Sunday, 25 April 2010

today's food and last week

Today's brekky was my "dessert" salad. It had spinach, romaine lettuce, a bag of frozen cherries, sliced banana, 1/2 cup edamame, 2 Tbsp spicy pecan vinegar. The cherries and bananas are so sweet, that's why it's like dessert. yummy yummy:

Lunch was banana walnut ice cream for a treat! and some carrots and celery.

Dinner was a "micro-processor" salad, Carrots' invention from the Fuhrman forums. It's a salad where you chop everything in the food processor. This had a bunch of greens I harvested from the garden (came up from last year):
kale, mustard greens, spinach, chives, cilantro
+ some local greens from the co-op:
ramps, arugula, sorrel
+ apple, orange, (pureed in the food processor) and juice of 2 limes
+ 1/2 cup frozen peas (as is)
+ 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds:

I thought for sure this was going to taste horrible. The greens were strong and bitter, especially the mustard greens, and I thought, I really should cook these, but I didn't feel like it. Fortunately the lime, orange and apple made it taste great. Amazing! The lime is key for offsetting the bitter taste of the raw greens.

This last week I was working 16 hours days, and didn't have the time or inclination for cooking, besides the beets, mushrooms and beans I added to my "micro-processor" salads. I mainly just ate salads for brekky (like this), and micro-processor salads for lunch and dinner. Tomorrow for lunch I'll make black bean hummus and lightly steamed veggies for dipping. I'll probably cook more at lunch this week as my collaborator will be joining us I think. And I'll have salad for brekky and dinner probably. That's my guess but I never know when my mood will change.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

World's greatest breakfast

Some people spend $5 a day on gourmet coffee drinks. I spent $5 a day on strawberries. I've posted variations of this salad before but I just love it. It is the perfect food.

This has a whole bunch of romaine lettuce, some arugula and sorrel (locally grown), 1 lb strawberries, 6 oz blackberries, a banana, 1 Tbsp hemp seeds, and 2 Tbsp D'Angou pear vinegar.


Tuesday, 20 April 2010

vegetarianism & veganism-healthful or not?

You may have seen this article about meatless Mondays as recently implemented in San Francisco, which I thought was really interesting. It would be nice if the Midwest would jump on the bandwagon, but I don’t think we’re quite as progressive here.


The most common styles of vegetarianism include:

  • Flexitarians: preferential vegetarians; eat some meat
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: vegetarian food + dairy and eggs
  • Lacto-vegetarians: vegetarian food + dairy
  • Vegans: consume only plant-based foods (no animal products)


The American Dietetic Association (ADA) states that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. View the position paper on vegetarian diets at the American Dietetic Association’s website.


Important nutrients for vegetarians and vegans include:

Calcium: Bone health; plant sources such as spinach or soybeans contain oxalates, which make calcium absorption from these foods minimal; if you’re not consuming adequate dietary calcium, you may need a supplement (calcium citrate w/o meals, calcium carbonate w/ meals) to meet your requirements.

Iron: Primarily functions as a carrier of oxygen in the blood; iron from plant sources is not absorbed as well as iron from meat sources; always consume iron containing foods with vitamin C, which helps convert the iron into a form more usable by the body.

Zinc: Affects metabolic rate; supports immune function; found in soy products, legumes, grains, cheese, and nuts.

Vitamin D: Bone health; fortified foods such as cow’s milk, some brands of soy milk, rice milk, and orange juice, some breakfast cereals and margarines; sun exposure.

Vitamin B12: Synthesis of red blood cells, maintenance of the nervous system; found in dairy foods, eggs, vitamin B-12-fortiļ¬ed foods (soy and rice beverages, some breakfast cereals and meat analogs, or Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast); otherwise a daily vitamin B-12 supplement may be needed.

What about eggs?


If you’re a flexitarian or lacto-ovo-vegetarian, eggs are a great way to get your protein. The American Heart Association recommends consuming < 300 mg of cholesterol per day. Eggs contain ~ 200 mg per yolk, and the egg white is still a good source of protein. The AHA suggests a reduced cholesterol intake because of concern about increasing blood cholesterol levels. However, dietary cholesterol has not been found to contribute significantly to blood cholesterol levels, which have instead been linked to a high intake of saturated fat. Now, we know that level of cholesterol may not be the biggest indicator of risk for heart disease, but instead the size of the cholesterol particle (small and dense) may be more contributory.

Bottom line: eat eggs in moderation. I think an egg a day is fine.


