Sunday, November 14, 2010

E2 Immersion Program for Whole Foods Employees

I am super excited to hear how Whole Foods has totally embraced the Vegan Plant Based Diet! They are putting their at risk employees through an "immersion" program where they will learn how to prepare healthy meals and understand the importance of whole plant foods.  This is new on the Engine 2 Diet website:

"Rip Esselstyn created the Engine 2 Diet to help Americans lose weight, lower cholesterol, significantly reduce the risk of disease, and become physically fit — in just four weeks. The Engine 2 Immersion Program was designed in partnership with Whole Foods to serve Whole Foods’ team members that are currently at risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and other diet-driven western diseases.

Over the course of an intensive 5 day program in the beautiful Hill Country of Austin, Texas, E2 Immersion participants join Rip, his father Dr. Caldwell B. Esslestyn, Jr. of the Cleveland Clinic, renowned nutrition expert Jeff Novick, Dr. Pam Popper, and a host of other extraordinary experts for a life-changing experience. They will receive information & education about the powerful influence that diet has on the body’s health, as well as extensive training on implementing a plant-strong lifestyle in their homes."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vegan On The Go, How to Make Healthy Choices Outside the Home

It definitely requires preparation if you want to stick with eating a healthy plant based diet inside and outside the home.   If you do not plan ahead, do not expect good results. It's just that simple.

Here are some tips for eating outside the home in different scenarios:

Eating at Non Vegan Friendly Restaurants
  • If you can't pick the restaurant, call ahead and let the chef know that you will require a dish free of animal foods and oil.  
  • If you forget to call ahead, let the waiter know as soon as you sit down and find out if the chef can put together a platter of vegetable side dishes and a salad with oil free dressing.
  • I have found that even steak houses in the area will accomidate us with a really nice veggie platter and there is one that even does a homemade oat/veggie burger near our home.
  • Don't order the Kid's Meal for your kids!  Kid's Meals have some of the most unhealthy choices on the menu.  Instead, split an adult size vegetarian dinner between smaller kids and have them munch on raw veggies in the car on the way to dinner so they aren't "starving" when the meal arrives.
 Dinner at a Friend or Family members home
  • Let them know upon being invited that you are eating vegetarian fare and offer to bring a dish to share.
  • If they insist on cooking, offer to send them some recipe ideas that are easy to make and don't require special ingredients.  I always point people to my favorite easy to make recipes on my blog and others like the Fat Free Vegan Blog and VegWeb.
Eating at a Birthday Party
  • If the party is at a Bounce House or other party facility where pizza is served, call ahead to the managers and let them know that your child will require a pizza without cheese and at least one veggie topping.
  • When it comes to birthday cake, we've been lucky to have a vegan cake at the majority of parties thanks to my wonderful circle of friends.  But of course there are some parties where the cake is not vegan and that is when I let them choose, so long as the cake was home made.  If it's store bought and the icing is loaded with food dyes I will let them eat the cake but not the icing.
  • Soda, Commercially prepared juices, Sports Beverages and Slurpee type drinks are off limits for my kids always.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

VegWeb Holiday Recipes Page

You can now get lots of Vegan recipe and menu ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas on VegWeb.  They have an entire page organized with "Must Have Recipes", "Forum Chatter", "Around The Web" links.

The "Must Have Recipes" include two of my favorites: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cashew Butter Sauce and The Ultimate Pumpkin Cheesecake.

The "Around The Web" section provides links to various other sites including the Farm Sanctuary Adopt-A- Turkey, which is what we do on Thanksgiving instead of eating one.  I'll talk more about the Adopt-A-Turkey program on a future post!

Mitch Spinach to the Rescue!

There's a great new children's book series that Dr. Fuhrman is promoting. The first book, which is available for purchase now is called "The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach".  The main character, Mitch, eats "high-powered fruit and vegetable smoothies that give him special powers, such as super-sonic hearing and amazing night vision, which help him tackle problems and solve mysteries at Sunchoke Elementary."

Finally a book that relates eating healthy with having "super hero powers"!  I'm totally buying this book and I'll post my review and the reaction of the kids at our weekly homeschool enrichment day.

Creamy Pumpkin Smoothie

I was recently inspired to create my own version of a Creamy Pumpkin Smoothie after trying the recipe on Fat Free Vegan. I didn’t like how the recipe made a very heavy liquid pumpkin pie. I like to eat Pumpkin Pie but somehow the texture of drinking one just didn’t work for my tastebuds.

So, here’s my version of the Creamy Pumpkin Smoothie. It serves 2-4 depending on how big your serving is:

  • 1 1/2-2 cups Publix Greenwise Original Soymilk (Has no chalky aftertaste. You can use Almond milk if you don’t like Soy)
  • 1 medium size ripe banana (if you use a frozen banana don't add ice)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Organic Canned Pumpkin (Not Pumpkin Pie Mix!)
  • 4-6 whole cashews
  • 1 raw Majool Date
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 8 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth.  Add a bowl of fruit and you have a super healthy and filling breakfast.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Watch Dr. Fuhrman Live at the World Preservation Foundation Conference in London!

