Tag Archives: flax seed oil

Omega-3 Lemon Balm, Hemp, & Flax Pesto Spread – Vegan

lemon balm pesto

Winter has been very mild here in central Florida this year. My herbs still look great. After pruning back my basil and lemon balm plants, it appeared that it was time to make pesto again. Pesto is one of my favorite sauces! 🙂

I do have one problem with traditional pesto recipes – not only do they contain a lot of oil, they contain a lot of olive oil. Most people have been led to believe that olive oil is a “health food”, and that just isn’t the case. Most plant based oils have omega fatty acid ratios that favor omega-6 and lead to inflammation. As I have a history of inflammatory disease, I try to eat very little oil, but when I do need to use a little in a recipe, I opt for flaxseed oil, which is very high in omega-3 fatty acid, making it an anti-inflammatory food. Flaxseed oil is a little pricey though, so in order to reduce the total amount required in the recipe, I make a thicker pesto spread instead of a sauce. It is wonderful in sandwiches!

lemon balm hemp flax pesto spread

Another ingredient in traditional pesto, which is problematic, is pine nuts. Standard variety pine nuts have THREE HUNDRED TIMES more omega-6 than omega-3. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the Mediterranean variety of pine nuts is much better with a 1:30 ratio. It is significantly better (10 times to be exact), but still very high. We can do even better than that be replacing the pine nuts in traditional pesto with hemp seeds. Hemp seeds have a 1:3 ratio – 10 times better than even the Mediterranean pine nuts. They also have a nutty flavor that compliments the flaxseed oil nicely. By replacing pine nuts with hemp seeds, we have literally made the omega fatty acid ratio of the nut/seed component in recipe one hundred times better

lemon balm hemp flax pesto spread

The last ingredient that I have replaced in this recipe is the cheese. There is a lot of controversy regarding the health benefits of dairy when all factors are considered (whether or not it is from grass fed animals, whether it not it is pasteurized, etc.). Regardless of these things, I’m allergic to it, so dairy is a non-negotiable ingredient exclusion for me. Instead of cheese, I use nutritional yeast in this recipe. It is an inactive yeast that contains all essential amino acids, and multiple B-vitamins. Some brands, like Red Star Nutritional Yeast, are also fortified with B-12. 

lemon balm hemp flax pesto spread

It’s also REALLY good in sandwiches.

gluten free vegan panini sandwich

Omega-3 Lemon Balm, Hemp, and Flax Pesto
This recipe has just a hint of lemon balm, and a few other key ingredient changes that create a much healthier omega fatty acid ratio than traditional pesto.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups basil (replace up to 1/4 cup with lemon balm, if desired)
  2. 1/4 cup flaxseed oil
  3. 1/4 cup hemp seed
  4. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  5. 3/4 tsp sea salt
  6. 1 TB Trader Joe's "21 Seasoning Salute" (or your favorite garlic or Italian-inspired spice blend)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until an even, but slightly chunky, consistency is achieved.
Notes
  1. I used lemon balm to replace some of the basil because I had it in my garden, but you don't have to do that for this recipe. It adds a nice hint of lemon to the recipe, but is not necessary.
  2. I experimented with the Trader Joe's seasoning mix since I had swapped out a few other ingredients, but you don't have to use it. You can use a garlic powder based seasoning blend or an Italian-inspired spice blend of your choice, and it would probably still taste great.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Zucchini Noodles w/ Bell Pepper Pesto (Raw Vegan)

zucchini noodles with bell pepper pesto

I made this bell pepper pesto sauce out of necessity. With dutiful pruning of my basil plant, pinching off blossoms, and adding some fresh cuttings back into the pot that I propagated from clippings, I have an over-abundance of basil… again. What’s a girl to do, but to make more pesto? I also gave some away! =D

I invited one of my friends from work over for lunch on Memorial Day. I originally purchased the bell peppers fully intent on experimenting with a raw version of a romesco sauce, but then the basil explosion happened. The raw romesco sauce experiment is still on my to-do list though, I promise. I think I will wait until the peppers in my porch jungle are ready though. I would love to be able to make it with the main ingredient being something I grew myself. Growing my own food brings me such satisfaction!

