Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap

This was my second Thanksgiving eating a fully plant based diet. I grew up eating very traditional Thanksgiving meals and had a finicky palate. My go to plate was: white meat turkey & mashed potatoes covered in gravy, corn (from a can), sometimes green beans (canned) and a buttered roll. For this meal, I eschewed all of those traditions!

First new tradition: a morning run! I did four fast and chilly  miles, it was 40 degrees here!


 It was also our first Thanksgiving without being with any family so that was a bit strange, although we did video chat with our families. Since it was just the two of us we planned a simple menu: Field Roast Apple Sage sausage roasted in the oven, roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed sweet potatoes, homemade gluten free stuffing (see recipe below), and canned cranberry sauce (for Carly). For dessert we made these raw pumpkin tarts  – delicious!

Magic happening

Ready to eat


Pumpkin tarts

Got it out in one piece!
I am trying to actively express and explore gratitude and Thanksgiving is a day (that should be) meant for just that. I posted a list of things I am grateful for recently, but here are a few more things:

1. Video chatting
2. A calm and peaceful Thanksgiving
3. Florida weather
4. Farmers
5. Rest days
6. The means to buy new clothes
7. The exercise that has caused me to need new clothes
8. A Ravens win over the Steelers

I hope you all had a restful Thanksgiving weekend.

Best Stuffing Ever (vegan, gluten free)
6 slices gluten free raisin bread, toasted & cubed
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
2 stalks celery, diced
3 large shallots, diced
½ C diced mushrooms
1-2 Tbsp sherry or red wine
¼ C orange juice
2/3 C vegetable broth
¼ C sliced almonds
1/3 C dried cranberries
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp sage
½ tsp thyme

Melt the Earth Balance in a medium frying pan. Add the celery, shallots and mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, sage and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes, deglazing the pan about half way through (optional) until vegetables have softened.

Add bread cubes (roughly the same size as your vegetables), sautéed vegetables, almonds and cranberries in a large bowl. Add the orange juice. Add the broth slowly until the mixture is moist but not soggy.

Place in an 8x8 square or equivalent size round baking dish, preferably one with a lid. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, covered. If it is still too moist, bake for another 5-10 minutes uncovered.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

This is a late edition because I'm off work today! Yay for long weekends. This week was spectacular for one reason: vegan Thanksgiving potluck! This past Saturday the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida and the Vegetarians of Central Florida held a potluck at a local park. They provided the vegan roasts, and all dishes had to be vegan. It was so amazing to be able to eat a little bit of everything without having to ask what was in the food!

Quick black bean soup: can of beans, can of hominy, salsa, broth & diced tomatoes. Garnished with cilantro & scallions. Side salad with raw broccoli, peppers, and roasted plantains. 

My potluck contribution: peanut butter blondie muffins from Ambitious Kitchen (minus the chocolate chips). I love sneaking lentils in to baked goods! 

Potluck main plate: celebration roast, brown rice stuffing, sweet potatoes, plantain casserole, vegan lasagna, brussels sprouts, cucumber salad, quinoa salad and probably more I'm forgetting!

Some of the desserts I sampled. The best I had was a small acorn shaped pumpkin cake that was too tasty to photograph!

Dinner at Oblivion Taproom - falafel with pickled veg, tahini sauce and a side of sweet potatoes

Falafel repurposed into a lunch salad, better this way!

Not the best photo, a batch of hoisin black bean burgers - highly recommend this recipe! FYI - we used toasted buckwheat instead of quinoa and baked them at 375 after searing on each side. 

The black bean burgers served - lettuce wraps with diced zucchini, scallions & cilantro. Yes, that's local corn in November (yay Florida!). Plus a side of spicy collard greens.

Sweet and sour tofu with zucchini, peppers, onions, green cabbage & snap peas. Served on brown rice and a bed of baby spinach. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Collard Samosa Wraps

Collard greens are fantastic. They have cancer fighting properties and contain a lot of essential nutrients. They aren't as bitter as kale. They are large enough to wrap other food in, and can also be cooked until they are tender and delicious. They're also usually cheap! We typically use them in three ways: chopped and cooked in vinegar, as raw wraps for hummus and other goodies, and as cooked wraps with various stuffings and sauces. We also throw them in soup, smoothies and stir fries. So versatile!  Here's a recipe for a dish we made this week with collards.

