Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dr. Fuhrman Special on PBS: 3 Steps to Incredible Health

FYI: A PBS special entitled "3 Steps to Incredible Health with Dr. Joel Fuhrman" will be airing, I believe, starting on June 4th. Check local listings for air times (http://video.pbs.org/video/1919328066/). I'm having a difficult time finding it in my area, but I'm not giving up!

Watch the full episode. See more PBS Specials.

Kitchen Renovation Update

Hi Everyone! I hope you had a wonderful and Plant-strong Memorial Day Weekend. How many of you saw Forks Over Knives in the theaters?

I'm back from a well needed rest from blogging. I had a great three day weekend with my family. I got a lot of time in the sun, planting herbs and flowers, power washing my patio and sitting by the baby pool with Max. I need that vitamin D I am sure I am low on living here in Cleveland.

Most of you know that we are in the process of renovating our kitchen (which is why the volume of new recipes on HGK has been much lower than normal for the past six weeks). Well, we are about four weeks from completion and this post is dedicated to updating those of you that are interested in the status of the project (which is mainly my mom and dad . . . "Hi Mom!"). For those of you who could care less, this is your warning.
Most of the appliances are in place but not hooked up yet. All of the cabinet hardware has been installed.
One of the top things on my dream kitchen wish list was to have a separate refrigerator and freezer, so I made it a big priority when making my appliance choices. The amount of produce that I like to have on hand on a daily basis just doesn't organize well into a conventional refrigerator. The big freezer helps to store all of the bags of frozen fruit and veg, the entire variety of nuts and seeds, all variety of Ezekiel breads and will still have lots of room for soup and stew leftovers. Try doing this in my current tiny freezer and frustration will abound!

Paint and counter tops are happening this week. I can hardly stand it! Is it possible to be "in love" with a kitchen?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Twist Series: The Kitchen Area (Reader's Request)

These are some ways I prevent my nape area from locking while in twists.  Hopefully, they are helpful to you as well:

Rule #1: Re-twist the nape area (and the hairline) weekly.
I rarely go past a week without re-twisting that section.  If I do, I'm headed into loc-ville.

Rule #2: Make big twists in the nape area.
My twists in the back are usually bigger than my twists on the rest of my head.  I make about 3-4 big twists in the nape area.  Any smaller, and ... yes, you've guessed it ... I'm headed into loc-ville.

Rule #3: (Alternative to #2) Make one big horizontal flat twist in the nape area.
This method was developed by a natural haircare buddy named Mooks (some of you may have heard of her).  She and other women use this method to grow and protect the fragile kitchen area.

Rule #4: Patience while untwisting and detangling.
Since the kitchen area is prone to breakage and tangling, exhibit extreme patience while untwisting and detangling this section.  Be sure to lubricate the twists with an oil and/or butter during this process.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

HWC's Community Garden Plots are in!

Our raised beds have been constructed, dirt and compost delivered, and thanks to our wonderful volunteers, our beds have been planted!  Special thanks to Dave Miller of Miller's Plant Farm, who donated vegetable plants to our effort.  The community gardens are sponsored by York County 4-H/Penn State Cooperative Extension.  Healthy World Cafe's efforts are under the coordination of Robin Pflieger, Advisory Group and Food Subcommittee member.  Thanks to Robin and all of our volunteers.

There will be a ribbon cutting for the Community Garden at 234 S. Pershing Ave., York City, on Tuesday, June 14, at 11:00 a.m.  York City Mayor Kim Bracey will join us in celebration.  Please join us!

Our next Healthy World Cafe Advisory Meeting will be held on Monday, June 6, 6:30 p.m., Friends Meeting House, 135 S. Philadelphia St.  All are welcome to attend.

Thanks to Miller's Plant Farm!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No-oil Almond Ginger Dressing and Crock Pot Lemony Lentil and Kale Soup

Just so I don't scare you guys who are here for the plant based recipes with all of my talk of how to be successful at adapting a plant-strong diet, here are some of the things I made this week in my makeshift kitchen. Just 4 more weeks until I am back in full action! The time is really flying.
I dressed a huge salad that I made for a girl's night pot-luck dinner with this creamy and delicious dressing. This recipe would also work well as a dip for veggies, just cut the amount of water in half.

No-oil Almond Ginger Dressing
adapted from a recipe from DrFuhrman.com
makes about 2 1/2 cups

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk
1 cup water
4 tablespoons tahini or unhulled sesame seeds
6 dates, pitted
2 small cloves garlic or 1 medium clove garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled

Place all ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add more water if a thinner consistency is desired.

This soup is best if you serve it the day after it is made. It allows the flavors to develop.

Crock Pot Lemony Lentil Soup with Kale
 adapted from a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, January 2010 issue

large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups low-sodium or no-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups green lentils
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. salt
8 cups chopped kale leaves (about 6 ounces)
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients except kale into a crock pot on low heat (approx 8 hours). A half hour before serving, stir in kale and let kale wilt.

What's going on with you? What are your plans for Memorial Day Weekend? Do your plans involve social gatherings with food? How are you preparing to handle those challenges?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rip Esselstyn is a Genuinely Nice Guy

Yes, this really is an open invitation.

Follow Up to Plant-Strong Success Tip #5: How to Fill a Kitchen Once You've Done the Clean-Out

As a response to my last blog posting, Plant-strong Success Tip #5: Rid Your Home of Crap/ Fill Your Home with Good Real Food, I received the following questions:

"What fruits fresh and frozen? What Veggies? Which beans, etc, are in your fridge and pantry? What do you eat for snacks? I have been veggie for a long time but have the "sugar thing". I have stopped many of my go-to foods but, as you point out, have replaced them with something else. What can we have without guilt? Is there some lightly crunchy thing that goes good with coffee?
Deer in the Headlights"

I've actually wanted to write a post on this subject for at least six months. It was first brought to my attention by my dear friend and reader Rivky. I'm just sorry that I didn't get around to it when she first asked, but better late than never, I hope!

