Vegan Grandma

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Science Makes It Clear, If You Want Good Health, Eat Plant-Based Foods

"Almost all of us in the United States will die of diseases of affluence. In our China Study we saw that nutrition has a very strong effect on these diseases. Plant-based foods are linked to lower blood cholesterol; animal-based foods are linked to higher blood cholesterol. Animal-based foods are linked to higher breast cancer rates; plant-based foods are linked to lower rates. Fiber and antioxidants from plants are linked to a lower risk of cancers of the digestive tract. Plant-based diets and active lifestyles result in a healthy weight, yet permit people to become big and strong. seemed that science was painting a clear, consistent picture: we can minimize our risk of contracting deadly diseases just by eating the right food."

The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and Thomas M. Campbell II, published by BenBella Books, Inc., page105
Vegan Caribbean Stew, and a Little About Sweet Potatoes

I’m back from New England, and I had a wonderful time visiting my son! We went to Acadia National Park in Maine, and hiked up rocky trails to the tops of mountains, where we could look down and see the ocean. I think that Acadia must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. The fall leaves were spectacular, and the views from the mountains were astounding.

Now I’m back home in Pennsylvania, and I’m again trying out new recipes. Today I made Caribbean Stew from Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites, by the Moosewood Collective, published by Clarkson Potter publishers, New York, page 265. My daughter-in-law makes this a lot, and my son said that this is one of his favorite vegetarian recipes. I thought it was really good.

Vegan Caribbean Stew
serves 4 to 6

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried allspice
1 minced fresh chile, seeds removed for a milder "hot"
1 large sweet potato, cut into medium chunks (about 2 cups)
2 cups water of vegetable stock
2 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
1 ½ cups undrained canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 cups loosely packed shredded kale
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

Sprinkle the onions with ½ teaspoon salt. In a covered soup pot, saute the onions in the oil for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the onions from burning. Add the thyme, allspice, and chile and continue to cook for 1 or two minutes longer. Stir in the sweet potatoes and the water or stock and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and the tomatoes with their juice and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, until the vegetables are barely tender. Add the kale and cook another 5 or 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon or lime juice, cilantro, and salt to taste.

Serve on brown rice.

Here is another sweet potato recipe. It's from Healthy Homestyle Cooking, by John Heinerman, Ph.D., published by Prentice Hall, Paramus, New Jersey 07652, page 88. This is not a vegan recipe book, but some of the recipes are vegan. I really like this recipe.

Apricot Sweet Potato
serves 2

1 baked sweet potato
4 chopped, dried apricot halves
2 teaspoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons apple sauce
toasted almonds to garnish (optional)

Cut the sweet potato in half length-wise. Scoop out the pulp (try to keep the skin from breaking). Reserve the skin and keep it warm. Mash the pulp with a fork, and add the other ingredients. Fill each half of the potato skin with half of the pulp mixture. Garnish with the almonds if desired. Serve hot.

A Little About Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not related to the potato.

Sweet potatoes and yams are often confused. They are not the same. The sweet potato is a member of the Morning Glory family, and the yam is a member of the Yam family. The sweet potato has a smooth, thin skin, and the yam has a rough, scaly skin. Sweet potatoes have a sweet taste, and yams are less sweet and are more starchy. Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, and yams are very low in beta carotene.

The sweet potato is a nutritious food. One baked sweet potato (3 ½ ounce serving) provides about twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, contains only 141 calories, provides 42 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, 6 percent of the RDA for calcium, 10 percent of the RDA for iron, and 8 percent of the RDA for thiamine for healthy adults. It is low in sodium and is a good source of fiber.

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, but the white-fleshed kind contains very little. Both are good sources of the antioxidants C, and E

For the most beta carotene, choose sweet potatoes of a deep orange color

Beta carotene requires a bit of fat in order to be absorbed by the body, so it’s a good idea to eat sweet potatoes with a little oil or margarine, or with other foods that contain some fat.

Eat sweet potatoes with the skin for additional nutrients.

Buy sweet potatoes that are firm. Handle them carefully to prevent bruising.

Storage sweet potatoes in a dry, unrefrigerated bin kept at 55-60 degrees F. is best. DO NOT REFRIGERATE, because temperatures below 55 degrees F. will cause the sweet potato to develop a hard core and an undesirable taste when cooked.

Most sweet potato dishes freeze well. Save time and energy by making a sweet potato dish to serve and one to store in the freezer.

Before cooking sweet potatoes, scrub skin and trim off any bruised or woody portions
To bake sweet potatoes, rub a little oil over clean and dry sweet potatoes of uniform size. Prick several times with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees F. directly on the oven rack, or in a baking pan, until soft when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size. Add margarine, salt, and freshly ground black pepper,. Sweet potatoes that are greased before baking peel easily.

Freshly dug or uncured sweet potatoes are better boiled and used in dishes that include fruits or syrups. The curing process makes the sweet potato sweeter and improves the cooking quality.
Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tips, by David Joachim, published by Rodale

Grandmother’s Food Secrets, by Dr. Myles H. Bader, published by Mylette Enterprises, LLC, Las Vegas, NV 89102
The Food Bible, by Judith Wills, published by Simon and Schuster