Monday, October 24, 2011

Tension Method: Blow Drying Relaxed or Natural Hair

The "tension method" is a gentler way to blow dry your tresses.  Below are two video tutorials depending on your hair's state:

Tension method on relaxed/texlaxed hair:

Tension method on natural hair:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Loo, Where Have You Been? Part I

For one, combatting the urge to perm my hair:
I think it's inevitable for most naturals to get that urge to perm their hair.  A horrid detangling session may trigger that urge.  Or boredom with natural hair styles.  For me, it's been a combination of the two in addition to wanting to eliminate shrinkage and see my real length.  On two separate occasions, I've considered going to the store to buy relaxer.  However, I know this urge is temporary and that I would regret the decision to permanently alter my hair.  For the time being, I will tame this urge by wearing straight/stretched styles during the Fall and Winter.  Now that the weather is cooler, I can wear such styles for weeks at a time.  This brings me to my ...

new Autumn/Winter Hair Care routine:
Prepoo, Wash, DC, and detangle
�Moisturize and Airdry in 8 braids
�Remove braids, apply heat protectant, and flat iron
�Wear bun or jumbo twists for 2-3 weeks

Products used: Coconut oil, Suave Conditioner, Desert Essence Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo, Shea Butter Mixture, Pantene Smooth Serum

Next time: Repairing damaged nails

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Big Exciting Guest and a Blogging Break

Okay, I haven't mentioned this yet to you, my dear readers, but I am going on a big trip out of the country. I leave on Sunday and I will be returning on November 2nd. I'm really, truly excited as I feel like I need a change of scenery and a break right now from all of the responsibilities of my life, and this trip is the opportunity to get just that. I can't wait.

That news is probably not that exciting for you.

That's why I've got some other news.

Chef Aj is coming to town. Cleveland, that is.

And she's staying at my house. And you can meet her, and me, if you want to. There's a rumor that some other major big wigs in the plant-based diet world will be there too. So this could get pretty awesome.

I'll be hosting a Plant-strong pot luck the evening of November 8th. If you want to be included in the guest list, just leave a comment below letting us know that you want the details of the event.

It will be so much fun.

Have a great few weeks while I'm gone.

Stay strong.


Help! Comments Section Horrors and Chris-anna's Lemony Garlic Wheat Berry Salad with Split Yellow Peas

So a few days ago I changed the comment system on HGK to a system that would allow me to make comments back directly to each individual comment that is left on HGK. This was not an option with the existing comments section of the blog platform that I use (Blogger).

But because I have imported a system that isn't 100% functional with Blogger, I am beginning to wonder if the benefits of the new system outweigh the costs. Specifically, I'm nervous that many of you no longer "see" the comments at the bottom of each post.

If you click on the title of this blog post and the url that you are on is no longer the url for my homepage, but rather the specific URL for this individual post, you should be able to see the comments.

What a mess.

I need your help.

I cannot see what you see.

Please let me know what you see. Do you see a comments section at the bottom of this post?

No? Try clicking on the title of this post.

Still not? Press your refresh button.

Is this a pain in the neck?

Maybe I should go back to my old comment system.

I need your advice. If you can't leave it as a comment, please e-mail me at

Why am I making such a big deal of this? Because blogging is no fun, no fun at all, without you and your thoughts and reactions to what I am thinking and saying. Without you, urging me to keep going and helping me to steer this ship.

As a reward, I present you with this highly unusual and very delicious grain salad. It's chewy and yummy and would be great served over a bed of raw spinach or baby greens for a complete meal.

This dish develops flavor over time and can be made a day or two ahead of time. It is moist and reheats well.

Chris-anna's Lemony Garlic Wheat Berries with Yellow Split Peas
Makes 8 servings
1 � cups wheat berries
4 � cups water
� cup yellow split peas
3 cups water
1 bunch asparagus
2 cups pea pods, julienned
4-6 green onion, thinly sliced white and light green parts
3 T. sunflower seeds
� cup almond butter
� cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 garlic clove, finely minced
� cup hot water
salt and pepper to taste (or not)
Wash and drain wheat berries and soak overnight.

In a medium pot bring wheat berries and 4 � cups water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 60 minutes. Fluff with fork. Wheat berries should be chewy and starting to split open.
In another saucepan, add yellow split peas to 3 cups boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Drain.

Break asparagus in the middle of stalk and cut 1-1 � inch angled pieces from the top portion. Lightly blanch asparagus and julienne pea pods until bright green, but still crunchy or steam until the same.
Mix, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, almond butter and hot water. When this is creamy and blended, mix with wheat berries, split peas, asparagus, pea pods, green onion and sunflower seeds.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thoughts on the new comments section?

If you are struggling with your food choices today, I highly recommend reading this blog posting and all of the comments that follow it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Short on Time, High on Deliciousness: Jill's Smashing Black Beans

as a dip with crudites

Back in the day, I attempted a few of Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals. They never took only 30 minutes. I think my average was 60, and I'm no slow poke.

As much as I hate to admit it, eating healthy on a consistent basis takes effort and time, whether you are a no-added-oil Plant-strong Nutritarian or not. Very rarely do I come across a recipe that I would want to prepare regularly that would truly qualify as fast.

