Done in Oil

I have had a number of people ask me over the past few weeks “why no oil?”  Since I follow (mostly) a WFPBNO diet (that’s whole food plant based no oil), oil is always a discussion point. How do you sauté’? How do you make salad dressing? Isn’t olive oil supposed to be good for you?

I’ve taken to responding simply “the fat you eat is the fat you wear”, a catchy phrase I picked up in one of my plant-based eating groups on Facebook.

In the name of full disclosure, I do get some oil in my diet. It’s pretty hard to avoid unless you eat home all. the. time.  But we don’t, so clearly, I’m getting some oil in restaurant meals. My goal is not to ever cook with it. I try to eliminate it from every recipe I can.  If I shoot for ZERO oil, when I do consume it, it’s very rarely and not an impact to my health and weight.

To answer the prior questions… I saute’ with water or veggie broth (not too much of either so as not to steam).  There are hundreds of salad dressings that can be made without oil.  As for olive oil…?  It’s “better than”, say, saturated fats or trans fats or lard.  But fat is fat is fat… and olive oil is 100% fat.

I found this article: “What About Oils?” that does a fabulous job of explaining “no oil” in more detail.  A little olive oil here, a little there… and before you know it, you’ve consumed the equivalent of 100 olives. Would you ever eat 100 olives in a day…?  Anyway, click on the link and let Sonia explain!

For the record, I’m aware that my body needs some fats to stay healthy and functioning on all cylinders. I get those fats primarily from avocados, nuts and seeds.


My new recipes for the week:

  • Thyme Cabernet Gravy – I was looking for a tasty oil free gravy for something different on my lunch time baked potatoes. This one is fabulous!  And I didn’t even follow the recipe that closely.  It’s forgiving, so use what you have.  I used regularly whole wheat flour to replace the brown rice flour, dried thyme instead of fresh, and Pinot Noir instead of Cabernet Sauvignon.  So good!
  • Creamy Polenta and Mushrooms – My only complaint about making this one was we ran out!  This was delicious, even if not vegan. There was a bit of cheese (which was optional), but since it was 1/4 cup across 3 servings, I added it. I used a bit of oil, but not the full tablespoons of oil and butter in the recipe. We enjoyed this so much, I’m making it again this week (double batch this time) since Ethan wasn’t home for dinner that night.  He loves mushrooms!
  • I made a broccoli and cauliflower soup that I didn’t like at all.  David was a good sport and took the leftovers for lunch, but that recipe went to the garbage.  Oh well, they can’t all be hits!

IMDb: Done in Oil (1917)


One Week Later

Every now and then I write a post that generates a lot of dialogue and interest. This comes in the form of replies to the post, comments on Facebook, and people stopping me in the halls at work. Surprisingly, my husband’s agreement to go fully plant based for two weeks was one of those topics that had people talking. Not a day went by this past week that someone didn’t text, message or stop me in the hall to ask how David was making out.

“Is he hungry?”
“Do you think he’s cheating?”
“Is he cranky?” (Anyone who knows David knows this one is hard to judge from normal!)

I’m happy to report that he survived the week and, while not perfect, he made a lot of really good choices that surprised me.

The week’s observations and results:

  • He was down 3 1/2 pounds after just 5 days.
  • He didn’t feel deprived, eating a lot more food than he thought he would.
  • He felt good and his energy level was good.
  • The oatmeal really filled him up so he wasn’t hungry until lunch.
  • He was not a fan of eating oatmeal 5 days in a row.  :)
  • He missed his cheese.
  • We went out to dinner Friday night (because I got home from work late and wasn’t cooking at 8:30 pm) and Saturday night (for his son’s birthday), so that was challenging for him. He felt like he was cheating on his promise to eat whole food plant based with no oil.  In general, I was proud that he didn’t use ANY parmesan cheese or partake of the giant cinnamon bun that comes with dinner at the one local restaurant.
  • Bread and butter continues to be a challenge.  Butter is a violation of the “no oil” rule.  :)
  • People at his work were intrigued but only one was brave enough to sample the hummus (which they thought was good). One co-worker commented “Does Michele eat this every day???”. Yes. Yes, she does!

