Some more awareness and Hudson Valley micro-nutrition

In a piece timed for breast cancer awareness month, Dr. Joel Fuhrman highlights the role of flax and chia seeds in the prevention of breast cancer. Of course, they and other seeds have other great health benefits. He notes that flax seeds, as whole seeds, have benefits not offered by oils refined from flax because the seeds contain lignans and other micronutrients not present in a clear oil. For those people who are into scientifically based explanation of why foods are healthy the piece is very helpful–typical of Fuhrman’s writings.

Raw salad and fruit also plays a big role in reducing the risk of cancer, according to much research. (See Dr. Fuhrman’s site and books (such as the bestseller Eat to  Live) for more details. (Link is to book’s page at indie bookseller Alibris)  I here are a picture of two salads I ate at Kingston’s vegetarian Outdated (first row) and one I made and ate for dinner with ingredients from a great local grocery store.  You get the idea. The first salad features some (nut-based) vegan cheese; the restaurant makes its own. Raw nuts, like raw seeds, are a nutritional contributor. Also, less processed versions of foods containing strong ingredients tend to be most nutrient dense–another key Fuhrman principle. On the processing dimension of nutrient density, I would expect a product made by the artisanal Outdated to outperform many supermarket vegan products made with long ingredient lists, but probably not my natural foods store-bought ground seeds.

I have not pictured another great salad (ordered with no dressing) that I ate at Garden Cafe Woodstock. , one of four vegan restaurants in the area. The other three are Karma Road in New Paltz, Healthy Gourmet-To-Go in Saugerties, and Morgan’s Cat Cafe in Red Hook. The raw-foods manufacturer Johanna’s Raw Foods in Pine Plains, Eastern Dutchess County, which we mentioned in a recent post, doubles as a retail outlet with some tables.

I note that vegetarian entry Rosendale Cafe, also close by, has been featuring this more vegetable-rich-looking vegan curry as a menu-board special when it is not offering their more usual vegan garbanzo bean curry over rice. A webcam image of the restaurant’s menu board is frequently updated on the restaurant’s homepage.

I hope people will try a lot of these places without worrying about what I or someone else features on the web. The examples are meant as general inspiration–and of course I cannot offer medical advice!

Finally, ending where I began, the salad at the top is another example of nutrient density. It combines fresh fruit, dried apricot, raw radicchio and broccoli–all chopoped–some ground flax seed sprinkled from a container I keep in my refrigerator, and a simple dressing of 100-percent pomegranate juice.

The story of a meal

This blog is somewhat local-food oriented. In this post I illustrate ways to eat that avoid animal products and help to achieve health goals in a very scientifically supported way–with the twist that I illustrate my connection to sources of food that are in some relevant way local–a concern of many in this era of big conglomerates and their industrial ways.

I had found myself completely without of vegetables yesterday. Finding my local farmers market in the village of Rhinebeck virtually unreachable with all nearby parking taken, I went to the wayside stand that is part of Montgomery Place, a historic estate in the area (website link). I bought the vegetables pictured below (along with apples which are also in season currently, including some very interesting varieties–including antique varieties) grown here in the Hudson Valley):

(I could have bought good mushrooms that were locally grown, but had bought the shitakes in the picture at the two-store natural foods chain Sunflower Natural Foods Market.)

(I had noticed stirrings at another farm stand on E. Market St. on the outskirts of Rhinebeck but would not get back before their likely closing time. They are also a local entry to watch and marvel at, if only on occasional days. More things are open on Sundays in the village because it’s a market day.)

If I eat all of the things in the picture or maybe even what’s in that picture times 100, I am on the Fuhrman 6-week plan (more or less)–careening for my ideal weight if I were not there already by sticking to unlimited amounts of certain kinds of foods–all of them plant-derived, except for mushrooms, which are fungi, of course. In a moment, I bring in some foods that are also allowed, but only in limited quantities.

Now I add water; I use filtered.

I begin water-sauteing. If I were to use oil instead, I would be off the 6-week plan. (Fats in my diet are from whole-seed and whole-nut sources (or avocados), which are all allowed (and required) but only in limited amounts.)