Zucchini Noodles w/ Bell Pepper Pesto

So, having both peppers and basil, I decided to combine them into a tasty sauce. I used a little flax seed oil to give it nutty flavor without actually introducing nuts, which I am trying to limit in order to keep my fat and omega 6 intake lower. I used a little nutritional yeast to give it a slightly cheesy flavor, and I used half an avocado to give it a slightly creamy texture. Spread into 2 or 3 portions, it is really not much avocado per person. The rest of the ingredients were just seasoning and texture. Of course, by now, my regular readers know that I like to add fermented foods to my recipes whenever possible, so this one got some fermented garlic and raw ACV added as well. You are welcome to use powdered garlic instead if you don’t happen to have any fermented garlic laying around though. 😉

Anyway, my lovely friend Divya gave the recipe two thumbs up. After the main course, I served some fresh chopped fruit with a sauce of lemon, local raw honey, cinnamon, and ginger for dessert. I also washed my meal down with a rather large glass of home brewed probiotic-filled jun!

Zucchini Noodles w/Bell Pepper Pesto
Serves 2
A seasonal dish that incorporates all of the summer favorites: zucchini, tomato, bell pepper, and basil! This recipe is easy to prepare and offers a twist to the traditional pesto sauce by incorporating luscious sweet yellow bell peppers.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Zucchini Noodle Ingredients
  1. 3 zucchinis
  2. 1 tsp salt
Sauce Ingredients
  1. 1 yellow bell pepper
  2. 2 cups packed basil
  3. 2 TB flax seed oil
  4. 1/2 avocado
  5. 2 TB nutritional yeast
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1 TB ACV
  8. 2 tsp garlic (or a couple cloves of fermented garlic - rich mellow flavor)
  9. 1/4 cup water
Garnish/Topping Ingredients
  1. Fresh ripe tomatoes
  2. Sprouts of your choice
  3. Pumpkin seeds
  4. Sprig of basil
Instructions
  1. Spiral cut (or julienne cut) the zucchini into noodles. Sprinkle with salt and mix in with your hands. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes (when they are soft and "noodle-y" in texture) and then rinse the salt off the noodles using a large strainer or colander. This is enough time to blend the sauce and get everything else set up.
  2. Add all of the sauce ingredients to the blender until they are well-incorporated.
  3. Chop up the tomatoes for the dish.
  4. If your noodles are done, stack them up on a plate.
  5. Pour the sauce on top of the noodles.
  6. Add the tomatoes, sprouts, and pumpkin seeds. Top with a few basil leaves, if desired.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you are opposed to nutritional yeast in raw food recipes, you may omit it. It lends a subtlety cheesy flavor if you are sharing the dish with non-raw friends or non-vegans.
  2. It is best to eat the sauce fresh. I found that it did not keep well the second day. The addition of avocado caused the top layer to brown and the flavor was not as fresh.
  3. If this is your main dish, serve it as 2 portions with a large and visually impressive stack of noodles. If you have side dishes, break it up into 3 portions.
  4. The addition of juicy ripe tomatoes really adds an extra depth of flavor to the dish. I recommend that you add plenty of them. Mine were fresh from the garden! 🙂
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Summer Salad with Fresh Fruit, Edible Flowers, and Herbal Lime Dressing

Summer Salad with Fruit and Herbal Dressing

I made this light summer salad for dinner this evening because summer has come to Florida! We are experiencing the afternoon torrential downpours, as well as the heat and humidity. My porch plants  start to protest if I skip even one day of watering. Some of them even prefer twice a day (I’m looking at you, tomatoes).

