The plant based nurse

My family's excellent adventure to better health!


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Tsumamis of change–Dr. T. Colin Campbell coming to Scranton PA!

I have been so busy with my day job, being a home health nurse and making evening visits on call that some of my plant based projects have had to simmer on the back burner for a bit. I needed something to get me reinvigorated and involved, so you cannot imagine my surprise and excitement when I opened my email this morning to find out that T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China Study, is coming to Scranton, PA! He will be giving a lecture at the University of Scranton where I went back to school to earn my bachelor’s degree in Nursing. The Exercise Science Club is sponsoring the event and it is open to the public and free of charge. If you are in the Northeast and can make it to Scranton on November 11th at 7 p.m. please join us! The venue holds 500 and I would love to see it filled to the brim! All you have to do is call to RSVP to reserve a spot.

Scranton is about a 2 hr drive from NYC and Philadephia and has a rich history as a booming coal mining center, a stop on the railroad and home to some beautiful architecture. I call this area the land of pizza and pierogies, and we have some wonderfully rich and not so healthy ethnic foods, a church on almost every corner along with a “beer garden” and a funeral home in close proximity. According to the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, approximately 30,000 people are living with Cancer in Northeast PA. and 9.900 in our 10 county area are diagnosed with cancer each year.

Considering our cancer rates in this area and across the U.S., there is no time like the present for a visit from Dr. Campbell. “For more than forty years, Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Project, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is a professor Emeritus at Cornell University and is most well-known for co-authoring the bestselling book The China Study with his son, Thomas Campbell, MD. In addition to his long and outstanding career as an author, scientific researcher, and Cornell professor, Dr. Campbell has been featured in several documentary films. He is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and the online internationally-recognized Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate offered by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies in partnership with eCornell. Dr. Campbell’s expertise and scientific interests encompass relationships between diet and diseases, particularly the causation of cancer. He has focused on nutritional status and long term health. Surprisingly, Campbell started his life on a dairy farm, but is now widely-known for researching links between animal-based protein diets and disease. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board.”(http://nutritionstudies.org/about/board/dr-t-colin-campbell/).

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I have heard Dr. Campbell speak and his knowledge of nutrition is astounding and his passion for spreading the word about plant based nutrition and optimal health is contagious. The last time I heard him speak this August at Plantstock there was an urgency in his voice, an urgency that we must stop this vicious cycle of poor diet, chronic illness and suffering and replace it with a story of health promoting plant based foods and health and wellness for our citizens.

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Cooking all day without cooking ALL day!

A couple of weekends ago, I decided that in addition to cleaning out the basement to get ready for the waterproofing company, I was going to cook for my husband and I all day Saturday since we were both going to be home all day for the first time in a long time. Breakfast is tricky since I usually eat the same thing every day, oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, and raisins and my husband is not a fan. He usually has a sprouted grains bagel. So the challenge was to make something totally different. I was also participating in a challenge on Engine2extra.com that was called Camp E2X. One of the assignments was to make a recipe from “My Beef with Meat” that I had never made before, so it was off to the breakfast section of Rip’s book. It turned out I had all of the ingredients for the Spicy Bouldin Scrambler. Perfect! This harkened back to the old days when we would have omelets on the weekends.

It was a pretty easy and quick recipe. I just had a couple of things to chop, some onions, jalapeño, garlic and some tomatoes to add on top.

OnionsMBWM

While the tofu was draining, I got some diced potatoes out of the freezer, added some extra peppers and garlic powder and popped them into the toaster oven.

potatoes

After I pressed and drained the tofu, I mixed the nutritional yeast with herbs and spices to coat the tofu.

tofu

I thought it was a little too much yeast, but I carried on and enjoyed the aroma of the spices and fresh garlic. The scramble was easy to heat in a nonstick pan and before you know it we had a breakfast fit for a queen!

scramber plate

It did turn out we could have enjoyed the scramble with a lot less nutritional yeast but I was glad I tried something new and will adjust the recipe next time.

I spent the day in between meals going to the local farmers market and giving away and selling things we will never use again, like an ice cream maker and a turkey fryer! We never did fry any turkeys but used to use it for large batches of wings. Now we eat cauliflower wings!

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turkey fryerIce cream maker

Before I knew it, it was time to make some lunch. I looked around and I had some whole wheat pasta, some red ripe tomatoes from the farmers market and some broccoli and broccoli greens in the garden just waiting to be picked! I sautéed some onions, garlic, peppers and tomatoes in a little veggie broth, added some fresh chopped tomatoes and oregano and then a can of crushed tomatoes. If you like fresh basil, add it at the end for a great fresh flavor.

tomatoes and onions lunch sauce luch

I chopped up the broccoli and greens and added them to the pasta water the last minute or two of cooking.

broccoli lunch pasta with broccoli

This whole lunch took no time at all and it was satisfying and delicious.

