The plant based nurse

My family's excellent adventure to better health!


Plant determined? Step back and check your numbers!

You’re ready to start an exciting adventure to improve your health through plant based nutrition. Step back for a moment and get a grip on where you stand with your health and check some markers to see where you are before you begin.

You may want to have a checkup with your primary care health provider before you begin if you haven’t had an exam in a while. Have your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight checked and I like to ask for copies of my results. If you are up to date on your health exams and just want an updated number, you can pick up a home cholesterol kit at the pharmacy. If you have elevated blood pressure, you may want to purchase an automatic blood pressure cuff to self-monitor. As your weight and blood pressure improve as your diet improves, you may need to work with your healthcare provider to adjust medications. It can be dangerous to adjust doses on your own, so always consult with your primary care practitioner. For diabetics, it is important to watch blood sugars closely as you may also need dose adjustments in insulin or oral diabetic medications as your numbers improve. The American Heart Association has some good information about target values for these markers. Dr Caldwell Esselstyn goes further than the AHA by recommending getting cholesterol below 150 along with eating a healthy oil free plant based diet to make you heart attack proof!

Some recommend speaking with your healthcare provider about changing your diet before you start, and some like Dr. Esselstyn recommend just mentioning that you will be trying to eat a more healthy diet and you would like their assistance in monitoring your progress. Many people are so excited, that they want to find an MD who is well versed in plant based nutrition and as excited as they are about their new diet. Unfortunately, this is not realistic for many of us as most doctors have few courses in nutrition in medical school and even less background about plant based nutrition. My husband and I both told our physicians we were embarking on this path and they were supportive and told us to go for it.

It is not our job to educate our physician or provider but they may ask about how you achieved your fabulous results which will give you an opportunity for discussion. Of course, since I have to share my excitement with everyone, I gave my doctor a list of resources and at my last visit, gave her a signed copy of Dr. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and a copy of his latest study, “A way to reverse CAD?” She probably thinks I’m out of my mind, but if I can help her or any of her patients, it’s worth it. My husband’s doctor wanted to know where this program was that he attended so she could tell her patients about it since he is doing so much better than he has in years. Last June he attended a 10 day program by Dr. John McDougall to help him learn more and get on board with this way of eating.

I was already taking a B12 supplement before I even thought about eating a plant based diet, because on my meat laden diet I was running a borderline low B12 level, but if you don’t know your level, you may want to have it checked, especially if you’re over 50. You can ask your provider what dose of B12 they recommend for someone on a plant based diet. My physician gave me pretty much the same advice offered by Dr. Neal Barnard in this brief video.

If you are super organized, or yearn to be, you may want to organize your health history and your lab and diagnostic study results so you can track how you’re progressing toward your goals. I recently met a fellow nurse at a Holistic health fair, Judy Rienzi, who has developed tools to help people better track and manage their health. She has developed the Connect method to help people organize, guide, and plan for success. I love that she uses the phrase plan for success! We plan for all sorts of things, retirement, vacations, and we even plan for our death by buying life insurance. Why don’t we plan for success in getting healthy?!

Let’s make a plan!

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“Eat plants. Lose weight. Feel Great.” -Rip Esselstyn

I really should have called this post “Eat MORE. Lose weight. Feel Free!” I still find it absolutely hilarious that I can often eat more than my husband and yet I don’t gain weight. I did not set out when we started this way of life 2 years ago to hit a certain number on the scale, however secretly I was hoping to be fit and trim for the first time in my life. When I was in high school, I always thought 125 lbs would be a perfect weight. I have no idea where I got that number, but when I got to that weight last year and then dropped below, I was flabbergasted. I not only eat until I am full, but at times even eat until I am stuffed, an old throwback to my nervous eating. The only time I notice I gain weight is when I eat something too salty when we go out to eat or when we go on our mission trip in the summer and I’m eating a lot of peanut butter and bread.

