A Golden Glow, Eating Mostly Raw and Loads to Read & Watch.

Untitled 2Last night Eating Without Meat of the Lowcountry hosted the fabulous Carla Golden from Carla Golden Wellness.  What a large turnout! For a while, we were standing room only!…..then we got more chairs.  I learned that the ship does not run as smoothly without the wonderful Cheryl.  I was so busy helping to get things set up that I did not take a single picture of the food—which as usual, was plentiful.  Something else that was quite evident, is that there is a lot of knowledge contained within our gatherings. One person may ask a question, but many will typically have an informed answer/opinion. If you are looking for a community of people with an interest in healthy meat-free eating, then Eating Without Meat of the Lowcountry is the group to hang out with. So, on to Carla Golden. She really cast a lovely Golden glow over the crowd. Carla is a wife, mother, blogger, life coach, massage therapist and so much more. She spoke to the gathering tonight about Eating Smartly on a Vegan Diet. Like most of us, her road to health and healing has been paved with potholes and missteps, but she has found her way. Reading her story you understand, that if she can find health and wholeness with all that she’s been through, anyone can. Read about her “Not-So-Sexy Road to Wellness” here.  During her talk, Carla mentioned three books that changed her relationship with food.

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Many people are familiar with writer Michael Pollan. His book best selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a compelling look at our food system.  You will not look at corn, soy, processed food, agriculture or factory farms the same after reading this book. There is also a young readers version of this book which you can read about here.  He is also an articulate and engaging speaker. The video below is from a 2008 presentation at UC Davis on The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

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The World Peace Diet was previously an Amazon #1 bestseller. It is written by an former Zen monk named Will Tuttle. I have not read this book, but in flipping through its pages, I was at times reminded of the  mindfulness teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh as in the following passage that embodies the interconnectedness of life:

What is so simple as eating an apple? And yet, what could be more sacred or profound? When we eat an apple we are not just eating an apple as a separate thing. The apple enters us, dissolves within us, contributes to us, and becomes us. And each apple is a manifestation of so much more! We are eating of the rain and the clouds and of all the trees that have gone before to bring this tree into manifestation, and of the tears, sweat, bodies, and breaths of countless generations of animals, plants, and people that have become the rain and soil and wind that feed the apple tree.

When we look into one apple, we see the entire universe.

From Amazon:

Food is our most intimate and telling connection both with the living natural order and with our living cultural heritage. By eating the plants and animals of our earth, we literally incorporate them. It is also through this act of eating that we partake of our culture’s values and paradigms at the most primal levels. It is becoming increasingly obvious, however, that the choices we make about our food are leading to environmental degradation, enormous human health problems, and unimaginable cruelty toward our fellow creatures.
Incorporating systems theory, teachings from mythology and religions, and the human sciences, The World Peace Diet presents the outlines of a more empowering understanding of our world, based on a comprehension of the far-reaching implications of our food choices and the worldview those choices reflect and mandate. The author offers a set of universal principles for all people of conscience, from any religious tradition, that they can follow to reconnect with what we are eating, what was required to get it on our plate, and what happens after it leaves our plates.
The World Peace Diet suggests how we as a species might move our consciousness forward so that we can be more free, more intelligent, more loving, and happier in the choices we make.

Here he is speaking to Google:

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The third book is the 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham–who holds doctorates in Chiropractic and Natural Health. If you do any kind of research on him, you will quickly find out that he is a character. I have no idea how old he is, but he is very fit and it seems that a lot of people who follow his method are very much committed to fitness/sport–including endurance activities such as running marathons. doug-graham-3The 80/10/10 diet is a low-fat, raw, vegan diet. At least Eighty percent of the diet consists of carbs in the form of raw fruit, no more than 10% of the diet is protein  in the form of vegetables and no more than 10% fat from nuts and seeds. People who follow this diet strictly are also known as fruitarians. The amount of fruit consumed in a day can seem mind boggling. Another component of this diet is “mono meals”. A mono meal is having a single fruit as a meal, for example, 12 bananas.  You can read a short interview with Dr. Graham here where he talks a little bit about his background and how he come up with the concept. The video below by Rawfully Kristina shows a typical meal for her on the 80/10/10 diet.

I want to point out that Carla does not eat 100% by the 80/10/10 principles. As mentioned, these are the books that have simply (or maybe not so simply) informed her food journey.  She is very candid about what and how she eats and even keeps her food diary online.

