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The Omnivore’s Vegetarian Dinner

20 J0000002UTC 2011

from The Simpsons

I’ve been watching a lot of food documentaries lately– Food Matters; Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; The Beautiful Truth. The take-aways from these shows regarding the food industry, chronic disease and how to promote health in an otherwise ill country, abound.

One principle that spans all three documentaries is that of the “plant-based diet.” Some featured presenters even go sofar as to promote all raw diets or all fresh fruit and vegetable juice diets in order to come from a place of chronic disease back to health. Crazy? Maybe not.

I’m an omnivore, though, so what do I do with the oh-so-convincing “plant-based diet” theories put forth? The premise is simple: We are deficient and malnourished because of our overly-processed and refined fast-food diets. Therefore our bodies do not have the raw materials they require in order to keep running smoothly, so they become diseased, not having the raw materials needed to heal. When we remove that diet and replace it with fresh, living plant-based, whole foods, then we supply the body with all it needs to heal itself. We bring it from a state of mal-nourishment to nourishment, from dis-ease to ease. Through fruits and vegetables we receive the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and cofactors we need to heal.

Do I need to be a vegetarian, a raw foodist or a juicer to implement the healing through plants principle? No. What I need to do is eat clean, whole foods and increase my fresh plant intake…vastly.

I eat way more veggies and fruits than the common American. I’m not bragging; it’s just statistical truth. In a Johns Hopkins study of fruit and vegetable intake of thousands of Americans over 15 years, only 11% of people were shown to get their 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables per day– and this allowed for french fries. The Center for Disease Control addresses the deficiency. I think I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but it turns out I need to eat way more if my body is going to be able to heal itself.

But I eat meeeeaaat! So what do I do? Since I really do believe in this principle, the answer is easy. Eat way more vegetables. Eat some more fruit, too. It’s probably not a bad idea to replace at least some of my many tortilla chips with a few veggies…

Two easy ways to cram more veggies and fruits into your daily eating are with warm soups and cold smoothies:

Indian Yellow Pea Soupby Kris Norbraten-DuVernay

1 1/2 cups dry yellow split peas, soaked overnight

1-2 Tbsp olive oil, ghee or coconut oil

1 large onion (red or yellow), diced

6 whole carrots (skin on if organic), 4 diced, 2 sliced

3 large garlic cloves, finely diced

3 stalks celery including leafy tops, diced

3 cups water

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth

1 tsp coriander, 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp black pepper + 1 tsp celtic sea salt

organic raw tomatoes and raw red peppers, diced, for topping

1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, finely chopped, for garnish

Drain and rinse soaked peas. Place in large pot or stock pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer, mostly covered, for an hour to and hour and a half. // Thirty minutes into boiling, heat oil over low-medium heat and add onion, garlic and diced (not sliced) carrots. Saute until soft and remove from heat. // When peas are done, drain water and add peas back to pot. Add stock/broth and sauteed veggies. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. // After 30 minutes, add sliced carrots, celery and spices. Simmer another 20-30 minutes or until carrots are done.

Quinoa Fritters adapted from Martha Stewart


1 cup dried quinoa, soaked overnight, then rinsed

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, ghee or butter

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic clove, minced

1 3/4 cups filtered water

coarse sea salt + cracked black pepper to taste

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice (use Daiya ‘cheese’ if you are dairy free)

Heat 2 tsp olive oil over low-medium heat. Add rinsed quinoa and cook for 2-5 minutes, till almost totally dry. // Add green onion, garlic and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes longer or till the water is gone and the quinoa is soft. // Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool for 10 minutes. Add the egg + yolk, cheese, salt and pepper and stir till combined. // In a large skillet (I like using an iron skillet), heat 2 Tbsp olive oil, ghee or butter over medium heat. Using a large spoon, drop large blobs of mixture onto the skillet and flatten with a spatula. // Cook till golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. // Serve with above soup.

Eat Your Vegetables Smoothie by Kris Norbraten-DuVernay

1/4 cup chia seeds, soaked in rice, almond or coconut milk overnight (can be refrigerated in glass bowl for 2 weeks). Use 2 Tbsp of this mixture for your smoothie.

Chia Seeds

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 handfull baby spinach

1 large kale leaf, stem removed and chopped

3/4 frozen banana

1/2 apple, skin on

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup frozen cranberries

1 Tbsp flax meal

1 Tbsp greens powder (I like Health Force Vitamineral Green)

protein powder, optional

1/2 cup “Just Cranberry”, “Just Tart Cherry” or “Just Pomegranate”  juice

filtered water

Add everything to blender or Vitamix. Use only 1-2 Tbsp of the chia seed mixture. Blend until smooth, adding water until it reaches the consistency you like. Use as much organic produce as you can, especially focusing on the spinach and kale.

By the end of all this documentary-watching, I don’t feel so much enlightened as I do confronted with the fact that it’s vegetables and fruits, not procedures and pharmaceuticals, that are going to save our health. It is the body’s systems, not drugs, that heal the body. We simply need the right materials to get the job done.

Instead of a plant-based (meaning vegetarian) diet, I’m on board with a plant-centric eating lifestyle that is aware and individualized (taking protein and blood sugar balance into account, but that’s another story). This means I can have my little roast chicken (in its right proportion) and eat tons of leafy greens and blueberries too.

Chow, people.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 J0000002UTC 2011 12:19 pm

    The soup looks tremendous.

    • 20 J0000002UTC 2011 12:21 pm

      Give it a try…I found that the more spices, the better!

  2. 20 J0000002UTC 2011 7:43 am

    My brother suggested I may like this blog. He used to be entirely right.
    This publish actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how a lot time I had spent
    for this information! Thank you!

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