Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Coach's diary

Today I had gum surgery. I have had a gum recession for years and my orthodontist thought I should cover the roots of my teeth, cause let's face it, they don't look attractive. While I am healing they recommended that I eat a diet high in proteins. Not difficult, I can do that. euh.... cold high protein liquid diet. Now, here is a challenge. burger smoothie anyone? seafood juice? fish marmelad? good thing I don't eat any of these, or I would be really lost. I have to say that she operated on 6 of my teeth, 3 upper and 3 lower. So, no chewing, no smiling, and no talking for a couple of days. Not talking is the easy part, the cats don't like when I talk to them anyway. They think it distracts from my purpose which is serving them. Now to the food part. I made a high protein smoothie. collard greens, mangoes, 2 small yellow bananas, 1/2 cup raw almonds, and 2 scoops barley protein. That is about 50 g of proteins, I usually need about 42g a day. The real challenge was drinking the smoothie, since I cannot purse my lips around the straw and I cannot open my mouth to introduce a spoon. So I took the straw and blocked it against the side of my palet that did not have surgery, I wrapped my tongue around it and started to sip. OK, dinner was delicious. But I want to eat more. how come? well, because mammals are supposed to chew. Since I did not chew my food, I feel like I have not eaten a real dinner. Tomorrow, I will have to prepare 3 meals and they all have to be high protein. will keep you posted.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coke adds bull

Full-page ad in the Washington Post this morning from the Coca-cola corporation. They claim that they're helping Americans "live healthy and active lifestyles". They point you to their new website, which I don't recommend you visit because too much Flash animation is bad for your soul. The want to help you "make the right choices". They even have "portion-control cans" now. For those who only speak English, that's a 7.5-ounce can, which is slightly larger than a standard Coke bottle was in the '60s.
The best way to read an advertisement is to figure out which words aren't there. The invisible elephant in the room is High-Fructose Corn Syrup. This ad is pretty obviously in response to the growing concern with corn syrup, its ubiquity in our diets, and the health problems that seem to appear wherever it goes.
Doctors and health experts don't like it much, but the real worries come from new hesitation amongthe people who sell indulgence.
If you have the patience to find it, that website has an amusing little pocket guide to "Facts and Myths" about Coke. Does corn syrup cause obesity? No, that's from too many calories, so we recommend drinking coke in moderation. Does corn syrup cause Type 2 diabetes? No, that's caused by obesity. Does corn syrup cause cavities? No, not if you brush your teeth after you drink it. Does corn syrup contribute to a bad diet? Not if you eat a healthy diet, and limit your consumption of coke.
Although the pamphlet is a masterpiece of corporate responsibility-dodging, reading it still gives you the feeling there's some way you could simultaneously stop gaining weight, avoid obesity, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, make your teeth stronger, and improve your diet. I wonder what that might be?
By the way, the Coca-Cola Corporation describes their products as "sparkling beverages". (Them and Dom Perignon.) The products they make with all the calories are "non-diet sparkling beverages". "Non-diet." There's a word to ponder. What do you suppose would be the opposite of "diet"? Well, your diet is the things you put into your alimentary canal....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

City-wide Fame

There's a story about Dominique in the Falls Church newspaper today. (The print version has recipes.) It's about the raw menu she created for the Vegetarian Society of DC Thanksgiving Dinner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Recipe Section on the Web Site

We've revamped the recipes page of the web site. We've added a lot more things to cook, and broken them up into seasons. On a cold, rainy, November evening, it did me good to think about summertime vegetables.
We don't have pictures of lots of the new items. If you've cooked them, and have a photo you'd like us to put up, please let us know!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vegetarian Dinner at the White House

President and Mrs. Obama hosted their first state dinner this evening, for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. He's been a strict vegetarian all his life, so the menu was a bit of a change from the Bush years. According to CNN,
The first course will be a potato and eggplant salad made with White House-grown arugula and accompanied by an onion-seed vinaigrette. Red lentil soup with fresh cheese follows, and then a choice of entrees: roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chickpeas and okra for vegetarians, or green curry prawns and caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens.

Dessert will be pumpkin pie tart or pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce. Each course is paired with its own wine, all of American vintage.

Nobody has recipes, but the pear tatin looks very much like one of Dominique's favorite desserts. The Washington Post blog has a nice writeup, with more details about the chef.
I just had dinner an hour ago, but now I feel hungry again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

3 Weeks down and looking forward to more.

Well, this is our first entry. We meet Dominique about 2 months ago and knew then that we had to do something. Combined my wife and I need to lose about 280 or so pounds. We thought we knew nutrition and thought we were eating okay. We were wrong.

We weigh ourselves once a week. At the 3-week mark we are both down 9 pounds. I have not been hungry at all and my wife only briefly. What a way to lose weight. We don't have to worry about portion control (okay, we do with the trail mix) but other than that we eat however much we like of the good foods.

We both loved meat, but it has not been that hard to give up. Because I failed to take lunch into work two days I ended up eating a subway sub (Buffalo Chicken). Other than that transgression there has been no other meet in my diet. I also have given up on Diet Coke. I loved diet cokes. I had cravings for diet coke. There were times I would get to work and just have to have a diet coke. Since I have been on this diet, I have not had any cravings and have not had any diet coke at all! I have a hard time believing it is just the diet, but who knows. My water intake is still lower than it should be but much better than it was.

I know in the end, my wife and I will go back to eating meat. It is just a part of who we are. But I think we will balance it out much better than what we have in the past.

Thanksgiving is coming up and we know we will enjoy that time. We plan to eat Turkey and all the trimmings on that day. We will just start by eating healthy foods first then go in for the meat and leave a little room for a small variety of deserts.

Something that you should know is that I am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer back in January of '08. After two surgeries, chemo, radiation and all, I am all clear. This was one of the areas Dominique took into account when she came up with our diet.

Since my surgeries, I have been unable to go up to a buffet more than once without getting too full or almost sick. One of the advantages I guess of the surgeries. Anyway, when we had the Vegan buffet at Vespucci a month ago, I went up 3 times and didn't have to worry about it. I also felt full, but not uncomfortable or anything and it was all healthy food! Yum! And what a difference over what I have been able to do recently.

Anyway, back to Dominique. She has taken a lot of time with us to go over our likes. This has helped her and us get recipes for food that we like. After two weeks we both realize that we typically like the food a little more spicy than what Dominique was doing for us. Not a worry as it is always easy to add spices to food rather than take spices away.

I'm sure we will chime back in from time to time. We look forward to the weeks and months ahead as we have a plan and a method for getting us there. We can't help but thank Dominique enough for helping us down this road.

B & H

3 Weeks down and looking forward to more.

Well, this is our first entry. We meet Dominique about 2 months ago and knew then that we had to do something. Combined my wife and I need to lose about 280 or so pounds. We thought we knew nutrition and thought we were eating okay. We were wrong.

