The plant based nurse

My family's excellent adventure to better health!


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Winter kale salad with walnuts and raw root vegetables

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This salad was an experiment for my Rouxbe cooking course that was a success. I learned that even vegetables that we don’t traditionally eat raw are crisp, fresh tasting, and surprisingly delicious with little to no fuss. This was not a dish I would normally prepare and it may push me to try more raw food dishes in the future. It was much more colorful and beautiful in person then I could capture in the photo even though I went outside to use the natural light.  As a bonus,  root vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals, folic acid, and are high in fiber, and low in calories!

Ingredients:

Kale, about 6 cups, stripped, rinsed, and roughly chopped

juice of 2 lemons

About 1/2 cup ground walnuts

About 2 tsp stone ground Dijon mustard

2 small carrots or 1 large carrot, julienne cut with knife or mandolin or shred in food processor

1 golden carrot, julienne or shred

Celeriac root, fine julienne cut, I used about 1\2 cup and roasted the rest for a snack

About 1\2 parsnip, julienne cut or shred in food processor.

About 1 tsp chopped garlic

A handful of sliced sun dried tomatoes

A handful of dried berries or raisins (I used golden berries)

A handful of raw pumpkin seeds

*Feel free to substitute away with ingredients as I made this dish from what I had in my fridge and cupboard*

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Directions:

Grind or finely chop the walnuts , mix with lemon juice, mustard, and a pinch of salt if desired and set aside while you prep the veggies.

Prep your veggies, sun dried tomatoes, and berries.

Place the kale into a large bowl and add the lemon walnut mixture and massage the kale with your hands for a couple of minutes until the kale starts  to soften.

Toss the veggies, garlic, and berries with the kale, plate your dish and top with pumpkin seeds or whatever seeds you have or like.

All of the veggies in this dish were from my weekly CSA from Lackawaxen Farm Company. It has been a great adventure getting new vegetables every week and finding ways to incorporate them into our meals. It is coaxing us to eat more seasonally, is a great value, and is a lot of fun!

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Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Meet Mike: An unintentional self study in health and wellness!

Meet our friend, Mike Vasey! We met Mike and his wife over 30 years ago when my husband was a student at Penn State University. We reconnected recently online and much to our surprise, we had both stumbled upon the news that plant-based eating can not only prevent, but also reverse many chronic illnesses. As a university professor and critical thinker, Mike was attracted to the science behind the positive effects of a plant-based diet.
Hear Mike’s story in his own words:
One problem with the many positive testimonials regarding the health impact of a plant-based diet is that one cannot be completely confident the dietary change was the cause of the improved health. Don’t get me wrong, I find it pretty compelling when longstanding conditions change when diet changes. But one still lacks a hypothetical counter factual – a way of estimating how the person would have done without the dietary change. That’s where controlled experiments come in. One way to add a hypothetical counterfactual is to reverse the change to see if weight, cholesterol, etc. go back to where they were before one started. Then one can re-institute the dietary change and see if things improve again. That is known as an ABAB single-subject research design (A = baseline, B = intervention).
Unintentionally, over the past five years I have done such a reversal study on myself regarding the impact of a plant-based diet with no added oil. Five years ago I chanced upon a local broadcast of a talk by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. on reversing and preventing heart disease with diet. I have a strong family history of heart disease – my father had at least five heart attacks – so the topic piqued my interest. I found Dr. Esselstyn’s data compelling so I decided to give it a try. At the time my total cholesterol was 200 (it had reached a high of 237 some years earlier, which prompted some improvement in my eating habits [translation: I ate less sausage and similar things]). My weight was about 208. I am about 6′ 2″ so my BMI was 26.7.
With very rare exceptions I was successful in following the Esselstyn diet. It took about six weeks before I found it to no longer be a challenge. By then, I had identified things I liked to eat and had modified recipes to be oil free. It helped that I tend to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day so once I had those two meals figured out (oatmeal with bananas and dried cranberries for breakfast, a big salad for lunch) only supper was an issue. I tended to cook a few one dish meals (e.g., lots of soups) on the weekend and eat them during the week. Between meals I snacked on fruit and veggies.
Based on Esselstyn’s book , I expected things to change fairly quickly and mostly they did. I was on two blood pressure medicines at the time, mostly to control cluster headaches but also due to mild hypertension. Within two weeks of eliminating oil from my diet my blood pressure dropped to the point that I was light headed when I stood up. With my doctor’s consent I dropped the med that was unrelated to cluster headaches and things went back to normal. Simultaneously I started losing weight. After one month my weight was 196 (BMI = 25.2) but my total cholesterol hadn’t changed much, dropping only to 180. After six months I had lost 27 pounds to 181 (BMI = 23.2) so I expected my cholesterol would follow suit. However, when I completed a biometric screening for work at the six month mark, my cholesterol was still 180. That was a bit discouraging since my goal was to get it below 150, the threshold below which nobody in the Framingham Heart Study had a heart attack. But I kept at it and after a year and a half my total cholesterol was 154, which was very near my goal. And my weight was down to 172 (BMI = 22.1). Eventually my weight bottomed out at 170 (BMI = 21.😎) and my total cholesterol stayed below 130.
Then about 18-months ago, I went through a prolonged stressful period and I got lazy regarding my diet. I essentially went back to baseline in terms of my diet. I tended to eat whatever was easiest and that was often something processed and high in fat. Predictably, my weight went up until it was 196 (BMI = 25.2) at my annual biometric screening on 9/12/16 and my total cholesterol was back up to 198. Added to that, my A1C was 6.1, which is borderline diabetic and diabetes is something else that runs in my family. Needless to say, those numbers got my attention. So I immediately went back to the all plant-based, no added oil diet. After nearly five weeks I had my blood work redone by my doctor. My total cholesterol had dropped by 27 points to 171, my weight was 188 (BMI = 24.1), and my A1C was down to 5.5, which is still high but in the normal range.
Between then and now (12/26/16) I spent a week in Belgium and while eating plant-based was mostly possible (hey, beer is plant-based!), forget the no added oil part. We also had Thanksgiving and Christmas and I must admit to straying a bit with all the holiday goodies around the house (my family does not follow my diet and that can be challenging at times). Nevertheless, my weight is now down to 182 (BMI = 23.4) and I expect it to keep dropping. I’m sure my cholesterol and blood sugar will follow suit. I’m glad to be back on a healthy path.
 mike-vasey
Mike with the tallest man skeleton at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia


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Why is Nutrition Ignored in Medicine?

Free program at TCMC Wed November 30th at 5:30 p.m. “Why is Nutrition Ignored in Medicine?” by T. Colin Campbell. This is part of the Preventive Medicine Lecture Series at The Commonwealth Medical College. There will be continuing Education Credit for medical professionals, too! Open to the public and all are welcome.

For decades, Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition education and research. Dr. Campbell’s expertise and scientific interests encompass relationships between diet and diseases, particularly the causation of cancer. His legacy, the China Project, is one  of the most comprehensive studies of health and nutrition ever conducted. The New York Times has recognized the study as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology.”

For out of towners, Scranton is about two hours away from Philadelphia and NYC.

CALL OR GO TO THE WEBSITE ON THE FLYER BELOW TO REGISTER. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS GREAT PROGRAM!

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