Documentary Review: Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

*Recently, my husband and I watched two documentaries: Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Food Inc. We were so inspired and informed by them and I’d highly recommend them to anyone (both are available on Netflix instant play!).*

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead chronicles the journey of a man from Australia, very overweight and stricken with a chronic disease.  He decides to go on a fresh fruit and vegetable juice fast for 30 days while he tours the United States talking to people about their diets.  He has a great accent, by the way!  The first half of the documentary shows his dramatic and amazing transformation.  He actually drives around with a juicer in the back of his car and juices as he goes!  The second half focuses on the even more amazing changes that occur in a man he inspires to follow in his footsteps.  I absolutely LOVED seeing these men take charge of their lives and transform from sick, hopeless, lifeless creatures into energetic, happy, and healthy individuals right before my eyes!  Very inspiring!  My husband and I bought a better juicer after seeing this and are now juicing almost every evening.  When you see what wonderful changes occur when these men simply begin to fill their bodies with naturally-occurring nutrients and stop eating animal products, empty calories, and processed junk, the relationship between nutrition and health will take on a whole new meaning for you.

Advertisements

“Cheese” Sauce

This recipe is adapted from one posted by SusanV on FatFree Vegan Kitchen.  I didn’t have all of the ingredients so, as usual, I made crazyish substitutions and hoped it would turn out…. and it tastes good!  I’m using it in an also-modified version of SusanV’s eggplant parmesan recipe

“Cheese” Sauce

  • half a block of extra-firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I like Pacific Natural Foods brand)
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. corn starch

Just put it all in a blender and turn it on- doesn’t get easier than that!

Note: this recipe contains a few processed ingredients, the most notorious of which is tofu.  While I have GREATLY reduced my consumption of soy and soy products, including tofu, I will still eat it occasionally.  Please don’t crucify me, soy protesters!

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #7- “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Kiwi” Smoothie

Tastes Like Kiwi, but isn't!

Wednesday before last, I made Smoothie #10 from the RAVE book.  We really liked it and renamed it “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Kiwi” because it really did taste like it.

My husband rated this smoothie an 8 and I rated it a 7.  Thanks to his rating, I’m going to include the recipe:

  • 5 kale leaves
  • 3 apples (I used Granny Smiths because we like it tart!)
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseed
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cups water

The directions are simple here: just stuff it all into the blender and turn it on! As you can see in the picture, the kale in this smoothie gives it an astonishing green color.  Those are vitamins, baby!

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #5- Polenta-Stuffed Peppers, Plus: How to Make Your Own Polenta

On Sunday I made Polenta-Stuffed Peppers.  This was a pretty tasty recipe.  I opted to make polenta instead of buying it.  In hindsight, I should have made the polenta ahead of time since it was to be measured in weight.  To do that, I would have needed to cook it, let it cool, and then weight it out, I guess.  Instead, I attempted to hastily make it and use it.  I hadn’t made polenta in awhile, and I did a sloppy job, so it ended up a lot thinner than it should have been, and lumpy.  This wasn’t all bad, but it probably contributed to the kind of yucky look my finished product took on….

Polenta-Stuffed Pepper

I really should focus on taking more appealing pictures of my recipes in the future.  I actually took this exact pepper to work, where I cut it open and let all the lumpy polenta spill out and ate it!  I got a few “What is that??” questions.  Anyway, my husband gave this recipe a 7 and I gave it a 6.  I might have rated it higher if I’d done a better job with the polenta.  I might actually attempt this one again because I looooove roasted peppers!

For those of you who would like to make your own polenta, here’s a good basic recipe to start from:

Basic Polenta

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

Boil the 3 cups of water in a saucepan.  Whisk together the cornmeal, 1 cup water, and salt in a bowl and pour into the boiling water.  If you don’t mix the cornmeal with the water first, it will end up lumpy.  Lower the temperature to a simmer and cover, stirring every few minutes.  Cook for 15 minutes.

You can use the cornmeal as a breakfast cereal or side dish, or you can pour it into a cake or loaf pan and refrigerate it overnight.  The resulting thickened cornmeal (called polenta) can be sliced and fried, cut into shapes, or chopped up and used in recipes (like the pepper recipe I made).  Polenta is good as a savory dish or a sweet one.  I like to cut it into large slices, fry it, and eat it for breakfast with maple syrup on top.  🙂 You can add just about anything  to the polenta while cooking it (sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, herbs and spices, etc.) to give it different flavors.