One more week to go and we’ll see if he continues. I’m encouraged and hopeful he sees enough good results on the weight and inflammation that he will want to maintain this way of eating.

Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!  :)

In case you are wondering what our menu plan looks like for the upcoming week….

  • Breakfast: Taking a break from the oatmeal, I made pumpkin apple muffins and blueberry zucchini muffins, and there’s cereal if those should run out.
  • Lunch: Leftover Field Roast Sausage and peppers, or Save the Tuna Fish on rye from Crazy Sexy Kitchen (made from almonds, sunflower seeds and some other yummy ingredients)
  • Snacks: spicy roasted chick peas, carrots with hummus, fruit
  • Dinner: An “Isa Does It” sweep:  Cheddary Broccoli Soup (hold the cheddar!), Lentil-a-Roni, Mushroom Barley Soup, Lentil Quinoa Stew, and Dilly Stew with Dumplings

Have a great week!  Stay tuned for final results next weekend!

IMDb: One Week Later (2009)

Day One

Day One seemed to go pretty well for my husband.  He had the oatmeal for breakfast, along with a green smoothie.  I thought the oatmeal was plenty sweet just from the fruit, but he did need to add some almond milk and brown sugar.  If you need a little sugar (emphasis on “a little”) to eat your oatmeal, then go for it.  (Said Dr. McDougall at the advance study weekend I attended.)  When you cook your own food, you aren’t getting all that added sugar, so a teaspoon in your oatmeal is not going to kill you.

I made myself the same wrap I made David for lunch.  I actually thought it was delicious — with lots and lots of veggies.  The only downfall was that the wrap was a teeny bit soggy from the tomatoes and cucumbers.  I was worried about that, and my plant-based Facebook friends suggested I use a piece of dry lettuce to act as a barrier. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any lettuce.  I texted David to forewarn him, but his response text said “Not too soggy. Actually pretty good.”  Score!  But I do have to figure out how to make it not soggy… maybe I’ll have to have him assemble himself at work…

David’s first words after walking into the house from work “well, I didn’t die!” (So dramatic!!) :)

For dinner, I tried another new recipe from the Jazzy Vegetarian book: Rockin’ Moroccan Stew. David loved it and ate two bowls; Ethan wasn’t crazy about the rice I served it over and picked at his meal a bit.  I thought it was tasty. A little kick but not too spicy. The good news? There are leftovers and I won’t have to pack a sandwich for tomorrow!

Yesterday I made Jazzy’s Lemon and Shiitake Mushroom Spaghetti with Capers.  If you click on this link, you can find it on Google eBooks.  I really enjoyed this one because I love capers.  Salty and tangy, but not overly so.  The only things I would do differently are:  a) double the mushrooms and b) add enough broth to cover a full pound of pasta.  I’m never quite sure what to do with recipes that don’t call for the whole box.  I mean, what am I going to do with a 1/4 pound of spaghetti?

In all, day one was a success ~ despite the butter he put on his Italian bread.  I must confess, though… I did, too.

IMDb: Day One (2012)

The Husband

January 10th will my 3 year veg-iversary.  After 3 years of eating a whole food plant based diet, you would think I would have have been able to get my husband to convert.  When I’m cooking, he does eat what I cook — and enjoys it! But left to his own devices, he will eat meat… and eggs… and lots and lots of cheese and butter.

So after much persuading, I was able to get him to agree to eating plant based…full time…for two weeks. The promise is that he will be fully compliant for these 14 days.  That means no meat, no dairy, no eggs, and no added oil.  At the end of two weeks, if he doesn’t feel remarkably better and lose some weight, then I will stop “encouraging”. (I’m sure he would use the word “nagging”.)

