Archive for category vegan/ vegetarian

cookbook review: Protein Ninja

protein ninja

Protein Ninja by Terry Hope Romero. Da Capo Press| February 2016| 232 pages | $22.99| ISBN: 978-0-7382-1849-6

RATING: ***/5*

If you’re a vegan, you’ve definitely been asked where do you get your protein or do you get enough protein. Always questions on a vegan’s protein sources but never asking about vitamins, nutrients or fiber. But that’s another thing entirely.

Terry Hope Romero writes in the introduction: “These recipes are my current answer to the new question ‘How ELSE will I get my protein?’ in the midst of an overbooked life. Booked with fun and important stuff (usually), but still in control of someone who loves food, loves to cook, and would rather spend a little extra time in the kitchen one night for several days of better breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and even dinners.”

I’ll definitely make the delicious steamed seitan recipe [I use her Salad Samurai cookbook]. Also she includes lots of yummy burger recipes to try as well smoothie bowls which are quite popular these days and an easy way to boost your protein level. Romero uses various protein powders—brown rice protein powder, hemp protein powder pea protein powder– in her recipes, something I haven’t used or been able to afford. Pea and brown rice protein powder are less expensive, on Amazon, for $16.00 for a two pound container. Hemp protein power runs $16.00 for a 16 oz. container. Most recipes call for 1/4 cup or more of protein powder. And if protein powders aren’t included the recipes require other pricey items such as dates, cashews or hazelnuts.

There’s the Chocolate Avocado Smoothie Bowl and Strawberry ‘N’ Protein Chia Pudding. For baked goods I want to try Hempy Corn Bread. Instead of the super popular avocado toast why not try Chickpea Pesto Tomato Toast or Garam Masala Red Lentil Toast. Can’t have a vegan cookbook without burger recipes. Find recipes for Super Hemp Protein Beet Burgers, Sunny Oat Burgers and Green Goddess Burgers. Have you noticed that grain and noodle bowls are all the rage? Five-Spice Chickpea Peanut Noodle Bowl sounds appetizing. For dessert I’d make Black Bean Hemp Brownies or Hazelnut Chip Navy Blondies. So hit the gym and power up!

Protein Ninja is divided into these sections: Stealth Vegan Protein: a Protein Ninja Primer; The Protein Ninja Pantry; Ninja Basics; Unstoppable Smoothie Bowls and Granola; Stealthy Protein Pankcakes, Waffles, and Much Much More; The Protein Bakery Basket; Super Toast: Savory and Sweet; Protein-Packed Patties and Burgers; Better than Ever Burger Bowls; Grain and Noodle Bowls; Sweet Treats.

Terry Hope Romero is author of Salad Samurai, Vegan Eats World and co-author of Veganomicon–the best vegan cookbook and essential must-have for all vegans. She lives in Queens, New York.

 FTC Disclosure: I received this for review from Da Capo Press.

–review by Amy Steele

purchase at Amazon: Protein Ninja: Power through Your Day with 100 Hearty Plant-Based Recipes that Pack a Protein Punch

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cookbook review: Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse

soupelina soup cleanse

Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse by Elina Fuhrman. Da Capo Press| February 2016| 265 pages | $24.99| ISBN: 978-0-7382-1888-5

RATING: *****/5*

The subtitle: Plant-Based Soups and Broths to Heal Your Body, Calm Your Mind, and Transform Your Life. Who doesn’t want all that? I’m in! Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse is packed with data about a plant-based diet to absorb before even diving into the cleanse. Why are cooking vegetables better than raw? Less bacteria, easier to digest and easier mineral absorption. In the chapter Diving In, author Elina Fuhrman discusses various tools and ingredients. She includes fascinating and useful facts about tons of veggies, fungi, legumes, fruits, spices and oils.

Arugula and romaine alkalize your system and clear your colon. Avocado has amino acids needed for effective liver detox. Cauliflower contains vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids! Cucumber flushes toxins and reduces heat and inflammation. Cabbage is another anti-inflammatory. Sweet potatoes “are known to fight cancer, but also elevate mood and slow down aging.” Onion boosts immunity and also has anti-inflammatory properties.

