Satisfying Flavor-Festival Soups!

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Soup Season

Comfort foods that are naturally filled with flavor and nutrition are exactly what we need as cold of fall and winter looms.  Pleasant to the eyes and nose before the first spoon full lands on our tongue, and so economical and easy to prepare. I am going to share with you the keys to making a great soup.

I’m not going to recreate the wheel since there are hundreds of good soup recipes online. And I am going to be honest, I use those recipes for inspiration but do not follow any one recipe.

I purchase my arsenal of herbs and seasonings and keep them on hand. I always have frozen vegetables and odds and ends of fresh vegetables and canned beans here. That way I am always ready to cook up any soup that fits the mood and occasion. I cook up everything from pea soup to vegetable soup, bean soup, tomato soup,  cream (vegan) of cauliflower with broccoli soup, to chili.

Have you priced healthier soups at the store these days? You will easily spen $3.00 to $5.00 for a can or store made small tub of soup.  I do keep a few cans on hand but the last time I went to make use of a sale I saw advertised for Progresso soups, none of the healthier vegan ones were on sale.

I noticed there was a tremendous sale on good quality low sodium organic vegetable broth and stocked up.  There was an equally good sale on frozen organic vegetables as well. Of course I loaded up. I purchased thyme, rosemary, fennel to properly season an array of soups.

At home I already had an ample supply of dried and frozen peas. Lots of cans of organic low sodium beans and lentils. Dried lentils are always a staple as well. There was a sweet potato waiting to be used in something. I had garlic and onion at home as well. Soup is great for using up these sorts of left overs.

So a couple days later, in my multi cooker (not a presser cooker), I sautéed some cubed sweet potato until they were semi cooked. I added 64 oz of the vegetable broth, 2 bags of mixed vegetables, a can of rinsed black beans and a can of rinsed chickpeas. Also added a cup of finely/pureed tomato with garlic, onion, chili powder, fennel and thyme, crushed red pepper.

Dont ask me how much of the seasonings I used, I never measure. I taste and adjust how much is in. Since you can easily add but can’t easily remove, I would suggest layering in small amounts of seasonings and add more as you taste.

You can use the stove top, slow cooker or multi cooker. Because I can’t stand for long due to my disability, I do the fast way and just chuck all the ingredients in my multi cooker. I bring it to a boil and then I reduce it immediately to slow cook. If your slow cooker doesn’t have a way to do that in the same cooking container, just start it off on your stove top and then pour it into the slow cooker once it has reached boiling.

A really well made soup is a soup made while the cook tastes it throughout its cooking and adjust seasonings. Forget recipes and season it with what you prefer and to taste.

Once the soup has been placed in bowls that is the time to add to each bowl your choice of greens. The temperature of the soup will allow you a hot enough cooking temperature even after it is in the bowl, to cook the spinach enough to release the vitamins you can only digest from spinach when slightly cooked.

I prefer adding the greens fresh just before serving it to who eats it, instead of to the whole batch in the pot. That way I can make the dish as fresh as possible each time the left overs are served.

Other thoughts

  • Add leftover barley, farro, quinoa or brown rice to the soup to get your serving of grains as part of the dish.
  •  Use bread such as a good german make of thinly sliced dense German rye bread, as croutons or for a side sandwich.
  • Add a piece of fruit with the meal

Very little effort and you can fill your tummy with food that will nourish your body and soul.

Soup Season

 

Other Ideas For Whole Food Plant Based Meals

WFPB back in the saddle

Celebrating 10 Months Of Low Fat, Whole Food Plant Based Healing

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Inspite of having three fat disorders ( lipedemalymphedema and  Dercum’s disease ) that are progressive in how large they can make a person appear, and have zero to do with calorie intake or exercise…I have managed in the past 10 months to do this.

What is important to point out is that having had these disorders all my life, my hips and legs were always larger than the rest of me. One leg has always been larger than the other. My arms became heavy and large over the years. My stomach, arms, neck, back, hips and legs filled with Dercum’s Disease “tumors”. Lipedema and lymphedema causes swellings that would increase at the drop of a dime. I could put on 12 pounds from these lymphatic fluids in a day or two. I could start off the day at one level and end the day looking 20 pounds heavier just by moving around.

So look at these photos and see that now my hips are in proportion to the rest of my body, my arms have slimmed down, my face has deflated, my torso is smaller. My legs are within reasonable limits. One leg is stil slightly larger than the other, but not overly noticeable.  I went from a size 32 to a size 14.