That's why I'm so excited about sharing this recipe with you. My friend Jill, of Roasted Chick Peas with Swiss Chard fame, has been talking it up for a while and I finally had an opportunity to taste some. It was love at first bite.

Here's what Jill has to say about her creation. "It�s simple. It goes with anything. Dress it up. Dress it down. Just like a little black dress!

Serve it with hot cooked brown rice, and it is a hearty main course. Use the beans as filling in a whole grain wrap or burrito. Build a black bean tostada. Slice carrots, red peppers and pita and eat it as a dip.

It�s smashing!"

I agree. And best of all, it's f a s t!

Make a double batch and use it for a few different easy dinners. How nice is that?

over brown rice

Smashing Black Beans (AKA, The Little Black Dress)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1 cup vegetable stock, plus more for saut�ing onion
1 lime
Chopped fresh cilantro
 Saut� onion in a little vegetable broth on medium-high heat for a few minutes until soft.  Add jalapeno pepper and saut� another minute and a half. Add garlic and saut� another 30 seconds. Add cumin and mix well.  

Add black beans and vegetable stock. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Coarsely smash the beans with a potato masher or with the back of a spoon.  Keep boiling on medium-low, stirring often for 10 more minutes until the bean mixture is thick. Season with a little lime juice. Garnish with cilantro.
Doubles easily.
so good you'll wanna eat it for breakfast
toast up a tortilla and build a tostada

What has your experience been with time and plant-strong food prep? How does it compare with your previous eating style?

Do you have a fast and easy go-to dinner?

If you don't see the comments section below, click on the title of this post. Still not there? Hit your refresh button. Sorry for the inconvenience. I'm experiencing some technical difficulties with my new comments platform.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Fun: The Beachboy's Vegetables

A HUGE thank you goes out to Kevin, one of my superfantastic workmates for introducing me to this wonder of a song by The Beach Boys. Enjoy!

Just in case you didn't catch all of the lyrics, here they are:

I'm gonna be round my vegetables
I'm gonna chow down my vegetables
I love you most of all
My favorite vege-table

If you brought a big brown bag of them home
I'd jump up and down and hope you'd toss me a carrot

I'm gonna keep well my vegetables
Cart off and sell my vegetables
I love you most of all
My favorite vege-table
Oh oh taba vega vegel

I tried to kick the ball but my tenny flew right off
I'm red as a beet 'cause I'm so embarassed

Oh oh dum do dum de dooby do
Oh oh dum do dum de dooby do
Oh oh dum do dum de dooby do
oh yeah
Oh badumday oh dum do dum de dooby do
Oh badumday oh dum do dum de dooby do

Chomp chomp chomp chomp do-do-do do-do-do
Bop bop bop bop do-do-do do-do-do

I know that you'll feel better
When you send us in
Your letter an'
Tell us the name of your
Your favorite vege-table

I know that you'll feel better
When you send us in
Your letter an'
Tell us the name of your
Your favorite vege-table

What's your favorite vegetable? You don't need to send it in a letter, you can just leave a comment about your vegetable amore below!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Comments Section! Yeah!

Sometimes the things you want in life are right under your nose, but you didn't think to look there. That is the case with the type of comments section I have wanted to have for Healthy Girl's Kitchen for the past year. I had no idea it was right under my nose. I never thought it was possible with my blog platform. My thinking was so limited.

Those days are over thanks to Melody over at   So now, a great, conversation friendly comment section is gonna be right under all new posts!

This is gonna be a lot easier for all of us to communicate with each other, because we will all be able to respond to individual comments.

What do you think?

Try looking for something that you have wanted for a long time that you thought didn't exist. It might be right under your nose!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday to Me: Cake and Resolution

When my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, the only thing I could think of was cake.

I'm a little cake obsessed, which is not a good thing. As the day drew nearer and I could get some distance from my cravings, I decided that the best thing for me to do was bake a Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Chocolate Cake (you can get that recipe here). I even turned down my extremely thoughtful sister-in-law Kathy's offer to purchase a cake from a local vegan bake shop, because as we all know, just because it's vegan, doesn't mean it's healthy! In the end, I'm really glad  I did.
My 41st birthday fell smack in between the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). I spent a great deal of time thinking about the things that I could do better and the ways that I needed to improve. And chewing my food more topped my list.

I'm not a good chewer.

There, I said it.

So what's my deal with chewing? I think I'm kind of always in a rush, and it takes a long time to really chew your food. I also don't like the way my jaw feels after spending a lot of time chewing. It hurts. It's probably a muscle I need to develop just like my flabby abs.

Chewing is important. It slows down the eating process. Which I need to do because overeating is one of my habits. If I chew well and slowly, chances are I would become bored with chewing and stop eating as soon as I felt sated, a great way to not overindulge. 

Chewing well is essential to good digestion and absorption of nutrients. Chewing your food helps break it down before it heads south to your stomach, and the time your food spends in your mouth is valuable for a few reasons.

Your saliva is a powerful weapon when it comes to digestion. It contains enzymes that break down fats and starches that can only go to work if your food is chewed, thus letting your saliva cover more surface area of what you're trying to consume. If you don't chew as well, these enzymes don't have the ability to break down starches (providing you with energy) or start digesting fats (leaving them partially unprocessed). You'll receive less energy and feel more sluggish as a result.

Saliva also helps relax your stomach muscles, allowing pieces of food to pass along the digestive track and without enough mouth juice, things get a little cramped and painful. So next time you think you had too many lentils, maybe you just didn't chew them long enough?

If your food isn't chewed well enough, your body as a result can feel a little bloated and gassy. This can result from large food particles that aren't digested fully and pass through our colon where they become little floating islands for growing bacteria, which creates the smell and bloating on the other end of your meal.

Though it seems like anything we put in our bodies should be fully digested in our stomach and taken care of, that's not always the case. Though it might be processed by our tummies and the rest of the works from there on out, it doesn't mean our bodies are able to extract all that they could from the food. It doesn't do you any good to make healthy eating choices and not be able to receive all the benefits from it. It would be like going to a spa and paying for a full afternoon if bliss and only getting a pedicure.

As a result, it means that each piece of food we put in our bodies should be chewed well. The amount of chews differs for different foods, and whole, real food takes a decent amount of chews. Make sure you take the time to savor what you eat, allowing your body to extract all it can to better itself, while you max out on all that yummy flavor!

Here are some suggestions for improving our chewing: 
  1. The first tip, if you tend to be a quick eater, it is for you to try to remember, just slow yourself down. So, if you can put up a little sign where you eat that literally slows you down and chew, that will help you because chewing is such an automatic response that unless we remind it, will go into our natural habits.
  2. Another thing that you can do is to take a few relaxing breaths. By that I mean when you are sitting before your food, typically we dive right in and start to eat it. When you are sitting there, take a moment, relax, feel yourself sitting in your chair and take a breath to about three quarters full, hold it for just a moment and then exhale. If you do that three or four times, it will relax your body, it will slow you down and it will give you time to reprogram your mind to chew that food.
  3. You don't have to count your chews, since this could interfere with your ability to participate in mealtime conversation, but break down your food with your teeth until it is easily swallowed. If you are very disciplined you might try counting. Give yourself 15 or 22s or if you can get up to 25 even while you are practicing that would be great.
  4. Don't put another bite in your mouth until you have chewed the one currently in your mouth � a great habit to prevent mindless overeating.
  5. It's easier to completely chew your food if you take smaller bites, so don't shovel mouthfuls in.
  6. If you need to use water to wash your bite down, chances are high you didn't completely chew your food. So sip in between bites, not during.
  7. Put your fork down in between bites. This simple action helps you slow down and truly focus on the food that is in your mouth. Instead of shoveling, take a bite put it down and spend some time.  
Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Chocolate Cake

Full of veggies and fruit, it takes a bit of time and effort to make it, but it is oh-so-worth-it. The taste gets even better as it develops it's flavor over time, so make it a few days in advance and refrigerate. How do I know this? Because I've been eating the leftovers since Saturday.
Even Max (3) and Maya (6) like Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Chocolate Cake when they aren't given the choice of this treat versus some sweet processed crap or something full of white sugar and butter.

Where do you fall? Slow chewer or fast eater??

Have you ever tried to slow your eating down and chew more fully? What was the result?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Exactly is Miso?

I've never been a stranger to Japanese food. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of being at a party and tasting octopus and thinking it tasted like rubber. I was around five years old, and an adventurous eater (I have always had a love affair with food). My father was working for Ikegami Electronics, the manufacturer of the finest television cameras in the world, and the Japanese are wildly hospitable. So along with receiving gifts galore from his boss and co-workers, I received the gift of sushi.

I don't remember when I had miso soup for the first time. All I know is that I dug it. And twenty years ago, when I was a first year law student, I attempted making a miso soup with noodles and vegetables for a new friend. I was newly living in Los Angeles and excited about shopping in the Asian markets there. My noodle soup creation was gross and I'm impressed that my friend Lisa still wanted anything to do with me after that culinary fiasco. It was like I was feeding her poison.

I'm happy to report that when I made Miso Soup with Buckwheat Soba Noodles this time, things went much, much better. Why?

We have the Internet now!

Thank you to my cousin Ira and his wife Angela for sharing this link with us for the South River Miso Company. I think you will find this video very interesting. It answered all of my questions about what miso is and how it is made.

Exactly twenty years later, my second attempt at miso soup. This time, perfection!

Miso Soup with Buckwheat Soba Noodles
inspired by Susan at Fat Free Vegan who posted her recipe the day I went to my local Asian Market

Printable Recipe

12 cups water
1/2 Tbsp dulse flakes or wakame or other seaweed
1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots
1 1/2 ounces dried shitake and/or porchini mushrooms
1 medium head napa cabbage, sliced
15 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
8 Tbsp mellow white miso
red pepper flakes
2 scallions, sliced
1small bunch watercress
1/2 package firm tofu, drained and cut into small cubes

In a pot, bring water for cooking noodles to a boil. Cook noodles slightly under the package direction time (al dente). Drain noodles and run under cold water. Reserve.

