Monthly Archives: April 2012

Organic, green products

I have recently discovered two sites that I really love. My best friend, Jennifer, introduced me to both.

The first is This is in essence a mystery box delivered to your door every month, full of organic and green products. All of their items are vegetarian and some are vegan. My friend, Jenn, received her first box and really liked it. I just signed up and should receive it in the next few weeks. I am looking forward to digging into the box and discovering all sorts of new healthful products.

The second is like groupon. Who doesn’t love groupon? And this site takes it another level by offering deals on green organic products. I ordered their last special which was a discounted conscious box. So hopefully in the next couple weeks I will get two boxes. More fun for me.

My personal life choices are to support organic, healthful, green products and companies. Are there any organic sites or products you really love?

Eating nuts can help stave off obesity, says study | Mail Online

Interesting article. Another reason to add a handful of nuts to your morning oatmeal or to nibble on a few to tide you over until dinner. Pistachios are my favorite, what’s your?

Vegan Basics

Here is some very simple information on veganism from The Vegetarian Resource Group.

What is a Vegan?

Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.

Why Veganism?

People choose to be vegan for health, environmental, and/or ethical reasons. For example, some vegans feel that one promotes the meat industry by consuming eggs and dairy products. That is, once dairy cows or egg-laying chickens are too old to be productive, they are often sold as meat; and since male calves do not produce milk, they usually are raised for veal or other products. Some people avoid these items because of conditions associated with their production. Many vegans choose this lifestyle to promote a more humane and caring world. They know they are not perfect, but believe they have a responsibility to try to do their best, while not being judgmental of others.

Vegan Nutrition

The key to a nutritionally sound vegan diet is variety. A healthy and varied vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes.


It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein as long as calorie intake is adequate. Strict protein planning or combining is not necessary. The key is to eat a varied diet. Almost all foods except for alcohol, sugar, and fats provide some protein. Vegan sources include: lentils, chickpeas, tofu, peas, peanut butter, soy milk, almonds, spinach, rice, whole wheat bread, potatoes, broccoli, kale… For example, if part of a day’s menu included the following foods, you would meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for an adult male:

1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup soy milk 2 slices whole wheat bread, 1 bagel 2 Tablespoons peanut butter 1 cup vegetarian baked beans 5 ounces tofu, 2 Tablespoons of almonds 1 cup broccoli, and 1 cup brown rice.


Vegan diets are free of cholesterol and are generally low in saturated fat. Thus eating a vegan diet makes it easy to conform to recommendations given to reduce the risk of major chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. High-fat foods, which should be used sparingly, include oils, margarine, nuts, nut butters, seed butters, avocado, and coconut.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is not found in the vegan diet but can be made by humans following exposure to sunlight. At least ten to fifteen minutes of summer sun on hands and face two to three times a week is recommended for adults so that vitamin D production can occur. Food sources of vitamin D include vitamin D-fortified orange juice and vitamin D-fortified soy milk and rice milk.


Calcium, needed for strong bones, is found in dark green vegetables, tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice, and many other foods commonly eaten by vegans. Although lower animal protein intake may reduce calcium losses, there is currently not enough evidence to suggest that vegans have lower calcium needs. Vegans should eat foods that are high in calcium and/or use a calcium supplement.


Following are some good sources of calcium:


Soy or rice milk, commercial, calcium-fortified, plain 8 oz 200-300 mg

Collard greens, cooked 1 cup 357 mg

Blackstrap molasses 2 TB 400 mg

Tofu, processed with calcium sulfate 4 oz 200-330 mg

Calcium-fortified orange juice 8 oz 300 mg

Tofu, processed with nigari 4 oz 80-230 mg

Kale, cooked 1 cup 179 mg

Tahini 2 TB 128 mg

Almonds 1/4 cup 89 mg ___________________________________________________________

Other good sources of calcium include: okra, turnip greens, soybeans, tempeh, almond butter, broccoli, bok choy, commercial soy yogurt… The recommended intake for calcium for adults 19 through 50 years is 1000 milligrams/day. Note: It appears that oxalic acid, which is found in spinach, rhubarb, chard, and beet greens, binds with calcium and reduces calcium absorption. Calcium is well absorbed from other dark green vegetables.


Vegan diets can provide zinc at levels close to or even higher than the RDA. Zinc is found in grains, legumes, and nuts.


Dried beans and dark green leafy vegetables are especially good sources of iron, better on a per calorie basis than meat. Iron absorption is increased markedly by eating foods containing vitamin C along with foods containing iron.

Sources of Iron

Soybeans, lentils, blackstrap molasses, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, Swiss chard, tempeh, black beans, prune juice, beet greens, tahini, peas, bulghur, bok choy, raisins, watermelon, millet, kale….

Comparison of Iron Sources

Here are the iron contents of selected foods:


FOOD IRON (MG) ______________________________________________

1 cup cooked soybeans 8.8 2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses 7.0 1 cup cooked lentils 6.6 1 cup cooked kidney beans 5.2 1 cup cooked chickpeas 4.7 1 cup cooked lima beans 4.5 1 cup cooked Swiss chard 4.0 1/8 medium watermelon 1.0 ______________________________________________

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In order to maximize production of DHA and EPA (omega-3 fatty acids), vegans should include good sources of alpha-linolenic acid in their diets such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, tofu, soybeans, and walnuts.