Throw in the use of a box of Miss Clairol for my hair and bam! I look so different! Another thing that this style of whole food plant based, low fat, low glycemic eating has done for me is whip my diabetes, my blood pressure, my cholesterol in shape. That happened in the first month of switching for KETO to this style of eating. So I likely have added years to my life.

Cindy 10 month photo comparrison

Here are the foods that made it all happen.

Here is what I have followed that has worked.

3  one half cup servings of dark beans.

2-3 servings of fruit including one serving of berries. Fruit is fresh or frozen

3 servings of whole grain

a serving of cruciferous vegetables

2 servings of “other” low glycemic index vegetables

2 servings of dark greens

flax seeds or chia seeds

Limited avocado (1 total a week)

limited nuts ( 0 to 2 Tbl a day)

No animal products (no dairy, no meat, no fish, no chicken, no eggs, no dairy), no junk vegan food, no highly processed foods. No oils of any kind. no added sugar or artificial sweetners

I love the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr,  Dr. Neal Barnard from Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, and Dr. Michael Greger who runs Nutritionfacts.org and The Daily Dozen Phone app.

Best documentaries include: Forks Over Knives, Diet Fiction, Eating You Alive, and What The Health.

Best Facebook groups for those like myself who have lipedema, lymphedema or Dercum’s disease interested in doing this sort of eating? Those associated with what is listed above as well as Improving Fat Disorders Using Low Fat Low Glycemic WFPB Eating

In the group for Improving Fat Disorders Using Low Fat Low Glycemic WFPB Eating, no one associated with the group makes a dime off of any participant of the group and you are asked to work with your own doctor and make sure your own medical team is on board, get blood levels done on a regular basis, and other measures to assure you are taking responsibility for your own health decisions.

It’s not about being skinny, it’s about being healthy. If looking smaller ends up being part of it all, then great.

Here is a link to an article I wrote last year on how to approach changing your life with food.

This link is to an article to help you approach this way of eating

The Breakfast Trend You Need In Your Life, Whole Food Plant Style

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The Perfect Healthy Storm highlighted with fresh vegetables, fruit, healthy grains and accented with a tasty oil free dressing made of garbanzo beans-fresh orange-rice vinegar. Add a teaspoon of flax seed and drink a glass of high calcium, vitamin D plant based milk for good measure. Vitamin’s A, B, C, D, Minerals, protein, iron, calcium, protein, folic acid, fiber and more. Low Glycemic Index, Low Fat, Minimally processed. Whole Food Plant Based and oil free.

We keep a large  container of deep colored greens, cruciferous, root veggies plus other veggies and mushrooms in the fridge. I make a fresh salad to keep at my disposal every 2-3 days.  It’s just so easy to dish it out and eat it when busy.

So the trend of Breakfast Salads is right up my ally. The concept is to take the nutrition of the fiber and all those fresh vitamins and minerals and breakfast-fy them. Here is a way to add in some protein that may make whole food plant based protein sources more palatable in the morning. As the saying goes, the secret is in the sauce.

The Amazing Garbanzo Bean-Fresh Orange Salad Dressing

1 average size fresh orange, peeled and sections pulled apart.

1 cup of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)

1/4 cup plant based milk (unsweetened and minimal ingredients)

1 tsp of rice or apple cider vinegar

optional:

a dash or to taste of any of the following

garlic powder

dried crushed red pepper

lime juice

stevia

Directions:

Simply process in a high power blender until smooth. Store in airtight container. Can stay in fridge for a few days without issue. Shake before using.

Additional Notes:

For the dressing you can get creative and use other fruits as well or instead.

For the Breakfast Salad itself, for the cereal layer,  I use the recommendations of Dr. Esselstyn and stick with Ezekiel or Grape Nuts.  Whatever you use, read the package. Keep it minimally processed and as few ingredients as possible. No added sugar or oil.

For the salad shown, I used spinach, fresh cauliflower, snow peas, celery, carrots, mushrooms and fresh sliced strawberries.  Blue berries or sliced apples are great too with it. If you use apple, consider adding some cinnamon to the top.

It’s amazing how it doesn’t weigh a person down, and that fiber keeps you full all morning and with nice steady energy that can help keep you focus.

 

 

 

 

 

“Real McCoys” Saving Lives: Headline St. Louis, Missouri Summit

I’m partial to the “Real McCoys” in life. How about you?

The internet and entertainment industry have created many, many quasi-experts on everything from diet to business to life-focus and beyond.

