Welcome to Nature Maven's Healthy Eating Healthy Planet Blog

Welcome! If you're a vegan, you'll find support and suggestions you may be able to use here. If you're a vegetarian as I was when I started this blog in June 2008, reading my archived posts may be of interest to you. If you haven't gotten here already, I hope you'll consider trying the vegan way of life, too.

As I try new recipes, learn to eat in restaurants, entertain non-veg friends and make the changes necessary to bring my life into greater harmony with the planet, I share what I learn. And little joys and other thoughts get thrown into the mix here, too.

In March 2009 after starting to read The Engine 2 Diet by vegan firefighter Rip Esselstyn, I became fully vegan, to the best of my knowledge and ability, and I post entries here as I live and learn in this lifestyle. It's definitely a process of experience and discovery.

Please check out the Vegan News Headlines supplied by Google News Reader down on the right, and see my Blogroll for just a few of the choice blogs and websites I've found useful.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Best Veggie Reading

One thing any vegetarian must do is stay up on salient information, new products, and recipes and stay plugged in to the veggie community. Some of the ways I do it:
Checking out Google's vegetarian headlines delivered daily to this blog, to the right.

Reading current issues of mags such as VegNews, Vegetarian Times, and a freebie that comes to the office called Natural Solutions that features some veggie products and alternative health options and information.I make many purchases based upon what I learn. For example, in VegNews yesterday I saw an ad for J-41 "Adventure On" very cool-looking vegan shoes with recycled rubber soles (note: they also sell shoes made with leather, so be sure to click on "vegan" when investigating styles and prices). I checked and a store right around the corner from my home sells them! Awesome.

Today: off to a local country fair we go to annually in PA. I know I can get some vegetarian lunch items and will do so. I also know that plenty will be off limits for me. There are 4-H exhibits. I have mixed feelings about them, since the animals usually head to slaughter at some point in their lives. Here's a heartwrenching poem if you have the stamina to read it, called "4-H Boy". On the brighter side, I'm hoping to catch some natural-product vendors and the local Democratic Party booth to get some Obama-Biden stuff.

By the way, Moveon.org is offering FREE (or low cost for quantity) Obama-Biden bumper stickers. Check it out here and get yours today!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Making it Day to Day

Having been vegetarian for 2 months, several truths have emerged for me:
  • Maybe strict vegans, raw foodies and/or fruitarians lose any excess weight automatically with their diets, but (semi) lacto-ovo vegetarians (LOVs) as I am now do not. I am still eating cheese and foods containing eggs often when I eat away from home. I cook and bake strictly vegan at home.
  • Some restaurants accomodate LOV's with pasta dishes, veggie burgers, portabello mushrooms in place of steak, and Mexican entrees featuring beans and cheese, but many other do not. Here's what I can share: Red Robin (Boca Burgers and Gardenburgers can be substituted for beef in any burger) and Chili's (black bean burgers and portabello fajitas are both winners) are LVO-friendly; Long Horn Steakhouse is not (my letter to the parent company to complain as been met with crickets so far); most restaurants will gladly fix an entree for you if the only change they need to make is to leave out the meat (e.g., cheesesteak with everything, no meat).
  • Take home items are a little easier:

  • Chinese entrees like tofu with black bean sauce or most any tofu entree, and veggie or mushroom egg foo young are fine LOV choices, and any veggie version of lo mein, mei fun, chow mei fun, or fried rice are high-carb but vegan (unless eggs are added--ask). Our local Japanese place will make any entree with tofu in place of meat or fish. That's a help, too.
  • Pizza is a no-brainer, and with a few select veggies is best, like mushrooms or black olives (getting the touted veggie pizza offering on most menu boards unfortunately often inlcudes al dente broccoli (read almost raw), never a favorite of mine. PLUS most italian places offer or will make eggplant dishes (heros, parmargiana, rollatini) that are great for us LOVs. And pasta with olive oil and garlic is de rigeur.
  • So that's it so far. My weight has stablized at almost exactly where I started. I have to keep reminding myself I'm not eating this way to lose but to be cruelty-free in my living, as best I can be. I know dairy is cruel too, and so is leather, but this is a One-Day-at-a-Time lifestyle. If it weren't, I couldn't do it. I've added in B-12 tablets and EFAs, and I'm feeling good. More later!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Delicious Vegetarian Gourmet Cooking

Yesterday I bought Madhur Jaffrey's wonderful book, World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the Globe and tonight tried my first recipe. Oh my God, it was divine! I made her "Cauliflower and Potatoes with Ginger, Punjabi Style" (page 163). I had a gorgeous head of organic cauliflower and shopped today for potatoes, fresh ginger, and ground turmeric, coriander, and cayenne. I had cumin in the pantry already. It took awhile to prepare but was well worth the effort. I will serve this to company. I had some chickpeas as my protein, a big green salad, and a rice side dish with sauteed gourmet mushrooms and the bottom portion of a leek, sliced thin, all seasoned with some Bragg's and a spoonful of tahini. An amazing meal. My husband grilled a salmon fillet for himself and shared these dishes with me. He agreed the Jaffrey recipe was wonderful. The other he wasn't that thrilled with. But that was my quick little concoction. The bonus: I have leftovers to take back to the city to enjoy this week, and the wonderful book awaiting me when I come back Friday to try more delightful dishes.