Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Protein Power Bowl!

As much as I've never been one to buy into the whole "high protein" diet phenomenon, there is something to be said for the occasional over the top, protein packed meal (as long as it is accompanied by the appropriate amounts of fiber, vitamins and nutrients to actually help your body utilize those wonderful amino acids of course!) Being a workout enthusiast, I know how important it is to take care of your muscles, and that means giving them the building blocks to repair and grow. This meal is evidence of how easy it is to get essential aminos and proteins if you love to run, lift and just generally be an active person like myself and you also want to be vegan (also like myself). SO next time someone asks you how that crazy vegan friend of yours gets her protein, JUST SHOW THEM THIS BLOGPOST.

Let me break the protein-ified components it down for you:
  • Tempeh 22g
  • Nutritional Yeast (in the sauce) 8g
  • Silken Tofu (in the sauce) 5g
  • Maitake Mushrooms (aka Grifola frondosa - I love scientific fungi names) 2g
  • Kale 2g
All in all, one serving of this dish has approximately 45 grams of protein. In other words, one modest serving of this delicious and nutrient packed little dish has more protein than an 8 oz steak (according to my research which says an 8 oz steak has about 38.8 grams of protein in it)

Protein is easy peasy when you're vegan! And it comes without all the added fats, calories and cholesterol! Neat!

Not to mention this dish is absolutely jam packed with brain and immune system boosting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D (did you know Maitakes are the only fresh veggie to contain significant amounts of Vitamin D?) and B (complex) AS WELL AS niacin, manganese, riboflavin, iron, copper, selenium, and choline. And OF COURSE lots of fiber-y goodness to help your digestive tract along. That is more than any ol' steak can say for itself.

Plus, most importantly, it is cruelty free. Duh. ;)

Alright, so I have clearly espoused all of the wonderful and amazing benefits of this dish, but the most important thing is how it tastes, right?

Lemme tell you, if you follow this recipe it will taste AMAZING. In fact, this is one of the better dishes I have made in a long time.

Based loosely on Oh She Glow's version :)

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked spelt berries (you can also use brown rice, lentils, quinoa or another grain of choice OR you can buy spelt berries in your local bulk foods section and fall in love with them the same way I have!)
  • 2 tsp oil (for sauteing)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a microplane grater
  • 1-2 cups fresh/frozen veggies of choice (I used fire roasted bell peppers from trader joes!)
  • 2 cups maitake mushrooms, cut however you like them (I just cut mine into strips)
  • 1 package tempeh (I just used plain, unflavored but use whatever kind floats your boat!)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 3 cups greens (spinach or kale is best!), chopped
  • 1 recipe "cream sauce" (below)
  • 1/2 cup (or to taste) fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 package silken tofu, soft 
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice (I used lime and it was VERY limey so take it easy, kids)
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs white wine (you can also use 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbs Sriracha
  • 1 tsp agave or sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp curry spice blend (or other seasoning blend of choice)
First start by cooking your spelt berries. It is approximately a 1:3 spelt berries to liquid (water/stock) ratio and they take about an hour and a half to cook. So get on it!  Bring 1 1/2 cups berries and approx 4 1/2 cups water to a boil and then let simmer for about 90 minutes.

Blend all ingredients of your "cream sauce" in a food processor and set aside!

Bring the oil up to temperature over medium heat and then toss in your yellow and red onions. Let caramelize for about 6-7 minutes and then throw in your garlic. Brown garlic for another 2 minutes or so and then toss in your veggies, mushrooms and tempeh. Saute veggies for about 8 minutes or until beginning to brown nicely. Throw in your tomato and greens and allow them to cook down for about a minute (or until you have room in your pan!)

Add in your spelt berries and sauce and allow the whole thing to simmer for another 6-8 minutes! Toss in your chopped parsley, stir it in for another minute and your bowls are ready!

Note: All the cooking times here (with the exception of the spelt berries) are approximate. Use your best judgment to tell when things look like they are cooked to your liking and if something is starting to brown/burn, please feel free to NOT adhere to the entirety of the cooking time listed.

Spoon your protein concoction into a bowl, top with any additional parsley and munch munch munch!

Live long and prosper! And dispel the vegan-protein myth!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Pulled Pork" Jackfruit Sandwiches

When I saw the recipe for this sandwich I thought that it was too good to be true and too crazy to taste good. Fortunately, I was dead wrong and this recipe for vegan pulled pork sandwiches tastes incredible, is high in fiber, low fat, low cal and is gluten free adaptable (if you use GF bread).

But wait...so what exactly is jackfruit and how does it become this lovely sandwich?

Well. Jackfruit is this giant, prickly, starchy African fruit that has an extremely mild flavor (perfect for picking up the flavors of your pulled pork rub/sauce) and is difficult to find in most run-of-the-mill grocery stores - canned or fresh. However, most Asian markets carry canned jackfruit (just make sure to get it in BRINE not SYRUP) and, as a plus, it's like $1.79 a can and 1 can equals about 3 sandwiches.

I, for one, could not believe that this odd, insubstantial fruit turned into such a fantastically textured, hearty (dare I say "meaty"?) sandwich.

In fact, the only thing I would do differently with this recipe next time is use slightly more liquid in the simmering process and spend slightly less time chatting with friends and making drinks when it's in the oven because my sandwiches ended up a teensy bit dry (hence the Sriracha). Still! The texture was amazing and I will know better for next time to use more liquid and less oven.

(The original recipe that I adapted to make these sandwiches is here.) 

"Pulled Pork" Jackfruit Sandwiches
  • 1 can Jackfruit in BRINE. Rinsed. (The original recipe says to separate the core or inner pieces from the stringy bits but I didn't do this and it turned out fine. I just had to mash those pieces with a fork)
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 buns! 
For the Dry Rub
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper 
For the Wet Sauce
  • 3 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Braggs or soy sauce
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke  
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbs agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup veggie broth
Place your rinsed and drained jackfruit in a bowl and coat evenly with your dry rub spices. Throw it in either a sauce pan or a fry pan (just make sure it has a lid!) and, over low to medium heat (no oil), lightly toast your jackfruit pieces until they begin to turn brown on all sides (I did this for the same amount of time it took me to do the next step - so about 6-8 minutes).