The whole idea of eating more and losing weight seemed absurd to me. I had always believed the usual wisdom that the only way to lose weight was to “eat less and move more.” I had learned from my old Weight Watchers days that there were certain zero points foods that I could eat of freely without gaining weight. I used to open a can of green beans and put ketchup and mustard on them and eat the whole can, but I was still always hungry and never felt satisfied on their diet. So, I would go off of the plan and gain the weight back.

According to Dr.John McDougall, the reason I was never satisfied on Weight Watchers is that I had to limit starches or carbohydrates, the foods that give us energy and fuel our bodies. I was constantly distracted by my hunger and despite my success at losing weight, it was not enough to motivate me to stay on the lifetime maintenance program for very long. Besides, I became weary of measuring my portions and counting points and such. It was just a little to fussy and time consuming as far as I was concerned. So, about 8 months after I started my plant based eating journey, I burned my Weight Watchers Lifetime membership card.

Goodbye Weight Watchers!

I now can eat as much as I want, as long as I eat the right foods. The big  “secret” to this way of eating is that the food we eat is much less calorie dense than what I used to eat on the standard American diet. Not only are fruits, veggies, and whole grains less calorie dense, but they also have a lot of fiber, which helps you feel full. Win, win! Who doesn’t love to eat a lot and feel full?! Jeff Novick, RD, wrote a great article called “A common sense approach to sound nutrition,” which explains how to apply the principles of calorie density to weight loss. It can also be applied to help those who find they are losing too much weight and need to add more calorie dense foods to their diet.

Here is Jeff’s explanation of calorie density:

“Calorie density is simply a measure of the amount of calories in a given weight of food, most often expressed as calories per pound.  A food high in calorie density provides a large amount of calories in a small weight of food, whereas a food low in calorie density has much fewer calories for the same weight of food. Therefore, for the same number of calories, one can consume a larger portion of a food lower in calorie density than a food higher in calorie density.  On a day-to-day basis, people generally eat a similar amount of food, by weight.  Therefore, choosing foods with a lower calorie density allows us to consume our usual amount of food (or more) while reducing our caloric intake.” If you check out the full article you can read more about this simple approach and also see a list of food categories and how they rate for calorie density.

According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, we can’t totally attribute the weight loss experienced by those on a whole food, plant based diet by calorie reduction or restriction alone. He notes studies that show that vegetarians who eat the same or more calories than meat eaters will be slimmer. He also talks about “thermogenesis” , or our production of body heat during metabolism, and he notes  “evidence that low protein diets can shift calories toward the production of body heat (thermogenesis) thus sparing its being used to make body fat.” (

In his studies with feeding animals a low protein diet, which is provided by a plant based diet, Dr. Campbell also found that “These low protein animals also were much more physically active, as shown by their voluntarily turning an exercise wheel attached to their cages.”

Dr. Campbell concludes: “Moreover, our human study in rural China supported this same interpretation. People consumed more calories, yet had lower serum cholesterol, less heart disease, less diabetes, less cancer, lower body weight and almost no obesity.This evidence suggests that a whole food, plant-based diet without added oil/fat minimizes overweight and obesity while simultaneously repressing cancer development and reversing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This points us to one cause (whole food plant-based diet), one effect (a constellation of diseases and obesity being prevented, even reversed), a long overdue idea that really works.”

We know that a whole foods, plant based diet can improve our health, keep our weight at a healthy level, and is delicious and loaded with great phytonutrients and antioxidants. So why isn’t everyone  in the health and nutrition field beating your door down to convince you to eat this way? Another post for another day!

So, Eat plants. Lose weight. Feel Great! – Rip Esselstyn, chapter 34, “My Beef with Meat”

Rip Esselstyn and me    at  Plantstock 2013

Rip Esselstyn and me
at Plantstock 2013


Thai curry with all of the flavor and none of the guilt!