The following are just my kitchen staples. Of course, for any specific recipe, I might need something else. But, that being said, I find that most recipes that I make at this point do not require a special trip to the store but are easily made from what I have on hand.

There are so many things that did not make my list of staples. Red and green cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh beets, string beans, and asparagus are just some of the regulars in my house that didn't make the staples list, but are frequent contributors to our diet!

Complete Printable List

Healthy Girl's Refrigerator
Spinach (I like the large box)
Spring Lettuce Mix (I like the large box)
Romaine Lettuce (I prefer whole heads, but will get the hearts in a pinch)
Kale (I like the large bags and boxes that is now available at Whole Foods-it's already washed and cut)
Cucumbers (I prefer the small Persian or pickling variety because the size makes them just right for single usage)
Curly Parsley
Ripe avocado (I limit my consumption of these to approx 1-2 per week)
Grapes-green and red
Tofu (extra firm, firm, silken, marinated)
Strawberries (I have to have these pretty much all of the time because my kids will eat them)
Tomatoes (grape, plum, slicing-these are NOT always in my kitchen because I am not the biggest fan)
Almond Milk (unsweetened, 40 calories/cup)
Vacuum packed roasted beets (Trader Joes)
Vacuum packed steamed lentils (Trader Joes)
Soy Creamer
Miso Paste (yellow and red)
  • capers
  • Maple Syrup
  • mustards of all varieties
  • no-oil bottled salad dressings
Not year-round staples, but can often be found in HGK, especially when in season:
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapple
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Honeydew
  • Mangoes
  • Papaya
  • Cherries
  • Young Coconut
  • Peaches (only from the Farmer's Market when in season)
  • Plums (rarely-they are just not good anymore here)
  • Nectarines (rarely-they are just not good anymore here)
Healthy Girl's Counter Top Fruit Bowl
Unripe avocado

Healthy Girl's Freezer
Ezekiel Bread
Ezekiel Buns
Ezekiel Tortillas
100% Whole Wheat Bread (for my younger kids)
Microwavable Brown Rice
Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers
Nuts of all variety (walnuts are by far the healthiest, and all nuts should be stored in the freezer)
Seeds (sesame, sunflower-also stored in the freezer)
Frozen spinach
Frozen kale
Frozen butternut squash
Frozen fruit (mango, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple)
Frozen overripe bananas, peel removed, stored in Ziploc baggies
Fresh Ginger (also stored in a Ziploc baggie)
Ground Flax Seed

Healthy Girl's Pantry
vinegars of all varieties (apple cider, rice wine, red wine, balsamic to name a few)
spices-I have a very large collection
Sea Salt
Pepper-ground and whole peppercorns
low sugar breakfast cereals
oatmeals (steel cut, rolled oats and instant)
Lentils (red, green and brown)
Brown rice (short, medium and long grain)
Quinoa (white and red)
Crackers (Ak-mak, Mary's Gone Crackers, Whole Wheat Matzoh, and TLC)
Low Sodium Vegetable Broth in a box (I always have at least 4 boxes on hand)
Dr. McDougall's Soups (sold at Whole Foods)
Canned Beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, canellini)
Fat Free Refried Beans
Canned Pumpkin
Large yellow onions
Sweet Potatoes
Canned tomatoes (diced, fire roasted, tomato paste, low or no fat tomato sauce)
Coffee (yes, I do drink it-how else would I do everything I want to do?)
Raw Cacao Powder
Light Coconut Milk
Salsas (Salsa Verde is my fav!)
Roasted Peppers in a jar
Peanut Butter (no sugar or oil added)
Sunflower Seed Butter (refrigerate after opening)
Almond Butter (refrigerate after opening)
Low Sodium Soy Sauce/Low Sodium Tamari
Bragg Liquid Aminos
Nori for rolling "sushi"
Extracts-vanilla, peppermint, coconut, etc.
Hot sauces
Nutritional Yeast
Chia Seeds
Hearts of Palm
Artichoke Hearts (in water)
Cous Cous
Barley (with the hull)
100% Whole Wheat Pastas (I find the 365 Brand from Whole Foods to be the best)
Sundried tomatoes (not in oil, just dried and in a bag)
Dried Fruit-not for snacking so much, but for use in recipes
  • cranberries
  • raisins
  • apricots
  • prunes
  • etc.
  • garbanzo bean
  • whole wheat pastry
  • almond meal
I keep adding to this list every few hours as things come to mind. Later today I will include a link to a printable page with my entire staples list, so check back tonight if you are interested in printing that out.

Did I miss anything that you keep as a healthy staple?

Monday, May 23, 2011

SHORT REVIEW #9: Egg Blackhead Remover

Purpose: To remove blackheads (and whiteheads).

Ingredients: egg white

Number of trials: 2

How I used it:
� Wash face as usual
� Apply egg white to face liberally
� Place toilet paper pieces on face to make a mask (avoid eyebrows)
� When dry, remove toilet paper, and wash face as usual


This at-home facial did not remove my blackheads instantly; I saw a few skin particles but did not see any blackheads in the tissue as described in the tutorial below.  The day following the facial, however, I did experience slight blackhead reduction in a few areas.  On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this facial a 2.  It's a bit messy and uncomfortable, but it's worth a try.


3in6: Box Braids Trial

{Box braids (with twisted ends)}
See "3in6 Challenge" details here.

Last weekend, I did box braids for the first time since going natural.  My primary reason for doing so was to simply switch things up from my usual twists.  Another reason for doing box braids was to see if I could wear it for 4-5 weeks with considerably less aging and shrinkage than twists.  This natural lady (pookinapp) was my main inspiration for experimenting with box braids.  What has held me off for so long were 1) the fear of my braids locking and 2) the tedious takedown process.  Given that I did my set larger than most people, hopefully the takedown and detangling won't be so bad?  We shall see weeks from now.

