The China Study

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If you read this blog I wanted to encourage you to also follow me on Facebook (VeganViola) or Twitter (@VeganViola) if you don’t already do so.  I share so many more resources, articles, and pictures there than I do on this blog.  For some reason my Tweets are not coming through on the blog like they are supposed to (Technical Support!!!).  Whenever I find something of interest I post it on social media to help get the word out about the benefits of a plant based diet — benefits to you, animals, and the planet.

Today I posted a “cheat sheet” on The China Study, the most important research published on this topic — if you don’t have time to read the book this article is an excellent summary of the highlights you need to know.

This one is the most alarming to me: Animal protein promotes the growth of cancer. The book author T. Colin Campbell, PhD., grew up on a dairy farm, so he regularly enjoyed a wholesome glass of milk. Not anymore. In multiple, peer-reviewed animal studies, researchers discovered that they could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk.

For the skeptics out there: The study findings are bulletproof. After years of controversial lab results on animals, the researchers had to see how they played out in humans. The study they created included 367 variables, 65 counties in China, and 6,500 adults (who completed questionnaires, blood tests, etc.). “When we were done, we had more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between lifestyle, diet, and disease variables.” In other words, there’s no arguing with the findings, Meat Council of America. Sorry.

Click on the link above or copy and paste the one below for the summary.

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Buckwheat Waffles

I get asked a lot what I eat for breakfast — I was never a big egg fan before so this is easy!  My cousin bought me a great Mickey Mouse waffle maker so I pull it out for fun any chance I get.

Simply find a buckwheat mix you like and follow the instructions — using an egg substitute and non dairy milk of course!  I like Arrowhead Mills Organic, they suggest an egg substitute and soy or rice milk right on the package.

Add some fresh fruit and you’re all set — effortless (remember my word?)!

I texted this photo to my sister and she said my niece, two year old Ruby, was all smiles when she saw it.  Luckily our other sister got her the same waffle maker for Christmas so she can enjoy Mickey waffles at her home in Denver.  My family is too far away!  Both of my sisters are in Denver, my dad in NY, aunts/uncles and cousins scattered through NY, VT, NH, and MA.  Moving to Florida was good for us in many ways and we’ve had visitors during the harsh winters but I think I’d rather be closer to family.  Is it time to uproot our lives again and move north?  My husband’s business base is in NY so he travels there constantly — maybe it’s best we move back and I can somehow deal with the cold and being away from the beach?  But what about my “little sister” — being a volunteer with Big Brothers/Sisters was one thing that kept me going when depressed last year — my little sister is a ball of fun energy, I would miss her terribly!  What’s a girl to do?

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Pasta Fagioli

My dad’s been visiting for a month and he shared with me his pasta fagioli recipe.  I took out the ground beef and beef stock and added in veggie crumbles and vegetable broth and turned it into a delicious vegan soup.  I also added garlic — thought it strange that his recipe didn’t include it and I improvised with some red wine to give it more depth — yum!

His recipe is a slow cooker one — once all ingredients are assembled they can slow cook for four hours but I decided to try it in the pressure cooker and it was perfect after ten minutes.  My word for the year effortlessness even applies to cooking wonderful vegan meals (see 1/1/15 post)!

Brown the veggie crumble with a tablespoon of olive oil, one copped onion, and four minced cloves of garlic.  My pressure cooker has this saute feature — you may need to do it on the stove.  In the meantime, cut up two carrots and two celery stalks and add to the pot.  Then add one can of diced tomatoes (don’t drain) one can each of drained and rinsed kidney and cannelloni beans.  Add two teaspoons of oregano, one teaspoon of pepper, three teaspoons of parsley (I didn’t have any so I used Italian spice mix), half a jar of spaghetti sauce, twenty ounces of veggie stock/broth, and a quarter cup of red wine.