I decided we needed a change this week in our menu. Sometimes we get in a rut of eating our same favorite dishes or going to our favorite restaurants that have plant-based dishes. So yesterday, I sat down with my favorite cookbooks and planned some easy meals that would give us some variety. Tonight I made a dish we have made once before, but I made some small variations that made it even better than the first time we had it. I made Thai Green Curry Rice from “The Starch Solution” by John McDougall MD and his wife Mary McDougall. Even though Dr. McDougall promotes a starch based diet, the dishes we have made from his book have been loaded with wonderful veggies and have been very colorful. The recipe is free online as are many of their recipes, and can be found in his December 2006 newsletter. I will post the full recipe at the end of this post, too.

I started with Jasmine brown rice. It has become one of my favorites as it only takes 20 min to cook, doesn’t clump, and is a whole grain but is fluffy and light.

Jasmine brown riceI

I prepped all of the veggies and herbs and had them ready to toss into the wok. A lot of the fresh veggies looked kind of sickly in the grocery store yesterday, so I picked up frozen cauliflower and  sugar snap peas which also saved time. I added fresh carrots for color, frozen peas, and fresh ginger. You can make this dish with any veggies, fresh or frozen that you have on hand. I think bok choy would be great in this dish, too.

Fixins for curry

We have an old hand hammered wok that my husband bought from a TV ad over 20 years ago that works great for dishes like this with mounds of veggies and heats up so quickly and easily over the gas flame.

veggies for curryThe first set of veggies only had to cook about 5 min, and then the next group cooks again just for a few minutes with the curry paste. I didn’t have green curry paste, so I used tikki paste which is a red/orange paste with ginger. Lastly, the tomatoes, cilantro and Thai basil went in with nondairy milk (I used oat milk) and coconut extract. I was lucky enough to have some Thai basil in the freezer from my garden last summer. When you freeze it, the leaves fall off of the stems and they freeze well and retain their color, flavor, and wonderful aroma. The pictures don’t really do this dish justice, plus you can’t smell the wonderful scents that wafted through the kitchen!

Curry in wok 3

The coconut extract really makes the dish scream of curry and without the fat in coconut milk. Here is a comparison of the oat milk nutrition facts and the coconut milk, which I bought and never used. I keep it for teaching purposes. Note that the serving size of the coconut milk is only 2 oz, so if I had used a full cup I would have been adding 36 gm of added fat and all 36 gm are from saturated fat. Of the 93 calories per serving in the coconut milk, 93 of those calories or 100% of the calories are from fat. By comparison, 8 oz of oat milk has only 130 calories, 2.5 gm of fat and no saturated fat. No contest as far as I’m concerned! I recently read a very commonsense article by Dr. McDougall called, “Nuts come in  hard shells- for reasons.”

coconut milk and oat milk

This dish was very filling due to all of the veggies, satisfying, and delicious! We like spicy, so in my bowl I added chili garlic sauce and my husband added sriracha sauce. The best part is that we also have leftovers for another meal!

hot sauce

Curry bowl

Have fun with your food and enjoy!

Thai Green Curry Rice    

 from The Starch Solution by John A. McDougall MD and Mary McDougall

This rice dish is made with a Thai green curry paste that is sold in Asian markets, natural food stores and some supermarkets.  To vary this recipe, try making it with red curry paste instead of the green curry paste.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes (cooked rice needed)
Cooking Time:  12 minutes
Servings:  4

1/3 cup vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons green curry paste
2 cups chopped Napa cabbage
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup snap peas
½ cup soy sauce
4 cups cooked long grain brown rice
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thai basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Place the broth in a large pot along with the onion, bell peppers and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Stir in the curry paste.  Add the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peas and soy sauce.  Mix well, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.

Hint:  Curry pastes are quite spicy so you may want to start out with the smaller amount and add more to taste.  If you can’t find fresh Thai basil, just use the fresh basil found in the produce department of your supermarket.