Well, I am so impressed that the organizer for The St. Louis Plant-Based Nutrition Summit is pulling in some of the top “Real McCoys” of nutritional science.  We have a legend from The Cleveland Clinic, The Director of The Barnard Medical Center in Washington D.C. and part of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  some of these folks have been featured in well respected documentaries such as Forks Over Knives. and others. Every one of them highly respected in their field.

Check out this flier. Get the information on these folks and register for this event. Extremely impressive.  It’s on Saturday, July 14th in St. Louis, Missouri at the Washington University campus. St. Louis Veg Girl has outdone herself in putting this together.

It’s the highlight of my summer to be attending. Some of their work and words have, in just three months time,  improved the quality of my life and likely considerably extended it.

STL Plant Based Summit

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I am still on my journey, but look what I did with just whole, low glycemic plant-based no oil foods. Between the weight loss and the minimizing of inflammation, it’s been beyond amazing. Knowledge Is Power. I know I look forward to learning more at the July 14th, 2018 St. Louis Plant-Based Nutrition Summit.

  • No Money was exchanged in my publishing this write-up or any write-up in my blog.  I am not, nor is anyone in my family, associated professionally or related to anyone affiliated with the St. Louis Nutritional Plant-Based Summit.
  • Make sure you get regular labs and discuss your nutrition and medications with your physician. It’s not unusual for people  to need their medication levels adjusted in a positive direction when they are when eating like this.

Here’s Why The Goal Is Health Not Skinny

Cindy selfie photo

Societal expectations on weight are not something I can afford to give much consideration.  I have three “fat disorders”. If you are not familiar with fat disorders, let me give you the basics: One is Dercum’s Disease, which is very rare and out of nowhere put piles of lipomas and 60 lbs. of non calorie based fat on me in the 2000’s. The other two, lipedema and lymphedema, looking back I know that I had them growing up. We didn’t know what it was called but I always had one leg fatter than the other and was always pudgy with out of portion fat arms, legs and a huge hips.  A veteran dieter by the end of third grade. Typical dieting had no impact. If I had known that, I would have been spared two years as a child eating nothing but tuna fish sandwiches. I grew up always sick because of lipedema and lymphedema.  I struggled to know as a girl that my value and beauty couldn’t be based on societal expectations.

I know many of us who have had any of these conditions, because of the ignorance of the medical profession and general public, have suffered misplaced blame for what the world sees. Since learning from researchers what my misshaped, painful swollen body really is from, I have gone through a myriad of emotions. 1) Relief that it wasn’t a character flaw that I was fat. 2) Anger that for decades doctors who I trusted, knew nothing about fat disorders. They didn’t treat me with respect.  3) Gladness that I now knew what it all was and could learn to work and live with it.

The best day was years later when I could just accept my health circumstances and focus on what I could control.  I started to notice I had lost the desire to eat animal products. They slid off my list menu of menu options one by one.  Around the same time, I got my lab work done and my cholesterol was 300 with an LDL of 184. My blood pressure was high. With a family history of heart problems, my cardiologist put me on medication. There was far more I could do for these issues than I could do for the fat disorders.

I watched documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, read some books and pursued health through 100% low fat and glycemic plant-based eating. I have since eaten beans,whole grains, legumes, greens, root and cruciferous veggies. I really enjoy fruit too.  Many in the fats disorder community are riding the KETO diet wave, and to be honest I use to do the same, but it made my cholesterol numbers ridiculous. So I listened to what my body was telling me. I took my eating to the appropriate direction.

Several weeks later, my LDL had dropped from 184 to 79! My blood pressure returned to normal. My blood sugar was greatly reduced.  I also noticed that while this sort of eating didn’t cure me of the 3 fat disorders, it did greatly reduce the inflammation of my body. Between March 29, 2018 and June 3rd, 2018 besides dropping my LDL 57%, and other positive outcomes, I lost 34 pounds! (actually 62 lbs as of 7/28/2018.

I looked at full body photos of me from before and after the weight loss. Understanding where each pound came from as I saw the swollen face and large hips in both photos, I felt pride.  There I was at two different degrees of fat disorder pudginess and I noticed that I looked healthier now. It was an accomplishment especially under my circumstances to lose such weight. Someone on the street wouldn’t know that, but who cares? I know!

I can swell up in the same day, like in the first two photos here, And the other two show even more drastic changes over months. But I can still swell up at any weight as shown in the first two photos.

I’m taking care of the rest of my body beyond the fat disorders and it’s greatly adding to my quality of life. At the end of the day, no one can ask for more. If I do lose enough weight to be smiled upon by those who walk by me on the street, that’s great, but my happiness isn’t dependent on that.

