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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lucky 7 & Mac Not Cheese

Happy Anniversary to me. Today is 7 months vegan, plant-based whole food Samurai-for-my-own-health vegan day. I am damn proud of it. What a big change that is for the normally self-deprecating, barely-comfortable-in-my-own-skin person I usually am, scratch that, used to be. Could it be that the simple act of nuturing myself and feeding myself the food I am engineered to process has brought on this change?

Man is in such a hurry to complicate things, that the simplicity of what is right, natural and WHOLEsome often scurries to the wayside. We need the next shiny thing or the purple-pill (whatever that is), to make us feel whole....or at least that is the marketing ploy that is launched in a massive all-fronts attack at us 24/7 that would make even Stalin's head spin. I'm starting to think that what we really need is KALE!

Seriously, as I research more and more, I am finding connections of nutrition to not only the big four (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension), but also the other ills that plague modern man: depression, anxiety, possibly A.D.D., O.C.D. and even autism! Of course this makes logical sense when you really think about it.....we wouldn't even expect our car to run correctly on sub-standard fuel, the octane of which is tested and governmentally mandated. Does our government check the vitamin A levels of a subsidized sweet potato??? I don't know, but I want to know. I want to know WHY the basic nutritional needs of our people are continually put on the back burner and placed behind special interest and MONEY. Do these people not realize they are shooting themselves in the legislative foot??? THEY need to be healthy to live long and spend all that money, don't they?

But, I digress, and it's my anniversary, even if it is a high-school-esque type of anniversary, like when you celebrated going steady for two months.

I'm celebrating my day by acknowledging my progress and realizing that while it is important to keep one's sights set firmly ahead, one also must turn around from time to time, to view the road traveled.

Some of the physical changes I have experienced to date: I remember I used to have this continual dull ache in my right side...I used to worry about it....a lot....gone. My eyes were perpetually blood-shot....this is clearing up remarkably and the whites of my eyes seem whiter. My skin continues to improve even to the point where a dear friend noted to me after seeing me at lunch recently that my skin looked better and even younger (LOVE you, D!). I was luxuriating in a nice bubble bath the other night and realized that I don't have this weird lower leg pain I used to get. There are so many other things and I know I've forgotten many too. I sleep better, I don't have this nagging hip pain I used to get, I'm not as stiff as I was after sitting for prolonged periods. One thing lately that has happened that is just wild, even my husband noticed, I have a huge amount of scar tissue on my left 'bum-cheek' from a horse-back riding accident about 10 years ago. It has always been very sore and I had come to terms with the fact that it was likely permanent. This is a swelling about 8 inches wide by maybe 5 inches 'tall' in the middle and an inch or so deep. It is resolving and is no longer sore, has reduced by several inches. That just freaks me out and is so amazing. I think my body is simply now getting enough nutrients that it can use, without getting the nasties that it has to make up for, so now it can physiologically FOCUS on the repair and maintenance of itself.

The human body is such an amazing entity and I am beginning to realize that it is a precious gift and one that needs cared for and treated with the respect it deserves. These are all new concepts to me although I know I have paid them lip-service in the past. And, it has been a challenge getting to the information; one has to dig in and allot the time, attention and energy to finding out the truths and going against the grain of how it's always been done and to go on the treasure hunt that finding healthy foods in the grocery store has become.

So at 7 months, I salute myself and everyone who is making whatever changes they can to become healthier. I'm also celebrating my weight this morning. After just a few days on Joel Fuhrman's 6 week Eat-to-Live program (Eat to THERE's a concept---say, what???), the scale has finally budged again and in just another couple of pounds, my driver's license weight will even be true! Woo-hoo!

But, here is probably the best reason for us all to take the very BEST care of ourselves.....the next generation.

Take a look at that face. Isn't she beautiful? She's my grand-daughter. 4 1/2 months old in this picture. I want to be there for her, as my loving and wonderful grandparents were for me. I want to teach her about nature, I want to show her how to garden, I want to teach her to swim and I want to teach her how to ride a pony. I want to read her stories and encourage her to read. I want her to grow up loving animals and respecting them; I want to be the very best me I can be for her for as long as I can be. My Beautiful Girl, you are worth me digging a little deeper, confronting the sad truths about our food system, looking at the BIG UGLY of factory farms, and doing what I can to help change come about. Oh yes, you are worth it and more.

Pass the kale, please.

Sue, 7-months plant-strong, in Ohio

One of my successful actions for continuing on this plant path is something Rip Esselstyn (author: Engine 2 Diet) said in a lecture I was fortunate enough to hear him give. He said, set yourself up for success. Don't get caught without a plan. Have your next meal pretty well in mind and have your 'go-to' recipes. I adopted this excellent advice and it has been extremely helpful.

One of my favorites and definitely a 'go-to' is Rip's Mac not Cheese. Love it and it also works well with the addition of some extra veggies (e.g. peppers or onions). Recipe and photo below.
Mac Not Cheese from Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet
1 onion, chopped
1 C cashews (I use raw)
1/3 C lemon juice
1 1/3 C water
1/2 t sea salt
4 oz jar roasted red peppers
3 T nutritional yeast
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
16 oz whole-grain elbow pasta, cooked
425 deg. oven. Saute onion 5 minutes (I use a tiny bit of water for this and let them carmelize). In food processor, combine onion, cashews, lemon juice, water and salt. Gradually blend in peppers, yeast, spices. Thoroughly toss the sauce with pasta. Bake 20 min. until golden brown on top.

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