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Rice and Beans “recipe”

My husband’s favorite meal is fast becoming one of my favorites, too! It comes out different every time we make it and it’s always delicious. Just make some rice, saute some peppers, onions, garlic, oregano and red pepper in veggie broth, add some beans, some tomatoes, fresh or canned, some jalapeno if you like, some Southwest seasoning or whatever spices and/or hot sauce you like and you have a cheap easy meal! I just mix the beans with the rice, but my husband adds the raw rice to the veggies in the pan to toast it, pilaf style, then adds the liquid, cooks the rice and then adds the beans near the end. You can’t mess this up! Serve with a salad or some greens and top with avocado or guacamole or salsa if you have some.We make a big batch so we have leftovers. Enjoy!

rice and beans guacamole

beans and rice with guacamole

Beans and rice


Navigating the holidays and Happy 2nd Plantiversary to us!

I hope everyone had a wonderful, healthy Thanksgiving holiday filled with great food and family and friends. The holidays can be a time of great joy for many but a time of grief and sadness for others. If the holiday season is hard for you, I hope you find a way to reach out for support and comfort. I find myself having a tough time this time of year, but have found I cope better with stress and sadness when I have something positive to focus on and keep my food full of wonderful plant based nutrients and antioxidants. Our families have accepted that our diet and lifestyle have changed for good and we no longer worry about offending anyone by bringing our own food to share for special occasions. Eating plants is our new normal and we have learned that if we want to celebrate with delicious food that won’t leave us feeling guilty and weighed down, then we have to plan ahead and bring some yummy dishes with us. It is really a small price to pay for better health and feeling great. When you think about it, we plan for sickness by purchasing health insurance, and we even plan for our death by buying life insurance. Why not plan for health and wellness by filling our bodies with the best fuel on the planet, whole plant foods!

Our Thanksgiving celebration actually started the week before with a huge celebration at our church. We have a Thanksgiving pot luck every year and invite some folks from the Clarks Summit State Hospital to celebrate with us. Some of the church members cook turkey and stuffing and everyone brings a dish to pass. My sister Bonnie and I and a few other friends who are vegetarian at church decided we didn’t want to miss the meal and fellowship, so we planned to make our own dishes to share and then put them out on the main table and we had a great variety of dishes and had a great evening. The play the Sunday school children was a great surprise as they did a play about children rescuing turkeys from a farm and inviting them as guests at their Thanksgiving vegetarian meal. It was so cute and so appropriate for the meal we ate! We had sweet potato casserole, roasted potatoes with apples, green beans with almonds, steamed broccoli and carrots, roasted brussel sprouts and carrots, eat loaf, tofu peanut butter pie, and pumpkin pie.

Church dinner

Our second Thanksgiving on a plant based diet was more successful than our first since we made recipes we had already tested and knew we liked except for the cranberry sauce which turned out to be a very good experiment! My sister Judy was also kind enough to leave the butter off of the veggies she cooked and have butter on the table for those who wanted it so we had a great feast at her home. I did compromise and have some foods we normally don’t eat, such as a vegan pumpkin cheesecake my daughter made from a recipe of Susan Voison’s from her blog, fatfreevegan. My husband also made a delicious stuffing full of herbs and spices using bread from a bakery since we didn’t have time to bake our own bread, but the rest of our meal was plantstrong. My daughter and I made the dessert, the cranberry sauce from straightupfood, and the Eat loaf the night before and the rest of the dishes came together easily in the morning by team effort, including mushroom gravy, garlicky mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean casserole. We had the dishes cleaned out of the sink and were at my sister’s by noon. It was great to have helping hands and no rushing or bickering!