In a separate skillet, bring some oil up to medium heat and add your onion, stirring occasionally for about 4-5 minutes until beginning to carmelize. Toss in your garlic and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Whisk together the ingredients for your wet sauce.

After your jackfruit is toasted, add the onions and garlic and then pour the whisked wet sauce over the top. Cover your pan and simmer all the ingredients for about 20 minutes. Then, using a fork, begin to pull apart the jackfruit pieces in the pan. Add more veggie broth if your jackfruit is starting to look dry and then simmer for another 15 minutes. This will give the jackfruit ample time to soak up the ingredients. While the jackfruit is simmering for the last 15 minutes, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

After the full 35 minutes are up, remove your jackfruit from the stove top and transfer it to a cookie sheet. Using that same fork you used before, finish pulling apart the jackfruit pieces, taking extra care to mash any center pieces that are still in tact. Place the jackfruit in the oven for about 10 minutes to help tenderize the fruit and lock in the flavors a little more.

Remove the "pulled pork" mixture from the oven and spoon directly onto toasted buns.

Top with additional sriracha or BBQ sauce as you see fit.


Feel free to do a little yes dance as you eat this sandwich if you can coordinate it.

It's that good.

Live long and prosper! And eat vegan foods made out of strange African fruits.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dutch Apple Pie!

I've recently been trying my hand at baking. I've never been much of a baker; I've always preferred the process of cooking. A very wise friend of mine described it perfectly when she said that cooking is more of an art whereas baking is more of a science (she is a nursing student so naturally, she prefers the latter). When you bake, you measure something carefully and then you put it into a device where it is then compositionally changed to become something new. Something can taste great as a liquid form (batter) and then look or taste awful by the time you pull it out of the oven and there is really nothing you can do (except get mad at the laws of science). This is probably why I often fail to make even the simplest of boxed baked goods (WHY can't you add raspberry preserves to the boxed brownies though?! Rise damnit!) I don't like following directions and I like to have my hands in the whole process and constantly make adjustments until it turns out the way I want it. That methodology doesn't work so well in baking until you really understand the chemistry behind it. Which I don't. Naturally.

Nonetheless! I have been working on it. I believe being a successful baker is necessary to being well-rounded in the kitchen. For my birthday a year ago I wanted a Kitchen Aid. For Christmas I wanted a breadmaker. Armed with these baking implements, I have slowly but surely begun improving my skills as an oven master. Actually now the bigger problem that I have is that baked goods go bad in my house - I would rather eat fruits and veggies than cookies, cakes, breads or pies so I often find they get stale before they are eaten. So, when Colin said he was craving apple pie, I took the opportunity to work on my pie skills.

And I do think it turned out beautifully. Probably the best pie I have ever made. It's more of a Dutch Apple Pie than your traditional A-mur-i-can pie because I only had one frozen pie crust, but that's okay; I prefer pies in their European fashion.

Vegan Dutch Apple Pie! Noms!
So here you have it:

Dutch Apple Pie
  •  1 frozen pie crust (or if you have a favorite recipe for crust, please use it)
  • 5 medium apples (I used Gala because I like their consistency but there are mounds of internet debates as to what the best pie apple is)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs orange juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg or other preferred spices
For the Topping
  • 1 cup prepared frosting (optional)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup quick (not instant) oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs agave
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance, softened
Preheat your oven to 415 degrees. Yes, I said 415. Just trust me.

Peel and slice your apples into thin slices and place them in a large mixing bowl with your sugar and toss until coated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your corn starch, vanilla extract and orange juice. When whisked until there are no lumps, pour the mixture over your apples. Then add in your spices and, using your hands, toss the apples until all the ingredients are mixed and coated evenly. Spread the apples into the pie crust.

If you have frosting (I had left over frosting that was just sitting in my fridge waiting to be used from my cupcakes last week) use it as a layer between the topping and the apples. It's sooo good this way. Simply spoon the frosting into a ziplock bag (I just used a quart sized one) and cut off a corner of the bag so that it becomes like a piping bag. Then, in a criss-cross pattern, pipe a thin layer of frosting over the top of the apples. I don't think I used a full cup, but use your discretion.

Then, on top of your optional frosting layer goes your topping. For the topping, combine the flour, oats and brown sugar in a bowl. Slowly add the agave and softened earth balance, mixing the ingredients together with a fork until they start to have a crumbly consistency. It's okay if there are some thinner crumbs on the bottom of the bowl, don't worry about it. You don't want the mixture to be too wet or it won't have the right effect. Spread the crusty topping over your pie/frosting layer!

Cover your pie loosely with tin foil, making sure to either leave some holes or poke holes in the top to assure that steam can escape. Cook your pie this way for about 20 minutes and then remove the tin foil and continue to cook for another 5-10 or until the top turns gold brown.

Top with some amazing banana ice cream (frozen bananas blended in a food processor until they turn into ice cream) or some coconut bliss and devour!

(I don't have a pie server so the individual pieces did not come out photo worthy but it tasted amazing. Scout's honor)

Live Long and Prosper! With baking skills!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The China Study: This is Why I'm Hot

Reading this book, I found myself thinking over and over again that this information was too good to be true. I mean, a New York Times bestseller written by an experienced, incredibly credentialed PhD scientist who was raised on a farm and who ate meat most of his life that argues for overwhelming nutritional and health benefits of a vegan/vegetarian diet? Really? Not to mention the high amount of critical acclaim and minimal critique (there are some critiques to be sure, but they are few and mostly focus on smaller, fringe issues such as the fact that he doesn't focus enough on the actual China Study itself but brings in other data etc..) this book has received. Minus the animal testing done throughout to prove his points, Cambell perpetuates my beliefs about food and nutrition to the point of literal excitement. Nothing makes me happier than reading a book like this.