The following information was taken from a Press Release on

Dr. Fuhrman will be speaking at the World Preservation Foundation Conference on Wednesday, November 3rd at London's House of Parliament. He will address the general assembly and also provide a breakout session for world leaders who want more in-depth information about his nutritional discoveries about preventing and reversing disease and reducing human suffering and the economic burden of chronic diseases.

Dr. Fuhrman's message of improving lives through healthful eating - by embracing a diet-style rich in micronutrients - is receiving worldwide acclaim as thousands of cases demonstrate the reversal of conditions traditionally considered incurable, from heart disease and diabetes to high blood pressure and autoimmune disorders. His program has also allowed thousands of patients to lose weight quickly, safely and permanently.

You can watch the live webcast of the event at

The Myth of Moderation: Do All Foods Really Fit?

This insightful guest post is written by Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN. and shared on with permission.  Jeff has over 24 years of experience in nutrition, health, fitness and natural living. He offers expert health advice distilled into powerful, easy-to-understand language on a variety of current topics.  Jeff’s insightful and humorous approach to nutrition and health has helped thousands worldwide make the transition to healthy living.  He has written and produced a variety of informational and entertaining DVD's on health and Plant Based Nutrition.  The photo is from

You know what they say when it comes to what to eat, “everything in moderation.”

Whether it is chocolate, wine, red meat, dessert, etc. Nothing is bad, in and of itself, as long as we just don’t consume too much of it. But, how do we define “too much” and how do we know if we have surpassed this?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Our current concept of “everything in moderation” comes from ancient Greece, where at the temple of Apollo at Delphi there was the inscription, “Meden Agan” or “Nothing in Excess.” From this, we got the concept of doing something “in moderation” which means, not doing it excessively. Therefore, someone who moderates their food consumption may choose to eat food from all food groups, but will limit their intake of those foods that may cause deleterious effects to harmless levels.

So, how are we doing in this area?

The items we know that are causing harm to Americans right now are the excess consumption of added sugars, refined grains, sodium, fat, and saturated fat.

So, how much does the average American consume of these?

Added Sugars – 242% over the recommended upper limit.
Refined Grains – 200% over the recommended upper limit.
Sodium – 229% over the recommended upper limit.
Saturated fats – 158% over the recommended upper limit.
Solid fats – 281% over the recommended upper limit.

Therefore, these are 5 items we can no longer consume “in moderation” as their current level of consumption is far beyond the level we know to cause harm. The only solution is a dramatic reduction in the amounts we consume of these items. Then, and only then, perhaps we can again, consume these things in moderation.

However, there is also a flip side to the saying “everything in moderation.” There are items that we know are very beneficial, that we should be consuming a certain amount of in order to gain their benefit. These are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber.

So, how much does the average American consume of these?

Fruits – only 42% of the recommended minimum intake.
Vegetables – only 59% of the recommended minimum intake.
Whole Grains – only 15% of the recommended minimum intake.
Fiber – only 40% of the recommended minimum intake.
Therefore, these are also items we can no longer consume in moderation as their current level of consumption is far below the level we know to be beneficial. The only solution is a dramatic increase in the amounts we consume of these items. Then, and only then, perhaps we can again, consume these things in moderation.

I have posted recent graphs from the USDA that show these points.

In addition, over 2/3′s of Americans are currently overweight and over 1/3 are obese. We did not get this way by consuming “all things in moderation.” We got this way by consuming many things, and many of the wrong things, in excess. Great excess. And, the USDA figures in the above graph, bears this out as since 1970, the average American consumes 30% more calories with most of these calories coming from added sugars, solid fats, saturated fats and refined grains.

Even the saying from the American Dietetic Association, “All foods fit,” has been taken out of context. The original saying is not “all foods fit,” but, “All foods can fit into a healthful diet ‘if’ consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with regular physical activity.”
As we see, Americans’ are not consuming foods in moderation nor are we engaged in regular activity as over 70% of Americans do not even meet the minimum recommendations for activity/exercise. This is why the current concepts of”everything in moderation” and “all foods fit” for the average American today is a myth.

Moderation is no longer an option in regard to calories, or in regard to the foods we know can be harmful, or in regard to the foods we know to be beneficial. We are so far from what constitutes healthy in America, that we have much work to do to get back to where we could once again discuss moderation. Rationalizing the over consumption of harmful foods, or the minimal consumption of beneficial foods, with a saying that does not apply to our situation, will not help us.

We have to at least double the intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber just to reach the minimum recommendations. In addition, we have to cut our consumption of added sugars, fat, sat fat and sodium in at least half just to get down to the upper level of the recommended limits.

Moderation will not help accomplish this.

We need a dramatic shift in our understanding of our current situation and the solution we take.

Monday, November 1, 2010

World Vegan Day is Today. Take the Pledge!

In honor of World Vegan Day on November 1st, I am offering Free Group Coaching to those who want to take a 7 to 14 day pledge to consume an animal free diet. 

On Facebook I offered the first 10 people who responded free email coaching and I already have more than 10 people interested!  So, in order to not overwhelm myself I will do the group coaching for anyone else who really wants to take the pledge.

You can start by going to my Yahoo Group, Optimal Health for Everyone.  You can also take the Pledge on the Vegan Society website but do not select that you want a mentor if you want your mentor to be me!

For more information on World Vegan Day you can go to the Vegan Society website and download a booklet called "Eating The Earth".