  • According to the ADA, it is important to choose a variety of foods regardless of the style of vegetarianism practiced.
  • Following a vegetarian diet might take some planning, but it is possible to consume all the nutrients that are important to health.
  • View the guidelines and tip sheet at


Another post coming soon answering your questions about vitamin/mineral absorption, soy, alternative protein sources, the concept of complementary protein, and more on B12!

I’m in RD exam review sessions for the next 2 days and then heading to the Missouri Dietetic Association’s annual meeting through the end of the week.

Have questions that you want answered in the next post? Ask away!


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Tracking my food intake

I've been monitoring my food intake off and on for the last few months. On average, my caloric intake is 1500, protein about 13%, fat 20%, carbs 67%; this maintains my weight. My vitamin and mineral intake is off the scale, except for selenium. I get plenty of all the amino acids (needed to make protein). I'm a 5'9", 50 year old female who exercises 1-3 hours a day. on average I guess it's 1 hour intense, 1 hour light exercise per day. Otherwise I'm pretty sedentary with a desk job. On the days when I go on a long bike ride or exercise more heavily, I need more calories, maybe 1600-1700, I'm not sure yet.

Monitoring my food has helped me understand Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations better. At first I was surprised that I only need 1500 calories per day. But I can tell it's right because if I eat less, or exercise heavily, I wake up at 5 am (too early!) hungry. If I eat more, I wake up full. Dr. Fuhrman says when you eat nutrient-dense food, you don't need as many calories. My Nutritional Sciences book has a formula for calculating estimated energy requirements (p. 40-41). According to that, I should burn about 1900 calories. I ate 1600 calories yesterday and didn't exercise much, and that was more than I needed (wasn't hungry for breakfast today until later than usual). I heard from others on the Fuhrman forums who are experiencing the same thing--less calorie intake than is typically recommended. Two other women who are in their 50s, physically active but quite a bit shorter than I say they only need about 1200-1300 per day.

Another thing that got reinforced to me is that you really need those beans and nuts & seeds to increase your calories. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes also are good for adding calories. I eat a lot of raw veggies which by far make up the bulk of the volume of my food intake. But the beans and seeds and starchy veggies contribute at least 1/3 of my calories even though they are low volume in comparison. Fruit also contributes a substantial amount of my calories, which is my yummy reward. I hardly eat grains anymore because I like the taste of fruit, veggies and beans and seeds better, and they are more nutritious so why bother. The main advantage to grains are that they are a cheap way to get calories. Right now I can afford the other stuff.

I also understand better why Dr. Fuhrman's supplements have the amount of vitamins they do. Unless you eat brazil nuts on this diet, you will likely be deficient in selenium. Since we don't eat salt, we don't have a good source of iodine (added to most table salt). We also have no source of vitamins B12 and D (most people are deficient in Vitamin D). Our other vitamins and minerals are pretty much off the scale. Typically Vitamin A is 4000%; folate 300%; B vitamins 100-200% except B12 which is 0; vitamin C 1500%; Vitamin D 0; Vitamin E 150%; Vitamin K 2000%. Minerals are all higher than 100% except selenium. All amino acids are present.

simply beans

Here's the simplest pot of beans you can make.

16 oz beans (Rancho Gordo heirloom beans are the best I know of)

Soak the beans in water overnight. Or quick-soak by boiling in water for a minute and letting sit for an hour on the stove.

Cook in enough water to cover + an inch or so for a few hours until tender. Add more water as needed. If you want less water at the end, just let it boil down to the top of the beans but you have to monitor it so the beans don't burn. Smaller beans may only need 1-2 hours, larger beans 2-4. Older beans will take longer.

You can also cook in the pressure cooker. Here you need to add a lot more water. I think it's a 6-1 ratio. See your pressure cooker instruction book. Bean typically need about 10-12 minutes in the pressure cooker after soaking. Again, see your instruction book. They often say to add oil but mine works fine without it.

today's food

Today I just grabbed stuff from the freezer for brekky and lunch as I was out all day.

I had a blended salad for brekky, along with a pear and some sips of housemate's smoothie as I prepared them.

Lunch was a spinach mango smoothie, some carrots, a grapefruit, and a cup of beans. Yesterday, I made plain old beans with nothing added. The rancho gordo heirloom beans are good just plain (and I didn't have time to make a more flavorful concoction).

Dinner was a delicious salad of lettuce, spinach, ramps (!), strawberries, bananas, hemp seeds, and d'angou pear vinegar, similar to the one posted here. Ramps are wild leeks. They look sort of like green onions with leaves. The leafy part is peppery. They only appear for a couple of weeks around here. They are wonderful.

Now that spring has hit, I'm probably not going to be doing weekend cooking marathons like I was last month. So I'll make the smoothies and food as I need them on a daily basis.