And since it makes me so so happy and since I have been so hungry after my long work days that I haven't been taking pictures of the delicious food I have been cooking for the past 3 days (including coconut lime cupcakes, cashew cheese pizza and grilled portabella mushroom burgers) I decided to write a little book review. Actually, this "little book review" turned into a rather long book review that has taken me the better part of 8 days to finish. I know it's a large pill to swallow, but for those of you who care and who want the long and short of the book without actually having to read it (as well as my fascinating and insightful opinion on the material) here it is.

I want to highlight some of the more impressive quotes with textual and photographic aids in order to motivate more whole, plant-based foods in your life. And if this post makes you as excited as I am about this book, borrow it from me! Or buy it here :)

Disclaimer: I am only using bits and pieces of this book. I don't cite the sources. Campbell references hundreds and hundreds of studies, if you want the proof and the numbers. Buy the book. I am simply relaying his more profound and exciting conclusions. 

From the introduction: "I have come to see that the benefits produced by eating a plant-based diet are far more diverse and impressive than any drug or surgery used in medical practice. Heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, stroke and hypertension, arthritis, cataracts, Alzheimer's disease, impotence and all sorts of other chronic diseases can be largely prevented" (22-23).

Alright if this doesn't get your attention, nothing will. Who doesn't know someone who hasn't suffered from one of these diseases. No one! And if you aren't afraid of falling victim to one of these diseases yourself (Alzheimer's is my big fear - Thanks Grandma!) well I'll eat my shoe (don't worry, it's a vegan shoe). Veganism is a hugely effective preventative for a number of diseases. More on this as we go.

"Eating the right way not only prevents disease but also generates health and a sense of well-being, both physically and mentally. Some world-class athletes, such as ironman David Scott, track stars Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses, tennis great Martina Navratilova, world champion wrestler Chris Campell and sixty-eight year old marathoner Ruth Heidrich have discovered that consumer a low-fat, plant-based diet gives them a significant edge in performance" (24).

Carl Lewis
David Scott
Okay first off I want to say Martina Navratilova is BAD-ASS. She kills at tennis and even though (at age 65) she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she is beating it like a champ and even climbed Mt. Kilmanjaro that same year. (In fact I think it's in total remission now, 3 years after diagnosis).

But in other news, LOOK AT THESE GUYS. I should just make a shirt with these guys on it that I can wear around to fend off the stupids who ask me how I get my protein.

Ruth Heidrich
And apparently UFC is chock full of vegan/vegetarian fighters. I don't know because I don't follow UFC at all, but Colin says they are top notch fighters and the whole vegan thing is spreading like the plague among top athletes. Can I get a woo woo!

Last but not least, this bad-ass marathon runner is also vegan. AND SHE'S 70 YEARS OLD. Jeeze Louise. Killin' it with that plant-based stuff. Ha, get it. Because you're not actually killing anything. Except plants.

Moving on to cancer: "The results of these, and many other studies, showed nutrition to be far more important in controlling cancer promotion than the dose of the initiating carcinogen...nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development." (66)

This is incredible to me. Campbell shocked himself with the studies that showed the correlation between plant-based diets and low cancer rates. Doesn't matter where the animal protein is from or how it lived (although caring about those things is still preferable if you are going to eat meat), veganism means a dramatic reduction in the incidence and severity of cancer. According to Campbell's science-y studies. And who am I to argue with science?

On the cancer note, one more good quote: "In this case, multiple observations, tightly networked into a web, show that animal-based foods are strongly linked to breast cancer" (89). Again...it's the science. I'm just the messenger.

Wait for it! We're onto one of my favorite topics: Fiber! Yep. You heard me. When I got to this section of the book I was beyond thrilled because I think that fiber is important for so many reasons and Campbell had amazing research to back that up as well as to refute claims about iron deficiencies in high fiber diets (something that had been a mild concern of mine up until this point).

Here are some fiberous quotes from the book: "Fiber, having few or no calories itself, helps dilute the caloric density of our diets, creates a sense of fullness and helps to shut down appetite, among other things. In doing so, it satisfies our hunger and minimizes the over-consumption of calories" (90). And also: "People who consumer more plant-based foods, thus more dietary fiber, also consumer more iron, all of which results in statistically significant higher levels of hemoglobin" (91). 

*Le sigh* I love fiber. It's like magic. I love it so much I joined a Joy of Fiber Club. No joke. You get delicious bars that look like this and are delicious. Yay for fiber!

Onto vitamins. And fruit. And vegetables. Which contain vitamins. These things are inexorably linked. Stop taking so many vitamin C tablets. EAT MORE FRUIT. Dr. Campbell thinks so too:

"Cancer rates were five to eight times higher for areas where fruit intake was lowest...the triumph of health lies not in the individual nutrients but in the whole foods that contain those nutrients: plant-based foods" (94). In other words, don't supplement your diet with tons of multi-vitamins and pills and call yourself healthy. BE healthy by eating these things in their natural forms and in the way that your body was meant to digest them.

Bob Atkins, throwing back some steak tartar
A little word on the Atkins Diet. I love this part: "I have heard one doctor call high-protein, high-fat, low carbohydrate diets "make yourself sick" diets, and I think that's an appropriate moniker. You can also lose weight by undergoing chemotherapy or starting a heroin addiction, but I wouldn't recommend those, either" (97). Ha! Take that. I also appreciate how he called the real Dr. Atkins out for being fat and having a heart attack. Fail Atkins, fail.

