Going Vegan for the Holidays

...Most weight gain, studies show, happens during the holidays. But you can stuff your face, not stuff a turkey that had to die for stuffing (Google it) and eat to your healthy heart’s content. Starting with the day before Thanksgiving, the phone rang with a request from a Tampa TV station to do a story about what to make for vegans who to come for dinner. I had come back 12 hours before from speaking at the Miami Seed Food and Wine Festival, their VegFest. It was a bad hair day, but I clipped it back, remembered that from 18 years in TV news, nobody remembers what you look like in a potent 10 second interview, and within an hour the crew was there. To my surprise, the story that aired at different times on two different newscasts were long and full of multiple sound bites. No money in broccoli, but I definitely see signs that the interest in getting off animal agriculture is snowballing. The recent United Nations Climate Change Conference is the umpteenth time the world has tried to figure out how to address the growing body of scientific evidence that climate change is human-caused. An even larger snowballing movement is trying to get the world to sign on to what the United Nations has said for almost a decade: giving up animal agriculture will do more to reduce greenhouse gasses than giving up driving altogether. As a result, vegetarian, vegan or not, the interest in trying to reduce dependence on meat for protein is almost overwhelming. On Thanksgiving Day, I had the great pleasure of beginning...

8 Questions With Laura Theodore, The Jazzy Vegetarian

...   Long time vegan and host of the PBS TV series “The Jazzy Vegetarian,” Laura Theodore, has just written a new book just in time for holiday gift giving. It’s called Vegan-Ease, a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to eat delicious food and get healthy. I recently talked to Laura about her journey to the vegan lifestyle. Ellen: How long have you been vegan and why? Laura: I first gave up red meat in 1982, for both better health and for ethical reasons. I then began my journey toward becoming vegetarian, and then fully vegan. I have been vegan about 7 years. 2. Tell us about your previous books and what inspired you to write them? I started writing my first cookbook in 1994. I had been creating recipes for many, many years and decided to start writing them down, so they could be shared. My first book, Jazzy Vegetarian, was inspired by the vegan recipes that I had been creating since the 1990’s, many based on vegan versions of my mother’s and grandmother’s omnivorous recipes. Jazzy Vegetarian Classics, was inspired by my continuing quest to veganize family favorites, while making them tasty, easy and delicious! 3. What inspired you to write this one? I realized that I, like so many other people, struggle more and more to have enough time to get a healthy, plant-based meal on the table every night. So I decided to pen a book dedicated to sharing all of my quick and easy recipes, ideas and tips for making meals at home delicious and satisfying, but at the same time, reducing the time spent...

“Nutrition Champs” Nails It

...I was reading Jill Nussinow’s work years before I had the pleasure of meeting her. As “The Veggie Queen,” she reached out to me almost a decade ago when I debuted my “Vegcoach” website with my daughter’s (now a well-known London artist) running carrot. Two years ago, when I was a guest chef at Dr. John McDougall’s Advanced Study weekend, she picked me up at my hotel and escorted me to the store where she spent several hours helping me pick out food for my cooking demo for 300…something she had done many times before. She was more than generous with her time and ideas, then and in many chats we’ve had since then. When she proposed the idea to write “Nutrition Champs” and offering an opportunity to pick a few ingredients we know and love to fill some of the pages of her new book, I jumped at the idea. Maybe it was a secret desire to declare my undying love of brussels sprouts. Who knows. But I’m glad many others chimed in too, and that Jill gave us all this opportunity. What a great collection of recipes and ideas! I hope you’ll agree.   My recipes she included are here. Stir-Fry Toppings When we hear the advice, “Eat the colors of the rainbow,” we often assume
this mainly applies to vibrant colors of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. But it is important to keep gorgeous colors in cooked food too, which is your insurance policy to resist disease with a recipe packed with anti-oxidants. The key to keeping color in cooked food is not overcooking. If you can...