My favorite and most-used spices are cardamom, coriander, turmeric and cumin. Cardamom: “In Ayurveda, cardamom is prescribed to bring joy and clarity to the mind.” Coriander stimulates blood and relieves infections. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-aging power spice! Cumin operates as a digestive aid that “is an antidote to weakness and fatigue.”

Fuhrman explains: “Even though my delicious soups began as a way to heal myself, they became so much more than that.” She writes: “Healthy plant-based, veg-centered eating and wellness are taking the world by storm, infusing the media and pop culture and raising a new generation of healthy eaters. I’m so very proud to be a voice in this wellness revolution that I believe will transform the world and our health.”

Here’s the Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse summary:

Eat—eat one soup at each meal

Snack—snack on broths and some raw veggies

Drink—drink plenty of water between meals

Eliminate—you should have two bowel movements per day during the soup cleanse

Rest—“energy levels will fluctuate on a day-to-day and moment-to-moment basis. Listen to your gut.”

Avoid—avoid coffee, any sugar, animal protein, dairy, alcohol, wheat, nicotine, processed foods and fried foods

Consider—add wheatgrass and turmeric shots into the plan

Sleep—focus on how WELL you sleep not how long

Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse is divided into these sections: Introduction: My Walk into Wellness; Soup Up; The Balancing Act; Diving In; Soup-Rises; Soupelina Secrets—Make It Your Soup Cleanse; Time to Soup; The Recipes—Blended Soups, Chunky Soups, Broths, Raw Soups; I Am Done with the Cleanse; Now What?; Listen to Your Gut; Find Your Soup-Er Calm.

Recipes include: Cauliflower Me, Maybe?!; And the Beet Goes On; I Yam Who I Yam; With My Chick-a-Peas; Oh Snap!; The Perks of Being a Purple Cauliflower; I Don’t Carrot All What They Say.

This is a cleanse I’ll definitely do and soups I will make and enjoy. Soup is easy and filling and nutritious and delicious. Fuhrman uses a Vitamix which a costly appliance for many [$300-4600]. I’ll do what I can with the blender I own. You can eat these healthy and healing soups anytime not just on a cleanse. I highly recommend this #Soupelina cleanse and cookbook.

Elina Fuhrman is the founder and chef of Soupelina.

 FTC Disclosure: I received these cookbooks for review from Da Capo Press.

–review by Amy Steele

 

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purchase at Amazon: Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse: Plant-Based Soups and Broths to Heal Your Body, Calm Your Mind, and Transform Your Life

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cookbook review: Clean Green Eats

clean green eats

Clean Green Eats by Candice Kumai. HarperWave| 2015| $27.99| ISBN: 9780062388735

This is not a vegan cookbook but it’s a great starting point for those considering a vegan diet. Many vegan recipes included and those that aren’t can be veganized. It’s a visually stunning cookbook and there are numerous recipes in it that I enjoy: Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad; Sweet Kale Lemonade; Coconut-Date Scones; Kale Quinoa Tabbouleh; Parsnip and Leek Detox Soup; Green Matcha Tea Loaf Cake and Homemade Coconut Cake. Being clean and green means using less ingredients. The recipes are relatively straight-forward and don’t require impossible to locate ingredients.

I saw Candice Kumai on The Wendy Williams Show. Wendy went vegan recently and Candice shared several of her green recipes. Being clean green, she utilizes on many deep healthy greens like kale and broccoli rabe in her recipes. Here’s how Candice describes clean eating: “A lifestyle that involves consuming real food in or as close to its most natural state as possible. Eating to nourish and cleanse the body and mind. Educating yourself on where food comes from. Purchasing or growing foods that are nutritious, unprocessed, and sustainable.” She shares a green cleanse—a two week cleanse with green juices and avoiding dairy, added sugar, animal protein, alcohol, caffeine. Some clean detox foods include cabbage, cilantro, coconut oil, avocado, collard greens, extra-virgin olive oil, melon, kale and miso paste.