You CAN be fat and vegan. It's just a lot harder
But if you want to talk about diets, hear this: "people who consume low-protein, low-fat diets composed of whole plant foods have far less difficulty with weight problems, even if they consumer the same, or even slightly more, total calories" (102). Oh and also: "Fruits, vegetables and grains - as whole foods- are much less energy-dense than animal foods and added fats" (141). That's right. Vegetarians and vegans can eat more calories and still be thinner. This is why I always have snacks. I love my snacks. Does it mean that vegetarians and vegans are always thin? Hell no - see: Oreos, potato chips, bagels, white bread, donuts, pie, baked goods, Divine Cupcakes and so many other vegan junk foods - but it does make it a hell of a lot easier to care about what you're eating, read ingredients and balance your nutrient intake. All of which leads to being thinner healthier.

But what if you don't want to be thinner?! What if you are trying to build muscle or have a problem keeping weight ON? Don't worry: "Body growth is linked to protein in general and both animal and plant proteins are effective" (103). That's right. You aren't going to be a skinny little wispy thing as long as you are getting the right nutrients and proteins from plant-based products. Healthy and fit! Best of both worlds. Vegan style.

Now onto another critically important issue: Heart Disease. This is something that scares me more than almost anything else. It kills quickly and often without warning and it has hit very close to home for me. Let's see what Dr. Campbell has to say about Heart Disease.

"The cultures that have lower heart disease rates eat less saturated far and animal protein and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In other words, they subsist mostly on plant foods while we subsist mostly on animal foods" (116).

"The unfortunate association of meat with physical ability, general manliness, sexual identity and economic wealth all cloud how the status quo scientists viewed food, regardless of the health benefit" (121). I particularly like this quote. Manliness = Meat in the U.S. It also means higher rates of heart disease, high cholesterol and a lower life span for men. Just sayin'. At what point does it become silly to risk your nutrition and health in order to adhere to an outdated stereotype? And HEY, if the Old Spice man is vegan, you can be too! I mean what is more manly than the man your man could smell like?

One more heart disease factoid: Dr. Caldwell B Esselstyn (one of the stop cardiac surgeons in the US according to Campbell) did a study on heart disease where he essentially took 18 of his patients with "severe heart disease" who had experienced a combined forty-nine coronary events within the eight years preceding the study (including angina, bypass surgery, heart attacks, strokes and angioplasty) and switched them to a strict, whole foods, plant based diet. In the following 11 years, there was only one cardiac event among these patients and it occurred two years after one of the patients stopped the diet. In other words, all of the patients who stuck with the diet had significantly healthier hearts and exponentially fewer coronary events. Exponentially meaning none. AND all but one of the patients were still alive and in their eighties as of 2003. The quote to remember from this?  "Forty-nine coronary events prior to a whole foods, plant-based diet, and zero for those patients who adhered to a whole foods, plant-based diet" (129). 49 to 0. For the win!

Now to Cancer - yep, the C word. Similar results to heart disease but they take a slightly different form.

Breast Cancer: "Findings suggest that environmental chemicals seem to play a far less significant role for breast cancer than the kinds of foods we choose to eat" (166). 

Colon Cancer: "People who consumed the most fiber had a 43% lower risk of colon cancer than the people who consumed the least fiber. Those who consumer the most vegetables had a 52% lower risk than those who consume the least vegetables" (172).

Prostate Cancer: "Men with the highest diary intakes had approximately double the risk of total prostate cancer, and up to a fourfold increase in risk of metastatic or fatal prostate cancer relative to low consumers" (178).

And, a personal favorite of mine: "There is enough evidence now that doctors should be discussing the option of pursuing dietary change as a potential path to cancer prevention and treatment" (182).

Donald Watson
Duh. I mean food and nutrients are what keep us alive. If you put crap into your body, you will get sick. If you eat shit that you are not meant to eat, you will develop diseases. If you eat healthy, you won't get sick as much. Simple. I am a perfect example. I haven't been sick in 2 years. Not one single time. I exercise 7 days and week, I sleep about 6-7 hours a night and I rarely ever nap. (Also the book DOES credit the health promoting benefits of exercise and says exercise is CRUCIAL in maintaining health. I don't write about it but it's true!) In case you need more proof, Donald Watson - they guy who invented the term "vegan" and was vegan for a whopping 60 years lived to be 95, took zero medication and died in his home of natural causes. No cancer. No doctors. No meds, nothing. And apparently he was super active until his last days. That's quite a feat, Mr. Watson.

Onto Obesity. This might go without saying but herbivores are skinnier than omnivores. Generally. On average. Dr. Campbell says so too: "The findings of some impressive research studies, large and small, show time and time again that vegetarians and vegans are slimmer than their meat-eating counterparts. People in these studies who are vegetarian or vegan are anywhere from five to thirty pounds slimmer than their fellow citizens" (139).

"Why is this?" You may ask. Why I have an answer for that too: "Those who follow a whole foods, low-fat, plant-based diet consumer fewer calories. It's not because they are starving themselves. In fact, they will likely spend more time eating and eat a larger volume of food than their meat-eating counterparts. That's because fruits, vegetables and grains are much less energy-dense than animal foods and added fats" (141). Eat more! Be thin! But remember, as evidenced by the banana-split creme Oreos, you can be an herbivore and still be fat.

One personal note on this that I feel needs to be addressed: Veganism to me is not a "diet" - it is a lifestyle and should be treated as such. I don't believe in "dieting," I believe in making long-term shifts for your health and wellness. Figure out what nutrition means to you and how it works for you. Take the time to listen to your body and figure out what it needs and you will be happier and healthier long term. It's a constant journey but one that is full of continuous adjustments and rewards. I promise.

A couple interesting stats from the chapters about diabetes and bone health before Campbell moves on to nutrition.

"The depth and breadth of evidence not implicating cow's milk as a cause of Type 1 diabetes is overwhelming, even though the very complex mechanistic details are not yet fully understood. We not only have evidence of the danger o cow's milk, we also have considerable evidence showing...one of the most damaging things a mother can do is to substitute the milk of a cow for her own" (194).
DUH. Why humans ever starting drinking the breast milk of another animal is beyond me. There is a reason why lactose tolerance is a genetic mutation that has evolved over the course of the last several hundred years, not something that humans can do inherently. And there is a reason why lactose intolerance is still so common. We aren't meant to drink the milk of other animals. It's weird when you actually think about it.