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #4- Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Curried Sweet Potato Soup- RAVE Diet book

Friday I made “Curried Sweet Potato Soup”.  This recipe was simple to make, but very   delicious and got the highest ratings so far: a 7 from my husband and an 8 from me! My husband said it was  his favorite of the recipes I’ve made from the RAVE book.  It was also the first recipe in which I really didn’t miss the salt at all.  It tasted sweet but savory at  the same time- totally delicious!  We had some of the leftovers last night and it was good the  second   time around as well. Here’s the recipe:

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

serves 6

  • 5 cups cubed, peeled sweet potato
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • minced cilantro (optional)

Heat broth in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and curry powder and saute for 2 minutes.  Add water, broth, and sweet potatoes.  Cook for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.  Place one-third of the sweet potato mixture in a blender and process until smooth.  Repeat the procedure with the remaining sweet potato mixture in batches.  Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan.  Bring the soup to a boil and remove from heat.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Note: I did not blend the soup, but merely mashed it with a potato masher.  I suppose I did this because I was lazy.  Also, my blender was being washed.  Also, I don’t mind having my soup a little texturized and it did still taste delicious!

How To Turn Down Foods You’d Rather Not Eat

Yesterday my coworker brought some dessert thing made out of cereal covered in peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar.  It looked yummy and the coworker raved about how delicious it tasted (and how I should really try some), but I knew it in no way fit with my current eating choices.  Today a plate of beautiful brownies appeared in the kitchen, born on the triumphant hands of another co-worker, who encouraged us to dig in.  What do you do when in this kind of dilemma?  I vacillate between explaining the whole “I’m not eating processed foods right now” story and just eating a bit of what’s offered.  You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, but you also don’t want  to compromise your standards unnecessarily.  Is there some of kind of rule you can use to decide what to do?  And if you do decide to turn down goodies, what’s the best way to do so?

If you decide to turn down proffered foods, make sure the person knows you are turning down their food, not them.  Maybe a few compliments would help (“Not right now…. That looks delicious, though!  You are such a great cook!”).  You could just explain that you’re trying a new way of eating (and feel great, by the way, thanks), or you could choose less sharing and say that you’re really full from lunch, that it looks delicious and you’ll maybe have some later….  The great news is that once people start to know you as someone who cares about healthy eating, you might not have so many awkward turn-down moments.

Alternatively, sometimes you may feel that your diet principles aren’t worth hurting someone’s feelings.  This doesn’t mean you’re a health failure.  Just make sure the following isn’t true of you: you are using this as an excuse to compromise your standards, you care about saving face or avoiding awkward situations more than you care about your health, or you are being too hard on yourself in the first place (some lifestyle changes can benefit from transition phases).

What Exactly is a Vegetarian? Vegan? Omnivore?

There are many different ways a person can be classified based on the types of foods they choose to eat.  It can get a little confusing, especially if you’re new on the scene.  The great thing is that there is a name for just about every type of diet choice, as new words are being coined with relative freedom.  While researching this topic, I found some that were even new to me.

I have a degree in biology.  I mention this because I’m thinking of one of my favorite parts of science classes where identifying the scientific name of a plant or animal is required-  using a dichotomous key.  It’s so much fun.  I made you a key for deciding which category you belong in so you can share in the fun. 🙂  Just answer the questions and follow the directions.  If you already know where you fit in, click here for eating style definitions.

  1. Do you choose to eat animal products?
    • If yes, go to #2
    • If no, go to #5
  2. Do you choose to eat red meat?
  3. Do you choose to eat either fish or chicken?
    • If yes, go to #4
    • If no, go to #5
  4. Do you choose to eat just fish, just chicken, or both?
  5. Do you choose to eat either milk or eggs?
    • If yes, go to #6
    • If no, go to #7
  6. Do you choose to eat just milk, just eggs, or both?
  7. Do you choose to eat cooked food?
  8. Do you choose to eat processed foods?
  9. Do you choose to eat either milk or eggs?
  10. Do you choose to eat processed foods?
    • If yes, you are Your Own Kind  🙂
    • If no, you are a Macrobiotic

I’ve probably forgotten some.  If you belong to a group of eaters that isn’t recognized here, feel free to let me know and I’ll correct my key!