We weigh ourselves once a week. At the 3-week mark we are both down 9 pounds. I have not been hungry at all and my wife only briefly. What a way to lose weight. We don't have to worry about portion control (okay, we do with the trail mix) but other than that we eat however much we like of the good foods.

We both loved meat, but it has not been that hard to give up. Because I failed to take lunch into work two days I ended up eating a subway sub (Buffalo Chicken). Other than that transgression there has been no other meet in my diet. I also have given up on Diet Coke. I loved diet cokes. I had cravings for diet coke. There were times I would get to work and just have to have a diet coke. Since I have been on this diet, I have not had any cravings and have not had any diet coke at all! I have a hard time believing it is just the diet, but who knows. My water intake is still lower than it should be but much better than it was.

I know in the end, my wife and I will go back to eating meat. It is just a part of who we are. But I think we will balance it out much better than what we have in the past.

Thanksgiving is coming up and we know we will enjoy that time. We plan to eat Turkey and all the trimmings on that day. We will just start by eating healthy foods first then go in for the meat and leave a little room for a small variety of deserts.

Something that you should know is that I am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer back in January of '08. After two surgeries, chemo, radiation and all, I am all clear. This was one of the areas Dominique took into account when she came up with our diet.

Since my surgeries, I have been unable to go up to a buffet more than once without getting too full or almost sick. One of the advantages I guess of the surgeries. Anyway, when we had the Vegan buffet at Vespucci a month ago, I went up 3 times and didn't have to worry about it. I also felt full, but not uncomfortable or anything and it was all healthy food! Yum! And what a difference over what I have been able to do recently.

Anyway, back to Dominique. She has taken a lot of time with us to go over our likes. This has helped her and us get recipes for food that we like. After two weeks we both realize that we typically like the food a little more spicy than what Dominique was doing for us. Not a worry as it is always easy to add spices to food rather than take spices away.

I'm sure we will chime back in from time to time. We look forward to the weeks and months ahead as we have a plan and a method for getting us there. We can't help but thank Dominique enough for helping us down this road.

B & H

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October 2009 Newsletter

The Zizania Newsletter for October is on line. Dominique talks about the fatty acids, essential and non-essential, good and bad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn Vegetables

Healthnews.com has a "list" feature, like David Letterman. This week it's "The Best of the Fall Vegetables".
  1. Avocado
  2. Beans
  3. Broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
  4. Garlic
  5. Leafy Greens
  6. Jerusalem artichoke
  7. Leek
  8. Root vegetables: parsnip, celery root, rutabaga, turnip, beet, carrot
  9. Salsify
  10. Snow pea
  11. Sweet potato
  12. Winter squash, pumpkin
I have a few quibbles with this list. Mostly, the point of an article like this should be to encourage people to eat locally-grown produce. How can avocados be number 1? In the places where avocados grow, there isn't really anything I would call autumn. I think "salsify" is a verb, not a vegetable. And how on earth, halfway through October, can it take you to the end of the list to think of pumpkins?

Johnny Cash was a vegetarian?!

It looks like the term "plant-based diet" is getting out into the mainstream. The York Daily Record up in Pennsylvania published an article about the apparently-increasing trend towards getting meat out of your diet. Lots of anecdotes, a list of grocery stores in the York Area, a list of famous people who are/were vegetarians, but the most useful part is a list of things to keep in your pantry.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

NY Times vs. Meat

The New York Times Magazine had an interesting article today. It's about the ethics of eating, in the context of a Jewish family where meat comes and goes. I don't agree with all of it, but what's the point of reading if you agree with everything the writer says?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

(Client: Claire) Time is finally on my side

Finally, the fact that my life seems to move at warp speed is working in my favor. I simply make a few good choices each day and as the weeks pass, I am looking and feeling better. It’s not that I never dieted in my life—and I’ve been with good programs—but they all involved either measuring or another kind of restrictiveness that caused me stress when I tried to sustain it in my busy life. And let’s face it—if you’re going to make a life-changing diet adjustment, it needs to be sustainable. I prepare food at home a lot more now than I used to, but I can still find something tasty and satisfying to eat in every part of my daily life: every restaurant, every party, even every convenience store. It’s almost like I’ve had a vision correction; I see my options differently now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shrub Monkeys

KT Shy has a good comic strip over at Girlamatic.com, called "Shrub Monkeys". This week, she takes her little sister to a veggie restaurant.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cafeteria Consciousness

This is progress from an unexpected quarter -- students are pressing their college cafeterias to serve healthier, locally-grown, environmentally-sensitive food, and it's working!
Bon Appétit, which serves 80 million meals a year at campus and corporate facilities, has launched a low-carbon diet initiative, reducing food waste, promoting composting, educating guests about their food choices and cutting back on beef purchases by 33 percent systemwide between 2007 and 2009.
I spent a long time in college, and I never saw decent food in the cafeteria. The world certainly is changing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Lighter Side of Processed Food

The guys over at cracked.com have a great article about processed foods, and why you'll wish you'd never touched the stuff. Warning -- their sense of humor is a bit coarse. (In the sense that volcanoes are a bit warm.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

envronmental hazard

The 2006 UN report states that "Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars". Read more here UN REPORT

September 22 - Healthy Hour

This is a monthly event at Vespucci. Please Join us for appetizers and drinks (happy hour prices) and listen to a health expert talk about his area of expertise and answer your questions. If you are a business owner this is a great opportunity to network as well. For September 22sd, our speaker is Dr. Brandon Lemuel who will talk about the benefits of chiropractic care. appetizers are complementary for the launch of this event. Hope to see you there.

September 19th - Nutrition Seminar

Come to a lunch-and-learn seminar given by nutritionist and chef, Dominique Hoffman. Join us at Vespucci Italian Restaurant, where they have adopted an exquisite Zizania vegetarian menu. Come and enjoy a wonderfully delicious and nutritious plant-based lunch, buffet style. Whether you are already on a plant-based diet or are pondering a change, you’ll enjoy the information and guidance Dominique gives. She’ll discuss the following topics:
  • How much protein and calcium you need and the best sources for them
  • The role of vitamins, minerals, and fiber
  • How to build a strong immune system
  • The first signs of deficiencies (yes they can happen here)
  • Pros and cons of a raw food diet
  • How to read food labels
  • Health guidance for a vegan diet
Details:
Date: Saturday, September 19, 2009
Time: 11am-12pm Lecture; 12pm-1pm Buffet Lunch
Place: Vespucci’s Italian Restaurant
10579 Fairfax Blvd. (Lee Hwy)
Fairfax, VA 22030
Reservations taken at 703 272 8113
Price: $40 early reservation with credit card; $50 at the door
$20 children aged 6-15
Note: No children under 6 please.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 2009 Newsletter

The Zizania Newsletter for August is on line. It's about restaurant food, and why you may feel sleepy after eating it, and a suggestion for a better kind of restaurant experience.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blackberry Pie Recipe: Take 2 blackberries...