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There was one more book she mentioned:  Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.  Most people are familiar with this little gem of a book with simple, straight forward rules for eating wisely. Since the original was published, he has also come out with an illustrated and expanded version. For even more food rules submitted to Michael Pollan by the public, click here.

With all this talk of rules and fruit, percentages and peace….it can get more confusing before reaching clarity. I always say let your body be your guide. Eat what makes your body, mind and spirt hum. Eat what makes you feel vibrant, alive and nourished. Michael Pollan and I definitely agree on something and it is this:

eat-food-michael-pollan-quote-715And for Carla, this is for you:  FoodRules3_1200

“May we all eat well and flourish!”

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Cook From Your Favorite Book–Part 2

So, it’s been a little while since I posted part one.  Part one had a link to all the the wonderful cook books that have provided sources of inspiration. In this post you will find photos of some the delicious dishes we shared and links to the recipes. I need to add some other words to my vocabulary because “delicious” does not always do these dishes justice!  Tempting, mouth-watering, delectable…. I wish I could fully convey to you to colors, the tastes, the textures, the aromas that we are treated to each month.  Cooking and eating without meat does NOT mean bland, boring or tasteless.  If you are in the South Carolina/Georgia Lowcountry, I invite you to join us and see for yourself. Some of the most talented and creative vegan-vegetarian-plant based-raw home chefs attend these gatherings. It is a true feast of the senses and the spirit.

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The Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake recipe can be found here. It is from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Oat flour was substituted for the all purpose flour used in the original recipe.  The Chickpea and Eggplant Kibeh can be found here.  Note the following changes to the original recipe: The fine bulgur was increased to 3/4 cups and the cumin was increased to 1/2 teaspoon. The sesame sauce was made by thinning hummus with meyer lemon juice instead of soy milk. Mushrooms were also added. Additional recipes can be found below.

Sweet & Sour Broccoli

Stir Fried Kale

Chewy Cherry Charger Balls

If you don’t see your recipe here…fell free to email it to me and I will add it. Enjoy!

July Gathering and…..Exciting News!

First, the “Exciting News!”

I had such grandiose plans when I started this blog a year or so ago.  As my blogging friends out there know, researching and writing posts could easily be a full time job. So, this blog sort of fell by the wayside and became somewhat neglected. That is about to change! The news? Well, we now have a fantastic writer who will be contributing new posts on a regular basis. She is a creative writer, an inspired photographer and shares my passion for great, wholesome and nutritious foods. We are blessed that she has offered her talents and her time. With her contributions, this blog may begin to live up to the vision I had when it was first conceived. Great things are in store for this blog. So Welcome MMH! Welcome.

Now, on to the food….Our monthly gatherings continue to grow. We welcomed new faces this month as well as some who returned after a short hiatus. The food…well, that goes without saying. None of the additives, preservatives, colorings, etc., but ALL of the flavor. Without meat of course. There are some creative cooks out there and the caliber of food that shows up month after month continues to inspire. My favorite this month…a tough call, but I loved the Tu-no Salad. Enjoy the pictures, try the recipes and we hope to see you next month!

The Raw Curried Cabbage Salad recipe can be found here. The Tu-no Salad recipe can be found here, and the recipe for the Bliss Balls can be found by searching this blog–they were included in an earlier post.

June Gathering with Farmbag of the Lowcountry

We were honored in June to have as our guests Erik Lyons and Steve Howard of Farmbag of the Lowcountry (aka Local Farmbag). Although there are several local farmer’s markets in the area, I found I was having difficulty making it to any of them. That is where Local Farmbag comes in. They deliver organic and/or locally sources fruits and vegetables right to your front door. You can also include into your bag “add ins” which could be anything from artisan breads and cheeses or free-range eggs. Every Sunday, Erik sends out an email with the contents of the bag for that week and recipes using the fresh produce. I must say, they easily accommodate substitutions.  Don’t like cantaloupe? No problem! They even let you choose want produce you want more of to compensate. So Erik and Steve came to our gathering, made a tasty fresh corn salad using, talked about Local Farmbag and answered lots of questions–boy, were there lots of questions! In addition to what they do, these guys know a lot about gardening.

Moving on to the food. Although the food was plentiful, as usual, I do not have a lot of the recipes. I just don’t. One the most talked about recipes was for a Coconut-Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie. This was not the bland pie commonly found on Thanksgiving tables. This pie was bold, earthy and flavorful. Another dish bursting with flavor was the Plantain and Pinto Stew. In addition to plantains, which I loved, it had mix of tongue tingling smokiness from cumin and heat from jalapeños. Beets are abundant in the lowcountry this time of year. The sweetness of beets, was perfectly paired with a tangy mint vinaigrette and the saltiness of cheese in this Golden Beet Salad with Parsley Mint Vinaigrette. You will see from the pictures that red beets were substituted.