How are my challengers doing as we soon stride into Month #4?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Plant-Strong Success Tip #5: Rid Your Home of Crap/Fill Your Home with Good Real Food

Rid Your Home of Crap

Three and a half years ago I was home on maternity leave after the birth of my third child. I remember wanting to lose the "baby weight" that I was carrying around and at the same time feeling very strong urges to go into my kitchen and eat whatever was there. I was incredibly frustrated and I started thinking that something was really wrong with me. Why did I want to eat when I wasn't hungry? I was plagued by this question for most of my life.

I decided I was going to get rid of all of the sugar from my house. Why? Because I'm a "sugar person" and that's my go-to food for emotional eating (which can be any and all emotion I might add--good or bad).

I got out a big black garbage bag and I filled it to the brim. I was amazed at just how much of the food that was in my kitchen was sugary. I was depressing actually. I needed to get rid of it or I was going to eat it. I knew that. I am powerless when it comes to toxic food. I accept that and choose to arm myself with as many weapons as I can muster into my arsenal.

I didn't feel bad throwing it out either, because I knew at that moment that it was either going to be garbage in a landfill or be garbage in my body, so I let go of any guilt about throwing it away that I might have had. I mean, where would you want garbage to be? Your body or the dump?

It would still be another eighteen months until I was introduced to Volumetric, Nutritarian and Plant-strong eating. But I knew very well that there was a connection between processed and/or sugary food and my compulsion to overeat. I just didn't know that there was an antidote to it.

As much as I don't want garbage in my house, it has a way of making it's way back in time and again. Social events are a biggie. I use them as an excuse to get near my drug and abuse it. But as the years tick by, I have learned to be aware of myself. I know that if left alone with sugar, the sugar wins. So as soon as I recognize that I have a problem with a particular food, out it goes into the wastebasket. I refuse to bring home dessert leftovers from a party--only one thing can come of that and it's not pretty.

It's a learning curve and it takes years. I make mistakes and that's okay. I might start to binge on a food and then realize I have to get rid of it. Things that I would never have binged on years ago become new binge foods as the old stuff just isn't available to me anymore. I forgive myself and I move on. I know what my goal is, and I keep it in sight. I'm closer now than ever. My home has about nothing for me to binge on and that, my friends, is how I need it to be.

Fill Your Home With Good, Real Food

Just because it's Vegan doesn't mean it's good for you. Most processed/packaged food today that is labeled as "Vegan" is just more junk. I can see it's usefulness when transitioning from a heavily SAD diet to a plant-strong one, but it shouldn't be a crutch forever. Example? Even cookies, cake and candy are readily available now as vegan . . . come on! I know!

"Today with the number of people choosing to follow vegetarian or vegan diets increasing, there is a greater demand for products that cater to these consumers. Most major grocery stores are stocked with not only fake meats, but also butter, mayonnaise, milk, cheese and ice cream that contain not a drop of real milk or a milk by-product. In short, people like me can easily follow a parallel diet to everyone else � but ironically, some of these similar, yet different products are often more processed. This begs the question, are those of us who do eat a lot of those products really that much healthier than omnivores?" asks Andrew Wilder.

There's a great chapter in The Engine 2 Diet about how to read a food label. I really didn't know how do that until Rip put it on paper. But I quickly realized that most packaged food was going to be a thing of the past for me and my family.

So what does fill my refrigerator, freezer and pantry?

Veggies (fresh and frozen), fruit (fresh and frozen), beans and whole grains, primarily. Everything else is extra. It's a beautiful sight.

And not only that, my sugar fixation is pretty well gone. Over. Caput.

I'm finally free!

What's in your kitchen right now?

Have you done a mass clean out? Did it have an effect on you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Plant-strong Success Tip #6: Re-imagine Food

Letting go of the SAD diet

I know that when a lot of people are first exposed to a plant based diet, they are at a loss for what they would eat if they decided to give it a try. We are so conditioned that our dinner plate must contain 1/3 animal protein, 1/3 cooked vegetable and 1/3 potato or grain.

It's sad that high intakes of red meat, sugary desserts, high-fat foods, refined grains, high-fat dairy products, high-sugar drinks and eggs have even become known as "The Standard American Diet." But it's easy to see how if this is our standard diet, 2/3 of us are overweight.

As a society, we need to move on from the SAD. Packaged food, processed food, white bread, fried food, candy, cookies, cake and fast food are not actually food and are making us very sick.

Wouldn't it be incredible if our children could say, I grew up on a diet of soups and stews, smoothies, salads, and sauteed greens?  How about real whole grains like quinoa, millet and amaranth? These low calorie, high volume, nutrient dense foods are the antidote to the SAD.

If you want to take back your health (and who doesn't really) you can and must re-imagine what meals should look like. Breakfast is a big green smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal. Lunch is a thick bowl of bean soup and a salad with a big glass of water. Dinner is a "Hugh Jass" salad (to borrow a term from MamaPea) or a "Shock and Awe Salad" (thanks Rip) with some delicious stew, a wonderful plant based casserole, whole grain dish or veggie wrap.

Once you get over the hump of letting go of the SAD and understanding what plant based eating looks like, it's actually pretty darn easy to be Plant-strong.

Understand "Health Washing"

Have you ever heard the term "green washing"? Professionally, working in the printing industry, it's a term that I have become very familiar with. It is "is the practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. People want to know that the products they're choosing are either making a positive impact on the environment, or at least reducing the negative impact. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell what's green washing and what's a real, environmentally sound product.

The same exact thing is going on in the food industry and it has been for years. While "health washing" is not a term falling off people's lips, it just might be in the near future. Why? Because the food industry runs rampant with false statements intended to convince consumers that they are making a healthier choice than they actually are. Health washing is everywhere.

