Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Green Smoothies

Lately my husband, Bill, and I attended Vegetarian Summerfest, always an inspiring and motivating event that vegetarians and vegans look forward to attending every year. One of the sessions we enjoyed was a demonstration by a delightful couple, Rae Sikora and Jim Corcoran, educators who make presentations to schools and other groups on health, compassionate living, non-violence and ethical consumerism, among other things. At Summerfest they demonstrated how to make a green smoothie in the blender.

Did you know that kale is the very best thing you can eat? Second to that is collard greens. How many times do we cook these veggies? Usually I just see kale as a garnish to be thrown away, and collard greens have never been a part of my diet. So because of that presentation, I now am beginning to make smoothies highlighting those two highly nutritious veggies. Drinking one of these smoothies each day will ensure that your body will benefit from these healthful foods. Here is how Rae and Jim did it:

Instead of water, use watermelon and/or other melons as the liquid. Then remove the stems from the kale and collard greens and put only the leaves into the blender. Add about a half a lemon and/or other citrus fruits (rinds removed but leave the white part on), and as many other fruits and veggies you can fit into the blender. The lemon adds a nice flavor. Make the kale the "star of the show," but if the blended smoothie is too bitter for you, add some pineapple juice or some other sweeter fruits.

Jim told us that each veggie has its own unique set of phytonutrients, but when you combine the veggies, the combination makes even more phytonutrients. For example, for demonstration purposes, let's say that each veggie has one phytonutrient. When you put two veggies together, you don't just get two phytonutrients, but you actually get three because of combining the two together. Isn't that interesting?

Anyway, back to the green smoothie -- pour the blended fruit/veggie combination into canning jars and screw the lids on. You can freeze these (leave a little space in the jars) or take them with you to work.

There you go! This is a really great way to get some good nutrition for the day and it's easy and fun too!

Rae and Jim were so delightful together as they had fun creating their concoction at Vegetarian Summerfest. By the way, this was their one year anniversary, because they met four years earlier (at Summerfest) and they got married last year (again, at Summerfest!) What a romance!

Here is Rae and Jim's website: www.PlantPeaceDaily.org, and here is a link to the fantastic Vegetarian Summerfest, sponsored by the North American Vegetarian Society: http://www.vegetariansummerfest.org

Let me know if you give green smoothies a try, dear readers.

Until next time, best wishes, Bonnie

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Substituting on Restaurant Menus to Accomodate Vegan Diet

It is getting easier and easier to be a vegan and go to almost any restaurant! All you have to do is read the menu carefully and come up with your own creative solutions.

For example, if the restaurant has nothing on the menu that is vegan (and in many cases a restaurant's vegetarian food is loaded with cream or cheese), just carefully look at everything they do have on the menu. Choose some of the ingredients that would work for your diet (items that are more healthy) and ask them to substitute "this for that."

For example, they might feature broccoli or asparagus in a meat dish but not on their vegetarian menu, and for vegetarians they offer pasta "Alfredo." Ask the waiter if the cook would eliminate the cream and cheese from the Alfredo dish, add some olive oil, broccoli and asparagus.

Lately I have been ordering salads without the Feta cheese, pizzas without the cheese, etc. When asking to eliminate the cheese, why not ask if something else (healthy) could be added? For example, if you see artichokes on the menu, ask if you could have artichokes on your pizza instead of cheese.

It just gets easier and easier .......

Best wishes, dear friends. Bonnie

Monday, June 14, 2010

Response to Sarah Martin with Suggestions for Cooking for a Meat Eating Husband

Sarah Martin commented:

I have been slowly eliminating meat from my diet, but it's been difficult because my husband loves the stuff and I'm still researching the importance of meat relating to children's diet. I saw on your blog that your children were vegan but went back to meat. How about your husband, is he on the vegan bandwagon? I would like to try some meat free meals that would be tasty and nutritious, can you recommend any good cookbooks I might try.
I'd appreciate your suggestions on both the husband and the cookbooks.


Sarah, I'm sorry you had a difficult time posting. I was traveling, visiting libraries, for a while and didn't see your email.

It is so good to hear that you have been slowly eliminating meat from your diet. I understand that your husband loves to eat meat (some call it "dead animals" - sorry). My husband at times says he became a vegan (especially after reading "The China Study" and another time after reading the book that I sent him about the macho fire fighters who became vegans) but then goes back to eating meat, saying he "needs his strength." Currently he eats fish when given the chance.

Since my husband is Chinese, he likes various ethnic foods - my favorites too, so I can make things like curries, which he likes. Just this weekend I made a vegetable curry with potatoes, soy crumbles, green beans and carrots over brown rice. It's like a hearty stew. Another day I made vegetarian fried rice and served it with corn on the cob.

Whenever I cook, I start with the grain. A hearty grain is filling and satisfying. So you could start by cooking a whole wheat pasta, brown or white rice, quinea, couscous or another grain. Then decide if you want to go Italian, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican or something else. Then cook the veggies (stir fried, baked, or stewed) with the appropriate seasonings to match the ethnicity of the dish. Finally throw in a bean into the mix. Between the hearty grain and the bean (black, pinto, brown, lima, or tofu) your husband will think he is eating meat. Another idea is to add a hearty mushroom, as that has a meaty flavor too. Costco is selling some excellent fancy dried mushrooms that can be reconstituted.

I hope these ideas help you. Hopefully he isn't a "meat and potatoes kind of guy." That has to be a little trickier. In that case, maybe he will eat a "stew" that has seitan as the meat substitute.

As for cookbooks, why not try "Vegan Planet" by Robin Robertson,"Alternative Vegan" by Dino Sarma, "Everyday Greens" by Annie Somerville, "Three Bowls: Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery" by Seppo Ed Farrey and "The Complete Tassajara Cookbook" by Edward Espe Brown. I love all of these, for different reasons. Some may be vegetarian, rather than all totally vegan, but for those recipes, just do some substitutions.

Thank you for writing to me, Sarah, and best wishes to you. Please let me know how your cooking goes for your husband. Bonnie

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Do you have vegan friends?

If you are a baby boomer vegan, like I am, do you have any vegan friends? Although I am finding other vegans about my age in other states or areas (that I am interviewing for my book), I am finding it difficult to find even one locally.

How I wish for friends with similar interests! Lately, I am really getting to adore yoga as well, and likewise, I have not even one friend who is my age and interested in yoga. My other interests include Asian Art and fashion.

This is getting to be very frustrating - and lonely at times, I must admit!

Well, friends or not, I am on a path for my own self. I am on a path that makes me happy inside even if I am the only one in the state of Pennsylvania! Being vegan has changed my life and now yoga is transforming me as well, from the inside out.

Still, it would be so great to have someone to do things with that have similar interests.

Best wishes to you all, and I hope you have better luck than I have in this area. Let me know what you think, fellow baby boomer vegans!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Need to Interview Fellow Vegan Baby Boomers

Are you a baby boomer (born between 1944 and 1964)? Did you become a vegan during middle age? If so, I would like to interview you for a book I am writing on the subject of Baby Boomers who are vegams. Would you consider being interviewed for the book?

The book will feature success stories and a photo of each vegan Baby Boomer. The purpose of the book is to provide inspiration and to encourage other middle aged foks like us to join the lifestyle.

I would appreciate hearing from any volunteers who might be willing to answer my interview questions. Please write to me at youngbon@gmail.com if you are interested.

With my sincere thanks, Bonnie Young

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Favorite Video Blogger

Elaine is my favorite vegan who faithfully produces videos on YouTube about being a vegan: