Category Archives: Plant Strong Lifestyle

Posts relating to the plant-strong lifestyle – places to eat, recipes, nutritional information, web resources.

Vegan Fare in San Diego area

With the recent results released by the World Health Organization linking processed meat consumption with increased risk of cancer, it seems a good time to share my personal list of vegan and vegan friendly restaurants. There have been quite a few new restaurants opening in the San Diego area as well as new discoveries (Cafe Gratitude, Purple Mint, Civico 1845, Trilogy Sanctuary). I’ve tried most, but not all. My favorites to date are Cafe Gratitude, Evolution, Native Foods, Plumeria, Purple Mint, and Trilogy.

Bamboo Thai in La Mesa. has mock meat options. good prices
Cafe Gratitude in little Italy. Unique Zen-like experience. all vegan.
Chipotle – sofrita burrito with tofu
Civico 1845 – 1845 India st. has a full vegan sub menu.
Eureka! Beet and kidney Patty on burgers. 4353 la Jolla village dr in UTC
Evolution fast food 2949 5th Ave.
Himalayan Cuisine 7918 El Cajon. Nepalese fare with vegan options.
Jyoti-Bihanga 3351 Adams Ave. 11 AM
Loving Hut. Low cost, cafeteria style. chain. El Cajon Blvd.
Moncai university & 31st recommended by Charles
Native Foods – 3 locations. All vegan. Robust menu. Oatmeal cream cookie!
Peace pies: 4230 Voltaire st.
Plumeria on Park Blvd. Excellent Thai. Vegan except for desserts.
Pokez – Potato burrito
Purple Mint on mission gorge. Vegetarian bistro. mostly vegan. good prices.
Ranchos cocina 3910 30th St. Vegan options. 8 AM
Ranchos Mexican and vegetarian cuisine: 1830 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Sammy’s pizza. Red Quinoa salad. Vegan cheese on pizza.
Sipz fusion Café 3914 30th St. Veggie and some vegan. 11 AM
Stephanie’s bakery 4879 Voltaire St.
Tamarind Thai Restaurant in La Mesa. 7970 University Ave. Suite #310
Tao Vietnamese Japanese cuisine menu 3332 Adams Ave. Lunch and dinner.
Trilogy sanctuary 7550 girard ave #400, La Jolla. All vegan
True Foods. Fashion Valley Mall near cheesecake factory. 619 810-2929. Vegan friendly. pricey.
Veggie Grill – UTC, fast casual eatery
Yard house– Vegan Gardein options, a bit noisy

25 Online Resources for Plant Based Living

Click the link below to open a pdf with clickable links.

25 Online Resources for Plant Based Living

 

or copy these URLs into your browser

  1. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: www.pcrm.org
  2. Veg News: www.vegnews.com
  3. The Seven Day Vegan: www.7dayvegan.com
  4. Forks Over Knives: www.forksoverknives.com
  5. Meat Out Mondays: www.meatoutmondays.org
  6. The Food Revolution: www.foodrevolution.org
  7. The Vegan Society: www.vegansociety.com
  8. Vegan Health: www.veganhealth.org
  9. Vegan Baking: www.veganbaking.net
  10. Non-GMO Shopping Guide: www.nongmoshoppingguide.com
  11. Local Vegan Dining Guide: www.thefussyfork.com
  12. Local Vegan Meetups: www.meetup/sandiegovegans.com
  13. Dr. Greger on Nutrition: http://nutritionfacts.org/
  14. Food Matters: www.foodmatters.tv
  15. Whole Foods: www.wholefoodsmarket.com
  16. Vegan Outreach: www.veganoutreach.org
  17. PETA: http://www.peta.org
  18. Living Gluten Free: http://www.livebetteramerica.com/health/gluten-free
  19. Online Cooking Healthy Lessons: http://cookinghealthylessons.com
  20. Free From Harm: www.freefromharm.org
  21. Paul McCartney on Meat: www.meat.org
  22. Care 2 Make a Difference : www.care2.com
  23. A World Well Fed Videos & Films: http://awellfedworld.org/resources/videos
  24. No Meat Athlete: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/
  25. More Dining options: www.happycow.com/

Cowspiracy Notes

Introduction

Donna and I adopted a plant-based diet in September 2012. Our primary motivation was to improve our health and minimize the risk of age-related illnesses that our parents developed (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.). Other people eschew (no pun intended) meat and dairy for the love of animals, and yet others mainly do it to limit the negative impact on the environment.

We were only vaguely aware of the drastic impact that consuming meat/dairy has on the environment until recently, when a friend introduced us to the video documentary, Cowspiracy. What an eye opener! This documentary uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Despite this, the documentary points out that the very environmental agencies whose mission is to elevate our awareness and protect the planet barely even address the issue on their websites.

The continued escalation of population growth makes it harder and harder to feed the masses with meat and dairy products without inflicting irreparable damage to mother earth (greenhouse gas emissions, rainforest destruction, water usage and pollution, animal species extinction, loss of animal habitat). The population grows by 82 million people every year. There has been more growth in population in the last fifty years than the previous 2 million years that humans have existed. http://www.populationmedia.org/issues/population/ The best and perhaps the only way to feed the Earth’s growing population is with an energy efficient plant-based diet. It takes 16 lbs of grain to make 1 lb of beef. It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef compared to only 25 gallons to produce 1 pound of grain.

Donna and I did some follow up research, to verify the accuracy of the facts presented in the documentary. It didn’t take long to see that the film is definitely on the right track. Water.usgs.gov has facts and figures on water use. News.cornell.edu has facts about grain production and water usage. Faostat3.fao.org (United Nations) has extensive data on land use, greenhouse gas emissions, and much more. At environment.nationalgeographic.com, you can click on the Personal Energy meter to calculate your own impact on the environment. As you take the survey, you can see pretty readily how your dietary habits contribute to your energy footprint.

We were so moved by this documentary, that we spent hours reviewing the film and taking notes to see if we could capture the insights and facts presented. It’s a lot to wrap your head around. Having it in print makes it easier to understand the enormity of the impact the animal agriculture industry has on our ability to sustain our life on this planet.

Notes from Cowspiracy

Individual conservation habits are not enough. We need to address the larger issue.

On 11/29/2006, the United Nations reported that cattle produce more greenhouse gas globally than the entire transportation sector. 18% compared to 13%. Cows produce methane gas from digestion. Methane is 25 to 100 times more destructive than C02 from vehicles. Livestock is the leading cause of environmental degradation and resource consumption. Why aren’t environmental groups all over this?
Greenpeace, sierra club, amazon watch, 350.org, rainforest action network, climate reality, NRDC (national resources defense council), Surfrider foundation, the Climate Reality Project, Oceana, WWF. Their campaigns focus on a number of environmental ills, but nothing on animal agriculture.

Fracking uses 100 billion gallons of water per year in us, animal agriculture uses 34 trillion gallons of water. Methane emissions from both is about equal.
The average Californian uses about 1500 gallons per person per day. (pacific institute water program) half of that is related to consumption of meat and dairy products. Animals eat water intensive grains.
A One-quarter pound hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce. That’s equal to showering for two months. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef.
Domestic water use is only 5% compared to 55% for animal agriculture.
Government dept of water resources website, Save our water campaign. Outlines behavior changes, but nothing about animal savings.
CA dept water resources interview. Statewide integrated water management and chief, water use and efficiency branch. They recommended low flow shower heads, fix sprinklers and minimal yard water. Role of animal agriculture – drew a blank, but they later admitted that the water footprint of the animal husbandry is greater than all other activities. It requires 477 gallons of water to produce one egg, and it requires almost 900 gallons of water to produce a pound of cheese.
In 2009, two advisors from the World bank released an analysis of human induced greenhouse gasses finding that animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions. It is due to cutting down rainforest , animal waste emissions, and respiration.
Raising animals for food consumes 1/3 of all the planet’s fresh water. Occupies up to 45% of the earth’s land, and responsible up to 91% of amazon destruction., is a leading cause of species extinction, leading cause ocean dead zones, and leading cause of habitat destruction. Yet the environmental groups don’t address this issue.

Richard Oppenlander, researcher, without using any gas or fuel, we will exceed our max carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emission by 2030, simply because of raising livestock.

Kirk Smith Cal Berkeley Prof of Global environmental Health. Reduce methane, levelin atmosphere goes down quickly, in decades. Reduce CO2, takes 100 years or so.

Demosthenes Maratos, the sustainability institute at Mollory College, animal agriculture is the single largest contributor to every known environmental ailment known to human kind (desforestation, land use water scarcity, destabilization of communities, world hunger, …
Dr. Will Tuttle, Environmental and Ethics Author. 10,000 years ago, free living animals made up 99% of the biomass, and humans made up 1%. Today, humans and the animals we own as property make up 98% of the biomass. Wild free living animals make up only 2%. We stole the planet. Rainforest is being cut down at the rate of one acre per second. The driving force behind all of this is animal agriculture.

Michael Pollan, Environmental and food author. Environmental groups don’t address the devastating effects of animal agriculture because of focus groups – it is a political loser for them. If they were identified as anti meat, they would lose members and therefore contributors. Even Al Gore didn’t address animal agriculture.

Bruce Hamilton, Deputy Executive Director of Sierra Club. Said leading cause of climate change is burning too many fossil fuels.

116,000 pounds of farm animal excrement is produced every second in the US alone.

Scientists predict fishless oceans by 2048. 28 billion animals were pulled out of the oceans last year. Don’t have opportunity to recover.

To meet the demand of 90 millon tons of fish, the fishing industry use massive fish nets. For every pound of fish food trapped in large nets, up to 5 pounds of untargeted fish are caught as well – aka by-kill. 40 to 50 million sharks are killed each year as bi-kill.

Estimated that every day, 100 plant, animal and insect species are lost due to deforestation.

Estimated that palm oil harvesting is responsible for 26 million acres of forest being lost (2013 USDA), but livestock and their food products are responsible for 136 million acres of rainforest lost to date.

Over 1,100 activists in Brazil that stood up against cattle ranching have been killed in the last 20 years.

Grass fed beef is not a sustainable way to feed the US population. There are 314 million people in the US that average 209 lbs of meat a year. It takes about 11.7 acres to produce enough beef for each person. It would take 3.7 billion acres to produce that, but there are only 1.9 billion acres in the US. It takes 23 months for a grass fed fed animal to mature; only 15 months for grain fed. That’s 8 additional months of water use, land use, feed and waste, which is a huge hit on the carbon footprint. So, grassfed beef is even less sustainable than factory farming.
Organic dairy farmer – organic dairy farming can’t meet the world demand of dairy products. A single cow consumes 140-150 lbs of feed a day. that’s 20 tons of grain per week. A cow drinks between 30-40 gallons of water per day. All dairy animals and offspring end up as beef. Dairyman says there is not enough land in the world to produce organic dairy for everyone. 1 gallon of milk takes up to 1000 gallons of water to produce.

Wild horses are being rounded up and cleared off the land to make room for cattle. The bureau of land management allocates the majority of open land, water, and feed resources to cattle. Also, wolves, coyotes, and other predators are routinely killed off. The USDA does aerial gunning of predators at the request of ranchers. Congress is approving this killing on public lands.

Animal agriculture alliance agreed to an interview. When asked about making donations to greenpeace and other environmental groups, they refused to comment. The obvious implication is that large contributions from the animal agriculture industry are the primary reason that the environmental groups totally ignore the largest to the environment – animal agriculture.

13 states have food disparagement laws. It allows food manufacturers and processers to sue others that make disparaging comments about their food products. Not California. But under the patriot act, you can tell the truth and be guilty if you cause a disruption of the profits of the animal agriculture industry.

Animal rights activists are at the number one domestic terrorism threat according to the FBI. Because they directly threaten corporate profits.

Population levels play a huge role. In 1812 there were 1 billion people on the planet. In 1912, 1.5 billion. In 2012, 7 billion. And we raise 70 billion farm animals. Humans drink 5.2 billion gallons of water and eat 21 billion pounds of food a day. The 1.5 billion cows alone drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion pounds of food each day.

We are growing enough food to feed between 12-15 billion people. We have about 1 billion people starving. 50% of grain and legumes are fed to animals. In US, it is more like 70 to 90%. You can produce roughly 15 times more protein on a given area of land with plants based sources rather than meat.

Chickens are killed at 80 days for meat. Egg layers are killed in about 18-20 months. Free range doesn’t matter. They are killed regardless.

Bill gates sponsors hcfoods (Hamilton creek foods) and developed a low cholesterol alternative to eggs. Chickens eat soy and grain to produce eggs. The energy conversion ration is about 38 to 1. Alternatively, HC uses plants to convert to food (eggs) and the ratio is about 2 to 1. Founded 1987. Imports Asian foods to California. Omega creamery – plant based dairy alternatives that takes 1/20th of the land and resources required by dairy.. Ethan Brown beyond meat – plant-based meat.

If you only go Meatless on Monday, you are still contributing to destruction of the environment 6 days a week.

Michael Klapper, MD healthy vegan. The purpose of cows milk is to turn a 65lb calf into a 400 lb cow as rapidly as possible. Milk is baby calf growth food. Everything in milk, the hormones, the sodium, the lipids, protein, the growth factors, the IGF, is there to promote growth of the calf into a huge cow. Even if you clot it into yogurt, make it into cheese, freeze it into ice cream, it is still baby calf growth food.

Growers are successfully using plant based nutrients to fertilize the soil. Don’t need animal manure. It’s more efficient.

There are 229,000 more people on the planet every day! (384,000 born and 156,000 die World population data sheet 2010.) You need 34,000 additional acres of farmable land per day to feed these people using the current animal agriculture model. John Jeavons Biointensive Farming Innovator.

To feed a person on a vegan diet requires 1/6 acre of land. To feed the same person on a vegetarian diet including eggs and dairy requires 3 times that (1/2 acre). To feed the same person with a diet including meat, eggs, and dairy requires 18 times a much land (3 acres). This is because you anc produce 37,000 lbs of vegetables in a 1.5 acre plot of land, but only 375 lbs of meat on that same plot of land.

A vegan diet produces half the CO2 as an omnivore, 1/11 amount of fossil fuels, 1/13 the amount of water, and 1/18 the amount of land. By eating vegan, you can save every day:
1,100 gallons of water
45 lbs. of grain
30 sq ft of forest
20 lbs of CO2
1 animal’s life

if everyone was vegan, we wouldn’t have to breed cows, chickens, etc, and we couldn’t have to feed and water them and provide land for them. The forests would come back, wildlife, oceans, rivers clean, air, health would improve. Renewable energy is a good idea, but it is projected to take at least 20 years and 18 trillion dollars to develop. We don’t have that long or that money. The other solution is to stop eating animals.

75% of americans consider themselves to be environmentalists. If they all ate responsibly, it would put us on a new course. Lyman.

Will Anderson, Greenpeace Alaska Founder. We will not succeed, until we stop animal agriculture. Will not save ecosystems, have enough food to feed the planet, will not stop global warming, will not stop pollution and the dead zones that run off the fields of corn and soy for animal feed, and we will not stop the killing of preditors.

We need to get beyond organics to sustainability, and beyond that to thrivability.

Tips for becoming vegan

 

Eating vegan in a world dominated by meat and dairy can be make you feel a bit isolated at first. However, the world is changing, and there are an amazing number of resources if you dig into it. Here are some examples.
First, check out the video “Forks over Knives” on Netflix. It’s pretty powerful. and they have associated websites. forksoverknives.com and engine2diet.com
Our favorite site to get the most definitive facts about nutrition is nutritionfacts.org Dr. Greger scans the latest research and makes short, entertaining videos to keep us up to date. And it’s free!
There are some online magazines – I like vegWorld. see vegworldmag.com or download the app on your iPad.
There are more vegan and veg-friendly restaurants popping up all the time. In San Diego, my favorites include Plumeria on park ave and Native Foods (3 san diego locations). Good web resources are thefussyfork.com and happycow.net.
At meetup.com,  sandiegovegans and sandiegorawvegans both have potlucks, cooking classes, and other events where you can network with others. And there are websites with tips on becoming vegan:

http://www.vegansociety.com/become-a-vegan/

http://www.oprah.com/packages/vegan-starter-kit.html

http://features.peta.org/how-to-go-vegan/

http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Vegan

Of course, you can check out my blog for recipes and other articles about a plant-strong lifestyle include a four part article on how Donna and I manage being vegan (search for vege story)
The bottom line is that you are not alone, and you have lots of resources available. Use them.

 

About sweeteners

I’ve got a sweet tooth. It doesn’t take a lot of research to discover that sugar is not good for you. Yet, sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup, permeates many of the products available to us. Growing up with sugar-laden foods, I developed a taste for sugar. So, now that I’ve matriculated to a plant-strong diet, how do I deal with this sweet tooth in a more healthy way?

For one thing, I eat a lot more vegetables than I used to, and this reduces the craving for sweets. For another, I prepare a lot of my meals from fresh ingredients, so I can control the amount of sugar. When a recipe calls for sugar, I rely primarily on sugar substitutes such as agave syrup that are low on the glycemic index. Most of the sweeteners on the market have been shown to be harmful in clinical trials, yet there are two that are harmless. While they have little or no nutritional value, they enable you to enjoy the sensation of sweetness without harming your body.

Erythritol is my go to sweetener. It is a natural sweetener found in melons, peaches, pears, and grapes. It is absorbed in the small intestine with no laxative effects. It is about 70% as sweet as sugar. I purchase it in bulk online.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol derived from birch bark, a byproduct of the furniture industry. It is healthy for your teeth and used as a sweetener in chewing gum. It does have a laxative effect when used in large amounts, so you need to use it sparingly. It seems to be a bit sweeter than sugar, and has a slight aftertaste which I like, but some people find a bit strong. It is also coarser than sugar. You can remedy this by blending it briefly in a Magic Bullet to give a powdered sugar consistency.

I’ve experimented with various combinations of sweeteners in pies and sorbets for example, and the combination that I find works well for me is:

1/2 cup erythritol, 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) xylitol, and 1/8 cup raw sugar. You could use just erythritol, but the xylitol and sugar give the erythritol just a bit more bite.

For the latest researched-based information on sweeteners, got to
nutrition facts.org, search for sweeteners, and watch Dr. Greger’s videos including the three listed below.

Erythritol may be a sweet antioxidant
A harmless artificial sweetner
What’s the best low calorie sweetener?

Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler
3 pints of blackberries
3/4 cup sweetener. (Use 1/2 cup erythritol, 1/8 cup  xylitol powdered in Magic Bullet & 1/8 cup raw sugar)
3 Tbs. corn starch
Juice of 1 lemon
Mix all the ingredients together in the small clear glass bowl and set aside.