Vitamin B12

The requirement for vitamin B12 is very low. Non-animal sources include Red Star nutritional yeast T6635 also known as Vegetarian Support Formula (around 2 teaspoons supplies the adult RDA). It is especially important for pregnant and lactating women, infants, and children to have reliable sources of vitamin B12 in their diets. Numerous foods are fortified with B12, but sometimes companies change what they do. So always read labels carefully or write the companies. Tempeh, miso, and seaweed are often labeled as having large amounts of vitamin B12. However, these products are not reliable sources of the vitamin because the amount of vitamin B12 present depends on the type of processing the food undergoes. Other sources of vitamin B12 are fortified soy milk (check the label as this is rarely available in the U.S.), vitamin B12-fortified meat analogues, and vitamin B12 supplements. There are supplements which do not contain animal products. Vegetarians who are not vegan can also obtain vitamin B12 from dairy products and eggs.

Common Vegan Foods

Oatmeal, stir-fried vegetables, cereal, toast, orange juice, peanut butter on whole wheat bread, frozen fruit desserts, lentil soup, salad bar items like chickpeas and three bean salad, dates, apples, macaroni, fruit smoothies, popcorn, spaghetti, vegetarian baked beans, guacamole, chili…

Vegans Also Eat…

Tofu lasagna, homemade pancakes without eggs, hummus, eggless cookies, soy ice cream, tempeh, corn chowder, soy yogurt, rice pudding, fava beans, banana muffins, spinach pies, oat nut burgers, falafel, corn fritters, French toast made with soy milk, soy hot dogs, vegetable burgers, pumpkin casserole, scrambled tofu, seitan.

When Eating Out Try These Foods

Pizza without cheese, Chinese moo shu vegetables, Indian curries and dahl, eggplant dishes without the cheese, bean tacos without the lard and cheese (available from Taco Bell and other Mexican restaurants), Middle Eastern hummus and tabouli, Ethiopian injera (flat bread) and lentil stew, Thai vegetable curries…

Egg and Dairy Replacers

As a binder, substitute for each egg:

1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft tofu blended with the liquid ingredients of the recipe, or 1 small banana, mashed, or 1/4 cup applesauce, or 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch, or Ener-G Egg Replacer or another commercial mix found in health food stores.

The following substitutions can be made for dairy products:

Soy milk, rice milk, potato milk, nut milk, or water (in some recipes) may be used. Buttermilk can be replaced with soured soy or rice milk. For each Cup of buttermilk, use 1 cup soymilk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Soy cheese available in health food stores. (Be aware that many soy cheeses contain casein, which is a dairy product.) Crumbled tofu can be substituted for cottage cheese or ricotta cheese in lasagna and similar dishes. Several brands of nondairy cream cheese are available in some supermarkets and kosher stores.

For More Information

Order Simply Vegan for a complete discussion of vegan nutrition plus 160 quick and easy recipes. This excellent resource contains over 160 vegan recipes that can be prepared quickly. An extensive vegan nutrition section by Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D., covers topics such as protein, fat, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, pregnancy and the vegan diet, feeding vegan kids, weight gain, weight loss, and a nutrition glossary. Also featured are sample menus and meal plans. Simply Vegan is more than a cookbook. An additional section on shopping by mail tells you where to find vegan clothes, non-leather shoes, cosmetics, household products, and books.

Sun dried tomato, olive and cheese tapenade


1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons basil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup vegan yogurt cheese (see previous post)

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend together. Serve immediately with rice crackers or use as spread for baked breads or paninis.

Butternut Squash, Portabello Mushroom and Hazelnut Pizza


This is the best homemade pizza I have ever made. It is quite simple to make as well.

Start with homemade whole wheat pizza dough.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
– 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, (105-115°F)
– 1 package active dry yeast, (2 1/4 teaspoons)
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus additional for dusting
– 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
– 2 teaspoons Rosemary

1. Stir water, yeast, and salt in a large bowl; let stand until the yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in whole-wheat flour, cornmeal and rosemary until the dough begins to come together. 2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, mix the dough in a food processor. Process until it forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.) 3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Roll out to desired size and place on greased baking sheet or pizza stone.

Add 1/2 cup of desired marinara, I like tomato basil. Top with 1 small chopped yellow onion, two large diced portabello mushroom caps, half of a medium butternut squash, cubed. Sprinkle with Herb de Provence, whatever amount you desire and 6oz of finely chopped hazelnuts. Finish with dollops of vegan yogurt cheese. Cook for 35 minutes at 425 degrees.

Vegan yogurt cheese


This is a simple recipe. All you need is a strainer and bowl (I have a microwave vegetable steamer I use) cheese cloth and soy yogurt (I like Nancy’s Organic Plain Soy made here in Oregon). Place four layers of cheese cloth in strainer and place over bowl, add yogurt to strainer and let sit in refrigerater over night. Then place cheese in an air tight container and use as needed. Goes well with lasagna, falafels, salads, pastas or even pizza topping.