Lunch bowlMy husband told me not to bother cooking supper since I made such a big lunch and we could have leftovers but I was determined to make 3 different meals so we would have leftovers during the week. We love Indian cuisine and I made one of our favorite recipes from “The Starch Solution,” Festive Dal Soup. It was super easy in my Instant Pot. All the ingredients go in and I simmer it on the slow cook setting, et voilà, fabulous supper in less than an hour served over basmati brown rice. We love spicy dishes so I always add extra chili paste in the dish and at the table. I also added some curry powder this time.  For the greens I used broccoli greens, what else!

dal

I cooked all day, but spent very little time in the kitchen and we had 3 great nutritious meals plus leftovers for lunches or dinners during the week. I also had a nice surprise from my neighbor Charlie. He was afraid this unusual bird was going to be thrown away and he thought I would like it, so he brought it over to my picnic table. It was a bright spot in a busy day and this little bird really is growing on me!

bird

Just a closing thought. Cooking plant based foods is SO much more than just nourishing and healing our body and soul but can also help to heal our planet. This mug we received with our last spice order from Penzey’s is a great reminder when I need a push to get in the kitchen,

“Heal the world… cook dinner tonight”

Heal the world cook dinner tonight

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!


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Get inspired again and again!

As I was cooking dinner tonight, I found myself watching videos of success stories on Dr. McDougall’s web site. He has posted inspiring stories from people who have changed their health and their lives through plant based eating. I never tire of reading about the transformations people experience when they begin to eat nutritious delicious plant based foods!

I think it’s not only fun, but important to stay connected by hearing these success stories and realizing we are not alone. It can be very isolating to eat differently than 99.5% of the population, especially if you are the only one in your house, your group of friends, or even your town who eats no animal products and craves kale.

If you are feeling alone and thinking maybe getting healthy is just too hard, find some healthy community online and reach out to find inspiration in unexpected places. My friend, Bobby Anderson, is a perfect example of someone who started eating a whole foods plant based diet to lose weight and improve his health and had a story that was so compelling, that he has inspired thousands of people with his success and determination.

I first met Bobby online in a Facebook group for people who are fans of Dr. McDougall and his recipes and advice on how to reverse and prevent chronic health conditions with plant based nutrition. Bobby was sharing how he made plant based meals in his 18 wheeler. I was immediately drawn to his story. People kept telling me all the time that the way I eat is too hard, takes too much thought and preparation, and is a diet of deprivation. When I saw how Bobby was cooking meals that looked gourmet in his lunch box oven, toaster oven, microwave, and Instant Pot in the cab of his truck, I was totally impressed and more importantly inspired! I encouraged Bobby, as did others online, to share his story because I knew it could inspire others.

Bobby started a Facebook page called “Plant-Fueled Trucker,” and almost overnight he gained hundreds of followers who were enthralled by his story. He is honest, straightforward, and kind, and his passion for plant based eating shines through all of his posts and photos. Recently, his story was shared with someone at NBC and three reporters traveled with him for three days to live his story and taste his food! If you have not seen this story that aired recently on the Today show, you can watch it at: http://www.today.com/video/this-long-haul-trucker-has-found-the-road-to-healthy-eating-480958531729.

PFT

Since the Today Show interview, The Plant-Fueled Trucker’s story has exploded all over the plant based community. Bobby’s page has over 20,000 followers and the reach of his story is growing by leaps and bounds. He has had offers for interviews and I’m sure he will help thousands to realize that if he can regain his health living out of a big rig 4-6 days a week, maybe they can do it too!

When you think you can’t chop one more veggie or plan one more meal, think of Bobby and his commitment to get healthy and stay healthy and know you are not alone!

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!


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Drumroll please!..Meet Lanny Hoggatt, another plant-based rock star!

I “met” Lanny online at Engine2extra and he has been a great inspiration not only to many on the web site, but in his hometown and at his church. Despite his health problems from years of SAD eating, he is turning his health around and helping his family to make health improvements in the process. He recently started purchasing Forks over Knives books to handout for free to friends who need help turning their health around and he is enrolled in Rouxbe cooking school! Here is Lanny’s story, in his own words.

Jean I would love to share my story. Like most people I was on the SAD (Standard American Diet) and I became morbidly obese and became a diabetic. Then I went to see a psychiatrist because I was depressed they started giving me different meds. One of them had an adverse reaction with my diabetes and I ended up with super insulin resistance. My sugars ranged between 400 to 500 everyday for 10 years. I have a lot of diabetes problems because of it.

