RSS Feed

‘Nutritarianism’ Category

  1. Neanderthal Day

    February 3, 2013 by Laura

    Accomplishment of the moment: Today I completed six weeks of 5k training. Yay! I ran for 22 minutes, mostly uphill, and managed to enjoy some of it. I even built in little strategies like speeding up on the flats and downhill, and taking it easier on the way up. Two more weeks and I’ll be 5k ready. The 5k I’m training for is 6 weeks away, so by then I’ll be almost ready to do a 10k. The half-marathon in August feels possible, although running for 2 or more hours still sounds awful. If you’re more interested in weight loss, I’m down maybe 6 pounds too.

    Today is Superbowl Sunday. I used to love football. I was a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan (did you see Silver Linings Playbook?) who sat alone in New England bars on Sundays to watch my team repeatedly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I was the quiet Long Trail drinker in the corner whose occasional loud, foul-mouthed outbursts turned the heads of the plaid-clad Pats fans enjoying their Buds. But since moving to sunny California, I can’t bring myself to sit in a bar on a fine Sunday afternoon, thus football has fallen off my radar. I haven’t really missed it. But now we have cable (we subscribed for baseball), no bar required.

    Even though the 49’ers are in it, I can’t get too excited. Don’t get me wrong; I like a jingoistic display of American commercialism, military domination, alcoholism, and male chauvinism as much as the next flaming, communist hippie. Nothing gets this eco-feminist’s juices flowing like a watching an F-16 fly-over chew up ozone and tax dollars. So like everyone else in America, we invited a few friends over to watch. But you know what, Amurca? Fuck you. This year, we’re going vegan. That’s right, you can take your kielbasa and… nevermind. That’s not at all nice.

    Vegan chili (with extra kale, thank you very much), hummus, and chocolate cake. Supposedly I’m not drinking until St. Patrick’s Day, but that might not work out. We’ll see. Does a taste of beer count?

    I was going to use this as a jumping off point to launch in to my “Why I am not a Paleo Grrrl” diatribe, but I’m losing steam here, and I still have to make the hummus and cake. but here’s the gist of it: Paleo relies too heavily on meat, and I don’t believe grains are the downfall of human civilization. There you have it. I’ll defend my thesis in a later post.

    Meanwhile, pitchers and catchers report in 8 days. Go Giants!

  2. Viva la Vitamix

    January 17, 2013 by Laura

    On January 7 I started what is either a 21 Day Purification Program (if you’re a Whole Foods shopper type) or a LOSE UP TO 12 POUNDS IN ONLY 3 WEEKS MIRACLE DIET!! (if you’re more of a Safeway shopper). I do this maybe twice a year and always feel good eating all those veggies. It’s kind of a kick-start thing. Although last time I did it, it was more of a launchpad to the holiday smörgåsbord (don’t you love the excellent Nordic letters? Admittedly, I ate no Scandinavian food over the holidays), so I’ll have to figure something else out. This time around, I’m being a little less aggressive about it. Maybe because I’ve added the running. Also, I’m trying to develop good habits for afterward, as this is not sustainable.

    The program goes like this: you take 75 of the giant, gel-capped, “supplement” pills 9 times a day. You add the sawdust to your smoothies, which you eat instead of food. Then, you can eat anything on this list: fruit, vegetable, brown rice, wild rice, lentils. If it’s not on the list, a crazed, vegan, ultra-marathoner comes over to break your wrist. Simple.

    Today I am totally bored with smoothies. And with salad. It’s 28 freaking degrees outside, and I am blending frozen blueberries. Not into it. So in order to mix it up a little (by the way, in real life, I never say “mix it up a little”), I grabbed the cookbook that came with my Vitamix. Remember my Vitamix? The one I swooned over back in 2010 when I got it? I still love it. I use it every day. Lately, though, I think I’m sensing that it’s bored with smoothies too. I am definitely not using it to its full potential. After all, it can do ANYTHING. I’m trying to teach it to address my holiday cards, which I promise will go out this week. What? Martin Luther King Day is a holiday. Peace on Earth, good will toward men? What was I talking about?