Use two vegan frozen pie crusts, one for the lattice top

ASSEMBLE THE DISH:

Pour the berries, juice and all into a pie shell. Cut the second shell into strips to form the lattice top.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and continue baking until the fruit is soft and bubbling and the cobbler topping is golden brown–about ten minutes.

serve my blueberry cobbler with wipped topping or  frozen non-dairy dessert.

Serves 3-4

Cantaloupe sorbet

Flesh of one cantaloupe
2 sprigs of mint
1 cup water
1/4 cup erythritol
1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) lemon juice
1/8 cup raw sugar
1/8 cup xylitol
Puree cantaloupe in food processor. Chill in fridge.
Heat water, sugar, xylitol, & erythritol in saucepan until dissolved. Bring to a boil, simmer for one minute, remove from heat.  Add sprigs of mint, and steep for five minutes. Remove mint. Chill in the fridge until cool.
Combine melon, syrup, and lemon juice.
Freeze mixture in sorbet maker for 30 minutes.

Coconut sorbet

Ingredients

    • 2 (13 1/2 ounce) cans coconut milk
    • 1 cup shredded coconut
    • 2 Tablespoons raw sugar2 tablespoons Xylitol1/2 cup erythritol

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat, steep with 2 sprigs of fresh mint for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove mint, then refrigerate until fully chilled.
  4. Freeze in an ice cream maker for 30 minutes.

Quinoa and Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash

 

Serves 4
Ingredients:
  • ¾  cup white quinoa, rinsed
  • ¾  cup red quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups apple juice or cider
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 5 tablespoons vegan margarine, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apples, diced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Method:
Toast quinoa without liquid in rice cooker for about 3 minutes. Add orange juice, apple juice, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let rice cooker do it’s thing. (Or, simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.)

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Cut each acorn squash in half and steam in veg. steamer pot. (Or, place cut-side down in a baking dish filled with 1/2 inch of water. Bake 40 minutes.) While squash steams (or bakes) and quinoa cooks, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and sauté onion, carrot, and celery over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add sautéed vegetables to the simmering quinoa, along with the dried cranberries, apples and maple syrup.

Simmer the aromatic mixture for 10 more minutes, at which point the quinoa should be fully cooked and hold together like sticky rice. Remove from heat and stir in sliced almonds and parsley.

Turn the squash cut-side up and brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Fill each half with 1/4 of the quinoa mixture and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.

This has been a huge hit every time we’ve made it. From Liz Gary cooking class 11-19-13

Stir Fry

 

 

 

Stir fry is one of our favorite ways to prepare our vegetables. The dish tends to be different every time – a unique combination of vegetables, spices, herbs, oils, and occasional fruit and nuts. The general process is described below and in the slide show above.
1. sautee onions in the wok using water or grape seed oil.
2. meanwhile, steam sweet potatoes in the microwave
3. in a separate skillet, sautee the mock chick’n (chick’n strips or chick’n scallopini)
4. when the onions are caramelized, add in vegetables with the toughest first (potatoes, carrots, peppers) and the fast cooking veggies last (basil, greens, mushrooms, pineapple, nuts).
5. add spices and cooking sauces.
6. add the mock meat or tofu.
7. mix together and let simmer a bit to let the flavors mingle.
8. serve over quinoa or rice – use a spoon to get some of the juices from the wok to flavor the quinoa
Sauces & spices:
grapeseed oil or water-  to start the onions
sweet cooking rice wine (kotteri mirin or Aji-mirin)
stir fry sauce
worchestershire sauce
soy sauce or Bragg amino acids
chinese five spices (our favorite)
thai seasoning
Vegetables:
onion
sweet potato
carrots
celery
bell peppers – green, red, yellow, orange
yellow crook necked squash
zucchini or other green squash
mushrooms
cabbage or bok choy – optional
leafy greens – kale, swiss chard, collard greens
basil and morning leaves
Optional:
water chestnuts
pineapple – for a bit of sweet
cashews or sliced almonds
Serve with:
quinoa
rice