He needs to lose 20 pounds, give or take, and I’d like to see him get off of his cholesterol meds (which will eventually destroy his liver). I think the alkaline diet will help the inflammation that causes arthritic pain in his joints. This will, in turn, reduce the amount of anti-inflammatory medications he takes on a daily basis.  There really is no down side to eating plant based.

In order to help him be successful, I had to do some extra planning and preparing. Typically, when I menu plan, I don’t worry about breakfast or lunch. For me, breakfast is a green smoothie and some fruit.  Lunch is typically a baked potato or leftovers.  But I don’t want him to have any excuses for not following 100%, so I’m doing all the work.

For breakfast, I have a crock pot full of steel cut oats slow cooking.  The recipe is from Oh She Glows:  Crock Pot Apple Spice Steel Cut Oats.

For lunch, I whipped up a double batch of Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. I used a few different recipes, but it ended up being: 2 cans garbanzo beans (drained & rinsed), 1 jar roasted red peppers (drained), 2 T tahini, a few cloves of garlic, and juice of 1/2 lemon.  I will be making him veggie wraps: spinach tortillas, the red pepper hummus, cucumbers, spinach, tomatoes, and sprouts.  He also gets some healthy tortilla chips and several pieces of fruit.  (I even peeled the clementines for him…. NO excuses!)

Dinner will be planned as usual — some new recipes from my Christmas present: “Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites”, along with some oldie-but-goodies.

I know many of you are thinking “poor guy”.  No meat? No dairy? No oil?

But remember this: NOTHING tastes as good as healthy feels.

I’ll keep you posted!!

IMDb: The Husband (2013)

The Sisterhood

The world is a little darker today. A little sadder. Today I learned of the passing of one of my sisters in breast cancer, a dear colleague and friend.

When I was going through treatment for breast cancer in 2012, she was receiving treatment for a recurrence. We were just weeks apart in our treatment, although it was clearly more difficult for her the second time around. Yet when she returned to work, my sister was her energetic, positive self, and was ready to take on the world.

We often talked to each other about our post-treatment care. Naturalists, supplements, stress management, nutrition, sleep. We talked about all of it, while admiring each others’ locks as our hair grew in. We debated the issue of aromatase inhibitors for months on end and both decided to take a pass after dealing with unbearable side effects. Each meeting was full of hugs, support, and encouraging words.

Stress management was always a big topic because she attributed her two cancer diagnoses to preceding periods of high stress.  We checked in on each other regularly and lectured one another when we seemed to be taking on too much.

Fast forward almost 3 years since we finished treatment. Life became more “normal”, our regular interactions became less common, and the quarterly meetings on our calendars got bumped for some other “priority”. I hadn’t spoken to her in months, never thinking I’d never have another chance to do so.

While I do not know the details of her death, based on some of the sketchy tidbits thus far, I have no doubt that cancer played a part.  This time Cancer would not take no for an answer, and he was swift in taking her from us.

So many people called and messaged, or came to visit me today, to make sure I was ok. One call came from another of my sisters…one who most recently made the journey through diagnosis and initial treatment. She asked me if it ever gets easier as time goes on… Do you ever stop living in fear?

I told her that I try to find the balance between being complacent as time goes on and being scared all the time. I don’t want to be so complacent that I forget to take care of myself.  I don’t want to take any day for granted.  But I also don’t want to be so afraid that I forget to live and enjoy my life. I wish I could say I have that balanced nailed down, but I don’t. And days like today tend to tip me into fear. If it could happen to her, after doing so many of the same things I have been doing, then who’s to say it can’t happen to me?

So let this be our reminder. To manage our stress and walk away from the drama. To nourish our bodies with healthy food. To get enough sleep. To avoid toxins. To drink lots of pure water. To care for ourselves. To find time for those we love.

But mostly let it be a reminder to live life to the fullest, to spread joy to those around you, and to love greatly. You never know when you’ll lose the chance to do that.

Rest in Peace, my friend.

IMDb: Sisterhood (2015)