But...what about the Got Milk Campaign? I thought milk was supposed to be good for you?! That is some powerful marketing, my friends. The Dairy industry is LOADED and is doing what is in their interest, not the interests of the consumers. More on that in a minute but here is an interesting factoid: "Those countries that use the most cow's milk and its products also have the highest fracture rates and the worst bone health" (205). Calcium absorbed in conjunction with animal protein causes the calcium to be leeched back out of your system and deposited in your urine. This means that while you are taking in calcium, your body is not readily absorbing it into your bones the way the dairy industry makes you believe. I mean, humans all over the world drink little to no milk and have lived without it for thousands of years and you don't see them breaking bones and developing osteoporosis all over the place. In fact, they struggle with fractures and bone diseases far less than Americans. News flash: You don't need milk for bone health. You don't need it for calcium. You just don't.

Now for the last section of the book. Topics include: Nutrition and "Why didn't I know about this?!" and Government - not to be confused with - The Food Industry (with guest stars Meat Industry and Dairy Industry)

NUTRITION. This whole book is kind of about nutrition, but here are some more succinct concepts surrounding the plant-based diet, how it will help and, ultimately, why we need it

"Americans are drowning in a flood of horrible nutrition information...Americans love to hear good things about their bad habits...Very little of the nutrition information that makes it to the public consciousness is soundly based in science, and we pay a grave price" (224).

Campbell goes on to list a whole plethora of principles about the nutrition of a plant-based diet, but I will just highlight a few of my favorites :)

Principle #3 - There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants. That's right. Not iron, not calcium, not omegas, not PROTEIN. HA! With the big exception being Vitamin B12, a crucial vitamin that actually comes from soil and that humans have been able to get enough of for hundreds of years until we starting washing all of our fruits and vegetables so meticulously so we wouldn't get sick from pesticides. Now the only way to get it is from either digesting the flesh of an animal who consumes it from the soil or by taking a supplement. I take a B complex supplement and I do just fine. Great, I would say.

Principle #4 - Genes do not determine disease on their own. Genes function only by being activated, or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed. Genetics 101! Genes express differently! Just because you have a "genetic predisposition" for cancer does not mean you will get cancer unless that gene expresses. This principle is kind of a central tenant of this book; Campbell argues that if you put the right things into your body, you can keep bad genes from expressing in  your phenotype. Bam!

Principle #7 - Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.  Umm...yes. Nutrition is holistic. Meaning it should have positive benefits for all parts of your being.

Which brings me to Principle #8 - Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected. Yep. That pretty much sums it up. Good food and good health is simple. But, as Campbell points out and as I have learned from 2.3 years of experience - it can be hard at first. "The bottom line is that you can eat a plant-based diet with great pleasure and satisfaction. But making the transition is a challenge. There are psychological barriers and practical ones. It takes time and effort. You may not get support from your friends and family. But 
the benefits are nothing short of miraculous. And you'll be amazed at how easy it becomes once you form new habits" (246). Coming from someone who has done it, I couldn't agree more with this quote. Yes, it's difficult to give up chicken nuggets and cheese. But it's not as hard as you think. You will find ways to compensate, to feel satisfied and, more than anything, within a few weeks after transitioning you will feel better. Your body will stop being blocked by the crap that you have been putting into it and will start to actually crave the things it needs. Before I became vegan I hated bell peppers; couldn't stand them, didn't like the taste in anything. About 2 months after I became vegan, I suddenly had a huge urge for an orange bell pepper. It was the strangest sensation in the world (and I have had many sense) so I went to the store, purchased a single bell orange bell pepper and ate it raw. Bell peppers are chock full of vitamins and my body was just telling me those were the vitamins that I needed. Now I love them. Same goes for mushrooms, cucumbers and a whole slew of other fruits and veggies I wouldn't touch before. And the craving for cheese that I loved so very dearly? Yes, I missed it for a month. Missed it bad, but after about a month, month and a half, my desire for cheese began to dissipate at an alarming rate until I never ever craved it. It's difficult, but I promise it's a fraction of how difficult you think it will be and worth it a million times over.


I mean, if this is SO profound and SO influential that eating a plant-based diet could keep me from getting heart disease, cancer and all these other diseases as you so claim, why the hell hasn't anyone told me before??

Well, for starters the information IS out there. It is slowly but surely coming into the dominant conscious of not only the American public, but also the media and even the government. The USDA recently admitted that

“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases” 

and also that veganism can be healthy through pregnancy and for children. HOWEVER, the reality is still that veganism is not mainstream and it has a significant amount of stigma attached to it within a culture that associates meat with affluence, convenience, sensibility and, of course, manliness. As Campbell states: "There are powerful, influential and enormously wealthy industries that stand to lose a vast amount of money if Americans start shifting to a plant-based diet...The entire system - government, science, medicine, industry and media - promotes profits over health, technology over food and confusion over clarity" (249-250). I mean, nothing is more confusing than McDonald's claim that it offers healthy, nutritious options or Taco Bell's claim that it can help you loose weight. Common sense, people. These corporations and industries have money, and lots of it. And in a place where money equals power and where organic and local and sustainable industries have little money, they have little power to persuade the media or the government of their side of the story.

As for the medical industry? Well they would rather see you continue to buy prescription drugs and pay for surgeries than transition to a more healthful diet. "Big Medicine in America is in the business of treating disease with drugs and surgery after symptoms appear" (267). Also, they just straight up don't think that people want to hear about nutrition. The American public would rather take a pill or have a surgery that will fix their problems than to examine the root cause of their problems and make a corresponding lifestyle shift. I mean, if we can treat the symptoms, there is no need to take a deeper look at what is causing them, right??