There are so many wonderful cookbooks and websites with great recipes that are plant based and even those recipes that include oil can be modified or the oil can often be left out without affecting the dish a bit. This year, we used ‘The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease cookbook” for the Eat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy recipes. The Eat loaf is like a party in your mouth with a wonderful mixture of creamy cannellini beans,steamed greens and veggies and topped with a spicy organic bbq sauce I found at our local Wegman’s. The mashed potatoes were yukon gold boiled with the skins on and mashed with fresh garlic I sauteed in veggie broth with some fresh rosemary and thyme I found buried in the snow in my garden and topped with dried chives and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. If you think you’ll never have real gravy again on a plant based diet, think again! Mommy’s mushroom gravy 2.0 is flavorful and hearty and good on everything! It is also super easy to make. I like to make a double batch so we don’t run out. The green bean casserole came from fatfreevegan and my daughter substituted almond milk for soy creamer and left out the vegan margarine and they were fabulous with the fresh green beans my husband found. We did take a shortcut and use the french fried onions in a can on top, but last year we baked our own onion topping. The ones in the can were pretty greasy and I doubt I will buy them again. We didn’t miss the turkey broth in the stuffing at all. My husband used veggie broth and lots of herbs and it turns out that it’s the herbs that really make the dish. We have found that with most of our dishes. If you have delicious herbs and spices, the dishes will be fabulous. One of my sisters scoffed when we made gumbo without shrimp, but it really is the spices that make the gumbo, not the seafood.

Some other great resources for holiday recipes are The Engine2diet website, Happy Herbivore’s website and cookbooks, Dr. McDougall’s website, among so many others. For Christmas the last couple of years, we have been making lasagna, traditional for the omnivores and plant based for us. I hope to continue this tradition this year. I will be working Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but lasagna is a great dish to make ahead, and we can have a huge salad and maybe some home baked bread. My favorite substitute for ricotta cheese is this Rinotta cheez from Ami Mackey’s blog, plantbasedadventures. It tastes so much like traditional lasagna, that I have had people who are not plant based rave about it. I like to make Engine 2 Raise the Roof lasagna but use Ami’s rinotta cheez instead of the tofu mixture in the original recipe. I also leave the sweet potato off of half of it for my husband who is not a sweet potato fan.

Be creative and have fun with your food! Almost any traditional recipe can be re-imagined to be plantstrong and you don’t even have to use recipes if you’re not a fan of cooking. You can keep it simple and just have some rice and veggies or potatoes and veggies with whatever spices and herbs you love. And as always, we find it’s fun to be different! Here is our friend Bobby Anderson, The Plant Fueled Trucker’s  “turkey” dinner:

Bobby's turkey

It was 2 years ago on the Saturday after Thanksgiving that my family and I set out to try out plant based eating and we haven’t had one regret that we embarked on this journey. It has been a wonderful two years filled with great food, great fun, and great opportunities to meet new friends and open our minds to new ideas!

When is your plantiversary?

Eat loaf igCranberry sauce   Garlicky potatoes Green bean casserole Happy Thansgiving with Love Mushroom gravy  pumpkin mousse  Stuffing Take twoFlowers

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Meet Michelle Fitzsimmons, AKA Mikey!

I first met Michelle when my friend, Virginia brought her to our first Engine 2 diet 28 day challenge meet-up in February of this year.  She came to my home, listened to the information I presented about how a plant based diet can improve our health and well being and watched the video of Rip Esselstyn challenging us to try a whole foods plant based diet for just 28 days to see how great we could feel.  She also sampled the great array of plant based, oil free dishes everyone brought to share. She got in Virginia’s car at the end of the meet-up, and said, “Let’s get healthy!” and hasn’t turned back since!

This summer when we asked everyone what convinced them to try this way of eating from our first 28 day challenge group, she said, “I decided I could do anything for 28 days.”  It encouraged me so much to know that people can try plant based eating out using this program without feeling pressured to do it forever. The wonderful thing is that no pressure is needed because people come back and tell me they want to continue with this nutritious and delicious food because of the great benefits they experience. Michelle was one of our members who came back after her first week and said, “I’m in!”  I was in awe of her tenacity and determination because of the hoops she had to jump through to bring her own food to work.

Here is her story in her own words:

My sister has always been a positive influence in my life by always modeling healthful behavior.

I have psoriasis and eating this way has minimized my symptoms and made it much more manageable. I had my annual physical two weeks ago and my physician was happy for me. She was delighted with my weight loss and everything else looked peachy.