Clean Green Eats is divided into these sections: How to Eat Again; The Clean Green Cleanse; Clean Green Cleansing Juices and Smoothies; Green and Gorgeous Breakfasts and Brunches; Clean Green Salads; Clean Green Soups; Clean Green Snacks; Clean Green Burgers and Sandwiches; Clean Green Sides; Clean Green Veggie Mains; Clean Green Meat Mains; Clean Green Pizzas and Pastas; Clean Green Sweets and Treats; Clean Green Basics; and Ten Clean Green Salad Dressings.

At 23, Candice Kumai was the youngest chef competing on the first season of Top Chef. Her previous cookbooks include Cook Yourself Thin, Pretty Delicious, Cook Yourself Sexy and Clean Green Drinks.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Harper Collins.

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book review: Project Animal Farm

project animal farm

Project Animal Farm By Sonia Faruqi.
Pegasus Books| July 2015|390 pages |$27.95| ISBN: 978-1-60598-798-9

Rating: *****/5*

“The Miller mindset that we owe animals no more than food, water, and shelter is flawed.”

Even when you know that there’s mistreatment among dairy and animal farms, as I do, this remains a shocking and detailed expose into the disheartening and mostly cruel world of food production. I dare any meat eater to read this book and not think about the farm to table process. Author Sonia Faruqi worked on Wall Street after graduating from Dartmouth College. When the market plummeted and she lost her job, she decided it might be interesting to volunteer on a farm for a bit. A vegetarian, Faruqi visited a dairy farm, a pig farm, a chicken farm, an organic farm, a pastoral farm and a slaughter house in Canada. She then traveled to Indonesia, Malaysia, Dubai, Singapore and Belize and then Vermont [primary agricultural state in New England] and California [second in the nation in animal agriculture behind Texas]. Both Vermont and California have no AG GAG laws—laws which prohibit undercover investigations on the conditions of industrial agriculture operations) to visit farms and factory farms there.

“Certain forms of enjoyment are dependent on drinking a drug of ignorance. Where suffering exists, it’s always there in the shadows, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Our method of acquiring wealth says more about us than the wealth we acquire.”

Faruqi writes about her experiences at each farm with meticulous details and vivid descriptions. Interspersing her personal experience with facts and figures, Faruqi provides an eye-opening, devastating and shocking explanation of why the food industry must change. At these various farms, she witnessed animals living on top of each other, never getting outside, animals dying from abhorrent conditions. The farms reeked of ammonia as animals stood in their own waste. Dead animals often weren’t located for days because of the over-crowding. In the egg industry, the norm is to slaughter hens at 18 months old. Hens are de-beaked with a hot blade. Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark banned this barbaric practice. Animals get artificially inseminated and are bred with particular strains that serve one purpose: to feed the masses. Chickens have abnormally large breasts that make it difficult for them to move. Faruqi writes: “Artificial insemination is not only unnatural, but harmful. Millions of dairy cows today all over the world are the descendants of only a few dozen bulls. This is the equivalent to passing a complex, swirling pot of genes through a needle pinhole. Such narrow genetic limitation never occurs in nature, because the long-term survival of any species depends on genetic diversity.”

Most factory farmers don’t need to interact with the animals or spend any time near the cages. Using a smart phone and various apps animals can be feed, watered and monitored. 70% of antibiotic use in the United States is in farm animals. Americans spend 10% or less of their salary on food while Europeans spend 50% of their salary on food. Throughout her journey, she meets people with various approaches to farming. Some extremely kind, some who treat animals as products. A few get stressed out by their jobs. Others turn the other way and ignore the negative impact farm life takes upon the animals. Interestingly many of the farm workers or owners are vegetarian. Faruqi notes: “I realized that I’d hardly ever heard about vegetarianism more than I had in this animal farming community that I happened to stumble into. It can’t be a coincidence that some of the people closest to the system of meat production are boycotting meat.”

“When animals suffer, people also suffer. Many farms I investigated were in the throes of disease.”

One question I have is why we are crueler to animals than Europeans. Why does Europe have many more sensible and humane protections for animals and farms? Americans love their cats and dogs but it’s completely different when it comes to how that hamburger or chicken breast arrived at the grocery store. Most choose not to think about it or to just think that the way it’s always been done is fine.