Take a tour around the grocery store, and there is no shortage. Here are some examples:
Vitamin water - also known as "sugar water".
Organic cookies/chips/etc. - Sure, a minimal amount of pesticides may be avoided by choosing organic, but I'd be more worried about the fat and sugar.
Cane sugar - "Cane sugar", "raw sugar", "organic syrup" are ALL sugar! Cane sugar just sounds fancier.
Natural or "made from natural ingredients"- This has got to be one of the worst offenders. "Natural" is not a regulated term. It means nothing. And, aren't all ingredients "natural" at one point in time?
"Made with real fruit" - Example: fruit leather snacks for kids. They may contain a teeny amount of "real fruit", but don't forget about the mass amounts of added sugars in various forms, like sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose), corn syrup, etc, that may actually outweigh the amount of "real fruit".
Individual nutrient claims - Junk foods that are naturally high in certain vitamins or minerals (such as calcium in pudding), or adding nutrients to junk food, doesn't make it healthy. There is a difference between having some nutritional value, and being a healthy food. The pudding offers protein and calcium, but also lots of fat and sugar.

Avoid being taken in by these ridiculous claims. Eat real food, the kind that grows in the ground. Nature makes great tasting, healthy foods that don't come in misleading packages. Beware of things that are altered from their natural state-unless you are doing the altering in your own kitchen. Don't be won over by the fancy words or images - be skeptical of the terms like "natural" and "made with". Read labels to make your decisions - a product high in sugar and fat is NOT a good choice, regardless of whether it is made with "cane sugar" and "organic", or made with corn syrup and conventionally produced. Similarly, when a product claims "no trans fat", does not mean it's not high in saturated fat, salt or other not-so-great things.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Come Heckle Me this Sunday at Whole Foods

Before I get to the meat (ha ha) of this blog post, I want to mention that there is a great interview with Rip Esselstyn on the PEERtrainer blog today if you haven't yet caught wind of that. If you are new to this blog and to the Plant-strong way of eating, it's a must read!

Now down to business. This Sunday, May 22nd, I will be presenting a talk at my local Whole Foods (Cedar Center). If you live in the area and you want to meet me in person, I encourage you to attend. I'm part of a whole line-up of informative speakers at the Whole Foods Health Starts Here Community Day.

The details are as follows:
12 p.m. to 5 p.m. - No charge.  Bring your friends and family! 
Lots of healthy eating samples throughout the store and a variety of talks throughout the afternoon. 

Guest Speakers:
12 p.m.  Dorothy Sprecher, M.D. Institute of Functional Medicine
                The Impact of Gluten on Life and Diet (followed by a store tour)
1 p.m.   Ellen Darby, WFM Healthy Eating Specialist
                The Secrets of Label Reading (Everything you always wanted to know about label reading and were afraid  to ask)
2 p.m.  Todd Pesek, M.D. Holistic Medical Specialist, Great Lakes Health Institute
                Superfoods, SuperYOU
3 p.m.  Wendy Solganik, Nutritarian &  Blogger, Healthy Girl�s Kitchen
                Transitioning to a Vegan Diet and Loving It
4 p.m.   Ellen Darby and Whole Foods Market Culinary Team � Demo & Tasting
                Healthy , Plant-Strong Eating For Summer

I hope you can stop by and say hello!

A Little HG Kitchen Renovation Update

WARNING: If you are not interested in my kitchen renovation project, read no further. And that's okay. But for the curious few (mostly my family from all over the country) read on.

Cabinets arrived on Tuesday Morning.
Within one hour they were all in the house.
Unpacked. That's David on the left and Aaron on the right. My new Amish friends.
Cabinet installation began . . .
and will keep going until mid next week!

I can't tell you how excited I am. I just stand in the kitchen for what seems like hours, opening and closing drawers and cabinets. I know, I'm a little cracked in the head.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plant-strong Success Tip #7: Make Friends with Hunger

Make Friends with Your Hunger-It's not the end of the world

What goes on in your head when you start to feel hungry? Do you tell yourself that you had better get something to eat real soon or you are (a) going to pass out, (b) going to get a headache, (c) not going to be able to concentrate, (d) going to get a stomach ache and/or (e) going to die (I am not kidding)?

If thoughts like this go through your mind the minute hunger strikes, you are not alone. Talk to folks who struggle with their weight and you will likely find that there is a pretty intense fear when it comes to hunger. Many people think that they are hypoglycemic. How do I know this? Because whenever I got hungry, I used to think that something really bad was going to happen to me. And eating in between meals was a major source of extra calories in my diet. And that was a major contributor to my extra weight.

What is the reality? It only took a few times of actually experimenting with letting myself go hungry that I found out that none of the above mentioned effects of being hungry actually happened to me. I discovered this experiment when working through the book The Beck Diet Solution by Dr. Judith Beck. I would bet good money on it that if you just let yourself feel hungry and waited until the next appropriate time to eat (ie mealtime) that you would be just fine too.

Now what do I do when my stomach growls? I look at my watch. If it's not mealtime I say to myself, "Wow, Wendy, look how your stomach is growling. Isn't that great? It means that your body is actually out of digestion mode and into detoxification. It's no big deal, you are going to be having lunch/dinner in an hour." Go ahead, ask one of your thin friends what goes on in their head when their stomach sends them signals that they are hungry. I can tell you that they are not thinking that it is the end of the world!  

Dr. Fuhrman does a great job at explaining the roll of hunger in weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. Hunger is healthy. It's good. It's worth your time to read his explanation here. Learning to get comfortable with hunger, downright being "friends" with your hunger, is not optional if you are striving to lose weight and keep it off over the long haul.