The finished product, served with pepitas and curry roasted cauliflower

Collard Samosa Wraps
1-2 bunches of collard greens
1 can of chickpeas or 2 cups cooked from dried
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 cup of peas (frozen is fine)
Your favorite Indian spices (curry, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, etc.)

1 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup tamarind sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
Water (as much as needed to cut the acidity of the sauce)
Spices (garlic, minced onion, smoked paprika, salt, pepper & curry)

For the filling (adapted from meg & veg):
In a pot, add the onion, garlic, and oil/water and cook until wilted. Add in the carrots, and stir for a few minutes to cook slightly.

Then add in the spices, chickpeas, and peas. Continue to stir for about 5 minutes until everything is combined and the peas are defrosted.

Combine all ingredients except water in a bowl. Stir and taste. Add water as needed to cut the acidity.

Before cooking
This made enough wraps to fill at 13x9 baking dish, or about 8-10 leaves. Wrap filling into each leaf and place seam side down in your 13x9 dish. Follow this amazing tutorial from Choosing Raw

When you are done wrapping and your dish is full you can either let sit overnight in the fridge or cook immediately.

After cooking

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour your sauce over the wraps, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I believe that I have been blessed with the gift of a strong willpower. It is this gift that has been the bedrock of my wellness journey. When my greatest struggle was portion control and avoiding the foods that were delicious but harmful to my body, my willpower helped me accomplish those tasks. Now I use that willpower to focus on my physical health and get through my workouts as planned. There has been some exciting social science research about willpower that suggests that it can be depleted and needs time to regenerate.

A 2007 study from Florida State University found that acts of self-control actually depleted blood glucose levels such that further acts of self-control became increasingly more difficult. This would suggest that if you use your willpower to get through a tough workout, you may be less able to avoid tempting food afterward. This idea has gained strength in the wellness community, and I see it referenced often in sources that I use for my personal learning on wellness. (Example, this post on Zen Habits).

As I was digging I found an article published in 2010 from the University of Zurich that tested the theory that willpower depletion only takes place if a person believes that it is a limited resource. They engaged in four different studies, using different methods, to test this theory. They found that “reduced self-control after a depleting task or during demanding periods may reflect people’s beliefs about the availability of willpower rather than true resource depletion. (Abstract)”  This line of inquiry is reminiscent of another popular trend in the wellness world on the power of mantras and positive self-talk during performance.

I wanted to explore this topic because this weekend I completed the longest run of my half marathon training plan: 12 miles. I am still a beginner in many ways, and the thought of running (even slowly) for more than 30 minutes without a walk break was impossible to me 2 months ago. Consistent practice and following a “real” running plan has broken me through many plateaus. I have come to learn that every run is unique and I’m not yet able to predict which runs will feel easy and which will challenge the depths of my willpower.

Post 12 miles, pre-stretch!

I woke up Saturday feeling good physically although I had a mentally draining week prior to that day. I started the run feeling a bit sluggish.  I shrugged it off – my goal on long runs is to go slow, and I know my first mile is never going to feel amazing. Now that I’m a better runner, it’s almost harder to run slow than to run at a more challenging pace. Unfortunately, the feeling of sluggishness never really faded. I had moments where I zoned out into the rhythm of the run but they were fleeting. I think I've turned the corner where running long distances is no longer a physical challenge, but a mental one.

Throughout the miles I was bargaining with myself. I told myself that if I still felt miserable at 7 miles I would quit. At 7 miles I convinced myself that I had to at least get through 10 (my longest run to date). My 9th mile felt great (and consequently was my fastest of the run), but 10 felt like agony. I became hyper-sensitive to the physical sensations I was getting, but decided that I had to get to at least 11 miles. At 10.5 miles I couldn't shake off the feeling I was running with bad form and walked for .05 miles to reset myself. When I picked it back up I realized I could finish the full 12, but it still didn't feel great. When I hit the 12 mile mark I felt a great sense of relief that outweighed any sense of accomplishment.