This summer salad recipe is flexible; the ingredients can be changed up to suit your own tastes and produce availability. I really enjoyed it with the tangy fruits, as the dressing is subtly sweet and herbal, so the flavors compliment each other nicely. The addition of tender greens and sprouts also provides a nice balance of flavor to counter the sweetness in the fruit. Finally, the edible flowers are totally optional, but I grew them in my garden without any chemicals, and I love how they add a little extra “art” to the presentation. 

Summer salad with fruit and honey lime dressing

Regarding the health benefits of this dish…

I strive to include raw leafy greens in as many of my meals as possible. They are full of fiber, vitamins, absorbable calcium, iron, and they are my favorite source of protein. Per calorie, many leafy greens have more protein than meat, and you won’t be sacrificing any of the valuable phytonutrients in the process of consuming it. When you consume them raw, you keep all of the heat-sensitive vitamins and enzymes intact!

Sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse! Because the little plants are preparing to use a lot of energy to become great big plants, they are full of vitamins and enzymes (a type of protein), which help you to break down your food more efficiently and absorb more nutrients from it. The protein in seeds is higher quality and more absorbable when they are sprouted. Additionally, many nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors, which are not broken down until they are soaked and the germination process begins. During the sprouting process, essential fatty acid content is higher than in the seed alone as well.

Fresh fruit in a variety of colors ensures a variety of nutrients are present in your meal! Pineapple, kiwi, and strawberry are all excellent sources of vitamin C, some of them more so than citrus! Pineapple is highly anti-inflammatory, strawberries are a great source of zinc (from their seeds), and while kiwi’s best traits are being high in fiber and vitamin C, it might also help you get a better night’s sleep. I’ve got some organic apples in there too. Apples are a great source of potassium and the skins contain an antioxidant called quercetin (also found in onion peels, but we don’t want to eat those!). It can help to block histamine response if you are an allergic type of person, and it combats inflammation of your neurons, which means apples are good for your nervous system and might help to prevent dementia. Apples help to keep us sane. 😉 Their high fiber content also helps to reduce cholesterol.

Marigold petals are edible! Their bright orange color comes from carotenoids – the same antioxidant family that gives carrots a similar hue. Three particular carotenoids in marigold petals are lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. The former two help to protect against damage to your eyes as you age. So, get out there and nibble on some flowers! I tossed a few cucumber blossoms in there for good measure. I had to trim back my vines a bit today due to my limited porch space. I knew they were edible and I don’t let perfectly good food go to waste in this this home! (http://www.livestrong.com/article/444206-health-benefits-of-marigold-flowers/)

The dressing for this salad is really amazing. I used a probiotic drink called jun that I brew myself (along with kombucha and a slew of other things I enjoy fermenting), fresh lime juice, local raw honey, flax oil, and fresh sage and peppermint from my garden! Every single ingredient serves to boost the nutritional value of the meal. The jun adds more biodiversity to the gut flora (and a very pleasant floral green tea flavor to the dressing). Combined with improving my gut flora, local raw honey has done miraculous things for my seasonal allergies. I like to add a small amount to my food/drinks a few times a week. As I have significantly reduced my oil consumption, flax seed oil is one that I still consume in small amounts, as it is the only plant based oil that has more omega 3 than omega 6, making it anti-inflammatory. One of the reasons that sage and mint pair so nicely together is because they are botanically related! I love to pair related plants. They always seem to compliment each other, flavor wise. Peppermint is great for digestion and sage can help to improve memory function. It’s also anti-inflammatory and was once thought to be crucial in fighting off the plague!