What goes on in your head when you feel hungry?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FYI: Cleveland Showing of New Film PLANeat

I mentioned this film a few weeks ago here on Healthy Girl's Kitchen. I don't know much about it except that it is playing here in Cleveland this weekend and it touches upon the subject of a plant based diet (my favorite subject!). I would be getting a babysitter and attending but my daughters are in an ice skating show. I hope that if you are local you will go see the film and report back!

 West Shore Veg Group to host film �PLANEAT�

PLANEAT is the story of three men's life-long search for a diet which is good for our health, good for the environment and good for the future of the planet. With an additional cast of pioneering chefs and some of the best cooking you have ever seen, the scientists and doctors in the film present a convincing case for the West to re-examine its love affair with meat and dairy. The film features the ground-breaking work of Dr. T Colin Campbell in China exploring the link between diet and disease, The Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's use of diet to treat heart disease patients, and Professor Gidon Eshel's investigations into how our food choices contribute to global warming, land use and oceanic deadzones.

With the help of some innovative farmers and chefs, PLANEAT shows how the problems we face today can be solved, without resorting to a diet of lentils and lettuce leaves.
Film length � 87 minutes.

          WHEN:                   Saturday, May 21st, 2011, at 7pm
          WHERE:                 West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
                                        20401 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, Ohio  44116   (Free Parking)
          COST:                    $5.00 at the door ($3.00 for West Shore Vegetarian Group Members)
          QUESTIONS?         Call Bob Bemer at 440-333-2255

Hosted by West Shore Vegetarian Group
Please plan on staying after the film for healthy, delicious refreshments and conversation!

MORE on Natural Nail Polishes + Future Review

I ordered nail polish, nail polish remover, and a 2-in-1 base coat from Karma Organics.  The package is on the way, and a review will be posted in June.

Why I chose Karma Organics?
A good combination of price and color choice.  They had more colors from which to choose than the other places I checked.  Next on the list would be Zoya.

Meanwhile, ...
The top three supposedly unhealthy chemicals contained in certain nail polishes are toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl pthalate (DBP).  (For more details on these ingredients, check the links below.)  Some companies, however, appear to making efforts to eliminate one or more of these chemicals.  After looking at the back of a few polishes I own, I learned the following:
  • Revlon is Toluene, DBP and Formaldehyde free - that's good news
  • OPI is Toluene, DBP, and now Formaldehyde free
  • NYX is DBP free, but contains Formaldehyde and Toluene - argh


Monday, May 16, 2011

Plant-Strong Success Tip #8: Progress Not Perfection

Perfectionist thinking.

I'll bet it's something that a lot of readers of HGK suffer from. Personally, I'm no stranger to it.

While this may work in other areas of your life (and I'm doubtful that it does, but let's leave that for the therapist's couch!) perfectionist thinking will backfire like nobody's business when it comes to your diet.

Imagine this scenario: You are on a "diet." You have been great at sticking to the plan for 5 days. You attend a 5 hour long dress rehearsal for your kids' annual ice skating spectacular. The adults running the show believe that it's a good idea to have a room full of things like pizza, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, birthday cake, chips and sugary drinks available to all of the kids and adults during said dress rehearsal. You "indulge" in a piece of cookie, a bite of cake, a leftover pizza crust and an entire blondie while you are at the rink (but who's counting?). You know "that" food is not "on your plan" but worse than that, you physically and emotionally feel like crap after eating the sweets.

What is going on in your head now?

Are you beating yourself up? Are you telling yourself that you blew it and now you might as well eat more junk? Does this carry over into how you eat for the rest of the day (possibly a binge)? Maybe into the next day, the next week, the next month? Do you tell yourself that you can't possibly stick to a healthy eating plan so you might as well give up and eat whatever you want?

Or, do you acknowledge that it wasn't the best choice and decide to go back to your healthy eating plan immediately? Can you let it go, really let it go, right then and move on? I'll bet you can if you just give it a try. That's how I got off the vicious cycle of beating myself up about poor food choices and I have never looked back.

Even Rip Esselstyn says it's "plant-strong" NOT "plant-perfect."

Do you suffer from perfectionist thinking when it comes to your diet?

Do you think you can give it up so that you can have a healthy relationship with food?

Can you feel good (even great) about the progress you have made and remind yourself of that when you experience self-doubt?

Chef Aj's Husband's Favorite No-Oil Dressing

I'm going to be posting my Plant-Strong Tip #9 later today, but before I do, one HGK reader asked for the following recipe, which Chef Aj, the author of Unprocessed, generously provided. I haven't made the dressing yet, but I know that a lot of you are looking for no-oil salad dressings, and based on all of Chef A.j.'s other recipes, it's gotta be amazing!

Chef AJ's Husband's Favorite No-oil Dressing
1 cup of Balsalmic Vinegar (4% acidity preferred)*
4 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast
3 Tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce, coconut aminos or tamari (Trader Joes brand has only 465 mg of sodium per tablespoons)
3 tablespoons of date syrup (or date equivalent) -could use maple syrup
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon xantan gum

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. Regfrigerate any unused portion.

*Using a good balsamic makes all the difference in this recipe.Most balsalmic vinegars have at least 6% acidity and they are very strong and sharp. Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve, available at Whole Foods has only 4% acidity and it is naturally sweeter and less sharp.

Help kick start HWC's Community Garden Plot

Healthy World Cafe has partnered with York County 4-H and Penn State Cooperative Extension on their Community Garden initiative.  We have four raised garden beds at the community garden located at 234 S. Pershing Ave. in York City.

We need help building beds and planting at the site on Saturday, May 21, between the hours of 9 a.m. - Noon.  If you can help, e-mail us at healthyworldcafe@gmail.com.  Join Us!

There will be a ribbon cutting at the community garden with a dedication from York City Mayor Kim Bracey on June 14, at 11 a.m.  Join Healthy World Cafe and support community gardening in York!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On YouTube and Tip #9, Becoming an Expert

Speaking of becoming an expert, YouTube is an amazing source of free information.

