Recently I had a craving for good Chinese Lo Mien. I found a restaurant that does not use MSG. I tried it. It seemed very oily to me. Disappointed. I decided to give them a second try after discussing the oil quantity with the restaurant. They explained how they prepared the lo me in and that much of what I thought was oil was a combination of a small amount of oil and Hoisin sauce.
I am now on a quest to adapt good Asian recipes to our dietary requirements. I am beginning with Thai and Chinese. The resulting dish must be vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free. I welcome all your authenic tried and true suggestions or recipes.
It’s been a little over a year since we began this raw vegan/vegan lifestyle change. I have learned how to prepare meals which is a real accomplishment; I never liked to cook. I am still learning because my husband’s cardiologist wants as much gluten-free, oil-free, clean food as possible. This is no easy task. Eating out is hard and cooking requires learning how to make good food with these substitutes. The journey has begun again.
I discovered one other thing, your mind is still the main battlefield. Occasionally my mind still test me when I am tired. Catfish and fried chicken, Chinese and authentic Mexican screams at me. The struggling vegan pops up and shouts substitute. That is my present objective; substitutes and the changing of my mind, again.
“…..but Be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” Romans 12:2
This is the key to all lifestyle changes. It all begins with how you think. When you determine to make the change and settle it in your mind the rest is easy.
Anyone that has purchased organic and non-GMO produce knows it is expensive by comparison to conventionally farmed produce. So why do I do it and how can I make it more economically beneficial? For me, I figured I could pay at the grocery store or I could pay at the doctor’s office. The toxins in the pesticides that are used in conventional farming build up in our systems and eventually affect our kidneys and liver, killing us slowly. So those vegetables you were eating to become healthier might possibly be the cause of your illness. Unfortunately you can’t wash away the pesticide that has been absorbed into the meat of the vegetables or the fruit.
So I had to get my money’s worth. I was lying in bed thinking about the root system in plants. (That’s another post). It occurred to me that the stems of greens that we throw away contain nutrients. Rather than throw them away I put them in a pot along with other almost expired veggies. Add to that some seasonings and you have the making of your own vegetable broth.
Then I thought what to do with veggies after the broth was strained. I poured the cooked veggies into the food processor and chopped them all together. It looked interesting.
I wondered if it would add creaminess to a homemade salad dressing blend. Or maybe, it could be used as flavor additive and binder to my veggie burger recipes. It remains to be seen, but the goal is to USE IT ALL.
Leave a comment if you have suggestions.
I found an apartment complex that had all th amenities Carl and I needed and wanted. It had special rent consideration for senior citizens and to top it off it was 8 minutes from my daughter’s home. When we went to check out the Vizcaya apartments, we discovered our income exceeded the upper limit allowed to get the discount but not enough to afford to live there. Disappointed, we continued the search. With the assistance of our daughter’s real estate agent we found another one about 15 to 20 minutes from our daughter, The Marquis. This apartment is a little smaller but provides a comfortable living space including good neighbors.
It is now several months later. Hurricane Harvey just visited Houston and it’s suburbs. This was our first time actually living in hurricane force winds and rains. The windows shook, rain drops sounded like rocks thrown against the windows and tornado warnings were ongoing and we were on the mild side. With all that the water never rose more than ankle deep in the parking lot and drained fast.
Harvey deposited so much water that Vizcaya flooded up to the 3rd floor. Had we gotten that apartment we would have lost everything. Do you think it was coincidental that we couldn’t get an apartment there? I think not. God saw our future and protected us. Just a reminder that what was viewed as a
disappointment was actually the hand of God protecting us.
In 2015 we had what I thought then was a major dietary change because of my husband’s heart challenges. We had already decided to eat only turkey and seafood. The individual cuts of meat were getting expensive. I thought why buy ground turkey and other turkey parts. Why not buy a whole turkey and break it down. I bought a meat cleaver, a boning knife, meat grinding attachment for my Kitchenaid, a cast iron skillet and a cast iron stove top grill. I almost broke my arm congratulating myself. I bought an organically fed turkey and got to work. Just as I thought I had the cuts I wanted and freshly ground turkey. Then things changed…..again.