If you don’t care about the animals maybe you care about your carbon footprint: “a single factory farm can generate as much waste as an entire city.” While Project Animal Farm commands the reader’s attention through its well-written prose, conversational style and thorough research, it’s so disturbing at times I had to leave it for a bit. The United States remains one of the worst offenders in humane treatment and protection of animals in the food industry.

Some other tidbits [and there are plenty, so read the book]:

— hens are slaughtered at 18 months
— 9 out of 10 sows in the United States and Canada spend their lives in crates.
— about piglets at a pig farm, Faruqi writes: “From head to hoof, they lived marinated in manure.”
–the veal industry is a by-product of the dairy industry. If you support the dairy industry you support the disgusting practice of “raising” veal. Male calves aren’t wanted by the dairy industry and are sold to veal farmers.
–eight and a half billion chickens, 239 million turkeys, 112 million pigs, 32 million cattle and 2 million sheep and lambs were killed for human consumption in the United States and Canada in 2013. “It is impossible not to view the raising and butchering of animals for food as wasteful and hopelessly inefficient.” Approximately 50% of an animal is actually consumed.
–in Malaysia [population 30 million] there are 500 KFCs, 300 Pizza Huts and 300 McDonalds. Malaysians eat more fast food than Americans. 1/3 of Americans eat fast food once a week while 3/5 of Malaysians eat fast food once a week.
–Mexico [population 122 million] has 240 Walmarts, 150 Sam’s Clubs, 30 Costco, 500 Dominos, 380 McDonalds, 300 KFCs and 180 Pizza Huts.

–review by Amy Steele

Sonia Faruqi will be reading and answering questions about Project Animal Farm at the Capitol Theatre in Arlington on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 6pm.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Pegasus Books.

purchase at Amazon: Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food

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cookbook review: Vegan with a Vengeance [10th anniversary edition]

10th_anniversary_vegan_vengeance

Vegan with a Vengeance By Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
Lifelong Books| June 2015|276 pages |$22.99| ISBN: 978-0-7382-1833-5

I adore Isa Chandra Moskowitz and have many go-to recipes in Vegan with a Vengeance including: Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy [my mom loves this as well]; Corn Chowder; Classic Pesto; Basil Tofu Ricotta [perfect for lasagna] and Seitan. I actually just made Seitan this week and I’ve been vegan for eight years and vegetarian for decades prior. This recipe for seitan is delicious and super easy. I made several delicious stir-frys and will get 4-6 meals out of one batch.

In 2014, Moskowitz opened Modern Love, a restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska, where she serves up seasonal menus of “swanky vegan comfort food.” Her Post Punk Kitchen blog is an outstanding source for recipes and tips. When cooking I often refer to her Appetite for Reduction and Veganimicon [co-written with Terri Hope Romero] which many consider the vegan bible. It’s a must-own for any vegan.

This is the 10th anniversary addition. There are additional recipes including: Black Bean & Quinoa Soup; Chickpea & Rice Soup with a Little Kale; Lentil-Walnut Burgers; Olive Oil Double Crust; Ginger Peach Pea; Asian Tofu and Call Me Blondies. I will definitely try those soups. A vegan must.

The index is much improved. Items organized by both recipe name and ingredient. Moskowitz includes her “The Post Punk Pantry” which gives you suggestions for the spices seasons and other vegan essentials like dried beans, grains, canned foods you should always have on hand for simple cooking. She also suggests knifes, pans, appliances to make your cooking and baking simpler in “Tools and Kitchen Stuff.” Vegan cooking and baking shouldn’t be difficult. It needs to be nutritious and delicious. Right? I’m not much of a vegan baker but she has some delicious baked goods items. There are better pictures, easier directions and streamlined ingredients. I’m as much a one-pot cook as I can be and when you have limited space for cooking as many of us do, that’s key.