I was pleased that my time (roughly 2 hours, 7 minutes) would put me close to the 2:15 mark for finishing the half marathon, especially if I feel better that day. In retrospect I’m glad the run never felt easy because it taught me that:
1. I have the mental strength to finish even if it’s tough
2. I have a good enough sense of my body to know when to push and when to take breaks
3. The mental side of running can outweigh the physical, and I can use techniques like positive self-talk and meditation to work on this aspect
4. I can complete my half marathon in a time I’m pleased with, no matter how I feel during the run
My recovery was easier than I expected. I had a moment shortly after I got home and began to re-hydrate where I felt like throwing up but it subsided after a quick bite to eat. I stretched, ate a giant smoothie bowl, iced my legs, and took a nap. I followed that with an amazing vegan Thanksgiving potluck, shopping and dinner out (none of which are particularly conducive to recovery). Sunday morning I felt fine and proceeded with my 10 mile bike ride and 30 minute strength/core and foam rolling routine. I feel okay today, about where I usually am on my yoga day.

I can’t definitively say what camp I fall into in terms of willpower and it’s ability to be depleted. I never thought much about it before my wellness journey began, but when I did I was immediately convinced that I had a strong willpower. That belief is likely what gets me through tough situations, and it’s something I will continue to augment. Here’s a collection of 26.2 running mantras and a nice article on the subject from Runner’s World to get you motivated.

Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., & Tice, D. M. (2007). The strength model of self-control. Current Directions In Psychological Science, 16(6), 351-355. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00534.x

Job, V., Dweck, C. S., & Walton, G. M. (2010). Ego depletion - is it all in your head? Implicit theories about willpower affect self-regulation. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1686-1693.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lentil Mushroom Sloppy Joes

I used to make sloppy joes a lot when I first started cooking from scratch. After switching to a plant based diet, I’ve struggled with getting the right consistency and texture on my veggie versions. This iteration is the best I’ve made in two years of trying so I thought I’d share.

Lentil Mushroom Sloppy Joes
1 cup brown or green lentils, cooked in 3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, diced
1 anaheim pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 pint mushrooms (white button or baby bellas), sliced
¼ cup date paste or sub with sweetener of choice (see note below)
1 Tbsp steak seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning
½ Tbsp garlic powder
½ Tbsp crushed red chili flakes
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or vegan Worcestershire sauce
1.5 C tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste

Add lentils and water to a medium pot. Add salt, garlic and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, on low for approximately 20 minutes. Test the lentils for doneness. If tender, drain any remaining liquid into a bowl for use in sautéing later.

Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables. Water sauté the onion, peppers and garlic for a few minutes, then add in mushrooms. Season with steak seasoning and any extra spices to taste (we added additional garlic and some red chili flakes). Saute until mushrooms have browned, adding the red wine vinegar as needed to keep things from burning.

Add lentils to the mixture. Stir to combine. Then add the Bragg’s, tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir to combine. If the mixture seems too dry add some of the reserved lentil cooking liquid or more vinegar. Cook on low for 3-5 more minutes to let flavors combine. We actually let these sit on low for 20 minutes while we prepped our meal, and they held up fine.

Serve as you like. I ate mine on spinach greens garnished with pickled jalapenos with a side of roasted cauliflower, but they worked perfectly on a roll!

I’m trying to cut down on processed sweeteners, so I made date paste to try out in this recipe. All I did was soak 1 cup of pitted dates in 1 cup of hot water for about 20 minutes. Then I added it to my (strong) blender and blended on low for about 2 minutes, scraped, and then another minute. If you don’t have a strong blender, you can use a food processor.

If you don’t want to go to the hassle of making it, the best substitute for this recipe is and equal brown sugar.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

I never know which weeks will turn out a great batch of food pictures. As I spelled out in my post on food decisions, I always make a menu for the week and the food usually tastes good. Some weeks it's just prettier than others!

Our first try making cauliflower steaks. Delicious but we could only get 2 steaks out of the head and roasted the rest as florets. We served it with sauteed sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and onions on top of greens. 

Quinoa with caulifredo sauce. The sauce was made with cauliflower, cashews and nutritional yeast. I mixed it with spinach, zucchini, artichokes and roasted roma tomatoes. 

The sweet and sour brown rice salad from "Isa Does It" topped with fresh veg. 

My Saturday morning smoothie bowl topped with kiwi, buckwheat groats, coconut flakes and sunflower seeds. 

I've been craving a non-smoothie breakfast, so I got some gluten free raisin bread. Once slice topped with sunflower seed butter and one with homemade Nutella. 

Sweet potato skillet fries sauteed with turmeric and other spices. Great as part of a recovery lunch after a long run! 

Polenta pizza with a side of green beans. 

A play on Carolina casserole from Happy Herbivore. It's basically hoppin John stew with cornbread baked on top. It was quite good! 

