Vegan Cajun Mayonnaise

If you haven’t tried Cajun mayonnaise, you are missing out and this recipe is very versatile.   This is simple to make and has so many uses, I will reference using this periodically so that you will begin to notice.  You can use Cajun mayonnaise in any way that you might use sour cream, dressing or mayonnaise.

 

Ingredients:

¾ cup of Vegenaise

4 oz of vegan cream cheese

This makes the mayo thicker so if your desire is to  have a thinner mayo double the Vegenaise and skip this but I enjoy using this and I keep it in the refrigerator.

2 long squirts of all-natural ketchup

Important that it have few ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup.  It actually tastes different and so much better.

1 teaspoon of Tabasco Sauce (there is no substitute)

½ teaspoon of Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (also no substitute)

 

Directions and Uses:

Whisk together, taste and adjust accordingly.  You will find so many uses for this, it will become a household staple in your refrigerator for sandwiches, tacos, baked potatoes and for dipping veggies.

Strawberry Salad

1 large bag of shredded romaine or 3 hearts of romaine, cleaned, cut and shredded

1 small can of mandarin oranges

½ cup of pecans roasted; place in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of smart balance, toss on medium heat until they are lightly browned

½ cup of feta

Briannas’ Strawberry Vinaigrette with a large strawberry on the bottle.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss prior to eating.  I take this salad to parties routinely and separate the ingredients until just before I serve it at which time I toss all ingredients together.

This salad is delicious, fast, easy and great to transport for an event today or tomorrow as the ingredients are kept separate and as such preserved.  After mixed, the salad is good for the current meal and one meal after.

Nut, Seed or Legume?

What is a nut?  What is a seed?  What is a Legume and how is that word said?

Why does it matter?

Nut

A nut is a fruit with an outer coating generally containing a kernel called a seed within.

Seed

A seed is the embryo of a plant enclosed in a protective shell.

Legume pronounced “leg-yoom”

A legume is a plant or its fruit or seed in the family Fabaceae. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for their grain seed called pulse, for livestock forage and silage, and as soil-enhancing green manure.  Wikipedia

Soil-enhancing green manure is what they term the benefit of a cover crop.  So, this is how it works.  A farmer wants to add nitrogen to his field and rather than spraying which is costly, in the past crop rotation was used as many plants add “green” meaning from the plan, nitrogen to the soil.  Adding a cover crop of beans or clover will add a great deal of nitrogen and nutrients to the soil as a green way of fertilizing the soil, thus the Wikipedia term “green manure”.

Interestingly, a pea is a legume as is a peanut and a cashew.  Of course, we think of both a peanut and a cashew as nuts when in fact they are legumes.

The argument that Dr. Gundry makes is that if you don’t cook legumes adequately, they will be high in lectins and some are high and often eaten raw and therefore the seeds should be removed to decrease their lectins.

Lectins are molecules of proteins found in plants that can damage the lining of your esophagus and stomach or can give you an upset stomach and change the biological composition of your gut.  Needless to say, the information that Dr. Gundry shares, I am not wholly in agreement with because it conflicts with advice of other famous doctors that are also renowned cardiologists.  But, he is a highly thought of doctor and the information that he shares is somewhat different and worth a try to see what the individual reaction or effect is as a personal and further investigation.  As I learn and share, please learn and share with me.  As I try different things and share, please comment on your experience.  Dr. Gundry calls this a low lectin diet.

 

 

Fruit or Vegetable – Why?

Have you ever considered what a fruit is vs. a vegetable and what that means for our nutritional health?  I know that I had not until I started listening to a pod cast by a doctor that has shifted my thinking.  A bit more about that later.

What is a fruit?

A fruit is a seed-bearing portion of a tree or a plant.  It develops from the flower of the tree or the plant.

What is a vegetable?

A vegetable is the other part of the plant including the leaves, the roots and the stem.

Often identified incorrectly as vegetables are tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, squash, pumpkin and zucchini.

Why would this matter?

Dr. Gundry argues that fruits were eaten to fatten up before winter.  The seeds are high in lectin proteins which are not healthy to eat routinely.  If advises that if you must eat a tomato, he suggests that you remove the center seeded area and eat the exterior meat of the tomato.  He also argues that a diet high in lectin protein causes increase cholesterol, weight gain and insulin spike.  He states in one of his videos that he often recommends that his female patients removes cucumbers their diet as a strategy to reduce their cholesterol with great success.