Summer Salad w/Fresh Fruit & Herbal Honey Lime Dressing
Serves 2
A light and filling summer salad that contains a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals and a rich layering of flavors. This recipe can easily be scaled up or down to feed as many people as you need it to.
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Salad Ingredients
  1. 5 oz butter lettuce (or tender greens of choice)
  2. 1/2 red delicious apple (always buy organic apples)
  3. 4 large strawberries (always buy organic berries)
  4. 2 kiwis
  5. 1" section of pineapple
  6. 1/4-1/2 cup sprouts of choice (I used sweet clover sprouts)
  7. Edible flowers (optional - I used marigold petals and cucumber blossoms - both from my garden)
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup jun (for a similar flavor, substitute 1/4 cup chilled jasmine green tea + 1/2 tsp honey + 1/4 tsp ACV)
  2. 1 lime, skinned
  3. 2 TB flax seed oil
  4. 2 TB local raw honey
  5. 6 fresh sage leaves
  6. 12 fresh peppermint leaves
Instructions
  1. Add 2.5 oz of tender greens to each plate (should be easy to divide based on standard sizing of packaged greens)
  2. Chop fruit and arrange on top of the greens to your artistic liking
  3. Add appx 1/4 cup sprouts to each plate (or just a few pinches - however much you like)
  4. Sprinkle with edible flowers
  5. Add all dressing ingredients to blender and blend until thoroughly combined (each serving is roughly the size of an espresso cup - shown in photo)
  6. Top salad with dressing
  7. Eat with someone who will make pleasant dinner conversation and give thanks for the bounty on your plate. 🙂
Notes
  1. Jun is a fermented drink that is made using a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts). It provides a blend of probiotics that are good for your gut. It is grown in a similar fashion as kombucha, but is grown in a medium of green tea and raw honey. This being the case, the jun has a light floral taste (pending the type of honey you use - orange blossom is my preference). I realize that most people probably do not have a jun culture, so the closest thing I think you could substitute to get a similar flavor in the dressing is an equal amount of a light jasmine green tea with just a small amount of honey, and an even smaller amount of ACV to account for the every so slight acidic flavor of the probiotics.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Frozen Blueberry Banana Green Smoothie

Frozen blueberry banana green smoothie

For those who follow this blog regularly, I apologize that I have been lax in posting recipes over the last couple weeks. My normal diet includes a lot of raw food. I was preparing healthy meals for my family during my visit, but many of them were cooked meals to make them more comforting and satisfying to them. After I returned home, I was just feeling that my body needed a rest.

As we are almost 5 months into the year and I have not done any kind of fasting since the first of the year (I did a 4 day water fast), I decided now would be a good time to give my body that rest. I have been making a lot of green juices and smoothies. I find that getting the extra nutrients from juicing and giving my digestive tract a rest while not stressing about what I’m going to make for dinner really helps me to clear my head and improves my energy levels. I like to do it 3-4 times a year. 

This next series of posts will contain some of the smoothie and juice recipes that I have been making for myself. This is one that I made for breakfast the other day – a blueberry banana green smoothie. I keep my bananas in the freezer (so I never have to worry about them getting past the perfect point of ripeness for my smoothies), and because it is so hard to find organic blueberries fresh in my area, I also purchase frozen organic wild blueberries. Frozen fruit gives the smoothie a really nice texture, and you can pretend it’s dessert for breakfast! =D

frozen banana blueberry green smoothie

Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients that are blended into this smoothie (which will feed two people or one person who will have two servings during the day – me!):

  • Bananas are a great source of potassium and inulin fiber, which feeds your gut flora. I’m a big fan of anything that encourages healthy gut flora, as healing mine has done so many wonders for my health. I have not been sick in a very long time, my digestion is better, and even some of my feed allergies have improved!
  • Bananas are also a natural source of tryptophan, which your body converts into serotonin. It makes you happy and helps you sleep better. 
  • Bananas are a good source of B6, which helps your body to create white blood cells. They are good for your immune system!
  • Bananas help to stabilize blood sugar.
  • Bananas are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they help to reduce blood pressure (if yours is high, but if yours is low, you will want to focus more on sodium rich foods like celery instead).
  • Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit. They help to prevent cancer and protect the eyes. They are especially good for the nervous system and the brain. 
  • Blueberries are low on the glycemic index, though with a whole foods plant based diet, I don’t really worry about the glycemic index anymore. 
  • Blueberries contain resveratrol, the same polyphenol that red wine is touted for having. Guess what? You can get plenty from blueberries, so put down that booze!
  • Like all leafy greens, spinach is an excellent source of plant protein.
  • Spinach is also a great source of potassium – providing more than bananas (per cup of each food)!
  • Spinach is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium, which helps to relax you – both your muscles and your nervous system. If you have asthma, it helps to relax the bronchial muscles, too.
  • Spinach is rich in iron. Goodbye, anemia!
  • Spinach is also high in potassium, and helps to reduce blood pressure. 
  • I tossed in a few bonus add-ins also: hemp seed, chia seed, and flax seed oil. The hemp seed is a complete plant protein with all of the essential amino acids, but it is still higher in omega-6 than omega-3, so I added some chia seed and flax seed oil, both of which are higher in omega-3 to help offset it.