In 2010 I had a minor heart attack and my cardiologist told me that I had blockages. Then in all of 2014 I started having angina attacks and around October 2014 they were getting regular everyday especially after meals. Around the 1st of December I was sitting on the foot of my bed and started to have a real bad one and could not breathe. The pain ran threw my back and down my right arm but I managed to get it to stop with Nitro but I knew I was in trouble. On December 3, 2014 I went to the church and asked a brethren to pray for me. That evening I came across a movie called Forks Over Knives Streaming on Netflix and it changed my life. I looked at my dad and said Wow!!  Even the medicine bottles they showed in the movie were the same ones we were taking. I went on and discovered the Engine 2 Diet I’ve been on this diet now for about 7 months.

Since I’ve been 100% whole food plant-based diet now, no meat no dairy and no oils, my diabetes numbers are now running at normal levels I have a lot more energy. I’ve had to cut my insulin down from 300 units a day to 80 units a day and that’s just in the morning. My angina attacks went away my blood pressure is down to normal range. On the top all that off I have lost over 50 pounds 🙂

My Dad, was a lot worse than I was. In 2000 he had a heart attack and they did a triple bypass surgery and he started into renal failure. In June 2014 his renal labs came in very bad. His GFR was at 28 the doctor told him to go and have a shunt put in his arm for dialysis and the cardiologist told him that he could not have it done because his heart was too weak. Then in September 2014 dad was hospitalized and his heart function dropped to 25%. Wow. that was bad. Since dad and I started on this 100% whole food plant-based diet all of our doctors are amazed. Dad’s renal labs have improved and his GFR went from 28 to 37. The renal Dr. was asking all kinds of questions so I told him about Forks Over Knives and he went home and watched the movie.

Then his cardiologist was excited that Dad’s heart function jumped from 25% to 47%. He said wow! You have lost a significant amount of weight your color is back and he also wanted to know about the diet. They ran tests on him all the fluid around his heart is gone and the water retention is gone .I have to say it’s quite an improvement in 7 months 🙂 And to top it all off he lost 30 pounds also. 🙂

Lanny and his dad

Way to go Lanny! If you have a plant based success story you would like me to share, please let me know! It keeps me motivated to continue my own journey and keep sharing the good news!

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!


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Summertime, and the grillin’ is easy…

We are so excited that grilling season is here! We were off to a little bit of a late start at the Hayes house since my husband found that the bottom of the grill had rotted over the winter. In our effort to downsize our possessions we opted for a nice compact grill. It’s just big enough to grill up veggies for the two of us and it works awesome!

grill

 plated grilled veggies

We had  corn that my husband steamed in the Instant Pot for 8 min first, asparagus, red pepper, onions, and leeks earlier this week. Everything came out great except the leeks which were chewy. Next time I’ll look up some recipes for how to prepare the leeks first. My husband was also craving potato salad, so he whipped up a recipe on the fly and it was delicious.

Scott’s potato salad

5-6 Yukon gold potatoes

1/2 of a 14 oz pkg of extra firm tofu or silken tofu

3 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon of parsley

1/4 c. of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of country Dijon mustard or mustard of your choice

Freshly ground black pepper

Peel the potatoes or just scrub them if you prefer to eat the peels. Cut them into large cubes and steam until tender. You can steam them in a steamer basket for 15-20 min or use an Instant pot for about 11 minutes. While the potatoes cool, mix the tofu, vinegar, and mustard in a food processor, blender or Ninja bullet. Add parsley or herb of your choosing and pepper and stir and coat potatoes with dressing and serve!

potato salad

We enjoyed the grilled veggies so much that I decided to grill again mid week and I added bean brats to the menu using a recipe adapted by my friend Sharon Euler at Engine2extra from Jeff Novick’s basic bean burger recipe to include brat seasoning and it is spot on!

Sharon’s Bean brats

1 can dark red kidney beans

1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

3 TB smoky BBQ sauce (it’s not spicy) – you could use diced tomatoes, too or probably even ketchup – you need the moisture.  Jeff’s recipe calls for 2 TB moisture but it wasn’t enough liquid to get them to stick together well.

1 tsp salt (I think I could have left this out completely)

1 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp allspice

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp marjoram

1 tsp sage

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Mash up the kidney beans with a potato masher.  Add the oats and the rice and the spices and mix them all up together.  Add the liquid and stir and smush it all up til it is all well mixed.

I used my sushi mat to make the rolls and compress them together tightly.  I covered the sushi mat with plastic wrap (to keep the mat clean and to make sure the beans wouldn’t stick to the mat). I took a handful of brat mixture, put it on the sushi mat and used the sushi mat to make them into rolls and tightly compressed them together.

Put the rolls into the refrigerator for about an hour.  This allows the starches to bind the rolls together.