Pressure cook for ten minutes or slow cook for four hours.  When done, boil eight ounces of ditalini pasta per package instructions and add the pasta into the soup.  Voila — a delicious and vegan version of an old Italian favorite (my dad being the old Italian).

This meal reminds me of our trip to Italy many years ago — if you’ve ever been you long to return.  The history, architecture, people, culture, and the food!  Buon Appetito!

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Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute

Wow this Field Roast is good!  Even my carnivore dad said it was “amazing!”  Then we were talking with my sister on the phone and he told her how much he enjoyed it.  Yummy for vegans and carnivores — make this for your next Sunday night dinner with roasted potatoes, onions, asparagus, and warm mushroom gravy like we did!

Happy New Year!  A mentor I’ve worked with, Christine Kane, says we should lose the New Year’s Resolutions and focus on the BE in our life.  Resolutions are DO-HAVE-BE,  “I will DO this thing, so I can HAVE this other thing, and then I can BE this thing.”  The best order for creating positive change in our life is the BE-DO-HAVE model.  I learned this many years ago with LifeSpring/WorldWorks transformational training and Christine reminded me that when you start from BE the DO and HAVE follow more easily.  My friend Diana Penning pointed out to me that our Grad School Alma Matter starts with the motto, “To Be” — another touchstone that BE is the right path.

Christine recommends a better ritual for the new year — choosing a word that will guide us throughout the year.  She gives the example of a resolution to get organized — instead, chose the word Release.  Release inspires us in a bigger way than get organized.  As we come from a Release perspective we understand that we’re holding on to more than just physical clutter — resentment or extra weight that are affecting our health.

This year I’m going to BE the word Effortlessness.  2014 was a very difficult year for me — getting laid off and now at the five month mark of not being able to find another position.  I didn’t really mind losing that job because it was not challenging  and I wasn’t listened to when two bad decisions were made.  These mistakes eventually caused the failure I foretold and my team and I suffered.  Plus, my husband travels so often I get lonely and depressed.  These circumstances have had me feeling a lack of purpose and as a result too many things take so much effort that I give up or don’t even start.  Exercise, cluttered garage, endless weeding, job searching, even getting out of bed some days.  If I approach everything effortlessly I will then do what needs to be done and have what is vital for my growth and overall health.

On another note, it’s been a tough year but also a great one!  I’ve finally let go of some negativity I’ve been holding onto for years — as I near 50 I now get that resentment is only hurting me!  I have found closure and true peace and it’s quite cathartic.  I’ve engaged in some volunteer work that has been very rewarding and I have an amazing husband — he does travel often but it just makes the time we’re together all that more sweet!  I love creating healthy vegan meals for us and of course writing about it in this blog!  We’ve had many visitors from family and friends this year and I’ve captured wonderful memories, plus there is always the beach — just watching the sunset there makes everything better.

Christine has created a word self discovery tool, go to this link to request your free copy!

What will your word be?

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Sweet & Spicy Butternut Squash

This is a great dish I’ll add to our Thanksgiving table — it was inspired by a Rachel Ray recipe but I made it vegan and added dried cranberry’s – yum!

I found the original recipe while waiting for my husband to get his hair cut, always a nice selection of magazines at the salon!  This comes from Rachel Ray’s November 2014 issue on page 115.

Preheat oven to 375 and prepare a baking sheet with foil or parchment and coat generously with olive oil cooking spray.  In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup of light brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.  Peel and cut a large butternut squash into 3/4 inch cubes.  Toss squash cubes in the dry mixture until fully coated.  Place the squash on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, take out and flip the squash over, and then roast for another 20 minutes.

Move roasted squash into a casserole dish and top with 2 tablespoons of crushed walnuts.  The recipe also called for topping with goat cheese but I used Kite Hill vegan ricotta cheese instead along with a handful of dried cranberry’s.

It’s nice and sweet with a bite from the cayenne pepper plus creamy vegan cheese on top — great new side dish for Thanksgiving!