Sources:

 

Frozen Blueberry Banana Green Smoothie
Serves 2
This blueberry banana green smoothie is a delicious and nutritious frozen treat, full of phytonutrients that prevent cancer, anemia, and iron deficiencies!
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 cups of water
  2. 3 large handfuls of spinach
  3. 2 frozen bananas
  4. 1 cup frozen organic wild blueberries (they have the most flavor, in my opinion!)
  5. 2 TB hemp seed (optional)
  6. 2 TB chia seed (optional)
  7. 2 TB flaxseed oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender until well combined. Water content can vary based on how thick or thin you would like the texture of the smoothie to be.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Italian Pasta Salad (Vegan, cooked w/raw option)

Pasta Primavera Salad - Vegan and Gluten Free

This Italian pasta salad recipe is heart-healthy and easy to make. It is low in fat and full of raw vegetables with a flavorful flax seed oil pesto sauce.

My Dietary Transition

I have been working to transition my diet to that which follows the protocols outlined by Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn for optimal human health. (Check out the health resources link on this blog to find some of their work if you have not already.) Essentially, it is a low fat whole foods plant based diet. I was already eating a whole food plant based diet with a lot of raw food, but still eating far too many nuts and oils with the wrong proportions of omega fatty acids. I am giving their recommended 80-10-10 (carbs-protein-fat) approach a try, which hypothetically should be achieved simply by eating a varied diet of whole plant foods. If I use oil, I am trying to use flax oil exclusively for my cold dishes, as it is the only plant based oil that is higher in omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acid, and using coconut oil occasionally, but sparingly for my occasional cooked dishes (and in large amounts on my skin as a moisturizer!).

The Recipe Origins

As my grandfather recently passed away from heart disease, I’ve been encouraging my family to adopt some more heart-healthy dietary habits by preparing meals for them this week while I am visiting. I was originally going to take this recipe to a vegan potluck dinner with some friends, as I thought it would be a nice light meal that would appeal to most people. When I ended up back home over the news about my grandfather, I made it for my relatives instead. 

A Note About Grains

I chose to include some grains in this recipe to make it more appealing to the audience I was preparing it for. One important thing to note is that when following the heart-healthy protocol, any grains which are consumed should be whole grains. This means that the germ, endosperm, and bran are not removed in processing. Otherwise, the grains lack fiber and nutrients. I found an organic rice pasta at my local grocery store (I LOVE PUBLIX!) that uses whole grain rice flour, which worked out really nice for the recipe. If your local hippy market doesn’t carry any such thing, you can order it from Amazon: Jovial Organic Brown Rice Fusilli.

HOWEVER, I generally prefer to limit my consumption of grains, due to their phytic acid content (which can be reduced by sprouting and fermenting, and offset by a healthy population of lactobacilli in the gut), but I digress. We can discuss that in another post at another time. Until then, EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! 😉

How to Make it Raw

The rice pasta is the only cooked ingredient in the dish, so if you’d like it to be a completely raw vegan meal, you can just make noodles out of the zucchini instead of slicing it as I did for this version of the recipe, and omit the rice pasta all together. This was my original plan for the recipe. However, if sharing with hungry omnivores, the whole grain rice pasta makes the recipe a bit more familiar.