Sections: brunch; muffins and scones; soups; little meals, finger foods, and sammiches; sides; pizzas and pastas; entrees; cookies and bars; desserts.

purchase at Amazon: Vegan with a Vengeance, 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock

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book review: The Sugar Detox:

sugar detox

The Sugar Detox: lose the sugar, lose the weight—look and feel great by Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, CDN and Patricia Farris, MD, FAAD. Publisher: Lifelong Books/DaCapo. Diet/health. Paperback. 268 pages.

Sugar. We consume way too much of it as a nation. That’s why there’s an obesity problem and so many people develop Type 2 Diabetes. It’s an epidemic. I used to have a major sweet tooth but consciously reduced my sugar intake, even cutting out diet soda/soda two years ago. I read labels. Only use one teaspoon of cane sugar in my tea. I feel much better and don’t miss it.

In this book, Brooke Alpert and Patricia Farris, MD outline a one-month sugar detox plan for people to reduce or eliminate sugar from their diets. They tell you what to avoid, what to eat and suggest meal plans. They outline the benefits of consuming various nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. They also provide details on how sugar makes us sick, overweight and lethargic. Sugar affects your skin and many other organs. This books illuminates that in a manner that’s easy-to-read and comprehend.

At least be more aware of what you’re putting into your body.

–according to the CDC 1.9 million people aged 20 or older were diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 and 27.1 million people are currently diagnosed with heart disease

–Americans are eating 39% more sugar than 50 years ago!

–the average sugar intake per person is 32 teaspoons. There’s 4g of sugar in one teaspoon. That’s a lot of sugar.

–according to the USDA Americans’ average caloric intake increased by 25%

–sugar AGES you. “The sugar that builds up in the blood and your body’s tissues has nowhere to go, so it attaches to proteins, lipids, and nucleic acid in a process call glycation. These sugar complexes formed by glycation, known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs) . . . accelerate the aging process and contribute to age-related illness. AGEs cause cross-linking of such proteins as collagen and elastin that leave your muscles, tendons, and arteries stiff and your skin more wrinkled.”

–A study published in the February 2012 Journal of Nutrition “suggests that fructose consumption might increase cardiovascular risk factors simply because it increases visceral fat (remember that’s the bad internal fat). The study also showed that fructose consumption contributes to inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.”

Some of the positive things to consume:

Flaxseeds– healthy impact on cardiovascular health and ability to lower cholesterol, “there is also new evidence that flaxseeds can improve blood sugar levels.” (I throw flaxseeds into my salads.)

Chia seeds– high in protein, high fiber and omega-3 fatty acids

Pistachio nuts– “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming about 2 ounces of pistachios along with high-carbohydrate foods significantly lowered postmeal blood glucose response.”

Thyme– anti-inflammatory

Blueberries– anti-aging properties

RATING: ***/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from DaCapo Press.

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cookbook review: Salad Samurai

salad samurai

Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Publisher: Da Capo Press/ Lifelong Books (June 2014). Cooking/Vegan. Paperback. 180 pages. ISBN 978-0-7382-1487-0.

Big salads are a major component of my diet. I eat them year round. Usually that’s my dinner. I make great salads. The key is adding as many extras, as much color and variety as possible. So I looked forward to checking out the recipes in Veganomicon co-author Terry Hope Romero’s latest. She divides it by season making it super easy to pick what’s fresh and available.

Some yummy, creative salads include Strawberry Spinach Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing; Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl; Asparagus Pad Thai Salad; East-West Roasted Corn Salad; Green Papaya Salad with Lemongrass Tofu; Polish Summer Soba Salad; Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad; Grilled Miso Apples & Brussels Sprouts Salad and Almond Falafel Crunch Bowl. Gorgeous pictures, excellent tips and simple instructions included.

There’s a section on salad dressings (something I don’t make myself often enough) and a section on salad toppings. In the dressings section, the Creamy Cilantro Lime dressing, Lemon Tahini dressing, Upstate dressing [sundried tomato, nutritional yeast, tahini, apple cider vinegar], the Marvelous Miso dressing are relatively easy and delicious. The toppings section includes ways to prepare croutons, tofu [there’s Ginger Beer Tofu and That 70s Tofu], seitan and lentils to bulk up salads.

There’s lots of vegan deliciousness in these pages.

RATING: ****/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Da Capo Press.

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