The blackberries are getting huge, since that contretemps at the radiation lab.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A National Health Problem

Here's an article from the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined
Obesity a crushing weight on U.S. health care. Obesity is certainly a problem, and Zizania does everything it can to fight it, but trivializing the problem with a lot of fat jokes ....
Oh, to heck with the indignation. It's actually pretty funny. How many doubles entendres can you find? I found three in the first five paragraphs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

(Client: Claire) Beefaroni?!

I just made the most amazing dish, quite by accident… I had some roasted veggies that needed to be eaten and I decided to blend them into a dip, a la Dominique’s delicious all-you-can-eat dip. Unfortunately, since I’d not roasted them with Dominique’s special herbs and spices—I just used a bottle of commercial Italian dressing (never again!)—the dip was not as tasty as I hoped. I added a little oregano and pepper, but it was still missing something. So I added some spaghetti sauce! The result was a thick, delicious mixture that would have been great as a dip… but alas, I had nothing to dip except cucumber which is not really the right flavor combo. I decided the cook some elbow macaroni that was tormenting me—“Why did you bother buying me? You have NO idea what to make with me.” Combining the dip and the macaroni created a taste that I’d missed since childhood—beefaroni! There’s no beef in it, but the texture and fiber of the veggies made it seem like the real thing. What a yummy but healthy comfort food! It’s good hot or cold; I may even take it camping this weekend because I’m sure it will keep just fine in a cooler.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CDC Estimates Medical Cost of Obesity

The cost of treating obesity nationwide is much higher than I thought. The Centers for Disease Control released a study that says, "Overall, persons who are obese spent $1,429 (42 percent) more for medical care in 2006 than did normal weight people."
That's not "someday money", like the increased life expectancy estimates. That's cash money, tax free, that goes into the wallet starting right away. People who are overweight have enough to worry about, and I hope they don't take it as piling on. But people who are trying to change their weight, and undecided about what to do, may be helped by an economic analysis that puts some real dollar figures into their calculations.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Guajillo Stew

I have a lot of Guajillo peppers growing in the garden, so it was time to clean out the last few dried ones from the kitchen cabinet. Never heard of guajillo peppers? Well, you've certainly eaten them. They're the foundation of the basic chili sauce you put on enchiladas. This is a fairly simple stew, especially good because I didn't have to go to the store. Everything in it was already in the pantry. (The zucchini was a gift from a neighbor; he overlooked it one day and found himself the next morning with a four-pound monster on his vine. He gave it to us because Zizania can cook anything.)
Ingredients:
  • 3 dried guajillo chilis
  • 1 T oil (soybean, corn, canola, whatever)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper -- seeded and diced
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and diced (use a medium-sized one)
  • 4 cloves garlic -- minced (I love garlic; you can use less)
  • 1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 11-oz. can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 t dried oregano
  • 1 ½ t ground cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ c red wine
  • water
Instructions:
  1. Make simple chili sauce. Cut off the stems from the chilis and discard the seeds. Put the chilis in a bowl. Boil a cup of water and pour it over them. Put a smaller bowl on top to keep the chilis under water, and leave them to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pot (I use a dutch oven), heat the oil. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and garlic until the onions turn yellow and the zucchini is tender. Dump the remaining ingredients in the pot, cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Put a lid on the pot.
  3. After the chilis have been soaking 20 minutes, put them in a blender and purée the heck out of them. The sauce should look like a thick liquid.
  4. Add the purée, reduce heat and cover. Let it cook until the potatoes are tender. (The time depends on how small you diced them.)

A Vegetable Classic from the '80s

"Pass me a plateful, I'll be grateful!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

(Client: Claire) Permissions

It’s occurred to me more than a couple of times that if Dominique said, “No, you may never ever eat this, this or this” I’d want to rebel like a bad kid. But Dominique doesn’t do that… she educates me about how different foods react with body chemistry, and helps me balance my diet so I’m nourished and satisfied. And when I was whining about wanting red meat, she told me to have a steak and enjoy it! Her attitude is so helpful—she helps me remember that this diet is not a punishment, but a way to treat myself to a better life every day.

(Client: Ed) A Fresh Start

I am one of Zizania's clients. I am a recently diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic. I was married to a diabetic for 18 years and I have a daughter who is diabetic, so I understand what the disease can do. My goal is to let you follow me through my coaching with Zizania. Hopefully other diabetics can find a way to treat their disease through what I share. Here are my starting statistics:

Age 46 Height 6' 0" Weight 240lbs HDL 90 (bad cholesterol, pretty low) LDL 40 (good cholesterol, also pretty low, need more exercise) Hemoglobin A1C 10.5 (measure of avg. blood sugars over the last 90 days, should be less than 6) Fasting blood sugars 200+ (should be between 80 and 110) Started on the Zizania program 7/6/2009

For those who don't know what all this means I am over weight and my blood sugars are very high. My personal recipe for bad things in the future. I watched my wife and daughter go through the all of the debilitating effects of diabetes. Loss of vision, kidney failure, loss of feeling in the hands and feed, digestive problems, heart problems, and a bunch of other less obvious issues. I know what my future holds if I don't change. This is pretty good incentive to take action.

I hope to reverse my disease, change my future, and by documenting it, help others fight theirs. Loosing some weight would be a nice bonus. In my first two weeks my facilitator, Dominique, has done an evaluation and given me some basic rules for changing my diet, as well as a list of do's and don'ts. Just these simple things have already had some effect. Changing my diet to follow her direction has caused my blood sugars to start slowly dropping. Now we will work on adding selections to my list of foods I can eat. Tomorrow will be my first cooking lesson. Can't wait. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Taking up the Cudgels

Writing an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Amanda Hesser takes Michelle Obama to task for saying, “I don’t miss cooking. I’m just fine with other people cooking.” She has some faint praise
for the White House organic garden, but is really ticked off by the idea (out of her own head, as far as I can tell) that Ms. Obama thinks cooking isn't worth doing. Worse yet, she goes on to say, "Because terrific local ingredients aren’t much use if people are cooking less and less; cooking is to gardening what parenting is to childbirth."
 
I sympathize with Ms. Hesser's motivations, but she's working from total cluelessness. There are two reasons we don't go to New York City to get advice on gardening. One is that they publish ungrammatical sentence fragments. The other is that the whole island of Manhattan is a terrarium, disconnected from life and nature. Ms. Hesser was writing on May 31, the beginning of a four-month period when cooking is totally optional. The garden outside my window is going gangbusters, and not a single thing in it needs to be cooked. She should check out some raw food blogs, or talk to some of these people.
 
