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.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Celebrating a Vegan Passover

Our Vegan Seder Plate

Whew! Today was a huge challenge but it all turned out fine. We drove back to the city from the country as we do every week, and my husband dropped me off in Lower Manhattan for me to catch the subway to my office. I was crossing a street when I got totally distracted by a guy holding a boat-sized plastic bag filled with enormous helium balloons in primary colors. I lost my footing and went down like the proverbial ton of bricks, landing on my left hip, wrist and shoulder. Oy! Very painful, but nothing was broken and the little bit of blood from scraping the heel of my hand against the pavement washed away and didn't return. I went to work, then headed home.

After I got home I prepared a Passover Seder my husband's bubbe would have been proud of! The Seder plate you see above is a vegan one: the turnip stands in for the shankbone (the Talmud says a roasted beet can substitute for the shankbone, but I wasn't willing to buy 3 humongous beets when one was all I needed, so I bought a turnip). In place of the roasted egg, it is permitted to use an egg-shaped veggie or fruit, hence the avocado. Cool, huh? The other things there are charoset, horseradish and parsley. Each item on the plate features in the ritual of the Passover Seder.

I led our Seder by default, even though my husband is the one who had a bar mitzvah eons ago and I'm a convert. I followed a Haggadah (handbook) called Our Haggadah written by Cokie and Steve Roberts, an interfaith couple. I really like it and am glad they wrote it. This can be a very wearying experience and my husband bails before I get very far as a rule, but this year I was able to say the prayers and read the scriptures and stories about why we celebrate Pesach or Passover. Picture CB DeMille's parting of the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments," our Jewish forebears hurrying across the suddenly dry land to safety and the waters returning to drown all the legions of the Pharoah's armies trying to pursue them. No, we aren't very religious, and I hope I don't offend anyone reading this blog who is, but this tradition is important for us to remember, and as we read, and eat, and pray and eat and eat, we are one with all the other Jews around the world doing the same tonight, more or less.

Here's What We Had Tonight for Our Seder

Seitan Chimichurri from Whole Foods (my husband had WF tarragon salmon, so did our cat!)
Garlicky Greens (WF)
Carrot-Cherry Kugel (WF)
Charoset (chopped apple, silvered almonds, cinnamon and grape juice) (I made this tonight)
Tsimmes (sweet potatoes, carrots, dates, raisins & apricots with a little sugar) (I made this tonight)
Earth Balance whipped buttery spread
And chocolate covered matzoh for dessert!

Despite my sticking pretty closely for the past 30 days to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live way of eating, this was not a day to diet or restrict calories. This is the day we ask, among other questions, "Why is this night unlike all other nights?" The short answer is because we remember what our forebears experienced thousands of years ago.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Healthy Living, One Day at a Time

Magnolia Blossom



Today began beautifully, with a vegan "Sunset Proposal" smoothie from Terri on 23rd Street in Manhattan. It was fruity with banana, mango, pineapple, coconut, oj, and soymilk, plus soy protein powder and flaxseeds. I picked up a nice beet salad while I was there and had it for lunch, along with an Organic Food Bar - Vegan.

I work in the Village, so I walked down Broadway and into Union Square Park where the magnolias are in bloom. There's a lifesized bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi there, so I stopped to pay my respects to Gandhi-ji and then walked the shady path to the right of the statue to its end, and then back out from whence I entered the little fenced in area. Although I was just steps from bustling 14th Street, I felt peaceful and serene in that little garden with its gorgeous magnolias and spring flowers allong the path, periwinkels, daffodills and hyacinths. By the time I arrived at work, I felt uplifted and joyous and proceeded to have a very good day.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Checking In After 2 Years Vegan

My life has been transformed by the Green Smoothie and the being informed by the eating plan of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Eat to Live. In the 6-week weight-loss plan, you eat lots of greens and fruits, some whole grains, and plenty of beans. Mushrooms are encouraged at every possible opportunity, and a daily handful of nuts is fine.

I start each day (except when I have a long car ride ahead of me--don't ask!) with a huge green smoothie, made with spinach, collards or kale and several servings of fresh or frozen fruit, flaxseed meal, a couple of dates and nut butter or (to save calories) Bell Plantation's wonderful PB2 (regular and chocolate), a low-fat byproduct of making peanut oil that has lots of flavor, fiber and protein.

Lunch is a huge salad with beans, vegan chicken salad or other tofu dish, mushrooms, beans, roasted veggies like eggplant, etc. as the spirit moves me at the salad bar. I have a Whole Foods very nearby. I get great ideas from others living the Eat to Live lifestyle and other  vegan blogs and sites.

Dinner is a tofu stirfry, homemade soup, or even Amy's vegan entrees on a work night. We eat out a great deal (I work in New York City and live there part-time so we eat there several times a week) so I have salads, pasta with beans instead of meat, and Middle Eastern food (Turkish, Egyptian, etc) and do pretty well. A local Italian restaurant serves Pasta e Fagioli that is awesome!

So I've been vegan 2 years since March 17, 2011 and have never felt better. I put on weight when I went vegetarian, and since going vegan lost a little, but when I found Eat to Live I began losing again. In the past 20 days I've lost 3 pounds. That's slow but progress, and I am not starving!

My latest enhancement to life has been getting active with social media. I started by following journalists in Egypt and Libya, and then Japan. Then I connected with vegan superstars like Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Ginny Messina, and more. I connect with Farm Sanctuary and some awesome folks who were already connected with them. Check it out!

More will be revealed!