Monday, July 30, 2007

Short Notes from Vegetarian Summerfest

I've written a whole blog posting about my trip to Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA but it's locked away on my computer which can't talk to this one so I will just recap highlights here:

My talks on Superfoods and Sea Vegetables went better than I had anticipated. I received validation from Dr. Michael Greger when he did he speech about the year's nutrition news in review, as he mentioned both of my topics.

My pressure cooking demonstration was well attended and I hope that I can get more people to see the benefits of pressure cooking.

I got to meet Brenda Davis, R.D. who is an incredible vegan dietitian from BC, Canada who just participated in leading an amazing study in the Marshall Islands, helping the Islanders reverse diabetes, which is killing them off.

I flew with Jeff Novick, MS, RD, who is a funny guy who speaks about following a no-fat added diet, as he works at the Pritikin Center in Florida. And I got to have lunch with Jeff, which I guess makes me one of the brave few.

Howard Lyman, The Mad Cowboy, was as wry and funny as ever as he urged people to share the message about following a vegan diet. That is the main mesage at the conference, as well as being kind to animals and eating your greens.

It would have been hard to leave without having heard the same "eat your greens message many different ways". Without any kind of game plan, we all had just about the same message to help with all the major diseases of this age -- eat a plant-based diet.

And that I did -- at least 3 times a day, plus cooking demos. We had to walk a distance to meals which almost justified eating a lot, and I mean a lot.

Dan Piraro of Bizarro fame was there again this year, and he is amazing witty and funny. His wife Ashley is like a blonde, glowing light, being so beautiful, obviously inside and out, which I noticed with others, too. It must be the lack of animals in their bodies, or something.

Chef Ben Stone lent me a knife which I didn't totally keep track of and it made me worry which I don't like to do.

I had many chats with Latham Thomas, of Panela Productions, a wonderful raw food chef and educator. We discovered that we are definitely some kind of "sistas" for the cause.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Vegetarian Summerfest -- Travel to PA

I am preparing my talks for Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA. The trip there is long but the event is quite interesting -- being with 600 vegetarians and vegans for a nunber of days in the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania is quite refreshing. The best part is that I know that I can eat all the food served at the event, no questions asked.

This year I will be doing a cooking demonstration, a talk on Superfoods: Myths or Miracles? and another about Sea Vegetables: The Nutrition Missing Link? I could talk about diets but how boring for me. I like to delve deep and these two subjects will take me there. Hopefully a few people will come along for the ride.

I will likely report more on this while I am on the road.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Eating Vegetables When You're Busy

It's been a while since I've written, and I know that I've been eating lots of what's fresh and in-season although more of it is a blur than usual. Considering the insanity of my schedule of late, it amazes even me that I've managed to do that. So, I want to share a secret -- have a routine and stick to it as often as you can.

I usually shop at the farmer's market twice a week: on Wednesday and Saturday or Sunday. (I know, you may not have these options.) Once a week would probably carry me through but since I can buy fresh more often, I do. I don't use all that I've purchased on Wednesday by the weekend, so I then reassess my needs and buy based on that. Or at least I do, in theory. The reality is that if the Romano beans look great, I buy them. If a certain summer squash appeals to me. It's mine. I am swayed by what I see and that works for me. It's better to let what's fresh guide my meals than have it the other way around. That way -- no winter squash in July.

Shopping at the market is an easy way to make sure that the vegetables are here to cook with when I want them. (Having food around to prepare will always be to your benefit. Think of where you'd want to be if disaster struck -- in the place with the fully stocked pantry or the mostly bare one?) If you've read any posts lately you know that I am heavily into pressure cooking.

The reason that I've been busy is that I've been working on the finishing touches of my DVD: Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes. I thought that it was going to be 30 minutes and it turns out that with the 14 dishes that I prepared, it runs an hour and 15 minutes. More for you and right now, more work for me. But it's a constant reminder of the great fast food that I can make in my pressure cooker, which I do, almost daily.

Whether I run to the store for prepared food (which I don't do often) or to buy ingredients or cook a meal at home, I have to devote at least 20 minutes. One way, I burn gas and don't get something as fresh as possible, and the other way, I am part of the process of what goes into my mouth. I get to put love into the food. And that's important to me. What do you think about this?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Corn, Chiles and Tomatoes -- Summer's Here

I got a big surprise at the farmer's market this morning. Larry of Triple T Ranch and Farm told me that they might be the only one at the market since Paula the market manager said on the radio that the market would be cancelled.

Well, that's certainly not the case. Many vendors were there. And Jill at Crescent Moon Farm had told me on Saturday that they would have corn today. And they did. People were buying it like crazy. In the time that Carey of Neilsen Farm got her few ears and while we talked the remaining corn was purchased by just a few shoppers. Jill also had 3 kinds of chili peppers -- Cyklone, black Hungarian and cayenne. I bought the cayenne the other day and it was hot and sweet and wow.

I also got tomatoes and there were lots of them today. I came home and made wonderful vegetable soup in the pressure cooker. What an Independence Day treat.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Vegetables for Breakfast

I feel so much better when I eat vegetables in the morning. I know, it's kind of strange. And I'm not asking you to do the same but you could try it and see.

In Japan, I hear that they eat soba noodles and in China, they eat jook which is a rice porridge. Both are savory. And so in an effort to not get so hungry before 10 a.m. I eat a higher protein veg breakfast that either has tofu, beans or lentils and veggies. I serve it over any grain that I happen to have already cooked, or add lots of veggies and eat as much as I want.
I make my breakfast bowl in the pressure cooker and it takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish. The one that I made this morning was especially delicious as it had ginger, garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, part of a cayenne pepper, tofu, Romano and wax beans, Costata Romanesco squash, broccoli shoots and curry powder. I topped it with a very interesting Asian salt from McCormick. I liked it so much that I ate 2 bowlfuls.
I got my bowl from Scott Wilson who makes pottery up near Lake Tahoe. It's a substantial bowl and I like to eat almost everything out of it. It's similar to portion control but the portion is larger. When I really want to limit my portions, I use a very small bowl. This one reminds me to have beauty in my life. And that is incredibly important. Add in some gratitude and good food, and that's a wonderful life.

Belly Fat and Stress Hormones

Oh, I read this story this morning in my local paper and figured that people are thinking that they've got it made -- all their belly fat woes will be taken care of with the magic hormone-blocking pill. Then I read the following post on Ethicurean and felt good that I wasn't the only one who realizes that knowing why you have belly fat or pack more of it on won't change anything. Change comes from within. If you've got stress, manage it. Change your life, if you must. After all, it's your life.

by Ethicurean @ 5:47 pm on July 1st, 2007.
Stressed-out, supersized mice: Researchers have found the neurochemical pathway in mice that makes them fat when subjected to chronic stress and a junk-food diet. They’ve also found how blocking those signals can prevent fat accumulation and shrink fat deposits, “while stimulating the pathway can strategically create new ones, possibly offering new ways to remove fat as well as to mold youthful faces, firmer buttocks and bigger breasts.” Why even bother trying to decrease our stress levels, or change our diet, when we can manipulate our brain chemistry instead? (first seen in the Washington Post, and today in The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA

While vegetables might not be the complete answer, certainly eating more of them might help boost your antioxidant and phytochemical intake, possibly effecting your hormones in a positive way, and help you eat less "junk". Remember that eating vegetables has many benefits -- but reducing stress may not be one of them. Although, getting rid of belly fat may help make you feel better so...