For example, this is what I've had for dinner two nights this week:
2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, diced
sprinkling of red wine vinegar
freshly-ground salt and pepper
Mix in a bowl. Eat on the porch, with a big glass of iced tea. (Or a small glass of chianti, if you don't have work to do after dinner.)
Total preparation time, maybe 7-8 minutes picking the vegetables, plus another 5 minutes washing and chopping. No cooking involved. No threat to the stability of the Nation.
 
p.s. The title of this post is taken from a piece by Robert Benchley, which is one of the funniest science articles ever written.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blackberry Season

The blackberries are coming in fast, now. Our bush is in its second year; it's about six feet high and three feet thick and ten feet long. It produces about a quart of berries every other day. They're great for smoothies, if you can get them to stay around that long. They evaporate quickly, once I get them into the kitchen.
Of course, they evaporate pretty fast on the bushes, too. There's a catbird hanging around the garden who thinks those berries are there for her benefit. According to the Wikipedia,
Grey Catbirds are not afraid of predators and respond to them aggressively by flashing their wings and tails and by making their signature mew sounds. They are also known to even attack and peck predators that come too near their nests.
I can vouch for the loud mouths and the aggression, but she doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. We have a deal -- anything that's still on the bush when I get home from work is MINE. So she can just shut up, or she can tell it to the cat.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hey, kids! Arugula on a stick!

A chain of gas-station convenience stores in South Africa is changing their merchandise so at least 30% of their space is dedicated to food that's good for you.
Open 24/7, Freshstop stores will offer consumers and commuters seasonal, locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, as well a variety of pre-made salads, smoothies and dairy products.
I've been on a lot of road trips where I really wished I could get some good, fresh food, so I'm 100% behind this idea. I don't get how to make a salad that you can eat while you drive, but that's why they're the innovation leaders, not me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

(Client: Claire) Be careful… it’s catching.

I never doubted the support of people who love me, though I never really expected that they’d eat what I eat without feeling deprived. After all, it’s not their diet, it’s mine. But the food is so good that people want to try it—and they may want a little sample of the resulting energy and weight loss too. A couple of weeks ago, a friend was sweet enough to bring vegetarian sushi to a picnic. A week later, another friend who had sampled it was craving it, so she went on a mission to find it and bring it to another picnic! My mother and sister really liked the tri-color pasta that I whipped up, and it became a fantastic cold pasta salad that we enjoyed for a few days. Of course, I love this. I’m not “poor baby who can’t eat whatever she wants” or someone who limits a group’s menu because of her needs, I’m someone who is making different choices for myself—and it would be great if people I meet along the way decide to make healthier choices too!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Michelangelo

Ok, I know I shouldn't be, but I'm laughing so hard I can't type straight. BeanDiet: it's so true
(In the interest of providing a responsible opposing viewpoint, I had a friend who got a job in Germany, and gained 25 pounds in the first year he was there. His apartment was just above a pastry shop...)

(Client: Claire) I found the H Mart!

7/8… I may have to learn several Asian languages to reap all the benefits that this great store has to offer. But for now, I stuck with the reason that Dominique recommended it: the fresh, varied and inexpensive selection of fruits and vegetables. It was amazing! I got everything I needed to make parsley potatoes, kale/apple salad, romaine/pear salad, marinated mushrooms, grilled veggies, Dominique’s amazing roasted veggie dip, salsa, and wilted spinach. Plus I picked up some mung bean noodles to pair with peanut butter/ginger sauce when I need a treat. So tasty!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

(Client: Claire) Home Repair and Self Repair

This past weekend I put in two 10-hour days working on my house, including shopping and heavy lifting at Home Depot and Ikea—and even went to a concert Friday and a party Saturday where I danced like I didn’t have a care in the world! It’s amazing to think that just a month ago, my body wouldn’t respond to such demands. Back then I needed naps in the daytime and if I’d done something really strenuous, a late night out would be impossible. But my energy level keeps rising, and the day-after effects of demanding physical tasks keep shrinking. If my blog entries slow down a little bit, rest assured it’s because I’m out living (and loving) my new life.

Dietitians say eating vegetables is OK

The American Dietetic Association has changed its position. It now says vegetarian diets are healthy. Nice to have you on board, guys! Among other findings, “There are many reasons for the rising interest in vegetarian diets. The number of vegetarians in the United States is expected to increase over the next decade.”
Well, if vegetarians are healthier and live longer, that'll take care of itself, won't it?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Do these guys read zizania.biz?

Gourmet Retailer magazine has an article based on the recent report from the Trust for America's Health, which says we're all getting more obese. But wait -- these guys are a trade publication for the gourmet industry. What'll they do if people stop eating so much?
Not to worry. They quote Elizabeth Pivonka of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, who says,
If you can only make one diet change right now, your best option is to add just one extra serving of fruit or vegetables each day. You'll find you won't need to eat as much of other foods when you do.
Right on, Ms. Pivonka!

(Client: Claire) Mmmmmexican.

I love Mexican food, but I thought I might I’d never eat it again. After all, what is Mexican Food without grilled meats, heaps of cheese and a dollop of sour cream? In a word: tasty. Last night I had corn tortillas with Amy’s vegetarian refried beans, tomatoes, scallions, romaine, and Trader Joe’s amazing Three Pepper Salsa. Yummy! What I thought would be the most difficult part of this process, “giving up” my favorite foods, has become my favorite part of the process: “remaking” my favorite foods. It’s a double treat to eat things you love and know that you’re eating for your health.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Zizania at Vespucci's

Zizania is pleased to announce that Vespucci Restaurant in Fairfax is instituting a Zizania menu. All plant-based items, designed to complement Vespucci's fine Italian cuisine. We'll even have some gluten-free items. To kick things off, we'd like to see you at our inaugural brunch. The date is Sunday, August 2, 2009, from 11 AM to 2 PM, at Vespucci Restaurant, 10579 Fairfax Blvd. Fairfax, Virginia 22030
(703) 272-8113

For the Fourth of July

From Benjamin Franklin's "Letter to a Royal Academy":
GENTLEMEN,
I have perused your late mathematical Prize Question, proposed in lieu of one in Natural Philosophy, for the ensuing year, viz. "Une figure quelconque donnee, on demande d’y inscrire le plus grand nombre de fois possible une autre figure plus-petite quelconque, qui est aussi donnee". I was glad to find by these following Words, "l’Academie a jugee que cette deecouverte, en eetendant les bornes de nos connoissances, ne seroit pas sans UTILITE", that you esteem Utility an essential Point in your Enquiries, which has not always been the case with all Academies; and I conclude therefore that you have given this Question instead of a philosophical, or as the Learned express it, a physical one, because you could not at the time think of a physical one that promis’d greater Utility.
Permit me then humbly to propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, &c. of this enlightened Age. It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind.
That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it.
That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.
That so retain’d contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Diseases, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, &c. often destructive of the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself.
Were it not for the odiously offensive Smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are in spitting, or in blowing their Noses.
My Prize Question therefore should be, To discover some Drug wholesome & not disagreable, to be mix’d with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreable as Perfumes.
That this is not a chimerical Project, and altogether impossible, may appear from these Considerations. That we already have some Knowledge of Means capable of Varying that Smell. He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much Addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate; while he that has lived for some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may any where give Vent to his Griefs, unnoticed...