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Tempeh Kabobs

Summer grilling season begs for kabobs — an easy and delicious meal!  Simply cut up your veggies of choice (along with the tempeh we did mushrooms, unions, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini) and place on a skewer — marinate in sauce of your choice (we used 1/2 cup of coconut water, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and a few sprinkles of liquid smoke) for at least an hour and then grill on medium for 30 – 45 minutes, depending on how thick you cut your veggies.  Once done take off the skewer and serve over quinoa or rice — yum!

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Roasted Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls have an interesting origin — Chinese farmers would place the first of their harvest in the bowl as alms to Buddha.  There are so many different varieties — the basics for this recipe include roasted broccoli, cauliflower, and chickpeas topped with a delicious cashew, garlic, and tahini dressing.  You can find the full recipe below:

This is so yummy you’ll be tempted to eat the whole batch in one sitting but beware of eating a whole head of cauliflower at once — no one will want to be near you, including yourself!

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Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill

I’m in Colorado for my nieces High School Graduation — so proud of you Abby!  Both of my sisters live in Highlands Ranch, a large planned community south of Denver.  Highlands Ranch is a wonderful place to raise a family — they have a variety of entertainment, shopping, and food options within a few miles drive.  Everything is so clean and new, even the landscaping is exceptional.  Whenever we visit we’re always so jealous of all the food choices — they have everything you can imagine.  We didn’t get the chance to try the all vegan restaurant Native Foods but we were still well fed!  Pei Wei is always a favorite and this time we also tried a new place called Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill — a delicious goldmine for vegans!  Everything vegan on their menu is labeled with a V so it’s easy to decide as you walk down the counter — no need to ask how it’s prepared or what’s inside.  My husband and I settled on a “Plate” that gives you a variety of alternatives including hummus, grilled portobello mushrooms (our favorite), tabouleh, babaganoush, rice, stuffed grape leaves, salad, olives, and a sweet & spicy quinoa — so good with almonds, cranberries, and a jalapeno apricot dressing.  Served with your choice of wholewheat, white, or gluten free pita.

We immediately checked their website and they do have three locations in Florida — they are down in the Miami area so there is hope they will venture north west and end up in Tampa soon!  If you are close to one I highly recommend it — two thumbs up from my husband and I!

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Garlicky Tahini Dressing

What a treat — I got to meet Rip Esselstyn, the author of My Beef with Meat and The Engine 2 Diet.  You can tell from his photo that he is not difficult to look at!  I thoroughly enjoyed his lecture — he helped me re-commit to a vegan lifestyle and set aside the evil cheese!  He has partnered with the Whole Foods Healthy Eating Campaign and is on a tour of many of the stores to discuss his book and the Healthy Eating Campaign.  Before the lecture Whole Foods had prepared some of the recipes from My Beef with Meat and my favorite was the Garlicky Tahini Dressing.  In fact, every time I go to Whole Foods I can find it on the salad bar!  It’s simple to make at home and it’s now my favorite go-to dressing.

Prep time is no more than five minutes and it makes about 2 1/2 cups of dressing.  This recipe can be found on page 215 of My Beef with Meat.

1 cup tahini

1/2 cup rice vinegar

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh garlic

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Mix and enjoy!

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Homemade Deodorant

Seems strange to find a post for deodorant amongst food recipes but I just had to share this fantastic find!  I left antiperspirant behind about a year ago when I read about the connection to breast cancer — I have it on both sides of my family so I’m extra cautious.  I started using natural deodorants but for the first time in my life I stunk at the end of the day!  I wasn’t happy with the results but figured a little funk was better than breast cancer.  I found this recipe for an easy homemade version and have been using it for almost two months now — no stink, not even day two!  It’s a miracle and totally non-toxic with three natural ingredients — coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch, that’s it!  I keep it in an airtight container with the rest of my toiletries, a few fingers worth of the creamy mixture and no worries!

You’ll find the recipe at the link below — try it, I promise you’ll be hooked!

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