Here are two great videos. The first is going around of Facebook right now. It looks like it's about 30 or 40 years old and it's a 101 on diet and disease. I like watching videos like this because they create links in my brain between visual images of specific foods and the affects on our bodies (it's actually really pretty gross). No matter how many times I had read or heard about the effects of saturated fat in my diet, it never really made an impact on me. A visual memory made it much easier for me to make good food choices day in and day out. It's very important to create these connections for yourself, no matter how uncomfortable it is at first.

Have you spent some time watching videos about health and nutrition on YouTube? If so, what was the impact? If not, do you think you will? Are you worth it?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Plant-Strong Success Tip #9: Become an Expert

Let's face it, eating healthy can be a bit challenging at first if your taste buds are accustomed to the standard American diet. Every day, at least 3 times a day, you will be faced with making a decision about what you are going to put into your mouth and body. In one month alone, that's at least 90 decisions.

I know that every day when I wake up, it is still a decision to make and eat a green smoothie for breakfast. Oftentimes, a little part of me just wants to grab a bowl of cereal, which doesn't have nearly the nutritional sustenance of my green smoothie. Once in a while, that lazy part of me wins out, but 90% of the time, I grab the spinach, celery, parsley, grapes, flax seed, etc. and start filling up my blender.

How did I make the switch in my brain from choosing easier, less healthy food to making better, more nutritious food more than 90% of the time?

It's pretty simple. Over the course of about a year, I read and watched everything I could get my hands on that related to a plant based diet. And I keep reading and watching to this day.

It started with reading Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live and Dr. Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and it has no end in sight. Movies like FORKS over KNIVES and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Television shows like the BBC's You Are What You Eat and our own The Biggest Loser provided me with incredible inspiration to change my life. Blogs like Happy Healthy Long Life and Fat Free Vegan are still a part of my everyday life. Participation in plant-strong challenges at Whole Foods and memberships in Dr. Fuhrman's Member Center continue to enrich my life.

What's my point?

You've got to become an inspired, educated plant-strong person if you want this to work for you. Period. It's your life and your responsibility. No one is going to make this happen for you. Simply reading one book on the subject is not enough. Every book I have read contributed to my deeper and deeper understanding of the subject. And as I became more and more knowledgeable about how food affected my health and my mind, it made it easier and easier to make better choices every day, three times a day. And it will for you too. Give it a chance.

I encourage you to get educated and inspired. Check out Healthy Girl's Kitchen's new Amazon store for a complete listing of all of the great resources that have inspired me. All of the proceeds from sales at my store go to support Healthy Girl's Kitchen.

Do you agree or disagree with this tip? Why?

If you have found inspiration to become plant-strong, where did it come from?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remnants of PJ-ism: Glycerin

This will be a short series on my attempt to finish a few remaining products from my 'product junkie' (PJ) days.

product junkie /'pr�d?kt 'j?NGke/ Noun
A person with an obsessive habit of purchasing and collecting products, particularly hair products.  

Today's remaining products: Vegetable Glycerin.

I prefer to use honey over glycerin as a humectant.  This bottle from Whole Foods has been in my cabinet for 2 years, more or less, with little usage.  

Finishing strategy: For the past few weeks, in an effort to use it up, I've been mixing it with oils and conditioners for a detangling mix.  I think I'll also use it to mix a new body butter (which I finished weeks ago).

Plant-Strong Success Tip #10: Give Up the Diet Mentality

What would be different in your life if you were able to maintain a healthy weight relatively easily?

What is the one thing stopping you from achieving your happy weight and ultimate health?

Adopting a Plant-Strong way of nourishing yourself is what I like to call "The Real Deal." Why? Because you really can achieve your happy weight and stay there with little or no fuss, after you have mastered all of the basics.

This series, "Healthy Girl's Top Ten Tips for Plant-Strong Success" is aimed at making this way of eating effortless and sustainable. You don't have to follow all of my tips, just the ones that speak to you. If all of my tips resonate with you, also recognize that you certainly don't have to do them all at once. This is a process of change and real, lasting change comes from making small changes over a long period of time.

Please remember that when I gave this talk, I was addressing a group of adults who are participating in a 21 Day Vegan Weight Loss kickstart program organized by Whole Foods. So, as you read my first Tip in this series, keep in mind that this tip may no longer apply to you, my precious reader, as many of you are 100% Plant-Strong committed!

Plant-Strong Success Tip #10: Give Up the Diet Mentality

I'm going to be very blunt. If there is a part of you that is here right now thinking, "I will do this Plant-Strong 'diet' for as long as it takes me to lose my excess weight and then I will go back to eating the same as I always have," I am here to tell you that you need to give up your "I'm on a diet/I'm not on a diet" mentality RIGHT NOW.

People who maintain a healthy weight with ease do not go on and off of diets endlessly. They maintain their weight with relative uneventfulness and without yo-yo dieting. The miracle of becoming Plant-Strong is that you can end the horrible yo-yo dieting forever once you make the commitment.

I am not here to scold anyone about the pain of yo-yo dieting. I was there myself for far too many years and I know how deep your pain is. I am here to make one point about eating, and one point only:


Why does this matter?

First, anything that is a continuous struggle for you is going to be unmaintainable over the long haul. A weight loss "diet" in the conventional sense, sets you up for disaster. You restrict your calories for months on end, all the while losing weight and feeling insanely hungry. By the time you reach your breaking point (and you may or may not have reached your goal weight also), you are so ravenous that you will binge on anything and everything within 100 yards of your mouth.

I do not mean to poke fun of Oprah. I love Oprah!
These photos merely represent
that diets do not work.