Vietnamese bun salad, we eat this at least twice a month!

I made some delicious granola this weekend. I wish I had written down the ingredients to write a recipe!

Saturday night we went on a date to Seito Sushi. It was amazing, especially for vegans! The top left is a veggie roll topped with mushrooms in a vegan spicy cream sauce, top right is a garden roll wrapped in daikon instead of seaweed, bottom left is mushroom spring rolls, bottom middle is our rose wine and garlic lime edamame, bottom right is us!

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Other Words

I have been collecting links again for what I was calling “Couldn't Say it Better” but decided I liked the “In Other Words” title instead. If this is your first time here, this is where I share some links I’ve found that relate to my overall message of health and wellness.

Vegetarians Slimmer Than Meat-Eaters, Study Finds 
This article is really straightforward and discusses one of my favorite research projects: the Adventist Health studies.

The carbon foodprint of 5 diets compared
According to my handy Google dictionary, carbon footprint is defined as “the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.” I became a vegetarian because I wanted to improve my health, but I gave up all animal products when I realized what a huge impact consuming animals has on the environment. This is a quick read and is very powerful.

6 Jedi Mind Tricks That Convince People To Eat Healthy
Summer Tomato is one of my favorite non-plant based sources of health, wellness, and nutrition information. I don’t always agree with all the content she posts, but I think she makes an effort to present clear and unbiased information as much as possible. I get a lot of requests from people for help losing weight or becoming more healthy (which I love), and I love the simple tricks presented in this article for that purpose.

Half Marathon Training: What I Wish I Knew When I First Started
I recently stumbled across the wellness blog written by one of my library colleagues. She is running a half marathon the weekend before me, and eats a primarily vegetarian diet. I love her blog’s design and short posts. This one has some great tips for (new) runners!

Vegan on the Road: How I've Eaten Healthier than Ever While Driving Across the Country
I've linked to No Meat Athlete before. I wrote a review of the new book. You know I love the site, so go check this great post on how to eat vegan on the road!

12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools
Mindfulness is a technique that has been subtly taking hold in my life. I’ve read about it in relation to food, relationships, spirituality, and learning. Again, if you’re a long time reader you know I love Zen Habits and this is another excellent post.

Public Agrees on Obesity’s Impact, Not Government’s Role
If you’re not familiar with Pew yet, you might want to explore their website. According to their about page “Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.” I use their data in my job as a librarian to learn about my users, to build presentations, to add to my own research, and to share with others working on their own research. This report discusses the obesity crisis our nation is facing. It’s clear that Americans are aware and concerned, but not sure how to make changes. Unfortunately, I think things like soda bans are bandaids that don’t address the real issues with our subsidized, highly processed food system. Still a good read!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Training Update: 3 Weeks to Go!

It is officially three weeks until my first half marathon. I have been sticking pretty solidly to my original plan with a few tweaks to mileage on specific days. I’m surprised with my ability to run for the three middle days of the week, I think I chose my rest days well. Sunday morning bike rides have been challenging but very rewarding and has inspired me to think about events that combine running and cycling. I missed some strength training after my fall at the end of October, but this week was the first week I missed any running days.

I woke up last Saturday with a sore throat but still did my 10 mile run. [Let me interject here that seeing 10 miles come up on the Garmin was an amazing feeling!]. I woke up Sunday and the sore throat lingered, but I still did just over 10 miles on the bike. I felt progressively worse throughout the day and decided to get it checked out if I woke up with a sore throat on Monday. I did, I got diagnosed with strep, and started taking antibiotics. I took off work Tuesday, couldn't run but went to work on Wednesday, and was able to run 3 miles and work on Thursday. Thursday’s run was pretty good. I didn't attempt a specific type of run because I wanted to see how I felt. I had to speed up a few times for traffic and that was rougher than normal, so I’m glad I didn't push the intervals that I would have done normally.

My "I just ran 10 miles" shot!

I thought about a short run on Friday but decided against it. Listening to your body is one of the most important habits for any healthy person, but is especially crucial when you are in training mode. I knew I had a long run this morning and decided not to push it on Friday. I had originally planned to do a 10K this morning at close to race pace, but I modified that because I missed so much mileage this week. I did 8 miles this morning and averaged about 10:30 miles. After the long run about 6 weeks ago where I decided to run until it felt hard (as opposed to my previous time goals), I have been able to complete my entire distance without a walk break. I always start my runs, even the short ones, with a five minute warm up walk and can’t believe that I can then run for 100 minutes after that!