In another large pot, place water, seaweed, carrots and dried mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Add shredded napa cabbage to soup and cook for another 5 minutes.

Place miso in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the soup. Whisk until lumps disappear. Add mixture to the soup but do not let soup boil.

Taste and add red pepper flakes to taste.

Place individual servings of noodles into a soup bowl. Ladle on soup. Garnish to taste with tofu, scallions, watercress, and/or cilantro.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jill's Roasted Chick Peas with Swiss Chard

Gotta love those greens and beans! And also your friends who provide you with plant-strong inspiration.

In this case, it's my friend Jill. Her husband, who was in excellent health and phenomenal shape at the time, went to hear Dr. Eselstyn speak about his passion, preventing and reversing heart disease. From that moment on, they changed the way they cooked. By anyone's standards, you would say that they were healthy eaters before. But now, with the elimination of processed oils and animal products, they have gone from healthy to inspiring!

Jill adapted this recipe and shared it with all of us. Thanks Jill!

Roasted Chickpeas with Swiss Chard and Garlic
4-6 servings

Printable Recipe

 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained
10 garlic cloves, peeled left whole
2 shallots, chopped
3 small bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
salt (or not)

Swiss chard
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
2 shallots, chopped
2 big bunches Swiss chard
1 can vegetable broth
� of a fresh lemon
Roast Chickpeas:
Preheat oven to 400. Lay out drained chick peas on a paper towel and pat to dry.  Lightly spray a cookie sheet with oil.  Put chickpeas on the cookie tray in a single layer.  Top evenly with shallots, red pepper, fennel, kosher salt and pepper. Add bay leaves and whole garlic cloves. Shake the pan occasionally. Roast 45 minutes. These make a great stand-alone snack. Not possible to eat just one. Go ahead and try, I dare you.  Can be made 1 day ahead.

Separate the chard leaves from the stem.  Coarsely chop the leaves. Slice the stems into �- � pieces.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saut� shallots in a little vegetable broth until soft about 5-6 minutes. Add chard stems and saut� another 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and bay leaves. Cook for another minute.  Working in batches, add half of the chard, stirring gently until the leaves begin to wilt. Add the remaining chard.  Add broth. Cover and simmer on low until chard is tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the liquid.

Discard all the bay leaves. Mix the roasted chickpeas into the chard. Squeeze the fresh lemon into the mixture. Toss lightly.

Do you consciously try to eat greens every day?

Do you have a favorite way of eating your greens?

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Big List of Green Smoothies

A big thank you goes out to everyone who submitted their favorite green smoothie recipes. I think what you'll find is that there is a lot of overlap in what people find appealing in a blended salad, with some zingers thrown in there. There are many combinations and ingredients that I personally have never tried, and I look forward to shaking up my morning routine with this new inspiration.

For a printable version of this list, go here.

HGK's Pumpkin Pie Birthday Treat
1 frozen banana
2 big handfuls fresh spinach
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 smallish dates
1 cup nut milk of your choice
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
8 ice cubes
a few shakes of cinnamon
a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice

1 cup almond milk
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup blueberries
1 frozen banana
1 T flax seed

1/2 bag frozen spinach or big bunch frozen kale
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon spirulina
1/4 cup blueberries
1 date

handful of kale, especially the stalks
4 stalks celery
1 cucumber
2 apples or one ruby red grapefruit
or sometimes both

This is my go-to breakfast smoothie, which is either from Engine 2 or the Whole Foods support documents for Engine 2:
1 frozen banana (key to making many smoothies is having a supply of PEELED frozen bananas in your freezer)
2 tablespoons almond butter (can also use peanut butter)
4 large leaves or equivalent of smaller leaves of kale (I use dinosaur kale, my favorite); take the rib out
8 oz. or to taste of soy milk or other veggie milk
Sometimes I also throw in raspberries or strawberries. Yum!

1c water
 enough greens that when blended equals 2c (including water).
2c fruit. We like pineapple, banana, and whatever other fruit is around to go with whatever greens are available.  This makes a quart, great for one or two people for a day. Those are easy proportions to increase or decrease.

3 cups of spinach
5 frozen whole strawberries
1 small kiwi or half a large kiwi
1/2 of mango
handful of fresh mint
1/2 a frozen banana
1/2 cup of water
squeeze of half a lemon
**Usually when I have this particular smoothie I no longer eat any more fruit for the day and just concentrate on raw and cooked vegetables.

Green Almond Bliss

3/4 cups kale leaves, washed, stems removed and lightly packed
1 frozen banana
3/4 � 1 cup almond milk
3-4 ice cubes
1 Tbsp almond butter or other nut butter
pinch / dash / shake of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

Green Dream Smoothie
2+ cups frozen, chopped greens such as collards, kale, or spinach
1/4 cup frozen, pineapple
1/2 frozen banana
1 golden apple
1 1/2 � 2 cups of water
1 Tbsp. of ground flax
1-2 medjool dates (de-seeded) � optional

yoghurt (hopefully soy!)