I highly recommend that we check out his information.  I cannot attest to the diet changes personally, at this point because I have not used them myself with success and tracked the changes.  I suggest that we evaluate his information because (a) he is a highly regarded cardiologist (b) the personal doctor of several famous people whom have the means to choose anyone (c) over his career, he has changed his recommendation as he has found information causing his to refine his practices.

You have to respect a professional in any field who is a continuous learner at the top of his field and who will change his direction because he thinks it is the right thing to do.  My intention it to move toward his recommended low lectin diet, evaluate the changes and blog about it to share with you my practical reality so that you too can benefit if you so choose.

Just like all things All Good Veg at allgoodveg.com, I will give you some simple tips after I have completed my evaluation.  Please do share if you have used the low lectin diet with a whole food plant-based, vegan, vegetarian diet.  I am interested in hearing your feedback.  Thank you in advance for sharing.

Vitamix, My New Kitchen Appliance and Cooking Tool

Do you have one?  I didn’t until recently.  I bought the mid-level model and it is perfect for our use.  I am going to offer you recipes and my use of the machine to help you get used to using yours.  Please feel free to share your recommendations with me.  If I don’t post quickly, it is because I feel the need to make a recipe before I recommend.  So, after I make your recipe, I will post it of course giving you credit for your creation.  If I modify after you send me one and I have made it, I will post as mine and mention that you sent me a recipe and I modified it again, crediting you for the original and with my additions so that readers can choose.

We don’t BBQ on a grill.  We don’t even grill any longer.  So, paying a premium for a kitchen tool like a Vitamix is something I feel I can splurge on and I feel it aids me in cooking healthy meals; vegan, vegetarian, whole foods for my family.  I get excited to have a new appliance and I generally use it frequently and integrate it into my cooking regiment.  If you are considering purchasing a Vitamix, or if you are as I described above, please allow me to indulge myself with your time and attention.  You see we went to the Birmingham, AL Summit location of Sur La Table.  Both of the employees working that evening and we were there at the end of the evening, were engaged in our discussion, excited to share and one of them we exceptionally knowledgeable about these machines.  So please let me share a little about them and my new experience using them.

The top of the line unit is all digital.  Great if money is no object but I kind of like doing what I need and what I want to do with a few less digits and a few more dials.  Old fashioned, I know but I fear the failure of the digital.  These machines have a better than industry standard warranty, 7 and 10 years, so not to worry for that part but the interesting thing to me is how it works.  Now let’s stop here for a minute.  Do you have any kitchen appliance with a  7 or a 10 year warranty – nope.

A little about the company – made in America and made in Ohio, my home state, Vitamix is

If you add cold, ice and blend it will actually freeze like ice cream.  If you add warm, blend and intend to make as a soup, it will come out hot enough to eat.  Yes, very neat because there is really no need to heat further unless you want to add a little extra warmth and then, I just microwave for a minute or two and my dinner prep and cooking is finished.  Here is my simple broccoli and vegan cheese soup.

Ahead of time, I cook potatoes and carrots; add nutritional yeast, Cavender’s Greek Seasoning and Tony Chachere’s Seasoning blend together and freeze.   This is said to be vegan cheese like nacho cheese for dipping but it didn’t pass my family’s taste test as such.  What it does do is make a great cheesed up soup or cheesed up vegan dish.  So I freeze this in 1 quart freezer bags.  I remove frozen and microwave until defrosted, add to the Vitamix.  Then I add a head of either broccoli or cauliflower or ½ of each to my corning ware dish with 2 T of water and cook for 4 minutes on high in the microwave.  I add it to the Vitamix.  Now, I set the Vitamix setting to Soup and it sets the timer for the correct time.  About 6 minutes later, I have perfectly blended and soup to temperature for kids or adults to eat that is vegan, healthy, vegetarian and did I save full of flavor?  We eat this for dinner in the Fall, Winter and Spring at least once or twice a week.  We take 2-3 months off in the summer and increase our use of the Vitamix by making smoothies that are cool and refreshing instead of the soup.