Pasta Primavera Salad
Serves 4
This light heart-healthy pasta primavera salad contains an array of colored raw vegetables, marinaded in a flax oil pesto dressing, and a whole grain organic rice pasta. The pasta is a great option for non-raw family members, but can be omitted if you would like the dish to be completely raw vegan. In that case, just spiral cut your zucchini into noodles instead. 🙂
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Pasta Ingredients
  1. 3 spiral cut zucchinis OR 1/2 lb whole grain rice pasta
Salad Ingredients
  1. If using pasta, then chop 2 zucchinis for the salad (don't chop any extra if they are your noodles)
  2. 1/2 heart celery, thinly sliced (appx. 1.25 cups)
  3. 1 cup grated carrot (appx. 3 medium carrots or 4 small organic carrots)
  4. 2 cups chopped grape tomatoes (1 pint package)
  5. 1 cup chopped yellow sweet pepper (appx 3 sweet peppers or 1 yellow bell pepper)
  6. 1/2 cup chopped artichoke heart (appx 5 hearts - marinaded in brine, not oil)
  7. 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (up to 1/2 cup if you love parsley)
  8. 1 cup chopped kalamata olives (reduce to 1/2 cup to reduce the fat - stored in brine, not oil)
  9. 1/2 cup chopped scallions (5-6 stalks)
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup flax seed oil
  2. 1/2 cup filtered water
  3. 1 large handful fresh basil
  4. 2 TB apple cider vinegar
  5. 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  6. 1 tsp oregano
  7. 1 tsp thyme
  8. 1 tsp onion powder
  9. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  10. 1/4 tsp sea salt
Pasta Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions OR spiral cut zucchini and massage in 1/2 tsp of sea salt and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until soft and pliable, then rinse with cool water.
Salad Directions
  1. Chop all vegetables as indicated and add them to a very large bowl.
  2. If you are using pasta noodles, then chop some zucchini for the salad. If you are using zucchini noodles, then omit zucchini from the salad.
Dressing Directions
  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender (Vitamix is my preference) and blend thoroughly until everything is smooth and well incorporated.
Assembly Directions
  1. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix until it is evenly distributed. Let the dressing sit on the vegetables for about 10 minutes to allow them to soften and soak in the flavor.
  2. Mix the pasta (either zucchini or rice noodles) into the large bowl with the salad and dressing.
Notes
  1. This pasta salad recipe will feed 4 people as a meal or 6-8 as a side dish. We had 6 at dinner and finished the bowl, but one of us had 3 portions and made a meal of it. 😉
  2. Feel free to double the recipe for an extra large or extra hungry crowd. I made a double batch so that there would be leftovers for lunch the second day.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Radish and Caraway Gazpacho + Heart Disease

Raw Vegan Gazpacho Soup

This is a difficult recipe post for me to make. I am a little behind in my recipe postings for two very good reasons:

  1. My grandfather is in the hospital dying of heart disease. He was an active man who was never overweight.
  2. I am working to complete a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University.

The course material is very timely for me. We have been extensively covering the role that diet plays in the development of heart disease and cancers, the two consistent top causes of death in the United States. These are diseases of affluent nations. The richer we are, the poorer our diets become, full of processed foods and animal proteins.

The Heart Disease Epidemic

According to the CDC, about 600,000 people die from heart disease in the US per year. That is 1 in every 4 deaths. This is an epidemic. Conservatively, the CDC says that about 200,000 (1/3) of heart disease deaths are preventable with diet. However, based on the lifetime work of T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China StudyWhole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, and The Low-Carb Fraud, he estimates that a full 90% of heart disease is preventable with the proper diet. The more calories we take in from unrefined plant foods instead of animal proteins and processed foods, the less we die from heart disease and cancer as a species. 