My final words today are to my sisters and brothers in the fat disorder community.  I see you doing a lot of KETO. I know that you are losing weight, but please realize that I’ve lost weight and controlled the inflammation at least some, by eating the exact opposite of KETO.  I know how KETO works, I tried it myself and it was dangerous to my body. Don’t forget that you being around for a long time matters. The qualities you and I both bring to this world isn’t dependent on what size we are. But cutting your life short by a decade or more because of ignoring things like cholesterol is foolish.   Some people end up dying young or worse, having a stroke and being a vegetable for the rest of their lives in a nursing home where you know what is going on around you but you have no ability to communicate. No matter what your size would be, death is death and crap existence is crap existence. So think beyond the fat disorders once in a while.

Also, remember it is possible to gain weight that is not fat disorder related. At some point many of us still have to face discussions about food addictions and weight loss just like anyone else, and for valid reasons. Only each of us can do that for ourselves and keep our minds open to reason. We can do that without degrading ourselves.

My doctors never mentioned Plant-Based eating to me. I did it on my own terms based on my own research.  It wasn’t until for my check-ups with two of my specialist that they told me that I was doing exactly the right thing for my overall health and for the health issues they were assisting me with. That includes my Dercum’s Specialist.  I believe that some of our doctors are scared to talk to us because they know it’s a touchy subject.

So do it for yourself. Go for health, you can never go wrong doing that. You are wonderful and more than good enough no matter what weight you are. You are not a clothing size or weight number, but you would be horribly missed if you died before your time.

 

 

My Life Is Like An Infomercial, And It’s Pretty Darn Amazing!

Really, I have written and re-written the headline for a few hours on and off and it kept coming off as the title of an infomercial. Annoying for me at first, but there are some wonderful reasons why today’s topic sounds like something that everyone wants, because it is what everyone wants. No I’m not trying to sell you anything.

As a matter of fact a  billion dollars a day is spent on trying to avoid heart attacks and strokes. People do try to change their diets but the typical diet changes only alters their numbers downward by 10% on average.

What I did is being done more and more by people from all walks of life. For the last six weeks I’ve eaten a 100% plant based diet. No meat, fish, dairy or eggs, No added sugar or fake sweetners, and no wheat.

All I did was change my diet to a plant based diet for six weeks and there was a 57% drop in my bad cholesterol numbers, Also my high blood pressure normalized  and my blood glucose levels are now cut in half.  I also dropped 30 pounds.  All of that  is without exercise (nothing against exercise, in my case I’m disabled and unable to exercise).

Below is a plant based crust with no oil, topped with vegetables and homemade vegan parmesan cheese. Plant based means be creative. 

Pizza Good

 

“But”, you say, “what about your protein and calcium levels?”

The blood work after 6 weeks of eating like this shows that my protein and calcium are firmly in the normal levels. So I’m doing great. Between the beans, nuts, grains and greens, I get plenty of both protein and calcium plus iron as well.

I am both surprised by this and relieved. Would have been a bummer to see that LDL drop 57% and other positive changes, but for the plant based eating to turn out to be unhealthy.

I’ll be honest I had to really do some serious research.  I was forced to find a new way of eating.  I credit information found in documentaries and books written by researchers for helping me make sense of it all so I kept it healthy. (Would 6 weeks of eating nothing but Swedish Fish candies have been as effective? I doubt it).

Some of my favorites include the book and documentary “Forks Over Knives” that is on Netflix and I believe YouTube.  Books and studies written by Ornish, Dr. Neal Barnard, and those other doctors/researchers associated with “Forks Over Knives”.

It’s been like a rebirth.  The icing on the cake is that it’s improved my memory and ability to focus.

When you are disabled, and start qualifying for Senior Discounts, what more can an old lady ask for? I walked out of that doctor’s appointment yesterday as if I were selected to be Miss America. It was like winning the lottery.

Removing animal products from your diet, when you’ve done your homework, can be  safe and can possibly help to improve your physical and mental health.

It’s not hype. It’s just vegetables, fruit, beans and grains and whole lot of research and praying.

Below can you spot my before (April 2018) and 30 pounds lost  after (May 2018) photos? Hard to believe they are the same person, but they are. The rest are the foods that I came up with to enjoy. Recipes to come in future write ups. Note I have disabilities that make me swell up. The diet has helped to reduce the inflammation quite nicely.

 

Never Give Up On Your Health.

 

I’m not affiliated with any of this, but I want people to know about this. If you are around St. Louis, MO  on July 14th, 2018, please consider registering and attending the St. Louis Plant-Based Summit. Register Here

STL Plant Based Summit