Organics and the Government

The Washington Post published an article yesterday about the "USDA Organic" certification. The Inspector General is looking into the fact that it doesn't mean anything. (For instance, you can make organic beer from non-organic hops.) Really, you can't trust that certification. Some good products have it, but they also have another more reliable certification as well. "100% Organic" is a better certification, but it's also under the control of government bureaucrats, and susceptible to lobbying. Non-governmental organizations frequently do a better job.
This is a well-known problem. Michael Pollan blew the lid off it in The Omnivore's Dilemma, and in magazine articles. The word "organic" is a powerful sales tool. The USDA's job is to promote agriculture, so they have no interest in excluding anything from their certification. Products certified "organic" can cost twice as much as their regular equivalents, which brings us to the real issue here: price.
It's true that organic food costs more to produce, so it's perfectly fair for the store to charge more, right? Not so fast. According to the Undercover Economist, the farmer sees very little of the price you pay. You can ask farmers, too. They'll tell you, for as long as you care to listen, that the brokers and shippers make all the money. If they were able to get 10% or 25% more for their crop, that should only change your price at the store by a couple of pennies. But look around at the supermarket. Compare the prices of organic and non-organic foods. It's not easy -- the experts who design stores never put them next to each other. Organic foods are frequently on their own aisle. Why? Because they don't want you to see that they're using the "organic" label to jack up prices by 30-100%. Not everybody does this, of course, and not on all products, but caveat emptor.

Friday, July 3, 2009

(Client: Claire) Still going strong.

Loyal readers of this blog must have wondered what happened… did she fall off the wagon? Did she return to her poor eating habits? NO! (Thank goodness.) I had a family situation that involved stress, long hours, lots of driving and living at someone else’s house. There was plenty of not-so-good-for-you food in the house, but I brought two big shopping bags of groceries and a cooler with lots of stuff from my fridge. I successfully got through my first order since the diet change at a burrito joint, prepared food for others that I would not eat myself, and even enjoyed a bowl of berries with agave while I watched other people eat ice cream. At each fork in the road, I was strengthened by my good choices—and I was rewarded! I’ve lost 25 pounds overall and my sugar has dropped 20 points. I decided to ‘shop’ in a bag of clothes that being sent to charity because they were too small, and found that half fit me—and the other half will fit in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The End of the Lettuce

This is the time of year when I turn locavoracious. I spend a lot of time in the garden, so I've decided to post a bit about it when something of note happens.
Zizania's motto is "Delicious, healthy, ethical eating", and a garden fits all four words. Delicious, because things you grew yourself taste better than things you buy. It could be because of a biochemical harmony among the minerals in the ground nearby, the flavor of the vegetables, and the smells all around you in the air. Or it could be because of all the work you put in. Doesn't matter. Healthy, because nothing is added that you didn't add. And you get a lot of exercise digging, weeding, mulching, and harvesting. Ethical, because you have 100% control over what goes on in the garden. Nobody's exploited. Nobody's eating something they don't know about.
I pulled up the lettuce plants from the garden today. All spring, it was wonderful stuff. Tender, green leaves that tasted perfect with any kind of salad dressingI cared to put on them. But on the first full moon after the summer solstice, they turn into huge beasts, shoulder-high and leather-tough. It's a kind of botanical lycanthropy. So they had to go.
This year, my lettuce was a commercial mesclun mix. The green leaf lettuce and red leaf lettuce were great for sandwiches, the romaine was nice and sweet, the arugula was crisp and spicy, and the mustard greens were good as always (can't kill mustard greens). There was also lots of a bizarre maroon-and-blue triffid that tasted so bitter it should only be eaten at dinner with your ex. Most of that went straight to the compost pile.
So the lettuce was successful, and true to the Virginia climate, it's all gone, just as the cucumbers and tomatoes are starting to plump up. Never knew a "local tossed salad" was such a contradiction in terms.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Purple News

A research team at Kansas State is breeding a purple sweet potato. Purpleness fights cancer, apparently. Red cabbage has been known for a long time to be beneficial, and blueberries ("blue on the bush, purple on the plate," said George Carlin) helps prevent obesity.
I'm going to apply for an NIH grant to see if watching going to a Prince concert has the same positive health effects.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A billion people can't be wrong

Indian food is great. I don't remember how we got by without it. I've read lots of Indian recipes over the years, but when I try to make them in my own kitchen, I'm frequently stumped by their different way of describing things. But now the intertubes have come to my rescue. An Indian cook named Srivasa has a YouTube channel where he records himself cooking. All those strange words become suddenly clear, when you get to see what object he's holding as he gets to the confusing part of the recipe. These videos make me hungry.
Thanks to the ladies at Vegetarian Cuisine for introducing me to this guy.

Pet Estate Planning

Over at SFvegan, they have coverage of a lecture at the SPCA about including your pets in your estate planning. If you die unexpectedly, you want your pets to be taken care of, right?
We love cats here at Zizania, but let's face facts. If I die unexpectedly, the odds are ten to one that the cats will be standing over my corpse, giving each other high-fours and gloating, "Dude, it worked!" No way would I write them into my will. I want them to be sad at my funeral.

High-protein, low-carb diet. Sound familiar?

David Jenkins, MD, of the University of Toronto, has published a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, entitled "The Effect of a Plant-Based Low-Carbohydrate ("Eco-Atkins") Diet on Body Weight and Blood Lipid Concentrations in Hyperlipidemic Subjects". They took some patients with high cholesterol and gave them a high-protein plant-based diet. It improved both their cholesterol and triglyceride levels more than the control group. It's not the first suspicion that this might work better than the original Atkins diet did.

If you're suspicious of medical journals because of the influence of corporate money on research, it'll be nice to see that Dr. Jenkins "discloses his ties to Solae [soy-product manufacturer], Unilever, the California Strawberry Commission, the Almond Board of California, and other companies," according to WebMD. Maybe I'm just naive, but I'm not worried about corporate corruption from the Strawberry Commission.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Diet and Nutrition Improves Pre-diabeties Numbers

After attempting changes in dieting and increasing my exercise program over 12 months, it wasn't until I adopted the Zizania nutrition plan that I began to see my glucose numbers go below 100. I attribute the changes to the personal coaching on a weekly basis with Dominique Hoffman. Through her process you receive direct hands on advice on how to shop and cook meals that taste great with healthy and natural food selections. In addition to the reduction in glucose my weight also dropped by about 10 lbs. I noticed my changes occurred within about a 6-8 week timeframe. The Zizania process has worked extremely well for me and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to improve their health and well being!

(Client: Claire) “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”?