    The nice thing for me about Vitamix food, it that you mostly don’t have to chew it. Since I got my braces, I’ve had trouble remembering to wear my elastics, so if I don’t have to take them out and put them it to eat, it’s easier (especially at work, where no amount of scrupulous hand hygiene and glove wearing can make you forget that you’ve just administered a suppository before lunch). Where was I?

    Oh, an easy recipe: Vegetable Soup I Made the Other Day and Ate for Breakfast Today

    Trim, peel, dice, and sauté in a soup pot until lovely the following veggies, reserving the trimmed, peeled bits:

    1 onion
    2 carrots
    2 stalks celery
    1 large parsnip
    2 cloves garlic

    Take the peeled bits, along with a potato and maybe some bones from the roasted chicken that the rest of the family ate, and put in a pot. Cover with water and boil the heck out of it. Normally I wouldn’t do it so crassly, but who has the time? Turn off the sauté so it doesn’t burn. Add 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (with or without the italian seasonings, I don’t care) to the sautéed veggies. When the stock seems to have taken on some color, strain it into the veggies. Simmer for a few minutes, then very carefully, in batches, blend it all up (in a Vitamix if you have one). Salt and pepper and other herbs and spices to taste. I also dumped Guthrie’s leftover coconut milk in it. All Done!

    This recipe is not in the Vitamix cookbook, by the way. Maybe next time.

  3. Day 1 all over again

    June 10, 2011 by Laura

    Well, I’ve been away to deal with some family “issues” which themselves could be a whole other blog. I had most of this post written, and sadly it’s still relevant a month later. Here it is, finished. But after this I’m working on a righteous tirade on our food supply.

    When I started this endeavor, the scale said I was in the 170’s. I am now flirting with 140’s, but keep bouncing back to 151. Damn damn damn. So now I have to re-dedicate myself to this, because in addition to trying to be Excruciatingly Healthy, I have joined The Biggest Loser at work — a friendly competition with a small wager. One thing I am not is excruciatingly competitive. I tend to say, “The hell with it, I’m taking my checkers and going home. I don’t need the aggravation.” Don’t get me wrong, I like to win–who doesn’t? But I’m one of those, “Hey, good game, if it couldn’t be me, I’m glad it was you” types. Also, in a passive – aggressive move, I might just forfeit. You win. Smirk. Does that make me a quitter? hmmmm…

    What was I talking about?

    Right, so the scale is stuck at 150.8. Also, I notice the toxic hunger sensation creeping in, because I’ve been snacking on whole wheat pita & hummus in non-nutritarian proportions. This stuff is real, people. Suddenly, I’m thinking, “Oh my God I’m STARVING!!” Which I haven’t thought for a while. So with a fridge full of kale and chard and cheez, I’m going to start from Day 1 again.

    What was Day 1? It probably wasn’t the weird hamburger helper type meal I just made in an effort to empty the freezer of all ingredients that had taken up a long term lease on the shelf space. Let’s see, shall we? (Cue the blurry flashback effect here):

    Breakfast: Quick Banana Breakfast to Go

    Lunch: Raw Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, and red pepper), Russian Fig Dressing/Dip, Black Bean Lettuce Bundles, Melon

    Dinner: Quinoa Bean Salad, High Cruciferous Vegetable Stew, Apple Surprise or fresh fruit.

    Oh, man, really? I have strayed far.

    So the banana breakfast is this: 2 cups frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, 1/3 cup pomegranate juice, 2 tablespoons dried currants, 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds, 2 bananas sliced.

    Combine it all & heat in a microwave for 3 minutes. Serves 2.

    I don’t think I ever made this, so I am going to put it together tonight so it’s ready to go in the a.m. Wish me luck! Again!





