Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Myth About Protein In Our Diet

Question: Where do you get your protein?

This is one of the most common questions people ask when they learn that I eat a raw vegan diet.

Nomi Shannon, author of the best selling and amazing raw vegan book "The Raw Gourmet" came up with a wonderful response that I'd like to share with you - she has given me permission to reprint the following:

"Most of us have been raised with the notion that a lot of protein is good for us. The meat and dairy industries depend on that attitude. But, ponder this for a moment: What is the most perfect food for a human being when it needs it most, as a newborn infant? You guessed it- it is mother's milk. There is no other time in the life of a person when growth will be so dramatic.

The infant will triple or quadruple in size in its first year and needs more protein to grow on than at any other time in its entire life span. And just how much protein is in mother's milk? The answer may surprise you. The amount of protein in mother's milk is approximately 2.5 to 3.5%. Compare that to the amount of protein in cows milk at 30%.

A baby cow needs to gain hundreds of pounds of mass in its first year, while it's relatively small brain does not need to grow very much; quite obviously different than the needs of a human baby.

If the amazing growth in the first year of life is perfectly served by the amount of protein in mother's milk, why would any human being ever need more? The answer is, he/she does not need more protein than that.

One of the biggest mistakes in a SAD (Standard American Diet) is the consumption of too much protein. One of the saddest and most dramatic effects of a high protein diet is a negative calcium balance leading to osteoporosis in an older person. Habitual consumption of high protein forces the calcium in the body to act as a buffer to the high acid state created in the digestion of protein. The current medical advice to consume more and more calcium in the form of milk products, oyster shell calcium and over the counter digestive aids such as Tums cannot reverse the calcium loss in the bones due to excess protein consumption. Excess protein robs our bones of the very substance they need to maintain their strength. Osteoporosis is not a disease due to calcium deficiency; it is due to a lifelong consumption of too much protein.

As for a vegetarian, vegan and raw food diet, all the leafy greens and sprouts contain protein. If you are eating lots of fresh raw leafy greens and sprouts, along with a moderate amount of nuts and seeds, there is usually no reason to be concerned about your protein intake.

For those who continue to be concerned or who have higher protein needs, such as athletes and growing children, raw sunflower seeds and raw tahini (sesame seed butter) in particular, are very digestible sources of protein and they are very economical compared to other nuts and seeds. Shakes and dressings made with a tahini base are excellent for people with weak digestion, the ill, the elderly and children. Tahini is not only a good protein source, but it is also high in calcium, good fat and it is alkalizing".

Nomi Shannon, A.K.A. The Raw Gourmet, is the author of the best selling raw vegan book The Raw Gourmet, and co-author of Raw Food Celebrations. In 2008 Nomi was awarded three ‘Best of Raw Awards’ for Best Raw Educator, Favorite Raw Chef and Favorite Raw Book. In 2009’s ‘Best of Raw’, Nomi placed in the top 5 in five categories, her personal favorite being: “funniest raw woman”.

Raw since 1987, Nomi has been featured in Alive magazine, Get Fresh, San Diego North County Times, Galveston News, as well as numerous radio shows. Nomi offers a free online newsletter as well as a free 7 part email class at

I truly hope the above explanation helps to clarify the myth of protein in our diet. I personally have not eaten animal protein in over 30 years, have hardly eaten dairy in the last 20, and enjoyed excellent health and energy throughout all these years, including 2 pregancies - one with twins. Benny & I have raised our 3 children on a (mostly) vegan diet and they have also enjoyed optimum health, strong teeth and bones, no illnesses or digestive issues.

As we get older we need to be much more conscious of everything we put in our bodies, especially if we want to be free of disease and pain in later years.

Moderation is key. So is trying new things.

Wishing you wonderful health:
physical, mental, emotional and spiritual!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Veggie Sushi

While observing a friend make sushi at a party a while ago I was inspired to create my own veggie's so easy and fun to make, and a good combination of healthy ingredients is just as tasty (if not tastier!) and filling, without the fish.

I have since made it on at least a 1/2 dozen occasions, for my family, parties and pot lucks, and the feedback is always very positive, so I decided to share the recipe here.

Roasted Seaweed - each sheet makes 5 pieces
(best value is buying 50 in a bag at an Oriental Food Market)
Brown Rice
Thin, matchstick-like pieces of carrots, cucumbers, sprouts
(you can use avocado, red pepper, tomatoes, etc.)