6/25... I’ve always hated this saying, especially since it always seems to be coming from skinny women. But this morning, I may have had an inkling of what it really means. My life is a bit complicated right now, and last night I was convinced that I had at least three good reasons to take a break from my diet. I pondered all the choices of tasty food, the rationalizations for “treating myself”, and then tried to write some new rule in my diet plan that would encompass the occasional bad eating (“once a week”, “once every ten pounds lost”, etc.). I even had an extra glass of wine at a social outing so I could add “drunkenness” to the list of reasons that I wouldn’t be responsible for a slip. Luckily I realized that I was so tired from a very long day that crawling into bed would also be a treat, so I did that ASAP. When I woke up this morning, I realized how close I came to sabotaging myself and was really glad that I had not. After all, this whole diet shift is about treating my body better, and so eating stuff that I know to be bad for me is not really “treating myself” at all, is it? So as I headed into another harder-than-average day today, I was glad for the experience and the awareness—I had said no to an intense momentary need in favor of my long-term need, even though I couldn’t grasp the long-term need at the time. I loaded my little red cooler (which is more important to me now than a purse!) with soy pita, red pepper hummus, almonds and clemetines to tote around all day. And I decided to treat myself to a Coke Zero; I’ve been avoiding soft drinks, even diet ones, so the sweet fizziness was a great way to treat myself without triggering a return to my old eating habits. While I hope I’ll never parrot “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”, I can say that nothing tastes as good as mindfulness of and respect for your long term health feels.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Epigram

"You health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing." -- Redd Foxx

(Client: Claire) Be prepared…

6/23... Today I was driving around doing errands, my morning oatmeal was wearing off and I was really hungry. As a former fast food junkie, I found myself having to control a LOT of impulses—and needing to find something good to eat! I ducked into Safeway and did my first shopping in a major chain since I’ve been on my new diet. I read the labels and bought more than a dozen options for instant meals, plus I got to munch on some Veggie Booty on the way home. But when I got home and made one of the veggie burgers, I realized that these pre-packaged foods were not nearly as tasty as what Dominique’s been making for me. The lesson for me was to be prepared, or jeopardize what I’ve accomplished! Tomorrow I’m spending much of the day in a hospital while my mother has surgery, which could be a no-choices, stress-eating nightmare. So I packed a lunch and lots of snacks to take with me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

(Client: Claire) Energy!

6/22... I’m not a runner; I don’t run unless something is chasing me. Don’t you watch CSI? It’s always the joggers who find the dead bodies. But I digress. On Saturday night, I ran about a half mile… chasing a dog. When one of my dogs is loose and in danger, the endorphins kick in and I MOVE. But on Saturday night, I made the sprint without feeling like I was going to die. And the next day, I felt fine. How is this possible? I’ve only been with Zizania a little over a week, I’ve only lost a few pounds, and (despite Dominique’s suggestion) I’ve not made it back into the gym yet. It was really puzzling me. Then it hit me—for the first time in years, my body is nourished! I am actually giving it the fuel it needs to go. This shouldn’t be a revelation—Dominique talks about properly nourishing the body at every session. But actually experiencing the benefits was incredible. Last night I took the dogs for a brisk 1.5 mile walk and ended less winded than the dogs—something that was out of reach two weeks ago. It was pure happiness.

(Client: Claire) More Challenges

6/20... On Thursday and Friday, I overcame two challenges that worried me. First, my weekly networking meeting where there is a pre-fixe menu with no options that worked for me. I took a waiter aside before the lunch and asked nicely if he’d bring me a plain garden salad with dressing on the side, and fruit for dessert. When the salad arrived, I pulled a small Tupperware out of my briefcase that had cubed, pre-cooked “Roma” flavored tofu and sunflower seeds. My salad was fantastic; nothing at that table looked better to me. And when I was enjoying my fresh fruit, I thought that those who were picking at their cake might be wishing that they had fruit too! Friday night we went to a concert at Wolftrap, a treat that usually includes a fantastic collection of cheeses and crackers. Plus, whatever I was eating would be shared with a friend—would she balk at the food choices? I made Dominique’s potato salad and some hummus, and brought some almonds and sweet apples. I hadn’t had bread in a long time, but Dominique said that pita bread would be fine. So I also brought pita bread and kalamata olives, and my friend brought watermelon. It was a delicious! Everything we ate was Dominique-approved, but I had a couple things on the menu that were a real treat. And to my delight, my friend was pretty happy too.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pasta mit Erdnuß

Many years ago, I went on a tour of the Rhineland in Germany. In the pre-internet days, it wasn't so easy to find veg*n restaurants within reach of tourist destinations. It was a rare opportunity when we could even find a salad bar. Now, though, with a few minutes of research, a traveler in Germany isn't doomed to an endless parade of Schnitzel and fries. (OK, actually the fries were uniformly excellent.) And I can keep my (dubious) German skills up to date without traveling. Here's a recipe that's almost identical to one of Zizania's most popular dishes. The seasoning is a bit simpler, but the flavor is international. Zizania also makes it with mushrooms. Guten appetit!

Veggie Uprising

Rebecca Clement has a warning for us. How long do you think we can get away with eating plants, before they catch on?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vegan Bake Sales

There are a couple of vegan bake sales coming up in Northern Virginia in the next week or so. Tomorrow, June 20th, there's one in Reston at the Community Center. Saturday, June 27th, the Falls Church Community Center (at left) hosts another one. These are organized by Compassion for Animals. Let us know what you find!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

whole grain

A couple of weeks ago I discovered amaranth and made a dish with it for the first time. OMG, it was amazing. I could not believe that such a little seed could taste so good and be so chewy and have so much, well, ... character. Then I tried millet. Same delightful experience. I can't wait to try spelt. I will post a recipe once I come up with one that will please everyone.

(Client: Claire) Rejoining Real Life

Changing what you eat within the confines of your home is one thing; walking into the same restaurants you always frequented and ordering something different is a little harder. My lunch appointment today was at Nicholl’s and Scheffler, a wonderful café/catering place at King & Henry Streets in Old Town Alexandria. They know me there, and I told them I was eating ‘vegan’… without blinking, chef Lou pointed me towards their roasted vegetables, faro dish, and red potato salad. It was DELICIOUS. My lunch date was eating a roast beef salad and remarked a couple of times that she wished she got what I had. Then I went to the coffee shop “Buzz” and asked for vegan options. Nothing, they said. But I ordered a soymilk latte and a fruit cup, and had my ‘coffee meeting’ needs satisfied. (I also suggested to them that their signature granola, bound with a little honey, would make an excellent vegan cookie.) Dominique and I had a wonderful conversation tonight—she’s really truly happy to see me feeling so much better and losing weight already (6 pounds). And she’s helping me prepare for some upcoming challenges. Next week contains a family visit that is likely to cause stress, plus my first concert at Wolftrap without cheese and crackers. She mentioned recipes that I can’t wait to try!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

grilled tempeh

this is very easy but it takes time for the marinade to penetrate the tempeh.
  • 1 block of tempeh
  • juice of 1 ripe lime
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t cider vinegar
  • 1/4 rice vinegar or mirin
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 T tequila
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 T freshly ground cumin
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
Mix all ingredients except tempeh and put into the shallow rectangular bowl. Cut tempeh into 1/2 in strips. Add the tempeh to the bowl of marinade, cut side down so the sauce penetrates faster. Let stand for 45 minutes, turn the tempeh pieces to soak the other side. Let stand for 1 hour. The sauce should be almost entirely absorbed. Throw on the grill and cook till brown, about 10 minutes on each side. Enjoy as finger food, as an addition to fajitas, or in a pita bread with greens, cucumber and tomato. Or on top of a salad instead of chicken.