 

They tout that it cleans easily by filling with ½ warm water and a drop of dish soap.  Just like the other things mentioned, it too works as stated.  You have to appreciate a company that supports their product, makes something to air nutritional wellbeing and is accurate in their offer and promise to their customers.  Actually, would we as a customer expect anything more.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

Again, Vitamix as a company – has recipes listed on their website.  How many – roughly 300.  What an incredible resource, warranty, story and appliance.  I am a more than happy owner as this appliance has become and integral part of our diet and an aid to our nutritional wellbeing.  Please note that I do not have an affiliate relationship with Vitamix but will seek to have one in the coming months as I am willing to promote this product because I believe in it and have used it with exceptional satisfaction.

4 Compelling Motivators to Effectively Change your Diet; 4 Resources to Support Your Change

Have you ever felt like making a change or a transition was too difficult?  Have you ever really wanted to do something and needed a few effective and guided things to do that actually really work?

Seeing family members sick with Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease, Cancer and those then leading to death is compelling reason number one.  These diseases cheat people of a life of leisure, enjoyment and activity.  There is nothing fun or fulfilling about spending 2 months caring for someone in ICU because they didn’t eat routine meals and didn’t follow their doctors’ advice to manage their diabetes.  The poor patient, if they recover, can end up on dialysis and that is if they are lucky and able to be treated.

Wait a minute, I have a pill for you.  Take this pill, it will fix this.  Listen to the side effects and you will be stunned that the drug companies actually think it is good marketing to pay for television advertisements that go on and on about the possible side-effects of their medications.  My God heaven help us, do you really want to expose yourself to those side effects?  Compelling reason number two is to avoid taking these toxic medications that are advertised on television.  Are you with me?  Are you frightened by them?  I am and I know I have many family members on many of them.  It makes me very sad to think about it.

Well their doctor knows best and he/she advised them to take these meds.  Really?  Compelling reason number three.  The doctors and the drug companies have a direct conflict of interest.  They are studying and gearing their meds to treat sickness.  They make you feel as if you have to listen to their advice and follow their instructions.  Sad truth is that they didn’t study wellness, they studied sickness so they are sickness experts and don’t really know nutritionally what is best for a patient to maintain their wellness.

Last, and most important, compelling reason number four; follow the money.  The organic, vegetable farmers have no money or lobbying groups or let’s just say they are under-represented compared to big pharma, the meat and dairy industry and the American Medical Association.  We have long known that we need fruits and vegetables to ensure wellness.  But what is less widely known is the damage that processed foods, meat and dairy causes the human body.  Did you know that processed foods packed with sugar and artificial ingredients, meat and dairy are directly associated with more closely linked to the cause of Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease and Cancer than genetics?  Dr. Colin Campbell spoke to a group of medical professionals at the University of Alabama Birmingham and explained how it is possible to control your diet and turn cancer off.  Can you imagine, having a diet that helped you preserve your wellness?

It is sometimes hard to find the truth when it is financially under-represented.  Fruits and veggies are not high dollar cash crops.  But, the information is out there for us.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta “The Last Heart Attack” a CNN Special was the first documentary that we watched just after my father’s heart attack and death.  This is excellent information.  This is a compelling documentary that exposes the real source of Heart Disease and immediate and actionable steps that we can take to prevent this, even if we genetically have a predisposition to Heart Disease as one would expect when their parent dies of the disease.  Thank you, CNN and Dr. Gupta for an informed, documented and compelling piece of motivational journalism.

The “Engine Two Diet” instructs you on exactly how to rid your home of processed foods but first, it explains what a processed food is and why you want to bag them all up and give them to the garbage man rather than your church or neighbor.  Compelling and motivational, this documentary was made with passion, process and aims to motivate you into a lifelong commitment.  It worked for us so well that we have maintained for nearly 7 years.  When is the last time you made a diet change that lasted for SEVEN YEARS?  Rip Esselstyn, you gave us guidance by explaining the problem and exactly what we could do about it.  If you don’t want to be a victim, if you are a fighter, an active person and a go getter, get it going.  Thanks Rip, sincerely thank you for an entertaining and motivating documentary on how to get started.

Wait, compelling documentary number three, “Forks Over Knives”. The documentary introduces the irrefutable China Study and the evidence of animal protein and animal fat and their relationship to cancer and heart disease.  It addresses the history of our government’s support of the meat and dairy industry, the creation of the food pyramid as an educational tool, as well as its support and backing of big pharma.  All of these are clearly a money-making endeavor that is supported by our capitalistic society.  Frankly, this was hard for me to get my mind around.  How could this be?  Could we really have been let down like this?  How could all of these things work against the public best interest?