I like to cook and tend to stick to a few simple things. I always have containers of brown rice and steel cut oats in the refrigerator. I make soup at least once a week; this week’s soup is split pea.

I have been eating healthful foods for years because I loved my vegetables, fruits, rice and beans, but I also loved convenient, processed foods. It took me a while to let go of the unhealthful snack foods and focus on nutrition. I had to give up nuts completely because I found they triggered a bad overeating habit.

The rewards are astounding. The first fifty pounds just fell off and I continue to lose weight slowly and steadily. It’s an attitude adjustment. The healthier I get the better I feel and the better I feel the nicer I act. So it’s a win-win for me and all the people in my life.

I’m a correction officer in a county jail and in an attempt to minimize the movement of contraband into and around the facility the rule is we cannot bring anything into the building and that includes food. Officers are fed the same food the inmates get. When I decided to pursue this way of eating I thought food would be a problem. I went to the warden and asked permission to bring my own food in; at that time he told me I would have to submit my request in writing. Hmm, I got a negative feeling like this request is going nowhere. Surprisingly the following day he got back to me and not only gave me permission to bring food in but also gave me his favorite meatless chili recipe.

My favorite quote is “Be the change you want to see in the world”, Mahatma Gandhi

Mikey and Virginia

Mikey and Virginia

Plant powered!

Plant powered!

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Days 23-25, Engine 2 Fall 2014 28 day challenge, just a blur!

The last 3 days have been just a blur of working and then working some more. I’m really looking forward to this weekend so I can try to catch up a little on opening the mail from the last 3 weeks, making sure I paid all of the bills, celebrating my father-in-laws 75th birthday, and finishing my coursework for the eCornell plant based nutrition course.

Our food the last 3 days has been good, but not stellar. Breakfast every day has been my usual oatmeal with fruit and lunch was leftover chili, corn muffins, and fruit the last 2 days and a Subway veggie sub today. I have tomorrow’s lunch planned so I can avoid Subway. Tuesday for supper we ordered a pizza with whole wheat crust and veggies, hold the cheese. My husband got home and after we ate our salads, opened the pizza box to a pizza loaded with cheese and headed back out to get a new one. The new one had tons of veggies, but had a white crust, but we were tired and ate it anyway. Last night we had a great and easy dinner. My husband quartered small red potatoes and boiled them a bit, then chopped red bell pepper and onion and sauteed them in veggie broth, tossed it all on a silicone mat on a tray, sprinkled with garlic powder and baked at 400 degrees while I made a quick salad. After we ate our salads, I broiled the potatoes a couple of min to brown them. Add any other spices you like and Yum!! Tonight we went to our favorite Indian restaurant and had sabji jalfrezi, a veggie dish with a tomato base over rice, nice and spicy. The first bowl they brought out looked different than usual and I had a feeling it may have had cream in it and sure enough, they had to take it back. I learned the mild form of the dish can have cream but we ordered medium spicy and the server wasn’t sure why it had cream but took it back right away and got us a whole new dinner. And, it was spicy, but very good!

Hopefully next week will be calmer and I will be doing more cooking and less eating out. Part of my problem was a too busy weekend last weekend and I didn’t have time to make enough dishes for the week to have leftovers. It was a trade off since we got to see both of our kids and that cheered us both up immensely!

We are also looking forward to our brussel sprouts from the garden and hoping they will be big enough to harvest soon.

Day 23 supper Brussel sprouts

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I often hear comments from people about how we eat grass, or that they could never eat my “bird diet.” They think we only eat veggies and salads all day with some bird seed thrown in. They often worry I’m starving myself. I have even been told that I must be since I’m staying thin. It amazes me that when people are able to sample some of our bird food and discover that it is not only delicious but filling and satisfying, they are often more open to at least thinking about eating some plant based meals.

I was definitely very full tonight! I came home and decided I had everything I needed to make chili and I had chili and corn muffins ready in about an hour and 15 min. My husband and I both had seconds and enjoyed every bite! No deprivation here!!