(Hint: WRONG)

"Few people really question research if it is published in the best journals. Very few people, especially among the public, know which studies are 'benefiting' from direct corporate funding" (299). It's a scary corporate world we live in, people. That should come as no surprise. Question everything.

"It is a systematic problem where industry, academia and government combine to determine the health of this country. Industry provides funding for public health reports and academic leaders with industry ties play key roles in developing them. A revolving door exists between government jobs and industry jobs, and government research funding does to the development of drugs and devices instead of healthy nutrition" (318-319). This is no conspiracy theory. Just think about it - just look around you.

We can't even get the good stuff right 100% of the time. I mean, did you know that a papaya has about four times as much vitamin C as an orange? And yet the orange industry somehow confuddled everyone into thinking that Dole Orange juice and orange flavored Vitamin C tablets and EmergenC were the best ways to get your vitamin C. Shit, a cup of broccoli has more Vitamin C than an orange. Not that I don't love oranges, because I do, I'm simply trying to prove a point about how we get information, who controls it, and what it means for our health. Those with the money have the power and control the information.

Doctor's don't even get trained in nutrition - and if they do it insignificant compared to the amount they are trained in technique, procedure, drug use, disease treatment and so many other things. Campbell claims "The medical status quo relies heavily on medication and surgery, at the exclusion of nutrition and lifestyle. Doctors have virtually no training in nutrition and how it relates to health" (327). AND, the "educational nutrition information" (often in the form of pamphlets and brochures) they do have is often funded by a few heavy hitters such as The Dannon Institute, the National Cattleman's Beef Association, the National Dairy Council and Wyeth-Ayerst Association. These are the people with the money to supply information to all the top medical schools in the country. These are the corporations with the hegemonic power to not only intentionally lead people astray, but also to often believe that what they say is true. That dairy is the best source of calcium. That you NEED red meat to survive. This disconnect has been forming since long before the likes of Sinclair's The Jungle and if it made it through a horror like that, it will continue until people take it upon themselves to be informed.

"How did we get to a place where the companies that profit from our sickness are the ones telling us how to be healthy; where the companies that profit from our food choices are the ones telling us what to eat; where the public's hard-earned money is being spent by the government to boost the drug industry's profits; and where there is more distrust than trust of our government's policies on foods, drugs and health? (346).

I for one don't have an answer. But all I can do is keep being informed, keep questioning the nutritional status quo, keep blogging about all the good things that I create in my life and that I care about, and keep on keeping on feeling good every day about the decisions I make for my body, my health, my planet and my future.

UPDATE: This book is being, more or less, made into a movie called "Forks Over Knives." If you haven't already, check out the trailer. Unfortunately, it hasn't gotten stellar reviews - the Washington Post claimed that "the documentary’s structure has a significant flaw that’s hard to overlook. Fulkerson will despise this analogy, but “Forks” lacks the sugar that would help his medicine go down. In other words, it’s desperately in need of charisma, humor or personality to balance the steady stream of scientific facts we’re asked to absorb." But that's okay. That is why you have this book. AND ME to give you all the charisma you  need to make the medicine go down (ha - get it?!) In other news, Oprah loved the movie. To me that isn't saying much but maybe it makes all the difference to you. All I can be thankful for is that very few actually criticize the information/facts/message of the movie, they just criticize the way it is presented. I'm still going to buy it. Woo woo!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Means Green! Smoky Tempeh with Mushroom Greens and Mango Margaritas!

Green is my favorite color. Green means nature, plants, trees and growth and when you eat green it means lutein, beta carotene, fiber and antioxidants! And, since Saturdays are farmers market days (green is always in season) - green is what I got!

This meal consists of:

-Smokey Tempeh
-Broccoli Pesto Quinoa
-Chinese Broccoli with Portobello Mushrooms

You will never want another margarita ever again.
Aaaaand! Wait for it!

4 Ingredient Mango Margaritas!

(Not counting ice, but I guess ice is kind of an ingredient too. So maybe 5 ingredients)

Let's start with the drinks.

All you need for this delicious blended concoction is:
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup limeade
  • The juice of 2 limes
  • 4 shots tequila
And ice! I used about 2 cups of ice cubes, but feel free to use as much or as little as you like.
The mango and limeade are sweet enough that you don't need to add triple sec or even agave to these margaritas (unless you want to - but I for one really don't like super sweet drinks).

Place all ingredients (in order) into the blender and blend for about a minute!

Yum! The consistency with the mango is so perfect. I tried this same recipe with frozen strawberries and it wasn't nearly as successful. Do the mango, you won't regret it.

Now that you have your delicious frozen drink, it's time to cook.

Start by marinating your tempeh so that it has time to soak up all the flavors while you cook your quinoa.

Smoky Tempeh
  • 1 package tempeh (about 8 oz - just plain is fine since you are marinating)
  • 2 Tbsp Braggs or Soy Sauce
  • 2-3 Tbs liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 tsp chipotle seasoning (or chili powder if you prefer)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tsp agave (or sugar is fine too)
Crumble the tempeh into small pieces or cut into squares. Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and then add the tempeh in, coating fully. Allow tempeh to marinate for about 10-15 minutes.

While your tempeh is marinating, get started on the quinoa and broccoli pesto

  • 2 cups water (or 1 cup water, 1 cup veggie broth)
  • 1 cup quinoa (You can use whatever kind of quinoa you want - I pretty much always use tri color but red or regular is fine too)
Bring water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let sit for 20-25 minutes or until the quinoa is translucent and fluffy. Don't overcook! You want the quinoa to retain some moisture so that when you mix it with the pesto it doesn't come out too dry.

Broccoli Pesto
  • 2 cups broccoli (steamed! I use my tupperware microwave steamer - you can't actually buy them anymore that I can find, but it is probably one of the more useful pieces of cookware that I have. I thought Colin had lost the little top piece that other day and I almost took him out. Anyway, it looks like this -->)
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (you don't need much because the broccoli retains a lot of moisture)
Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth.