White House Gardening

Michelle Obama's organic garden on the White House grounds is famous. Today she hosted a Harvest Party for the 5th-graders who helped her plant it. Lunch all around. I applaud Ms. Obama's efforts to improve child nutrition, and wish her every success.
Now, I have two questions for her.
1. Wouldn't lunch have been better without the chicken?
2. How on earth did you start that garden in March? My garden is only about 10 miles from yours, and in March the ground was still frozen. We didn't have our last frost until almost April. (OK, I'm just jealous.)

Speedy dessert

This recipe takes seconds to prepare and is unforgettable.
  • 1 or 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream. I like Rice dream or Soy Joy
  • 1 t rum
  • 1 T frozen or fresh raspberries
Put the ice cream in a bowl, pour the raspberries on top and pour the rum all over. Bon Appetit!

(Client: Claire) Committing Out Loud

After you’ve done enough diets, you decide you don’t really want to announce it to the world when you start a new one. If you’re starting ‘yet another diet’, chances are that you’ve failed the previous one and will fail this one too. But committing out loud is often a good step—when I told a dear friend about the decision to work with Dominique, she embraced me and teared up. “You deserve this” she whispered, and I had to agree.

Last night I mentioned the eating change to my brother. He’s seven years younger than I am and has been a vegetarian for at least five years. (It might not be a coincidence that he chose the lifestyle while managing a major chain steakhouse.) It always impressed me that he stuck to his guns but didn’t proselytize, so I was a little excited once I started telling him about this choice I’d made for my own health. I was also excited to learn that he too had noticed the lethargy that came with eating meat, and that it was part of his decision to quit (he still remembers his last meat meal and how he felt afterwards).

My brother also counseled me on what tofu to buy and how to cook it so it’s palatable. I found this the MOST exciting, because I always assumed that your taste buds had to die to happily eat a vegetarian diet. I actually know a lot of vegetarians and vegans who like tasty food, and I will be collecting recipes from all of you!

DISCLAIMER: I reserve the right to eat a tasty steak once a year. It’ll probably make me sick, but I’ll savor it anyway. Carnivorousness dies hard.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

(Client: Claire) Shopping with New Eyes

Dominique’s food is great, but I have only made a few recipes thus far and really need a little variety. After many, many fleeting thoughts of fast and easy (and bad) food from my pre-Dominique life, I decided that Sushi was a winner—a treat for me and something Dominique mentioned as an acceptable occasional meal. I decided to combine it with a trip to Trader Joe’s , because I needed a couple of staples (olive oil, vinegar, salt) and some produce. Trader Joe’s is a healthy place, but those of us looking for bad stuff can always find it—so I needed to not be hungry when I arrived and to have a ‘prize’ in hand when I left. I ate some potato salad mid afternoon and went to TJ’s at dinner time.

Cruising around TJ’s with new eyes was amazing. I saw different vinegars to use in salads, hummus made with white beans, ‘orange cranberries’ to put in my oatmeal, mini Portobello mushrooms that screamed to be paired with wild rice, and more. And I was able to walk past of lot of my ‘regular’ items that are no longer on my diet, because there were things that I wanted to buy that were okay—like Baba Ganoush, a baby watermelon, and lemonade (to make Arnold Palmers). I also bought a couple of items that I would never let myself buy before because I didn’t know how to buy them or how to eat them—almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seeds. It sounds strange, but after so many years of shunning nut butters as a “not for fatties” rule, a celery stalk with some peanut butter will be a decadent late afternoon pick-me-up. (But now I know not to buy the stuff with all the additives, not to pair it with crackers or bread, and not to overdose on it.)

To my surprise, I left Trader Joe’s happy rather than deprived. I had a couple of treats, the makings of meals I looked forward to eating, a new concept of the store’s offerings, and hope to make it through another day.

(Client: Claire) Ugly Monday

(6/16) Today has been harder than I thought it would be: my first normal workday without the emotional retreat or excuse of food. It’s amazing to look at all the ways food impacts my life, other than nutrition. So today, every time I was hungry, I ate something yummy from the fridge. Normally, “quittin’ time” would be when I look around, starving, then find something unhealthy to eat, and then crash from the overload of calories, carbs, whatever. But Dominique stressed not depriving myself, so I decided to eat good stuff until full. I just had some cucumber salad, which was much more satisfying than I thought it would be. Then I was still snacky, so I grabbed a handful of almonds. I’m not feeling ravenous anymore! So now I have an opportunity to make non-panicky decisions about dinner. There’s salmon in the fridge, which isn’t really on the diet, but I’m not going to let it go to waste. I’ll steam some asparagus to go with it. And I see a sugar craving on the horizon, but I have some all-natural fruit strips if that happens.

Lunch with a customer today

I invited a "potential" customer to lunch today. He said he liked Asian flavours, so I made pasta in peanut and coconut milk sauce and for dessert we had freshly made raw apple sauce. He was surprised that he could eat pasta even though he had diabetes. I explained to him that the carbohydrate restriction the doctors recommend is so he could live with diabetes. What I do is try to reverse it completely. This is what he wrote to me the next day: "Thanks for the wonderful lunch, it was wonderful. I felt energized for the rest of the day". If you want to understand how this works, please read Dr. Bernard's book "Reversing Diabetes" he does a very good job at explaining what type 2 diabetes is and how to reverse it with a change in diet.

Monday, June 15, 2009

(Client: Claire) Breaking Habits

Today has been harder than I thought it would be: my first normal workday without the emotional retreat or excuse of food. It’s amazing to look at all the ways food impacts my life, other than nutrition. So today, every time I was hungry, I ate something yummy from the fridge. Normally, “quittin’ time” would be when I look around, starving, then find something unhealthy to eat, and then crash from the overload of calories, carbs, whatever. But Dominique stressed not depriving myself, so I decided to eat good stuff until full. I just had some cucumber salad, which was much more satisfying than I thought it would be. Then I was still snacky, so I grabbed a handful of almonds. I’m not feeling ravenous anymore! So now I have an opportunity to make non-panicky decisions about dinner. There’s salmon in the fridge, which isn’t really on the diet, but I’m not going to let it go to waste. I’ll steam some asparagus to go with it. And I see a sugar craving on the horizon, but I have some all-natural fruit strips if that happens. No, this isn't the first time I've had to struggle through a day of a new diet, but it's much easier knowing hat I can talk to Dominique about why and how the plan doesn't work for me. And knowing that she will let me be honest and forgive me!