Enjoy the photos and the recipes! See you in July.

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Chickpea- A Vegan Quarterly

This is going to be short and sweet, because the best thing I can give you, is a link. Chickpea is a quarterly magazine filled with vegan goodness. Cara and Bob, the duo behind the blog Hipsterfood, wanted to create a beautiful and inspiring food magazine to showcase the vegan lifestyle and bring together the vegan community. I think they have succeeded, not only on that level, but in creating a magazine that anyone who cares about healthy and nourishing whole foods will enjoy. The magazine looks great and is brimming with recipes and articles. They have published 3 issues so far, with a fourth on the way. I looked through the Spring 2012 issue—they are all available free online or you can order a print copy.  At 95 pages (yep!) you will have plenty of recipes to try and articles to read until the next issue arrives. Check out their blog too…it’s pretty cool.

May Gathering & Recipes

The most popular posts are by far the ones where I post recipes.  Why is that?  Well, I think because of the role that food plays in our lives. Yes it nourishes us, but more than that, most people enjoy coming together over a good meal–breaking bread, if you will, while sharing stories and uniting over the things we have in common.  And that is why we gather each month. To come together with old friends, welcome new friends and to enjoy great food that does nourish our bodies, but also our hearts and spirits. If you happen to live in the Hilton Head/Beaufort/Savannah area, or will be visiting, we invite you to join us.

In May we gathered at The Preserve around the pool.We were honored to have Cheryl McCarthy of Ageless Acupuncture as our guest speaker. Not only is she a dear friend, she is a bright light with a remarkable story and a wealth of knowledge.

Cheryl McCarthy of Ageless Acupuncture speaking to the group about the benefits of acupuncture.

Cheryl treats emotional, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological and other conditions. If you are in the South Carolina/Georgia lowcountry and would like more information, send me a message and I will pass it on to Cheryl.

The food again this month was outstanding. I’m running out of adjectives to describe the great food. One stand out for me was the Three Sisters Farm Arugula & Sorrel Pesto. I loved the peppery bite from the arugula and it was just so fresh tasting. I think that may have been my first introduction to sorrel as well. But there were many other fantastic dishes.  Eating without meat is never boring!…at least not with this group!

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In addition to the recipes posted, there were Almond and Pecan cookies; Squash with chickpeas and marinated with basil, mint, dill, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil…; Roma tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh basil…; and an amazing Chocolate-Almond Biscotti based off of the Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti found from Veganomicon. You can find that recipe here.

Enjoy and we hope to see you soon!

Food Movies

After we watched the wonderful Forks Over Knives last month, this list of food movies was shared with us. I am posting a partial list here and, if available the trailer. Some of these are not actual movies, but lectures and excerpts, if available, are posted.

Eating by Mike Anderson

Healing Cancer From the Inside Out

Should I Eat That? How to Chose the Healthiest Foods by Jeff Novick

Fast Food by Jeff Novick

Calorie Density: How to Eat More, Weigh Less and Live Longer by Jeff Novick

Lighten Up: Weighing In on the Weight Debate by Jeff Novick

Nuts and Health: What the Science Really Says by Jeff Novick

You may notice that there are quite a few movies/lectures from Jeff Novick. Well, who is he?? Turns out, he is a nutritionist and dietician of vast knowledge and experience. From his website: “He is Vice President of Health Promotion for Executive Health Exams International and lectures at the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California and at the Engine 2 Immersion program in Austin, TX.  He is also the Director of Nutrition for the Meals for Health community project which is helping empower low-income families to achieve optimal health.” I have listened to excerpts of his lectures and he come across and very knowledgeable, but with a laid back and humorous delivery. He is well worth listening to.

This list of recommended food movies/lectures is far from complete. Movies about food seem to be as popular now as ever. What are your favorite movies or documentaries about food? Have you listened to any amazing TED talks about food that influenced your diet? Share your recommendations in the comments section.

April Gathering: Forks Over Knives

FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.

Hungry For Change

Hungry For Change is a documentary, in their words, about “creating lasting weight loss, abundant energy and vibrant health”  from the food choices that we make. You can watch the movie online for free until March 31, 2012.