  4. Quinoa and Chard Cakes – Recipes for Health –

    May 24, 2011 by Laura

    Quinoa and Chard Cakes – Recipes for Health –


    This recipe looked too good not to share. In order to “Nutrify” it, I would cut out some saute oil; use fat free Greek style yogurt; and add some flaxseed meal. If you use it, let me know how it is.

  5. How to get more greens

    April 26, 2011 by Laura

    Kale, collards, turnip and mustard (ANDI 1000)

    The way I prepare these greens most often is as follows:

    For kale & collards, cut the spine out of the leaf and chop the leaf up. For the turnip and mustard greens, I just cut off the stem if it’s woody. Wash and cut the greens or make life very easy and buy a blend of “braising greens” from Trader Joe’s or the produce department.

    In a saute pan, heat a bit of olive oil and saute some crushed or minced garlic until it’s fragrant. Don’t let it burn. Add the greens and toss them around the pan to coat with oil and garlic. They’ll wilt and shrink quite bit. At this point I like to add some chicken or vegetable stock and braise the greens for 15  or 20 minutes. I am not a raw foodie. I like my greens cooked. I also add hot pepper flakes and lemon juice.

    If you want something heartier, you can add more stock, a can of diced tomatoes, and can of white beans, and some shredded Parmesan ( a little just before you serve the stew).

    Also, for the truly devoted, raw collard leaves can be used like wraps instead of tortillas.

    Spinach (ANDI 739)

    I buy washed baby spinach by the ton. I throw handfuls in smoothies, wilt it for omelets, stuff it in pitas with hummus. I mix it in with salads, but I am not a fan of the straight-up spinach salad.

    –more to come when the kids go to sleep again.



  6. A Pancake Recipe

    April 14, 2011 by Laura

    I thought I’d lighten the mood a little.

    Weekend mornings are for pancakes around here. For years I’ve been using a pancake recipe from my very tattered old copy of The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown. It’s very simple, straightforward, and easily modified. Below is the original recipe, re-typed in its entirety, and some modifications I’ve made to further up the ANDI. All annoying formatting and syntax is faithfully reproduced from the original.

    47) Whole Wheat Pancakes
    Are entirely exceptional, especially served with jam-marbled sour cream and eggs poached with love.
    (Serve 6 perhaps)
    2c whole wheat (pastry) flour
    1 T baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    1 T brown sugar or honey
    3 eggs, separated
    2 c milk
    1/2 c oil
    Sift flour with baking powder, salt and sugar. If using honey, add it to the milk and oil. Beat milk and oil into the yolks.
    Combine yolks, milk and oil with dry ingredients until just blended; then fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Cook on greased griddle or frying pan. May be made any size.
    May be made without separating eggs.
    May also be made with fruit puree: apple, apricot, peach, pear, in place of milk or
    Add fruit chunks, or
    Slip in some tahini, nuts, sesame or sunflower seeds, or
    Use some corn meal or rolled oats, barley flour or buck wheat (1/2 c).
    For waffles use only 1 1/4 c milk.


    First of all, I can’t condone the sour cream and eggs and still maintain my Nutri-integrity. But it does sound good, and if you’re so inclined, I’m sure it’s delicious. My modifications: I have never separated the eggs, and they’re still great. I have substituted 1/2 cup cornmeal for an equal amount of flour, and that’s very good, especially when you drop blueberries in while they cook. Latest nifty tricks: 1 T oil instead of 1/2 cup; 3 tablespoon ground flax seeds combined and allowed to sit with 9 tablespoons hot water in place of the eggs. This really works. I also used soy and hazelnut milk in place of the dairy. And I used maple syrup instead of the sugar, because I miss Vermont. These are very nearly fail-proof and the recipe makes a lot of normal sized pancakes.

    Next, an okra recipe!


  7. Get with the program?

    April 4, 2011 by Laura

    Whoa, nothing gets me going faster than seeing “0 views” when I check my stats counter. Look! Over here! A new post!