(Client: Claire) "Making Food for Myself"

How I managed to turn a table full of stuff into delicious meals is baffling. And the fact that I spent a few hours doing food prep is astounding. But Mondays are terrible and I wanted to be prepared not to have any excuses. I made potato salad, a “rough” hummus, cucumber salad, garlic mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. “Rough” Hummus may have another better name but until I know it, I’ll pretend that it’s something I invented. I love hummus but I hate chick peas. So when Dominique gave me some chick pea salad the previous week, I just stared at it for days. I knew it had all the good stuff in there, but I had a four-year-old mentality of “not gonna eat that”. Finally, I pulled out the blender—and made it look like hummus. SO GOOD. So good in fact that I wanted to duplicate it—but this time, I blended the chick peas with a little garlic water and tahini and then stirred in diced parsley and roma tomatoes, with a few kalamata olives on top. Can’t wait to eat it!

(Client: Claire) "No Funnel Cakes"

By Sunday morning my stash of healthy food was gone, and I was ready to panic. I had people to see, places to go, and no time to cook; I was hungry but afraid to make a bad decision. So I decided to go to MOM’s (My Organic Market) and pick up all the produce I’d seen Dominique turn into tasty meals. (It still seemed like magic to me since I don’t cook, but I was operating on faith.) I got everything I needed, and then had to go back in for tofu. I thought I hated Tofu, but I am a carnivore through and through, and I’ll need a meat substitute for awhile. Apparently, I just don’t know how to cook tofu! I picked up some pre-cooked and seasoned stuff that I can quickly add to chopped salads. I was heading to a street festival that day, and the food choices there would be terrible. So I quickly assembled a chopped cabbage salad with tofu and toasted almonds, and ate until I was full. And it worked! People ate around me all day and I wasn’t even tempted. At the end of the day, I decided I wanted one of the crabcakes from a nearby vendor—best crabcakes anywhere—and I got one. It was really a healthy choice, but seemed like the most amazing treat. And I was so grateful that this new way of eating had given me such freedom on this challenging day that I was excited to move forward. I stopped on the way home to pick up a good chef’s knife.

(Client: Claire) "First Cooking Lesson"

My first cooking session was Friday afternoon, and I was exhausted. The week, the heat, and my general lack of energy made me think that I’d be suffering through the 2-hours instead of soaking up the info and getting excited about the first day of the rest of my life. But when I got into the kitchen and saw the pot of potatoes on the stove, I was heartened. I LOVE potatoes. No diet I’ve ever had has included a big pot of potatoes, and seeing it made me believe I had a chance. We made an Asian cabbage dish with tofu, potato salad, mashed potatoes and a tropical smoothie. Simply tasting each of these as we prepared them really filled me up. And as a special surprise, Dominique gave me a “crème brulee” which was actually made with pineapple! Delicious. So We chatted and cooked, and had a great time, and I left with many little containers of the three dishes we had cooked. And I’ll be honest-- I had thought that when I left I might swing by KFC or McDs to have a last fling meal. But all the discussion we’d had about what the food industry puts in prepared food, plus looking forward to tasting that potato salad again got me home without stopping. Dinner was very satisfying, and I didn’t wake up tired the next morning for the first time in a while.

(Client: Claire) "Starving?"

At my kickoff meeting with Dominique, I was drinking a sugary frozen drink from the café. I was ashamed to be doing so, but as usual I was exhausted. I was surprised when Dominique didn’t judge me; she simply asked what I’d eaten in the previous day or two. I told her, and was shocked by her response: “You’re starving.” She proceeded to explain how the very little nutrition from the food I was eating wasn’t being processed properly, so I could fill my belly constantly and still be suffering from malnutrition. The intense cravings were to be expected, she said, and would subside as I learned to eat properly. I processed all she had said over the next few days—and found that I could not wait to begin my program.

(client: Claire) "Getting Started"

My name is Claire, I am 37 years old and I weigh 120 pounds more than ‘the chart’ says I should. I’ve always been big, but I’ve done enough energetic stuff that I thought ‘a couple extra pounds’ wouldn’t affect me too much. But now I’m closing in on 40, fighting with diabetes, and noticing physical limitations that affect my choice of activities. It’s time for me to get healthy, and give myself the freedom I’ve always wanted and deserved. Why did I choose Dominique to guide me through this huge life change? There are a LOT of nutritionists out there, and I’ve done a lot of different programs. But with all that I know about nutrition—and trust me, repeat dieters tend to know a lot about nutrition—Dominique was able to tell me things right away about the way my body processes food that really made me think. Plus she makes lots of Mediterranean food, which I love, and is French—so I assume she has a taste for delicious food.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tacos for Dinner

Tonight at the Zizania household, dinner is tacos made from refried beans (12 oz.), corn tortillas (12), salsa (half a jar), lettuce from the garden (about 20 leaves), and alfalfa sprouts (1 pkg.). Some hot sauce, added to taste. This is gluten-free, nearly fat-free, guilt-free, and it keeps the Webmaster properly fed.
Corn tortillas seem to be ignored these days. Flour tortillas have taken over. I've recently talked to people who didn't even know there were soft corn tortillas. That's a real shame, because tortillas are the reason ancient Native Americans worked so hard breeding corn. Some of the best food this continent ever produced.
Total meal preparation time was just 20 minutes. That last part was critical -- we were driving all over the mountains today, buying a new brush hog. Sometimes after 8 or 9 hours in the office, I feel tired. Nothing like schlepping 500 lbs. of steel around the countryside, though. Today, easy recipes were mandatory.

Introduction

Hello! Zizania Diet and Nutrition Coaching is now on blogspot.com !
Who are we? Zizania provides coaching in diet and nutrition for individuals

  • who are overweight, or
  • who suffer from Lupus, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer, or
  • who want to change their diet to achieve optimal health, or
  • who want to lower their footprint on the environment.

We can do this by teaching you a new way to buy and prepare food.

When we decide to buy a car or a house, we do research by comparing prices and quality. We read a collection of materials, we ask questions, until we find exactly the model, size, shape, and price that we want. But when it comes to eating, we go for convenience and price. We often forget that whatever we put in our mouths will shape how we feel, how we age, and what kind of body and ailments we will have in the future. (Of course, diet isn't everything. The quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, our stress level, and heredity all play a role in shaping our health. But diet is one of the easiest things to fix.)

Zizania's answer to this common 21st-century problem is education in food consumption. We show you how to prepare delicious, easy, and quick every day meals that are nutritious and affordable. We encourage our customers to get most of the nutrients they need from food instead of supplements. Our bodies are well equipped to digest food but are inefficient at metabolizing nutrients contained in pills. We work with our customers hand in hand to create customized plant based meals to satisfy both their hunger and their taste buds.

We provide our customers with tools to succeed and stay there. Aside from our coaches' extensive knowledge, there are books, magazines, websites, and local organizations specialized in different areas related to food, health, and nutrition. We put a plethora of information at our customers' finger tips. And if anything is unclear we provide one-on-one support free of charge.

This blog is for Zizania coaches to post things we'd like the world to know, for our clients to tell their stories, and for anyone who loves food and ethical eating to join in a conversation.