Heart disease deaths vs intake of plant food

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr, a respected surgeon who directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, has had great success in halting and reversing heart disease among inoperable patients. His patients, “…agreed to follow a plant-based diet with <10% of calories derived from fat. They were asked to eliminate oil [except flax seed], dairy products … , fish, fowl, and meat. They were encouraged to eat grains, legumes, lentils, vegetables, and fruit. Cholesterol-lowering medication was individualized. The only goal was to achieve and maintain a total serum cholesterol of <150 mg/dl”.

He has also written a great article about abolishing heart disease on Dr. Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies website. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Autopsies from soldiers in the Korean and Vietnam wars revealed an 80% rate of coronary heart disease. The median age was 20. 
  • A study of autopsies from accident, homicide, and suicide victims aged 16-34 revealed heart disease in every single one.
  • When the Nazis invaded Norway and seized all of their livestock, the people subsisted on whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Their rates of death from heart disease and stroke plummeted, but went back up to pre-occupation rates when their livestock was returned. 
  • As Western culture has permeated into Asia, these countries have started to adopt our bad dietary habits. They are shifting away from strongly plant based diets and starting to consume more animal proteins and processed foods. Coronary artery disease is predicted to become the #1 global disease burden by 2020.

The Hearth Healthy Diet

Based on the work of these men, and many others on the forefront of this research, the ideal diet for human health is a whole foods plant based diet. We receive the right balance of macronutrients automatically when we eat whole unprocessed foods grown from the ground. Dr. Campbell’s latest book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, spells it out:

The ideal human diet looks like this: Consume plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible (‘whole’ foods). Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products. Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar. Aim to get 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from fat, and 10 percent from protein.

Note: Dr. Esselstyn noted that the exception to the rule for oils is flaxseed oil, as it is the only one that contains more omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acid.

I am starting to incorporate more of these practices into my own diet, as I am constantly looking for ways to continue improving my own health. Going forward, more effort will be made for my recipes to follow the protocols outlined above that science is validating are correct for our species. 

Heart Healthy Gazpacho with Radish and Caraway
Serves 2
This is a heart healthy variation of gazpacho, which incorporates radish and caraway seed for a subtle punch of flavor. It follows the low fat whole foods plant based approach for heart health as outlined by the research of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell, PhD. The only acceptable oil to use in small quantities is flax seed oil, which contains more omega-3 than omega-6.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cucumbers
  2. 1 red bell pepper
  3. 1/2 small red onion
  4. 6 radishes
  5. 5 medium sized vine ripened tomatoes (I grew mine!)
  6. 1 clove raw garlic (probiotic upgrade: 5-6 ACV fermented garlic cloves)
  7. 2 TB flax seed oil
  8. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  9. 1/2 tsp caraway seed
  10. 1/4 tsp cumin
Instructions
  1. Finely chop 2-4TB of each vegetable and set aside to stir into the soup.
  2. Add everything else to a high speed blender (Vitamix is my preference) and blend thoroughly until everything is smooth and well incorporated.
  3. Pour into two large bowls and sprinkle the chopped vegetables in.
Notes
  1. Makes two large meal-sized servings or 4-6 appetizer/side servings.
  2. I also tried the soup with a quick pesto recipe (basil, flax oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic, sun dried tomato, hemp seed, and some nutritional yeast), and mixed it in. Two thumbs up from my mom and sister.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Broccoli Slaw (Raw Vegan)

Broccoli Slaw

Remember the Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe last week, and the suggestion to save any extra broccoli stems that were available? This broccoli slaw recipe is a great way to make use of them and get some good quality plant-based protein in your diet.

It’s also super easy to make. Just run your stems through a food processor or cheese grater along with some carrots, sesame seed, and hemp seed, then mix some heart healthy flaxseed oil and raw ACV in there with a pinch of sea salt (and pepper if you like), and you’re good to go!