    Sorry I haven’t posted, I’ve been too busy losing weight. I have lost about 21 pounds in 10 weeks. I am down 2-3 pants sizes. One of my friends came in to work yesterday and actually didn’t recognize me (from the back).

    Recently two of my friends told me they had embarked on the Nutritarian path (my words) along with me. Nothing could be more gratifying than knowing I am making an impact! Oh, I mean, “nothing could be more gratifying than knowing that people I care about are taking their health seriously.” Nothing.

    If you are thinking about following my example (and you should—you should also send me money and start referring to me as “O Svelte One”) here’s what you need to know:

    1. You really ought to at least read one of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s books. They spell it all out.

    2. The first week to 10 days are not easy if you rely on bread, dairy, salt, sugar and animal products for a substantial portion of your calories (and who doesn’t?).

    3. You will lose weight like crazy, your skin will glow and you’ll feel better.

    4. You will want to write a blog to explain your eating habits to everyone.

    5. You don’t have to become a vegan or vegetarian.

    Yesterday, I was explaining to a different co-worker how I was losing weight, and she said,”What a boring diet!” Ok, look, how exciting is your diet? I mean, beforehand my diet was not that exciting: Roast chicken, brown rice, broccoli, repeat. Snack: bread with cheese. I don’t think most of us have especially tantalizing day to day eating habits. And furthermore (I shake my fist at you), furthermore, why are you looking to food for excitement?? Food is nourishment, not entertainment. Or something like that. I’m not sure I believe that entirely, but I am working up some kind of hypothesis. Something like “the more entertaining food is, the less healthy it is likely to be.” Case and point here and here.

    It is interesting to note how much of our identity is wrapped up in our food choices. My ego is/was really tied up in my consumption of cheeses, breads, charcuterie, delicious adult beverages… If you find yourself worrying what other people will think of you if you start eating healthy foods, it’s time to re-examine your relationship with food.  If you find yourself with people who judge you harshly, mock you, or discourage you from trying to take care of yourself, it’s time to re-examine your relationships with people.

    I am trying not to get all soapboxy, but I can’t help myself. After all, it’s my blog.


  8. Full of beans

    March 19, 2011 by Laura

    As a Nutritarian, I am committed to eating one serving of beans or legumes daily. Here is why, according to Dr. Fuhrman’s website:

    “Beans’ unique composition makes them a dietary wonder. Beans are rich in fiber and resistant starch and are not easily broken down by enzymes in the small intestine. They pass into the large intestine where bacteria ferment them into short chain fatty acids such as butyrate.6 Butyrate protects against colon cancer in many different ways:

    • Butyrate halts cancer cell growth and causes cancer cell death.7 

    • Butyrate increases the expression of detoxifying enzymes and limits DNA damage due to oxidative stress.8

    • Butyrate inhibits tumors from acquiring a blood supply.7

    • Butyrate has anti-inflammatory affects.7″


    So there. I love beans. And before we go any further, let’s get this out of the way, okay?

    They both work. ‘Nuff said.

    Tonight I made a vegetarian bean soup with a blend of about 10 varieties of beans. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t miss the ham. It’s not that the soup was lacking anything, I am just very partial to bean soup with ham. Ham, however, does not pass the “Will this make me healthier?” test. Here is the recipe for my delicious, ham-less, bean soup:

    Makes a lot, use a big pot.

    Dice and saute in a small amount of olive oil the following:

    • 1 yellow onion
    • 1 or 2 ribs of celery
    • 1 or 2 carrots
    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 3 cloves garlic

    when they are soft and fragrant, add:

    • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
    • 3 cups of assorted beans and lentils
    • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
    • 2 cups of tomato sauce (I used some I’d made a few days ago)
    • 12 cups of water or stock
    • bay leaf or 2
    • thyme

    Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 3 hours or until the beans are soft. Add some fresh parsley, and correct the seasonings with salt & pepper.

    Serve with crusty bread and bacon fat.