Tastes like a green banana milkshake!!
1/2 to 1 banana frozen
organic spinach
with or without swiss chard stuffing the blender full
1 cup of Silk light vanilla soy milk

so bright, fresh and delicious! love it!!!!
kale or swiss chard
1/2 apple (sweet, not tart)
almond milk

Here's a good one I use for dinner sometimes because it does not contain fruit (except for the dates), but still tastes great:
half a stalk of celery
vanilla almond milk
3-4 dates
dash of cinnamon
2 Tbs. hemp seeds
1 Tbs. flax
chunk of cucumber

Cindy�s Favorite Standard1/2 - 1 banana (frozen)
1/2 pink grapefruit
2 big leaves of kale, or a huge handful
1-2 cups of water
handful of ice cubes

Cindy�s #21/2 cup fresh pineapple with a little of the juice
handful of baby carrots
an apple or pear or portion thereof
handful of kale (2 leaves)
ice and water to blend

Who needs sweetener when you have banana and fruit?!!!
almond milk (pure, not sweetened) or soy milk
frozen spinach
frozen fruit (blueberries are great)
hemp protein powder
flax seeds

Alyssa�s (Everyday Maven)
8 oz non-dairy milk (usually unsweetened almond, soy, or hemp)
a dash green stevia powder
a dash vanilla extract
1 T flax oil
huge handful kale or spinach
4 to 5 frozen strawberries or blueberries
1/2 frozen or fresh banana
4 to 5 ice cubes

Elysa�s Keeps Me Happy from 9 am to 4 pm Smoothie
handful of ginger mint from my garden
handful of rose geranium leaves from my garden
2 carrots
1/2 lemon with skin
1/2 cup frozen black grapes
1/2 frozen banana
frozen mixed berries, about 1 cup
frozen mango, about 1 cup
1 Tbsp green tea powder (matcha) or 2 Tbsp green tea
1 Tbsp whole flax
1 scoop protein powder or a cup of cooked beans
1 tsp bee pollen
approx 1 cup water
frozen spinach to reach top of Blendtec regular container (about 1.5 cups?)

blend until thick smoothie texture (2 rounds of "whole juice" in Blendtec)

Michelle�s Husband's Favorite
1/2 cantaloupe- We often freeze cantaloupe in chunks when it is at a good price, and use if for smoothies whenever we want them.
1/2 banana
Greens. I usually use kale and baby spinach. I usually use about 2 ounces greens in my husband's smoothie and 3-5 ounces greens in my smoothie.
Add ice and water to create consistency you like.

�I started getting concerned about the amount of non-organic collards that I was eating. I recently started buying fresh bunches of organic collards & pureeing them in the vitamixer then freezing small portions for use.  1 bunch of collards is just under 1 lb, plus 1 cup water purees into 6 round 1/2 cup ziploc containers.�
1 banana
1 scoop protein powder
2 TBSP flax or chia seeds
2-4 TBSP Steel Cut Oats
2-3 cups fresh organic baby spinach or frozen collard greens
1 packet stevia

Jen�s More a Juice Than a Smoothie
peeled cucumber

Sandy�s Go-to Smoothie
mixed berries or just strawberries
LOTS and LOTS of greens usually spinach or kale or a combination of both
1 tbsp ground flax seed

Jen�s Green Power Smoothie
Yield: 2 servings
2 cups baby spinach, washed
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 banana
1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy vanilla milk of choice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup 100% pure coconut water
2 tbsp flax, hemp or chia seeds

4 cups frozen kale
1 frozen banana
1 cup ice
a few almonds
a teaspoon of ground chia seeds
enough cold water to blend kale, banana, ice, nuts and chia seeds

Deseree Likes to Keep it Simple Smoothie
Huge handful of spinach
Almond Milk

1 banana
1 C almond milk
1 T ground flax seed
large handful spinach or kale
and then the variables - depends what's in the kitchen!Just one additional fruit -
maybe a peach
maybe some frozen mango chunks
maybe fresh or frozen berries

This One is Delicious- Just Ask My 3-year-old!1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 Bartlett pear
1 orange
1 banana
1 tsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup water
2 cups ice

Motivated Mama�s
Wheat germ
Flax seeds
Pineapple tidbits
Frozen mango chunks
Splash of calcium and vit-D fortified O.J.

1 orange (skin & pith removed)
1/2 lemon (skin pith removed)
Handful spinach/kale/other leafy
Sprig parsley &/ mint
Handful frozen mixed berries
1 tbsp ground seeds (linseed, sunflower, almond, pumpkin)
Ice cubes 4-6
Optional: 1 or 2 pieces of crystallized or naked ginger, or a shake of dried ginger or fave spice.

Healthy Girl�s Standard
Handful of fresh spinach
Handful of kale
1 small cucumber, ends removed, cut into chunks
1 orange, thick skin cut off just until white pith appears, cut into large chunks
1 small apple
1 large handful red grapes, with or without seeds
7-10 ice cubes
Water or almond milk to achieve desired consistency
Optional: Handful of fresh parsley
Healthy Girl�s Superfantastic Grasshopper Smoothie
1 1/2 small or 1 large banana, frozen, cut into large chunks
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 large dates, pitted
about 7 ice cubes
3/4 cup frozen spinach
1 Tbsp flax meal (aka ground flax seed)
a drip of peppermint extract-be careful, you can always add more once you taste it!