Spray a saute pan with PAM or coat with olive oil and bring it up to medium heat. Toss in your tempeh. Allow it to cook until it begins to brown, or for about 3-4 minutes for each side.

As the tempeh is cooking, grab another saute pan and feel free to start on the greens/mushroom concoction.

Chinese Broccoli and Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 large head Chinese broccoli, chopped into about 1 inch chunks
  • 2-3 medium sized portobello mushrooms, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 Tbsp Braggs or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp white wine
Bring your oil up to medium and throw in your garlic and onion for about 4 minutes or until they begin to brown. Then toss in your mushrooms and continue to saute for another 4 minutes. Add in more olive oil as necessary (you will need more if you're not using a non-stick pan).

When the mushrooms begin to cook through, toss in your greens, followed by the Braggs and spices. Cover and allow them to cook down for about a minute. Then remove the lid and slowly add the white wine. Recover and continue to cook for 3-4 more minutes, tossing occasionally, or until the greens are bright and wilted but not soggy and the mushrooms are cooked thoroughly.

The quinoa should also be done at this point. Scoop your broccoli pesto out of the food processor and transfer it to a large bowl. Spoon the quinoa into said bowl and, using a fork to assure that you keep the quinoa nice and fluffy, stir the two until the quinoa looks totally green. Then top with your smoky tempeh and side with your greens!

And there you have it! A perfect spring meal, full of leafy green vitamin goodness.

Live long and prosper. And get green.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stuffed Peppers and Pea Shoots

The weather yesterday was BEAUTIFUL. Oh my goodness. It made me ready for summer, gardening and farmers market season so incredibly much. Alas, we still have some rainy days (*cough cough* TODAY) ahead of us before the sun really gets going. That's okay. Oregonians appreciate sunshine more when it does come. We are very patient like that.

Speaking of farmers markets, this meal was inspired by a farmers market find as well as by Stumbleupon and the speckled shelf at our local grocer. The "speckled shelf" (discount produce, Colin calls it the speckled shelf because there are always speckled bananas) gives me the inspiration for so many dishes and a couple days ago I found two beautiful red bell peppers at Sundance that sparked a Stumbleupon memory I had recently "favorited." Couple that with the pea shoots I picked up at the market and you have this delicious and nutritious meal!

I have never cooked pea shoots before but I have to say, they are now one of my favorite greens. They are like a cross between spinach and chard in both consistency and taste. Easy to work with and difficult to find, (although they are in season so check your farmer's market!) I will definitely pick these up whenever I can find them.

As for the bell peppers: I will give you my recipe (because it was delicious and gluten free!) but realistically you can stuff bell peppers with about any grain or legume and they will turn out delicious.

Stuffed Peppers
  • 3-4 Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow or Orange are preferable here although Green will work in a pinch)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, put through a micro plane grater or chopped finely.
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 heirloom tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 peas or corn (I used frozen)
  • 2 Anaheim or 1 additional bell pepper (or frozen peppers if you are me!) diced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce (or 1 small can stewed tomatoes and 2 tsp Italian seasoning)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 1 cup rice or quinoa (optional, use quinoa for GF recipes. I didn't use either and it was still good)
  • 2 tbsp panko (or other) breadcrumbs (omit if making GF)

Preheat the oven to 400.

Start by slicing off the tops of each of your bell peppers and pulling out the seeds and other innards.
After you do this, slice the bottom of the peppers so that they will stand up (but not so much that you create a hole in the bottom). Coat them with a thin layer of olive oil (I just PAMed mine) and set them on a baking tray.

Put the olive oil in a large fry pan and bring it up to medium heat. Toss in the onion, garlic and shallots (you can use any combo of these three ingredients, I just happened to have all three on hand).

Saute them until golden and the onions are beginning to caramelize.
Add in all of the veggies and saute them with the garlic and onion mixture until heated (you don't need to cook them fully - they will go in the oven in a hot minute). While the veggies are cooking over medium-low heat, open your can of chick peas, drain them and pour them into a mixing (or other large-ish) bowl. Using a fork, mash the beans until there are no big chunks left. You can also use a food processor to pulse them if you want, but be careful; we're not making hummus here, we still want the fiberous texture in tact.

Add these in with your veggies along with the marinara sauce, tomato paste, Sriracha and spices (and rice/quinoa if you are using it) and give it all a good mixin' until it is heated all the way through.

Use a spoon to spoon the mixture into the peppers. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. The reason mine turned out so charred looking is because I decided I would broil them for a few minutes after they were done baking to darken up the edges. Except apparently I got a little carried away. Use broil on LOW, not HIGH if you want to do this.

After you remove the peppers from the oven, let them cool slightly since they will be really hot. Don't want you to burn your moufs.

Pea Shoots

These are the easiest greens to cook ever@ They cook so evenly and prettily and taste so good.

All you need is:
  • One bunch pea shoots (chopped into 1 inch long chunks)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp Bragg's (or soy sauce if you must)
  • 1 tbsp white wine
Saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until it just begins to brown. Throw in your greens. Continue to add Braggs and wine until as they greens cook down. This whole process will take about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them, you don't want soggy greens and they cook fast.

If you do them right, you won't be disappointed.

I <3 Pea Shoots.

And, in case you were wondering: I had fresh, cut strawberries with a little bit of lite coconut milk spooned over the top and half a crushed graham cracked sprinkled over the mix for dessert. It was delicious and so summery.

Live long and prosper. Speckled shelf style.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rice Noodle Bowls!

This is the second part in the series I like to call "Cleaning Out My Kitchen" in which, instead of going to the grocery store, I simply use whatever happens to be in my fridge, freezer or pantry. Really, you should try it. It is amazing the creativity that ensues.