Cook the brats by your method of choice – broiler, skillet or wrap in foil and throw in the campfire!  You have to keep rolling them to get them evenly browned on all sides.

bean brats

Brats ready to go on the grill

bean brats plated 2

Brat served on a crisp romaine leaf with leftover potato salad and grilled veggies

 

Hope you have fun this summer experimenting with grilled veggies and  bean and veggie burgers and transforming traditional foods into plant strong dishes!

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!


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Day 21, Engine 2 Nationwide challenge, 4 hours in the car and all we got was this stepstool!

Our goal yesterday was to go to Ikea in Conshohocken PA and come home with a new butcher block island for our newly painted kitchen. My husband found the perfect one online and off we went this morning to get to the store when they opened. We finally snaked our way through the store to the kitchen section, only to find they are rolling out a whole new line of products Monday and most of the displays were blocked off with curtains. We finally found someone to help us and found out the item we chose had been discontinued. Ugh. My husband was not a happy man. We left the store with this handy step stool so I wouldn’t fall off of anymore chairs as I did on New Year’s Day trying to reach something on top of the cupboard.

stepstool

 

I did have some time in the car to get caught up on some reading. I have been slowly working my way through Michael Moss’ book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.”  I heard Moss speak at Plantstock two summers ago and his book is very enlightening. He shares the history of how many of the processed foods we take for granted got their start and the stories about roles food scientists and marketers have played is fascinating. Did you know there is a “bliss point” for salt and sugar, but not for fat? It is the point on the bell curve at which there is the perfect amount of salt and sugar, less and it’s not enough to hook us, more and it just tastes bad. For fat, there is no point at which its too much for our taste buds. That explains a lot!

Salt sugar fat

We also had a fabulous lunch despite our fairly useless road trip. We stopped at Whole Food Market to pick up some Engine 2 hummus, crispbread, and Rip’s Big Bowl cereal and decided to have lunch from the salad bar. I was able to find many oil free options and the food was great! I had tons of greens, including one of my favorites, swiss chard, a wonderful curry lentil dish, wheatberries with pecans and cranberries, lentils with sweet potato and a little of many other veggie dishes that added up to a very full and happy belly!

WFM lunch

I also was impressed that Whole Foods recycles and composts and of course, I enjoyed seeing the Engine 2 diet placards on the tables!

recycle

E2 placard

By the time we got home, I didn’t have as much time to get the kitchen put back together as I had hoped. I did get a little cleaning done and made some Mexican rice to have with our leftover chili and made guacamole and baked corn tortilla chips so my husband wouldn’t feel left out for Superbowl Sunday.

Superbowl supper

chips and guac

Somehow it all worked out, too. My husband did some searching when we got home and found and ordered an even better butcher block island that will fit perfectly where we want to use it and match our kitchen and our needs! Win, win!

Butcher block

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!


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Engine 2 Nationwide challenge, day 9, Artichoke paella!

Still very tired today and a little anxious with the construction going on here at the Hayes house. They are ahead of schedule and doing a great job, but it is change. I like to think that I love change, but when it comes, I soon realize I don’t always embrace it well. So, I wanted to keep it simple in the kitchen tonight. I remembered I had some artichokes canned in water and that we loved the artichoke paella in Dr. John McDougall’s book, “The Starch Solution.” It doesn’t require much chopping or fussing and our old hand hammered wok does a great job with these one pot meals. The only thing I changed when I made this recipe is that I cooked the rice fully and then added it at the end. I should have reduced the veggie broth in the dish since I cooked the rice separately, but it really did no harm. This way of cooking is SO forgiving. If you mess up, it will still taste good and be good for you because you’re using good ingredients! You could save even more time with this recipe if necessary by using frozen chopped peppers and onions and canned no added salt diced tomatoes. So, keep it simple and you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen. Here is our paella and the recipe from Dr. McDougall’s Sept 2006 newsletter.

Remember to Have fun with your food and Enjoy!

Paella ingredients paella in wok artichoke paella

Paella    from Dr. John McDougall, at https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2006nl/sept/recipes.htm

Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  8

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 cups boiling water
2 ⅓ cups vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup julienned green bell pepper
¾ cup julienned red bell pepper
1  10 ounce package frozen baby lima beans, thawed
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground oregano
¼ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of saffron threads
1 15 ounce can water packed artichoke hearts, drained, sliced in half
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Place the rice and boiling water in a bowl.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes, while preparing the remaining ingredients.  Drain off water and set aside.

Heat the vegetable broth to boiling. Place ⅓ cup of the vegetable broth in a large slope-sided sauté pan (or use a wok). Add onion and garlic.  Cook and stir over medium heat for about 2 minutes until onion softens slightly.  Add peppers, lima beans and tomatoes.  Cook and stir for another 3 minutes.  Add the remaining hot vegetable broth and the drained rice.  Stir in the oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and saffron threads.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat , cover and cook for 30 minutes.  Add artichokes and peas.  Mix well, remove from heat, cover and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.