Dr. Fuhrman's Waldorf Blended Salad
serves 1
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 apple, peeled and cored (I left the skin on)
1/4 cup walnuts
3 cups compacted collard greens and/or kale
1 cup compacted lettuce
1/4 cup water or ice cubes (I used a lot of ice cubes)

HGK's Chai Green Smoothie
serves 1
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 small frozen banana, broken into chunks
1 large pitted date
big handful rough chopped celery
big handful fresh parsley
giant handful fresh spinach leaves
1 tsp chai spice blend (below)
7 ice cubes

Chai Spice Mix (yields about 1/3 cup spice mix)
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 1/2 tbsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. white pepper (I used black pepper because that's what I had)

HGK's Super Green Smoothie
serves 1 hungry person
1 small cucumber, cut into chunks
1 fresh pear, cut off it's core OR large handful of seedless grapes
1 small frozen banana, broken into chunks
2 large stalks celery, cut into large chunks
1 large date, pit removed
1 handful fresh spinach
1 handful fresh or frozen kale
5 ice cubes
water--not too much

HGK's Very Verdant Smoothie
serves one
1 small apple, cut into large chunks
1 small frozen banana, broken into chunks
1/4-1/3 ripe avocado
1 very large handful fresh spinach
1 handful alfalfa sprouts
1/2 cup water
6 ice cubes

HGK's Rejuvenation Green Smoothie
1 small apple, removed from core
1 medium frozen banana, broken into chunks
1 cup frozen spinach
1/4 avocado
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
8 ice cubes

Hayley�s Power Smoothie
1.5 cups rice milk (that's all I had at the time but of course almond milk will work too)
1 banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
generous handful of kale
1Tbs. chia seeds

Laura's (of Laura Finds Balance)
It's good with either the berries, berry protein powder, or both.
large handful spinach or kale
1 frozen banana (frozen when very very ripe)
1/3 cup frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and/or cherries)
4-5 raw Brazil nuts (I'm using these for selenium!)
sometimes: half scoop of Vega berry protein powder

I know I'm inspired to whip up a blended salad this morning, as soon as my kids wake up.

Thanks again for taking the time to submit and have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Have you ever had one of those cabbage salads with the Asian flavors and either uncooked ramen noodles or some other fried crunchy bits? I have. These salads are pretty popular around these parts, and for very good reason. They're easy to assemble and they taste amazing.

I set out to make a version that, well, is healthier. And while some of you may be shocked by the addition of toasted sesame oil to the dressing, I just don't know of any other way to achieve the sesame flavor. So this is one of the rare instances where I will include oil in something that I prepare. Compare the 2 tablespoons of oil in this recipe that serves 12 to the 1 cup of oil in the dressing of the classic version and I think you'll find that my version wins out, any day.

HGK's Asian Cabbage Slaw
serves a crowd (12)

8 packed cups finely sliced or shredded green cabbage
6 scallions, sliced thinly
4 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 cups matchstick or shredded carrots
1 cup julienned red pepper
1 10.5 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained and liquid reserved for dressing
1 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds

Place all ingredients, except almonds, into a large bowl. Toss with dressing (recipe below). Let marinate several hours or overnight before serving. Before serving, toss with almonds.

Light Asian Dressing:
4 Tbsp mandarin orange liquid
6 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp salt (or not)

Put all ingredients into a bowl and whisk.

Are you familiar with the classic version of this salad? Is it popular where you live? Would you consider taking a healthy version of this or another classic dish to your next pot luck?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Autumn on a Plate: Pumpkin Bulgur Stuffed Acorn Squash

What's bulgur you ask? Why it's a whole grain that's high in fiber and rich in B vitamins, iron, phosphorus and manganese. Bulgur is a quick-cooking form of whole wheat that has been cleaned, parboiled, dried, ground into particles and sifted into distinct sizes. Read all about it here.

I was having guests over last Saturday night, so I spent the day cooking up a storm. Lucky for me, my experiments in the kitchen worked out well. So well, in fact, that I believe this is one of the best recipes I have ever "created" (if a recipe can ever really be "created" with so many zillions of recipes already in existence).

I'll definitely be making this one again for Thanksgiving. It would make a fabulous main course for the Plant-strong!

I could have used brown rice for this recipe, and you can too if you don't feel like running out and getting yourself some bulgur. But bulgur has a lot more going on nutritionally, and, well, it's just way more interesting to make a bulgur stuffed squash than a rice stuffed squash. I'm all about the interesting!

HGK's Pumpkin Bulgur Stuffed Acorn Squash
serves 8 as a main course-16 as a side dish

Printable Recipe

1 3/4 cups uncooked bulgur
3 1/2 cups water
4 acorn squash, cut in half from stem to base, seeds and membrane removed
2 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 large Fuji or Honeycrisp apple, finely diced
6 Tbsp dried cranberries
1 cup raw, unsalted walnuts, chopped
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp parsley flakes
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup (or less if you want it less sweet)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt (or not)
additional maple syrup for brushing onto squash

Place uncooked bulgur and water in a rice cooker and turn rice cooker on (or follow package directions for bulgur).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking oil spray. Place acorn squash cut side down and bake for 30 minutes.

