Vegan Grandma

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Optimal Diet-A Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet

".......losing body weight on a plant-based diet is much less likely to occur if the diet includes too many refined carbohydrates. Sweets, pastries, and pastas won’t do it. These foods are high in readily digested sugars and starches and , for the pastries, oftentimes very high in fat as well. .......these highly processed, unnatural foods are not part of a plant based diet that works to reduce body weight and promote health. This is one of the main reasons that I usually refer to the optimal diet as a whole foods, plant-based diet."

"Notice that a strict vegetarian diet is not necessarily the same thing as a whole foods, plant-based diet. Some people become vegetarian only to replace meat with dairy foods, added oils and refined carbohydrates, including pasta made with refined grains, sweets and pastries. I refer to these people as ‘junk food vegetarians’ because they are not consuming a nutritious diet."

The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and Thomas M. Campbell II, published by BenBella Books, Inc., page 140
Red Grapefruit, Avocado, and Fennel Salad

I made the following recipe yesterday, and it was very good. It looks pretty, too, with the red of the grapefruit and the various shades of green. The recipe comes from Raw Food, Real World, by Matthew Kenny and Sarma Melngalis, published by Regan Books, page 109.

Red Grapefruit, Avocado, and Fennel Salad

3 large ruby red grapefruits or 5 oranges

1/4 cup macadamia oil (or any other cold pressed nut oil or high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, although macadamia oil is very good in this salad)

1 tablespoon lime juice

coarse sea salt

2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced

1 large or two small fennel bulbs, sliced thinly

1 very small handful mint leaves, julienned (you can also use cilantro or basil leaves)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds (optional but nice)

Fennel fronds for garnish

To section the grapefruit or oranges, slice the peel off of the top and off of the bottom. Stand the fruit upright on a cutting board, and cut the peel from the top to the bottom, Remove the peel. Working over a bowl to catch the juice, cut along each side of the membrane to separate the segments.* Place the segments into a large bowl with the juice. Set aside a few tablespoons of the juice to mix with the oil for the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil with the lime juice, and a generous pinch of sea salt. Place the avocado into a bowl and pour some of the dressing over it. Toss gently to coat.

Add the fennel, the rest of the dressing, and the mint to the grapefruit and toss well. Add the avocado to the grapefruit mixture, and gently mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the salad into serving plates, sprinkle with coriander, if using, and garnish with fennel fronds.

*O.K., I admit it. I did not get the hang of this, my grapefruit segments all broke apart, so I didn’t have the nice segments they show in the picture in the book. The salad still tasted good, though.

Some Things About Fennel

Fennel is a member of the parsley family. Fennel has feathery leaves growing out of a white, round bulb. It has a sweet licorice or anise flavor, and is also known as anise bulb.

Fennel is a good source of vitamin C (15% of the daily recommendation), as well as 4% each for calcium and iron. Fennel is also high in vitamin A and potassium..

In Italy, fennel is known as finocchio or Florence fennel.

Fennel can be grilled, broiled, and mixed with other vegetables, or used raw or cooked in salads, appetizers, soups and stews.

The leaves look a little like dill and make a great garnish.

Fennel is used to add a hint of anise flavor to foods.

Fennel is available all year long, and is at its peak from September through February.

Fennel can be found in the produce section of most health food stores, specialty markets, and supermarkets. Look for small bulbs with no browning or cracking. The greens should be bright and fresh-looking.

To store, cut off the greens and store the bulbs and greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four days (fennel tends to dry out easily).

Drop cut fennel into water with just a little lemon juice added, to prevent discoloration.

Cut bulbs lengthwise in half or quarters for braising, grilling or stewing.

Thin-sliced fennel makes a great slaw or salad.

To trim and slice, cut off the stems where the pale bulb turns darker green. Save the stems and fronds for another use. Prepare the bulb like an onion, cutting it in half lengthwise.. Cut off and discard the bottom end. Place the cut side down and slice crosswise into crescent shapes.

Dip thick slices of fennel in extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper.

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

"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages". -Thomas A. Edison