I finish off with pasta made from lentils only. Lentils are in the legumes group, which are among the types of food that are required in minimum amounts. Legumes are also not limited. Pasta made with whole grain would be acceptable but in the strictly limited category.  (By the time I finish, I have supplemented quickly with some frozen spinach leaves from a huge supermarket package. I have also added no-salt, organic, canned tomatoes, as the base for the sauce–a concession to convenience and seasonal limitations.) Here is a picture of the dish on the plate.

The 6-week diet plan is explained in the book Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman. A second edition of this book came out not too many years ago. There are of course other plans that use similar dietary principles, emphasizing plant-based foods in what would be insanely large amounts in plans that fancy themselves more balanced.

Finally, just for fun and to add to the nutrition, I finished off with nutritional (edible) yeast, which to me tastes a lot like tangy cheese–making it a perfect pasta topping! This product is available in natural foods stores; I use a mail-order version from Fuhrman’s website, which comes in a package that reminds one of supermarket grated Parmesan cheese. There is no reason any nutritional yeast is necessary.

Fuhrman’s brand is not fortified with vitamin B12, but many are. As many will know, B12 is one of the handful of nutrients not found in any plant in significant amounts, so as a vegan I must use a supplement or foods that essentially contain a supplement. Dr. Fuhrman’s plans can be done without being a vegan, but I had wanted to be a vegan for a long time when I started his plan about 10 years ago. For nonvegans, most Fuhrman plans would be doable with a tiny amount of chicken or fish added to a dish like the one above.

So that is a day that illustrates my approach, which leans toward locally (Hudson Valley) grown produce; is vegan; and remains close to Dr. Fuhrman’s “nutritarian” 6-week plan, which really does almost seem to melt weight off in the initial weeks and keep things stable thereafter. I hope you take a look at his book for the details. Some may find a more compatible approach in one of his other books.

O+ for veg enthusiasts continues at cafe, elsewhere

Along with other events of interest to readers doubtless taking place in the mid-Hudson Valley this evening, Uptown Kingston, New York’s vegetarian Outdated Cafe hosts an official O+ event tonight. I mentioned this annual 3-day event, providing some links, in my previous post.  Tonight, the Wall St. restaurant is offering vegetarian and vegan baked goods as well as cafe beverages, made with house made nut milks on request–great for vegans! (The kitchen is otherwise closed for the day.) They remain open after their usual 4 pm closing hour through the special event (a Literary Salon) which starts at 7:30 pm.

Covering the event with a cover story is Almanac Weekly. On the worldwide web, they can be found at HudsonValleyOne.

Johanna Sophia tries her hand at summit; festival approaches

Johanna Sophia of Johanna’s Raw Foods in Pine Plains, New York hosts a raw foods summit online! Here is a link sent by Johanna to her mailing list. Watch out, as Johanna’s spiel begins without warning when you reach the front page. The summit requires a quick sign-up procedure, where you provide your name and email address. I recall a wonderful alternative French food adventure at her restaurant a few years ago in the setting of rural Pine Plains.  I was one of a group of intrepid Hudson Valley Vegans. I have not listened to much yet, so I cannot offer an opinion about the quality of the interviews, but any Summit from Johanna promises to be of interest–and people will want to decide for themselves! Of course, feel free to offer your thoughts below; just press “add a comment.” Johanna’s products are all vegan and hers is the only raw food restaurant that I know of in the mid-Hudson Valley.

By the way, I apologize for a bad link in my previous post to Ocean Robbins’s Food Revolution Network.

In nearby Ulster County, O+ (pronounced “oh positive” like the blood type), a big festival featuring musical acts and other events to benefit health care for local artists, takes place Friday through Saturday around Kingston. This event is not specifically vegan, but there is for example an event at the Guatamalan-American fusion Peace Nation Cafe (site under construction), which has is rated “veg-options” by the demanding reviewers of Happy Cow. 

The O+ event is not specifically about veganism, but its theme overlaps our own, in its connection to health. This new blog will occasionally feature links of this type, while remaining at the intersection of the trio of healthy eating, veganism and  vegetarianism, and the mid-Hudson Valley.