Broccoli Nutrition 101

  • Did you know that per calorie, broccoli provides more protein and iron than beef?
  • It also provides a plethora of micronutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, outperforming beef in every way, except of course in fat and cholesterol. 
  • Broccoli sweeps your intestines clean like a broom and all the fiber that it contains helps to lower cholesterol and helps you feel full. 
  • Broccoli contains phytonutrients that aid in detoxing unwanted contaminants from your body. These phytonutrients support activation, neutralization, and elimination. It’s the trifecta!
  • Broccoli contains high amounts of both vitamin A and vitamin K. Together, these help to balance the metabolism of vitamin D, a nutrient most people in our society are deficient in.
  • Broccoli is a rich resource of a flavanoid called kaempferol, which gives broccoli an anti-inflammatory effect for people suffering with allergies.
  • Broccoli is also a great source of vitamin C, something humans cannot manufacture on their own. 1 cup of broccoli (appx. 156g) provides over 100% of the RDI for vitamin C. Bonus for allergy sufferers: vitamin C is also a natural anti-histamine.
  • Broccoli can protect you from heart disease. It promotes the production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels in your heart.
  • Broccoli helps to prevent osteoarthritis. One of the phytonutrients that it contains fights the inflammation mechanism that leads to cartilage destruction.
  • Broccoli protects you from many types of cancer because it is full of antioxidants. These benefits are lost when it is overcooked!
  • You can eat as much broccoli as you want and never have to worry about over-indulging or getting too many calories. When I started eating this way, I stopped counting calories, carbs, and all the other things people are afraid of and I never looked back. Nature has balanced the whole plant foods that it gives us so perfectly that if we eat a varied diet with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, we will get everything we need.
  • Sources:

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds provide a complete plant based source of protein, in that they provide all of the essential amino acids. They also have a delightful nutty flavor! If you don’t have any or don’t like them, that is no problem. By eating a varied whole food plant based diet, we can consume all of the amino acids that we need to stay healthy.

Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw unfiltered ACV is amazing stuff. The Gerson Institute recommends it, and I have a lot of respect for what they do. They have a high success rate healing cancers and serious diseases with their whole foods plant based nutritional protocol. Raw unfiltered ACV that still has pieces of the vinegar mother in it has a great source of digestive enzymes and probiotics that help you to digest your food and balance your gut flora (it also makes amazing ACV fermented garlic). It alkalizes the body and also helps to lower blood sugar levels and may be helpful for diabetics and those struggling to lose weight. This is my go-to vinegar. 

Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed is in my opinion the healthiest oil there is. Almost all nuts and plant-based oils except for flaxseed oil have more omega fatty acid 6 than omega fatty acid 3. Flax seed is the exception to that rule. (Chia seed is also heavier on omega-3, but we don’t make oil from it.) It contains more omega 3 than omega 6. This is important because the ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in the diet is in the 1:1 to 1:3 range. The standard American diet (SAD) is upwards of 1:16! Omega-6 promotes inflammation, while omega-3 reduces it. That being said, a little inflammation is needed for a healthy immune response; therefore, some omega-6 in the diet is necessary. However, most of us consume the wrong ratios. The work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a heart surgeon, has shown consistently that the consumption of oils and nuts with the wrong balance of omega fatty acids damage the endothelium (lining of the heart’s arteries). His work shows that the right plant based diet not only slows, but STOPS heart disease.

Broccoli Slaw with Flax Seed Vinaigrette
Serves 2
This quick broccoli slaw recipe is a great way to use up leftover stems. Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse that prevents many diseases and provides more protein per calorie than beef!
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups shredded broccoli stems
  2. 1 cup shredded carrots
  3. 2 TB cold pressed flax seed oil
  4. 1 TB raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  5. 1 TB hemp seeds
  6. 1 TB sesame seeds
  7. 1/8 tsp sea salt
  8. Fresh ground pepper to taste (I used appx. 1/2 tsp)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss together until well combined. Split the slaw into two portions and enjoy!
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