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