Watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon is one of the most awe inspiring moments I’ve ever witnessed. I was amazed not just by the beauty of the butterfly or their ability to fly but by the change that occurred in such a short period of time that completely transformed their life. I have been blessed over the years to experience stories of personal transformation in the lives of friends and family members who have decided to reclaim their health through diet and lifestyle changes.
Just calling yourself “vegan” is not a magic spell that melts away the pounds and cleans out your arteries. Living vegan automatically excludes a number of foods that put us at increased risk of disease. However, in order to really benefit from the healing properties of food we have to choose nourishing, whole foods rather than processed alternatives to standard fare. How do I know all this? Because some very smart people have spent a lot of time researching the impact of following a healthy vegan diet. I’ve sung the praises of Brenda Davis and T. Colin Campbell on this blog before. Today, I’d like to share a few words about Neal Barnard, the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
In July I was able to attend two of Neal’s presentations. I was impressed by the data he had to share on reversing diabetes and improving health in numerous research health trials but what has stayed with me is his passion. He knows how powerful this information is and wants everyone to know about it.
Neal has published numerous books on his research on diabetes and food cravings but recently he released a new book that is lighter on the data and heavier on the deliciousness. Robyn Webb, provides 125 recipes that fit Neal’s instructions for a health-promoting approach to eating and living. The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook starts with results of medical research, personal testimonials, pantry essentials and healthy promoting habits.
As you flip through the pages you’ll quickly discover that Neal and Robyn adore the flavours and nutritional profiles of beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa and oats. The recipes offer a broad range of flavours influenced by different ethnic cuisines, although they are lighter on spice than I personally enjoy. I read another review that felt the recipes were a little heavy in the use of curry. I have to disagree. I wanted more curry! However, Robyn seems to share my personal appreciation for ginger. It is brilliantly included in an array of options, such as: banana-ginger pancakes, creamy rice cereal with gingery blueberries, gingery pear and sweet potato soup and ginger tofu. Yum.
Beyond the gingery bliss, this book includes a comprehensive list of offerings for each meal, an Italian feast, a 3-day menu plan (with shopping list) and even some special sweets. The nutritional facts for every recipe is included on each page.
I love that the recipes in this book highlight whole foods. I think it is much tastier to celebrate the flavours that exist in fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes rather than trying to fool our taste buds into imagining they are enjoying something else. The recipes are easy, the ingredient lists aren’t intimidating and the results are delicious. My niece and nephews would love everything in this book. These recipes would be perfect to share at a family picnic, work potluck or anywhere that people might avoid your tempeh and arame salad. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in improving their health but doesn’t have hours to spend in their kitchen.
I enjoyed some amazing meals from the pages of The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook:
Tomatoes Stuffed with French Lentils
Spinach, Beet and Orange Salad with Ginger-Agave Dressing
Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas in Chili Sauce
I also tried the Mixed Greens with Miso Dressing and Quinoa and Carrot Salad but forgot to capture a picture before they disappeared. Everything came together quickly and provided an amazing sense of satiety. I usually eat a lot of raw fruit and vegetables so I was quite impressed by how filling the bean and legume dishes were. I plan to continue to add lentils and chickpeas to my salads in the future – especially on heavy training days (the big race is now just around the corner).
If you’re interested in trying out some Dr. Barnard endorsed recipes PCRM provides a ton of healthy vegan recipes on their site.
Happy Sunday all. I’m off to volunteer at Whole Foods in a raw, vegan cooking class. I see some smoothies in my future. xo