When bulgur is done cooking, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, from pumpkin to salt (optional). Stir to incorporate all ingredients. (Taste it-it's amazing!)

After acorn squash halves are done baking, lightly brush each cut side and cavity with maple syrup.
Press the pumpkin bulgur mixture into each cavity, mounding filling as much as possible. Depending on how large the squash are, you may end up with some leftover bulgur mixture, which makes an amazing side dish by itself.

Return squash halves to cookie sheets and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for at least 30 minutes or until squash flesh is thoroughly soft. Keeping these in a warm oven (200 or 250) after they bake and before you are ready to serve them will only improve their taste and texture.

Have you ever used bulgur (aka bulgar) in a recipe? Have you used any unusual whole grains lately? What were your results??

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Julieanna Hever Answers Our Three Most Popular Questions

Thanks to everyone who forwarded to me your list of ingredients in your favorite green smoothie. There's still lots of time to get yours in, so please e-mail them to me at

A few short weeks ago I asked everyone to submit their most pressing plant-based diet question. You all answered and we are lucky enough that Julieanna Hever, the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-based Nutrition has responded to our top three concerns.

(1) Children on a Plant-based diet.

Q: How can I make sure that my children are getting their nutritional and calorie needs met on a plant-based diet? Specifically, protein, fat, vitamin B12, iron, Omega 3s, vitamin D. Do children need supplements? Is it okay for children to eat meat or dairy on occasion?

A: By placing your children on a whole food, plant-based diet, you are providing them with a huge advantage over the typical Standard American Diet. Most kids eat between zero and very few whole plant foods and are therefore depriving themselves of essential nutrients, including antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals that their bodies require for optimal growth and good long-term health. As long as you offer them whole foods, and not refined/processed products, as the majority of their calories, they will get all the protein, fat, and carbs their bodies require. If they do not consume any animal products, then supplement them with vitamin B12 from either fortified plant-based milks, nutritional yeast or a supplement. I give my kids a B12-fortified gum that I order online and they love, so it makes it easy. I recommend a plant-based diet, which means that a tiny bit of animal products technically may not be harmful. The issue with kids, however, is that they eat very little overall. Thus, every bite counts. I would rather your kids take in those calories from more beans, leafy greens, other veggies, fruit, and whole grains so they get the most nutritional bang for their caloric buck! But, as a Mom of little ones, I understand the challenges of every day life. Just provide these healthful options to your children and make them delicious so that it is easy for them to make the right choices as often as possible.

(2) Adults on a Plant-based diet.

Q: How do I know if I am getting enough of the right balance of nutrients? Vitamin B12, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin D? Should I supplement? We had a lot of readers asking questions specific to calcium. How can they get it from food? If they should supplement, what is the best way?

A: As a society, we have become obsessed with nutrients, worrying we are getting enough of everything. The truth is there are probably thousands of compounds in foods that we have yet to discover...should we worry about those too? Ultimately, the problem with our diets today is that we are overfed and undernourished. We consume way too many refined foods, stripped of their naturally-occurring goodness. If we stick to eating close to nature, from whole plant foods, it is impossible to not achieve adequate nutrition.

The only micronutrient that is not available in plants is vitamin B12 (and that is because microorganisms make the vitamin and we wash it from our produce). So everyone who avoids animal products needs to fortify with B12 (as above either via fortified plant-based milk, nutritional yeast, or supplement). Also, we get vitamin D from the sun primarily. However, because so many factors come into play with vitamin D production and absorption (including variables such as latitude and weather of where you live, body fat, skin color, etc.), it is responsible for everyone (from herbivores to omnivores) to test their vitamin D levels and determine whether you are in normal range. The best way to increase your vitamin D production is regular sun exposure, during peak hours (10:00 am to 2:00 pm), for a few minutes, wearing no sunscreen (except on your face), with as little clothes as possible so as to not offend your neighbors.

In terms of calcium, this is a popular question because people equate calcium consumption with bone health, thanks to the brilliant marketing campaign of the dairy industry. First of all, bone metabolism is multi-factorial and requires many nutrients in addition to calcium, including vitamins D, K, and C, magnesium, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids. Exercise may be the most critical factor in optimizing bone health. I do not recommend supplementing calcium...instead find it in foods such as leafy greens (especially collard greens and kale), sesame seeds, tahini, dried figs, calcium-set tofu, almonds, and fortified plant milks. Most plant-based milks contain the exact amount of calcium as dairy milk...only the calcium in plant milk is not also packaged along with dairy�s undesirables like steroids, hormones, pesticides, herbicides, veterinary medicine residues, antibiotic residues, additives, and synthetic preservatives.

(3) The Protein Question

Q: What is the right amount of protein? How do I know if I am getting enough? What if, due to a medical condition, someone cannot eat beans or tofu?