Contrast this scenario with becoming Plant-Strong. You are filling yourself up every day, three times a day, with uber-nutritious meals. You are satisfactorily full three times a day. You don't even realize it, but you are consuming far fewer calories than you were prior to becoming Plant-Strong. The weight is coming off and you never even get ravenously hungry. Now that is something that you can stick with for the rest of your life. And you don't ever feel like you are "on a diet."

What does this look like?

  • You enjoy the food that you are eating enormously.
  • You fill yourself up and never get ravenous (this doesn't mean you don't get hungry, but more on that in a later tip).
  • Your fixation on what you are going to eat and when comes to an end. You are free from your food compulsion!
  • The way you eat, think and feel about food has changed. Food and nutrition are no longer scary or a mystery. You know how to nourish yourself completely without gaining weight.
  • You would never, ever think of going back to your old way of eating. That would be ridiculous! 
Are you new to Plant-Strong as a way of eating?

Have you thought to yourself, "I'll do this until I lose my excess weight and then I'll stop?" 

Or have you found your happy place with food and cannot see yourself eating any other way but Plant-strong?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Homemade Vegan No-oil Caesar Salad Dressing

Really big salads are a VERY big part of how I eat. And since for me, they would not be nearly as enjoyable without a wonderful salad dressing, I am continually on the hunt for healthy, low calorie bottled salad dressings (yes, these are pretty rare, but growing in numbers as we speak) and for salad dressing recipes that I can quickly whip up myself.

A few months ago I saw a demonstration of no-oil vegan cooking at Whole Foods. The demonstrator was Amy Cramer, a local chef. I can't tell you how many great tips I got that night, and I have been cooking this way for quite some time! It just goes to show that there is always something that you can learn if you get yourself out there.

One of the recipes that she demo'd was her no-oil Caesar Salad dressing. The key concept I got from Amy is that we can use garbanzo beans as the base of a salad dressing, not unlike a thinned out hummus. Coincidentally, there is a company developing bottled hummus dressings right now, Flamous. It's not exactly ready yet for mass distribution, but they are working on it!

Also going on in my head was an incredible Dr. Fuhrman dressing I had made many months ago called Dijon Pistachio Dressing. So I decided to experiment with combining the two ideas into one dressing and the results might just be perfect.

Coincidentally, yesterday on The Real Meal Today blog, the author posted a no-oil Caesar Salad dressing. Check it out for another take on this fabulous concept.

This no-oil salad dressing is crazy good!

Healthy Girl's Kitchen No-oil Caesar Salad Dressing
adapted from recipes by Amy Cramer (http://www.dinnersdonenow/) and Dr. Joel Fuhrman (http://www.drfuhrman.com/)
makes 4 cups

Printable Version

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, unrinsed, undrained
1/2 cup raw almonds, cashews or pistachios
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp capers with their juice
2 Medijool dates (large dates)
1 tsp garlic powder
5 Tbsp lemon juice (roughly the juice of 2 lemons)
1/2 cup or more water, to thin to desired consistency

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor and blend until a creamy consistency is achieved.  Add more water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

Crock Pot Saag (Spinach) "Paneer" and HGK's Top Ten List?

Last night I gave a talk at my local Whole Foods. I titled it "Healthy Girl's Top Ten Tips for Plant-Strong Success." The audience was a group of adults who are participating in The 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart based on the book of the same name by Dr. Neal Barnard.

I wanted to convey the message that it is important to keep up a healthy eating commitment long past the 21 days and also to give them lots of ammunition on how to stay Plant-Strong in America in the year 2011. "Thank you" to Ellen Darby of Whole Foods for allowing me to share my experience, strength and hope with people in this way. It really means a lot to me.

I know that staying plant strong can be very tough for many people. Beginning tomorrow, I am going to post my top ten tips, one at a time, for ten days. Sometimes with a recipe, sometimes not. I sincerely hope that each of you reading this blog will add your two cents in the comment section to every idea and concept that I propose. Together we can really help each other stay Plant Strong!

But before I begin, another recipe! I'd worked on perfecting a recipe for Indian Saag Paneer for over a year, first lightening it up to fit within the Weight Watchers plan, and then morphing it into a vegan Saag "Paneer" using baked tofu. A traditional Saag Paneer includes cubes of Indian cheese and heavy cream--not Healthy Girl friendly at all. Because it is my number one favorite Indian dish, I've now adapted it into a crock pot recipe so that I can eat it even while I have my makeshift kitchen.

Crock Pot Saag "Paneer" (Tofu)
serves 8

6 medium or 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp minced (or grated) ginger
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe's low fat Marinara Sauce in the green can)
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can low fat coconut milk
2 16 oz. bags frozen spinach (or 3 10 oz. boxes), thawed
1 bag fresh baby spinach
2 packages marinated tofu-cut into 1" cubes

Place all ingredients except for fresh spinach and tofu into a crock pot. Let cook for either 4 or 6 hours, depending on when you want to eat.
Before serving, add fresh spinach and stir. When fresh spinach is wilted, puree entire mixture with a handheld immersion blender. Fold in tofu cubes and let warm in crock pot. Serve over brown rice or with naan.
Keeps well in the refrigerator for leftovers.

And speaking of my makeshift kitchen, here's a little peak on where we are at right now with Healthy Girl's Dream kitchen. Lights, walls and a ceiling! Next week . . . cabinets!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In Case You Haven't Seen Forks Over Knives Yet

Great news! Forks Over Knives is about to be widely released all over the U.S. This is a don't miss opportunity to see one of the most important movies of our time. If you don't see your city listed here, know that showings are being added continuously. Go to http://www.forksoverknives.com/showtimes/ and consider signing up for their newsletter to stay informed.

