold items are the A's. :-) )

Combine all ingredients and let sit for a half hour to combine flavors.

Verdict: EXCELLENT.  This is another variation on a theme I've come to enjoy--a crisp, bright salad of cruciferous veggies and fruit, along the lines of a carrot salad. Most of the ones I've made include the base of broccoli slaw or cabbage slaw, carrots, dried fruit (currants are nice), and apple or pear with some kind of citrus. Nuts really dress it up.

Here's a tip:  The Joy of Cooking (1997 edition) has a recipe on p. 281, "Lentils and Tomato Sauce With Elbow Macaroni and Fried Onions," and Egyptian/Syrian dish that can be easily adapted to nutritarian purposes. Its distinctive is a lovely seasoning of cumin, coriander, and allspice in a diced-tomato and onion sauce over pasta.  I served it with a topping of raita (cucumber and a little honey with fresh mint in plain lowfat yogurt).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What's in a Name?

I've been calling myself a "nutritarian," or saying that I follow "nutritarian principles," for a while now. I like the fact that the word, coined by Dr. Fuhrman, I believe, focuses on the goal of this eating style--to get in the most nutrition possible per calorie. But it's unfamiliar and confusing to people.

I've also told people that I eat "mostly vegan," but that sounds like I have an ideology that shuns animal foods. Plus, a lot of vegans eat junk--processed vegan junk food. I don't mind it that I'm contributing dramatically less to the factory-farm food industry (See Food, Inc., available in different versions on YouTube), but I have no ethical/moral/aesthetic problem with animal foods. I eat small amounts of meat and dairy and eggs when I'm eating healthy, and more than that when I'm just indulging. Michael Pollan, whose books I haven't read, seems to have a reasonable approach. 

Another term has been going around among the blogs I read, "Plant Strong."  I like that concept--it captures the idea that we should be eating mostly plants, focusing on those. But it doesn't necessarily shun animal products.  An emphasis on "whole foods" is also a good one, though that tends to go the way of people eating the WHOLE pig and such--not quite what I have in mind.

If anyone's out there reading, what are your thoughts about these terms or others and how well they describe what YOUR eating plan is?


Despite my silence here, I've been keeping daily food logs for months at . I've decided to post again here--if not every day, then when I have something interesting to share from a day's menu, in the way of a recipe or method. This is a summer endeavor--I may cave to time pressures again in the fall.


2 tsp olive oil
8 oz. bag frozen Italian-style green beans (the flat, diagonally-cut ones)
1 red bell pepper cut into strips (I used the delicious long "Ancient Sweets" in a plastic bag)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
big tablespoon pesto (mine is frozen homemade from last summer)
big handful (2 oz?) fresh spinach
grated asiago cheese to garnish

Heat the oil in a pan and add the green beans, stirring a bit before adding the pepper, onion, and garlic, then pesto, and finally spinach at the end to wilt it.  The idea is to leave the peppers and onion the slightest bit crunchy and colorful.  

Optional: I tossed my portion of this with whole grain penne and topped it with a little jarred marinara heated with a dash of wine

Verdict:  VERY GOOD.  I really enjoyed this satisfying recipe for supper. (I had about half of it with 2/3 cup pasta and a couple of tablespoons of marinara and a grating of asiago.) It's probably fine to omit the tiny bit of oil and the asiago, but you need something in the way of the pesto to perk it up, especially with no added salt. 


1 peach and 1 nectarine, pits removed
1 navel orange, peeled
3 hand-sized leaves of kale
a tray of ice cubes and a cup or so of water

Combine in blender (Vita-Mix is best!) and whirl until smooth, with little flecks of nectarine skin.

Verdict:  VERY GOOD. It's good this way but has a slightly sulfur cast. I threw in a couple of chunks of fresh pineapple to improve the second glass. Lemon would probably fix it, too.  This makes over a quart, and I add a tablespoon of flax seed meal to my first glass.

Doesn't look like much for breakfast?  Remember it's over a quart of smoothie, sweet and refreshing, so it's satisfying and filling, for sure. I ran the nutrition on this recipe (including flax, not counting pineapple), and it's under 250 calories, with 7 grams of protein (about the same as a small egg), 4 grams of fat (mostly from the flax), and 10 grams of fiber. It has over twice the RDA of Vitamin C, almost all the RDA of Vitamin A, half the RDA of copper and manganese, and at least a quarter of the RDA of Vitamin B6, magnesium, phosophorus, thiamin, and niacin.  And it's all fresh ingredients, the flax seed meal the only processed item. Having this at 8 a.m. will have me properly hungry for lunch about noon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm a Winner!

Life has been really busy the last several months, and creative nutritarian cooking (or assembling?) has not been my first priority. Perhaps with the summer months . . .

But I had to stop in and share an exciting announcement:  I was chosen as First Runner-Up in the Holiday Challenge Contest at Dr. Fuhrman's website,!  Read all about it here!

My prize is a set of DVD's from last year's week-long immersion retreat, plus a booklet of recipes from that event, plus a Platinum Membership to extend my current membership at the website.  I'm excited and now I need to keep going!