Vegan Complicated? Rare Inside Month-Long Look at Hospital Food, As Non-Vegan Hubby Almost Dies

...The day before Halloween, my 80 year-old husband (he’s 18 years older than me) said, “Ya know, I think I pulled a muscle climbing on the roof yesterday.” A few hours later, “Ya know, I think we need to get this checked out.” When you go to the emergency room, in many hospitals, they have a protocol called, “From ER to Balloon in 60 Minutes.” When you walk in and say, “I have chest pain,” and an EKG confirms heart attack in progress, bells and whistles go off. Clarence, my husband, was in surgery for 3 stents within 30 minutes. He came within an hour of dying. I had always thought heart attacks were more noticeable, especially in men. My sister had several, and didn’t even know it before she had her first bypass surgery. Clarence had asked the cardiologist not to do bypass, if possible. But in trying to insert the stent in the third artery, the video the cardiologist showed me later, captured the vessel blowing up. Two bypass surgeries were scheduled for the next morning. I’d watched too many relatives go through this. But it had been a few years, and the technology was mind boggling. If you know anyone who can affect change…politicians, non-profits…please forward. For anyone who says a vegan diet is complicated, THIS is complicated:   Think a vegan diet is difficult? THIS is difficult. Difficult for the patient. Difficult for any loved one to watch.   Isn’t eating colors of the rainbow much easier?   Can you imagine how much money it costs to educate people to understand all of this?   Google...

PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50 Contest—Why I Entered

...How could I not? A few years ago, some of my friends began asking me to enter PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) “Sexiest Vegan Over 50” contest. I had all kinds of excuses why I didn’t. Part of it was that I was busy with my three books. Part of it was that I was busy teaching cooking classes and traveling around the country doing talks, training for marathons and doing food demonstrations. Another factor was I wanted my books to stand on their own merit. I love breaking and bursting vegan myths. My books, Eat Vegan on $4 a Day, Kitchen Divided, and Paleo Vegan are all about that. I even contributed a free chapter to Eating, Running and Thinking…proceeds to charity. As a financial consultant, I learned that some corporations often did not care about helping the environment. But when you show them how much money they could save by recycling, then all of a sudden they cared and promoted saving the environment. Keep in mind that when I went to college I was part of many feminist issues and movements. I was the first woman to anchor the evening news at the TV station I worked at. I was in college and helped establish on campus some of the first women’s self-help clinics oin the US. I broke the glass ceiling becoming a videographer for a TV station that was unheard of in television news. Farmers and law-enforcement and Des Moines, Iowa, laughed when I pulled up to a news story wearing the incredibly heavy and made-for-men, huge battery belts and camera equipment. I had one of the first unpaid maternity leaves for...

Wonder What Vegan Is Like?

...Plenty of athletes use a vegan or plant-based diet to enhance performance. As I like to say, plants enhance. This growing list of athletes includes legendary frequent ultra marathoner winner, Scott Jurek, to triathlete Brendan Brazier, and to amazing body-builders such as Robert Cheeke. Check out his site www.veganbodybuilding.com for an incredible array of athletes, male and female who do it all ‘just’ on plants. So what’s all the buzz about? Many athletes, myself included, find that a plant-based diet reduces inflammation, speeds recovery and manages weight optimally. A vegan diet, or plant-based as the terms go, mean eating nothing with a mother or a face. No meat products which includes no dairy or eggs as well. Have you wondered what it’s like to eat a plant-based diet? President Bill Clinton reversed his heart disease and avoided a third heart procedure, in addition to losing a needed 25 pounds. Some people think a vegan diet doesn’t seem interesting or full of variety. I answer, Mother Nature got it right by giving us thousands of fruits and vegetables all colors of the rainbow. In the animal kingdom, food is pretty much brown, brown and brown. Nature wanted to make sure we ate our fruits and vegetables by making them so colorful and appealing. If you aren’t ready to go au natural completely, there are plenty of processed foods to help you make the transition. Many food companies such as Tofurkey, Fieldroast, Sophie’s Kitchen and Gardein are several of the most popular animal substitutes or analogs, as they are called. These companies are creating foods that look like everything from shrimp, chicken...