I was getting a little intense about training but I've had a few conversations recently with other runners I know and realized I am ready for this race. I will finish (barring sickness or injury). That took some weight off my shoulders and helped me to feel less guilty about missing workouts this week. I’m getting close now. I have my longest run before the race next Saturday at a whopping 12 miles. I am looking forward to having a chance to practice my nutrition and hydration plan at that length.

The last two weeks I've had a full banana about 20-25 minutes before my long run along with my usual date before the run. I think it helped me sustain my energy much better, and the mid-run dates I've been eating aren't spiking my blood sugar like they were before. I am planning to eat a date around 5 miles, and then one every 2-3 miles after. I am also going to try a mix of water, coconut water and electrolyte powder in my hydration vest next week to see if I want to do that on race day.

I've definitely babbled enough at this point so I’ll leave you with a running tip:

Use a metronome! I use an app called MetroTimer that I set for 87 beats per minute. Good running form means a stride between 85-90 steps per minute. I have never been good at picking up the beat in songs, so I like having the metronome play behind my music to help me get my foot pattern right. I enjoy focusing on the metronome and my form when the run gets tough. It’s almost a form of meditation and helps to remind me to keep good form for the whole run. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Food Decisions

I got a comment on the About page of the blog last week stating: "I was wondering if you would consider a post that is more specific as to how you make your food decisions? I would be interested to know how you go about choosing what food you will eat and amounts and what kind of general nutritional guidelines you use.” First, I’m happy people are reading! Second, I like taking requests. Third, this is a great topic so here goes…

My food decisions have been evolving since I started my weight loss journey in early 2007. Prior to that point I ate what was easy and what I liked (not very many foods!). One of the biggest steps I made was to learn about calories, macro and micro nutrients, metabolism, and how to be mindful/accountable for my food choices. I started by making a few drastic commitments paired with an online food journal. I gave up soda and other drinks with calories, stopped eating fried foods (except the occasional indulgence), and eventually gave up eating at fast food restaurants.

Another big change was moving toward eating almost all meals at home and planning ahead as much as possible. I am fortunate to have a supportive partner who likes to cook and likes planning ahead. When I started on my journey we started being more rigorous about making a weekly meal plan/menu and building our grocery list on that. We used to do it old school with pen and paper, now we use an app called OurGroceries that lets us both access the list from our phones. We keep the menu and ideas we come across there, along with our grocery lists.

Lately I have been eating very cleanly, I've found that I recover much better from my half marathon training if I am eating a ton of fresh produce and eschewing gluten and alcohol as much as possible. This can be a challenge during some of our weekend activities, but I do my best. I stopped counting calories about a year ago when we were about to leave for our tropical Christmas in Curacao. I didn't want to be obsessing about calories and nutrients while we were away and knew I needed to give myself time to adjust to life without a food diary. I think food diaries are excellent for people who truly need to lose weight and who may not be as mindful about what they eat or as knowledgeable about their food.

The trip and weaning period before were a success, and when I started using the Thrive Forward program shortly after the trip I realized that I was stressing out about food too much when I kept a diary and that it was detrimental to my health. I have been able to maintain my weight now without counting a single calorie or trying to make sure I get enough protein/carbs/etc.

The foundation of my food decisions is a focus on whole foods with high nutrient density. Basically, I’m trying to get as many micronutrients as possible for the fewest calories. That’s why the staples of my diet are greens, raw/cooked/dried vegetables and fruit, legumes, and nuts/seeds. When I eat packaged foods I make sure I know what all of the ingredients are, and that I’m happy to put those things in my body.

I like routine, and I've gotten myself into a fairly regular one with food. A typical day looks like this:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

The next installment of What I Ate Wednesday has arrived. This time with a recipe for Eggplant Caponata (see end of post)!

We buy kale every week for smoothies and salads. Last week we still had an abundance and made kale chips. We hand tore them, tossed them with a bit of oil, salt & pepper and then threw them in a 400 degree oven until they looked crispy. Delicious!

I had the good fortune last week to go to lunch with some of my colleagues as part of a day long meeting. I was nervous because their restaurant of choice, Grills in Cocoa Beach, FL, didn't have any strictly vegan dishes on the menu. Fortunately, their servers and chefs were knowledgeable and willing to make me this plate of coconut rice, black beans and sauteed vegetables. Don't be afraid to ask!