Final Product:

For this particular installment, I found each of the following ingredients in my kitchen:
  • 1/4 a package of rice noodles (left over from salad rolls)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (you may also know them as chick peas)
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 tsp curry spices
  • 1 tsp chipotle seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs Braggs
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (I buy them pre-shredded at Trade Joe's)
  • 3/4 cup frozen petite peas
  • 1 Tbs peanut butter
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce/braggs (I don't remember the exact measured combo)
  • 1/4 can light coconut milk
  • 8 vegetable gyoza (Also Trade Joe's)
I put Trader Joe's in parentheses all the time, but realistically most everything we buy is from Trader Joe's so you can just assume that the ingredients you see listed can be purchased at Trader Joe's. Now if I could just get them to start carrying Sriracha, it really would be a one stop shop.

Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Throw in the rice noodles. Let them cook for maybe 4 minutes and then, using a wooden spoon, hold the noodles in the pan while you drain the water. This works fairly well and is easier than using a colander because the noodles will either a) slip through the holes or b) get smushed together so that you have to scrape them off the bottom. No bueno.

Place the pan back on the warm burner and turn it to simmer. Add in your peanut butter, soy sauce and coconut milk as well as the carrots and peas and stir them all together until the sauce is evenly mixed and distributed and the veggies warmed. They don't need to be fully cooked, especially the carrots which add great texture, but the main thing is that you don't want your peas to be frozen in the middle.

While you are doing this (not LITERALLY at the same time, but all these steps should be staggered and you should have all three pans going at once), toss your chick peas with the spices and throw them in a warmed fry pan drizzled with olive oil. Saute them for about 5-7 minutes.

While you are doing that, coat the bottom of another, larger fry pan with some Bragg's or soy sauce and toss in your gyoza on medium heat. I never ever fry my gyoza in oil. It's no necessary, they turn out crisp and delicious if you just sear them in a pan with a little bit of liquid. Just put a lid on the pan (very important! you want your gyoza to cook through evenly and if you don't keep the heat trapped you will end up with crispy gyoza on the outside and frozen on the inside). Keep an eye on them as you do your other cooking, making sure to rotate them periodically so that each side is cooked evenly.

When everything is cooked and ready, get your bowl out, throw your noddles in it, top it with your gyoza and chickpeas and munch! We even started the meal with some edamame that I also found in the freezer (and that is also from Trader Joe's) topped with salt!

This meal is so great and easy, I kind of surprised myself with how well it turned out. Full of fiber and protein from the chickpeas, it fills you up and the noodles, gyoza and veggies are low cal so it's relatively guilt free. The coconut milk and peanut butter also have good omega fatty acids in them so it's a great dish if you are working to cut out meat and dairy.

If I had summarize this dish in one word it would be: Fulfilling.

Live long and prosper. And clean out your fridge!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tempeh Cheesesteak, Grilled Jalapenos and Baked Cinnamon Honey Plums

I made it extra big so you could see all the delicious Daiya gooey-ness.

This meal was made from half off produce and the last scrapings of our refrigerator which has not been restocked since returning from the beach over the weekend. Both the dinner and the dessert were spawned by the creative genius of Colin and executed by the both of us. And they were both BOMB.

Upfront note: the grilled jalapenos were really spicy. They were good, just a lot for this dish. It may be more prudent to use Anaheim or Poblano if you want to add some kick without the pepper overpowering the dish. Or you could just go all traditional style and caramelize some onions to throw on top. Whatever floats your boat.

Basically, the rest of the dish is broken down like this (Makes 3 Sandwiches - Serves two if one of you is a 25 year old male)
  • 1 package smokey tempeh strips (or you can just liquid smoke and season the tempeh yourself)
  • 3 whole wheat, sprouted buns (Trader Joes)
  • 2 tsp olive oil 
  • 2-3 tsp Italian seasoning or 1 tsp each of dried basil, rosemary and oregano
  • 3/4 - 1 cup sliced mushrooms of choice (we used Crimini because I found them on the speckled shelf - "Crime-in-ee" as Colin pronounces it)
  • 1-2 Jalapenos or other spicy pepper of choice
  • 1/2 cup Daiya 
  • 1/4-1/2 cup plain soymilk
  • 2 Tbs Vegenaise or other vegan Mayo substitute
Place your tempeh strips in the oven on a low temperature and let them crisp up a little bit. I did ours on about 300 degrees for 10 minutes, but you can cook them however you want (including on the grill if you are savvy like that). Also you might want to throw your buns in at this time if you like them toasty. Or you can just toast them but you might as well share appliance usage since you already have your grill going as well. Let's not be wasteful here.

Slice the peppers into this strips, wrap them in tin-foil and throw them on the grill. This was Colin's job so I can't tell  you the ins and outs of how to grill peppers (or really how to grill anything for that matter) but I do know that he used a little bit of olive oil, some salt and fresh cracked pepper and some pickle brine.

Drizzle your olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and toss in your sliced mushrooms. Saute them for about 10 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy or too liquidy.

In another small saute pan over low heat, start heating your Daiya with a little bit of soymilk. Using a whisk, slowly whisk in more soymilk to keep the cheese soft and smooth. As it continues to soften up, add more soymilk and continue whisking to give it the smooth, drippy texture you see above.

Grab your bun, slather it with a little bit of Vegenaise, top it with your tempeh, mushrooms, peppers and finally, drizzle the whole thing with the softened Daiya.

 So good. Disregard my plating fail on this one - I was literally so hungry that it was hard even to get it onto the plate without just putting the whole thing directly in my mouth. Tasted awesome.

So much deliciousness already and we're not even done yet. 

No meal is complete without a little dessert!

Baked plums and a little bit of So Delicious Swiss Almond ice cream drizzled with honey and cinnamon. Perfect!

Here's the trick.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, cut the plums (peaches work even better) in half and discard the pits. Place a tiny bit of earth balance in the center and then drizzle some honey on top. Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, remove from the oven, throw a scoop of ice cream on top (or in the center) and drizzle the whole thing with honey (or agave if you don't eat honey) and finally, top with some cinnamon!

Viola! So good and so good for you.

Live Long and Prosper Vegans! And don't be afraid to eat dessert.