    And beer.

    Oh, sorry, that was my evil twin.

  9. Parsnip Soup with Leeks and Parsley Recipe | Simply Recipes

    March 17, 2011 by Laura

    Parsnip Soup with Leeks and Parsley Recipe | Simply Recipes.

    The food blog Simply Recipes is one I’ve been following for a few years. Indeed, it is simple, with beautiful photos and well worked recipes. Elise, the blogger, is a Bay Area resident, so her recipes resonate here. Elise is a classic foodie, apparently eating whatever she wants without regretting a calorie. Her recipes are delicious, but nowadays I often have to modify them to accomodate my current nutritional requirements. Here’s a recipe for parsnip soup that I plan to make today, minus the butter and some of the salt and oil, of course. Perfect for St. Patrick’s day.

  10. Vitamix Mania

    March 16, 2011 by Laura

    Last week I strolled innocently enough into my local Costco. You know, just another mom needing 900 baby wipes and a case of San Pellegrino. Little did I know, I had a date with destiny. It was Vitamix demo day in Santa Rosa, and I was the target demographic. How did they know? They actually held up a panel of the Whole Foods grocery bag with the Top 10 ANDI foods printed on it. At first I made some feeble, “I’ll have to check with my husband before I make this kind of purchase,” statement. Yeah, right. I did a couple of laps to try to shake off the small appliance lust.

    But the hum of the 2+ Peak HP motor was like a siren. After passing up the samples of Louisiana Hot Links, I again found myself at the booth where Michael and Diane of were fixing up a “live foods” smoothie for the crowd. Across the aisle, a larger crowd was elbowing for caramel popcorn. Two aisles down, Melva was just taking the Dino Bites out of the counter top oven. They were no match for the green goodness flowing from the easy-to-clean BPA-free Eastman Tritan co-polyester container. “Okay, just put one in the cart, quick! Before I come to my senses.” On the drive home, I think I heard it singing to me.

    Oh, just what is a Vitamix? Only the most totally freaking awesome food preparation device ever made. What?! Don’t you call it a “blender.” A blender makes stupid frozen cocktails. A Vitamix makes “perfectly smooth whole food juice and smoothies, steaming hot soup from fresh produce, and low-fat frozen treats.” Take that and stick it in your Osterizer. Oh, you can’t, because the Osterizer couldn’t handle it. Lalala.

    I think I’ve used it 40 times in 5 days. I’m in love with it. I walk in the kitchen and it purrs.

    What’s the best thing I’ve made with it? Hmmmm… I think the Raw Borscht. No, I’m serious. If you love beets like I do, you’ll want to make this:

    Raw Borscht (serves 2)


    • 1 large beet, peeled & cut into chunks
    • 1 large carrot washed & cut into chunks
    • 1-2 ribs celery cut up
    • 1/4 red onion or the white parts of 4 scallions chopped
    • 1/2 to 1 whole avocado
    • 1/2 cup raw cashews
    • small clove garlic
    • About 1 teaspoon of minced jalapeño
    • About 1 teaspoon of minced fresh ginger
    • juice of a lemon
    • splash apple cider or rice wine vinegar
    • 1 cup of water–I used San Pellegrino for a bit of effervescence
    • salt & pepper

    Put it all in your Vitamix and blend adding more water to achieve a smooth, creamy consistency. Garnish with dill & chopped cucumber or more avocado. I wish I had a picture, because it is the most beautiful magenta color. It’s quite tangy & warming, even though it’s a cold soup. Add ice to make it really cold, or blend it for 4-5 minutes to heat it up.

    When we were in Santa Cruz, we ate at Malabar Restaurant on Front Street. I can’t recommend the place highly enough. Truly, truly delicious-by-any-standard vegetarian fare. They had a raw borscht they made with Kombucha. I might try that next, even though Kombucha is up there with Vegemite on my list of dubious comestibles.

    Stay tuned for more Vitamix Magic…