We are no longer eating meat. What do I do with all these cooking tools?
I thought about all the fruit that could be difficult. Where would I lose the most fruit trying to slice the skin off? What would be the hardest to cut? The pineapple.
Is cutting the outside of a pineapple a challenge for anyone else? It seems I lose so much pineapple using my chef’s knife. I decided to put my theory to the test. I the end off the pineapple and then half with the meat cleaver. I used the boning knife to cut the pineapple around the edges to separate it from the outer skin. It went around the curves so close and so smoothly. As you can see in the last picture it cut very close losing almost no meat of the pineapple. Fast, easy and profitable. Need I say more.
I later tried the boning knife on a watermelon and it was butter. I lost virtually no meat of the watermelon. I am confident it will work on other melons. y next experiment is the meat cleaver versus the coconut.
What tools are in your kitchen that can be re-purpose? Share them with us.
One of the dishes prepared by the Garden Kitchen was onion rings. I thought how hard could it be? Rawmazing had a recipe I chose to try. The directions called for a large sweet onion. Because I was trying this for the first time I used what I had on hand, a small onion. This will explain the size in the picture. I didn’t dredge it twice either as the recipe called for. This was a test run for flavor and dehydration time limit. The recipe uses almond pulp and almond milk. I recommend making your own almond milk and use the pulp left behind. That’s easy too. Homemade almond milk taste so much better than store bought.
Onion Rings p,55
1 large sweet onion
4 cups almond milk
3/4 cup almond milk pulp, dehydrated
1 cup ground flax seeds, ground
1 Tbls smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground chipotle
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
Slice the onions and put in a container with the almond milk. Let it soak.
Dehydrate the pulp left from making the almond milk.
Place dehydrated almond pulp, ground flax seed, spices and salt in the food processor.
Separate the mixture into two batches. Dredge one batch at a time. Place the drained onions in one batch flax mixture. Dip in the milk again then back into the mixture.
Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 6-8 hours or until they are almost dry. The breading should be dry but the onions still moist.
This post was originally written in April at the beginning of my cooking raw journey. Each successive post will bring you closer to my present August experience.
I decided to go all in to this raw eating thing so I bought an inexpensive dehydrator and a raw food cookbook or should I say recipe book. As my very smart husband pointed out, others had tried and tested techniques and flavor combinations, why not take advantage of that. So I did. I was glad to know there were choices beyond salads.
In the following raw eating post I will share my experiences preparing the recipes in Rawmazing authored by Susan Powers. I will note any changes to her recipes to accommodate our taste just in case you decide to buy her book. Her directions are easy to follow and the pictures are vibrant. For the raw purest you will need to find substitutions for the oil. I used tahini and cashew butter(cream). Also, I used Dr. Montgomery’s book The Food Prescription Nutrition Guide
I had not used a dehydrator before and I didn’t know what to expect so I went for something simple. The first thing I tried were Ms. Post’s Kale Chips. It seemed simple enough. She has 3 versions. I chose version 2. The ingredients are garlic, thyme and oil. For the oil I substituted tahini. Mix those ingredients and set it aside. Cut the thick stems from the kale and tear the leaves into chip size pieces. Make sure all excess water is removed from the kale. Then dress the kale with the garlic mix . Put the pieces on the dehydrator trays. Don’t overlap. The suggested time dehydration time was 4-6 hours at 115 degrees. Because of the Houston humidity, it took 8 hours to crisp. My taste tester, hubby, was quite pleased. He wanted to eat them like potato chips.
If you don’t have a dehydrator pop them into your oven on a low heat, 120 degrees if possible. If you put it on a temperature higher than 170 degrees and some say 200 degrees, you will destroy all of the health benefits from eating raw; you will kill the enzymes.
I am so sorry that I don’t have a picture. I lost it somehow.
Kale Chips – Rawmazing p. 41
3 Tbls olive oil (I substituted tahini.)
1 cloves garlic
1 tsp of dry thyme
Turn on the food processor or high powered blender. Drop the garlic, thyme and oil into it.
Place on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate 4-6 hours. More longer if you are in a humid area.