For the sauce blend the following:
2 handfuls of walnuts
2 stalks of celery
1 Tbs lemon/lime juice
1 minced garlic
2 shakes of curry powder
* Optional -Sea Salt

Also use:

Ginger dressing (homemade or from the market)

Bragg (Healthy Soy Sauce substitute)

Cook rice and lentils together - 3/4 cup of brown rice and 1/4 cup lentils to 2 cups water.
When water has boiled, put in rice and lentils on medium low for approx. 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables and sauce.

When all is ready, mix the sauce with the rice and lentils.
Lay out the Seaweed Sheet on a mat, flat plate or cutting board.
Drop a spoonful of the ginger dressing and spread all around.
Put 2 Tbs of the rice mixture along the edge closest to you, and lay a few pieces of vegetables.

Start rolling it away from you until it's done, and set aside on a plate.
Continue the same with each one and then put the plate full of your rolls in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to 'settle'. (Can be longer, but not shorter than that or they may fall apart when you slice them.)

With a
very sharp knife, slice each end of the roll off, and then slice your pieces to about 3/4".

To present your sushi attractively, place on a white tray or plate with space between each piece, decorate with garnish and perhaps a few sprinkles of Soy Sauce.

Tastes extra great dipped in Soy Sauce so have some available in a little bowl on the side. Use your fingers, or some chopsticks, and enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

'Hearty' Treats!

Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to create 'hearty', healthy, decorative and festive treats for your loved ones.

Below are some fun and easy ideas I've used...

Now is a perfect time to purchase these tools since hearts are everywhere, in every shape and form - Heart shaped cookie cutters and heart shaped ice cube trays.

Find a heart shaped cake mold and try the following:

Cook couscous, quinoa or any grain you want. Make sure it's moist and not dry. Pack it into the cake mold and then put a big flat plate over it and turn it upside down to transfer. Tap a few times in case it sticks and very gently and carefully lift up and your heart shape will pop out like a sandcastle ready to decorate.

Put a heart cookie cutter on top and pour tomato sauce in, lift and you have a beautiful creation. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Slice like pie since it might break up using a spoon and supply extra sauce or dressing.

Spread tomato sauce over the top, put olives in a heart shape cookie cutter, lift, and voila! Decorate with chick peas all around to make a lovely dinner table centerpiece.

Another cute idea using the smaller cookie cutter.

Make a very fine chopped salad with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers and pack it into the heart shaped mold. Turn it over and transfer onto a flat plate. Then lift and add extra tomatoes around the edges to frame the heart shape and create a healthy and beautiful masterpiece!

Make the nut ball mixture (a recipe you can read in a previous blog post) and pack into the heart shaped ice cube tray. Freeze for an hour, then push out, serve in mini cupcake papers and enjoy.

Make heart shaped orange juice ice cubes and serve with champagne for Mimosas!

or cool your champagne with frozen strawberries, whole or half.

Use large cookie cutters to create Heart Shaped Sandwiches & Heart Shaped Pancakes.

Hope you enjoy creating your own
beautiful heart shaped treats.
Wishing you lots of good eatin' & lovin' !

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keep Your Resolutions Alive...

Okay, so you made your resolutions on the 1st of January to eat healthier, lose those extra pounds and get in shape, but somehow the 'oomph' is gone and you need some motivation...

Here are a few reminders to help you get back on track, keep up good habits, and be a good example for your family and the people around you:

  • Drink lots of water - keep a bottle with you at all times.
  • Fill your refrigerator with an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep your food processor, blender and juicer on your counter and use them!
  • Take the time to prepare a salad at least once a day.
  • Cook and prepare food at home as much as possible.
  • Only eat when you're hungry - listen to your body.
  • Avoid salt and processed sugars.
  • Read the ingredients on every single label - know what you are putting into your body.
  • Try not to eat after 8 or 9 PM.

If you must eat in the evening make a bowl of air popped popcorn, preferably an apple, have a frozen banana, peel a grapefruit, make a cup of your favorite tea.

When you're on the go, take along an apple, banana, some grapes, a bag of nuts & raisins (unsalted) and sliced veggies, so you won't be hungry and grab something unhealthy later on.

Keep carrot and celery sticks in your frig. at all times. Buy already prepared or make them yourself (preferable). Keep them in water and they will stay fresh, crispy and tasty. When you feel like snacking they'll be ready for you to have with some hummus, dip, or your favorite dressing.

Buy cereal like puffed corn, puffed wheat and puffed rice that has no salt or sugar. They are great to snack on while watching a movie or going on a long trip. Arrowhead Mills makes a number of different kinds and you can find them at Whole Foods or local supermarkets.

When you go to a party or gathering where everyone brings food to share, treat them to a beautiful fruit or vegetable platter with dip or dressing. That way you will be sure to have something healthy to eat and those around you will appreciate it as well.

Enjoy, and please share this blog with at least 3 people!