But then the documentary of all documentaries came out, “What the Health”.  Our phone and email began to ring as friends watched it.  They wanted to talk and they needed recipes.  They were taken by the clear and understandable content.  Doctor after doctor who had crossed over to the other side where wellness and medicine were working together presented one after the other their compelling stories, fact based, understandable and concrete data.  Compelling data from doctors who were happy to share and documentary number four is so very good.  I loved this documentary.  But, I must say that there seems to be magic in the four of them.  Have you binge watched a television show or a sporting event?  I suggest you binge watch these four documentaries in the order listed above.  Your, “I want to be healthy switch” will be flipped and you’ll know just how and where to start.  You will be all primed and ready to take recipes, cooking, eating out and life to a different place.

Let me also say, I don’t care if you have any of the aforementioned diseases.  You are not dead yet.  You don’t have to become a statistic.  You can do something about your health in a way that is positive and toward wellness rather than just treating the sickness that you have.  What if you treated the sickness AND treated yourself well?  Do you think you would get better faster or slower?  It makes all the sense in the world, but you don’t know what that looks like because traditionally, we are taught in the structure that supports our sick treating and pill pushing capitalistic money-making practices.  Don’t get me wrong, doctors spend their lives dedicated and working to make their patients free of disease with the best of intentions.

Rarely do you find a doctor that is wellness educated or who has taken more than one required nutrition course in medical school.  Rarely do you find a nutritionist who has read or knows about the largest nutrition study ever conducted in the world.  I know this seems odd.  No, this seems wrong and it is but I have stumbled into something that is truly worth sharing that is not a joke and that is so vitally important to you and to me, to our friends and to our families.

Can you do something different?  Can you spend a short amount of time and watch 4 documentaries?  If you do take the first steps, you will find it easy and effective to make a change.  The reasons are compelling but you will also find that the information motivational.  The change has lasted for me, my husband and two daughters because the facts are compelling, motivational and the change made us feel so well, good and awesome.  It is a blessing and a gift to be well and to have our health.  Health is impacted by science, genetics, environment and nutrition.  You can be well and so can your family if you choose to educate yourself.  I hope that you feel compelled to see the documentaries and motivated to comment about your transition.  I will be here.  I hope to share with you and maybe I will have another opportunity to help you, guide you and cheer you on in some small and productive way.  I would be honored to be part of your wellness.

 

Why Blog…Why Share?

In August of 2011, I lost my father to a sudden heart attack.

His father lived to be in his 80’s although his eldest brother died of a heart attack in his 40’s. My dad made it to the hospital thanks to the courageous care of my step-mother Ann and sister Bethany, a great EMS Team and the will of God.  Like most who suffer cardiac arrest, my father died.  Interestingly, CPR is said to be approximately 10% effective.  In the movies and on TV, if the patient makes it to the hospital or is revived, they live.  In reality, that is not how it works.  After 3 days, it is for the most part known if recovery will occur by the individual’s brain activity.  In our case, my father was fortunate to have an additional 3 days for a chance albeit remote, to recover.  In his case it seemed that he had 24 hours really and from that point, he didn’t recover and spent 9 days in Intensive Care.

At the same time our family emergency was occurring, Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary aired on CNN called “The Last Heart Attack”.  My phone started to buzz with helpful and loving suggestions from friends and co-workers that the information might be helpful in some way.

“The Last Heart Attack,” a CNN documentary hosted by Emmy-award winning correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, looks at the science of heart disease prevention. Dr. Gupta, who has a family history of heart disease himself, investigates whether diet and modern medicine are enough to prevent all heart attacks.

https://mailchi.mp/bb260e7d329f/allgoodveginfo

 

 

I assure you that CNN and Dr. Gupta pulled out all of the stops on this one.  It is informative, educational, eye opening and in many ways bold.  This was the starting point of my life after my father’s death.  We watched the special with our daughters and we asked the question that I always ask, “should we do something, or should we do nothing”?

Here I am again, asking myself the same question, “should I do something, or should I do nothing”?  Again, the answer is that I should do something.

For your sake and the sake of your family and friends…please ask yourself the same question.  Should you do something, or should you do nothing?  Please allow me to suggest that you watch the special mentioned above.  I know that you will be part of a progressive change, a movement toward the All Good.

Welcome to my world of action, commitment and continuous learning.  Thank you for being here and thank you for joining me on this heartfelt journey of learning and care for one another.

All Good,

Amanda