Breakfast- Oats with blueberries, raisins, banana, grape nuts and almond milk

Snack- banana

Lunch- Leftover gorgeous black rice salad from The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease cookbook, whole wheat pita.

Supper- More black rice salad, chili with cilantro and cornbread muffins

Chili fall 2014 Black rice salad 2Black rice salad


Day 21, Engine 2 Fall 2014 28 day challenge, Plant based partners and some family time.

Today after church it was nice to see my son and his girlfriend before they had to return to Phila even if it was only for a short time. I had plans to accomplish SO much in the 4 hrs I had before going to a pot luck tonight, but all I managed was grocery shopping, and making kale bruschetta and black rice salad while spending some time with my lovely plant based daughter, AND making a huge mess in the kitchen once again. Tomorrow is another day…

Tonight I went to a P-BEG (Plant based eating group) pot luck in Tunkhannock and enjoyed a nice visit with my partner in plant based crime, Virginia Fennelly and got to chat with two new folks I had not had the pleasure of getting to know before. We had a lovely dinner and went home very full and satisfied!

Virginia has been very supportive of our Engine 2 challenge group and has been busy inviting new people to try plant based eating with us. Our approaches are different but we agree it is important to get the word out to the world that plant based nutrition can promote better health and prevent and reverse many disease states. I’m glad we met and hope we can do some exciting things in the future. She is planning an all day Natural Health Clinic with a colleague on November 8th and the unique thing about this fair is that it is free not only for participants but for the speakers and members. I have been asked to speak and will also have a table to share info about plant based eating.I hope I can present my information in a way that is accurate and makes plant based eating attractive and manageable. If you live in our area and would like to come, check out the flier below!

PBEG plate

Virginia and Jean

Health Fair Tunkhannock

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Day 20, Engine 2 Fall 2014 28 day challenge, Good food, good friends, and my family rocks!

What a great day! It started with breakfast with my son and his sweet girlfriend Katie. We had Happy Herbivore blueberry pancakes and fruit salad. It was great to spend some time with the kids this morning before they went to the wedding of an old high school friend of Ben’s.

After breakfast I made the kale bruschetta from “My Beef with Meat” by Rip Esselstyn and Clouds in the Sunset (roasted butternut and cauliflower soup) from to take to our Engine 2 gathering at Marlene and Eric Zeidman’s home. The walnut sauce for the bruschetta was super easy, very garlicky and delicious. I used Merstemacer sunflower seed bread for the toast and I will definitely make these again. They looked and tasted great and took very little time to make. The soup is one of our old stand by’s and I just love it. It makes the whole kitchen smell so wonderful as the butternut squash roasts. Edie made a wonderful pasta dish with broccoli and Marlene made a Mexican feast with corn tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, refried beans, rice and more! We had a laid back afternoon with a small group of our plant based friends and watched a great film, “Fat, sick, and nearly dead.” I hadn’t seen the movie in months and really enjoyed seeing it again. I would love to see a follow up of what the filmmaker ate after his 60 day juice fast. It sounded like he was planning to follow a whole foods plant based diet but they only touched on it briefly. Maybe in the sequel that’s coming up they will elaborate more on that. It’s just great to see people restored to health!

To top off a wonderful day, my daughter decided to come home this afternoon and we got to chat with she and her fiancee Rob. We feel so blessed to have such great kids who have such great people in their lives who love them!

Breakfast- Happy herbivore pancakes made with White Whole wheat flour and blueberries, fruit salad.

Late lunch- Corn tortillas with refried beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, onions, peppers, brown rice, kale bruschetta, roasted butternut and cauliflower soup, fresh watermelon, brown rice pasta with broccoli.

Snack- Air popped popcorn with balsamic vinegar and nutritional yeast.


Blueberry pancakes 2 Frosty fruit salad

plate  pasta Mexican  Fixins

Edie and Marlene

Marlene and Eric #4

Jean and Scott smiling