Hearty Vegan Banana Oat Pancakes


I tried a different pancake recipe this morning and it was a huge hit.

Hearty Vegan Banana Oat Pancakes

1 c. Almond Breeze Original Almond Milk
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats (1/2 c. whole, 1/2 c. whirled in a coffee grinder/blender to make oat flour)
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
4 Tbs. mashed ripe banana
1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
dash sea salt, ginger, nutmeg, cardamon


Prepare your oats. Take 1/2 c. of the rolled oats and whirl into flour. I use a coffee grinder! A few short pulses and I’ve got nice fresh whole grain oat flour.

Measure the lemon juice into a glass measuring cup. Add the almond milk to 1 cup. Allow to sit and sour. This is vegan “buttermilk”.

Mash your banana with the almond/vanilla extract. You can leave a few chunks but generally go for sort of smooth.

Mix all dry ingredients. Add banana mixture. Whisk almond milk mix until frothy before adding to dry mix. Let sit while your pan/skillet heats up.

If batter is too thick, add a small amount of water until it is a slightly runny consistency. Not watery but not thick and goopy, either.

Pour 1/4 c. batter onto skillet and smooth out into approximately 5½ inch circles. Flip when sides begin to brown and air bubbles form on the top. Cook until golden on both sides.

Top with banana slices and pure maple syrup.

Makes 10 pancakes

Eat Clean Diet Blog


If you follow The Eat Clean Diet or Tosca Reno’s blog then you know that Tosca’s husband very recently passed away. She was in the middle of posting guest blogs to help promote her new Vegetarian Eat Clean cookbook. During this time she decided to suspend the blogs so she could focus on her family and their last days with her husband.
She has recently decided to go ahead and continue with her guest blogs. My blog will go live April 28th. Mark the date if you are interested in reading my blog. I will also post the link here and on my Facebook.
Please continue to keep the Reno family in your thoughts and prayers as they continue navigating through this difficult time.

Earth Day 2012

Earth Day is tomorrow. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect our planet.

10 Easy Things to do on Earth Day… Or Any Day!

Earth Day is April 22 each and every year. But you could designate one day a month…or week to do something to enjoy and replenish the earth that gives you air and water and food 7 days a week, 24 hours a day! 🙂

This Earth Day, EcoMall, one of the Internet’s longest-running environmental websites, offers 10 simple things that everyone can all do to make a difference and affect change for the environment. Through small shifts in individual awareness, as well as simple, easy actions, everyone can surely contribute to a powerful, collective transformation of our world.

Visit for many more ideas, articles, information and resources. EcoMall Co-Founders Tom Kay and Marianne Schnall are available for interviews around Earth Day, and are experts on incorporating a more environmentally aware lifestyle and environmentally friendly products and services.

1. Plant a tree in your yard or start a garden. Plants and trees help clean the air, are visual expressions of nature’s beauty, and uplift us. Even something as simple as growing herbs in a garden can provide nourishment and delicious meals for the family.

2. Simply stop using pesticides on your lawn. Pesticides contribute to the pollution of the Earth and poison our water supply, endanger human health, and sicken wildlife. There are many effective, natural alternatives available.

3. Support a local, organic farmer or CSA. Some farmers require your active participation, some deliver to urban areas. The food is nutritious and delicious, and uses less of our non-renewable resources.

4. Buy organic. Look for – and ask for – organic produce wherever you buy your groceries, or even better, shop at your local health food store which carries only organic produce. Buying organic reduces pesticide exposure to the land, farmers, harvesters, and your family.

5. Spend time in nature. Taking a walk, having a picnic, or simply sitting outdoors and watching the sky, deepens our connection to the natural world , thereby motivating us to be better stewards of the Earth.

6. Buy energy-saving, compact-fluorescent light bulbs and other energy efficient products. When your next bulb goes out, replace it with a compact fluorescent light bulb. They last 10 times as long, and over their lifetime, use 1/4 the energy of an incandescent bulb, saving you $30-$40 on your electric bill. When replacing major appliances purchase energy efficient ones – look for the government’s EnergyStar label.

7. Recycle. The old adage “reduce, reuse, recycle” still works very well today. Many large waste disposal companies have an at-your-curb recycling program. Check your own local disposal company.

8. Shop Green. Be a consumer that uses your dollars to support companies and products that are better for the Earth. By simply clicking to you will find a directory that features hundreds of companies that offer everything from organic and hemp clothing to non-toxic cleaners and solar energy products.

9. Join or make a donation to any organization that supports the environment. There are numerous worthy organizations that work hard for the Earth and are in need of our support. If the aforementioned tasks seem to require too much effort or time, simply write a check to those who have integrity regarding the Earth and make a meaningful contribution to the Earth’s health.

10. Create good thoughts. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “All we have to fear is fear itself.” By creating the awareness that we can heal the Earth – that it is not too late, we combat the paralysis that fear often produces. So if all you can do on this Earth Day is think one good thought about the Earth, you will have contributed to a changing of the fear-based mentality.