ATLANTA, GA (Begins May 20)

Midtown Art Cinema (Landmark), 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308

AUSTIN, TX (Begins May 13)
Arbor Cinema (Regal), 9828 Great Hills Trail, Austin, TX 78759

BOSTON, MA (Begins May 13)
Kendall Square Cinema (Landmark), 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

CHICAGO, IL (Begins May 13)
Premiere (May 10)
Webster Place 11 (Regal), 1471 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

Century Theaters (Cinemark), 1715 Maple Ave., Evanston, IL 60201

CLEVELAND, OH (Begins May 27)
Cedar Lee Theater, 2163 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

DALLAS, TX (Begins May 13)
The Magnolia (Landmark), 3699 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75204

DENVER, CO (Begins May 20)
Chez Artiste (Landmark), 2800 South Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80222

DETROIT, MI (Begins May 20)
Main Art Theater (Landmark), 118 N. Main St., Royal Oak, MI 48067

Sunrise Cinema at Sunrise 11, 4321 Northwest 88th Avenue, Sunrise, FL 33351

HOUSTON, TX (Begins May 13)
Edwards Greenway Palace 24 (Regal), 3839 Weslayan, Houston, TX 77027

KANSAS CITY, MO (Begins June 3)
Tivoli Theater, 4050 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64111

LOS ANGELES, CA including Pasadena & Orange County (Begins May 6)
Sunset 5 (Laemmle), 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046

Regent (Landmark), 1045 Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Monica 4 (Laemmle), 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Playhouse 7 (Laemmle), 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101

Edwards University Town Center 6 (Regal), 4245 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA 92612

MIAMI BEACH, FL (Begins May 13)
South Beach Cinema 18 (Regal), 1120 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (Begins May 20)
Premiere (May 18)
Lagoon Cinema (Landmark), 1320 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55408

NEW YORK, NY (Begins May 6)
Sunshine Cinema (Landmark), 143 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10002

PHILADELPHIA, PA (Begins May 20)
Premiere (May 19)
Ritz at the Bourse (Landmark), 400 Ranstead Street. Philadelphia, PA 19106

Ritz Center, 900 Haddonfield-Berlin Road, Voorhees, NJ 08043

PHOENIX, AZ (Begins May 13)
Camelview 5, 7001 E. Highland Ave., Scottsdale, AZ 85251

SAN DIEGO, CA (Begins May 20)
Premiere (May 16)
Hillcrest Cinemas (Landmark), 3965 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103

SAN FRANCISCO, CA including Marin County & Pleasant Hill (Begins May 13 & 20)
Bridge (Landmark), 3010 Geary Blvd. at Blake, San Francisco, CA 94118 (Beg. May 13)

Shattuck Cinemas (Landmark), 2230 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704 (Beg. May 13)

Regency 6 (Cinemark), 280 Smith Ranch Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903 (Beg. May 20)

Cinearts @ Pleasant Hill (Cinemark), 2314 Monument, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (May 20)

SAN JOSE, CA (Begins May 13)
Santana Row (Cinemark), 3088 Olsen Drive, San Jose, CA 95128

SANTA ROSA, CA (Begins May 27)
Summerfield Cinemas, 551 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95405

SEATTLE, WA (Begins May 13)
Varsity Theater (Landmark), 4329 University Way, N.E., Seattle, WA 98104

ST. LOUIS, MO (Begins May 27)
Plaza Frontenac Cinema (Landmark), 210 Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis, MO 63131

TORONTO, ON (Begins May 20)
Cumberland 4 (Alliance Cinemas), 159 Cumberland Street, Toronto, ON, Canada

VANCOUVER, BC (Begins May 20)
International Village Cinemas, 88 West Pender, Vancouver, BC, Canada

WASHINGTON DC (Begins May 13)
Premiere (May 11)
E Street Cinema (Landmark), 555 11th St NW. Washington, DC 20004

Shirlington 7 (AMC), 2772 South Randolph St., Arlington, VA 22206

Friday, May 6, 2011

What's In a Name? Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw, Plant-Strong, Nutritarian

I want to introduce to everyone a very special guest blogger. She's a little gun shy about blogging publicly, but boy does she have a lot of very interesting thoughts about healthy eating. Please give a warm welcome to my friend, Chris-Anna.

Most of us seem to like labels to some degree. It helps us to know where we are in this huge world. Who are you? Who am I? What am I eating exactly?

I have worn many food hats (vegetarian, whole food, natural, unprocessed, etc.) over the years and they have all been problematic for one reason or another.

Why do I look for a label in the first place�..good question. In the past it has helped identify for myself what I want to do or what statement I�d like to make. Sometime I am mostly focused on eating �healthy� foods, sometimes it is about the environment, sometimes it is the way I would like to see myself. Labels have given me identity and rules to follow.

Over the past 20 years or so, I have come to realize I don�t need or even want any labels. It�s too restrictive and unnecessary. I have been to many dinners where the host was graciously attempting to honor my label, but would make food I did not want to eat�..now what? Likewise, I have served meals that my guests were not so thrilled about (who knew so many people don�t eat beans?)

So if I don�t have a food label, what are my food rules now? I try to eat mostly veggies and whole grains. I would say this is about 80% of my meals. The other 20% varies week to week. My biggest weakness is cheese. Because my kids eat it, I am around it regularly. It is beyond me to throw out DELICIOUS mac and cheese��.I MUST finish it if they don�t. Maybe two times in a year will I eat a full portion, but I will �finish� portions about once a week or so.

My main goal is to be healthy. Of course, consuming very little animal protein also helps the environment. That is great, but not why I am doing this. After reading and reading about this subject for decades, I have come to the conclusion that vegan, raw, or other super-restrictive labels are not necessary for where I am in my life right now. I do dry or stock saut� when at home, but I eat out and don�t ask how things are prepared. I know they have oil and salt and I�m okay with that. I use soy creamer, but will use milk when out if soy is not available. I buy mostly organic fruits and veggies, but go to other people�s home and eat whatever they have, happily.

Should I mention �plant strong�? It may fit me, but do I even want that?

What about you? Do you like having a label? Do you like not having a label? Has wearing a label caused you any problems?