Raw bell pepper stuffed with sweet pea hummus, roasted asparagus & delicata squash, raw zucchini & carrots on top of mixed greens. 

Cool thing about living in Florida: local corn in November! That was the star, but the salad with leftover squash and hummus was excellent too. 

I got a spiralizer from my lovely Carly for my birthday. Here's my first batch of rawsta using the new toy. Mixed with hummus as the sauce. 

Every now and then we do a Mediterranean tapas night. This plate has roasted acorn squash, grape leaves, falafel, hummus, roasted red pepper, cucumbers & eggplant caponata. See below for the recipe!

Taco salad. Lettuce tip: mix the chopped romaine with half a lime's worth of juice, scallions, cilantro, salt & pepper before adding toppings. That lettuce blend is delicious on its own or on top of tostadas or other similar dishes. 

Eggplant Caponata
1 medium white onion, sliced
1 large eggplant, sliced & pre-roasted or grilled
5 roma tomatoes, roasted
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 c kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 cup raisins or golden raisins, soaked in hot water
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
Crushed red pepper

Saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Add eggplant, tomatoes, olives & raisins to pan. Stir to combine. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and several splashes of each vinegar.

Cook for a few more minutes until mixture looks like caponata. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day Trip - New Smyrna Beach

Yesterday we took an impromptu trip to New Smyrna Beach, about an hour and fifteen minutes from our house in Orlando. My in-laws rented a condo there over the summer and Carly spent some time there with them. They had a great lunch at Cafe Verde and Carly wanted me to check it out. 

Cafe Verde is just off the main beach drag - Flagler Ave. It has an eclectic menu with lots of vegan and vegan-izable options. They serve beer & wine and several house brewed teas. 

I was hungry when we got there so I ordered these yuca fries with mojo dipping sauce for a starter. They were well seasoned and the sauce was spectacular. 

My main lunch - vegan tacos! Corn tortillas with tofu, pico de gallo & avocado cream sauce. Really delicious!

Carly got the BLT scallop tacos. I snuck some rice and plantains. She loved them. 

We split this as a side and it was the star of the meal - sauteed Brussels sprouts and asparagus with cashews. We definitely want to make this at home. 

We happened to get there in the middle of an art festival lining Flagler Ave. Lots of cute vendors and we also checked out the shops. 

I had (have) a bad sore throat so we stopped for cold treats. Coconut shaved ice for me, cappucino ice cream for Carly. 

After the eats we wandered a bit more and then drove to a beach bar to sit and watch the ocean for awhile. Click for pics!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Eat, Drink, Vote Review

I try to make sure that I read, listen to, observe, etc. information from non-plant based thinkers whenever possible. Sometimes I feel like I’m drinking the vegan Kool-aid and need to check in with the mainstream nutrition research when I can. That’s not to say that I think mainstream is better (I’d say it’s not), but I want to make sure to get a less biased perspective. One of my favorite non-plant based authors is the exceptional Marion Nestle. Taken from the About page on her website “Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health (the department she chaired from 1988-2003) and Professor of Sociology at New York University. Her degrees include a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, both from the University of California, Berkeley.”

The first book I read by Nestle was “Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics”, though I've read/heard her work referenced in countless sources. I think I first heard about her through Michael Pollan, another favorite non-plant based source of information. Nestle has a new book that came out in September 2013 titled “Eat, Drink, Vote” and I was lucky to read a copy from Net Galley.

Let me start with this: I love this book. I read it quickly, it’s short and it’s fun. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let me go further. The book uses political cartoons from The Cartoonist Group syndicate to illustrate a variety of salient points about the US food system. Each page is a mix of cartoons and/or text. It’s amazing how cartoons can convey so much in such a small place. I read a lot of nutrition books and articles, and this one was unique in presentation but didn't give up anything in the way of hard knowledge.

I think it’s so important to use humor to express sensitive issues because it allows us to examine them in a way that’s not threatening, and we often have a more visceral response to images than to blocks of text. This book is a nice primer on the US food system and covers topics such as: agriculture, politics, food marketing, hunger, international relations, government intervention, obesity, nutrition research, cultural values, and more. I’m so impressed by it that I’m going to order it for my library. It’s a good example of how to use media to support scientific information, and touches on many different disciplines. Do yourself a favor and read this book. It’s easy to get through, will elicit a few laughs, and will quickly educate you on the most important topics in food politics.