Raw?!!! For how long? That was my initial reaction when told Carl had to go on a raw diet. We just got here and all my expectations to enjoy Cajun cooking especially gumbo went right out the window. How will I survive without my salmon and catfish? I asked again, “How long?” Dr. Montgomery calmly said 30 days. Okay, I can do that. It’s like a Daniel fast on steroids. Do we just eat salads and drink smoothies?, I asked. He said let me introduce you to our Garden Kitchen. He gave us samples of meals they had prepared. They weren’t bad.
The first 3 or 4 days Carl lost 40 lbs of fluid. This was causing heart failure. After that, weight decreased almost a pound a day for a week. We completed the 30 days. I was so excited that we would get to eat food. I saw a catfish dinner in my near future. When the doctor finished his examination he said 2 more weeks. I cried. Not because I couldn’t have it but because Carl couldn’t and I didn’t want to eat it in front of him.
Forty-seven days later we were still eating raw . I must admit I cheated a few times with cooked beans and my son-in-law’s gumbo. Oh yes, I had a catfish dinner.
If this was going to be our life I had to learn raw meal preparations. That process is continuing. More on that in Part 2 of Eating Raw.
We both have lost more weight and his heart is getting stronger. The detoxification process is not enjoyable. It would probably have been worse if we had not stopped eating red meat and chicken years ago. But the journey goes on and I will take you on it with us.
Isn’t it frustrating when the doctor tells you to eat healthy or you need a healthier meal plan but doesn’t explain what he/she means? Or even more so, they give you a list of foods you should or should not eat and that’s eat. Many of us look at the lists and realize we already eat those foods. We make the bake or broiled versus fried substitutions and think we are eating healthy. some of us go to the extreme and replace beef and pork with chicken and turkey. We must be on the right track with that sacrifice. Maybe but could it be better?
Dr. Baxter Montgomery didn’t just tell us to eat healthy He introduced us to his Heart and Wellness Plan; a six week detoxification plan complete with recipes. Also available to us was the Center’s Garden Kitchen (GK). His kitchen staff prepares raw vegan meals for purchase by Center patients and the public. Meal plans are available for those who choose to have the GK prepare all of their meals. These freshly made raw/vegan meals are delivered daily. There is also a steady stream of health conscious foodies in the GK. This was wonderful for me because I had no clue how the dishes were suppose to taste. The GK gave us the opportunity to try the foods we were asked to eat. From juice to desserts it was available. A must try is the Avocado Key Lime Pie. HMMMM. The first 6 weeks were easy preparations because they were juices, smoothies and a variety of salads. Later “cooked” meals were added to the menu. Not everything is raw. Hot soups, beans, and vegan gumbo are cooked. I am told there is a cornbread recipe but I haven’t had it yet. It’s not in our plan, yet. If you are in the Houston, TX area give it a visit.
Video – Dr. Montgomery Explains
Montgomery Heart and Wellness Center
The Garden Kitchen
Recently, we decided to move to Texas. We thought we were being led here to be near our daughter and to enjoy a lower cost of living. It is good to be near our daughter and her family but for us the cost of living has not changed. In some respects it is higher. Housing coast are lower than California but we are paying about the same. The electricity bill is greatly reduced and that’s about it.
I expected our food cost to go down but that was not realized. In fact it might be more. Houston area is an organic, non-GMO wasteland. The produce and products exist but are not in the abundance that I am accustomed to in California. The funny thing is most of the certified organic food here comes from California. But here is the good, no, the awesomely, miraculous thing. In a round about way through a conversation with some people we had just met we were led to a renowned cardiologist/electrophysiologist named Dr. Baxter D. Montgomery. His philosophy is to cure the cause of the illness not treat the symptoms. He holds to the statement made by Hippocrates,
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Plant-based meals were Carl’s prescription. He did not remove him from his medications initially. He uses pharmaceuticals when needed. His plan was to eliminate them as Carl’s heart improved. After 3 weeks of eating a raw plant-based diet
- No Soltilol (Heart rhythm medication)
- Blood pressure in normal range
- No diuretics
- Physically stronger
- Mental clarity improving
- No breathing problems
- Weight loss (40 lbs mostly fluid)
This is why we moved to Texas.