Using a Certified Coach or Trainer—Worth It? Drives Me Nuts…

...We get so boxed in sometimes, don’t we? I recently got trained as a Golden Hearts® Instructor. I’ve been a certified personal trainer for 4 years through the Aerobics and Fitness Association, and have been a Road Runners Club of America certified running coach for 5 years, and informally coaching since hanging out as a gym rat as a kid. Some of you may know I’m currently 7th in the US W60-641500 meters, 10th in the 400 meters and more, plus I’ve placed in 71 5K races for my age group since 2006. My publisher reminds me frequently that it takes decades to be an overnight success and that his favorite book he recommends to all authors is, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” I haven’t. But I didn’t get the patience gene, and doing all that I do, I sometimes wonder what it takes to get the attention of in particular, the national media. The first step is getting the attention of the “choir;” vegans who understand that a plant-based diet is the best kept secret in America and beyond. Add to that, running, and the equation is magical. Keeping off excess weight, feeling great and having lots of energy is ridiculously easy. I’ve been lucky to have the support of vegan doctors like Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. John McDougall. With Dr. Barnard, first as a staff Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine media consultant, then as a trained Cancer Project cooking instructor for 6 years before the book tour took over my schedule. And Dr. McDougall in his patient answering questions in e-mails, and then inviting me as a guest chef to their...

Labor Day Vegan BBQ Ideas

...Stressing over what to eat/make with all those meat-eaters around? Stress no more. If you have my book, “Eat Vegan on $4 a Day,” you’ll find 3 burger recipes. They’ll all do fine on the grill. Nothing wrong with putting lots of sweet, chunky veggies on a skewer. Use a stainless basket or veggie grill to place over the BBQ grill. Be sure to spray it with non-stick spray so the veggies won’t stick. Nothing like sweet onions, corn, tomatoes and sweet peppers oozing their juices!  If you need more ideas, don’t forget to check out the awesome resource: “Grills Gone Vegan”   Here’s my fav burger…full of protein, flavor, crunch, and even garlic to keep mosquitoes away!   BILLFOLD-SAVER black bean burgers–From “Eat Vegan on $4 a Day” (Signed Copies Here) MAKES 8 BURGERS (4 SERVINGS) These veggie-filled burgers are great to have on hand so you can easily make a quick, nutritious meal. They can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen either before or after they are cooked. 2 slices whole wheat bread 1 3/4 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained 1/2 cup rolled oats 1/4 cup finely chopped white button mushrooms 1/4 cup finely chopped onion 2 tablespoons salsa 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes 2 garlic clovers, minced 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 2 teaspoons vegetable oil Toast the bread lightly and tear it into medium-sized pieces. Put the pieces in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. Mash the beans in a large bowl with a fork or potato masher, leaving some chunks. Add the breadcrumbs, oats, carrot, mushrooms, onion, salsa, nutritional yeast...

Hometowner and Former St. Louis Reporter’s Perspective: A Vegan Diet and More Could Help Ferguson

...When I turned 18, I couldn’t wait to leave St. Louis. The word people often used to describe the city was “provincial.” It was a euphemism for segregated. Backwards. Old-fashioned. Way behind the times. Many people my age who grew up in West County can relate. We had never driven south of Highway 55 or north of Highway 70. You just didn’t. When I left St. Louis, I left in a big way. I joined a musical singing and dancing group and traveled the world. I became a TV investigative reporter and after working 6 years including 2 in Miami, I did what many people are compelled to do: return to their hometown. I’ve read that research shows we often are subconsciously compelled to return to our childhood haunts as a result of early smells, aromas and odors that imprint in our olfactory memories. It seemed like a good idea at the time. A good place to raise a family. Which I did. I would eventually leave again for personal reasons. But when I returned to St. Louis as a reporter, after having worked in Miami which operated under 1 municipal government, coming back to St. Louis was a major culture shock. There were 99 municipalities when I lived there, and according to multiple sources, it has gained one more since I lived there. The list is below. When I grew up there, my brother-in-law was the Lt. Governor. My sister ran for the US Senate twice. I hung out with the youngest elected state representative. He was from Ferguson, a predominately white, but changing neighborhood. That’s another story. Then, as...