A: According to the USDA�s Recommended Daily Allowance, adults require 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Children and pregnant and lactating women need slightly more. If you are eating enough calories, and those calories are coming from whole plant foods, then you are getting enough protein. In fact, if not consuming refined foods, it is impossible to notoverconsumption, which is taxing on the kidneys, and can help promote chronic disease development. Just because we need protein for optimal health does not mean that more is better."


Thanks Julieanna!

I do want to add my own personal thoughts and experiences on question number 2. Since I am not a doctor or professional nutritionist of any kind, I won't recommend that you do this, but here are my thoughts:

DON'T GUESS. Just have your doctor do the necessary blood tests once a year to tell you what you are deficient in. You may be surprised, or not. I have done this once a year for the past three years and I am currently supplementing with Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and iron. That may be the price I have to pay for otherwise exceptional health and low cholesterol. It's totally worth it. I'd rather do this than be overweight and develop heart disease and diabetes.

Got other concerns? Check out Julieanna's book:

Have you had your blood tested lately? Are you supplementing with anything right now? What has your experience been?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Help! Let's Create The Big List of Green Smoothies (aka Blended Salads)

I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but it's icky right now in Cleveland. Rainy and cold. I need to do something interesting to lift my spirits.

Remember a few weeks ago when we created The Big List of No-oil Salad Dressings? That was the single most spirited thing that we have done here as a community on HGK. And it's been suggested to me that we create other plant-based nutrition resources, like a Big List of Green Smoothies.

So, here goes!

Green smoothies are somewhat controversial in the plant-based nutrition world. Some docs think they rock, and others think it's best to eat your food in solid form (ie chew it). Some argue that too much fruit is unhealthy and others disagree. Some say it's too easy to overconsume calories when they are in liquid form (I think I have to agree with that one).

Does blending your food destroy the nutrients before you get a chance to digest them?

Look, it might be better to eat a Hugh Jass Salad for breakfast everyday, but let's get real. Who wants to eat salad for breakfast? And who has the time?

The following are excerpts from a blog article that I thought covered many key points about drinking green smoothies:

"The biggest advantage to using green smoothies is that most people don't eat enough green veggies, so beginning a new routine with green smoothies is usually a great step in the right direction. Green veggies are some of the most health promoting foods around.

I would caution that it is still best to chew all food before swallowing. Chewing does much more than just break food into smaller parts. Chewing actually starts the digestive process using enzymes in the mouth. Chewing also triggers the stomach to recognize that food is coming and to start preparing the acids and enzymes it needs for digestion. Also chewing allows our taste buds to taste the food. Taste is also an important part of eating. It not only can tell us when something we put in our mouths is rotten, but can also help us to know when we have had enough food. Many nutrients actually enter the blood stream directly from the mouth as well. I would encourage you to at least minimally chew each mouth full of smoothie before swallowing. You will get more goodness from it.

Breaking the veggies down also allows for the release of many of the phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain without the digestive system having to work so hard. With these nutrients more easily available, the body can start its rebuilding and repair projects quicker and easier.

Another important thing made more useful and available is the soluble fiber from veggies. This fiber is a major aid to digestion and nutrient absorption. As well as helping with the clean up through bowel activity. 

Caution should be used in choosing green smoothie recipes. Some call for added sugars (believe it or not) which greatly reduces the health benefits of the veggies. Don't get caught in that trap. Veggies and fruit (which are often mixed in with the veggies in green drinks) have plenty of natural sweeteners in them without adding any.

Some green smoothies are veggies only, while many are combinations of fruits and vegetables. However an all veggie smoothie can be a bit too strong of a taste for some people to handle right off the bat. So adding in some fruit will sweeten it up and smooth it out. Bananas work well for giving a smooth texture as well as adding sweetness. Try some peaches, apples, and others to see what works well for you, and to add variety.

As for what kind of greens to use, that is up to you. Use a variety to spice up your life, as well as avoiding the overload that can come from eating only one type of vegetable for days at a time. I highly recommend spinach and kale as some of the healthiest basic veggies to include (one or the other) almost everyday. But go ahead and mix it up from one day to the next. Try different combinations to keep it fresh and interesting as well as healthy. Carrots are another great addition.

Another word of caution: Smoothies are a great way to get veggies into your diet, but be sure to eat some fresh and steamed veggies on a plate sometimes too. And don't overlook the importance of chewing.

Also remember that because the blender releases the nutrients from the food, it will lose nutritional value very rapidly. So just make enough for one meal, and drink it as if sitting down to a meal.
In fact, do sit down at the table and enjoy it as a meal. Thinking about what you are eating and enjoying it, actually helps food to digest better. Have a meal time, even though it can be convenient to slurp on the go. Slurping on the go is not nearly as healthy. A stomach in a body at rest can work much better than in a body on the go.

The important thing is that whatever you have to do to get your greens, do it!"

Please submit your favorite green smoothie (blended salad) recipe(s). It could be as simple as a list of ingredients or it could include measurements of ingredients if you know them. Please send your favorite(s) either in a comment to this post or e-mailed to me at

In a few days, I'll publish the recipes along with a printable file.